Sunday, February 17, 2019
Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? Doing good I hope. Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The good news is that there won't be a government shutdown, as the government has done the bare minimum and agreed on a budget to continue operating! The bad news is that because Congress' spending bill does not appropriate funds for his beloved "Game of Thrones" tribute wall on the Southern border, Trump is set to declare martial law and just do it anyway! That sounds like hyperbole, but no, it's just a description of what's going on. As a testament to just how much thought they put into declaring an emergency over "Sicario 2" fanfiction, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released the White House's official statement as a screenshot from the Notes App, an iPhone feature most commonly used when a celebrity has to apologize for being racist. Not only did Huckabae not release the news on official White House letterhead, the announcement has a random black dot on it. You know who would not be happy to see the president circumventing the democratically elected legislature to impose his will upon the country? Donald Trump (in 2014). Before examining the legality of the president declaring a national emergency he can't pass a law democratically and his fanboys love chanting so much, let's take a second to laugh at the absolute insanity of this whole thing being kicked off on the NOTES APP.
Who knew authoritarianism was so #basic?
So, yes, three days ago, President Trump declared a national emergency. Yesterday he brunched in Palm Beach without a care in the world, and the Internet has reactions in spades. Let's rewind. On Thursday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed via Notes that Trump would forge ahead with funding his border wall, Congress and its budget be damned. Though we're supposedly in the midst of a national crisis, Trump's been spotted in Palm Beach ordering omelettes and chillin' like the villain that he is. I can't blame him. He works hard and wants to relax with some brunch! Just kidding. He's fundamentally averse to work. He probably opposes it for religious reasons. Look at this fucking image, which would make an incredible lower back tattoo...
Let the communal dragging commence!
Separation of powers as enshrined in the Constitution be damned: President Trump went and declared a national emergency because there are brown people on the border with Mexico. You'd think that human pitchfork Ann Coulter would be impressed by Trump's egregious power grab in the same of erecting a massive "fuck you" monument to Mexico, but the pile of toothpicks is surprisingly skeptical. Coultergeist was pissed that Trump's emergency declaration came in tandem with his signing the budget that Congress did approve, which didn't include the billions he demanded for his fence. Ann Coulter slammed Trump's emergency declaration as a charade to appease "the stupidest people in his base" and now people are in the very uncomfortable position of agreeing with Ann Coulter. To Donald Trump, all words are fighting words, and the president must have seen Coulter's take on his morning toilet Twitter scroll. He decided to burn her from his podium at the Rose Garden, a place most famous for hosting the signing of a declaration of peace between Israel and Jordan. Asked if the conservative media circlejerk informed his decision... as it did with last month's shutdown... Trump riffed on his friends Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh before taking the opportunity to burn the witch known as Ann Coulter. That's right, he PULLED A MARIAH CAREY!!! You might be surprised to learn that Trump... wait for it... LIED! He does, in fact, know Ann Coulter! If you think that's how petty the Rose Garden presentation got, you should hear the president describe how the constitutionality of his actions will be challenged in the courts! Speaking of court, expect to hear a lot of lawsuits mentioning the fact that Trump admitted himself that this "national emergency" is hardly an emergency. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the comment, so you know it's important. Amazing how everything can be both so scary and so dumb.
A common refrain on this blog is how much Meghan Markle's dad frickin' sucks, and sure, it's better to cope with a shitty dad while sitting in a literal palace, but not even keys to a kingdom can spare you from daddy issues. Last Sunday, The Mail on Sunday published a handwritten letter that former calligrapher and current Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle sent her father, and the fact that we're reading it at all is so sad. Last August, a few months after her wedding to Prince Harry, the duchess wrote, "Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces... not simply because you have manufactured such unnecessary and unwarranted pain, but by making the choice to not tell the truth as you are puppeteered in this. Something I will never understand. If you love me, as you tell the press you do, please stop. Please allow us to live our lives in peace. Please stop lying, please stop creating so much pain, please stop exploiting my relationship with my husband. I realize you are so far down this rabbit hole that you feel (or may feel) there’s no way out, but if you take a moment to pause I think you’ll see that being able to live with a clear conscience is more valuable than any payment in the world." Mr. Markle leaking the letter didn't just betray what little trust in him she had left, but opened her up to scrutiny from the thirsty British press's handwriting experts. There's nothing the British tabloids love more than hating Meghan Markle, so congrats to Thomas Markle on making bank. And congratulations to Prince Charles for being the Royal Baby's favorite grandpa by default.
Ariana Grande fans truly know no chill. And now that it has officially become the year of Ariana Grande, they are very busy taking their fandom to the next level. So much so, that they are now boycotting one of her songs in an attempt to make one of her other songs go to number one on the charts. Say what now? Just to recap here, Ariana Grande recently broke the Internet when she debuted the iconic "thank u, next" music video. Like, literally YouTube froze momentarily because so many people were watching it. Needless to say, the refreshingly positive breakup anthem had everyone talking, and it quickly made its way to the top of the charts where it became the pop singer's first number one hit on Billboard Hot 100. Ari didn't stop there. She continued to grace us with more singles from her album, which eventually led to a second legendary music video release. This time the single attached to the video was an anthem to herself, her riches, and her bitches. "7 rings" also rose to the top of the charts, because as I covered, this is the year of Ariana Grande. Then, Ari finally dropped the entire album. And because she also knows no chill, she released yet another amazing music video with the song "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored." Was it an instant hit? Take a guess (hint: yes, duh). Okay, now we're all caught up. As we speak, "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored" is climbing its way up the charts. And Ari fans are determined for it to hit number one so she can break records by being an artist with three top hits at once. So they've decided that in order for it to get there, it has to surpass "7 rings," meaning they need to stop listening to "7 rings" and start listening to "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored." Ow, my head hurts. Ariana Grande fans literally live online, so they have taken to Twitter to get their message of boycotting "7 rings" out to the public. Ariana loves her fans, but even she seems to realize how crazy this shit is. If you need me, I'll be doing what any rational person would and listening to both "7 rings" and "breakup with your girlfriend, i'm bored" on repeat until the day I die.
So, it's Sunday, and some churches sure have the best signs...
Who's the moron? So, I was thinking of getting a new tattoo but some one had the same idea as I did...
Hmmm... hahahahahaha. So, if you're thinking about breaking up with your loved one you might wanna think twice after seeing this...
DANG! Wow. So, they told me that I could see some odd sights at Walmart. I didn't believe it until I saw this...
Yup. A few weeks ago was the State of the Union address and some Democrats sure had some shady looks. Like Senator Cory Booker for instance...
So, one of the best things about the Internet is you can see porn so free and easily. But if you're at church, work or home I don't want you to get in trouble, so I came up with a solution.
Man, I did such a good job covering up that breast, didn't I? Hahahahaha. Moving on... let's laugh, shall we?
A little girl was sitting on her grandfather’s lap as he read her a bedtime story. From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again. Finally she spoke up, “Grandpa, did God make you?” “Yes, sweetheart,” he answered. “God made me a long time ago.” “Oh,” she paused. “Grandpa, did God make me too?” “Yes, indeed, honey,” he said. “God made you just a little while ago.” Feeling their respective faces again, the little girl observed, “God’s getting better at it, isn’t he?”
Ha! This is easy. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, apparently myself and some of you have been using common expressions that were homophobic AF. A friend of the Phile wanted to come on and tell us about one we have been using. So, please welcome to the Phile once again...
