Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pheaturing Graham Wood

Hey there, welcome to another entry of the Phile. How are you? Let's start off with some movie news. Beloved British actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba will both be playing the villainous tiger Shere Khan in upcoming live action film adaptations of Rudyard Kipling's classic story "The Jungle Book". Elba will play the terrifying jungle cat in a Jon Favreau-directed version for Disney, while Cumberbatch will give his interpretation in Andy Serkis' directorial debut for Warner Bros. It's a good time to be a fan of BBC detective dramas/imperialist anthropomorphic children's books. You know, if Benedict Cumberbatch is not in the movie you are watching, you can call him and he will come over and watch it with you.  Texas Gov. Rick Perry proudly walked through crowds of adoring supporters toward the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, where he turned himself in on felony accusations of abuse of power before smugly posing for his mugshot and triumphantly promising the nation that he would be vindicated. Obviously, this led many to wonder if this signals the end of his presidential ambitions. Did you see his mugshot? Check it out.

His mugshot is the Texas politician's version of young Ray Liotta popping his arrest cherry in Goodfellas. He's a big boy now.  Former President George W. Bush one-upped spoil sport Barack Obama by accepting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for which he was nominated by his daughter, Jenna Bush Hager. Well, kind of. His wife Laura actually accepted the challenge on his behalf. Probably in retribution for eight years of forced smiles and dealing with the subtle smell of decay wafting from Dick Cheney at all times. I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge myself the other day. So, you can all stop, it's officially not cool anymore. Haha. Actually, don't stop. I actually challenged Kelly Clarkson to do it, but then again so did Reba bloody McEntire. Anyway, dunk a bucket of ice water over your head and donate to  Mo'ne Davis, the 13 year old pitcher for South Philadelphia's Taney Dragons who many believe has what it takes to break the gender barrier in Major League Baseball just became the first Little League player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Her fast ball has been clocked at 71 mph, which would be like a 93 mph pitch on a standard MLB field. So, no, you wouldn't be hitting it. The secretly great part of rooting for Mo'ne Davis that we can actively root against other children without guilt. Get bent, tweens!  According to a new study, American workers... who already get considerably less time away from work than workers in many other countries, are barely using the vacation time they get. Employees currently use only about 51 percent of their paid leave, and 61 percent of the people who do take time away are still attempting to get work done while they should be resting. This is what they call "the American work ethic," or in other countries, "being a dumbs."  Sarah Palin, a woman who made a career out of performing as a folksy, hyper-realistic version of a real-life politician, has taken issue with Tina Fey for doing her Sarah Palin impression a couple times on "Saturday Night Live". In an updated version of the book "Live From New York", Palin is quoted as saying: "If I ran into Tina Fey again today, I would say: 'You need to at least pay for my kids' braces or something from all the money that you made off of pretending that you're me! My goodness, you capitalized on that! Can't you contribute a little bit? Jeez!'" Still waiting for Sarah Palin to tell me how to feel about the situation in Ferguson. And I'm still waiting for Sarah Palin to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  This is a crazy story I have to tell you... Robert Burt, a 19 year old Maine resident, was arrested for a DUI back in June. For that offense, he was sentenced to spend 48 hours in Somerset County Jail, which he served earlier this month. When he showed up for his two days of court-ordered incarceration, he was wearing a t-shirt featuring the mugshot from his initial arrest, along with the words: "Burt Family Reunion 8/8 – 8/10/2014." So I suppose means that there was at least one other member of the Burt clan residing in the facility at the time. And just in case you're worried that young Mr. Burt wasn't taking this drunk driving offense as seriously as he maybe should, don't worry. According to the shirt, he went to the trouble of getting the reunion "sponsored by Bud Light and Somerset County Sheriff," so he clearly put in some administrative effort into the whole ordeal. I wonder what Robert Burt's next mugshot might look like.

So, I'm a tree drinker, okay. I'm from England and love my tea. I saw this ad which makes me not wanna drink tea anymore.

A Phile reader sent me this picture the other day...

He said it was very funny, but I don't get it at all. What team is that guy playing for, why is he running with a cat and why is he at Publix why is Paul Blart: Mall Cop chasing him? I do not get it at all. Can someone explain? This is very annoying. Moving on... but email me me if you know what it means. By the way, football season is just a few weeks away, and I'm wearing my New York Giants Championship t-shirt. I hope I will get a new one next year.  I have to show you something which is not funny, but I get questions on where I lived in England... I found this picture on-line and wanted to show it.

That's Burford in the front and in the back is Fulbrook the village where we lived from 1984 tip 1987. Beautiful, right? It's miles away from the nearest comic book shop though.  I saw this picture the other day as well of an UPS delivery person...

I have never seen a UPS employee like this. I might need to start ordering more stuff from Amazon. Haha. Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Things Overheard During Rick Perry's Mughsot
5. Beautiful! That's the perfect look of smug disdain.
4. Rethinking the death penalty for minor felonies, sir?
3. The suit jacket and tie with the neon Speedo and Chuck Taylors was an interesting choice...
2. While you're here would you care to take the Ice Bucket Challenge?
And the number one thing overheard during Rick Perry's mugshot...
1. The best part is, if you beat this rap, you can use the photo on your campaign posters!

This is a hard one. If you spot the Mindphuck email me at Okay, so the big craze this week it seems is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Well, a friend of the Phile wanted to come on and say something about it. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

I feel a need to vent here... I know... GEE, what a surprise, Jim... you almost NEVER do that. Just got through setting a good friend straight who made the large type error of trying to call me out on something. I'll explain... She calls me up and says, "I'm placing your name in the hat for that Ice Bucket Challenge." "Please don't... I'm not interested." "Oh come on, what's wrong with you? It's for a good cause... Don't you ever do anything for charity? Are you THAT cold and self centered?" I SNAPPED!!! "How dare you? You have NO fucking idea how much of my salary I donate every year to various charities! How much of my time and services I give to causes, charities and sick kids! Who the fuck are you coming at like that? You should know what you're talking about before you even THINK about opening your mouth! Besides... this whole Ice Water Challenge is a bunch of selfie taking photo ops for people who wanna jump on this ribbon wearing, LOOK AT ME, I'M HELPING OUT bullshit. Wanna help people? Fine... DO it and then shut the fuck up about it. Stop looking for a statue of you to be built in the village square just because you wrote a hundred dollar check and dumped a bucket of ice & water on your head for your latest profile picture and status update." Fucking IDIOTS! Grrrrrrrrrr...

Good job, Laird. I was gonna challenge you as well. Whew! Haha. Okay, the 33rd book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile book Club is...

Lonnie Burr will be a guest on the Phile next Friday. He's an original Mousketeer, you know.

Don Pardo
February 22nd, 1918 — August 18th, 2014
Saturday Night De... no. Wait. I can't do that. That's ridiculous. What have I become? Just going for the obvious? No. This pheature has a long, proud tradition of finding the funniest blurb I can from a giant pile of steaming obvious. It's time to kick it up a notch. Time to light the collective fire under my ass, and come up with something more than good. Something GREAT. Here we go: Dammit. Nothing. Fuck. Sorry.

