Monday, July 24, 2017

Pheaturing Joe Jackson

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you doing? Let's start with a story about a newspaper taking sides in the hot dog sandwich debate. No, a hot dog is not a sandwich. Okay, it technically has two slices of bread with a meat in the middle. But the placement of the meat, as we all know, matters. But now, a newspaper is here with an official style guide correction to drop a mic on this whole debate. According to Refinery29 , the Louisville, Kentucky "Courier-Journal" has issued a correction for all the times it referred to a hot dog as a sandwich. The corrections date all the way back to 1887. Who knew hot dogs even existed back then? That's over a hundred years of evidence for the "hot dog as sandwich" team, all disbanded in one fell swoop. "Among those errors were references to a frankfurter sausage sandwich, frankfurter sandwich, Coney Island sandwich, frankfurter sandwich with mustard, and, the most egregious, a frankfurter sandwich with catchup," says the correction. "We deeply regret the errors, especially that last one." The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council agrees with the "Courier-Journal;" the organization which recently declared that hot dogs are not sandwiches. Their statement came out inconclusively against the notion, writing "Limiting the hot dog's significance by saying it's 'just a sandwich' is like calling the Dalai Lama 'just a guy.'" Meanwhile, the head of marketing for Oscar Mayer is Team Sandwich. "The dictionary defines a hot dog as a sandwich consisting of a frankfurter in a split roll," said Gregory Guidotti. "I was an English major as an undergrad, so I’m taking the contrarian view that it is a sandwich, because it really aggravates people in the office here." I'll just leave this here.

Craigslist isn't just home to murderers and people trying to get rid of their old mattresses. A family just turned to the "Lost & Found" Toronto Craigslist board to help find their missing car. This is what the Internet was made for, people! According to Mashable, nineteen-year-old Gavin Strickland was in such a rush to get to a Metallica concert at Toronto's the Rogers Center that he forgot in which parking garage he left his car. After searching for a few hours, he gave up a took a Greyhound bus home. His parents took to Craigslist, asking for any information about the 2015 Blue / Green Nissan Versa Sedan. "[The ca] was parked within a $8 cab ride (about 2 miles) of the Rogers Center this past weekend," they wrote. "Our doofy son parked the car in an indoor parking garage... but that garage cannot now be located." They left as many clues as possible to help find the car, including a "strange spiral outdoor sculpture" and a "Bernie Sanders bumper sticker." The ad read, "It is near a Starbucks where there is some construction going on. Also nearby is allegedly a strange spiral outdoor sculpture, and possibly a bank- maybe RBC? The car has US Florida license plates, a small Canadian flag affixed to the door frame, and a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker. A lost / missing vehicle report has been filed with the Toronto police. Please respond with photos of the car and specific location instructions to claim the reward." As Mashable reports, it took an "amateur sleuth and escape room enthusiast" to find the missing car. Madison Riddolls, who went hunting for the car after she saw the Craigslist post, found it early Thursday morning. The good news is that the Stricklands are now reunited with their car. The better news is that we now all know where to look for free cars.
People will go to serious lengths to save money on a new phone. At least, that's what a woman who was just caught smuggling iPhones into China was hoping. According to "The Telegraph," a whopping 102 iPhones and 15 luxury watches were found strapped to the woman's body as she attempted to enter the Chinese city of Shenzhen from Hong Kong. Each device was wrapped in a plastic coating and then taped, swaddle-like to her body. Customs officers caught a whiff of scandal when they noticed the woman was wearing "more clothes than appropriate" in the hot Chinese summer. Clearly, over one hundred cell phones strapped to your body leaves a bit of a trace. As Complex notes, this isn't even the highest alleged number of cell phones smuggled at one time on record. As the site reports, there's a reason behind such a large-scale smuggling. For one, the taxes are cheaper on iPhones on Hong Kong, so it just makes economic sense if you're looking to get into illegally trading electronics. Plus, China has apparently worked hard to crack down on iPhone and iPad smuggling, which means those who do take on the dirty job are paid even more to get those Apple products through the airport. "The Telegraph" even cites a former Hong Kong-based iPhone smuggling ring, discovered in 2012, that was worth an estimated £60 million. Future smugglers may want to take heed of this cautionary tale... 102 iPhones is just too many to look normal when strapped to your body.
In his new book, Bloomberg journalist Joshua Green shows just how much Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon hates Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Called "Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency," the book quotes Bannon as having called Ryan a "limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation" (a conservative think tank), according to Yahoo News. Well, that's… certainly one way of describing Paul Ryan. The insult was made at the headquarters of Breitbart, the right-wing publication of which Bannon was formerly chairman. He called Ryan a "limp-dick motherfucker" when he found out that Republicans were thinking of trying to make Ryan the 2016 Republican presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention. Bannon threatened to get the young members of the alt-right (of which Bannon is a member) to unite their forces against the Republicans and Ol' Limp-Dick, allegedly saying, "Pepe's gonna stomp their ass." For those of you lucky enough not to be in the know, Pepe is the green cartoon frog mascot that has become the alt-right's unofficial mascot. Bannon reportedly used his position at Breitbart to spread dislike of Ryan, even going so far as hiring a writer (named Julia Hahn, who is now a special assistant to the President) to write negative articles about Ryan. Bannon also supposedly directed staff at Breitbart to "destroy" Ryan, stating that "Paul Ryan is the enemy." In an email obtained by The Hill from December 2015, it's revealed that Bannon planned to use Breitbart to make sure Ryan was "gone" by the spring. While Ryan chose not to make any disparaging remarks about Bannon, other Republicans apparently called Bannon an “Internet-era update of the Slim Pickens character in ‘Dr. Strangelove’ who rides the bomb like a rodeo bull, whooping’ and hollering’ all the way to nuclear annihilation." The White House did not return Yahoo News' request for comment.
Walmart has issued an apology for a racial slur in the description of a product for sale on its Marketplace. Twitter user @Travon shared the news of a Jagazi Natural's Full Cap Weaving Net for sale on the website, with a description of the net as "n-word brown." Except the site, shockingly, spelled out the full word.