Hello, people. The terms “Nellie,” “Nancy," and “Nancy’s Boy” were often used to describe being gay back in the day. It was usually directed at overly effeminate homosexual men. So when people use the term “Nervous Nellie” it’s actually a homophobic term referring to an ineffectual, timid, and worrisome gay person. It also assumes that gay people are weak or cowardly. In reality, to be an out and proud gay person takes courage, so the term is pretty meaningless.
So, today is the NASCAR Daytona 500 here in Florida. A friend of the Phile wanted to come on and talk about it. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is.
Good afternoon, phuckerz. Today is the Daytona 500 (always been kinda like the Super Bowl for my family). This is, in my opinion... the greatest stock car driver of all time... the King Richard Petty. There is a young man named Ryan Preese (in the 47 car) racing in the 500 today, who’s been racing with my oldest son Jim Jr. for years at Riverhead Raceway. We wish him (as well as the 71 car, sponsored by Riverhead Raceway) the best of luck and are very proud that Long Island drivers are being represented in what’s considered to be the crown jewel of stock car racing. #LongIslandStrong.
The 93rd book to be pheaturdd in the Phile's Book Club is...
Jan will be the guest on the Phile on Thursday. So, a friend of the Phile seems to have some bad luck. I wondered how he was doing this year so I thought I'd invite him back. Please welcome back to the Phile...
Me: Hey, Dindo, how are you, sir?
Dindo: Hello, my friend. I am okay... I think.
Me: You think? What have you been up to?
Dindo: Well, I was so excited for health insurance that I failed to properly read the paperwork before signing.
Me: What?! Dindo, always. Read. Paperwork! What the hell happened?
Dindo: I got a part-time job that miraculously offered health insurance. Unfortunately, the paperwork they gave me when I started only listed the insurance rates for full-time employees, something like $60 a paycheck. I didn't even realize there would be a difference for me until I got my first paycheck and it totaled about $20. I called HR in panic mode, certain that there must be some mistake only to be informed that for the number of hours I was working, health insurance was $400 per paycheck.
Me: Couldn't you cancel your enrollment?
Dindo: No, I couldn't cancel my enrollment unless I had a "qualifying life event."
Me: So, what did you take home?
Dindo: I took home $20 paychecks for four months until open enrollment when I could finally cancel. Luckily I had another job at the time so I wasn't out on the street, but it certainly taught me a lesson about carefully reading paperwork.
Me: I bet. Take care of yourself, Dindo. Be good.
Dindo: Thanks, Jason. You too.
Me: Dindo Nuffin, kids.
Phact 1. Downtown Seattle actually sits on top of the original city from the 1800s. It was rebuilt on top of 20-foot high walled tunnels following a great fire, in order to prevent floods from high tide and sewage. You can go underground to see the original city remnants.
Phact 2. Beneath the streets of L.A. is a complex network of pedestrian tunnels that stretch several blocks. They’ve been used for secret transportation of mobsters, murderers and more than a billion dollars in cash; designated as fallout shelters and homeless shelters and used as backdrops for movies.
Phact 3. The oldest subway tunnel in the world has had it's only entrance welded shut, and it contains a 100 plus year old steam engine.
Phact 4. Due to a compressed air leak, a worker in a subway tunnel under New York City’s East River was blown out of the tunnel, through the mud at the bottom of the river, up through the water, and 25 feet or so into the air. He received no serious injury.
Phact 5. In 1963, a man knocked down a wall of his home. Behind it, he discovered a mysterious room and soon discovered an intricate tunnel system with additional cave-like rooms. What he had discovered was the ancient Derinkuyu underground city in Turkey.
Today's pheatured guest is leas guitarist KIX, an American hard rock band that achieved popularity during the 1980s. Their latest album "Fuse 30 Reblown (Blow My Fuse 30th Anniversary Special Edition)" is available from iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Fuse 30 Reblown (Blow My Fuse 30th Anniversary Special Edition)." Please welcome to the Phile... Brian "Damage" Forsythe.
Me: Hey, Brian, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Me: Last year you guys rereleased the album "Blown My Fuse" and changed the name to "Reblown Fuse 30." What made you guys redo this album if it was redone?
Brian: Well, for one thing it was the 30th anniversary. Mark Schenker was the one, I wish Mark was doing this interview instead of me, Mark was the one that sort of jumped upon that and sort of pursued that whole thing. We had no idea where the masters were or anything and a lot of times when bands rerelease stuff it's just a remastered thing and this is actually a full remix.
Me: So, how did this project happen then?
Brian: It's interesting because we are still in contact, especially Mark... Mark hooked up with Beau Hill and he and Beau do deep sea diving and all that junk together, so Mark just sort of threw it out there to Beau to remixing it and Beau really liked the idea but we weren't sure how to go about getting the master tape and all that junk or who had them. So Mark went and checked into it and had Madalyne at Loud and Proud Records to help him out to. We ended up finding them they were available so we got a hold of them.
Me: So, once you go the masters what did you guys do then?
Brian: They were sent to Beau. There's a lot of other processes that happened in the meantime but to make a long story short Beau got them and just to see what happened he didn't listen to the actual record. He just took the master tapes and he just remixed it himself without being influenced by the original mix. So it was kind of interesting how it turned out. Then of course the other half of that little box set are the demos that we did before we went in to record the record. It's really cool. We did that in our own little studio in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania and it's interesting to see how the songs developed. Some of them almost sound exactly the same and some of them were completely rearranged quite differently and it's just a kind of a cool thing to look at.
Me: Were you aware of the demos, Brian?
Brian: Yeah, I was definitely aware of the demos. Back when Donnie was still involved because Donnie's the main songwriter he was relentless with these demos. I have boxes of tapes up in one of my closets of demos. Especially with the set that was released I have other demos that have different versions of demos. I might have four or five different versions of "Blow My Fuse," the song. And they're all slightly different.
Me: I got to listen to a few demos that were sent to me and on the song "Red Lite, Green Lite TNT," was that a drum machine or an actual drummer on the demo?
Brian: On the demo?
Brian: That's a good question. I'm trying to remember back now. It could've been a drum machine. I don't think Jimmy played real drums in our studio because it was a tiny little studio we had. He had sort of a drum pad with triggers. It might've been that.
Me: Okay, just wondering. My dad's demos he did for Foghat he used a drum machine. When the CD version of the original album came out were you guys unhappy the way it came out?
Brian: Not at the time. I'm trying to think back. Listening to the original mix of that record, that's kind of the way things were at that time. It sounded like it was supposed to at the time. Now when I go back to listen to it, there's so much more, especially with the delay and the effects were just overblown. There were somethings I didn't notice until Mark pointed them out. There's one delay on the song "Dirty Boys," right at the beginning. I guess because I always listened to it on speakers, when I put the headphones on I noticed the delay wasn't in time with the song so there's this big jumble of a mess at the beginning. Those were the kind of things we were hoping to fix on this remix.
Me: Do you ever go back and listen to the other old KIX records?
Brian: Well, I do, I make it a habit to go over the sets a few times during the week leading up to the show, just to imbed it into my brain. So I do play along with it. Every once in awhile I stop and actually listen to it just to make sure. A lot of times when I'm playing a song over time little subtitles will change and I'll forget, I'll play it a certain way and I'll forget the real way that I should be playing it. If I go back and relisten to it at some point I'll go oh, wow, I forgot I used to do it this way. Then I'll just tweak it a little.
Me: Why would you change the way you recorded the song when you play live? Just to have fun?
Brian: With me it's the initial recording that something just bugs me about the way I played. So when we play it live I'll fix it and play it the way I would really liked to have played it.
Me: When you recorded the album did you guys plan out the solos or just play it that way on the spot? I always wonder about guitarists and how they come up with their solos.
