Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum Tony Smith from Gone Dead Train

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Phile for a Thursday, and April 20th. You know what that means... today several planets will align causing the earth's moon to appear green for 90 minutes. This phenomenon is known as "green moon" and only happens once every four hundred and twenty years. See? You learnt something. Okay, it's also the unofficial birthday of the pot drug. Because it's 4/20, get it? Weed Day! It's also Hitler's birthday, but that's not really as fun.
Is United just straight up trying to go out of business? They keep having PR disaster after PR disaster after PR disaster. A woman named Maura Furfey wrote a post for Huffington Post detailing her own personal ordeal with United... the airline accused her Mexican husband of trafficking their own 3-year-old daughter, based on nothing more than the observation of a random passenger. Apparently the passenger was concerned that the man's daughter wasn't dark skinned like him (her mother is white, but wasn't present for the trip), and so she took it upon herself to alert someone on the plane. When the plane landed (they were returning from a trip to Mexico), Furfey's husband was approached by officers from the Port Authority and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and escorted off the plane before anyone else exited. Once they were off the plane, the officers surrounded them, asking question after question about where their daughter was born, who had been present, where her birth certificate was issued and so on. The little girl began crying from all the commotion. Finally, the officers asked for Furfey's phone number and called her with the same questions so she could verify the story. They were finally convinced that the Mexican man was the little girl's father and not someone trafficking her. They also mentioned to Furfey that the actual accusation came not from the CBP, who are "trained to identify these kind of situations," but from the woman who'd sat next to them on the plane. Bear in mind that the man had been traveling with a green card, a notarized letter from Furfey saying that she was permitting her daughter to travel to Mexico for the week, and passports for himself and the girl with the same last name. And did they get an apology from United? Well, sort of. When Furfey complained to the customer service department, they apologized and gave her a $100 travel voucher (which she claims is useless because they "won't ever fly with this particular airline again"). What she was hoping for was a promise that the airline would review its procedures, because, as Furfey points out, "a simple check of the passports or flight records would clearly show that there was no problem in this situation and would have prevented the drama and stress that it created." Does United hate their customers? Their shareholders? Being in business? SMDH.
Richard Spencer, aka everyone's favorite Nazi to punch in the face, got a verbal smackdown from a young student at Auburn University in Alabama yesterday, where he had rented out an auditorium to spread hate speech... I mean "speak," the Huffington Post reports. The event, which Spencer sprung on the school unbeknownst to them by renting out the room via a third party, NPR reports, was complete chaos. Spencer, who keeps trying to bring back white supremacy under the guise of the "alt right," and his legion of fascist followers, showed up, along with hoards of protesters. True to form, Spencer and his supporters tried to bully anyone with opposing opinions into silence. "He and his supporters continuously cut people off who were asking questions," Auburn student Morgan Buckels told the Huffington Post. "They disrespected people and he would call them boring or say he didn’t want to hear them and dismiss them." But it didn't quite work. Because even Spencer's army of bullies with buzz cuts were no match for one young black woman, an Auburn student whose name has not been reported. "I’m asking a question so we’re gonna listen," she said, while Spencer's supporters hurled insults at her. Nevertheless, she persisted, and managed to shut up the crowd enough to ask two powerful questions, which Buckels filmed. These were her questions: #1) "How are white people more racially oppressed than black people? Because I’m a black woman at a predominantly white institute and I want to know what challenges y’all face that I don’t." and #2) "How did it feel when you got punched in the face at the Inauguration?" Bravo. Unfortunately, the video cuts off before we get to hear Richard Spencer's response. But we can imagine it was something like "ouch." And you can watch Richard Spencer get punched in the face on the Internet anytime you want.
Here's a Mindphuck story for you... Royce Winnick, a photographer/mom from New York, was recently confounded by a homework assignment that her five-year-old daughter received in kindergarten. As a way of introducing youngsters to the alphabet, the handout gave them a letter (in this case "T"), then showed them a series of pictures and asked them to "tap out the word in the picture and write the sounds you hear." If that seems confusing to you, you're not alone. But strap in, because you're about to get much, much more confused.

For the life of her, Winnick couldn't figure out what the word for the rabbits was supposed to be? Troupe? Tawny? Trabbits? Neither Winnick nor anyone she knew could figure it out. She even shared the ditto on Facebook, but nobody had a clue. Her daughter wound up going with "pet." As you can see on the graded assignment, the teacher wrote "OK" next to the answer, indicating that it wasn't the answer she was looking for, but she'd accept it. (Maybe she finally realized how insane the question was.) Winnick shared the supposedly correct answer with The Huffington Post. The real answer was "vet" which makes no sense! Yes. "Vet." That doesn't even begin with T! What kind of crazy mind games are they playing with our children?!Winnick also shared the page for the letter "K" with The Huffington Post. If anything, it's more confusing. (For one picture, you have to guess that a man's name is Ken.) This kind of homework will either produce a generation of superintelligent geniuses, or perpetually depressed sad sacks with no self-esteem. Either way, this school is playing with fire.
Good news, ladies: weed tampons are here at last! A company called Fiora recently created "cannabis vaginal suppositories" as a way to help women deal with the sometimes unbearable pain of period cramps, and now finally available to the public. These cannabis-laced tampons contain THC and CBD (the two main active cannabinoid compounds found in marijuana), which help take down pain, release happy chemicals to the brain, and relax muscles and nerves. Many women who have already tried them are saying they've helped with the awful terror that is having your period. Admittedly (and understandably), these marijuana tampons are not super easy to get your hands on. To purchase them, you first have to join Fiora's collective... and depending on what state you live in, you might need to submit an application along with a physician's recommendation letter. They're not cheap, either. A pack of four will cost you $44 (that's $11 per tampon if you're already too baked to do math). But hey, it might be worth it if it means not being confined to the fetal position for a week every month.
Fresh off a "body positivity" debacle featuring tiny models in skinny jeans, clothing retailer Zara has been forced to pull an embroidered skirt from their website, according to the U.K.'s "Guardian." See if you can tell why...

Yes, that's Pepe the Frog, or close enough to draw the ire of commenters on Twitter. The skirt features several smug-looking cartoon frogs, and the Internet was typically quick in making the connection to Pepe, a smug-looking cartoon frog that has become the online mascot for white supremacists. Here's what you get if you type Pepe the Frog into Google Images...