Not only is the descriptor unacceptable, it turns out that the net was actually posted by a fake vendor. Jagazi Naturals owner Chizo Onuh told the "New York Daily News" that her products have been copied and resold by Amazon and Walmart third-party sellers before. As Travon pointed out, the same cap was available on Amazon "listed minus a certain word." Walmart swiftly moved on the situation with an apology to customers. Spokesperson Danit Marquardt commented, "We are very sorry and appalled that this third party seller listed their item with this description on our online marketplace. It is a clear violation of our policy, and has been removed, and we are investigating the seller to determine how this could have happened."Despite the apology, it's a surprise to Walmart customers that the product could have even appeared online without the brand's approval. But one person who wasn't surprised was Onuh herself. "Considering the fact that I'm a black woman from Nigeria, what really pains me is that I get these emails from other black people who are in pain because of that word," said Onuh. As one Twitter user wrote, "I would hope there are several people in Seattle right now trying to figure out why their filters aren't working. Walmart, do better.
Hey, do you kids like actor Channing Tatum? He has a new movie coming out... no, not Kingsman: The Golden Circle... this movie.

I bet it's good. At San Diego Comic Con they showed a trailer for the new Justice League trailer. It looks good, but I don't know what they did to Superman.

Do you guys like Starbucks? I went there yesterday and was surprised to see their new slogan.

Good job I wasn't rude. I have been telling you that Kelleyanne Conway held up two signs on TV a week ago or so. well, it looks like she held up two other signs.

I'm not sure what point she was making here. It's clever though. There's a new Trump movie coming out that was just announced at SDCC. Here's the poster for it...

Ever see those tip jars at a bar or restaurant? Sometimes they get really creative, like this one....

Hahaha. So, it's summer and all through summer I am showing you some bathing suits or bikinis you might see at the beach or by the pool. Except for yesterday... I totally forgot. Haha. Anyway, here's another one...

It's so hot you could fry an egg... at the beach? Agatha Ruiz de la Prada's introduced a bold new line of swimwear at Miami Fashion Week in June 2017. The Spanish designer is famously colorful with her creations, and she apparently has revived the fried egg design from her 2009 fall collection as the focal point of this red swimsuit. So, if you're going on a date or to work today or tomorrow, you might want some interesting facts to make you seem intelligent. So, once again, here is a pheature simply called...

Phact 1: In 2006, a woman filing for public assistance in the Washington state failed 4 DNA tests to prove maternity of her children. She was taken to court and risked losing custody. It was later discovered that she had absorbed her twin in the womb and her reproductive organs carried different DNA to the other parts of her body.
Phact 2: The company that owned the World Trade Center had scheduled a meeting for 9/11/2011 on the 88th floor of tower 1 to discuss what to do in the event of a terrorist attack, but rescheduled the night before because someone couldn't attend.
Phact 3: Erwin Rommel, a highly decorated German officer during World War 2, humanly treated captured soldiers, ignored orders to kill Jews, civilians and conspired to assassinate Hitler. After Rommel's death, soldiers on both sides paid respect to his grave and he is the only member of the Third Reich to have a museum dedicated to him.
Phact 4: The vibrator was invented for doctors who were getting carpel tunnel from using their fingers to give female patients orgasms in order to treat hysteria.
Phact 5: The Manchineel tree, native to Florida is considered the most poisonous tree in the world. It causes painful blisters if you stand under it during rain, blinds you if the smoke from its burned wood touches your eyes, can poison water with its leaves and will cause death if you eat its fruit.

Haha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know.

Are you lazy? I bet you are not as lazy as the person that came up with this...

I have no idea what that is actually. Hmmmm. Oh, so, by the way, under the pheature Lazy Git I posted this pic...

Well, I had a shit load of emails calling me a "lazy git" as apparently on the July 16th entry I posted the same pic under the Lazy Git banner. I didn't believe it, went back and looked and guess what... I did. I admit I wasn't being lazy... but I didn't pay attention, or have a short attention span. Hopefully I won't do that again. Good spotting, everybody. Moving on...

President Donald Trump sent out his standard 6:30 a.m. tweets this morning, limiting himself to two, but they're pretty classic Trump. Then at 8:50, he tweeted a third time, keeping everybody on their toes. First Trump suggested that "Drain the Swamp," his most famous slogan since "You're fired!", should be changed to "Drain the Sewer." That doesn't sound like a good branding move, but what do I know. Next Donnie tweeted about ol' "fake tears" Chuck Schumer, whom he has mocked for getting emotional when speaking about Trump's "Muslim" travel ban. Trump didn't cite his source for that Schumer statement about the Democrats and the election. However, it seems to refer to a piece on that ran on July 22nd in the "Washington Post," which quotes Schumer saying, "When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things... Comey, Russia... you blame yourself." In this third tweet, Trump once against asks why "Crooked Hillary" isn't being investigated for her alleged crimes and connections to Russia. Siiiiighh. BORING. AND JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT HE WAS DONE, he's got more to say!

Donald Trump is tweeting so much this morning. It's almost as if he's trying to distract the public from something really important…like maybe Jared Kushner's 11-page statement about the Russian meeting?

The 63rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Author, musician and Phile Alum Karling Abbeygate will be the guest on the Phile next Sunday.

Perspiration (or sweat) is nature's way of reminding you that spending summer anywhere other than in southern California is just stupid.

This os so exciting and cool... today's pheatured guest is an English musician and singer-songwriter. His latest album "Fast Forward" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile the fantastic... Joe Jackson!

Me: Hey, Joe, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Joe: Okay.

Me: Joe, I know you're English, but where exactly are you from?

Joe: Staffordshire.

Me: Okay. I have to say I love your recent album "Fast Forward."

Joe: Thanks. It is good, isn't it?

Me: Yeah, it is. The album was recorded in four different cities, right? Would you say that is important the way the album is organized?

Joe: It's more about the musicians than the places. To some extent it's about the places but I wrote the songs before I thought about where I was going to record them. Some of the songs are connected to the cities. "Kings of the City" is definitely a New York song and "If I Could See Your Face" is a Berlin story. I was thinking of New Orleans when I wrote "Neon Rain." These are all places that I know well. Kind of significance in my life. But mainly I did a lot of writing and was sitting on a huge pile of songs and wanted someway to organize them.

Me: I think it's hard to tell which song was recorded where though. Am I stupid?

Joe: No. When I recorded "Rain in Berlin" no one said when I listen to the album I can really hear the influence of Berlin. And I had to laugh because most of it was written before I went there.

Me: The title track that opens the album had a lot of piano... was it written like that?

Joe: Yeah, that's how it started with. Cycling through different keys and ending where it started and starting again. That's giving me lots of thoughts about going through time and how things change and how they're the same. You know, there's a lot going on in that song. It keeps going and going.

Me: Is that song about the future, Joe? What is the influence? Do you think the world is getting scarier and dumber?

Joe: Yeah, I think it is, somewhat. But I think the more you try to understand what's going on right now the more lost you get cause there's no time to understand than now. The idea of "Fast Forward" is if you had a time machine and hitting the fast forward button going far enough in the future and looking back at the present trying to make some kind of sense of it. When I started to work on the lyrics I was trying to make sense of what is going on now. More and more the idea came to me that is not possible.

Me: There's so many instruments on the song, and the album. Do you have a clear idea on what instruments are gonna be played on a song?

Joe: Pretty much, yeah.

Me: Do you have any rules in writing a song, Joe? Your music on every album is so freaking different.

Joe: The only rule I have is not to have any clich├ęs. I like to avoid things that have been done already

Me: I like to ask songwriters what comes first, lyrics or music, Joe. So, what comes first?

Joe: I basically just write everything in my head and to some extent with a pencil and paper and piano.

Me: Do you always use a piano when you're writing?

Joe: Yeah, it's normally a piano or nothing.

Me: Is there a song you wrote pretty quickly on the album, Joe?

Joe: I guess "Satellite." I think that song started with a basic riff and some chord changes and grew very quickly out of one sitting, where something like "Fast Forward" was writing lyrics, crossing them out, starting over again...

Me: Do you mostly trust your own judgment when you are writing a song? Do you often try and get feedback from other people you're playing with?

Joe: No, I don't like presenting to people things that are half finished. I like to get it as far as I can to get to to something I really love and then I am interested in what other people think of it. Like how they react to different songs and how they interpret it. I'm bit of a solitary mad professor, working in a lab, almost like bringing life to dead body parts... putting them together.

Me: Haha. When did you first start to write songs, Joe? Is that when you were learning the piano? 

Joe: No, I don't think it was. It was more the other way around actually. I learnt the piano because I thought it would help me write.

Me: Was the piano your first instrument?

Joe: No, I started off on the violin. That's like a torture device from hell. I gravitated towards the piano because I thought it was easier and second because I was about thirteen I was already interested about the idea of writing music so the piano was a tool to help me.

Me: Did you go to school to study music?

Joe: Yeah, the Royal Academy of Music.

Me: Wow. Did you think of going in a more classical direction then or did you still have an idea you wanted to be a songwriter?

Joe: By the time I went to the RAM I was definitely interested in songwriting. Before that in my teenage years I think I was probably more going the classical direction.

Me: What were your influences?

Joe: To be honest, all kinds of music. I was very interested in jazz for instance as a teenager and that made me more like a misfit then being interested in classical music really.

Me: Your fantastic album "Look Sharp" is neither jazz or classical. What were you thinking about when you wrote those songs?

Joe: I decided to make a whole album by myself. And I financed it by doing a lot of cabaret work playing piano for people, and I had an eight track and a lot of bravado. I decided I was gonna make this whole album by myself and make it as good as anyone anywhere can possibly do. And if no record company wanted to put it out I'd put it out myself. I was lucky enough it got heard and led to another.

Me: It's funny you said you use the piano to write music but that first album there's hardly any piano on it.

Joe: No, the first three albums have very little piano. I was interested in making music with the absolute bare essentials which was guitar, bass and drums. The bass was more of the lead instrument than the guitar. It was very much the things of the time. It was 1978 when I recorded the album and I was 23 and very influenced on what was going on around me. It was just a time to strip everything down to the bare minimum and I kinda thought well, the piano doesn't really belong that much in here. I just did a little bit here and there. But when I made the "Night and Day" album I thought alright, it's time to put the guitar aside and really bring the keyboards out now.