Okay, today's pheatured guest is the creator and writer for the YouTube video "We Didn't Own An iPad" which has over 2,000,000 views already. I love it, it's so clever, so I invited him onto the Phile. Please welcome to the Phile... Graham Wood.

Me: Hello, Graham, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Graham: I'm marvelous thanks, Jason. I'm sitting here with just my boxers on with a free standing fan cooling me off. It's been in the 30s today and I haven't stop bloody moaning about it. I'm British by the way.

Me: So, is this your first American based interview?

Graham: It is indeed. I have done one for a national paper and hit the dizzy heights of doing one for the local rag, but it is my first one across the water. Do you think we may need a translator as being a man I don't own a fanny, but I believe I owned one of these bags back in the 80s.

Me: We don't need a translator. Haha. I don't know how I came across your music video "We Didn't Own An iPad" but I am glad I did. It made me laugh and get teary eyed. How long did it take for you to write that song, Graham?

Graham: It actually took me longer to sieve through all the images that I wanted to use than it did to write the song and edit the video. Every other image that came up courtesy of Google sent me down another avenue of nostalgia and I'd just sit in front of my laptop like a grinning twat reminiscing things relating to the said image. However, to write the song was a matter of a few hours and the editing of the video was considerably less. I'm so touched that so many people have said that they have also laughed and cried at the video as this is something I could only have dreamt of achieving. 

Me: I want to talk to you about some things mentioned in the song, and I will in a minute. Where are you from in England, Graham?

Graham: I am currently living in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, UK, but was born in Enfield, north London and lived there up until 12 years ago.

Me: I was born in London, grew up on Long Island, went back to England where I lived in Oxford from '84 to '87 and then moved here to Orlando, Florida. Ever been to American before?

Graham: There is a phrase us Brits like to use now and again to express our opinion of the luck of another person, 'Jammy bastard'. And that, Jason, is exactly what you are for living where you do. I can't believe we have had to do this interview via email. Couldn't you have paid for me to come over to you and do it one on one whilst whizzing around on Space Mountain? I have been to Florida five times and done all the touristy things, Disney, Universal, Sea World... BUT, being the greedy monkey that I am, my highlight every time I go is, and always will be is, Ponderosa restaurant. Am I being laughed at by all my American cousins right now or are we in agreeance that Ponderosa do the best steaks on the planet?

Me: I don't think I have ever been inside a Ponderosa...

Graham: In my defence I only have the rubbery shite cows arses that the majority of our supermarkets offer over here to compare to. Then again Australian steaks are up there too. I have had many a debate with friends regarding the quality of food that your country has to offer with me fervently defending your culinary delights. Hang about I'm talking too much about food aren't I?Pause interview while I pop to the fridge.

Me: Okay, so, you have a pretty good voice, and you are a very talented songwriter. When did you decide you wanted to write sings, record them and make YouTube videos?

Graham: Thanks for the kind words, but I always feel that my voice is just plan old average and I just write lyrics that any old Joe public could write if they really wanted to. I never planned to write a song/video that so many would take to their hearts and turn viral, that was just pure luck. I used to be in a indie pop band Croft, throughout the 90s/early 2000s and we played all the usual shit holes around London. I am still really good friends with all members and in particular Andy Barker, our bass player. Several years after Croft disbanded Andy asked myself and the other Croft members if we wanted to reform and record a Christmas song which we duly did and this was the start of a bit of a tradition with us recording Christmas songs over the next few years while releasing one for charity. Since then myself and Andy have collaborated on many videos with him being the music behind all the tracks. Away from our novelty collaborations Andy is a serious musician who is part of a very popular ukulele band, S.O.U.P, and folk/roots outfit, The Doomed Bird Of Providence.    

Me: What did your wife think when you told her that idea, or are you like me, just do it, and then tell her?

Graham: I never tell my wife about any of the content of my music/video projects, but she is always the first to view the finished product... Whether she wants to or not! Poor cow!!

Me: Your "We Didn't Own An iPad" video had already had over 2,000,000 hits. That's very impressive! How did it get so bloody popular?

Graham: If I bloody knew that I would have hundreds of other videos with the same amount of views and be living on my own island. Seriously though, I believe it's a nostalgia thing. I don't know anyone who doesn't like to reminisce about the past especially their childhood. Actually I do know of someone who doesn't like speaking of the past and ironically it's no other than the man behind the music to the iPad song, Mr Andrew Barker. Strange but true. He's help create the one thing that he's really not that keen on. Oh the irony.

Me: When did you first post it, Graham?

Graham: March 8th, 2013. That date isn't in bedded in my brain by the way I just had to check it on YouTube.

Me: You need to release the music on iTunes, or somewhere. People would buy your songs, I know I would. Record an album or EP! Have you thought of that already?

Graham: Your certainly right about the interest in the iPad song as it seemed that every other post on YouTube wanted to know where they could buy it. The management company that I am with via YouTube, Viral Spiral, actually went through the procedure of trying to release it, but as Mr. Billy Joel owns the rights they physically could not get in touch with him to get the permission required. Whilst Googling Bill I found out that he is actually quite partial to administering a court case or two, so I'm quite happy for us not to have realise it. I like living under a roof thanks. DAMN YOU, MR. JOEL ;-)

Me: Okay, I want to talk to you about other songs and videos you have done, but first let's talk about the iPad one. So, do you own an iPad now?

Graham: Can't afford one. If Mr. Billy Joel pulled his finger out I might well be able to!

Me: And who plays the ukulele on the track?

Graham: That'll be the one and only nostalgia hating, Andrew Barker. I can't stipulate enough that I believe his production of the music is as a bigger part of the song as any of the images and lyrics. In my opinion he emulates a child's TV theme from the 70s and 80s and that has helped create the right feel for the song.

Me: You mention Timmy Mallet and "Wacaday". American readers won't know who he is, Graham. Haha. When I first moved to Florida I was working at Epcot (I still work at Disney going on 27 years) and saw him doing a film shoot in the Germany pavilion. Back then I didn't know I couldn't ask for autographs when I was working, but I asked him. Mallet of all people. Anyway, does he still show up on TV?

Graham: There's that phrase again, Jason, 'Jammy Bastard'. Working at Disney for 27 year? As for Timmy, he appeared on our UK screens a couple of years ago on a reality show that I believe you also have, entitled "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Outta Here", but I believe he disappeared of our screen around the early 90s. For the American readers Timmy Mallet was a Saturday morning kids presenter who would hit children on the head with a mallet. Hang about that sounds a bit wrong doesn't it? It's true though! He is actually currently a very talented and accomplished artist and compulsive shit shirt wearer. I really don't have a bad word to say against Sir Timmy as he has aided me recently in a charity project involving an excellent children's charity and the iPad song. I will mention it later and make an appeal if you'd be so kind as to allow me?

Me: Yes, of course, Graham. And we don't have that TV show over here. Two of the people you mentioned in the song I have interviewed, Graham. Roland Rat, who I interviewed twice, and Chas Hodges from Chas and Dave. You must of been a kid when Roland first came on TV. How old are you, Graham?