Brian: Well, it depended on the song. Some songs were worked out, especially if it was playing the guitar and harmonica thing. we would work it out. Or if it was Ronnie and I playing harmony guitar or something of course that would be worked out. But there are other places where I would put the solo on a demo just to sort of fill it in and when I got to the studio I tried different things. Just the way I work the best solos are the ones where I just wing it and I would do that, I would go in there and do a few different solos and I would just start at a different spot on each take and then go back and usually it'll be the first or second take which would end up being the solo.
Me: As you didn't totally rerecord the album and just remixed and remastered it does your original label, I think it was Atlantic, own the rights to the recording?
Brian: Yeah, I suppose so. I don't really know exactly. Yeah, it seems that's the way it would be. I don't know if they own it but I know Donnie still owns the publishing rights to his songs. Yeah, I'm not really sure how that works.
Me: I think they do. I know Graham Parker and Squeeze rerecorded some of their songs to keep the rights. Okay, so your last studio album was "Rock Your Face Off," and that came out in 2014, five years ago. Any plans for you guys to record a new album?
Brian: We have talked about it. Of course this release put that off a little bit. Everybody has been working on their own ideas on their own, but we haven't gotten together yet and sort of thrown things together what we have. But we've talked about it, but there's no time line but I'm sure at some point in the future they'll be another record. It's funny because this last record had been so long since we put one out and I think there was sort of a fear factor because Donnie wasn't in the band anymore, so we kept putting it off and putting it off and we finally did it and it turned out so well. Now the other part of the fear is trying to follow that up and do it again.
Me: So, you being a guitarist and I know I have a lot of guitar fans that read this blog and will get mad if I don't ask, you play the Telecaster quite a bit, were you using a Tele much in that era?
Brian: No, I actually wasn't. I didn't really get into the Telecaster 'til I left the band in '93, and I switched over. The Tele that I play I had it back then and I had it sitting around my living room so that was my guitar I would pick up, just to noodle around on when I was watching TV or something. Back in those days my main guitar was my Melody Maker, which is not a truly Melody Maker because it's got Humbucker pick-ups in it but it's got a thin body, so it's probably closer to an SG or something. That's what I mainly use but I also have a Stratocaster that I used on a few songs, and a Les Paul. I had a Les Paul Special with a P90 pick-ups which I loved. So I was always leaned to and loved the single coil sound and I discovered the Tele. Actually the first time I played the Tele on stage was right after "Cool Kids," we jumped up on stage to do a set. There was a band in Florida called the Kids that we made friends with while we there recording it. When we finished that record we asked them if we could jump up there and do a few songs, just because we haven't played live in a couple months. So they let us get up there and this was the band that Johnny Depp was the guitar player and he had a '56 Telecaster and a 50-watt Marshall and it was like the old style Marshall, it wasn't a modern Marshall. So I got to play his Tele and I couldn't believe the sound the Tele had through the Marshall. I never thought it could sound that good. So I think that planted the seed. I always knew there was this magic sound with a Tele and a Marshall. So when I finally picked up the Telecaster and started to use it I realized there's something about a single coil pick-up and just a cranked up amp, I still get the sustain and everything I need but there's still this clarity that comes through and I think I just fell in love with that tone. It's almost bigger than an Humbucker that has more output, the single coil almost has a bigger sound because it has such clarity.
Me: That's cool. So, I have to ask you how you got the nickname "Damage." How?
Brian: I actually got that name during the “Midnight Dynamite” recording. Yeah, Beau Hill kind of coined that. I would show up to the studio with a really bad hangover. So I would be laying on the couch in front of the mixing console. So Beau’s nickname for me then was “Brain” but, with the letters I and the A reversed. So he would call me Brain anyway. And then one day I’m lying there moaning and groaning on that couch, and he goes, we should just call you “brain damage."
Me: Haha. Brian, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again and I hope this was fun.
Brian: It was, Jason, I really enjoyed it. Thanks.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Brian Forsythe. The Phile will be back on Thursday with Canadian singer Jann Arden. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you.
I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile. Happy Valentine's Day! Saint Valentine was eventually imprisoned, beaten, stoned, and beheaded. They don't tell you that on the cards. Ladies, are you single this Valentine's Day? Just think... the best part of being single on Valentine's Day is not having to shave your legs.
Valentine's Day caters to stable, long-term couples while the rest of you are just counting the minutes until the nightmare is over and the chocolates go on sale. The streets are crawling with couples in love and the pharmacy aisles are crawling with romantic gifts and sappy cards for people in committed relationships. But what if you're single? Just started seeing someone and haven't had "the talk"? Or you're just bored of the same old "card & chocolates" routine? Then the Bronx Zoo's Name a Roach program might be just what Cupid ordered. Veering from tired tradition, the program lets you name one of the Zoo's Madagascar hissing cockroaches after your sweetie (or ex-sweetie), who will receive a digital certificate of confirmation. All for the tune of only $15. This is a gift that works for everyone... whether it's a guy you met on Tinder, your husband of 88 years, your dirtbag ex Ethan, or even you! Why a roach, specifically, you may ask? Because roaches invade your life and never leave no matter how many times you fumigate the house. Just like love!!!!!!!! As the website explains, "After the chocolates have been eaten and the flowers wilt, roaches remain thriving and triumphant. If there was ever an outside-the-box way to immortalize your thriving and triumphant love (or hate), it's this." And no worries if you're currently swinging single, this gift also works for past sweeties. No matter how messy your breakup, naming a cockroach after your ex is the perfect way to say "just wanted you to know, even though we broke up years ago, I still think of you and wish you nothing but the worst." And for those willing to dish out more than $15 for the person who makes your heart go badump-badump there's also a VIP package which includes an adorable roach beanie and roach mug along with the naming certificate. Can you think of anything more romantic????????? If you're lucky enough to have someone to name a roach after, head over to the Bronx Zoo website before every roach is named. I might order a roach for my ex... Ha!
For the first time in forever, fans have been treated to new footage from the Frozen universe, and the true love is thawing even the most cynical tweeters' hearts. Since the first Frozen was released in 2013, it inspired countless YouTube videos of kids singing "Let It Go" and a #GiveElsaAGirlfriend hashtag campaign to make the coming out anthem canon. The teaser shows a superheroic Elsa, in pants, taking on the WHOLE DAMN OCEAN, which, as you may recall, was the force of nature that killed both her parents in a shipwreck. Not only does Elsa wear pants, but she also wears a blazer. Fans are also taking the opportunity to pray that Queen Elsa will be openly gay. Co-director Jennifer Lee hinted at possibly making the Queer Elsa dream a reality, telling The Huffington Post that she was at least open to the idea. "I love everything people are saying [and] people are thinking about with our film... that it's creating dialogue, that Elsa is this wonderful character that speaks to so many people. It means the world to us that we're part of these conversations," she said. "Where we're going with it, we have tons of conversations about it, and we're really conscientious about these things." The trailer also features a glimpse at new characters checking out the foliage in what appears to be an autumn in New England. Did Elsa enroll at liberal arts college and meet her autumn equivalent? Kristen Bell, the voice of Anna, replied to a Give Elsa A Girlfriend tweeter with an intriguing "Hmmmm."
If not Elsa's girlfriend... could it be Elsa's niece? People skeptical that Disney would actually have the balls to include an LGBTQ love story. The live-action Beauty and the Beast made headlines for featuring the first ever "gay moment" in a Disney movie. The much-hyped "gay moment" turned out to be a two-second dance between LeFou and a French guy, but maybe Josh Gad's latest Disney movie will give us more to work with? The excitement over the trailer, however, is enough to piss off homophobes. Mike Pence is inevitably going to call Frozen 2 "liberal propaganda," so they might as well just go full-on gay.