Me: I have to mention the song "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" Is that based on something that happened?

Joe: No. The title comes from an old record that I heard somewhere from another song from the 50s or something. It wasn't the title, but I thought it could be the title.

Me: I love that song... it's so fucking catchy. The bass was the lead instrument in that song which is unique. Who was your bass player, and did he write the bass parts or did you write them for him?

Joe: Graham Maby. I pretty much wrote those parts. I was kinda the benign dictator in my own little Banana Republic. But it was sort of a democracy... if I like the way someone plays I give them a bit more freedom. If they come up with something different with what I had in mind and I liked it then I'd keep it. But generally speaking I am the arranger as well as the composer.

Me: A lot of those songs you wrote could be written today and hold up, like "Sunday Papers" and "Cancer." They could be written last week with what they say about the media and shit. Am I right? 

Joe: Oh, yeah.

Me: With your lyrics are they autobiographical or metaphors?

Joe: I'm not sure, I never thought it so systematically but I think very little what I've written in the lyrics is biographical or confessional. I don't particularly like that. John Lennon once said why should't I write songs about myself, my relationship with my wife and stuff like that. How much I admire John Lennon in theory of course do whatever you want but something like that makes me a bit uncomfortable. I feel like I'm peeping through the curtains or something. I don't really do that... but then again it's all written from my point of view.

Me: I always loved your sense of humor in those songs, Joe. Did anybody think you were angry though in some way?

Joe: Oh, totally, yeah. That was another thing about those early days. I met Joe Strummer once and he was telling me how he and Mick Jones were writing songs for The Clash, they were sometimes taking the piss, and when it was taken seriously by journalists and music writers they were discussed as being earnestly being political they found it hilarious. I can totally relate to that.

Me: Why do you think that is?

Joe: Part of it is the critics, the mentality of the average critic. I don't mean to sound like I'm making an unfair generalization but critics are not normally known for their sense of humor. The element of the humor is important. I don't like to be ernest and pompous... my stuff is full of humor.

Me: Do you write every day, Joe? Do you give yourself deadlines?

Joe: No, I seem to work in kind of bursts where all or nothing for a long time then I start working on something and get on a roll. I can work to a deadly or some extent like some of the film scores I've done. And I was not bad at it actually. But the gray thing about that is you're not writing lyrics and that is always the hardest part for me.

Me: I am so glad you mentioned you done film scores, Joe. You have done scores for Mike's Murder and Tucker. Did you pretty good experiences writing for films?

Joe: No. I had one great experience which was working with Francis Ford Coppola on Tucker. It's not every day you get to work with someone like him. It's pretty much downhill from there. I haven't done a film score for a long time. The last one I worked on I actually quit after awhile.

Me: Why's that?

Joe: Because I couldn't stand consistently everything being nick picked by a sort of committee of people. This is Hollywood, you know, and you got to be a special kind of person to be a film composer. And I get really dedicated to it, but of you don't play to them... I don't live in Los Angeles and I had all these strikes against me... that's why I haven't done a film score in awhile.

Me: I know you must be sick of people like me asking about your older catalogue but one of my favorite songs of yours is "It's Different For Girls." What is? What's the inspiration behind that song? 

Joe: I don't know. I had this idea for a song of the age old theme of the battle of the sexes or whatever. The couple not really understanding each other. I tried to write it in a way that the girl is coming out with all types of stereotypical things the guy should be saying and vice versa. That's the idea of it. I think I pulled it off up to a point.

Me: Do you have notebooks or ideas or half finished songs, Joe?

Joe: Yeah. I always have half finished things laying around. It seems to happen more over time, as well. A lot of those early songs I kind of worked it out as best as I could and record it and release it. Nowdays I tend to get more fussy I get and more critical. If it's to much like what's been done already or it's weak in someway I'd scrap the whole lyrics of the song and start again. I mentioned working with Coppola earlier, we'll there's a song on "Fast Forward" called "Kings of the City" and it's basically about people who moved to the big city from the sticks and it's a bittersweet song because they found something and they lost something. And with that idea I was having a conversation with Coppola years ago and for some reason we were talking about light pollution and in the big city there's sometimes so much pollution you can't see the stars. And I said it's kind of ironic people move to the big city for the bright lights but you can;t see the stars anymore. And he said, "That's a great idea for a song you should write that." It took me twenty years to write that damn song. Hahaha. I don't know why but it's finally happened. It came together and I don't really know why. Some kind of subconscious thing connected and it came out and is one of my favorite songs on the album.

Me: Okay, I have to ask about "Steppin' Out." How did that song come about?

Joe: You know what, I honestly don't remember. It's a song people like to hear. I just watched recently this documentary about the Muscle Shoals Studio... have you seen it?

Me: I think I did...

Joe: It was interesting but there was a lot of bullshit in it. People taking about the magical spirit how the river rises through the mud... it goes through the wires to the instruments or something. In a matter if fact musical magic is created by human beings. Learning their craft, trial and error, practicing, communicating with each other. A lot of it is boring to talk about. It's not boring to do, it's great fun to do, but it's boring to talk about. People are always looking for something that makes it seem glamorous or something, but a lot of the times that is not what it is. You're just working at something to try and make it work. And beyond that, there's some other magic that you can't explain. That's the problem. On one hand you are going through the practical steps you got to go through as a craftsman and on the other band you're going through something that's intangible. Where does it come from? Where do the ideas come from? I don't know. There's this huge area of mystery and magic to it and people are always looking for it.

