Stories From the 99 Percent Invisible City (with Roman Mars)

Hey, this is Joe Crane host of
veteran on the move podcast. And when I'm not helping veterans
transition entrepreneurship. I'm stacking Benjamins from Joe's mom's basement
stacking Benjamin show I'm Joe's mom's neighbor, Doug. And today we're learning
about invisibility. Awesome breaking the laws of physics. Sign me up. What? That that's not what
today's show is about. Oh, you all right. Well, so it turns out, uh, some hot shot. Dave Roman Mars from some
Radiotopia podcast called 99%. Invisible is. Joining us to talk about the 99%
invisible city,, how much money is wrapped up in your community design? Uh,.

Turns out there's a lot. You never notice. In other news, when are
you liable for your pet? You're in for a really unfortunate
horror story about a pet. A thrown ball and a lawsuit. We'll break it down for you
during our headline segment. And finally, we'll save time to toss out
the Haven lifeline to our new trucker friend, August who has a question
about contributing to his workplace Roth, 401k versus his Roth IRA. And of course, I'll delight you
with a dose of my amazing trivia. And now two guys who like to play a
little game called let's pretend Doug is 99% of visible, and it's not funny. It's Joe and Oh, judger. that's the best game we could play today. We don't see that guy over there
in the corner with the microphone. If I close my eyes, they won't see me. There's nothing better than getting
Doug riled up on a Wednesday. Hey everybody. Speaking of Wednesday, welcome
back to the Stacie Benjamin show. I'm Joe salsi high average Joe money on
Twitter and not the fake OJI on Twitter sitting across from me right now, man.

It is hump day and, uh, We
got Roman Mars here today, my friend, your favorite podcaster. He's in my top thousand. You said you shouldn't have favorites. Roman Mars. Definitely. My favorite. And for people that, uh, have liked
some of the changes to the show, I can, single-handedly say it was Roman Mars
giving a speech at a podcast movement. How long did it take me to tell you
what, what I wanted to do that day? Like four hours? I think it took me to kind of explain. The craziness you were texting me during. It was just, it was so
eyeopening, but that guy's voice. This is 99% invisible. I'm Roman Mars. So good. That's coming up. But first one quick thing,
Belinda Rosenblum has a course. If you need to get your
financial foundation together.

We've got our making money. Easy course had to stacking benjamins.com
forward slash easy and sign up. You can avoid the holiday hangover. If you want to know more about
it, go back and listen to Friday. Show Belinda was on talking about that. Uh, but you've only got two days
left until we shut her down. Stacking benjamins.com forward slash easy. Roman Mars is here, but first OGE and I
have some headlines, so let's get started.

Hello, darlings. And now it's time field
favorite part of the show. I was stacking Benjamins headlines. Headline comes to us from NBC news. This one's going to shock you. Oh, gee. U S seizes over $1 billion
in Bitcoin tied to silk road. Did you see this? I did. Yes. Yes. As a matter of fact, I was following
along the whole Bitcoin thing because there was a lot of speculation going on
about like, Hey, somebody just removed a billion dollars from a Bitcoin wallet.

Then it's been sitting there
for, for ages, what happened? And then it came out that the
government ceased it, which is. Kind of defeats the purpose of Bitcoin. I think, I don't know what that
message, if that message is exactly what they're trying to pretend,
but, uh, whole thing about being a beyond government intervention, maybe
not us justice department Reuters, by the way, as the source of this. Us justice department announced
Thursday of last week. It had seized over $1 billion worth
of Bitcoin associated with the underground online marketplace. Silk road justice department said
it was seeking the forfeiture of the cryptocurrency, which had been in the
possession of an unnamed hacker who stole them from the notorious in quotes website.

It's the largest cryptocurrency
seizure ever made by the us government. The department added government
will not try to prove in court. The items are subject to forfeiture. In the past, the government has later
auctioned off forfeited cryptocurrency. They don't get to keep that
and sell the student loan crisis, maybe clean up the debt. Maybe it's a little frustrating, right? That sentences before that, that said. Now they're trying to
prove why they need it. Like, Hey, we took your crap
and now we're going to prove that we're supposed to have it.

It's like, wait a second. Shouldn't you have to prove it. I think it, I think it
might not work that way. They may not work the
way you think it works. Yeah. This is just another reminder though. Oh, gee, that even though cryptos are
being used more and more often in society, still the wild West, my friend, it is
still the wild, wild West out there.

I want to know what kind of crappy hacker
stole it and then never actually used it. Can't use it because if they, if they
paid for it with something and exchange it to a currency, then they run into
a problem with their philosophy. Right. I mean, isn't it supposed to
be beyond other currencies? No, I'm just saying like, so they
said that some hacker stole it from this other guy who was a criminal. Yes. Right? So the criminal be stolen
from criminal, a criminal.

See the U S government stole it
from criminal B allegedly, but they need it, but they got to prove that
they're supposed to have anyway. So criminal B has it. How does the criminal B not go like cool. I got a billion dollars. Buying an airplane in an Island. What if it's like, Brewster's
billions that he already did buy the airplane and the Island. There's still a billion dollars left. Yeah. Well, that'd be great. Yeah. And maybe you forgot, maybe
he, maybe it was on like a computer and he forgot about it. Silk road. Like those people that, uh, you know, that
used to buy Domino's pizzas with hundreds of Bitcoins at a time when it was like
worth several pennies or several dollars. Yeah. They're all the, all the rage was going
to the landfills to like route through all the old computers to like plug in
all the old hard drives because some idiots got, you know, 16,000 Bitcoin
not realizing that it was that guy.