Speaking of Disney trailers... In general, movie teasers are supposed to generate excitement and get people stoked to flock to the theaters opening weekend. But this isn't always how things go down, particularly with the advent of Twitter where people can critique and roast movies before they've even seen them. So, when a trailer dropped for Disney's new live action Aladdin movie, people had a lot of feelings, mostly about Will Smith's appearance as the genie. Obviously, the animated Aladdin genie (RIP sweet Robin Williams) was blue and rather absurd looking, so I doubt people were expecting Smith to be trotting out his sex appeal for this role. However, his blue body paint get up nonetheless startled the Internet with just how corny it looks. Twitter really went to town with the roast jokes and comparisons. You can't revamp a childhood classic and not expect people to have charged emotions and high standards. For many, Smith's genie lewk is true nightmare material, and may ruin their ability to enjoy the movie at all. I have a feeling Smith's genie is going to be the centerpiece of more than a few therapy sessions. While Smith's CGI genie aesthetic wasn't sparking magic for a lot of the Internet, there are still people who genuinely think the trailer looks good. And let's be honest, a lot of us roasting Smith's haunting blue appearance will still end up seeing the movie for nostalgia and curiosity's sake.
Twitter is ablaze this week over the fact that Esquire ran a cover story on what it's like to be a straight white male in America right now. It's important to note that they chose feature this story during Black History Month. How do you think that is going for them so far? I'll give you a hint: not well, bitch! After posting the profile, Esquire immediately began getting dragged, roasted, called out by Twitter users. Ouch. Here is the cover...
Many were quick to point out the lack of social awareness this cover possessed, especially since it is Black History Month. Others were quick to point out how redundant the story of a white kid in America is in a time when there is still a lack of diverse representation across all forms of media. Some saw this as an opportunity to direct people's attention to publications who were featuring diverse and marginalized voices. Esquire Editor-in-Chief Jay Fielden penned a response to the backlash, claiming that he wanted to avoid "echo chamber" thinking and opinion sharing, and that this story was the beginning of a series of profiles about different voices and experiences in America. His response epically backfired, and he was... as you could have guessed... roasted in the comments. Welp, I imagine it's been a very busy week for whoever runs the Esquire Twitter account.
Just in time for Valentine's Day: it's the greatest love story of our time. ABC 17 News reports that a woman in Iberia, Missouri has been accused of poisoning her husband with antifreeze and then setting their house on fire, all in the name of love. Joshua Murray was found dead, and while his house burned, his wife Amy Murray was chillin' at a local McDonald's with their son and dogs. According to court documents, Amy Murray is a nurse at Jefferson City Correctional Center who had a romantic relationship with an inmate, and in recorded phone conversations, she told her prison bae that she could marry him because Joshua was dead and "out of the picture." The prison lover, Eugene Claypool, was serving time after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. You know what they say: the couple that murders together, endures together.
If you want to give your Valentine something for a gift how about this?
Break ups may be messy, but this playful, creative kit helps a girl cope with style. The 32-page book offers empowering advice about moving on, and comes with a heart eraser, self-affirming mirror compact with a comb, stickers to "deface" old photographs, a "Do Not Cross" caution tape for tying up the telephone when temptation strikes, and a poster to remind her of the top 10 reasons she is better off without him. Okay, I guess that is an anti Valentine gift.
If I had a TARDIS I would probably end up on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Spencer as it destroys the Nazi submarine U-175 on April 17th, 1943...
Wasn't that a movie with Jon Bon Jovi? At the recent State of the Union address some Democrats sure had some shady looks. Like Senator Chuck Schumer for instance...
I was gonna get a tattoo but someone had the same idea I had...
It's okay, I am not completely bald now anyway. Man, there were some creepy Valentine's Day cards in the pass...
Let's hope there's no one inside this burning house of love. It's Thursday and you know what that means...
Yeesh. Wanna laugh?
Two elderly ladies are sitting on the front porch, doing nothing. The redhead turns to the other and asks, "Do you still get horny?" The other replies, "Oh sure I do." The redhead asks, "What do you do about it?" The second old lady replies, "I suck a lifesaver." After a few moments, the redhead asks, "Who drives you to the beach?"
If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. I can't even figure it out. What a load of bullshit. Hahahaha.
Now for some sad news...
September 8th, 1922 — February 12th, 2019
He ran for President eight times. He was the FIRST proof than any crazy nutbag can run for President.
Marriage is a legally recognized union of two people who aren't, under any circumstance, allowed to watch the next episode of a show alone.
The 93rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
I said in the last entry that Jann will be a guest on the Phile on Tuesday. Wrong! There's not gonna be a Phile on Tuesday. I meant Thursday. So... Jann will be the guest on the Phile next Thursday. Now for some Valentine's Day...
Phact 1. In Japan for Valentine’s Day, instead of giving chocolates, men can have gummy bear replicas of themselves made to present for their partners to eat.
Phact 2. Valentine’s Day is banned in Saudi Arabia.
Phact 3. Valentine’s Day is associated with romance because, during the middle Ages, it was believed that birds paired couples in mid-February. The holiday is literally for the birds.
Phact 4. Valentine’s Day was promoted by companies such as Hallmark to boost purchases in February... the time of year sales revenue was the lowest.
Phact 5. Thirteen billion dollars are spent on Valentine’s Day every year in the U.S. alone. An average man spends about $158 every Valentine’s Day!
Today's pheatured guest is a guitarist far the blues rock band Jane Lee Hooker, whose latest album"Spiritus" is available on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Tracy Hightop.
Me: Hey, Tracy, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Tracy: I'm great, Jason, thanks so much for having me.
Me: I love the new album "Spiritus." When I first got the interview request I got really excited and thought that Jane Lee Hooker was John Lee Hooker's daughter or granddaughter and I'd be interviewing her. Hahaha. I'm an idiot. Anyway, it's a cool album, you're a great guitarist in a cool band. How would you describe Jane Lee Hooker's music, Tracy?
Tracy: You're funny. It's like Muddy Waters meets Joey Ramone.
Me: What is your drive and vision for the band?
Tracy: Well, basically it was an opportunity for myself and the other lead guitar player, Tina Gorin, to get together and bond over some guitar solos. It's funny, the other day I was reading to one of your blog entries and you were interviewing the guitar player from Foreigner and you were talking about having two guitar players in bands and sometimes three. We just wanted to take an opportunity to play guitar together and have a lot of fun. So, we put a band together so we could play a lot of solos. Somehow it just morphed into a band I always wanted to be in my whole entire life. It just happened with very little effort and came together perfectly and everything fell into place. The next thing we knew we had a rock band that that exceeded our expectations of fun and shows and excitement and response. We got very lucky.
Me: Where did you find Dana, your singer? She's great, right?
Tracy: She truly is in every sense of the word. I've never been in a room with anyone who could sing like her. She plays almost every instrument and she's an unbelievable lyricist. Again when I say we just got lucky, we just got lucky. We had another singer for a bit and it wasn't working out well and a friend of a friend said to us, "Your friends and Jane Lee Hooker should check out this girl I just saw at this club." It was just as simple as that. He got her name and passed it onto his friend who contacted us. I went on Facebook and looked her up and we had one mutual friend. I contacted that friend and I said, "Hey, this guy said we had to get in touch with your friend to sing for our band." In a couple of hours we connected and I said, "Hey, can you come down and come sing with the band?" It was an audition really. I remember walking into that practice, I was about ten minutes late, I opened the door and she was already in the room. It was like opening that door and we've been in that room for years together. It was like a punch of deja vu, I felt like I have known her all my life and it felt like the most normal thing in the world to be in that room with her. It just felt very familiar.