Me: So, you can't tell me the exact moment you added those bell sounds then. Hahaha.

Joe: Hahahaha. No, but I think it has something to do with conjuring up some sort of glamour of New York night life and I knew it wasn't all glamour.

Me: When did you spent a lot of time in New York?

Joe: In 1982... it was still a pretty rough place compared to the way it is now. I decided to write a song about the glamorous side of it and the city lights and I tried to come up with things that would capture that and that series of chords that you hear on the piano and glockenspiel.

Me: Do you find you're prolific? Do you write a bunch of songs and pick the best ones out of that batch?

Joe: I've never been very prolific. I was more prolific early on but I put out more stuff at the same time. I've become less prolific over time but more so. I've never been the kind of guy who says, okay, it's time to make an album and have to somehow pick twelve songs out of seventy-five. I can't really imagine that dilemma. "Fast Forward" came close to that as I ever do. I really allowed myself to take my time and do a lot of writing. And I did actually throw out five or six songs that were not up to the standard of the others. But that's fairly unusual for me actually.

Me: Do you ever suffer from writers block on occasion?

Joe: Once or twice, yeah.

Me: Do you have any advice for writers or anything for moving through less productive periods?

Joe: I would tell you it's something very easy to say but it's hard to do and that is just don't worry about it. The more you obsess about it and worry about it the worse it gets. Do something else like being alive. There's more to life than music.

Me: Okay, there's just a few more songs I wanna mention if you don't mind. "Be My Number Two" is a ballad I love. How did that song come about?

Joe: I think that song started with the piano melody. It was one of those songs hanging about for quite awhile before I came up with the lyrics for it.

Me: It's an interesting sentiment, settling for second best really. Am I right?

Joe: How can I put it? It's bittersweet I think. A lot of my lyrics really are bittersweet because that's how I think life is. Just the other day I did two interviews back to back and the first one the guy said, "Well, this album I really like it but it strikes me as being really melancholy" talking about "Fast Forward" and I said, "Oh, really? I didn't really think so." And then immediately after I spoke to this guy after who said, "This album is so positive, so fun." In a way their both right, it's just a shame they can't see it as both.

Me: I love in "Be My Number Two" the outro, the joyous moment with the big sax break.

Joe: Oh. I don't like that anymore actually.

Me: What?! You don't? 

Joe: No, no. If I do that song now I just do the soft part and leave it at that. I shouldn't say that, should I? I destroyed someone's enjoyment of the way they hear it.

Me: Yeah, Jackson, you ruined it. Hahaha.

Joe: Oh, God. You know what? I could be wrong too. It's just my opinion.

Me: One of my favorite songs of yours is "Hit Single" from "Laughter and Lust." My favorite line is "And say please not the whole damn album, nobody has that much time." You must of been happy about that one.

Joe: I think I was at the time, but if I was gonna be critical, I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, Jason, but it's a joke song, that I think doesn't hold up overtime as something as a bit less obvious. It's a very obvious tongue and cheek jokey song. It's okay.

Me: I still like the whole idea of the person who's looking out for number one and kinda personifies the hit single. I like that. Wouldn't it be great of that song went to the stop of the charts?

Joe: Wouldn't it be great if it was a hit single? Hahaha.

Me: Yeah, well, Joe, I know you're busy and I took so much of your time. Thanks for a great interview and you are great in concert. Thanks for coming on to the Phile, and I hope you will come back again soon. Mention your website of you want.

Joe: Thanks. Cheers.

That was so great. That about does to for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Joe for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Phile Alum Karling Abbeygate. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pheaturing PRIME

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? Let's start off this nice Sunday with a story about a local magazine featuring a man holding the most phallic-looking shoe I've ever seen. A Phile reader recently directed my attention towards the cover of a magazine cover on which a man is holding up a kid's shoe. Only, it really, really doesn't look like a shoe. In fact, it looks quite a bit more like… something else. Do you see what we're getting at here?