Graham: 40 + 3 -1 x 2 -30 + 4 - 18 = ? Answers on a postcard please. Also, boring fact of the day for your readers. Chas Hodges was born in Edmonton, just a few miles from Enfield and Dave, from Chas N Dave fame, was actually born in Enfield. Both occasion perform in local pubs in the area. Is that the sound of snoring I can hear from your readers???

Me: Maybe, but not from me. That's cool! You also mentioned Angie and Den from "Eastenders"... I saw Dirty Den at Epcot once as well. How did yo think of all three shows and different things? Did you write a list first and then put them together to see what rhymes?

Graham: Dirty Den and Timmy Mallet, hey? It sounds like you get to see a lot of A-lister celebs in your line of work ;-) That's a sarcastic cheeky wink by the way. Yes, you're spot on re-creating the song. That's exactly what I did. Being a gardener by occupation I have a lot of thinking time behind the lawn mower so when something from my past crept into my tiny brain I would enter it into my phone as it wouldn't stay in my nut for to long. Once I had a wide range of subjects the poetry began. There was actually quite a lot that was left out, but when you only have a 4 minute song to play with where are you going to fit it all?

Me: I laughed wheat you said about Anneka Rice's ass. Is she still on TV?

Graham: No. Unfortunately! "Corrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" said in sleazy Carry-On film style.

Me: You mentioned Teletexting in the chorus... I vaguely remember Teletexting. What exactly was it, Graham?

Graham: It was great. Think of a poor mans Internet through your TV. If you wanted to go on holiday you'd sit mesmerised for hours looking at your telly. You had hundreds of pages of holiday destinations to choose from, but due to a limited time of which each page would stay on the screen you would have to pause the page of your choice. If you wasn't quick enough with that pause finger button technique then you'd have to sit and wait an age for the bloody page to return. I actually remember seeing some cracking deals on there for Florida fly drives for £49 for 2 weeks. I kid you not, 49 English pounds for a flight and a car to the US. Shame, we would've had to have flown that night, but we both had work the following day. You could also get sports results and weather from the service. Bring it back I say!!!!! Actually Teletex is still running as a holiday website, but where's the fun in not using your pause finger button technique?

Me: You got to perform the song on stage, which I think you did a good job at. I am surprised you didn't run out of breath. Were your nervous singing live? Have you played live since?

Graham: About a month after iPad was aired a musician friend of mine asked if myself and Andy would like to perform the song at a gig that he was performing at in a pub in Enfield. I must say that I toyed with the idea for quite sometime as I hadn't performed live since around ten years earlier and that was with a full band. We eventually gave in and performed it to a packed and very warm crowd, but we had no visuals just a microphone and a ukulele. The performance that I believe you have seen was from January this year and another request from someone via YouTube asking us to perform at a variety show in aid of a local hospital. On that occasion we performed two songs along with visuals and I don't mind telling you that on that evening my arse was pouting like a hungry trout, as when you are playing along with a screen for your audience to see there is no room for error. Thankfully both songs went without a hitch and we was blown away by the reception that we got. You may have seen me get a tad excited at the end.

Me: Yeah, at the end of live performance you leapt around on stage like a crazy person. You must of been excited and surprised you did so well, am I right? Or did you have to take a piss? Haha.

Graham: You say take a piss, I would say taking the piss (maybe a British phrase? Definition, mocking). Whenever I have performed in the past I have always relished in getting any form of reaction from an audience whether it be negative or positive, preferable positive. On this occasion the event in question actually over ran by a huge amount and everyone in the theatre seemed to be getting quite restless towards the end. Along with the over run the evening had it's fair share of technical faults too which ended in me mocking the poor sound engineer much to the amusement of some of the crowd. Anyway, we were closing the show so once we had finished our last song and stood amazed at how everyone enjoyed it I began my little 'crazy' run around which was part glad it was over/milking the crowd as of a way of relief that the whole event was finally coming to an end and we could all go home to bed. I must add that we did thoroughly enjoy that gig and are in talks again to perform again next year.

Me: Oh, another reference I have to ask you about... you showed a weatherman and said "Michael Fish lying pratt." What was that about? He lied about the weather?

Graham: Poor Michael Fish. Back in 1987 there was strong rumours that some severe storms were due across the UK. Mr. Fish appeared on his usual weather report one night claiming that all the rumours were false and "not to worry", then low and behold a few hours later we was hit by the worse storms seen in the UK for three centuries. Michael was and has always been a bit of a laughing stock since that fateful night. I know I was harsh with my line in the song and if he's reading this I truly apologies as in fact he made a 13 year old boy very happy. Our school was closed the following day. Arise Sir Michael Fish!!  

Me: Okay, so, the iPad song is a Weird Al like parody song of Billy Joel's song "We Didn't Start the Fire". Are you a Billy Joel fan?

Graham: NO! Well, I would be if he gave us the rights to release the song ;-)

Me: What music do you like?

Graham: Growing up in the 80s I was a massive Erasure/Vince Clarke/elctro pop fan. Moving through to the 90s, The Stone Roses, Suede and I guess a fair bit of Brit pop. I'm also partial to a hefty slice of the Smiths, The Cure, Stones and the Beatles amongst far too much to mention here unless you want an interview to match the content of "War and Peace". Lyrically I have been inspired by the likes of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine and Billy Bragg. I'm a sucker for a clever rhyming pun. I think that It must be an age/me thing as at present, and for the last 10 plus years, I don't seem to get excited or have the passion for any one particular artist. No new artist out there makes me want to get off my arse and go and see them at a gig and certainly not in these god awful massive arenas either! PS: I'm a bit of a miserable sod.

Me: I have a music project called Strawberry Blondes Forever... check us out on iTunes. Anyway, I was thinking of doing parody songs, but decided to write original songs instead. Your other songs are original, right?

Graham: Love the band name, I'm guessing you may have a tinge of ginge on your head? I will definitely check you guys out. Re our other songs. iPad song aside there is another parody amongst our videos, "The Annoying Song". This is a take of a Del Amitri song entitled "Nothing Ever Happens". The other songs on my YouTube channel are originals with our James Bond mocking tune written and performed by my old band, Croft.

Me: I loved "The Annoying Song". I get annoyed by a lot of stuff as well. What was the first song you wrote, Graham?

Graham: I can't claim to have been a child prodigy that wrote hundreds of songs before the age of 10. Actually I probably did write a few silly poems back then involving the usual childish boyhood things including private parts and bogies, but that's it. I think I actually wrote my first song when I was 18 in a friends garage. It consisted of lyrics involving 'Lionel Blair' and was full of bum notes. The song was called "What's He On?' I performed the song live with my friends in Andrew's parents garden in November whilst I was dressed as Father Christmas. Why? Well, that's just how us British teenagers rolled in the 90s.

Me: One of my favorite songs and video you did is "If You Grow Old With Me". That's a proper filmed video. Where was it filmed and did you know those people in it?