Not great for a skirt. Pepe frogs often appear in the profile images of the alt-right and the Anti-Defamation League puts it in the category of "General Hate Symbols." (It should be noted that the original cartoon by artist Matt Furie didn't have the hateful connotation. As The Daily Beast explains, it was only after the meme had been around for years that it was eventually embraced by white supremacists.) A spokesperson for Zara said "there is absolutely no link to the suggested theme," the "Guardian" reported. “The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat. Mario explores social interactions through his work and in his own words: ‘The idea came from a wall painting I drew with friends some years ago.’" Nonetheless, the skirt is no longer available on the Zara website. The Pepe meme has become taboo for brands, and even social-media-hero Wendy's came under fire after tweeting it back in January.
Okay, let's talk about this crazy "unicorn" trend. In the past year or so, everything from unicorn eyeliner, to unicorn hair, to, yes, even unicorn horn dildos have been taking social media by storm, and at this point, the phenomenon is a feeling a little less... magical... and more overdone. Starbucks is the latest brand to hop on the sparkly unicorn-drawn bandwagon by debuting their new "unicorn frappuccino," because if you really want to live that unicorn life, it's not enough just to enjoy unicorn inspired things, you must also literally consume them. Damn, there is enough food dye in that thing to make your poop unicorn colored, too. What does it even taste like? Dreams and glitter? Now two hair stylists are taking on the challenge of making "unicorn frappuccino hair" the most Instagram-able trend yet. Living in 2017 is exhausting. St. Louis based hair stylist Caitlin Ford, who specializes in vivid hair color, is the woman behind this bright, bold unicorn frappuccino hair. She used Lime Crime's Unicorn Hair Dye for the impressive color. So, why are we all suddenly so obsessed with unicorns? Is the current political climate making us all regress into the child versions of ourselves because we seek the comforts of our simple pasts? Are we living out Lisa Frank fantasies later in life because brands better understand that nostalgia is a huge marketing opportunity? Or could it be that unicorn stuff is just really, really pretty?Who knows, but it seems that we are just about burnt out on the unicorn trend. Perhaps is won't be long before these fads, like the mystical unicorn itself, will cease to exist.
So, did you see the new trailer for The Last Jedi? There was one scene that kinda confused me...

I don't get it. Disney is very creative but sometimes when they create characters they don't know what they are doing. Like Pocahontas and John Smith.

That's creepy. Do you guys like Wendy's? I do, but sometimes they are rude to their employees.

Well, it's true... hahaha. Apart from the Phile being popular on the Internet, do you know what else is popular? Porn. But the problem is you can't really look at porn when you're at work... and I don't know want you to stop reading this blog and go look at porn. So, I thought I would show a porn pic that is SFW.

You're welcome, fellas. Hey, did you see the new United Airlines ad? It's kinda creative.

I think it's very clever. Hey, this just in... they're rebooting "The Beverly Hilbillies."

Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Trump... hahahaha. I amuse myself. Alright, I few entries ago I interviewed my sister Leila who is putting a great event together called Hops For Hope that will happen this coming Saturday. Here's the ad for it...

I say if yore in the Orlando area go and stop by or donate to Covenant House Florida. I think it will be a lot of fun and of course I'll be there. Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Phacts About Starbucks' New Unicorn Frappucino
5. Color changes from purple to pink as you drink it... and from pink to a horrifying neon red as you pee it out.
4. Plastic cup contains fewer artificial ingredients than the beverage itself.
3. Goes great with Panera's new Centaur Croissant.
2. An added shot of Pepto-Bismol helps alleviate excruciating stomach cramps and explosive diarrhea.
And the number one fact about Starbucks' new Unicorn Frappucino is...
1. Though the drink changes colors and flavors, you'll remain a ridiculous moron drinking a $5, 300-calorie milkshake for breakfast.

Ha! If you spot the Mindphuck, and I am sure you will, let me know. Hey, it's Thursday... you know what that means.

An American mother went to a McDonald's with her two 6 and 8-year-old children. She ordered two Happy Meals with chicken for the children and a hamburger with fries for herself. While they were eating, the 6-year-old was more interested in the slide across the street than in the chicken nuggets which he didn't even touch. So the mother decided she would eat them. Without actually watching what she was doing she was bringing a chicken biggest to her mouth, just when her 8-year-old son yelled not to eat it. So she looked at the biggest to find that... despite the crust, it looked just like a chicken's head. The manager offered them their meal for free and two more weeks of free meals. The mother pressed charges and demanded 100,000 dollars compensation.

Yuck! Gross! Okay, so, sometimes I complain about my life... and I am sure you complain about yours. Well, I thought a pick-me-up would be in order so I invited a friend of the Phile to give us some positive guidance in life. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man... you know what time it is.

So... you say you have a rough life... Your job sucks, the people you work with are idiots and your boss is a jerk. There are those out there picking through trash for bottles to cash in... so they can eat today... who only dream of having a crappy job like yours. One: Your significant other is a pain in the ass who gets on your nerves. There are those who go their entire lives never finding someone who loves and cherishes them... they spend their lives alone and depressed... they haven't got the strength to cry anymore... they've prayed for most their lives to no avail for someone like you have. Two: Your kids give you headaches and annoy you several times a day. There are those who long for but can never have children. Those whose child has been taken from them by disease or some tragic accident. Those whose spirits have been drained by the emptiness of mourning their own child. Three: You're upset because you don't like your hair or your weight or your body type or some other feature you need fixed. There are those who would trade everything they've got for an extension of the cancerous death sentence they've been given... for the chance to be free of the shackled life of constant treatments and pain... to be free of waiting for the inevitable to come and sweep what's left of them away. Four: You're tired of being so busy and all the running around... you need a break. There are those who sit in a wheelchair... wishing they could be in a hurry, running from their job to the gym... before going to the market and rushing through the aisles. Five: What I'm saying... is this. Count your blessings, I've just given you FIVE blessings that are probably already present in your life as you read these very words. So stop... fucking... whining about everything wrong with your life. Try this. Focus on what's right and celebrate it. Find a person with REAL problems and help put a smile on THEIR face. Because anything other than what came after the words  "Try this." Makes you nothing but a cunt... and I hate cunts... so, don't be a cunt...

Aaron Hernandez 
November 6th, 1989 — April 19th, 2017
Pretty good hang time for a guy that never played punter.

The alt-right, or alternative right, is a group of people who reject mainstream conservatism and embrace mainstream your uncle's Facebook timeline.

In an interview that aired on "Fox and Friends" Tuesday morning, which Donald Trump surprisingly wasn't live-tweeting himself, the president answered questions about the current situation with North Korea. Not only does Donald Trump not know what the plan is, it's also possible he doesn't know who is in charge over there. Trump said that two of his predecessors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have "all been outplayed by this gentleman." "This gentleman" likely refers to the current dictator Kim Jong-Un, who has been in charge since the 2011 death of his father, Kim Jong Il. Bill Clinton, who was president from 1993-2000, was outsmarted by "this gentleman's" father, who is a different person. People would like the President of the United States to be more specific when discussing foreign adversaries, or at least do a little more research. If his threatening tweets are any indication, it looks like he'll sure find out who's in charge.

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and lead singer of the cool band Gone Dead Train, whose latest album "Just Drive" is available on Bandcamp. Please welcome back to the Phile... Tony Smith.

Me: Tony, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Tony: Good... and busy writing a dozen more songs for Gone Dead Train.

Me: Okay, last time you were here you mentioned you live in France... but you're English. That's just wrong! Hahaha. I am sure we talked about this before, but why France?

Tony: France is 20 miles from England, the food is better, the weather (if you live down south as I do) is much better, the trains are better, the roads are better, the café is better... and my wife is French.

Me: What part of France do you live in?

Tony: South west, in Montauban, a medieval town near Toulouse.

Me: Is there anything fun to do there?

Tony: Not that much in Montauban but its only a 2 hours drive from the ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Pyrenees and the central mountain range. Montauban has twice weekly farmers markets... the town is great for sitting on café terraces watching the world go by. Spain is close too...

Me: Some of your band is French, right?

Tony: The guitarist, the rhythm guitarist and the drummer are French.

Me: So, who else is in the band?