Calm down, it's a shoe. The magazine is called "Ladue News" (Ladue is a wealthy suburb of St. Louis, Missouri), and it comes out twice a month. According to the reader, the man in the picture is Bill Busch, a local celebrity and one of the heirs to the Anheuser-Busch fortune. Busch's charity, which the magazine was promoting, is called Old Newsboys, and it helps raise money for local kids' charities. Which explains why he's surrounded by kids in the photo. Luckily those kids will not scarred because, again, that's a shoe Busch is holding, not his penis. Just a kid's shoe, nothing to see here, move along.
Sean Spicer has officially exited the Trump Administration, much to the excitement of the White House gardeners. So what does the former Press Secretary of a president who's redefining media have to say about his job? Not much, it turns out. Spicer gave his first post-resignation interview to Fox's Sean Hannity on Friday night, and he pretty much used the platform to complain about Melissa McCarthy's portrayal of him on "SNL." In an interview that aired Friday night on "Hannity," Spicer admitted, "I'm a prankster, I like a good joke. I think when it's funny, it's funny," but added, "Sometimes it goes from funny to mean." As noted by "The Hollywood Reporter," Spicer doesn't seem to have a sense of humor about McCarthy's beloved screaming, spitting, water-gun toting caricature. "I think that there were parts of it that were funny, but there's a lot of it that was over the line," Spicer told Hannity. "It wasn't funny. It was stupid, or silly, or malicious." Here's where you're wrong, buddy, it was definitely funny. Spicer then tried to wheel back his statements, "But there were some skits on late-night television that I did crack up at. You have to have a little bit of a thick skin if you're going to do this."
I'm all for spending money on frivolous beauty products, but not when it comes at the expense of a new insecurity for women. A Scandinavian company named The Perfect V has created an entire range of products to fluff and buff the female body part it only describes as "the V." The worst offender? A Very V Luminizer, intended to "highlight, soften, and illuminate" your genitals. "Luminious iridescent color to add some extra prettiness to the V," according to the brand. You may never have looked down before and thought, "I wish I had some iridescent color down here," and this $42 pseudo-moisturizer wants to change that. Of course, if you do prefer a little artificial vaginal glow, please go forth and illuminate. But it's the assumption that all vagina owners need some sort of genital highlighter that's, sorry to use this term, problematic. Women are already taught to line their lips and tuck their tummies. Let's not make them self conscious about their vaginas as well. The products' tagline is "Nordic Purity," which conjures up an image of a thin, white, blonde woman, who's apparently also a virgin with a glowing vagina. As Ellen Scott writes in Metro, "Your vagina does not need to be tighter than a fiercely clenched fist and as pink as a ballet slipper. Your labia do not need to be minimal, with a smooth skin tone that’s been perfectly highlighted and contoured." Aside from the disturbing gender politics at play here, it's also important to check with your doctor before applying random creams you ordered online to a potentially life-giving organ. The few listed ingredients here include elderflower and Vitamin E and 50 mL of a proprietary concoction simply known as "Shades of V™ Luminizer." Other product options include a serum, beauty mist, beauty sheets, and a "gentle exfoliator." If you want to create an entire skin care routine for your vagina... go for it. But please, don't make your woman buy it.
O.J. Simpson will be a free man. On Thursday afternoon, O.J. Simpson stood before a Nevada parole board after nearly nine years in state prison. The 70-year-old was not, obviously, requesting parole for his role in the killings of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson... although the Internet has often used it as a referendum on that crime. Rather, the charges stemmed from a 2008 "kidnapping and robbery" in a Las Vegas hotel, according to the "New York Times." This was his first opportunity to leave prison, nine years after his conviction and sentencing to "nine to 33 years in prison." A unanimous verdict was required by the four-member parole panel at the hearing to release O.J. from prison. If they could not decide, then two other commissioners would weigh in... and a decision would be made on a simple majority. A three-to-three split would have resulted in a new hearing in six months, according to CNN. The parole board ended up voting 4-0 after deliberating for less than an hour. The verdict did not come as a surprise, as O.J. Simpson has been considered a "model prisoner" over nearly the last decade. Nonetheless, it was difficult for Americans... and the world... to watch Simpson's parole without making a connection to his famous double murder trial in 1994. During the parole hearing on Thursday, Simpson said, "I've basically spent a conflict-free life." The commenters on the ABC News live stream were extremely unimpressed by Simpson's performance during his hearing, citing his inability to take responsibility for the crimes that resulted in his nine- to 33-year sentence, and his rambling, "relitigating" defense. The hearing began awkwardly as well, with the chairman accidentally referring to the 70-year-old Simpson as a 90-year-old. "I feel like it," he said. The earliest Simpson will be released from prison is on October 1st.
It's starting to seem like airlines don't even want passengers. Just two months after JetBlue kicked a Brooklyn family off a flight because of a birthday cake (yes, a birthday cake), another Brooklyn family says they were kicked off a flight because their child kicked the seat in front of her (an annoying thing children often do). And JetBlue is defending its crew members' decision to kick the family of five off the flight after an "unfortunate incident" on July 2nd, "People" reports. Here's the family's story, according to a press release sent to "People" by the couple’s lawyer David Templer,  "Tamir Raanan and Mandy Ifrah were returning to New York from Fort Lauderdale with their three kids when their 1-year-old daughter Eden became 'agitated' and kicked the seat in front of her. Ifrah apologized to the woman whose seat her daughter kicked, and 'exchanged a few words' with her, before moving to an empty seat in another part of the plane," the statement claims. The family says that a flight attendant then asked the pilot to return to the gate and they were then asked to disembark the plane. The family filmed the incident, and shared it on YouTube in two parts. In part one, you can see them refusing to leave the plane when asked by a flight attendant, and demanding an explanation (which it appears they never got). In the second clip, Raanan and Ifrah are seen in a heated argument with airline staff and police officers at the gate, and they continue to demand an explanation for being kicked off the flight. At one point in the first video, Ifrah asks why the other woman on the plane wasn't removed, saying repeatedly, "The lady said 'Tie your daughter’s feet!'" Templer told "People" that being kicked off the flight "caused huge problems for the family." He added, "it could have been resolved with an apology and payment of defenses, but we were not successful in getting JetBlue to offer us an explanation." JetBlue, of course, offers a different account of what went down. In a statement released to "People," the airline says that the verbal altercation between the two passengers "included physical threats and profanities against a nearby customer." The statement from JetBlue continues, "The aircraft door was reopened and our airports team politely asked the customers to step off to discuss the situation. The customers refused repeated requests and our crewmembers deplaned the entire aircraft. Law enforcement escorted them out of the gate area and we provided a refund. The customers were not removed due to the actions of their children. We are investigating whether the customers’ behavior warrants restrictions on JetBlue travel and we thank our crew members for their professional handling of this unfortunate incident." According to the statement from the couple's lawyer, JetBlue told them they would be booked on a flight the next day, but they would need to find overnight accommodations. The statement also alleges that the airline "did not remove their luggage from the plane leaving them without clothes and baby supplies" and also that the family was banned from all future flights. Hard to know exactly what went down on the plane with that other passenger, and if the airline actually had any justification in removing these passengers. But regardless, kicking people off a plane with no explanation, especially when they're traveling with kids, is not a good look, JetBlue. And given this and other airlines' truly terrible track records, I'm inclined to side with the passengers. Most of the time.
Hey, it's Sunday... instead of doing this blog thing I should be listening to this CD...

I should see if Greg Kendrick is available for an interview. San Diego Comic Con is going on and they released a trailer for the next avengers movie and I have an exclusive screen shot of it.

It looks so exciting. Haha. Ever go to Goodwill? I've been there just once but if I realized I could get something like this there then I might go back...

Hmmm. Is that two women on the box? So, if you are thinking about, or are cheating on your loved one you might wanna reconsider after seeing this...

Linnie, you're an asshole. Last week I told you about about Kellyanne Conway holding up two signs on TV... well, she held up two other signs recently as well.

Okay, I sure will, Kellyanne. Ever run into a celebrity and realize what you are wearing is very appropriate? This guy did...

You know how some places have tip jars? Well, some people get vey creative with them...

Alright, so, I'm haven some car problems but not as much as this guy had...

"Go work at the Rady Children's store, they said. Get in on the ground floor, they said." Hahaha. Poor guy. I don't know about you, but I like to obey the rules all the time. Some people though just take it a little bit too far.

Haha. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Reasons To Phree O.J. Simpson
5. He'll finally be able to resume his tireless search for the "real killers."
4. With all the nonstop depressing Trump news, America needs a feel-good story.
3. He'd be rating gold on "Dancing with the Stars."
2. Everyone agrees that he's been a model citizen, as repugnant, lying murderers go.
And the number one reason to free O.J. Simpson is...
1. This might be out last chance to get that long-awaited Nordberg movie.

Haha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. It's a pretty easy one. Okay, so, if you are going on a date, or back to work tomorrow and you want to show off and seem intelligent, here is a brand new pheature that might help you.

Phact 1: Salma Hayek as a young teen went to a church that was known for performing miracles, and wished for breasts.
Phact 2: Violin strains have been made from 5000 strands of spider silk. They produce "a soft and profound timbre" when played.
Phact 3: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett went to China to encourage their billionaires about the benefits of Philanthropy (giving to their community), they were mainly ignored because Philanthropy (outside of supporting family) is not part of Chinese culture.
Phact 4: Winston Churchill had a plan called Operation Unthinkable to invade the Soviet Union in a surprise attack immediately after the end of World War 2. His plan was finally shot down when it was learned that the Soviet troops remaining outnumbered allied troops 3 to 1.
Phact 5: Hitler's plan for Moscow was capturing it during World War 2 was to kill all its residents and replace it with a lake.

Are you lazy? Well, I bet you're not as lazy as this person...

He must've just read the Phile. Haha.

President Donald Trump's handshakes with world leaders have become an international spectator sport, as people around the world marvel at how a grown man turns a traditional greeting into a game of macho dominance. While Trump is known to yank at peoples' arms with such force to show off just how masculine and strong he is, it turns out that what the president aspires to is something way more tender. In an absolutely bonkers interview with the "New York Times" where he said that he wouldn't have chosen Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as Attorney General if he knew that he would recuse himself on Russia matters and threatening Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller, Trump made a point to highlight his "bromance" with French President Emmanuel Macron. Here, in the sacred "Times" (Haberman is Maggie Haberman, one of the reporters), Trump: He’s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand. Haberman: I’ve noticed. Trump: People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes. I mean, really. He’s a very good person. And a tough guy, but look, he has to be. I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand. Why is Trump obsessed with Macron being supposedly obsessed with his hand? He mentioned this not once, not twice, but thrice. Hmm... is a hand actually a hand? Maybe Macron loves holding Trump's hand because they're so tiny—like dedicated little birds.Anyway, this weird subplot is a welcome addition to an interview that full-out attacks the justice department and threatens the Russia investigation.

The 63rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Author, singer and Phile Alum Karling Abbeygate will be the guest on the Phile next Sunday, a week from today.

Birth Control Pill
The birth control pill (or colloquially, the pill) is an oral contraceptive that allows women to worry solely about getting STDs.

Today's pheatured guest is a talented singer and songwriter whose new single "Poison" is available on  iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... PRIME.

Me: Hey, there, welcome to the Phile. How are you doing?

PRIME: I’m doing very well. Thanks for having me on the Phile!

Me: Of course.  Q: Okay, so, I have to ask you about your name... PRIME. Where did the name originate from?

PRIME: The name references the period of time in every person’s life where they are at their best. I’d like people to think about the word, feel the word, and be inspired by it.

Me: You have a wide range of descent... Filipino, Chinese, Spanish and Indian... is that Indian like Native American or Indian like you're from India?

PRIME: From India. You'd be surprised. The Philippines are SO ethnically diverse. We've been colonized by the Spaniards and the Chinese, amongst others.

Me: Have you visited any of those places, PRIME?

PRIME: Unfortunately no, but I would love to as soon as my budget permits me. LOL.

Me: You were raised in New York City... were you born there?

PRIME: I was born in the Philippines then immigrated to New York City when I was 8-years-old.

Me: You started singing when you were 3-years-old, right? What songs were you singing back then?

PRIME: “The sun will come out tomorrow… bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow… there’ll be sun…” "Annie" was one of my favorite childhood musicals. I was a huge fan of early Disney movies. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was on heavy rotation. Til this day, I remember all the songs and lyrics.

Me: "Annie" is one of my favorites. How old were you when you knew you wanted to make a career being a singer?

PRIME: My dad’s family was in the music business. So, since I was very young, it felt natural to pursue a music career. My schools’ productions always included me in shows, and at times, my teachers would ask me to sing in front of the class to kill time. I happily obliged of course.

Me: And you were 7 when you started playing the piano? Do you still play, PRIME?

PRIME: Yes, I still do play, but I am by no means an expert at the piano. I'm not as good as I'd wish to be.

Me: When you are writing your songs, did you write on piano?

PRIME: No, the melody comes to me first. And it sometimes comes at the most unexpected times... in the middle of a conversation, while working out, or reading the news. So whatever the occasion, I excuse myself and record it on my phone as soon as I can. My ADHD is actually an asset!

Me: How long have you been songwriting?

PRIME: I've been songwriting for about 7 years now.

Me: Is that something you do often or do you write when you kinda have to?

PRIME: I write when I'm inspired. But inspiration can come from any emotion. When I'm down, I write. When I'm in love, I write. But when I'm feeling lazy, hell no!

Me: You went to LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts... is that by the airport? Was that a good experience for you?

PRIME: Haha! It's actually located in Manhattan. I can see why you'd confuse it with the airport. Funny story, I told a friend of mine to pick me up in front of La Guardia High School. I waited for hours. He went to the airport instead! And yes, it was a very good experience. I've met the best people in that school, and I'm still good friends with them to this day.

Me: You look so young... when did you graduate from the school?

PRIME: Now now, you should never ask a lady anything that could give away her age…

Me: Okay, good point. Did you do any acting at the school?

PRIME: The only time I was involved in acting at the school was when I'd sneak in to watch the acting majors run around like monkeys in the room. It looked hella fun. I wanted to join in badly.

Me: You definitely have an eye for fashion and go for different looks. Is that something you have fun coming up with?

PRIME: Yes! I work with my close friend and photographer Kristina (KOLL). She and I met in LaGuardia High School, and we were both art majors. Not only does she take my photos, she also co-produces my music with me. We always create a story behind the persona of whatever look we're going for. Where is he from? What’s his story? What's his overall attitude at the moment? All that. Because of the back story, the shoots always turn out fun and effortless.

Me: What does your family think of your music and all your looks?

PRIME: My family is very supportive of my music. When it comes to my looks, my family had always been used to me dressing up. So anything I do at this point doesn't shock them. In nursery school, I'd refuse to go to school if I wasn't in costume... and this somewhat still applies now. Everyday is an opportunity to dress up and express my emotions.

Me: Your bio described you as "if Usher, Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury had a baby..." I take it those three guys are influences of yours. Who else did you listen to growing up?

PRIME: My dad’s a musician so he exposed me to a ton of artists. The Beatles, Nat King Cole, The Beach Boys, The Jacksons. A slew of artists from the 40s to the 80s (Madonna, Prince, Phil Collins). Because of my dad, I am able to listen to music with an open perspective.

Me: Some of your looks and your music I can hear and see a David Bowie influence... am I right?

PRIME: Yes, definitely. Stylistically... he inspires me. He’s ambiguous and I’d like to reflect that in my artistry... in fashion and also in my music. I gravitate towards a lot of music. I’d like to just create the music that I want to at the moment... whether it’s alternative, or rhythm and blues or dance.

Me: I like your single "Poison." That song I could tell is definitely about someone in particular... who is that, PRIME? Does he or she know there's a song about them?

PRIME: He knows who he is. He sleeps with me every night.

Me: Cool. What was the inspiration behind that song?

PRIME: It's about feeling vulnerable when falling in love. You don't entirely know what the other person is feeling. Do you take the risk and let your guard down completely.

Me: Did you do all the music for it or did you hire a band?

PRIME: For “Poison," I wrote the melody and worked with Natasha Knight Williams on the production.

Me: I can definitely picture that song being played at clubs through the summer... was it written with that in mind?

PRIME: I wouldn't say we had it in mind. The vocal melody alone insinuates a high-energy feel. So it felt natural to make the production sound “clubby."

Me: So, is "Poison" your first single? Are you coming out with any more music?

PRIME: “Poison” is my official first single. And yes, there's more music coming out! I've been in the studio these past few weeks just writing music. I'm very inspired at this moment.

Me: Have you been playing any live shows?

PRIME: I used to have a band and we played a lot of live shows. I still have very fond memories of it. As a solo act, my priorities right now are to write and create music. The shows will come later.

Me: So, in five years time what do you see yourself doing?

PRIME: I see myself performing. I see myself writing and collaborating with other artists. I see myself using my talents in every way I can. I see myself exploring the world and learning from different people.

Me: I wish you lots of luck, and I hope this was fun and I hope you'll come back on the Phile soon. Mention your website and take care. All the best.

PRIME: To view my work go to A big thank you to the Phile! I had a lot of fun with this interview.

Me: Great. Take care and continued success. Come back again soon.

That about does it doe this entry of the Phile. Thanks to PRIME for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer songwriter, the legendary Joe Jackson. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker