Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Let's start by talking about how shade queen JK Rowling came for Trump after his latest Twitter rant. Expelliarmus! When Trump tweets, I cry... then I dive under my desk to brace myself for the impact. I monitor his feed as my anxiety and confusion mount. What is he even talking about? Am I the idiot for not understanding them? Then I pour myself a stiff drink and sniff Epsom salts to recover. Just kidding! I take a deep breath and remember that reality is an illusion and Trump is a manifestation of my darkest fears. JK Rowling takes a different, non-delusional approach: she roasts 'em. At least that's what she did in response to Trump's latest Twitter tirade regarding the Robert Mueller investigation. Ms. Rowling put that imagination of hers to work and banked Trump's tweets for future character inspiration. That Jo, always so clever! Such a Ravenclaw.
Fans were elated to see the creator of Dumbledore's Army take down such an offensive foe. JK turned my day around with her signature wit and verve. We bow down to a queen of fiction AND shade.
Ever since Gwyneth Paltrow announced that her baby's name was Apple, it's been a damn free-for-all out here. You can't attend a toddler sing-a-long class without being introduced to someone's son named Wood Chip, or something of that nature. Sure, anyone has the right to name their child whatever the hell they want. This is true. But at some point we are going to laugh at their choices. That's exactly what happened to a woman who decided to name her child... wait for it... Squire Sebastian Senator. Yes, that is just the first name. No, her friends and family did not take it well. In fact, apparently they talked so much shit that the mother canceled the baby shower. She took to Facebook to call out and clapback at the shower's invitees. Let's go over some highlights, shall we? “His name is Squire Sebastian Senator. That is that. You cannot force me to change his name. This is that name I was meant to give him. No, that is not his full name. Squire Sebastian Senator is only his first name. This is how it will be. He will not be allowed to have a nickname, he is to be called by his full and complete first name. He will not be allowed to have a nickname! If he even thinks about having his friends call him 'Squi Seb Sen' he is GROUNDED! We come from a long lasting family of both squires and senators. If you look back in our family tree, the survival of this clan is literally rooted in squiredom. We are all related to senators too. This name conveys power. It conveys wealth. It conveys success.” I never thought I would read the words "this clan is literally rooted in squiredom," but here we are. What a world. "My baby’s name WILL be a revolution. It will push people to question everything. Why name your baby boring and over-used names like Joshua, Brian, Sam, Nick, Mark, Bella, Marina, etc… when you can name it something special." Ah yes, just the revolution we need right now. Also, I imagine and hope that the names listed here are those of the children of the people who were talking shit. Like, "my baby's name will make people question everything and have an existential crisis, and yours will be stuck with the dumbass name of Brian. Take that, CATHY." Anyway, if any of us have the pleasure of meeting Squire Sebastian Senator one day, we know not to start shit with his mother. Lesson learned.
If GOP men really wanted to keep their dignity in tact, they would stop coming for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at every turn. The 29-year-old Democratic Socialist has fast become the Chrissy Teigen of politics, and by that I mean she doesn't hesitate to drag Conservative trolls to filth, and for some reason... they keep crawling back. Last Monday Ocasio-Cortez dragged Mike Huckabee to filth, alongside his daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders after he implied she was "looney." Now, not even a week later, Donald Trump Jr. has come at Ocasio-Cortez with a meme claiming her vision of socialism would force people to eat their pets...
The quality and content of the meme is extremely on-brand for Don Jr.'s severely unhinged Instagram presence. On top of using shock factor to prove a point, the reference to eating dogs may also be drawing a false equivalence between the hunger devastation in Socialist Venezuela and Ocasio-Cortez' desire to make healthcare accessible. Regardless of whatever curt point Don Jr. thought he was making, Ocasio-Cortez was fully ready to shut it down.
An insult on his intelligence?! Check. A sly reminder of Don Jr.'s guilty implications in Robert Mueller's investigation? Check. A dose of patronizing friendliness to point out how stupid Don Jr.'s trolling is? Check. A reminder of her recent Congressional win? Check. This tweet really had it all. Again, I have to wonder if these GOP men will ever learn to leave her alone, or if they secretly love the humiliation.
Everyone's favorite millennial bottle of frustrated bleach, Tomi Lahren, has come out with a suggestion for anyone looking to spread conservative holiday cheer this season. On Facebook, Lahren posted what we can only assume is a sponsored advertisement for her fans to purchase a "Not My President" calendar that mocks everything triggering for "snowflake" liberals, and of course the fact that Hillary lost. In fact, the only real theme of the entire calendar is that Hillary isn't the president. The calendar features Elizabeth Warren in a Native American headdress, a scowling Hillary, a tax-hungry Bernie Sanders, a kneeling Colin Kaepernick, and Beto O'Rourke in a sombrero. And that's just the cover. Take a look...
Inside, it's equally as uncreative. November features Elizabeth Warren being served by suited butlers at what appears to be the first Thanksgiving, September is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being confused by Labor Day, "Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs!" April shows an April Fools "just kidding Hillary didn't win!" fake news headline and July, by far the creepiest of them all, shows Trump caressing an American Flag while Barack Obama and crew question, "why does he love this country so much?" Is that why conservatives think liberals have the beliefs they do? Because liberals "hate" America? This is news to me. I guess since Tomi Lahren can't even go out to a restaurant anymore without getting drinks throw in her face, she might as well get paid to boost the sales of a cartoon calendar that only works to divide our country further. I would even be fine with this calendar if it had one good joke, but alas, mocking liberals just isn't as funny as mocking conservatives. December features (surprise!) a bunch of liberal heads on snowflakes, one of them being Parkland school shooting survivor, David Hogg. Maybe next year, you could hire a comedy writer to do a punch-up? Stephen Colbert would be a good choice... Lahren's Facebook was generally supportive of the calendar with one fan suggesting she make a "Tomi calendar" with "a lot of guns!" but Twitter, of course, clapped back. Better luck next year, Tomi. Maybe you could use your cut of the calendar sales to buy a new perspective.
Rocky Dumais, 26, was riding around Lincoln last Sunday when at 1 a.m., he crashed his mother's car into a tree. The Smoking Gun reports that Dumais told the cops "that he crashed the Buick due to 'inoperable windshield wipers,' which forced him, 'like Ace Ventura,' to drive in the rain with his head outside the window." The police were sadly not convinced that the swerving was out of necessity or simply a tribute to Jim Carrey. Despite the Ace Ventura defense, Dumais was hit with DUI, careless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving with a suspended license. Sounds like he was a... liar liar.
Instead of doing this blog thing maybe I should be listening to this album...
Ummm... maybe not. So, sometimes people got their asses saved by a total stranger. Not all humans are the worst. Like this woman helping a baby learn to wave...
All together now... awwweeeee. You know, if I had a TARDIS I would like to go to witness a little bit of World War l but knowing my luck I'll end up on a battlefield right in front of a bagpiper.
That's my least favorite instrument. They say of I go to Walmart I'm gonna see something odd. I didn't believe it until I saw this...
Have you ever seen the TV show "The Great British Bake Off"? Well, I haven't but with scenes like this I really don't think I want to...
I love to shop but some guys sure don't and get bored. Like this guy on line...
Speaking of shopping, if you are looking for something for your wife or girlfriend for Christmas how about this Nightmare Before Christmas wrap?
You are welcome.
A man phones home from his office and says to his wife, "I have the chance to go fishing for a week. It's the opportunity of a lifetime. I have to leave right away. Pack my clothes, my fishing equipment, and my blue silk pajamas. I'll be home in an hour to pick them up." The man rushes home to grab everything. He hugs his wife, apologizes for the short notice, and then hurries off. A week later, the man returns and his wife asks, "Did you have a good trip, dear?" The man replies, "Yep, the fishing was great... but you forgot to pack my blue silk pajamas." His wife smiles and says, "Oh, no I didn't... I put them in your tackle box."