Tony: John Bentley and myself who are both English. John only comes to play with us on larger dates as he lives in England. We’re playing the Vieussan festival in the Hérault with John on the 30th July.

Me: I have to talk about John... one of my favorite guests I ever had on the Phile. I'm glad he's still working with you.

Tony: Yes, he’s on all the tracks of the new album for 2017...

Me: How did you two meet?

Tony: I shared a house once with a mutual friend who introduced us.

Me: Did you grow up a Squeeze fan, Tony?

Tony: I really liked all their singles.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your band... Gone Dead Train. The name of the band is named after that great Randy Newman song from Performance. That's a great soundtrack for that movie. I remember watching that movie with my dad... he even played "Gone Dead Train" in concert and was gonna release it on his solo album. He recorded a great version of it. Do you guys play that song in concert? 

Tony: No, we don’t play it. I liked the slide guitar contribution by Ry Cooder on the track and I loved the film Performance... the only decent film Mick Jagger ever starred in.

Me: Do you play any covers in concert?

Tony: Just "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division to defend their honour in France. Ever since I witnessed the trendy french band Nouvelle Vague massacre it I‘ve vowed to play our version at every concert as an antidote... the rest are our own songs.

Me: George Thorogood heard my dad was gonna release the song "Gone Dead Train" and recorded a version of it himself on his "Haircut" CD. Have you heard that version?

Tony: No, ‘fraid not.

Me: Anyway, you guys have a new album out called "Just Drive." How did the album get that title?

Tony: It’s the title of one of the tracks... and also a change of style away from country alt back to more straightforward pop rock.

Me: Did you and John write all the songs on the album, Tony?

Tony: John co-wrote all the songs and he does all the backing vocals.

Me: This album has "Running Outa Beatles," a song on that was on the first album. Why did you put it on this album as well?

Tony: Because the video for the song was finally finished so we thought we’d slip the song on this album too.

Me: Where was the album recorded and how long did it take to record?

Tony: The album was recorded in Toulouse and in John’s studio near Brighton.

Me: I like the song and video "Sunshine." I have to show a screenshot of the video.

Me: Was that song written about Alice in Wonderland?

Tony: Alice and there is a "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" influence to.

Me: The whole Alice theme was pretty cool in the video, Tony. Who came up with the concept?

Tony: The video fitted well... actually it’s an education video from the sixties that was supposed to put teenagers off drugs!

Me: Ahhh. So, do you know who did the drawings for it?

Tony: A total pot head I should imagine...

Me: And who was that little girl that played Alice? Do you know?

Tony: Probably somebody’s grandmother now.

Me: True. There's another song on the CD called "Hey, Jemima." Is that someone in particular?

Tony: No, it’s just a name that fitted well.

Me: Are you guys working on a new CD to follow up with "Just Drive"?

Tony: Yes, we have 10 new songs recorded so far.

Me: I have to ask you about the album cover, that looks like a pic from America. Did you take that pic?

Tony: A friend took it on a road trip to the U.S. a few years back.

Me: The new album is not on iTunes yet, will it be?

Tony: We prefer just using Bandcamp. People can listen for free or download if they want to support the group (some people do). It’s a platform run by music lovers. I think all the others exist to rake in as much as they can and they’d be just at home selling washing powder if there were a few bucks in it for them.

Me: Where can I get an actual CD of it, Tony?

Tony: The contact mail is on the Gone Dead Train Bandcamp page and we can ship it anywhere for 10 dollars including post and packaging.

Me: Are you guys selling Gone Dead Train t-shirts?

Tony: No, I think the Chinese are making too many t-shirts as it is... they need a day off.

Me: Ha! So, I will probably interview John again... if he wants. What should I ask him if I interview him again?

Tony: He has a great radio show now on Radio Scarborough as well as playing live and working with us. I’m sure he’ll have lots to tell you.

Me: Tony, is there a website you'd like to mention?

Tony: L’église de la sainte consommation a sort of Ad Busters ‘à la française’... it’s funny and educational too.

Me: Thanks... I might check it out. Great job, Tony. Come back again soon.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and Tony Smith. The Phile will be back on Tuesday with Phile Alum Justin Levinson. 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

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pheaturing Pat The Batman Fan Evans