And we talked about this spring, remember
where he, his, uh, his landlord after he went to jail throughout his stuff,
including the USB fob that had, uh, A hundred million dollars worth of crypto,
I think on it, something like that. And it's, and it's in a landfill in China. Yep, good times finding it silk road, the
way it was seized by the us government in 2013, which is why they think they're
able to do it with officials describing the underground website is a massive
illegal and money laundering marketplace. And that's all the
websites accused creator. Russ, all brick was convicted in 2015
of seven counts of enabling illegal drug sales via Bitcoin since to life in prison,
lost an attempted appeal back in 2017. Uh, the Bitcoin saga continues. You get into Bitcoin. I think there's still going to be,
there's going to be more and more of this governments meet crypto,
who knows in our second end line, let's go from cryptocurrency
news to, uh, celebrity news. Were you a fan of kiss back in the day? Uh, no.

Now you seem like you would have
had all the kiss posters on your wall and been doing the thing with
your tongue gene Simmons thing. No, no kiss posters at a no G's bedroom. So discipline, uh, this comes to us
from Forbes written by Keith flamer Rockledge and gene Simmons kisses,
his California state and high taxes. Goodbye. I wanted to ask you about this by
way of, does it make sense to move from one state to another state? Just because of taxes? What if you like your neighbors,
you like your neighborhood. You like your lifestyle? This is a hall of Famer
rocker, gene Simmons, kissing a sentimental home 36 years.

Goodbye. The tongue taunting
fire-breathing kiss basis. Unloading his palatial Benedict Canyon
estate with a catch $22 million ass price and a personal meeting with
the next owner to ensure that his Homestead's left in good hands. Why do you want to meet the new owner? No. People who had that as their like,
like, let me show you how great this it's like, dude, get out. Yes. We've exchanged all that's
required to make this thing. Illegal outcome. I gave you cash. You gave me the keys. Get out of here. Don't bad. Mouth by dogs, playing poker posters. Do not trust me. I'm ripping your floors out of here. Cause they crap the velvet Elvis
and bringing that in Simmons. Won't just sell to anybody. His majestic Beverly Hills Harry
mansion represents a life well, lived in love to leave behind fond family
memories and a part of himself.

Oh my goodness. Really? So unlike most celebrities who
fade into the background Simmons will be intimately involved. Oh boy. What a great sales process, the piece
by the way, which we'll link to in our show notes page goes over how they
remodeled the house and made it their own. It is a absolutely beautiful house. Why move now? Simmons picks a bass guitar, but the
outspoken musician is emphatically finished taking licks from
California's excessive taxes, which left him quote somewhere between
heaven and hell Takota kiss song.

Simmons is relocating he's. Instead moving to Washington state
and lower tax is a 24 acre state in the shadow of gorgeous Mount Rainier. Except he won't see the
shadow because there's so many clouds around Mount Rainier. Uh, he'll just have to assume that he's
in the shadow of mountain radiator. Like every time Cheryl and I go
to, to Seattle, I'm like, yeah, I'm out is over there somewhere. You see that caught a
bank of clouds over there. Funny is that almost every time I've been
there, it's actually really super nice.

Are you kidding me? Really good friend, best friend
of mine lives in Seattle. We went for his birthday
several years ago. His birthday's in January, that was dark
and gray and cool and rainy and whatever, but all the rest of the time, I mean,
like when you go on vacation, when I go on vacation, I want to go to the place that
I don't want to go during the crappy time. So we go during the summer during
the early, early fall, when it's just perfect in the Pacific Northwest,
it's always really beautiful. So I don't, I don't know what
people complain about the rain all the time, every time I'm there. Sunny and dry. What's nice, Nick. My son is getting ready to
move back there in December. And I said, wow, what a great time
to move there when it's exactly it gets dark at two 15 in the afternoon,
light at nine Oh five in the morning. It's going to be fantastic. Well, gene Simmons is dark already. You know, he already is, seems like
a moody kind of dude watching Nick.

Who's gonna move next door. So Jean said he could probably live
in like the West wing or a portion of the West wing of that house anyway,
but the reason I want to talk about this isn't about gene Simmons. Does that make sense? Moving from one state to another,
especially when this whole piece OJI is about how much he
loves this house that he had. Does it make sense to
leave the house you love? Yeah, it totally does. I mean, people look at the stuff that
they have with such reverence and not as a tool to be used and change from time
to time, you know, it, it's amazing to me, you know, you see, you see people
who, who are in, you know, houses that are too big for them or the purchases
of vehicles or whatever, you know, you just go, but this is the family home. It's like, Come on, man, you don't need
4,000 square feet or you're by yourself. You're going to, if you
can afford it though. Why not? I mean, if you love it, he's he
doesn't want to afford it anymore.

He tired of he's tired of writing
the check, tired of the tax bill. I think there's other things
that come with that though. I mean, I know moving back to Texarkana,
you know what one of the nicest things has been, we TexMex T correct. Second thing is those margaritas,
those margarita is done as a POTUS. Margarita is yes. And then third year, right. Is, uh, we're, we're headed
to Nayman's barbecue. You and I have had that this afternoon,
but those don't even make the top.