If you spot the Mindphuck then let me know. So, a magician friend just did a show this past weekend. I thought I'd invite him here to see how it went. Please welcome back to the Phile...
Me: Hello, David, how are you?
David: I'm okay, Jason, how are you?
Me: I'm good. So, how was your show this past weekend?
David: It was okay until I asked for a volunteer and a little girl no more than five runs up on stage...
Me: Okay, so, what did you do?
David: I said, "Hi there, little girl, I'm David, what's your name?" She said, "Katherine, but my friends call me Katie" I said, "Oh, can I call you Katie?" She said, "No." Then she ran back into the audience.
Me: So, did you do a trick then?
David: The only trick done was embarrassing me.
Me: Hahahaha. I'm sorry. Better luck next time.
David: Thanks, Jason.
Me: David Coppafeel, the world's worst magician, kids.
After a week in which he wowed the media for getting through George H.W. Bush's funeral without heckling or playing the corpse, President Trump has put an end to his "presidential" streak with a tweet at his former Secretary of State. Former SoS (lol) Tillerson was rumored to have found out about his firing while sitting on the toilet, and this tweet is almost as shitty. This went down after Tillerson allegedly called Trump a "fucking moron," which is actually quite generous. Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, broke his silence on the sentence he served in the Trump administration. He described the president as "pretty undisciplined, doesn't like to read." "What was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented ExxonMobil corporation," Tillerson explained, saying that it was hard "to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says, 'This is what I believe.'" Tillerson added what everyone and Robert Mueller has suspected... that Trump has a hard time understanding and respecting the law. The Houston Chronicle reports that Rex T. said, "So often, the president would say here's what I want to do and here's how I want to do it and I would have to say to him, 'Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can't do it that way. It violates the law.'" To prove Tillerson wrong and to show the world that he is, in fact, very disciplined, Trump took to Twitter to call Tillerson "dumb as a rock," questioning his "mental capacity." Nice! Another installment for the #BeBest files: a classic "I know you are, but what am I?"
Phact 1. There have been fourteen known fatalities in Britain from native adder bites since 1876. Recovery from a bite can take up to a year.
Phact 2. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi are a result of selective breeding of the wild mustard plant.
Phact 3. In 1954, John Stapp strapped himself to a rocket sled, accelerated to 632 MPH in five seconds, and then decelerated to 0 MPH in 1.4 seconds. He experienced 46.2 G’s. He went temporarily blind and experienced two black eyes from his eyeballs having been shot so far forward.
Phact 4. The word "avocado" means "testicle" named so because of its shape.
Phact 5. The orange couch used in Central Perk was found in the basement of the Warner Bros. studio.
Today's guest is an American bass guitarist and composer who is an original founding member of the Dixie Dregs, an American band formed in the 1970s. Their mostly instrumental music uniquely fuses hard rock, southern rock, progressive metal, and classical forms. Please welcome to the Phile... Andy West.
Me: Andy, welcome to the the Phile, sir. How are you?
Andy: I'm wonderful, Jason, thanks.
Me: So, the original band is back after forty years. That's so cool. What do you think of it?
Andy: I don't know if we are on the same page but we certainly are a gang traveling together which is great.
Me: So, why now, after all these years?
Andy: It was just a timing thing as far as circumstance and it's forty years since the release of our first album "Free Fall," and kind of the fact that all of us are still around. We were still in contact with each so thought it'll be fun to hang out and play. We did that and it turned into this tour which is kind of amazing.
Me: So, for those that don't know, like myself, what led the band to break up in the first place?
Andy: Well, there was a lot of a kind of business pressure at that time if you're talking about after we did the original six albums and then split up. It was basically we had a record deal which was part way complete and the record company didn't want to give us the amount of money they said in the contract. It was just one of these the times are changing type of things and we had been beaten around for so long it was just our time to take a break and that turned into what it did, which was a bunch of different things for different people.