Me: When you first heard her sing what did you think?
Tracy: Our hair just stood up on our arms. It was crazy. She still has that affect on us. Sometimes she sings so great on stage I will stop thinking about everything that I'm doing and I'll catch myself and think, oh, yeah, I have to play another chord here. She captivates all of us still.
Me: That's cool. Has the band always been very tight? Sometimes with an all girl band there could be a lot of disagreements I feel.
Tracy: The band has been always tight. It's always hard, not knowing what the chemistry between people is going to be. Dana and all of us fit together like peanut butter and jelly. All we do is laugh together, we don't have to use words anymore. We understand what the other one is thinking. It's really a beautiful thing and we're extremely lucky.
Me: Before this record you had another record called "No B!" How are the two records different?
Tracy: We went into the studio and recorded nine covers and one original.
Me: It was on another label, right?
Tracy: Yeah, it was just a demo to get gigs and stuff. This was early on.
Me: You're on a European blues label now, am I right? How did that happen?
Tracy: A friend of the band sent it to a bunch of different blues labels... one of them being Alligator and one of them being Run Records. One day I got a call from this German guy whose name was Thomas Rui and he said, "I want to tell you I got your CD and I've been driving around listening to it for the last sox months. I'm planning to come to New York and I'm going to sign you." We're all New Yorkers so we were like sure, yeah. He was true to his word, he got on a plane, he came to New York and we met with him, we liked him, he made us laugh, and he signed us. Again the magic for this band in every way just has been a stroke of luck.
Me: Are they a new label this Ruf Record?
Tracy: No, they've been in business internationally for about 25 years. They're the real deal. Our gratitude is immense.
Me: With the new album are these songs you've recorded for the album or have you been playing them for a long time?
Tracy: Some of them have been around for a while like "Later On," which was the second song that we wrote tougher us a band. We've been playing that one out for at least two or three years. The rest of "Spiritus" I say is maybe about a few years old we started incorporating those songs on the road when we went to Europe the last few times. We were actually supporting "No B!" but putting about five songs in our set from "Spiritus."
Me: Is there any song you wrote for the album after you were signed?
Tracy: One song we literally never played together before from beginning to end, it was just a vague idea. It's "The Breeze," the last song on the album. We were like should we try it? We were like we haven't really finished it. We weren't exactly sure where it was going. Our producer, Matt Chiaravalle, just let the tape roll and we got it. I love it. It turned out so great now we play it in our set as well.
Me: Tracy, when you go into the studio do you all do your stuff separately?
Tracy: We record as a band. We do very few overdubs, we try to get a good take of something, then if there's a blatant era we punch in. We punched in very few times with "No B!" With "Spirtitus" it was just the band rocking out live. Certain songs we get a great rhythm track and Tina and I would go into the control room together. With "The Breeze" Tina and I had so much fun together we had no idea what was gonna happen next. We were all just crammed into a control room altogether and we bought Dana into the control room to sing so we just got the energy. We never talk or think about what we're gonna play, we just let it happen.
Me: You guys have done a lot of shows overseas. Would you say the band is doing better more in Europe or in the states?
Tracy: We haven't intentionally focused on Europe more, but our label has greater contacts in Europe. It seems like this music is going really strong in Europe, people come out doesn't matter what night of the week, they just embrace live performance. I think more than I'm seeing in the United States. Without even trying we certainly have a bigger following out in Europe. A lot more press, it is just a completely entirely different scene. We have the force of our label helping us in Europe as well, they're great. We're getting booked in clubs, have great guarantees, I have found that's pretty lackluster for us in the U.S. It's very hard to get a confident booking agent that isn't busy with other acts. It's very hard for booking agents to make money, it's very hard for bands to make money in the U.S. It's just a different scene.
Me: So, in a few years where do you see the band, Tracy?
Tracy: Opening for the Rolling Stones, I always dream big. I'm not gonna dream small, I want the big stuff. It's always been our goal to get an opening act slot with a band that does very well in the U.S.
Me: Well, I hope that happens. Tracy, thanks so much for being here on the Phile. Please come back again soon and tell the other girls they should be here as well.
Tracy: I will, thanks, Jason.
Well, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Tracy Hightop for a cool interview. The Phile will be back on Sunday with Brian "Damage" Forsythe From KIX. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Happy Valentine's Day.
I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon
Monday, February 11, 2019
Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile on a Monday from Walt Disney World... he greatest company to work for... ever. How are you? I went to the doctor and said, "Doctor, every time I stand up quickly, I see Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy." He said, "How long have you been getting these Disney spells?" Hahahaha. Okay, let's be sensible and see what is going on in the real world, shall we?
Singer Bebe Rexha has been killing it lately. When she was nominated for two Grammy Awards, she didn't think twice about reaching out to designers to dress her. Considering most designers are eager to dress celebrities for famous awards, it seemed ridiculous when some people opted against designing for her, not because of her music, style or beliefs, but because of her "size." Now, if we're all looking at the same person, does she look too "big" to wear a designer brand? I'm confused.
Were they worried about being able to fit all her badass personality into a couture gown? Was there not enough fabric in the universe to cover all of her glam? We'll never know. Rexha took to her Instagram about the snub in January. Luckily, when she rolled into the Grammy Awards looking like a beautiful Valentine's Day Barbie dream girl, she proved everyone wrong. Honestly, absolute goals right here. The best part, though, was when she had another message for every designer that refused to dress her. Turning to the camera, she said, "You wish you would've dressed my fat ass." And she's right. Well done, Bebe. You looked stunning and don't need any of those old-school waifish beauty standards and curve-hating fashion snobs dressing you anyway.
I can't remember the last time I consciously exercised. Sure, walking around at city and dancing alone in my room burn calories, but I haven't started sweating in... years? It might honestly be years at this point. So imagine how impressive I found the athletic feats of Miles Taylor, weightlifter. As someone with cerebral palsy who weighs ninety-nine pounds, his achievements are even more incredible. Miles recently deadlifted 200 pounds and documented it on Instagram, where the clip's been viewed over 350,000 times. His post even attracted the attention of weightlifting icon Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yes, before he became an international film star and eventually Governor of California (plus Chris Pratt's future father-in-law!), 'Ah'nold was a professional weightlifter who won the Mr. Olympia contest seven times. Miles is now inspiring people the world over with his athletic prowess.
Despite having the perfectly good option to just say nothing, Michelle Rodriguez decided to comment on Liam Neeson's casual confession of previously wanting to commit a racist hate crime. Neeson, the new poster-boy for Keeping Your Damn Mouth Shut, said in an interview about his latest action movie Cold Pursuit that after a loved one was allegedly raped by a black man, he wandered around the city wanting to kill a black man. Any black man. Cool cool. Now Rodriguez is defending her Widows co-star with the hottest of takes. "Neeson can't be racist because he made out with Viola Davis in their movie." As reported by Vanity Fair, Rodriguez told the outlet at the amfAR gala in New York that Neeson can't be racist because he kissed Davis real good. "His tongue was so far down Viola Davis’s throat. You can’t call him a racist ever. Racists don’t make out with the race that they hate, especially in the way he does with his tongue... so deep down her throat. I don’t care how good of an actor you are." The comment raises the question: are you dumb? Why are you talking? Why are you doing this? Here is the kiss in question, which, uh, proves nothing.
People are saying that Rodriguz's comment isn't just extremely dumb, but also extremely ignorant. Even though social media has a habit of making people feel like they need to comment on everything ever, you really don't have to, Ms. Rodriguez. I promise.