When we went to a. Event last week, the
Texarkana symphony orchestra. We have a symphony orchestra. I walked in and the president
of the board was standing there. And, uh, they were seating people around
the church where they were performing, but he immediately saw me and he
said, the sauce you guys are back. I was told that you're coming back. We're so happy that you're back in town. Really know this guy. I mean, I know him a little bit,
but it was so weird that this. Town. If it was just a really nice feeling,
you know, having your friends you've donated too much money to this
company, he's like, wow, not enough because he, he barely knows you. We can get that second, uh, cello,
cellist, cellist, cello player jealous. Yes. I think when it says you're, you're
sponsoring the second chair cellist. For you, they don't
actually mean the person. They mean the chair and the chair. I can't afford.

You were saying that they're sitting in
there like this folding chair was brought to you by the salt sea high family. The Pearson seated in it is from dr. Smith came from target. Uh, yes. Benjamins. Can we sponsored four
chairs at the symphony? It's incredible. We're in the back and nobody sits in,
but I think people well, when they move, my point is, and I think, you
know, my point, they don't think about your community, your friends, man. I didn't think about it enough. We moved to Michigan a couple of
years ago being back and having these people around me again. It's very nice. Super nice. Yeah. Back with your people. It's also nice to not pay taxes. So good point. I think our takeaways here, number
one is taxes versus community. That's pretty. He's. He must add a huge tax bill on this house.

Just looking at, go to stanky. Benjamin's dot com. Click on the show notes for today. Look at this house, everybody, because
it is a crazy, crazy big that's lesson. Number one, I think you've got to weigh
that carefully, but lesson number two, Bitcoin, still more to come still. The wild wild West. this many times before I am very
interested in design and how things are packaged and designed how they look. How cities are put together. I'm fascinated by all of these stories
and there's so much money wrapped up in communities and how communities are
created and how the upkeep happens. A lot of this appreciation though,
I learned from our guests today, Roman Mars, he is the host.

Of a podcast that is easily, easily. One of my favorite podcasts and he's a
man I've learned so much about podcasting from Roman Mars on my dead shortwave. Right. And I, my dad's shortwave radio, the man
who caused a city to change its flag. It's my new friend, Roman Mars. How are you, man? I'm doing great. It's good to be here. Is that how you'd like to be introduced
as the guy who single handedly helped Pocatello get its act together? You know, it's not a bad claim to fame. I can accept it. It's funny because I never thought
about flags until listening to 99% visible and of course reading the new
book, but then I thought about it.

I have the symbol of the city of Venice
that I bought while we were in Venice, Roman, because it's such a bad-ass symbol. And if, if a flag like Pocatello's needs
to be changed, I mean, it can only help. I totally agree. I mean, the main thing that
I like about flags is people who use them and love them. The idea of the Ted talk of getting
people to care about their flags is that a good design usually helps them
care about their flags more, but if the city can rally behind anything and
have a municipal symbol that we all own and can all share, and it's not a
brand it's not owned by a sports team, if it's really ours collectively, then
that's just a great and beautiful thing.

And any way we can get to people
to do that is as good in my book. Speaking of something that
people call collectively. There's a Cheryl, my spouse and I Roman
just did a trip around the salt and sea. I never even knew the Salton sea
existed until I heard, I believe it's a 2015 story on your show about it. Have, have you actually been there, but
I mean, these people really own that. See, they are the number of
people pleading for that sea to be saved is, is amazing. Yeah, no, that was Emmett Fitzgerald. He's a reporter producer on my show
and I, this is maybe one of the first few stories he ever did with us. And he went down there and
checked it out and it is. In unusual place. It is a, you know, a place going to
create it, an accident that we were engaged in and this like little area
that, that constantly flooded, you know, for millennia, just as a natural,
like kind of sink, like a place where water collected in a Valley.

And then it sort of gained a
purchase by, after using the central Valley for irrigation. And then all of a sudden, like water
stuck around and then never left. But now it is. Probably leaving in different ways
because of drought and climate change and stuff like that. But there was a period of time where that
place was going to be, it was called the California Riviera, where there was going
to be like a really big deal and big stars came there and it was, you know,
and now it's a much different state.

And what was it like when you were there? The amount of infrastructure
that was in place? Especially there was an area
on the West side of the sea. It was a checkerboard of
roads and of power lines. And these wonderful names that while
we're all Riviera or, or Maui or all these different tropical names
and nothing, you could tell that somebody had invested a lot of money
and created all this infrastructure. And by the time that this
particular community was being created, I think nobody came. Yeah, it was gone. Yeah. It's a really strange place. That's been abandoned, but it's also
one of these weird things that's kind of natural and kind of human made and no one
knows quite what to do with it in the end. And is it worth saving the sea itself? Even if there's no people
around to be tourists for it? I mean, it's just, it's a
confusing and confounding place. And I mean, that's why
we're interested in it. Like, we don't know if we, we never
have like an answer necessarily.