Graham: It was filmed on location in Watham Cross (about a mile from my home town) and I deny all knowledge of everyone else in the video. No seriously, everyone who starred in the video are my friends with Andrew's mum and dad being the leads in the mobo carts. My wife and two children are in there too along with my good old mum and let's not forget Roy Orbison.

Me: I have a screenshot of the video here...

Me: Other people sing on it, right? Is that your wife singing?

Graham: Believe you me you'd know if my wife was singing on the track. Not so much of a voice like an angel, but more of a voice like an angle grinder. The lady in question on the track is my other good friend and Andrew's wife, Tracy Barker, also seen riding in the shopping trolley in the video. I wrote the song with a duet in mind and she had guested on a previous track we had recorded so I asked her nicely and she had nothing better to do so duly helped me out.

Me: Are you gonna make more videos like that one?

Graham: To be honest that was the first video we had 'acted' in since our Christmas video over 4 years earlier and I have been quite happy creating videos that have a high turnover of visuals and no real humans pratting around in. The original idea for the "If You Grow Old With Me" video was going to yet again be a fast visual one, but then I had a vision of having a mature couple riding mobility carts around and the rest just followed. In my opinion any video that features mobo carts or Segways always gives it a humorous touch.

Me: Was it fun to film?

Graham: Hell, yeah. Where else would you want to be other than acting a prat in your local town at 8am on a Sunday morning and being surrounded by your friends and family whilst passerbyes are sounding their car horns and looking at you as if you had just landed from Mars??

Me: And do you really have "Where's Waldo"... or "Where's Wally" boxers?

Graham: Ha Ha! Them sexy little bad boys were specifically brought for the humourous touch to enhance my annoyingly low worn tracksuit bottoms. I might model them for the new Graham Wood 2015 calendar though. I can see them featuring on August.

Me: Oh, another thing about the iPad video... I loved it you showed the test card at the end. Do they still show that on TV?

Graham: Sadly not, Jason. We do have some channels that close down after a certain time, but they just have a boring message informing you as to when the channel will reopen.

Me: I wonder where that little girl is now. She might be dead, Graham. They used to show that test card when I was a kid. How did you find that picture?

Graham: Let's make an appeal to bring back the test card on our screens with the original girl as she looks now and with that bloody game of noughts and crosses finished! She is thankfully still with us and is now 58 years of age. I found out that fact thanks to Google, the same method I used for finding the image for the iPad vid. Google and the Internet is good, but I can't see it catching on ;-)

Me: So, do you have any other videos or songs planned?

Graham: I'm actually in the very early stages of creating our first parody since iPad.

Me: So, on the Phile I like to ask random questions thanks to a card game called Tabletopics. Ready? What are the most important qualities you look for in friends?

Graham: Someone that likes people wearing "Where's Wally" pants, wallows in the past, likes riding in shopping trolleys and can endure a lot of nonsense being spoken 24/7. Failing that, someone who is fun and honest.

Me: You know, you gotta write a song about America and come to Florida to make a video. I would help you. Whatcha think?

Graham: Well, I think we have worked out by now that I kinda like Florida just a tiny bit so you can rest assure that I'll be booking that flight ASAP, or as soon as you send over my expenses cheque ;-) It can be all about Disney. Can I shoot the entire video in Disney? Can you arrange it for me and you to be on one of the floats in the parade? "It's time to remember the magic". LET'S THAT MAKE THIS SHIT HAPPEN!!!

Me: I don't know if we can shoot at Disney...maybe. But you can't be on a float. Haha. Graham, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Was it fun? I hope it was. I think you're really talented and you might have a big career ahead of you.

Graham: Jason, I have thoroughly enjoyed it thanks and it has helped me with my typing skills. I have gone from a one fingered wonder to a two. Thank you again for your kind words and I think you might be right about that big career of mine, as long as that grass keeps growing they are going to need a gardener to cut it ;-)

Me: Go ahead and tell the readers where they can see your videos and your YouTube channel. Do you have a website?

Graham: I mentioned earlier in the interview about a charity appeal that I'd like to make to your readers so here it is...  Towards the end of last year I spoke to a brilliant children's charity,, regarding an idea I had of me getting in touch with anyone starring/connected to my "We Didn't Own an iPad" video and getting their autographs. I would then be looking to make a collage out of all accumulated signatures, framing them and then handing it over to Starlight to auction at one of their highly elaborate galas. If you have seen the video you would know that this ranges from A-list superstars, pop stars, sporting legends to TV advert actors and voice over stars. My plea to you all out there is this... If you have a connection of anyone mention in the video, no matter how tenuous, then it would be great if you could possible gain contact and get their autograph and pass it onto me via Jason. I particularly would like the celebrity in question to sign 'I Didn't Own an iPad" followed by their signature, but failing that just their signature would be brilliant. I must admit that it's not going to well with a lot of celebrities in question only being able to be contacted through agents that don't like charity requests. However, I do have a couple and one just so happens to be that of one that you mentioned you also have, Jason, Mr. Timmy Mallet. So PLEASE if anyone out there knows anyone who knows of someone who knows of someone else who has David Hasslehoff as a second cousin, or if your next door neighbours half brother's wife went to school with Chunk from the Goonies then please do get in contact. The charity in question is such a worth while cause with them creating wishes for children who are seriously or terminally ill. Thank you all so much in your co-operation in this request and apologies for me going on and on. If it makes you feel any better just think of what my poor wife who has to put up with from day to day. PS: If anyone is interested in seeing any of my videos that Jason has mentioned then you can see them all by hitting this link... My personal fav is the one featuring my son, Louis.

Me: Good luck with everything, Graham, thanks again, take care, and please come back on the Phile again soon.

That about does it for another great interview. Thanks to Laird Jim and to Graham Wood. I would love to have him back on the Phile again. And now I want to interview Timmy Mallet and Anneka Rice. Anyway, the Phile will be back tomorrow with Michael Mantlo, brother of Bill Mantlo who co-created Rocket Raccoon. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you.

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pheaturing Phile Alum Britney Christian

Hey there, welcome to another entry of the Phile. Man, it's storming here in Central Florida. Not Long Island storming, but storming. We don't have any floods yet. The flooding on Long Island was so bad, this happened, people...