There's a new highly anticipated crossover event, and it doesn't join the Avengers with the Guardians of the Galaxy, but unites Twitter's favorite civilian clapback queen with the holder of the title in the House of Representatives. That's right, Chrissy Teigen tweeted about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and it instantly went viral, because the supermodel had never been more relatable. Teigen retweeted the viral video of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez using her rhetorical skills to illuminate the rampant corruption in the American political system, demonstrating that she is as good at Congressional hearings as she is on Twitter. Calling her her hero (that's a lot of "her" for one sentence), Teigen invited AOC over to her house to watch the Grammys with the Legend family. John and Chrissy skipped the Grammys this year because he already has so many. Rep. AOC, truly a public service, gave the people what they wanted at replied.
AOC and Chrissy T. may have similar social media skillz, but the congresswoman admits to being less of a chef than the cookbook writer. This may seem like nothing, but to Twitter, it is everything. This is the superhero team-up we need.
Even the most staunch Trump supporters usually know to steer clear of overtly praising Hitler, which is a bar so low it's actually located underground in hell. However, apparently not all Trump supporters have gotten this memo, because the Conservative commentator Candace Owens is currently facing backlash for a clip where she claims "nationalism isn't bad" and that Hitler's main problem was globalism (apparently the genocide was chill with her). She said, "If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, Okay, fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German, everybody to look a different way. To me, that's not nationalism." There is truly too much cognitive dissonance here to fully unpack, but it appears that Owens is either erasing the genocide of six million Jewish people, or considers it a side effect of Hitler's "problem with globalism." Either way, her issue seems to not be with politics of hate and ethnic cleansing, but rather, the idea of communing with other countries (whether through hate, economic trade, or open immigration laws). Needless to say, it would be a grave understatement to say the Internet has noticed Owens' terrifying stance and is responding in kind. American history is full of terror, but this current moment of discourse still manages to stick out as despairingly regressive and bleak. On top of the fact that her comments both normalize the violence of Hitler and nationalism, they are also politically inaccurate. At this point, I think the entire Internet could use a long nap, far away from Hitler apologists.
Instead of doing this blog I should be watching this movie...
I have no idea what language that is though and I don't have a laserdisc. That's what they are called, right? If I had a TARDIS I would go to the Magic Kingdom in the 70s and watch a band on Main Street.
Why is there a Guest Relations chick standing with them? She's cute anyway. Wonder if she still works here. Moving on... I was thinking of getting another tattoo but someone had the same idea I had.
Hahahaha. So, "Game of Thrones" is returning soon and I think that Disney might have something to do with the show.
Over at Disney's Hollywood Studios there's this Toy Story Land and in it there's a ride called Alien Swirling Saucers. I kinda thought it was odd with the ad for the ride...
Ha! So, there's a new live action Aladdin movie coming out. I wonder of they are gonna include this scene from the original animated movie...
There's a new Avengers movie coming out and I have an exclusive screen shot from it that wasn't in the trailer...
"Do you want to build a snowman?" Frozone replied, "No, I'm a grown ass man." Hahaha. Ever freeze a Disney movie on Blu-ray or DVD? You should. Look...
That's so funny. Did you see that movie on Netflix called Bird Box? Do you know it was filmed here at the Magic Kingdom? No? I'll prove it...
Told ya! So, in The Little Mermaid movie this is how Ariel looks...
Shouldn't she look like this though?
Much more realistic I think. She looks so much better. So, I wonder what Belle from Beauty and the Beast is up to now?
Poor thing. Toy Story 4 is coming out soon and I have a pic of what Woody looks like in it.
Hahahahahahahahah!!! I love it. So, they tell me not only are their rides at Disney World but there are rides at Walmart as well. I didn't believe it until I saw this...
Looks like fun, right? So, one of the best things about the Internet is you can see porn free and so easily. But if you're at work I don't want you to get in trouble, so I came up with a solution.
As Maui says in Moana, "You're welcome." He also said, or sang, "Well, come to think of it, kid, honestly I can go on and on I can explain every natural phenomenon. The tide, the grass, the ground... that was Maui just messing around." I love that bloody song. Okay, let's laugh for a minute...
An old country preacher was fishing one afternoon when he noticed a frog sitting next to him. The frog said, “Mister, I’ve had a spell cast on me. If you’ll kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess and I’ll make you happy for the rest of your life.” The old preacher smiled, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket. After a while, he looked into his pocket to see how the frog was doing. The frog said again, “Mister, I’ve had a spell cast on me. If you’ll kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess and I’ll make you happy for the rest of your life.” The preacher just smiled and kept on fishing. When he checked on the frog again, it said, “What’s wrong with you, fella? I said I’ve been bewitched. Just kiss me and I’ll turn back into a beautiful princess and make you the happiest man on earth for the rest of your life!” The old preacher just smiled and said, “Frog, I’m sorry to tell you this… but at my age, I’d rather have a talking frog than a beautiful princess!”
Pixar is the version of Disney that just wants to tell the story without people singing every ten minutes.
Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Now for some brief sad news...
May 9th, 1936 — February 7th, 2019
July 8th, 1926 — February 7th, 2019
It has happened once more. Donald Trump has hastily written a collection of words on Twitter that have resulted in a serious case of foot-in-mouth, and the Internet has dutifully taken notice. For this installment of Trump's endless Twitter abyss, the 72-year-old attempted to relate to black people in America, but in the most Trumpian way possible. Rather than admitting the ways he has ushered in a fresh wave of white supremacy, decrying the many times he's defended nazis, or suggesting anti-racist policies, Trump simply wrote a tweet stating how he believes black people feel about the black face photos of Virginia Gov. Ralph Norpham.
This tweet is essentially the trifecta of faux pas. Firstly, Trump made a declarative statement about how a whole demographic (he's not a part of) feels. Secondly, his declarative statement still doesn't manage to say anything, or suggest where Trump's allegiances lie. Thirdly, Trump has an extensive history of racism, both as president and long before, so even if he had something substantial to say about the double standards of blackface, he wouldn't be the ideal mouthpiece. Needless to say, Trump got a thorough and well deserved dragging for his incomprehensible hypocrisy. There are endless receipts of Trump being anti-black, and all around racist. It would be very prudent if Trump would stop speaking for others, since it hardly goes over well when he speaks for himself.
The 93rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Jann will be on the Phile next Tuesday. A week from tomorrow. Now for some Disney....
Phact 1. There’s an alternate ending to The Lion King, where Scar defeats Simba by throwing him off Pride Rock to his apparent death. A fire then consumes Scar who stands there, laughing manically, while he burns to death. It was deemed “too dark” for a Disney film.
Phact 2. At night, Disneyland becomes overrun by stray cats. Disney embraces them because they keep the mouse population under check and treat them like pets, including spaying, neutering them and giving them shots.
Phact 3. Walt Disney decided to put the trash cans no more than thirty steps apart in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom after observing guests in other parks and averaged out how many steps a person will take before dropping trash on the ground
Phact 4. Disney was so eager to persuade Robin Williams for the voice of the genie in Aladdin that before approaching him, they animated and lip-synced the genie doing a performance from Robin’s album "Reality." Williams was impressed and immediately accepted the role.
Phact 5. Robin Williams only made $75,000 for voicing the Genie in Aladdin, which went on to gross over $200 million domestically. Disney later sent him a Picasso painting as a way of thanking him for his work.
Okay, this is very cool... today's pheatured guest is an American animator, writer, and comic book artist. Over the course of his career, Norman has worked for a number of animation companies, among them Walt Disney Animation Studios, Hanna-Barbera Productions, Ruby-Spears, Film Roman and Pixar. In 2016 a really good documentary came out about him called Floyd Norman: An Animated Life. Please welcome to the Phile... Floyd Norman!