We just like asking the questions. Yeah. The birds in the ecosystem that need that. Place, I'm very fascinated. Roman, about your background, how did
you become a fan of the 99% invisible? Well, I think, yeah, I've always
been, you know, a student in a type of person who likes interesting,
hidden stories in the world. I studied biology for a really long time. That was sort of the way I accessed. My curiosity for awhile. And then I got into journalism
and realized that I was studying like one thing in plant
genetics for a really long time. But what I really loved was teaching
and reading and understanding, and maybe passing that along to other people. And I didn't realize that was journalism
for a long time, but I loved radio and I loved the sound of radio. I thought, well, I don't know what
that job is, but there's somebody who. Works with the host to, you know,
read the books, ask the questions.

And I could, I think I could
do a good job with that. And that's what made me look at it. Radio, you didn't think you were
going to be the guy behind the mic. You were going to be the researcher? Absolutely. That was what I was good at. I was. Good at leading seminars. I was good at sort of laying
things out for somebody. I had no sort of notion that I had
the talent or the ability to talk on a microphone in front of people. I was terrified of it. When did the idea then for 99% invisible
actually come around where you walking down the street and you saw the, I,
I have this feeling because I love the Montgomery ward story personally.

Um, where you walking along,
you saw this building, you said, Oh my God, I have a show. Kind of, I mean, that's why I often
talk about that when I talk live about that building in particular. So I had already been
in radio for a while. I was, I was living in Chicago. I was working at WBZ in Chicago. I was on the architecture boat tour
and they point out the Montgomery ward.

Headquarters in the Montgomery
ward complex, that's on the North branch of the river. When you do that riverboat tour. And the cool thing about this
building, it is not a notable building in any respect like it is,
you know, it's kind of a rectangle. It just, but one of the things that you
do notice about it, it has these really thick, concrete corners supports on the. Corner of the building. So like each of the four corners has
this like big square of concrete.

And the reason why I did was the gum
reward companies are prided itself on a Galatarian hierarchy and they
didn't want any of the vice-presidents to fight over who got the corner
office as a, sort of, as a symbol of who had the most powerful job. And so they made a building that had no
possibility of a corner office whatsoever. I remember hearing that
story and it made me. Like the building for the first
time I'd passed it all the time and never cared for it. And all of a sudden I was like, Oh,
there is something about the design that's that makes me love this building. And the other thing it made me do was
think that, Oh, I could probably tell a story like that without you seeing
the building and have it still be.

A satisfying story, because I'd
never really quite thought of how you would do architecture on the radio
before in a way that building was one of the reasons why I started this. And then, then I moved
back to the Bay area. I was working at KALW in San
Francisco, where my career started and the AIA, the American Institute
of architects in San Francisco. He had gotten in touch with KALW and
said, you know, it'd be cool if we could sponsor like an architecture
minute, you know, something about like a building in San Francisco and you
could do a little short story on it.

And Matt Martin, the GM of KLW asked
me, you know, what I thought of that. And I was totally excited about the
idea of, and that's kind of how the. Okay. I was born as a money nerd and a designer. I've always thought that good design
leads to more money, but good design. As you point out in your new book,
Roman just leads to a better experience, which I suppose is more money, but, but
I think it also is just a better life. I mean, you kick off the book
by talking about some of the sexiness of the utilities. Uh, we're in God's sidewalks. I mean, what a, what a great
way to roll out design. Yeah, I mean that, one of the things
that we always knew, Kurt Holstead and I, who coauthored the book, we always
knew that we wanted to start the book with this story about utility codes,
because there are these spray painted markings that you see on streets
and sidewalks, and we pass them. We never really noticed them.

But a really, there's a codified
system of symbols and colors that is there to let people know when
they're excavating or doing any work on the street, the types of pipes and
conduits and wires that are underneath the asphalt, you can decode them. And one of the it's pretty, really
sort of notable is the reason why this all got formalized. One of the major incidents was that in
1976 in Los Angeles on Venice Boulevard, A worker accidentally cut into a
petroleum pipeline and ignited a fireball. It killed an injured
about two dozen people. It was a really major tragedy and it made
everyone kind of snapped to attention and realized like we have to have a
system that lets people know what's underneath the street because there's
some dangerous stuff underneath there. And there's a lot of it.

And so now you can see it
everywhere in the city. And it's one of the sort of first. Information layers that you can
decode on your own wherever you are. And it's one of the things that sort
of helps delight people when they like, Oh yeah, I understand the city
a little bit better now because of it. And they're kind of messy and they're
kind of weird, but they're super fun, but I totally agree with you. I mean, design good design is a,
you know, it leads to better money. I mean, nobody did this better than
like the Apple corporation, for example, which made design like the front of mind
for a whole generation of consumers. In good design leads to a much better
life in lots of different ways.

Sticking with sidewalks. She, you have, you stick with
sidewalks for a long time. I got the feeling, the two of
you have something going on with sidewalks, but we won't get into that. But you do talk about, you know, you
can look at the history of a city just by seeing who laid the sidewalk. I never thought about that yet. I've. I just remember being in major cities
and looking down at the corner Roman and seeing these either little plaques
or little things, markers about what street I'm on or who laid the sidewalk. That's all fascinating stuff
that goes right over the head of 99.9% of the people out there. Yeah. I mean, in a lot of cities in most places,
it's a little less common than it was. Like a few decades ago, the construction
company that did the work on the, on the house or whatever, um, they laid this,
I walk out in front of it and they often put a stamp on the edges of their area.

So like, you'll see one on, basically
on the right side of the house and one on the left side of the house
and I'll have the construction company and it's a little form of
advertising in Chicago for a long time. It was actually required so that
if something went wrong or they could find someone to blame. For before it it's a biography of
who built our city so much so that you can actually see like there's
ones in, in Berkeley, California that have like a union number
and like a person's union number.

Like, you know, the person who's like, you
can go to the union office, look up like the person who got down on their knees
and smoothed out that piece of concrete. And I think that stuff is just amazing. The windows into how things are made that
are written right there for us to decode. If we, if we choose to. I just love hearing the
excitement in your voice. As you're talking, as we talk
about sidewalks, I'm not sure what your family thinks about that,
but I would love for you to tell another story that made me laugh. And that was a park in Australia
where they have these Cleopatra style.

Obelisks. And it just seems like this beautiful
thing that a park would have and everybody celebrates, but this is
really camouflage a city, turning something really ugly into something. Beautiful. Yeah. So this is in Sydney's Hyde park in
Australia, you know, this sort of dates back to the 1850s when sewage. In those outline areas,
we're kind of new anyway.

And so there are lots of these like stink
pipes to get the smell out of sewage. And what they decided to do was rather
than kind of shunt it somewhere else, they put it where they needed to in this park. And then they covered it with an
obelisk, you know, like modeled after Cleopatra's needles. So it was unveiled in 1857. It's both like a, a monument and
symbol that is inspiring, but it also has an extremely practical
purpose, which is to event the gases so that the sewage doesn't. I love these stories Roman, because I
feel like a bean counter somewhere lost.

Right. I can imagine this, this room right. And the bean counters go, and we're
going to pay for what we're going to make this sewer thing, an obelisk. That's crazy. Wait, there's these phases of this, where
infrastructure and really investing in the beauty of infrastructure and that
being something that was a huge value, you know, we've gone through phases of that. Like, you know, if you look at a
period of time where we had lots of. Capitol buildings were built in the
Bozart style, which is that when you think of a capital, you know, with
a gold dome, like a gold plate, a dome and all the busy filigree and
ornamentation stuff, that's called Bozart.

And there was a period of time where we
thought government deserves a sort of type of respect and it needs to be presented
as such as a place where that is our, our collective will creates this place. That is beautiful. And we work for people. And then there was a period
of time where we like. Or modern capital and federal
buildings were all like in a rootless style where it's like big chunky. It's very utilitarian. It's a very ominous, you know, like,
and there was a notion that there's no, we have no time for that sort of
like busy fussiness and fanciness. We're here to do work.

We're here to do business and
we're here to count beans. I don't have a lot of judgment
as to which is better. Like I actually like a brutalist
style, a ton, like in modernist styles quite a bit, but it's more dislike as
a window into how we feel about the things we build and how they should. Reflect, our values is fascinating to me.

That's what I like using
the built environment for. It's like, just to sort of like,
it's a window into like, Oh yeah. In the seventies, we really
thought of government this way, you know, versus in the twenties
we thought of government this way. And I think that's super fascinating. A lot of the stories that we, you and
I have talked about so far are from early in the book and the section on
camouflage and how we take these things. And we camouflage them
as I'm reading along. Roman, I have to tell you, I'm thinking. How come, he's not talking about the
cell phone towers as I'm driving along. I see this one tree that's hell,
a bigger than all the other trees. It's very obvious. This is not a tree. This is just a cell phone tower. I literally turned the page.

And you have a whole section
about cell phone towers. My favorite fact about cell phone
towers is just their name is that they're named because the coverage
area of a cell phone tower looks like. A cell on a Petri dish
when it grows all together. So it was like, that's what
the word sell comes from. And then the other part of it that
I find kind of fascinating is the other sort of natural analog is
this, you know, like as soon as they started proliferating all over. The U S in particular, there was a
community sort of desire to like, well, let's cover some of these things
up because they're ugly and they do it kind of awkwardly a lot of the
times, you know, there's a, you know, if you notice a very straight, tall,
extremely sparse pine tree, you know, it's, it's, it's likely a cell phone
tower and some of them look good.

Some of them. Like a really not so good, but there's
fascinating to find regardless. One more story I would love to, for
you to share from the book is I'm a big baseball fan Roman, and I'm sure many
of our fans are, there is this idea of Thomason's later in the book that if you
remember the story about Thomas ends and what that has to do with the fabric of a
city, I'd love for you to tell that story. Absolutely. So Thomas. This is one of my favorite
stories that we've ever done in the history of the show. This was like a story first reported
in our show by Avery Truffleman. And it's based on this idea that there
was an artist in Japan called a Casa Galligan PEI, and he was out on a walk
with his friends and he discovered this. A set of stairs that, you know, there's
like three or four stairs up and then a landing and three or four stairs
down and where that landing was and where there should be like a door or
something to get into that building.

There was no door. And so he was fascinated by
this sort of leftover object that served no purpose anymore. But what really, really got his attention
was that the railing on this set of stairs that went nowhere had recently
been painted and made more beautiful. And he was like, The idea that
you would spend time to maintain and upkeep or useless object. He really just thought of it
that this is art in a city. This is what a city is. It's like this vestigial
things that we maintain. His art and he was trying to
come up with a name for them. And at the time there was this
baseball player named Gary Thomas and a good baseball player, played the
major leagues here for over a decade.

And by the end of his career,
he had actually been, he took a job in Japan playing baseball. And whereas he did well here. He did not do well in Japan. He led the strikeout record in the league. He was a very expensive. Acquisition, but he, he did not do well. And he sat on the bench and,
and so a Casa Galligan pay, like took this idea of him being. Kind of a Vista jewel useless object who
sat on the bench, but paid a lot of money. And so he took that concept and he
said, well, then these things are like Thomas ENS, like Gary Thompson. And so he called them Thomas ENS and
people all over the world began to send in pictures of Thomas and their neighborhood. And. And then he would rate them
and they would discuss them. And he had this sort of photographic
scene that he, that he curated and then a book eventually came out and I've
been fascinated by these things because they're really fun to find like things
that are the key is not just festival.

There's lots of Vistige rules,
like useless objects that are like little exposed pipes that
come out that don't do anything. The key is that they're both
useless and maintained, like useless and done something with. Those are Thomas ends there. If you keep an eye out for those, as you
walk around the city, your day is filled with delight, like a scavenger hunt. It's like rare enough that it's fun and
challenging, but like frequent enough that you can definitely find them. And so it goes searching for
Thomas ends in your study. They're super fun. I don't know if I'm Gary Thomason, if
I feel appreciated or if I'm horrified. Yeah. You know, we get into that because , he
was like, uh, Fan of the humor or a giants who Gary Thompson is part of. And he didn't really want to insult him. He felt really kind of bad for it.

Like when it was translated into
English of his work, he was really nervous about it, but he was like,
but he kept on sort of saying, just like I have so much back for him. I really didn't mean it to be bad. These things are delightful. These things are, you know, trying
to make a statement and I hope they would take it well, but. The family would take it well,
but you know, you never know. The book is 99% invisible city. So for our design nerds and money
nerds, there's so many intersections. In this book between money and design, I'm
assuming Roman it's available everywhere. It's available anywhere. I mean, if you can get it from
our website at 99, pi.org/book is all the links to like your indie
bounds and your Amazons and your Barnes and noble and the audio book. That's the, probably the
best place to send people. And I will link to that on our show
notesPage@stackingbenjamins.com.

And I'll also link to a few of
the episodes of 99 PI that we talked about here on the show. Roman, thanks a ton for talking
design with us for a few minutes here. I really appreciate it. Oh, it's been a blast. I appreciate your interest. Hey trivia fans have Joe's
mom's neighbor, Doug. I'm over here. I'm over here. Let's talk about 99% invisible
cities got me thinking let's get right to your trivia question. What city does travel site? The culture trip.com. Call the most walkable city
for tourists in the world. Bonus points. If you can identify the most walkable city
in the USA also wonder if it's Texarkana well, do you use credit cards responsibly? Me? No, never, never, never in a
million in a million years. Well, This isn't for you then. Oh gee. But for all of our responsible
stackers out there, you wanna hear something amazing. Discover matches all the cash back.

You earned on your credit card at the
end of your first year on a magically with no limit on how much you can earn. How amazing is that? In fact, it's even more amazing because of
all the places where discovers, accepted. In fact it's even more amazing because of
all the places discovers excepted 99% of places in the U S that take credit cards. So when it comes to discover, get used
to hearing, yes, more often learn more at discover.com/yes, 20, 20 Nilson
report limitations apply something else to do responsibly OJI is to manage
your team responsibly, even though gee and I are sitting here in mom's
basement with Doug over in the corner.

I shouldn't have even said that current,
we pretending he doesn't exist today. Pretending who doesn't make sense. There you go. It does take an entire team
to produce this podcast. Gertrude lives across town. Karen who helped make sure that Roman
Mars, uh, got to talk to us today. Karen is in Montana. Taylor, who does a lot of
writing for us is in Phoenix. Steve who puts the show together is in st. Louis. It takes a lot of us. Richie's in Nevada. Is that the place where I'm
supposed to crack a Nevada joke or was that so last week? Exactly. I was thinking of the same thing. I'm like, can I add now
we'll stay away from them. but you can see that
we're all over the place. And when it comes to work and
financial management, by the way, what do they have in common? Well, money. Obviously, but you actually have to
master the same skills organization, goal setting, planning, and staying
on track monday.com is what we use.

It's an easy to use flexible and visual
online platform designed to manage any team, organization, or process
online, making sure every aspect of work is organized and on track. I got to tell you, we just switched
over to monday.com and we had five different systems that we use to make
the show, putting them all in one O G. Yeah, super easy going from five to one. And by the way, two of those
systems have separate subscriptions. So we're going from two
subscriptions to just one simple subscription with monday.com. It's easy to use. It's flexible. It's a visual online, very visual
one platform designed to manage any team, organization, or process
online as suitable for any size team, a team of eight, like ours
to 5,000 people collaborating, collaborating, plus a Grove.

The Grove. I don't know if you've ever collaborated
a cost to grow before, but, and only after I've had three bottles of wine,
when you started using monday.com with your team, was there, were
there three of you at that time? Yeah, it might've been two
and then quickly added three. And it's really, for us, just
such a perfect, a perfect way to help manage process. It's great. What I like about it is all the, if
then automations, once one thing gets done automatically, that steps up
the next thing that needs to be done. So the process is always continuing
and all that you and I have to do with monday.com is look at the dashboard
and we can see by based on color where everything is and who's got the ball.