Holy blogging, Batman, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How're you? I had a thought... there are 492 billionaires on the planet and not one of those losers had decided to become Batman. Ever wonder why you never see Batman and I at the same time? It's because we're not friends anymore and things are awkward between us now. Haha. Hey, just a friendly reminder that you still have plenty of time do do your taxes at the last minute.
So, how's your Monday? I bet it's better than this story. Dr. Gilbert Kalonde is an assistant professor of technology education at Montana State University, and an amateur fisherman. In April 2015, he went to his local Walmart to buy a fishing license. During the process, a Walmart employee asked Kalonde what he does for a living. He explained he was a professor and provided his MSU credentials. But evidently, that wasn't good enough for this smartass clerk. "The Bozeman Daily Chronicle" reports that when Kalonde received his license, it listed his occupation as "clean toilets." There are multiple reasons why this prank is especially offensive. First of all, the man is a professor of higher learning. Also, he's an immigrant (from Zambia), which adds a possible discriminatory motive. And finally, "clean toilets" is not a job. It's not even a noun. The worst part is that Kalonde didn't even notice the sabotage until years later. He renewed his fishing license in 2016, and although he again made it clear he was a damn professor, his new license also said "clean toilets." He still had no idea, however, until he showed it to his teaching assistant and a few students, who asked if he had changed jobs. That's when he got mad. Professor Kalonde is suing Walmart for libel, claiming that the megastore wanted to expose him to "hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy." I know he's a man of letters, but he might want to dumb down the language of his lawsuit. The word "obloquy" might fly over the head of the guy who wrote "clean toilets."
Apparently the airline that can't figure out how to deal with an overbooked flight without calling the police to assault one of their passengers... and won't let little girls board its planes in leggings... is at it again. The ugly incident wasn't exactly violent or sexist this time, but in a way it seems even weirder. On Saturday, Michael Hohl and Amber Maxwell boarded a United flight with friends and family in Houston after flying down from Salt Lake City. The group's final destination was Costa Rica, where Maxwell and Hohl plan to get married on Thursday. But the couple, who were last to get on the plane, discovered a man lying down asleep in their row of seats. Noticing that the cabin was far from full, they simply sat down a few rows ahead... but still in the coach section. At that point, they said, a flight attendant demanded to know why they weren't in their correct seats, and wouldn't take "uh, there's a guy asleep there" for an answer. (Also, that's not even proper positioning for takeoff!) Eventually, and despite the fact that they woke up the mystery napper, an air marshal arrived and told the pair they would have to deboard. "We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat," Hohl told ABC affiliate News13. "We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat." United, meanwhile, accused the bride and groom of disorderly conduct, a charge they both deny. "We’re disappointed anytime a customer has an experience that doesn’t measure up to their expectations," the company said in a statement. These passengers repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating, which they did not purchase, and they would not follow crew instructions to return to their assigned seats. We’ve been in touch with them and have rebooked them on flights tomorrow." Ooooookay. Whatever you say, you psychotic airline. Obviously, Maxwell and Hohl will be thinking twice before flying the unfriendly skies with United again. But Maxwell's stepfather Michael Gallagher probably had the best take on the drama, "Truthfully, we all worried that maybe something would happen in Costa Rica, and we were willing to deal with that," he said. "Never in our wildest dreams did we think United was going to screw it up in Houston, Texas." Hey, at least they're consistently on-brand these days.
In a news story that bears unbelievable similarities to The Jungle Book, a girl around eight years old was discovered in a forest in India where she had been living "comfortably" with a tribe of monkeys, the "Times of India" reports. ​​​​​​Police reportedly rescued the "Mowgli girl" from a tribe of monkeys after she was spotted by a park ranger in the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh. "She was terrified of us, she could not speak or hear properly," one of her rescuers, Inspector Ram Avtar, told Cover Asia Press in a statement, according to the "New York Post." "She was surrounded by three monkeys. She had wounds on her body, specifically on her elbow and one on her leg. She was wearing clothes but not very dirty." He added that she "appeared to be abandoned by her family." "The Times" reports that she cannot speak or understand any (human) language, is scared of humans, and often behaves violently towards the doctors trying to treat her (like any human who had been living with monkeys would). When they first found her, she would swing her arms and walk on four legs, according to reports. Since her rescue, the girl has been in a district hospital for two months, where she is being taught to communicate and walk on two legs, Cover Asia Press reports. Dr. Dinesh Singh, who is treating her, said she is recovering slowly and "now walks like a human," but has tried to run away from the hospital. And can you blame her?I can't imagine what's more traumatic... living in the forest with monkeys, or being plucked from your monkey family by weird hairless creatures who speak a foreign language and force you to walk on two legs. Lots of media sources are calling her "Mowgli girl" after the young protagonist in The Jungle Book who lived in the forest among animals, quite happily aside from a few mishaps. I hope this little girl will find her way into a loving family. And I also hope she learns to speak, and eventually write, her story. That'll be one hell of a memoir.
Great news, winos! According to very important new research, one type of alcohol can actually boost your libido and improve your sex life, Metro UK reports. But before you get too excited, this is moderate amounts of only one type of booze. Still, we'll take it! Who knew science could be so useful?? So what's the magic libido-boosting booze? No big surprise, it's red wine. According to researchers, two glasses of red wine a day can significantly boost sex drive in both men and women. Just remember: more than two glasses can quickly backfire, so don't go overboard. The way this libido-booster works is a little different depending on your gender. For men, a compound in red wine called Quercetin blocks an enzyme that flushes out testosterone, subsequently boosting your testosterone levels and desire for sex. And for women, red wine gives your libido a lift by increasing blood flow to your "erogenous zones," Newsmax reports. Can't argue with scientific facts! Red wine is a popular thing to drink on dates, so maybe most people already had this one figured out. But in case you doubted its success in the past, science now verifies: red wine is one of the best aphrodisiacs on the market. And it's probably available in bulk at your local wholesale store. Time for a Costco run!
Okay, so, as this entry has as semi-Batman theme going, I have a Batman related story for you... Scottish mom Laura Hopkins found her little boy in front of a mirror covered in drawn-on lipstick and, naturally, asked him if he had done it. Hopkins's clever son, however, claims to be innocent. Batman, Gotham City's famed caped crusader, is to blame. Hopkins posted a video of the cute interrogation to the Facebook group The Unmumsy Mum, and it went viral, with over 700,000 views of the little boy's utter shamelessness. As if Batman would draw on the mirror! That's ridiculous! He's too busy protecting Gotham! Still, it has some basis in canon. At the end of The Dark Knight, Batman agrees to take the blame for a series of vigilante murders around Gotham that were, in fact, committed by a traumatized Harvey Dent. You have to imagine that he'd be okay with taking the blame for a cute kid who drew with lipstick on his mom's mirror.
Alright, so, a lot of kids are on Spring Break right now. If you're one of those kids I hope it does't end in disaster like like this guy with the best friends...

At least he has something to drink when he wakes up. So, yesterday I went to Star Wars Celebration Orlando and I was surprised when I saw one product that was being sold there...

Disney and their synergy. Haha. A new Star Wars TV show was announced as well...

That's fantastic! So, one of my favorite stores is Hot Topic... even though I feel so old when I go there. Anyway, there's a Hot Topic movie coming out which is kinda surprising. Here's the poster for it, kids.

What a great cast, I hope it's good. United Airlines has a brand new slogan which I don't know will help their cause...

Ha! I think it's clever. They are selling something which will be helpful though...

Fantastic. And now the week of the Internet in one pic...

Okay, I don't write for a newspaper but if I did chances are I would write something like this....

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

Top Phive Groups of People Who Went To See The Fate Of The Furious
5. People who can't get enough of the simmering sexual tension between Vin Diesel and his Dodge Charger.
4. Car insurance claim adjusters who simply can't believe their eyes.
3. Fans of things that go zoom-boomy-boom.
2. The franchise's screenwriters, doing research before starting F'nine and the F'nine-ious.
And the number one group of people who went to to see The Fate of the Furious are...
1. The Pep Boys.

Ha! If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, before I continue I have to mention something. A few entries ago I interviewed my sister Leila and we talked about her event she is putting together called Hops For Hope. Here's the add for it...

I hope you can go to it next Saturday... after all, I'll be there. Alright, one thing I think is funny is farting... and even funnier once in awhile fart stories makes it in the news. So, here once again is a pheature called...

This hilarious pic shows the moment an Internet cafe owner dropped a massive fart to clear his shop of customers.

CCTV footage from the cafe shows the owner impatiently sitting in his office as he waits for customers to leave at closing time. With their backs turned, the owner sneaks into the room before dropping his pants and letting it rip right under their noses. He then slopes off into his office with a beaming smile as if nothing has happened, poised for his customers' reactions. The foul prank appears to reap instant results as both computer users rush to the feet with their hands over their mouths. Visibly disgusted, one lifts his t-shirt over his mouth to mask the stench as he quickly exits the room.

Yesterday was President Donald Trump's first White House Easter Egg Roll, and DAMN IT, HE IS DOING IT HIS WAY! According to a video from Politico, a kid excitedly asks the president to sign his "Make America Great Again" hat. Much to the boy's delight, Trump complies... and then proceeds to toss the cap into a crowd of people. Wait, WHAT? "No!" shouts the kid as the president smiles. Then HE DOES IT AGAIN! I'm confused. Was he purposely bullying this kid, or did he forget what he was doing as he was doing it? Can Donald Trump just do one normal thing just once ever?

Cracker Barrel
Cracker Barrel is a chain of restaurants catering to highway travelers with the insanely specific need for both pancakes and a wooden sign that says "Never Enough Thyme."

Today's guest is a high Batman fan like myself who is the writer and director of the upcoming documentary "Beat of the Bat" which you can fund on GoFundMe. I did. Anyway, please welcome to the Phile... Pat The Batman Fan Evans.

Me: Pat, hello, how are you? Welcome to the Phile.

Pat: Thank you! Good to be here! 

Me: So, how long have you been known as Pat The Batman Fan?

Pat: Well, I've been a Batman fan since I was 4 years old, but I started referring to myself as Pat The Batman Fan on social media because I thought it was catchy and fitting. These days you have to be savvy with the online. Am I right, kids?