Freaking crazy. It is Shark Week after all.  The media learned a valuable lesson in how to cover instances of possible police abuse and corruption when Missouri police roughed up and detained reporters from two different news organizations inside a McDonalds, and targeting another news organization with tear gas while they were attempting to cover a protest outside. Since then, all the news concerning their response to the mysterious death of Michael Brown has been incredibly positive. Great PR work! Okay, I have to tell you guys something. Some Phile behind the scenes stuff, the way my brain works sometimes. I try and pay attention to the news and keep up with current affairs, but sometimes I only half pay attention. When I heard the words Ferguson and protests, I thought something happened at the Craig Ferguson show. I'm an idiot.  Despite clearly needing to lose a few pounds of baby fat, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's 13-month-old daughter North was photographed for her very first fashion shoot with a Chanel brooch and purse.
North West is a year old? It seems like only yesterday she was a glimmer of a human publicity stunt in her mother's eye.  The new edition of the Oxford Dictionaries will feature a slew of new millennial-friendly word-like things. "YOLO," "amazeballs," "cray," "clickbait" and "adorbs" are among the many slang terms which will be receiving undue validity going forward. Just in case you need more reasons to be embarrassed to be alive.  The popular maxim 'As "Entourage" goes, so goes the world' has never been more true than today. Warner Bros. currently has two competing screenplays in development for what will ultimately be a stand-alone Aquaman feature film. It will fit within the same franchise as last year's Man of Steel and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and will star that guy who play Khal Drogo on "Game of Thrones". As you may remember, this film was predicted on the HBO series back in 2006. Good to know WB have a clear vision.
Aquaman probably already knows this, but new research finds that cetaceans such as dolphins and whales will 'squeal with delight' after completing a task given to them by a trainer or in anticipation of receiving a food treat. Very similar behaviors have been observed in fedora-wearing neck-beards when they get an oblique reference to a comic book or are offered a piece of bacon.  It's almost time for the new season of "Downton Abbey" to premiere overseas (and be illegally torrented in America)! I haver never seen it myself. Anyway, the UK's ITV network is whetting viewers' appetites with some pics from the new season. Unfortunately, they had to take down this photo after it was discovered that someone on-set who is very much into hydration might have gotten a little careless.

Do you see it? I should of saved this for today's Mindphuck.  So, I was flicking through the channels and came across the movie Jaws which I have not seen in a long time. I didn't know Adam West was in it. You don't believe me?

Haha. The movie would of ended so different.  So, do you take selfies? A lot of people think selfies are new, but people have been doing them for a long time. There's all kinds of proof if you watch movies. Take this pic from Raiders of the Lost Ark as an example.

Actually, I stand corrected... that's from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, my favorite of the Indy films.  While we are talking movies... this wasn't planned, this is just a coincidence... do you know who was originally supposed to be in Star Wars? Elvis. Check out this rare publicity photo.

Well, it's Summer and one of the best things you see in Summer is bikinis... actually I don't, I don't really go anywhere. Anyway, all through Summer I have been showing you some different ones that you might not know about. Here is the last and final one I have to show you...

These are chainmail bikini tops custom made by Etsy seller UtopiaArmoury. They are handmade, swim-friendly, waterproof and made from saw-cut bright aluminum and latex-free EPDM rubber. These are supposed to be “extremely comfortable” and light, weighing only a half pound, and tie in the back and at the neck with a wide satin ribbon for the ultimate in comfort and adjustability. A custom top like the one pictured above will set you back $175.  Alright, have you ever had a picture removed from Facebook because they banned it? It has happened to a few people for odd reasons. That's why I started a feature a while ago to show you pictures that Facebook banned, but I'm not afraid to show on the Phile. What a shitty set-up. Anyway, here is the feature I call...

An American woman was banned from Facebook after she posted photos of her son affected with Down's syndrome. The social network, which termed the pictures "inappropriate," has now apologized. Diana Cornwell, from North Carolina, posted the photos of her seven-year-old son competing at a local Special Olympics event on Facebook. When she next logged on, she received messages from the website monitoring team that said the pictures violated its user agreement. Cornwell's account was disabled for three days until she took down the photos. Facebook later apologized for the incident and said "human error" was to blame.

As you know the great Robin Williams passed away the other day. I invited a friend of the Phile to come on and say something about him. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man.... you know what time it is.

The news of Robin Williams' death hit me quick and very hard. I looked up to him greatly when I was younger and I've had the honor of having him as a client as well. I spent several hours alone speaking with him once and have never shared the subject of that conversation with another living soul... nor shall I ever... BECAUSE SOME THINGS ARE JUST FOR ME AND NONE OF YOUR FUCKIN BUSINESS... THAT'S WHY! One of my favorite Robin Williams roles was in a quirky movie called Death To Smoochy. In a scene where he is beaten senseless, Robin (Rainbow Randolph) is asked, "Are you okay?" His reply is priceless and sums it all up, "I don't know... I'm a little fucked up in general... so it's kinda hard to gauge." Now, if you'll all excuse me... I'm going to the pub to drink... if you see me.... stay the FUCK away from me. Thank you...

Good job, Laird. Hahahaha... that has to be one of the funniest Mindphucks ever. It's easy to spot this time. Oh, my Lord. That's funny. You know what else is not funny? Feargal the Shark. Yep, it's Shark Week on the Discovery Channel so I thought I'd invite back to the Phile the one and only...

Me: Hello, Feargal, what stupid jokes do you have for us today?

Feargal: What was the nerd shark's favorite programming language?

Me: I don't know.

Feargal: Jaw-va.

Me: You same punchline yesterday with the what do yuppie sharks drink joke, Feargal. That's cheating.

Feargal: Okay, what is the shark worlds favorite macintosh web browser?

Me: I don't know. Sharkfari?

Feargal: Jawvari.

Me: My answer was better.

Feargal: What was the shark jazz musician's favorite illegal substance?

Me: Illegal substance? I don't know.

Feargal: Reefer!

Me: Okay, I think you're on reefer with this bad jokes. One more, Feargal, this is your last joke, so make it good.

Feargal: Why did the mommy shark and daddy shark get divorced?

Me: I don't know, why did the mommy and daddy sharks get divorced?

Feargal: They no longer loved each other.

Me: That was horrible! Go back to the ocean until next year.

Feargal: I am not gonna celebrate the rest of Shark Week by drinking like a fish and making people run away from me.

Okay, the 33rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Lonnie Burr will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks. Y'know, he was an original Mousekeeter.

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum whose latest EP "Through" is available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Britney Christian.

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

Britney: I’ve been doing amazing! 

Me: It's been five years since you were here, can you believe that?

Britney: Wow, time flies!

Me: You have grown up a lot since then... last time you were here you were just a kid singing "Stupid Boyfriends". Now you are grown up and married, right?

Britney: "Stupid Boyfriends"… Good times! But yes, I am all grown up and married! Or at least married… still working on the grown up part. : )

Me: Congrats! How long have you been married and is he a musician as well?

Britney: We have been married a little over a year now. He isn’t a musician but he is certainly one of the most creative people I know. He’s actually a woodworker and he builds some incredible pieces! 

Me: You're not gonna release a song called "Stupid Husband" are you?

Britney: Haha. Certainly not! LOL. I am quite happily married!

Me: When you were here last you were just in a movie called Hotel For Dogs. Have you done anymore acting?

Britney: I actually gave up acting some time ago. It was really hard to devote my attention to acting and music at the same time and music always comes first for me!

Me: Did you get to hang out with Emma Roberts at all?

Britney: Yeah actually, Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin were the only other actors on set with me all day so I did spend some time with them. I was sort of disappointed though because Emma wasn’t very friendly.

Me: That's a shame. I am glad you kept on being a singer... your latest EP "Through" is your third release, am I right?

Britney: This is much the third release. I would say this is the first time since my original album back in 2006 that I really got to record everything all at once and watch it come together as a complete project so I really enjoyed that part.

Me: Did you write all the songs on it?

Britney: Absolutely! What I say in my songs is the most important thing to me so I am heavily involved in the songwriting process. “When It Rains It Pours” and “Far From Forgotten” were written solely by me. The other songs I had some cool co-writers like EROCK of Creed.

Me: When you were here last time we talked about how you were a part of something called Milk Rocks... I think that was its name. There was even a milk carton with your pic on it. I have a picture of it right here.

Me: Are you still a part of that organization?

Britney: You are correct on the name! I was the spokesperson for the Milk Rocks campaign for 5 years but the campaign itself ended about 2 years ago. I do miss all the awesome concerts!

Me: Britney, you're from California, right? What part and do you still live there?

Britney: Born and raised in California! I live a little outside of L.A. in a great little beach town.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your music. You won The Next American Star contest winning 25 grand. I hope you didn't spend all that money, did you?

Britney: I did win $25,000 which was pretty sweet! All of the money really went right back into my music.

Me: What was TNAS and where was it?

Britney: Basically they picked 100 bands from all over the country and had fans vote for their favorite online. Then they flew out the top bands for semi-finals. I got to perform at the House of Blues in Dallas, TX for the semi-finals. I won that round and then competed down in Chicago, IL. Basically they rented out a whole street downtown and put on a huge festival. They had some amazing Grammy Nominated judges who picked the winner and they picked me!

Me: There's so many music talent shows on TV now... "American Idol" is my favorite. Do you watch those shows and ever think of trying out to be on one?

Britney: Oh, reality shows… I have tried out for several of the big ones actually. The thing about reality shows is they pick people mainly based on your life story and drama. Talent is probably only 10% of the reason why they cast people. I think my life is just a little too pretty and they aren’t usually a fan of the fact that I’ve already toured and gained a ton of sponsors on my own.

Me: You also took part in something called "High School Musical: Get In the Picture". What was that and did you sing your own songs or songs from "HSM"?

Britney: That actually was a reality show that I was on for 2 episodes and I had a great time doing it! We had to sing the songs they gave us on the show and I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the song they gave me to perform but it was tons of fun regardless.

Me: You had your music on a lot of TV shows, Britney. Is that exciting for you?

Britney: Absolutely! In fact, I’m actually right in the middle of signing a huge deal with a big music licensing company (a partnership between Sony Music and MTV) and they are going to be working hard getting my songs on tons of shows around the world! I’m really excited about that! You heard it here first ;)

Me: Yeah! If you can have your songs in any TV show, what would it be?

Britney: Well, my favorite shows right now are: "New Girl", "Mentalist" and "Once Upon a Time", so it would be awesome to have my songs in any of those! "Grey’s Anatomy" is also a long time favorite so that would be fun.

Me: What's this I read you performed on a Trans Siberian Orchestra album? How did that happen?

Britney: This is true! I performed on their “Night Castle” album. They flew me out to Florida where they were recording and had me sing some fun parts.

Me: Are you a fan of their music?

Britney: Yes! I saw them in concert and it was phenomenal. A must see!

Me: What bands or musicians are you into?

Britney: I listen to a lot of Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Paramore, Christina Aguilera and Adele. I’m also a fan of a lot of country acts like Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Band Perry and Hunter Hayes. I love listening to lots of different music though! I pretty much stream a new album on Spotify every day. Right now, I’m streaming John Mayer.

Me: If you can do a duet with anybody, who would it be?

Britney: Tough choice!! I think I’m going to have to go with Keith Urban. I’d about die if I was able to sing with him.

Me: Britney, I think I remember you played guitar, but do you play any other instruments as well?

Britney: I play a bit of piano as well. I also played flute back in middle school and I still pull it out every once in a while for fun.

Me: Do you like just singing on stage, or do you prefer to play an instrument?

Britney: I enjoy doing both! I wouldn’t want to do either one exclusively. I try to mix is up when I perform with a few guitar songs, a few piano songs and a few I can just rock out to.

Me: The new EP "Through" was funded through Kickstarter... a lot of albums and movies and such are funded through Kickstarter. How did you decide that was the route you were gonna take?

Britney: Well, I had all of these songs I wanted to record and really had a vision for the kind of album I wanted to release. It’s really hard to do that without having sufficient funds to pull it off. A friend told me about Kickstarter and I planned it out for months and then finally launched it.

Me: Was it hard to get your fans to fund the EP?

Britney: It was definitely a stressful month, I can tell you that! But everyone really pulled through for me and I exceeded my goal!

Me: Would you do the same thing again?

Britney: If I needed to, I probably would. I’ve been setting aside everything I’ve been making off of this current album to go straight into another one though!

Me: I am sure you play a lot of shows in California, ever go on a national tour? Ever play in Florida?

Britney: I was on a national tour for 5 years but somehow I never played Florida! I’m due for another national tour! I love touring.

Me: What was the best show you ever played?

Britney: Honestly, it’s almost impossible to say. Obviously I’ve played some really big shows at some amazing venues, but none of it beats the fun that I’ve had doing so many school concerts. The energy in those concerts was always such a crazy high!

Me: So, what's next for you, Britney, are you planning your next release already?

Britney: I wouldn’t say I’m planning it already, but I’m definitely still writing! I’d love to release a full album next time so I’m gearing up for that. Right now, I’m really working on promoting this current album!

Me: You have a blog as well, but on Tumblr, am I right? What is your blog about, Britney, and where can someone read it?

Britney: Yes, I do have a blog! It’s called A Ray of Light and I cover everything from stories behind my songs, to relationships, to succeeding in your career and everything in between.  I write one post a week and usually post on Thursday or Friday. Check it out at

Me: I post two days a week. Haha. Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics... ready? If you can master one instrument which would it be?

Britney: Definitely guitar! I’d love to just shred some amazing guitar solos like Orianthi. She is hardcore!

Me: Britney, thanks for being back on the Phile. I hope this was fun, and please come back. Congrats again on your marriage.

Britney: Always! Thanks for having me.

Okay, that does it for this entry. Thanks to Laird Jim and of course Britney Christian. The Phile will be back next Thursday with YouTuber Graham Wood whose video for his song "We Didn't Own An iPad" has over 2 million views. And on Friday it's Michael Mantlo, brother of Bill Mantlo who created Rocket Raccoon. So, 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, August 14, 2014

Pheaturing Jeremy Croston

Hello, welcome back to the Phile. You had to do it, didn't you? You had to go see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles over the weekend, thus contributing to the Michael Bay production's $93.7 million worldwide take. Just one week after making Guardians of the Galaxy the all-time biggest opening weekend moneymaker for August and making Hollywood consider the possibility that putting a little effort into their films might pay off in the long run, you just had to tell it, "Nope, never mind. We're swallowing whatever bullshit you feel like feeding us." Well, guess what! You get what you deserve. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 is officially a go! I actually can't say anything, we went to see it as well... unfortunately.  According to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers may have finally cracked the code to human happiness. And it looks a little like this...

For any dullards out there who can't grasp the meaning behind that equation, it essentially boils down to this axiom, according to the study's lead author: happiness “doesn’t depend on how things are going. It depends on whether things are going better or worse than you had expected they would." Or, to put it into more practical terms: expect the worst, and the world will always meet your expectations. That's essentially what the Buddha said, isn't it?  A new study to be published in the upcoming issue of Perspectives on Politics shows that the average non-wealthy American citizen who is not a corporation or the head of a business-controlled interest group has a 'near-zero' influence on the actions of the government. So, there you have it, the situation's not quite so bleak as it seems. I don't have a problem with the government taking away my civil liberties. As long as they don't take away my right to ROCK!  Maryam Mirzakhani, a 37 year old, Iranian-born Stanford University professor has just become the first female winner of the highly prestigious Fields Medal since the mathematics prize was established 80 years ago. In a press release, Mirzakhani called the award "a great honor," and said she hopes it "encourages young female scientists and mathematicians." Don't tell your daughter how pretty she is, tell her how math she is! And when she acts confused by that statement, criticize her hair.  According to San Diego County records, one of the fastest-rising demographics in the methamphetamine-abuse community is the 50 and over group. "A lot of grandmas and grandpas are using meth and have been using for many, many years," according to a recovery center official. So, does this make hard candy a gateway drug?  Star Wars: Episode 7, which took a break from filming recently, after Harrison Ford selfishly decided to get surgery for his fractured leg will restart production this month. Unless someone else decides to be a jerk and hold up everyone while they receive emergency medical care. Hollywood actors can be so egocentric. What if the Star Wars movies are a dream that Harrison Ford's character had while he was in a coma in Regarding Henry?  Triplet pandas born in a Chinese zoo on July 29 are being referred to as a "new wonder of the world," due to the extreme rarity of such incidents in the species and how much people just goddamn love baby pandas. Check them out, they are so cute.

Welcome to the world, baby panda triplets! I guess one of you doesn't read the news. Haha.  Well, I don't know about where you are, but kids here in Central Florida have started going back to school yesterday, and some stores have really good back to school sales.

Did you see this?

A math teacher bought that t-shirt without reading. I should of saved that for a Mindphuck. She's really cute, I never had a math teacher like that. I did have a cute teacher once who never wore a bra. I sucked at math and one summer my parents hired her to come to our house and tutor me. Yep.  So, I mentioned we saw the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. I wasn't really impressed with the way the turtles looked.

So, for the last month through Summer I have been showing you different bikinis you can wear. Check this one out.

Duct tape has a variety of uses and has come a long way since its original use for sealing duct work and repairing household items. One fun use for duct tape is to make clothing and other craft projects. There are contests for duct-tape clothing items, such as the duct-tape prom contest sponsored by Duck Brand duct tape. You can make a duct-tape bikini in a few hours using approximately two rolls of duct tape.

This is an easy one. If you spot the Mindphuck email me at As you probably know on the Discovery Channel this week it is Shark Week. Here on the Phile we have a shark as well... a joke telling shark. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Feargal: What did one shark say to try to comfort a friend who had just gotten out of a relationship?

Me: I don't know, Feargal.

Feargal: It's okay, there are plenty of other birds in the sky.

Me: That's horrible.

Feargal: You like Star Wars, right?

Me: Um... yeah.

Feargal: Then what are the sharks favorite creatures from Star Wars?

Me: That's easy... Jawas.

Feargal: Very good. Here's one last one... what do yuppie sharks like to drink?

Me: I don't know.

Feargal: Jaw-va.

Me: That's really bad, Feargal. Anything else you have to say?

Feargal: Yeah. Remember to stay safe this Shark Week by not getting anywhere near angry NASCAR drivers. 'Bye.

Me: Feargal the Shark, everyone. That was so stupid.

There’s a “movie” trailer floating around the internet this week for something called Cool Cat Saves The Kids. It’s billed as “the first anti-bullying and kid gun safety movie.” It stars Vivica A. Fox, Erik Estrada, and a shrieking adult in a furry, orange cat costume. It appears to have been filmed in an abandoned apartment by people who have abandoned life on Earth. It's relevant to this review, so take a look at this screen shot of it.

Okay, now you’re filled with the weird pleasure and feeling of freedom that comes when you abandon your ideas about goodness and human competency and realize that everything is meaningless and the world is chaos and that you’ll die soon. It’s the perfect moment for you to almost enjoy the newly rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The story involves a mutagen. Bad corporate people want it in order to develop an antidote for poisons they plan to inflict on the population. (Best line: “Initiating the toxin release procedure!”) Shredder and the Foot Clan are involved. This is a job for the turtles.  But you don’t actually care about the story, and that is either because you are a child and the turtles take you to the land of make-believe where you, too, are a ninja with a rat for a father, or you are an adult between the ages of 20 and 35 for whom the the turtles were a part of childhood fantasy. No matter to which demographic you belong, the baseline pleasure you seek is here. There’s a frantic, somewhat confusing chase down the side of a mountain. It’s fun to look at. There’s big city building destruction, like the sort you find in a Transformers film. It's pretty exciting. And the turtles fall in line to utter various catchphrases and perform tasks appropriate to their character traits. Pizza. Cowabunga. Etcetera.  There is no greater meaning than that, and here it’s by design. This is a non-essential children’s film about anthropomorphic animals, where there is no other agenda than to jumpstart a dormant franchise and reestablish a global brand. No second meaning for adults. No complications. It meets the minimum requirements.  It could be more coherent. It could be funny. It could be smart. It’s none of those things. It could also become something else; it could evolve into a future product, one with characters that appeal to both children and non-nostalgic adults, a franchise that reaches beyond pre-teen desires for awesome, colorful, grape-flavored junk. But, really, has anyone been yearning for that to happen? As it exists, TMNT is competent, loud, confusing, cynical, fast and rough. But it's not damaged or sad. It's not a waking nightmare masquerading as socially responsible message-fun. And that means it's not Cool Cat. Nothing should ever be Cool Cat.

Lauren Bacall 
September 16th, 1924 — August 12th, 2014
You know how to succumb, don'tcha, Lauren? You just put your lids together and go.

Robin Williams 
July 21st, 1951 — August 11th, 2014
Dead People's Society.

Today's guest is the author of "Power Play: Ragnarok on Ice" the 32nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Jeremy Croston.

Me: Hey there, Jeremy! Welcome to the Phile, man. How have you been?

Jeremy: Not too bad, Jason! Waiting for football and hockey season to fire back up.

Me: In full disclosure you and I worked at Disney together quote a few years ago. You are in fact, the third person I have worked with at Disney who has written a book and who I interviewed here. Anyway, how long ago did we work together?

Jeremy: It has been so long, but we worked together from 2003 until 2006. Those were three awesome years, especially causing mayhem in The Forest.

Me: Yeah, the old Forest For Our Future venue at Innoventions... I was looking for a picture of both of us, Jeremy, and I couldn't find one. Do you have one?

Jeremy: I checked my pictures too and didn’t see one. Maybe one day since we don’t live too far away, we can remedy that.

Me: Yes, definitely. Do you remember Jeff Trelewicz? He is on the Phile often talking about football. I know you are a hockey fan, but are you a football fan as well?

Jeremy: How can one forget Jeff! I still remember the time he gave Tom Morrow the bird in Innoventions West!

Me: Haha. I remember that. Tom Morrow was the audio animatronic spokebot for Innoventions in Epcot. I think I have a picture of him here.

Me: Anyway, you are a football fan, right?

Jeremy: I am a huge football fan. Nothing beats a Sunday afternoon with a few cold ones and a good game on the TV.

Me: Who is your team? Mine are the Giants!

Jeremy: You’re not going to like me anymore, but I am an Eagles fan. Fly Eagles Fly!

Me: At least you didn't say Dolphins. Jeremy, where are you originally from?

Jeremy: The small town on Manchester, PA... which is about 30 minutes south of Harrisburg.

Me: I know where that is, my wife is from Camp Hill. Is that why the book is based in Pennsylvania?

Jeremy: Yeah, I wanted to pay homage to my hometown and what better way than to put it in a book.

Me: So, I take it you are a Philliess fan. Am I right?

Jeremy: When I do watch baseball, I will root for the Phillies. As you can guess my hockey team is the Flyers.

Me: That's what I meant, the Flyers. I isn't thinking about baseball. How long have you lived here in Florida?

Jeremy: Going on 14 years now. And I’m still not used to the heat!

Me: You don't live too far from me in Clermont, do you?

Jeremy: Nope, right down the street in Winter Garden. Hop on 50 and head west!

Me: Last time I saw you, you were a bachelor, and now you are married! Congrats. What does your wife think about your book, Jeremy? Did she read it?

Jeremy: She is currently reading it right now. It wasn’t necessarily her cup of tea, but now that she has started, she is hooked.

Me: Let's talk about your book "Power Play: Ragnarok On Ice". The book is about hockey and Norse mythology. I know you're a hockey fan like we just said, but are you a fan of Norse mythology as well?

Jeremy: That is right. I got hooked on it from a class at UCF.

Me: Have you always been a fan of mythology?

Jeremy: Yeah, I was introduced to Greek mythology early on and have expanded to others as I’ve gotten older.

Me: A lot of your characters in the book might seem familiar to comic book readers and movie goers... Sif, Thor and Loki. When you wrote the book did you imagine those characters being the same as in the movies?

Jeremy: It’s hard not to see the movie characters anyone someone says Thor, you know? But my characters are quite a bit different from their movie counterparts, especially Loki. His part in the story is one of my favorites.

Me: Are you a fan of the Thor movies, Jeremy?

Jeremy: Oh yeah, Marvel has done those movies justice. But in all honesty, the Captain America movies are my personal favorite.

Me: Did you hear in the comic books they are gonna make Thor a woman now. What do you think about that?

Jeremy: I think it is a cop-out. They want to have another strong female lead, which I am all for. But instead of putting their minds together and making a new awesome character, they “change” an established character. I foresee a lot of backlash on that.

Me: If they do this in the movies she's gonna be hot, right?

Jeremy: Do we even need to ask that question! Of course!

Me: Okay, so, when did you get the idea for the book, Jeremy?

Jeremy: A long time ago, in college. I wrote the story treatment up as a project in my creative writing class but never did anything with it. One day, my wife finds it in a storage box and tells me to write it. So I did.

Me: How long did it take you to write it?

Jeremy: It took about 2 months to write it and then another month to smooth out the edges.

Me: I read the first five chapters and could easily picture it as a comic book. Can you?

Jeremy: That would be amazing! To see your characters come to life in that medium would be the highest honor.

Me: Okay, so, some readers might not know who or what Ragnarok is, so, wanna explain?

Jeremy: Ragnarok is the end war in Norse Mythology, like the apocalypse. It is also known as the ‘Twilight of the Gods’ as most of the major deities die.

Me: In the book the main character is named Jack Skelton, which is similar to Jack Skellington, but you say he was named after a cartoon character in the book. What cartoon character?

Jeremy: You nailed it! The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite movies and I named Jack after Jack!

Me: This is the first book of a trilogy, right? Have you written the other two books yet?

Jeremy: I have not, but I have the outlines done. I have written a short story entitled "Hat Trick"(think book 1.5) that was just released. While the main characters are in Asgard doing their thing, "Hat Trick" takes place right here on Earth and follows an interesting character.

Me: Do you have other plans for you to write any other kinds of books?

Jeremy: I just finished a totally separate novel entitled ‘The Cactus Killer.’ It is about a werewolf named Victor Inglewood for can’t turn into a wolf. That one is more of a supernatural mystery novel. 

Me: So, who created the cover for "Power Play", Jeremy?

Jeremy: My friend Lena Alexa makes my covers.

Me: So, if they were gonna make a movie based on "Power Play", who would you want to play Jack?

Jeremy: My wife would go crazy with this pick, but I think it has to be Ryan Reynolds. He brings the wit and action that exemplifies Jack so well.

Me: The book is only available on Kindle right now, will you be publishing a regular book? You know, one that's not on a computer? Haha.

Jeremy:  That is right. Once it does well enough and my name gets out there to the masses I will introduce it into paper back.

Me: I think it's cool you have published a book, Jeremy. And for some reason I'm surprised tree's no cuss words in the book. I don't know why.

Jeremy: There are cuss words scattered throughout, plus some adult situations. Nothing graphic, more implied than anything.

Me: Is the book aimed at teenagers or younger kids?

Jeremy: Teenagers, maybe, but definitely not children. My target audience was probably 17 and older.

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics... ready? Is there only one soul mate for each person? That's a lame question.

Jeremy: Haha! Let me cop out and say that it is different for each person. I think everyone has someone out there who makes them incredibly happy.

Me: Jeremy, thanks for coming onto the Phile. Good luck with the success of your books, my friend. Please come back soon.

Jeremy: Thanks for having me, Jason. I follow the Phile regularly and really enjoyed being on this side for once! Maybe you can have me on for a hockey pick ‘em like you do Jeff with football?

Me: Maybe, but I don't follow hockey. Tell my readers where they can get your book from. Thanks again, and take care.


There you go, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jeremy Croston. Now, I mentioned Robin Williams with a blurb, but I feel I should say something more about him. Robin Williams was more than an actor. He was a ball of manic energy. Whether in a movie, on a television show or in person, he was willing to manipulate any part of his body or his voice to make you feel something. Early in his career, the feeling he wanted was always comedic in nature. Later on, he went for sadness and heartache. Eventually, he found that sweet spot that lived somewhere in the middle, that spot that felt like life: a mixed up mess of happiness, sadness, nostalgia, love, pain and unbridled joy. Now we’re all feeling all of that, as we fondly remember one of the most beloved actors ever to hit Hollywood. He was only 63. But goddamn did he crush those 63 years. He leaves behind 3 children, a wife, two ex-wives and a lifetime of incredible moments. Okay, the Phile will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum Britney Christian, so 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.