It's it's interesting. There's ready to go templates for
any use case built in solutions for your industry workflow. We also have had a meeting with Eddie. Eddie's an awesome trainer. monday.com helps us set it up. Uh, both Gertrude and Karen
have gone to webinars. They have so many ways to
help you use this robust tool. When your teamwork is effective,
nothing can stop you to start your free 14 day trial. Go to monday.com. Free 14 day trial head to monday.com.

Staggers on Joe's mom's neighbor,
Doug, and I'm back ignoring these guys pretending I'm invisible. Yeah. Right? Like you can't hear this incredible voice. Nice try boys. Okay. Uh, well to prove there's one adult in
the room, here's your trivia answer. Question was what city does travel site? The culture trip.com. Call the most walkable city
for tourists in the world. While New York city scored number two on
that list, it was actually Florence, Italy that they call the most walkable, uh,
Florence, the town with the Eiffel tower. Rocky mountains in the background. I remember it well, in case you're
wondering about the other three, I'll throw those into the show
notes for no additional charge. Big, thanks to Roman Mars.

For stopping by you're. So AUSTRAC still, huh? I just think all these money
stories are great, man. Don't you think that Doug's
the Thomas Innovar of our show? Yes. Well cared for, right. The nature of design and
how things are designed. I don't think we'll ever stop amazing me. I could hear all the 99% invisible
stories and, uh, and I'll still want more. Hey, let's throw out the Haven
lifeline and tackle some of life's most important questions.

Our friends at Haven life
insurance agency, they put what you value first, not seeing Doug. And to see him and a good looking design. Yeah. It's actually your
loved ones in your time. They have written here, but
I tend to like ours better. It's why they've made buying quality
term life insurance actually simple. So you can spend more time thinking
about design or ignoring Doug. Head to stacking benjamins.com
forward slash Haven life. Now to get your free quote,
it's a simple application. It's online instant coverage decision. And I can't, I can't, I can't
overemphasize the fact that it's a simple application is not the
norm in the insurance world.

Stacking benjamins.com forward slash
Haven life to get your insurance done now, today, we're going to throw out the
Haven lifeline to our new friend August. Say hi August. Hi, Joe and Oh, gee, my name is August. I wanted to let you know,
I found the other listener. He's a trucker, just like me, who wants
to get really bored if we listened to this show, anyhow, his name is Pete us. Shout out to Pete dos. If I understand this right, my Roth
401k at work can be rolled over in one lump sum into my Roth IRA. Once I retire, I've already started
the clock on my IRA with $500. I intend on maxing out my Roth,
401k at work in my Roth IRA. Eventually. At this point, I'm trying to build
my emergency fund and say for a house for this question, forget about the
whole, you need to have different buckets, tax deferred and stuff. I know. So for the time being, if I just wanted
to invest a little bit more than my match, say $6,000 more over the next year. Is there any reason I would
want to put that in my Roth IRA versus my Roth 401k, since I can
roll it over in the end, anyhow.

And if I retired early, what I wish
I would have done one over the other. Oh, gee, your answer. Probably it doesn't matter anyway, because
I think expense ratios are high right now. And I like to invest in one index
fund for simplicity and my work doesn't offer that fund at this time. Therefore, I'm not going
to contribute in protests. I'm 25. So I'm pretty sure that makes
my shirt size like a 25. T thanks. You know, people always ask
me what career I would like. I just, I love road trips, man.

And, uh, being a trucker, got a
lot of respect for those guys. Your dad was a trucker, right? Yeah. Yeah. Truck driver. Yeah. My uncles, my grandfather, my
uncle drives the truck as well. In fact, grandpa was awarded Michigan
trucker of the year by the governor. How is there such a how's
the, is there such a thing? Is it, did he use his turn signal all
the time correctly or I see what you're doing, but I will tell you that the
reason is, is because he had a success slowly completed 43 years, Holy, without
a single incident that that's impressive. Yeah. I mean, considering how many times you
wreck your car just on a monthly basis. Not me, but my son likes to
Mount the car on mailboxes. He does. That's a story that we'll share
with new listeners on another day, maybe actually whipped out
the rocket driver today with mrs.

OJI. I said, I said it doesn't take a
rocket driver and she just laughed. She goes, what's a rocket driver. I said, come on now. That's a funny stacking
Benjamins story from Joe. And I just told her, she goes, Oh
yeah, that's right here, someday. We're going to have to start recycling. Some of the get people
caught up, not recycle. Let's get people caught up bullet point
list of this is what you know, we have to tell the state brothers don't worry,
steak, brother, what are we talking about? Yeah. Yes. We talk about every time I order
a port at a restaurant, all my friends go Porto, Portugal. It just it's it's not good. You're looking at me like you
don't even remember that one. I don't know that one. Oh no. That's another day. All right. So let's get to this. First of all, let's talk about one concept
that August talks about by the way. Thanks for the question August.

He talked about starting the clock
on his Roth, and this is, this is an important concept, I think. Oh, gee, that a lot of people don't
know about Roth IRAs, talk for a second about what that means. Starting the clock. Well, in order to take the money
out of your Roth, that you've contributed because you can do that. You can take your contributions
out without paying taxes on it. In order to do that, you have to have
had that account open for five years. So the earlier you start that five
years, the better, you know, when you open the account, Put a dollar in it
or an August case, he put $500 in it. I think he said, you know, that
starts, that five-year clock.

So if he needs the money, for whatever
reason before retirement, he's able to take his contributions out, not
the gains and not the growth, but he can take his contributions out. And you can do that if it's been
greater than greater than five years, which is why he is okay with using
money in a Roth IRA as his reserve. And by the way, I don't
have a problem with that. If you don't have the money to do both. And if you can get it, the money in your
Roth fairly quickly, leave it in a cash position, but have it inside of the Roth.

And then when you have enough money
to build the actual emergency fund outside the Roth, you can then move
that money into the appropriate place. Probably not one fun August. Um, probably not that, but let's
talk about the rest of his question. Does it make sense to do one or the
other Roth 401k versus Roth IRA? No, I don't think it matters. He was the, the other thing that he
mentioned was taking some time to save for a down payment on a house. And if that's a priority, I mean,
obviously the extra retirement savings would go to the back of the line. If you're trying to make sure
you've got enough cash set aside for, for a down payment. So, you know, focus on that as well. But if that's done or that's on track and
you still have money leftover, uh, it's really kind of tomato tomato, because the
only place where you're going to get into.

Which one is better is once you
get one of those things filled up. So let's say that, you know, fast forward
a few years, and now you're making more money and you know, you can save more. And now you're at 19 five and
your workplace plan, you go in now, I still have 6,000. What do I do with it? Well, now you can go back to the Roth,
you know, so you, so you can, I mean, if, if your income allows it both
from a tax standpoint and also from a cashflow standpoint, you what $25,000.

Into tax-free buckets every year,
not including an HSA, which would be like another 3,500 or 7,000,
depending if you're single or married. So, I mean, there's a lot of places to
stuff money tax-free before you need to worry about like, and then what do I do? Yeah. Uh, great question August. Thank you for that question. And if you've got a question for us, Love
the Roth IRA question, head to stacking benjamins.com forward slash voicemail. And that, that will lead you
to this amazing page where he just click one button. And if your device has a microphone
like your phone, does you just leave your message there? And, uh, Oh, G and I, and
the team will answer it. Stacking benjamins.com
forward slash voicemail. All right, that's going
to do it for today. I can smell the chili cooking. Um, so can you smell what
the chili is cooking? Oh, that's the rock.

Forget it. Uh, mom's upstairs making that. This is when you really pretend that
Doug is 99% invisible, but he'll make sure that he's visible here. All right, that's going
to do it for today. Doug. You got it from here, man. What should we have learned today? So what should we have learned today? First, take a lesson from our headlines. Money is nice, but riding your bike
in the appropriate place and having the right insurances in place. Are also helpful. Second, take a lesson from
Roman Mars, those little things around you and your community. Always read the plaque and you'll have a
better appreciation for your community. And there's absolutely no charge to enjoy
the little things, but the big takeaway. Turns out Florence, Italy isn't
anywhere near the Rocky mountains. My bad. I do. I remember Florence though. St. Paul's cathedral and
the Westminster Abbey. So beautiful. special. Thanks to Roman Mars for joining
Joe today, you can check out Romans podcast, 99% invisible.

We will also have a link to his book,
the 99% invisible city, a field guide to the hidden world of everyday design on
our show notesPage@stackingbenjamins.com. This show is created by Joe salsi high
produced by Taylor Stevens and engineered by the amazing Steve Stewart online. Visit us on Twitter at S Benjamin's
cast or on our Facebook page. I'm Joe's mom's neighbor, Doug, and
I'm a lot deeper than you realize. In fact, sometimes I just stand
in front of my mirror and reflect. SB podcast may receive payment on
the show from sponsors and guests in the form of books, giveaway items,
discounts, or other remunerations. That's a big word, but there's no way
you take advice from these dorks, but like Joe's mom always says, don't take
advice from people you don't know.

This show is for
entertainment purposes only. And before making any financial decisions,
consult with a real financial visor and thanks to everyone who joined us
last night on YouTube for the stack. We had a great time. You showed me this clip for this, uh,
for this new movie coming out next week. So excited. I mean, when was the last time
you went and saw a really good movie that, well, in one that's
probably up for an Academy award. Well, I mean, you know, you might not have
to go that far, but it's new and it has explosions just here is a movie called
what's this movie called OJI fat man.

Starring my hero and yours. Mel Gibson. Oh God, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Maybe it's time. I retired. You still have some
kids with a deer rifle. Put two holes in the slave. One on me. Oh, I have clothing for
a world is forgotten. Noted States military would
like to procure your services. This is a one-time deal. Gentlemen, are you Mike? And Nicole and the kids are,
well, I hope where are y'all? I'm lucky to kill Santa Claus. And the only thing you can't see
there, everybody heard everything. I think that was important
there, except for the fact that this kid gets this present. He's all excited. And there's a piece of coal
in his, uh, in his present. And then he's got to go kill
Santa Claus because that's what you do when you get caught. Well, he apparently hired
somebody to kill Santa. I have no idea anything about
this story, but it looks awesome. Whoever's mind thought this up. Like what if we put a
hit out on Santa Claus? So good.

Might as well. I mean, everything else going on, I just
got to go into that room for a while. I'm going to see it. The first day comes out. How about you? You're going to be seeing it front row. Well, now you'll get that
middle seat in the theater. Well, it only comes out on Netflix. So at home I will be in the
middle seat of my couch.

Like kids move over his daddy's movie..

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