Me: I am a Batman fan as well, and the old TV series, which is now called "Batman '66" to some, is my favorite. That's the first TV show I got into as a kid. I was born just a few years after it ended though. What about you, Pat? Are you old enough to see the show when it originally aired?

Pat: Not quite old enough for the first run... Sounds like pretty much the same situation as you. I saw re-runs starting in the mid-70s. LOVE the "Batman '66" comics too.

Me: When did you first start to get into the show?

Pat: Right away!

Me: What about it did you like? I liked the characters and the look of the show myself.

Pat: I found it terribly exciting. Gadgets, villains, fights, the Batcave, the Batmobile! Like many others, being so young when it came out the camp part of it went right over my head! I thought it was all imminent danger! I have a very fond memory of my mom taking me to a Saturday matinee of it, 40 years ago. And obviously the theme song stuck with me...

Me: So, I have a small collection of Batman '66 items, but something tells me you have more. What is your favorite item do you have?

Pat: Ha ha. You might be right. I tend not to play favorites with anything but probably the rarest thing I have, '66-wise, is an autographed, personal photo of Madge Blake riding in a car during the 4th of July parade in Covina, CA, 1967. The banner on the side says "Aunt Harriet from TV's Batman". So cute. I got it from her granddaughter, along with a few call-sheets and an envelope addressed to her with a return label for the "Batman" TV show production office. I also make props from the show. Probably the most impressive looking one is my Batzooka. I also made a set of replica "Oceanic Bat-Sprays" that I'm proud to say reside in the awesome display at Wally Wingert's place (Planet Wallywood). Wally, of course is a tremendously successful voice actor (He played the Riddler in the Arkham game series) and one of the greatest fans of the '66 Batman show. He has been friends with Adam for 30 plus years and is in our documentary talkin' Bat-Music. Great guy!

Me: Pat, where are you from, sir?

Pat: Oak Harbor, Washinton originally, then Southern Maryland, we moved as I was entering high school. Which was quite a culture shock. In between, Florida, San Diego (I was in the navy), San Francisco and Seattle (I went to the Art Institute there).

Me: Where do you live now?

Pat: Los Angeles.

Me: Are you married, and does she share your passion for Batman?

Pat: Yes and yes, mostly in the form of buying me stuff for the Pat Cave. She likes most Batman stuff but she's very much into horror movies. She's also an amazing singer-songwriter! She's Native American and has played at the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, had her songs in movies and TV. She's playing the First Nations festival coming up here soon. On the horror side, she did the theme song for Heather Langenkamp's "I Am Nancy" documentary about playing Nancy in the Nightmare on Elm Street films. You should interview her as well. Check out her music at

Me: Okay, I will. So, you are putting together a documentary of the music of the "Batman" TV show... how and when did you come up with the idea for this?

Pat: I was watching a DVD about the behind-the-scenes of the '66 "Batman" and realized there was no discussion of the music. Since the very first album I owned was Neal Hefti's "Batman Theme and 11 Hefti Bat-Songs" I was struck by that, and immediately thought something needed to be done to fix it.

Me: How long has this project been going on, Pat?

Pat: I had the initial idea about 7 years ago. There have been starts and stops for various reasons... my dad died and I had some major health things happen, but I've been working on it in earnest in my spare time now for a couple years.

Me: I love the title for it, "The Beat of the Bat." Did you come up with the title before the idea for the film?

Pat: Thanks! It was the idea, then the title.

Me: You have interviewed some people for the film, right? Who did you interview?

Pat: Oh, yes! Many of our key interviews have been filmed already: leading film/TV music expert Jon Burlingame, legendary guitarist Bob Bain who played with Hefti, Riddle and May (!) and whose credits would take up the rest of the interview, surf-rock pioneer Michael Z. Gordon who had a hit with the "Batman Theme" with his band The Marketts BEFORE Neal Hefti, '66 Batman expert and actor Wally Wingert, musician Johnny Green, who was the leader of the Joker's green-haired band in "Surf's Up, Joker's Under" (and still has his green hair), composer Chuck Cirino ("Chopping Mall") who recorded his own version of Neal's "Batman Theme" in 1989, and English folk-rock duo Chad & Jeremy, who appeared on a 2-part episode of the show as themselves! We've been very lucky with getting great people so far.

Me: The writers and people behind the music are Neal Hefti, Nelson Riddle and Billy May, right? Those three have all passed on, so was it hard to find other people for the film?

Pat: Luckily, Bob Bain had worked with all 3 of them so he was a great resource. Also, Jon Burlingame had interviewed them as well and is just generally a walking music encyclopedia.

Me: So, which one of those guys wrote the famous "na na na na na na na na Batman" tune?

Pat: Neal Hefti!

Me: I think when people hear the words Batman a lot that's the first thing they think of, am I right? 

Pat: Absolutely! That's one of the things I always say. It's so tied to the character, to this day. You can walk up to anyone, anywhere in the world and say "Na na na na na na na na" and they will know exactly what you're talking about!

Me: How did you get in touch with Paul Hefti, Neal's son?

Pat: Picked up the phone and called him. Luckily he's a nice guy and he got on board with the idea right away!

Me: He's an Executive Producer for this film and is a musician himself like his dad, right?

Pat: Yes! He actually has his own project, Hefti Plays Hefti, which is a fantastic group that plays Neal's classic tunes with his own arrangements. They have an incredible singer called Devyn Rush, a real chanteuse. They've been playing out for about a year now. I encourage everyone to check them out at They're on Facebook as well. Great stuff, and I'm so happy to see it flourishing because it's something he's wanted to do for years.

Me: So, do you think he'll be interested in a Phile interview?

Pat: Couldn't speak for him, but certainly you should ask him! He's a great guy! Try contacting him through the Hefti Playts Hefti website.

Me: Do you play any instruments yourself, Pat?

Pat: Drums, but unfortunately I haven't picked up a set of sticks in years. I was just thinking that the other day. It would be nice to smash some skins again.

Me: Me too. You were trying to raise money on Kickstarter to fund the film but now you're doing it on GoFundMe. What happened?

Pat: Well, the Internet is a big place and there's a lot going on in the world. It didn't really start to catch on until the tail end of the campaign. It's just how it played out, despite our best efforts. So, when the Kickstarter ended unsuccessfully, we figured we should just keep plugging and flip it over to GoFundMe and keep the momentum going.

Me: What's your goal, Pat? How much are you trying to raise?

Pat: Twenty-five thousand would do the job, but I'm really hoping we can hit our stretch goal of 75,000 plus so we can include more music, video clips, etc. All the bells and whistles.

Me: So, when someone pledges what do they get?

Pat: We have all sorts of rewards from digital/Blu-ray copies of the films to t-shirts. I'm going to be adding more personal perks, putting up more stuff from my personal collection. Anything to make the film!

Me: I pledged 70 dollars... so what do I get?

Pat: At that level you get the Official Beat of the Bat T-Shirt, a Blu-ray copy of the film, digital downloads of both posters & of course, thanks in end credits!

Me: So, how much money have you raised so far?

Pat: About 2,000 in jut a few days so far. Need to keep that momentum! Come on, Bat-fans, we need you!

Me: Is this your first documentary you have ever done, Pat? 