Me: I like your music a lot, even though I'm not a big instrumentalist fan, but your music is cool. How were you treated as a whole as a band, sir, were you treated like odd ducks?
Andy: Hahaha. Yeah, "odd ducks" I have never heard used but it certainly fits. I guess the way I would describe it is we would defy easy classification so it was just one of those things were people were always trying to figure us out. Face it, we have a weird name, we live in the south, we're on Capricorn Records, we are not really rock.
Me: With that how did you guys become popular?
Andy: We just followed our path. It was really with Steve's compositions, the band's performances and that was combined with finding our audience. We continued to play and had people respond. It all worked to a degree and I appreciate what you're saying, but to a point of discovery how could this even be.
Me: Okay, what kinda genre would you say the band is in? Jazz rock? Haha.
Andy: I would say we had exposure to jazz that really wasn't our musical language. There's influence there with bands from the fusion era which was incredible, but when we trace back those guy we find a very different kind of DNA than with us. With us it's all about the 60s and 70s rock because that's where we came from. With all the stuff thrown in, it wasn't the reverse.
Me: When you guys started and were a support band who did you open for? I am guessing there were some weird parings.
Andy: Yeah, there definitely were. Somehow we always managed to win them over. In retrospect and this is kind of cool, we opened up for Muddy Waters in Boston. It was just like what? It was cool and a head scratcher, but it worked. We played a bill with the David Grissom Quintet and that was when Mark O'Connor was with Grissom and that was really weird because we were probably equally represented bands but the Grissom folks were kind of in the front row and they all had their hands over their ears when we played because we are like loud and rocky. It's crazy. Also, because of our name and the way the business is we played with all the southern rockers... Charlie Daniels, Molly Hatchet, Wet Willie, just on and on.
Me: What is cool, if you like the music or not, each one of you guys sure know how to play your instruments. Do you agree? Of course you do. Hahaha.
Andy: Yeah. There's something going on there that would draw someone's attention in and hopefully in a good way.
Me: If you had to describe the band to someone that never heard of you guys what would you say?
Andy: I think one of the defining features of the Dregs is the melodic aspect of it. It's not like we're playing singalong music, neither are we playing edgy extreme chops oriented instrumentals. It always had a purpose, the songs always told a musical story and take you on a journey somewhere. That's the whole point.
Me: How is the band different now writing or playing than you were when you guys first started?
Andy: In the early days we did a lot of experimental stuff, stuff we really liked. It was very interesting and weird, but when the audience didn't appreciate it and people who would normally be open to more kind of things, we didn't want to pound them over the head with a hammer just because we said eventually this will feel good. It wasn't like that.
Me: When you guys got back together in a room and started playing again how was it after all the years later? Did it come easy?
Andy: Yeah, I think to the point of just being able to grasp the music I think it was natural. The thing that was challenging was the technique. We had not been as challenging music as and to go back into it so deeply that was both interesting and wonderful but also really challenging. Being in the room together and playing songs was natural.
Me: You went away from the band and got a different kind of job. When I interviewed Jim Babjak from the Smithereens we talked about this a little. Do people know you were in the band and ask you to sign their CD's and stuff?
Andy: Haha. Mostly no but surprisingly after the Internet really started to catch on. Before the Internet it was a lot more people in my later part of my career started to recognize that I've been a successful musician and that it meant something. But only really rarely or occasionally. "Wait a minute, there was a guy named Andy West who was a bass player." "Well, yeah, that's me." "Oh, wow!" That was cool, but mostly not.
Me: Andy, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I'll hope you come back soon, and tell the other boys they need to be interviewed. Anything you want to say before you go?
Andy: Thanks so much for your time, and thanks to everybody for the attention. This is just a kind of gift for all of us as performers and listeners. We feel a real sense of community in that. Thank you.
Me: No worries. Take care, Andy, and good luck on the road.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Andy West for being my guest. The Phile will be back on Thursday with musician Keith Harkin. 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