Me: Wow. Welcome, sir, to the Phile from Walt Disney World. How are you?
Floyd: I am fine, and this is a great day where there's nothing going on.
Me: What do you do mostly, sir? I know you still work, right?
Floyd: Every day I find myself at the Walt Disney Studio, the DCP campus. That's the campus that's over in Glendale. Separate from the movie studio which is in Burbank. I divide my time between both campus' although more often than not I'm often at the Glendale campus. That does everything except film, the main lot is mostly motion pictures and television.
Me: When did you first fall in love with animation?
Floyd: I fell in love with animation when my mother took me to see Dumbo. This had to be in the early 40s when I was a little kid. I saw that wonderful motion picture with all the images on the screen and the artwork, the music, I was just enchanted by all of this. I think many of my colleagues felt the same way. They all fell in love with animation when they were children and it was something they wanted to do with their life.
Me: Dumbo was the first movie I saw in the theatre when I was little in London. It wasn't in the 40s though. Haha. Was Dumbo a big success for them?
Floyd: Dumbo was made in a difficult time, if you don't know Disney history. There was a lot of pressure on Disney and Walt Disney in particular. The studio was under siege, they had lost half their income because of the war in Europe. They were also suffering from a strike. The studio really faced closing or at least bankruptcy and it was Dumbo really that saved them.
Me: When did you first realize you can draw so good, sir?
Floyd: Well, like most kids as I was drawing in school. I like to joke and tell people that the kids who become artists, who become professionals, are the ones who do not stop drawing and painting. That seems to make a difference. I just kept drawing and painting, so that meant we either were unusual or meant to be an artist.
Me: How old were you when you first started working for Disney?
Floyd: I was probably 19 or 20-years-old, I was in my third year of art school. Keep in mind I first came to Disney at age 17, right out of high school with my little portfolio. Disney gave me good advice. He said, "Go to school, learn how to become an artist, and then come back and apply for a job." Well, I took their advice, it was good advice. I enrolled at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, a four year course, and when I was in my third year at Art Center I received a call from Walt Disney Studio asking me if I still wanted to work for them. I said yes I did. So I dropped out of school and began immediately to work for Disney.
Me: Were you the youngest one in the art department?
Floyd: No, I think all of my what I call it, my class, what they would do is being in a dozen or half a dozen kids right out of school. So we were all approximately the same age, nineteen or twenty. Early twenties was pretty much the age range when they let young people in. All of my colleagues, both men and women were all around the same age. We were all newbies, most of us right out of school, many of us have not even completed school yet but Disney needed artists so much of us were called.
Me: I was 20-years-old when I first started working at Disney World in Epcot. What was the first thing you worked on for Disney?
Floyd: Well, that's really easy because the first project I worked on was the daily ABC show, you probably heard of it, it was called "The Mickey Mouse Club."
Me: What did you do for it?
Floyd: Well, what they would do back in those days with the young artists our position would be the Apprentice Inbetweener. That was the lowest rung on the animation ladder. It was a tedious and malicious job, a mundane job bu a very necessary job and important job in the animation process. All of us would start of as Apprentice Inbetweeners and that is doing in-betweens. Most people ask me what is an in-between so I will tell your readers. In in-between is a drawing that goes in-between two other drawings. That's the easiest way to describe it. The in-between smooths out the action. In animation the animator is drawing key poses, the key poses that express o describe the action. In order to smooth all that out to get it to flow effortlessly you have to have those drawings in-between the other drawings. Those drawings are called in-betweens. Some of us became lay out artists, writers, background painters, but we all started out as Apprentice Inbetweeners.
Me: You worked on Sleeping Beauty, right? What did you do for that film?
Floyd: In-between work. Matter of fact that was the main reason most of us were called. Sleeping Beauty was in production, it was behind schedule, it was over budget and Walt Disney needed to get that film completed as quickly as possible. That was the reason for Disney's big tiring surge back in the 50s, it was to get Sleeping Beauty completed.
Me: That's one of my favorite Disney animated films, but it wasn't a success when it opened, right?
Floyd: That's sadly true. It opened in 1959 to very poor reviews and had a real lackluster audience reaction as well. It took decades really for the film to find itself or audiences to discover the film. It is now regarded today as a Disney classic.
Me: There's one thing I found out that I didn't know when I was researching for this interview was that you wrote some of the story for The Jungle Book. Is that true?
Floyd: That's the reason I was on the film, that is correct. As a matter of fact I had purposely avoided The Jungle Book. It's really interesting the film that probably defines my career is the film that I decided to avoid. I honestly did not want to work on The Jungle Book and purposely chose other projects to work on so I wouldn't have to be on that particular feature. Well, low and behold back in 1965, '66 the film ran into trouble with Disney. Walt was unhappy with the direction of the film, he didn't like the story, he felt it was too dark, too mysterious, too murky, he wanted a film that was more lighthearted, more upbeat. He got into a big argument with Bill Peet who was one of Disney's finest story tellers, and he and Walt could not to an agreement with the direction on the film so Bill Peet quit the film and Walt wanted a new story crew to rewrite the movie. Well, I was part of that new story team brought on board to rewrite The Jungle Book back in 1966.
Me: You didn't get credit though, right? Your name is not on the screen.
Floyd: Just because you worked on a film that did not mean necessary you were going to receive a screen credit. Screen scripts had to be earned in the old days and simply working on a movie was not enough to earn you a screen credit. We had to prove ourselves as a competent story teller over a series of motion pictures and only then might we receive a screen credit. It was much more rigorous in those days. Today everybody gets a screen credit because I think it's required by the unions. You have caterers, drivers, anybody and everybody gets a screen credit.
Me: Disney did not put the voice actors credits in the credits either, is that true?
Floyd: Some of them did. I do recall I think our main voice actors did get credit for The Jungle Book, but there was a time when actors did not receive a credit on a film. There were many people that did not receive a screen credit.
Me: What was it like working with the Nine Old Men?
Floyd: Well, I often tell people, especially my students when I'm teaching a class, that I was privileged to work with Disney's finest. Keep in mind, these were the men and women, that's important to point out to, who made the Disney classic films I saw as a child. So, think about that. I had the opportunity to work with the very same people and now they were my mentors. Now I would learn from them and they were tough taskmasters to for sure. I tell people don't think because I was at the Walt Disney Studio it was all fun and games, these artists were the top in their field. They were the first, they were the best and they demanded my best. So when I went to work for guys like Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Eric Larson, Ward Kimball, Wolfie Reitherman, Les Clark, John Lounsbery, and Marc Davis, I had to deliver the goods. They expected me to be at my best and they did not accept second best. It was pretty rigorous training for us as kids but it was the best training we could receive because we were learning from the best in the business. Who better to learn from than the people who had created the Disney classics.
Me: What was it like the first time you met Walt?
Floyd: Well, a lot of us when we first came to the Disney Studio as kids we never expected to have any dealings with Walt Disney. He was the boss, he was the big man, his name was on the studio. We never expected any kind of interaction with Walt Disney. We might see him walking around the studio lot or we might observe him in the hallway but most of us were so intimated. Keep in mind Walt Disney even then was a living legend so it was quite intimating to see him walk our way. It's quite difficult to describe what it was like, especially those of us that were young and just coming into the business being to work for someone like Walt Disney who was already an icon in the entertainment business. I honestly to say it was a decade before I had the opportunity to speak with Walt Disney. I had been at the studio for ten years until I finally worked up the nerve just to say, "Hi, Walt." Honestly waiting that ten years was well worth it, because after that decade with Disney I was granted that opportunity and it was a very BIG opportunity to work with Walt Disney. Something I need expected in my wildest dreams to work with Walt Disney. Yes I had one day I might work FOR Walt Disney but I never imagined I would work WITH Disney.
