The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #386: The Marginal Utility of Time, Reflections on 2022, and Future Goals

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #386: The Marginal Utility of Time, Reflections on 2022, and Future Goals

Happy new year, and welcome to 2023!  This first episode of the new year is all about time.  Though time exists independent of all of us and will go on and on regardless of whether we exist in it or not, it is a finite resource for us living creatures.   I think of an expression (which I might be paraphrasing) that my mother, who studied economics in college sometimes used (one I thought was humorous due to the extravagance of the words) – “diminishing returns of marginal utilities.”  If I’m getting this correct, the “marginal utility” part describes the satisfaction that one experiences by consuming one unit of something.  While economists are usually referring to “utility” in terms of as a product, I think the concept applies to some nonpurchasable items as well, including time.  In some cases, the more time you have, the less you value it; yet when you have less, it becomes more and more precious.  Gaining even a bit more would yield a net positive marginal utility.  But none of us, regardless of our station in life, can get more of it.  We all have however much time we are given, and none of us know how much.

There is a quote from the novel “The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles that is inscribed on Brandon Lee’s tombstone (it came up in one of his last, if not the last interview he did prior to his death) that is particularly poignant and gets at this idea:

“Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens echoed similar sentiments when it came to his own work in ways I think many artists will be able to relate to.  In the podcast, I include a segment from one of Dave’s journals read by Billy Campbell from the documentary Dave Stevens: Drawn to Perfection

When I was initially writing The Thirteenth Hour as a teenager, I think I was trying to put these idea into words in my own way.  I suppose I had a different view of time since I was younger, but looking at it decades later, I think that is one of the underlying messages of the book – taking life by the reins and making the most of it, that the world can what you make of it if you believe in your dreams and don’t sit passively by, letting time pass you by.

Interestingly, the Buddhists have a slightly different take on this since they believe in do-overs.  Life, from a Buddhist perspective, is about suffering, and escaping this cycle of birth and rebirth is to finally find peace (a.k.a. nirvana).  But for those of us still in the world, there are some interesting insights in this drawing below of the samsara (wheel of life).  There is a segment of the wheel below (the one with the animals in it) that is called, not surprisingly, the animal realm.  The Buddhist view of non-human animals is that they are not as evolved, not as intelligent (human-centric, I know) and so creatures born into this part of the samsara earned their lot in life though past negative karmic action.  I don’t know if I agree with that, but I think you can also use aspects of this as an analogy for parts of human existence.  When we are in the animal realm, we are focused on survival – just getting through the day.  But when we get a breather and have better resources, we can enter into the higher realms where we have increasing ability to reflect on our situation and focus on more than day to day needs.  Times like the new year sometimes give us cause to stop, pause, and reflect on where we want to go.   So in this episode, I not only reflect on some of the positives of the past year and some goals for the one to come.

The Wheel of Life - Samsara | Thangka Mandala

Thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #360: Flash Gordon (1980) with Obi, Joe, and Adam

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #360: Flash Gordon (1980) with Obi, Joe, and Adam

Today, I’m joined by my friends Joseph Esch, Adam Crohn, and Obi as we talk about the 1980 film, Flash Gordon. This film was a blast, and it was a hoot to record as well.  The show goes off the rails within the first few minutes, but I think that makes it all the better.  I’m not sure I would have entirely gotten the humor had I seen this as a kid, but as a adult seeing it for the first time, I thought it was great fun.  If you haven’t seen it before or even if you have, here are a few clips of scenes from the film:

This is a fun compilation set to the theme song by Queen (warning – the theme song may get stuck in your head!)

If you enjoyed this outing, just know the four of us will be back soon.  In the meantime, you can find Adam, Joe, and Obi all together on Adam’s Star Wars podcast, I Have Spoken, episode 19 (thought on the Boba Fett series).  You can find more Adam and Joe on our first joint collaboration on The Lost Boys parts 1 and 2 as well as on Rambo: First Blood Parts 1 and 2 as well as their epic collaboration on Steakuums:

We will return on Patreon for more discussion on Flash Gordon cartoons, serials, comics, and toys!

Last but not least, if you’re in the US, happy 4th, and belated happy Canada Day to our Northern friends 🙂

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #355 and Like a Hood Ornament #43: Welcome Obi from Obi’s Toybox As We Talk All About the Rocketeer!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #355 and Like a Hood Ornament #43: Welcome Obi from Obi’s Toybox As We Talk All About the Rocketeer!

This week, I’m joined by special guest Obi of Obi’s Toybox as we talk all about one of our mutual favorite topics – the Rocketeer!  We were introduced by our mutual friend, Adam from AC Toy DesignThe Rocketeer is a pretty hopeful, optimistic film, so I think it’s no wonder that people that like it tend to be nice people.  Yet, I seldom meet folks in day to day life that know much about the film or the comics, so aside from my family and this podcast, I mostly keep that interest to myself.  So it was a rare pleasure to be able to talk with someone else on all manner of things Rocketeer related.  A few things we touched on for reference:

The comics by Dave Stevens:

Dave Stevens The Rocketeer Signed Print (c. 1991).... Memorabilia | Lot  #13920 | Heritage Auctions

Serials that influenced Dave Stevens, e.g.:

The 1991 film:

The Rocketeer Is Getting A New Movie With A Black Lead And A Brand-New  Backstory | Cinemablend

The board game

The animated series:


The Rocketeer Action Figure By Diamond Select Disney Toy Walgreens  Exclusive 699788835654 | eBay

The trading cards (we open a pack on the show):

I just found this wonderful looping clip of ambient sounds and music from inside the Bulldog Cafe made by Saint Ambience.

Thanks, Obi, for coming on the show!  We will be back soon for a discussion on anther pulp hero, Flash Gordon!

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