Pat: Yes, although I did do a silly, short faux-documentary about being a no-talent comic when I worked at the Improv. I had Sarah Silverman, Craig Robinson, Zach Galifinakis, Jay Mohr and a few other people basically insulting me in it. I should see if I can find a copy of that somewhere. This was before YouTube was a thing so we didn't really do anything with it at the time. Just for funnies.

Me: That's so cool. Are you in the film business?

Pat: For the last five years I've been coordinating large scale crowds of extras for films such as Jason Bourne, Straight Outta Compton, Steve Jobs and others.

Me: I love the promo video on the GoFundMe page. How did you get this props made, and the Batman gloves and stuff?

Pat: Thank you! As I mentioned, making props from the show is something I love doing, so any excuse to do it! I made the Bat-Amp and Bat-Picks, imagining what they would look like if the had been made for the show. I'll be including a lot of prop stuff into the film. I think it is an effective way to capture the spirit of the show and make things more visually exciting. The costume is a spot-on replica owned and worn by my buddy Scott Sebring, who is a great guy and one of the top '66 Batman fans. He has done Batman cosplay at major events, including Adam's star ceremony at the Walk of Fame. He was nice enough to be in the trailer. We were very careful not to show too much of him though, can't show the emblem or anything that. The gloves were actually borrowed from, again, Wally Wingert, because Scott's had some wear from doing so much cosplay and he hadn't had a chance to replace them. So we borrowed a pair of Wally's, which worked out great cause we only had a day with Scott and I so the next day I put on the gloves and did the close-up hand stuff myself.

Me: Have you heard from anybody like Adam West or Burt Ward about this documentary? Have you approached them?

Pat: Can't say anything about that just yet.

Me: Ahhhh. I tried to get both of them on the Phile actually but no luck... I was soooo close with Adam. Have you met any of them?

Pat: I have met Adam and Burt both briefly on a couple of occasions. The first time I met Adam I was extremely nervous and babbled like an infant. The next time I was slightly more composed.

Me: I met Adam once at MegaCon... and was nervous as well. Over the years some people have covered the Batman theme... Iggy Pop, Flaming Lips, NRBQ, The Who... do you have a favorite version?

Pat: Again, don't usually like picking favorites but in this case, absolutely the original Neal Hefti version. But there have been some unbelievably great covers over the years. And it was the most recorded song in 1966! Most of them I like, for various reasons. Some are downright scary.

Me: Alright, so, how are you getting the word out about this pledge? I know you have done a podcast and this interview on the Phile should help.

Pat: You ever see those guys on the corner, spinning signs?

Me: All the time.

Pat: I hired a couple of them. And I've been driving around in a Batmobile making announcements, Blues Brothers-style. But mainly podcast interviews & social media.

Me: When do you plan to have "Beat of the Bat" released, Pat?

Pat: If all goes to plan- famous last words... by Christmas.

Me: So, do you have any other documentaries in mind?

Pat: I do, about the history of autograph collecting. I also have a dark, twisted original film I'd really like to make called Lucky Town.

Me: So, apart from "Batman '66," by the way, you read the comics, right? They're pretty good... anyway, apart from the TV show, what other Batman did you like?

Pat: The comics are great, I wish I had more time to read them. I like most Batman stuff for different reasons, some more than others. But aren't we lucky to live in a time where you can take your pick of so many different versions of Batman? 

Me: Did you like the Batman vs Superman movie? I did not.

Pat: His suit was cool. Physically, he probably looked the most like the Batman I imagine in my mind's eye. I just think Zack Snyder and I have wildly different versions about how Batman would behave. Superman as well. But one could argue the same about the Adam West version. Why would Batman run around in daylight, making sure he paid his parking meter? You could find problems with any of the film versions of Batman, and comic versions too. Depends on your taste. But overall "BvS" was not for me.

Me: What about the new Batman animated movie that came out last year? That's really good, right? 

Pat: It is excellent, yes! Return of the Caped Crusaders. Adam, Burt and Julie came back to play their original roles. Wally Wingert played the Frank Gorshin Riddler in it as well... a dream for him cause Frank is a hero of his and he knew him! Also, the dynamic music partners... long time animated Batman music composers did the music and knocked it out of the park, incorporating the feel of the music of the show but modernizing it brilliantly. Lorne Balfe did the same with the Lego Batman Movie. And actually, Michael McCuistion from DMP took some classes from Neal Hefti in college! Talk about fate!

Me: One off topic question I have for you, I saw a pic of you backstage at the "Conan" show... how did that happen?

Pat: My buddy Gary Cannon, who is a hell of a human being, does warm up for the show. I've known him since 2000, we used to do open mics together. He, unlike myself, continued to do comedy and moved up through the ranks. Then, while I worked at the Hollywood Improv as a showroom manager, he hosted a ton of shows there. Hosting is a lot different than doing straight stand-up. Gary is a master of it.

Me: You should try to get on "Conan" and I guarantee you'll earn enough cash to make a dozen Batman documentaries. Am I right? Y

Pat: Yes, I considered a King of Comedy type hostage thing with Conan but eventually decided against it. Maybe I could abduct Andy Richter and hold him for ransom? Put me on the show or the sidekick gets it! That's almost a '66 "Batman" plot.

Me: Okay, so, if someone wants to pledge money to this fund what's the address, Pat?


Me: When it comes out would you want to come back on the Phile?

Pat: If I'm still capable of speech, gladly!

Me: Thanks so much for being here on the Phile, I really hope you will come back again soon, and I hope this film gets made. I am looking forward to seeing my name in the credits. Is there anything else you wanna mention?

Pat: Every Batman fan, please go to Check out the videos we have there, read all about the film. Then pledge at least $5 and help us write this final chapter in the history of '66 "Batman" history and give credit to these amazing musicians! Iif every Batman fan does that right now, we'll be golden!

Me: Alright, sir, take care, and good luck, and I hope to have you back on the Phile soon!

Pat: Thank you! Anytime!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to pat for a Bat-tastic interview. The Phile will be back Thursday with Phile Alum Tony Smith from Gone Dead Train. 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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum Zeeshan Zaidi From The Commuters

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? Happy National Scrabble Day to the remaining few people who can spell without autocorrect.
Let's start off with a nice story... Bryce Lacey, a 19-year-old Sam Houston State University student, was home visiting his father, Charles, a veteran of the Vietnam War, in Richmond, Texas. Charles Lacey was showing his son some of his old military photos, and Bryce couldn't help but notice that there was one man who was present in nearly all the photos. Charles identified the man as Kermit Powers, a war buddy of his who he'd lost touch with a few years after the war. It's been almost 40 years since Lacey and Powers have spoken, so Bryce decided to use the force of the Internet to see if he could help track Kermit Powers down for his father. His tweet, which included an old photo of the two friends, was retweeted almost 56,000 times. The Internet got together and Nancy Drew'ed the situation, and the first clue found was an obituary for an Evelyn Kelly Powers, which mentioned a son named Kermit, of Germany. Someone else found a LinkedIn profile for a Kermit Powers, but it didn't look like the account was used much (he was listed as "retired"). It did show that the man lived in Germany, though. A woman found a Twitter account for a man named Kermit Powers, who did look a lot like the man in the old photos. It showed that he was retired and living in Germany, but they couldn't be sure it was the same man that Bryce's father Charles was looking for. Then someone found a Facebook page for a man named Kermit Powers. The Facebook account also didn't look it got much use, but Bryce sent a message anyway. And he got a response! Speaking to BuzzFeed, Bryce said that his dad was "surprised" that he'd managed to track down and even speak to Kermit Powers. He added, "My mom will have to download Skype so they can talk." Good job, Internet! See, sometimes not everything on the Internet is awful.
Last night, Anderson Cooper and his panel addressed Donald Trump's comments on his discussion with Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to the Huffington Post, the conversation between the two world leaders led to a Trump revelation that, in Donald Trump's own words, the escalating situation with North Korea is "not so easy" to resolve. Here's the full quote, "After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it's not so easy. I felt pretty strongly that [China] had tremendous power [over] North Korea. But it's not what you would think." You know, just the international crisis that hasn't been solved for 65 years. The one involving North Korea and South Korea... which are technically still at war because they've never been able to agree on a peace treaty. That one. Apparently, Donald Trump has just now realized it's "not so easy." Look how flustered Anderson Cooper is! He can't even speak!

Isn't that funny? Isn't if funny how we're all in so much trouble?
Just when you thought things couldn't get worse for United, SCORPIONS. By now you've probably heard about the terrible PR nightmare United Airlines is facing after a doctor from Kentucky was forcibly dragged off a flight. Just when we thought things couldn't possibly get worse for the embattled airline, a scorpion falls out of one of their overhead compartments and stings a passenger. According to, United passengers Richard and Linda Bell were on a flight back home to Calgary from Houston after spending two weeks on vacation in Mexico when a scorpion fell out of an overhead compartment and onto Richard. They didn't recognize what the animal was until a passenger sitting next to them told them it was a scorpion. (Linda told Global News Canada she thought it looked like a cute little lobster at first.) Richard quickly got the animal out of his hair and dropped it onto his tray. When he picked it up again, it stung him. Another passenger nearby threw the scorpion on the ground, stomped on it, and discarded the remains in the toilet. When the plane arrived in Calgary, emergency personnel came on board to examine Richard. He declined medical attention and an EMS spokesperson said he "showed no signs of distress." (Other than being subject to scorpions falling from the sky.) No one knows how the scorpion got on the plane, but the best guess is that it snuck on board in a passenger's luggage. I guess United is now providing in-flight snacks and scorpion stings? Man, tough week.
Before Sean Spicer was picking fights with Dippin' Dots on Twitter or toting "alternative facts" as the White House Press Secretary, he held one of the weirdest jobs on Capitol Hill... playing the Easter Bunny for the annual White House Easter Egg roll. According to "The Washington Post," Spicer played the Easter Bunny during the George W. Bush Administration. In those days, Spicer was the Republican National Committee communications director and moonlighted as the oversized rodent. Not unlike his current job, Spicer donned oversized clothes and paraded around as a mascot for something that most people don't believe in. In an interview with Politico that recently resurfaced, Sean Spicer admits that the suit "gets very hot" and that signing up for the morning shift is key. Spicer also says that he has been passing out candy as the Easter Bunny for two years, though he probably hoarded all the gum for himself. The only difference between Spicer's former gig and current job is that instead of scaring little children, he now scares adults.
Hey, check out these throw pillows. Notice anything weird about 'em?

At first glance, you may see some pretty blue flowers! At second glance, you might see something a little more... penis-y. It's like one of those pictures you have to stare at for a while before you actually see what is going on. According to the original poster of the picture, their mother purchased the NSFW decor without realizing that the pattern is actually extremely phallic. It's a pretty understandable mistake too. Good news is that if you love the print and dream of being wrapped up in some penis flowers, you can buy a blanket using the fabric here:, you weirdo.
Have you kids seen the movie Ghost in the Shell? I was gonna see it until I saw this pic from the movie...

It's not exactly what I had in mind. Haha. That's stupid. That's as stupid as...

Awe. RIP, Billy. So, Easter if a few days away and if you're lucky you might get this in your basket...

But when you unwrap it you'll get this...

Surprise, motherfucker. So, I saw this pic the other day...

And I thought to myself it reminded me of something and then it hit me...

So, a lot of kids are on Spring Break and not every Spring Break is a success... like for these northerners...

Hyperthermia before liquor, you've never been sicker. Hey, did you see United's new new logo? No?

Just in case you didn't see what happened on that United flight, here it is...

Hahahaha. And now because it's Easter in a few days here is a picture of the Easter Bunny and two cute kids.

It's Thursday, so you know what that means...

A woman in Northern Ireland discovered part of an oven glove baked into her slice of bread... and she didn't even notice it until she began eating it. The loaf had been bought from a local shop just before Christmas. When the victim discovered the contamination, she reported the matter to the environmental health section of the council. The packet turned out to be full of shreds of the hessian-type cloth. Herefordshire-based Hovis makers Premier Foods were fined £750.

Yuck! Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Startling Similarities Or Differences Between The United Airlines Incident & Trump's Syria Strike
5. Was an appropriate use of force.
4. Resulted from a coherent, smartly-crafted policy.
3. Caused negligible damage to aircraft,
2. Improved the world's opinion of America.
And the number one Startling similarity or difference between the United incident and the Syria strike is...
1. Will help the Syrian civil war.

If you don't spot the Mindphuck don't ever read the Phile again. Hahaha. Alright, on Monday's entry I had my sister on the Phile and she talked about the event she put together called Hops For Hope and I thought I'd plug it again...

If you are in Orlando on April 22nd try and go. I will be there. Okay, so, I like to give people a chance in life. There's this comedian who likes telling jokes, but doesn't quite get the concept of what a joke is. He has been on the Phile a few times and tried but comes up shirt each time. Anyway, I thought I'll give him another shot as I am in a good mood. So, please welcome back to the Phile once again...

Me: Hey, Ollie, what's up? How are you?

Ollie: I'm okay, Jason. Thanks for giving me another chance.

Me: No worries. Okay, tell us a joke.

Ollie: Okay. Whats green and has wheels?

Me: Ummmm... I don't know. What?

Ollie: Grass, I lied about the wheels.

Me: Ugh. Ollie, that's not really funny. Try again, my friend.

Ollie: Okay. What is red and smells like blue paint?

Me: I don't know. What?

Ollie: Red paint.

Me: Hahaha. That's a little better. Okay, one more, Ollie. Make it good.

Ollie: How do you confuse a blond?

Me: Ummm... I have no idea.

Ollie: Paint yourself green and throw forks at her.

Me: Haha. Not too bad. Ollie Tabboger, the Guy Who Doesn't Know How To Tell A Joke, everybody.

J. Geils 
February 20th, 1946  April 11th, 2017
One thing's for sure... his corpse stinks.

Easter is an annual religious holiday celebrating the one-hour resurrection of your lapsed Catholicism.

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and the lead singer for the New York based band The Commuters whose latest EP "Before I Was Born" is available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Zeeshan Zaidi.

Me: Hey, Zeeshan, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been? It's been four years since you were. Holy shit.

Zeeshan: Thanks for having me again! That’s insane... time flies! I’ve been great, very happy to be back.

Me: You still have one of the coolest names out of everybody I ever interviewed. What is its origin? 

Zeeshan: Thanks, man, I wish I could take credit, but my parents picked it. Zeeshan is an Arabic word, meaning something like The Great One. Not a very humble name, but I didn't pick it.

Me: Oh! Congratulations on being a new father. How is that going for you?

Zeeshan: Fatherhood is great! And incredibly challenging as all parents know. It’s a journey, it’s nuts, it’s enlightening.

Me: You have a daughter, right? That's cool. Enjoy it now, my friend. My son is 17-years-old already. Time does fly, man.

Zeeshan: Two daughters! The older is 4 and a half, and the younger is 3-months-old. Time definitely flies.

Me: Having a child has changed your songwriting a little, right? Wasn't the title track to your new EP "Before I Was Born" about her?

Zeeshan: Yep, I wrote this song a few years ago after the birth of my first child. When she was born I was struck by the intensity of the relationship she had with my wife... and the familiarity. So it was about that, but more generally it is about how sometimes people in this world have such a strong, intense connection that you have to believe that their relationship transcends this life... will either continue after or existed before.

Me: By the way, I have a bone to pick with you... your song 'You'll Stay Right Here" made me fucking cry like a baby. Tell the readers what the song is about.

Zeeshan: It’s a message of support to someone going through a very tough time. I wrote it when I learned that someone very close to me was diagnosed with cancer. The song was my way of saying "I’m with you, and you’re going to beat this. You’re not going anywhere." That’s the main message. But in a secondary way I guess it’s also about the bumpy emotional ride experienced not just by the person suffering but by those who are standing by him or her. There’s a painful helplessness to that situation... I tried to capture it in the line, “You know that I’d gladly take your place / But it isn’t up to me.” As someone offering support it’s not about you, and you don’t want to make it about you... you just wish you could do more. (Sorry to make you cry, man!)

Me: It's okay. Both of my parents passed away from cancer in 2000... and cancer has touched my life in more ways to count. So, in way your song touched me. Have you heard many stories like that?

Zeeshan: So sorry to hear that, must have been incredibly tough… Yeah, once we released the song and the video the response was overwhelming. People whom I’d known for a long time dropped me notes telling me about how they had relatives, friends, parents who had battled blood cancer and other cancers... and either won or lost. Fans gave the same messages. It was so striking how widespread cancer’s reach is and how it’s affected pretty much everyone. That’s why we want to do everything in our power to help those searching for a cure... the proceeds from “You’ll Stay Right Here” all went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the video was made to spread awareness.

Me: We'll talk about the EP and stuff in a moment. You're originally from Canada, right, but now live in NYC. How long have you lived there?

Zeeshan: Yep, born in Canada, grew up in the Philippines, lived in Boston for 8 years and now New York for almost 17 years...

Me: Last time you were here I was meant to ask you something about Canada but I forgot... I ask all my Canadian guests of they are fans of one of my all-time favorite bands Barenaked Ladies. Are you a fan of theirs?

Zeeshan: Who isn’t? They’re awesome. Much respect to anyone who can stay together as a band for that long.

Me: Your music reminds me a little of David Bowie. Is he an influence of yours?

Zeeshan: Yes, huge! That just made my day. He was such an incredibly artist, visionary, and songwriter. So much depth and intelligence in everything he did.

Me: Where were you when you heard David Bowie had died?

Zeeshan: At home... just absolutely floored me. Was getting into the new album and then realized it was his parting gift to us mortals.

Me: You have known Uri, who is in The Commuters, and is your guitarist pretty much all your life, right?

Zeeshan: Yep, pretty much all of my conscious life. We met when we were 6, in first grade. Classmates all the way until we graduated from high school.

Me: Is it a coincidence you both ended up living in New York and being in a band?

Zeeshan: Call it coincidence or call it fate. We both went to college in Boston and then lived there afterwards and moved to New York at around the same time.

Me: The band name comes from all you guys being from different places if I remember. Correct me if I am wrong.

Zeeshan: Yes, that’s part of it. It’s about being on a journey... through life, through the musical world... but always returning home.

Me: Do you have the same guys in the band as your last release "Rescue"?

Zeeshan: Yep! Same foursome: me, Uri, Ben (bass), Paul (drums).

Me: Okay, let's talk about "Before I Was Born." What took so long for you to release a follow-up to "Rescue"?

Zeeshan: Life… two of us had kids we were all busy, and then all of a sudden you look up and a few years have gone by.

Me: How would you compare the two EP's, Zeeshan?

Zeeshan: I feel like the second one is both a continuation and an evolution. I think they sound like they’re by the same band but with a slight departure sonically and stylistically.

Me: Did you do all the songwriting on this EP?

Zeeshan: Yep.

Me: All your songs have deep meaning, and you put a lot of thought into them I am guessing. Does songwriting come easy for you?

Zeeshan: That’s really nice of you to say. It all varies by the song. Sometimes the inspiration comes with a pretty baked out song idea. Sometimes I have a lot of writing, thinking and work to do. It’s definitely a craft that takes time and devotion for anyone.

Me: You guys recently went to Europe. How was that, playing over there?

Zeeshan: Amazing! It was just London, but it’s one of my favorite cities in the world and our fans from the U.K. have always been incredibly supportive so it was great to make it over there.

Me: How would you compare American audiences from European audiences?

Zeeshan: Honestly couldn’t tell the difference... I think people are people and fans are fans anywhere in the world.

Me: Is there a favorite gig you have played?

Zeeshan: There are several but one that’s particularly memorable is was our album release show around "Rescue." Great energy, packed the house, lots of press in attendance. Good times.

Me: You were once Senior Director of Marketing for Arista Records... that's a dream job. Why did you give it up, Zeeshan?

Zeeshan: That's right... I was Senior Director of Marketing for Arista Records. Did all of the online and sponsorship marketing for OutKast and CeeLo and the other artists on the label (Santana, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Pink, Dido, Usher). It was a lot of fun... Arista got merged into the RCA Music Group, and I was there for a few years before moving on into the tech startup world for a while.

Me: What you learned doing that you put towards The Commuters, right?

Zeeshan: A lot about how to connect with fans... let them know you’re around... engage them, and keep them loyal. It’s been very useful experience for sure.

Me: Did you go to school to study marketing?

Zeeshan: Not directly. Economics undergrad, and then law school and business school.

Me: A lot of people asked me if I would market the Phile. I just laughed at them... it's just a stupid little blog. What's your favorite marketing campaign you have worked on, Zeeshan?

Zeeshan: Not a stupid blog... it’s a great blog! I’ve had the privilege of doing marketing for a lot of great campaigns... one of my favorites was doing the online marketing for OutKast’s "Speakerboxx/Love Below" double album. We just knew we were working on a historic work of art. 

Me: So, when are you guys gonna play in Florida? I wanna go if you do.

Zeeshan: We should! Will definitely keep you posted.

Me: Alright, I hope it's not gonna be another four years before your next release comes out. The Phile might be ending in 2018, and I really would love to have you back here. Go ahead and mention your websites and everything. 

Zeeshan: Yes, will try to get my act together to bang out more songs more quickly! Also... that’s a bummer about the Phile ending! Will definitely try to come back before that happens... Your fans can watch our new video here: And find us online here: Website:, Facebook:, Twitter:,  Instagram:, Music Links:

Me: Continued success and enjoy fatherhood, my friend. Take care.

Zeeshan: Thanks, my man!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Zeeshan for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Monday with Pat The Batman Fan Evans. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a good Easter.

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