Me: What was Disney like to work with? He could be very demanding, right?
Floyd: Walt Disney, no doubt about it, he was a taskmaster, he expected his people to deliver the finest, to do better than their best. He was not necessarily an easy man to work for and having said that I have no problem with the boss wanting the best. I don't see anything wrong with that. I didn't approach my job with fear, I was on board even though I was a kid, I was ready to learn from what I considered a master in the entertainment business. I took full advantage to learn from Walt Disney. As tough as Walt could be, if you were in that meeting with Walt Disney you were a very lucky person indeed.
Me: I have worked at Disney World for almost 31 years and one thing I heard over and over again, is a saying I hate... If Disney was alive today he'll be rolling in his grave. They have no idea what Disney would think of the parks today, and no one is rolling in any grave. Do you hear people say anything like that or act like they know what Disney would say?
Floyd: Sadly a lot of the stories we hear about Walt Disney often come from people who didn't know Walt Disney, didn't work for Walt Disney and some cases haven't met Walt Disney. They have all these opinions and attitudes about a man they never met. Well, for those of us that were there we met with Walt Disney, we worked with Walt Disney, we saw him on a day to day basis, we saw how he treated people. If you want a portrait of Walt Disney I would recommend you speak to people that knew him, not with people who simply heard of him or read something about him because they're to the experts. Their opinions are not well formed. It is just that, it is jus their opinion and those opinions are often wrong. Walt Disney was not a perfect man by any means, he drank to much, he smoked to much no doubt, but he treated people respectfully and I can honestly say he was the finest boss I ever worked for.
Me: Okay, so, I have interviewed author Jim Korkis a few times here on the Phile, and I interviewed him about his book about "Song of the South," which you wrote the forward on. What is our opinion on the movie? Do you think it should be rereleased?
Floyd: This has been going on for some time and it's kind of funny that you mentioned that because we recently published a book of "Walt Disney Holiday Stories," I think that's how the book is titled. I don't even have a copy, I have to go and pick up a copy from Disney publishing. During the holiday season we would often write Disney stories that would have a holiday theme and that would feature the Disney classic characters. I wrote more than a couple of those holiday stories myself and one of those stories I wrote was based on the wonderful fun and fanciful characters from Song of the South. Well, when that book of Disney holiday stories was published about a year ago Song of the South was supposed to be included in that book, a story I had written. It was a wonderful story staring Uncle Remus and Br'er Rabbit and all the wonderful critters from the Joel Chandler Harris stories. Well, Disney decided not to publish my story. They felt the story might in some way, I gather, be offensive. I'm thinking wait a minute, how could a Br'er Rabbit, Uncle Remus story be offensive if the story was written by an African-American? Whatever the case the Walt Disney Studios, Disney Publishing decided not to publish that particular story that I think was called "The Br'er Rabbit Christmas" because they think it might be racially insensitive. I don't know how it is, it's just a wonderful fun story that I wrote by the way, that tell's what happens at the plantation around holiday time when Johnny and Ginny celebrate Christmas they are regretting there's no snow, because after all it's the south, there wouldn't be snow. I created this fantastic story where they do get a snowfall at the end of the story. It got published in the 1980s I believe, that's when I wrote it but in this recent addition it was not published. That's sad, because it ties in with your original question, it turns out that Walt Disney's Song of the South remains a hot topic even to this day. It's sad because I think it's a wonderful motion picture. Have you ever seen it, Jason?
Me: The movie? Nope. Never have. Do you think the movie had a racist side?
Floyd: No, there isn't any. That's the irony of the controversy there's really nothing offensive about this story. It's sad, it' still regarded as such to this day. It is a hot potato, it is a topic that Disney choses to sweep under the rug because they don't want to deal with it.
Me: But there's a successful ride based on the characters. Okay, let's talk about your documentary, Floyd Norman: An Animated Life which I love by the way. You have to be the most hired and fired person from Disney. Is that true?
Floyd: Well, I have fun with that in the movie although I don't think I'm all that different from most Disney employees. We work in an industry that tends to expand and contract. Sometimes there's a need for artists and sometimes there's not a need because of production schedules and that type of thing. I did end myself in and out of Disney and had fun with it when I told that story being hired and fired and hired and fired. It made for an interesting story and a fun gag but my plight was not all that different from colleagues who often found themselves losing a job and then being called back to the studio to work on another job. It's the nature of the entertainment business where jobs tend not to be steady. I've always been lucky where if I did lose a job I immediately found another one. It's not a story of difficulty or hardship, it's just the nature of the entertainment business.
Me: Speaking of other jobs I did not know you worked on some of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons. What happened there? How did you get to work on those shows?
Floyd: Yeah, a lot of that stuff came as a result of losing my Disney job. What happened was I was animating on Robin Hood, around 1972, and I lost that job and went to Hanna-Barbera Productions, a company that did Saturday morning television.
Me: What were some of the biggest differences between working for Disney and Hanna-Barbara?
Floyd: I have to remind people that Saturday morning TV is not like doing classic Disney films. A Disney film takes a period of two or three years to complete. The TV shows that we did at Hanna-Barbera took two to three weeks to complete if that. It was indeed a much faster process, we didn't have the budgets to do stellar work, there were time restraints as the shows had to be delivered quickly, and so we had to basically hack out a lot of shows in a limited time. That was the nature of Saturday morning television back in the 70s and 80s when we did Smurfs, and Scooby-Doo, Super Friends, Captain Caveman, all of those shows that you probably saw as a kid. It was a fun job and I was still doing animation so we enjoyed the work we did knowing full well we weren't doing Disney quality work but we were still making cartoons.
Me: What do you do for Disney these days?
Floyd: Well, since I no longer work for the Disney Company and that's something I have to explain to people because I have this long relationship with the Walt Disney Company. I left the company officially around 2001 when I officially retired from Walt Disney Studios after many years. The last feature film I worked on was probably for Pixar, I did Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., I worked on a film called Home on the Range and a few other things. But I officially left the studio around 2001. Even though I left animation I managed to find work at Disney Publishing. Some of the artists over at Disney Publishing said I had worked on these Pixar films, they are doing a series of Pixar books, why don't I come and work with them on these Pixar books that they were doing here at Disney. So, after leaving the studio I find myself coming back to work at Disney in the publishing department. It's all still story telling regardless if I'm doing a book or a movie, I'm still telling a story.
Me: What was the highlight working at Disney for you, sir?
Floyd: I think what's wonderful about the product we create at the Walt Disney Studio it'll be liked by generations to come. Keep in mind I watched these Disney films when I was a little kid and then I grew up and was able to come to the studio to be part of the creative process. I know that when I'm gone a lot of the work that I created will be left behind for others to enjoy. That's my highlight.
Me: Nice. Thanks very much for being on the Phile. This is a true honor to have you here. Hope it was fun.
Floyd: It was great. Like I said and I like to remind people that I am only one of Disney artists. People often give me more credit than I deserve. I'm just delighted to be part of the team to create this magic and what's been more special is to have been a part of Walt Disney and to be able to work with Walt Disney on The Jungle Book. And boy, when you look at a career you can't do much better than that. Thank you, Jason.
Me: I didn't do anything. Good job, sir. Take care.
Man, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to everybody who works at Walt Disney World and of course Floyd Norman. The Phile will be back Thursday with A Peverett Phile Valentine pheaturing Tracy Hightop from Jane Lee Hooker. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.
I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon