How many Republicans does it take to change a light bulb? None, Trump just says it's fixed and the rest of them sit in the dark and applaud. Haha. Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday. Five entries in a row for the second week running. This is a record. If I don't have to go back to my job at Disney next week then it'll be another five entries. A teenager who left a 16-year-old disabled for life after smashing his skull with a homemade baseball bat has been jailed for eight years. Eighteeen-year-old John Callis-Woolsey bludgeoned his victims with the bat, which was emblazoned with the word "Lucille" and had 24 sharp nails protruding from it. The attack was said to be inspired by “The Walking Dead.” One of the main characters portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Negan, used the bat wrapped in barbed wire to kill zombies in the series. Not only did the teen beat the defenseless 16-year-old boy, but he then celebrated by doing the floss dance from the popular computer game "Fortnite." The victim, named Oscar, suffered a major bleed on the brain and was hospitalized for a total of nine months. During his time in intensive care, medical experts believed the boy would not survive the attack. Fortunately, he pulled through but now requires full-time care due to a lifelong brain injury, leaving him only able to walk with the aid of a frame. The victim’s mother is now a warning of the impact of violent games and TV shows on teenagers. “The assault has changed our lives forever,” she said, according to the report. “This was a mindless and unprovoked act of extreme violence. I was shocked when I saw the hideous-looking weapon that was used. I would like the producers and creators of such programs to know the influence the content has on immature minds. My son is serving a life sentence and doctors have advised that he will remain disabled for the rest of his life.” Callis-Woolsey was ordered to serve an eight-year sentence in connection to the attack and plead guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent. Callis-Woosley’s accomplice, Kyle Cullan, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and was given a 12-month sentence. Detective Constable Derek Ellis stated the brutal assault was of extreme violence and was planned and orchestrated by a teenager for “a somewhat trivial matter.” He noted, “His actions that night have dramatically altered the course of two young and bright promising lives, one of which was his own. The victim and his immediate family have had to come to terms with the consequences of that night.”
You just can’t make these things up. I swear it’s like robbers aren’t even trying to get away with their crimes anymore. I’m serious, just ask this dummy from Texas who decided to escape by using a scooter. Anyways, this one is way better. A 47-year-old bank robber from Scotland was arrested for a bank robbery that ultimately went terribly wrong. Apparently, Matthew Davies took a pillowcase to use as a mask… but realized he had simply forgotten to cut eye holes out before actually trying it on. Womp, womp, womp. A for effort bud, I can tell you really planned this one out. So, obviously, this man had to take his pillowcase off to be able to see during the robbery, which made it very very easy to identify him. He allegedly threatened staff with a meat cleaver, got his money and left. But, what this dummy didn’t realize was that a witness apparently followed Davis from the Bank of Scotland Branch to his Dunfermline home. After an inspection, authorities found the pillowcase mask “consistent with what he put over his head,” So, to jail, he went. Seeing as there was probably no way out of this one, he pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and robbery. Yes, heist gone terribly bad, he’s definitely on Scotland’s most terrible bank robbers list. Now, I know I am in no position to make fun of this man, let alone say that I could have done this better because I would never do this, but come on. How do you forget something as crucial as this? My man Matt over here must have been so nervous to skip a step as simple as this. Props for trying and sticking out with the plan even though he knew he was screwed. Hey, to any bank robbers out there, here’s some advice... Don’t rob a bank, that’s stupid. If you do decide to rob a bank, maybe make sure you have everything ready to go. Make sure there are no witnesses. Don’t rob a bank, that’s stupid.
A routine road closure for a transportation worker in Mississippi turned into the quick delivery of a baby on the interstate. Wayne Evans, Superintendent II with the Mississippi Department of Transportation, was getting ready to shut down a lane on February 24th in morning on I-20 near Brandon. That’s when a car pulled up with its emergency lights flashing, and two women got out of the car. “They were in desperate need for something,” Evans said in an interview shared online by MDOT. When Evans approached the car, he found a third woman in labor in the backseat. “It was going to happen pretty quick and I knew they weren’t gonna make it to the hospital,” he said. So, Evans got a first aid kit from his truck, put on a pair of gloves and helped deliver the baby boy. “He put his gloves on, and got his umbilical cord from around his neck, and he helped me deliver,” new mom Desire’e Thomas told WAPT-TV. “I do want to tell him thank you and I’m glad he didn’t panic or nothing, he was so calm and nice.” Evans said he believes his Marine Corps training kicked in. “I was never trained to do anything like that, but still the calmness of it and trying to keep the others calm and trying to make this thing happen,” he said.
Life alert, I would like to report a fall! Believe it or not, a grandmother was knocked out cold when a stripper pole snapped and fell on the ground in the middle of the show! Yes, poor grandma will probably never step inside a strip club in her life in fear that she might be hit again. According to Metro, not only did the grandmother suffer injuries, but a Dreamboys stripper also broke his leg. Thirty-two-year-old Lewis Riches was performing a special routine at the For Your Eyes Only club in Shoreditch, London when the 20-foot pole broke and struck the 75-year-old woman in the head. Riches managed to break his leg and in two places. As for the woman, who was there as part of a bachelor party watching from the second row, was immediately taken to the hospital. According to her granddaughter Gemma Louise, the staff at the venue handled the situation terribly wrong. She stated, “For a pole like that to be knocked down by somebody when they use it on a regular basis... they should be checking them to make sure it isn’t going to fall off.” Louise explained that she noticed the floor also had water and several drinks spilled, which were a potential hazard for anyone entering the club. She also noted that following the incident, a staff member told her friend than an ambulance was on its way, but when she called for one a few minutes later, the operator told her no one had called to report the incident. As far as the stripper, well the staff quickly tended to the dancer’s head injuries, but did nothing about his leg which was reportedly twisted and out-of-place. A nurse was reportedly in the audience, thank god, but unfortunately no one “truly trained was on the scene nor called.” It was only until a member of the bridal party called 911. “I don’t think the staff truly took on the extent of the damage.” Louise stated, “Eventually, people started moving the chairs to clear the room as we were told to go behind the bar area but it was so dangerous as there were drinks and glasses all over the floor. None of the staff seemed to know what to do or how to handle the situation. It was pretty traumatic to see both the old lady and dancer in such a way.” A London Ambulance Service spokesperson revealed that they did receive a call for an emergency incident and that the 75-year-old woman received a head injury before being rushed to the hospital. She was immediately put in a neck brace by advanced paramedics after suffering a concussion. As far as the elderly woman’s condition now, well, they haven’t released any information yet, but I sure hope this woman is okay. One thing’s for sure, if the family decided to sue, they will be getting a big hefty check.
Today's guest, LeVar Burton might appreciate this next story... An African-American man willing to risk it all to eradicate racism one terrified hostage at a time has been arrested for kidnapping a woman and forcing her to watch the acclaimed 1970s mini-series "Roots" so that she could better understand her racism. Fifty-two-year-old ironic name haver Robert Lee Noye is accused of kidnapping an unnamed woman whose race has not been specified and then taking her to a property on the 700 block of Second Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and forcing her to watch all nine hours of "Roots" “so she could better understand her racism,” according to authorities. For those unfamiliar, "Roots" is based on Alex Haley’s novel and stars LeVar Burton. The series follows generations of Kunta Kinte’s family from the patriarch’s capture and enslavement in Africa prior to the American Revolution to the family’s eventual emancipation after the U.S. Civil War. The show was nominated for a record-breaking 37 Emmys and is still a cherished series today, though it’s unclear if the show and its lessons hold up as well when you’re trying to watch it while a raving lunatic is keeping you as his prisoner. Noye made sure his captive was a captive audience as well, telling the woman that if she did not remain seated through the entirety of "Roots"‘ nine-hour run he would murder her, cut her body into pieces, and then spread her body parts along Interstate 380 from there to Chicago. No word on if, in between threats of dismemberment and murder, Noye offered commentary on what the series meant to him or how its lessons applied to what short time potentially remained in the woman’s life. Woke Buffalo Bill was arrested and faces charges of first-degree harassment and false imprisonment. Maybe LeVar won't appreciate that story.
I was at Target yesterday and I saw there's a new LEGO set that just came out that I almost got...
Maybe next time. Not only was LeVar Burton in "Roots" but I know him from the series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Before that show aired it had a different title...
Hahaha. LeVar is NOT even in that pic! I'm so lame! He's in this next pic though... this was the original uniforms they were supposed to wear on the show...
Haha. I've mentioned this before, people are using the coronavirus as pickup lines on dating apps like Utkarsh here...
Did you see the movie 1917? Well, they added something to it for the home release...
If I had a TARDIS I would go to Thomas J. Semmes school in New Orleans during recess on Sept. 7th, 1962, which was the second day of integrated classes and watch a white girl following a black girl down the slide...
Yesterday I told you that Don Knotts was everywhere back in the day. Here's more proof...
I wonder how many of you know who that band is. Email me if you know. And yes, I know who they are. No... it's not Foghat. Man, did you see that rocket go up yesterday? I missed it as I was doing this blog when it went up. Glad we have a Space Force instead of a pandemic response team. Kidding! Trump must love "Star Trek" though...
Hahaha. Here's something that should make you smile...
I think it's funny. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...
Top Phive Things Said By People Who Witnessed Their Partner's Office Mode While Watching Them Work Remote
5. A funny thing about quarantining is hearing your partner in full work mode for the first time. Like, I'm married to a "let's circle back" guy... who knew?
4. My wife works from home full time, but I remember the day I realized she was the "one more question" person at the end of the meetings. I was shook.
3. Mine said, "Why don't we table that and revisit it in a couple days?" Who the fuck is he? We've never tabled a damn thing and revisited anything in our entire 36 year marriage!
2. My husband is pleasant and PATIENT on the phone. It's like an invasion of the body snatchers. I know him as the guy who can't sit still at red lights and won't buy more than three groceries at a time, WTF? Why can't I have the patient guy?
And the number one thing said by people who witnessed their partners's office mode while watching them work remote is...
1. The first time I saw Work Husband I was thrilled to find he was a "I don't think Laura was done speaking" guy.
If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. A friend of the Phile has something to say, so you people better listen. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...
Ugh! Laird is right. See? It's people like Katie Williams here. We are all fucking doomed. Okay, you know I love in Florida... well, things happen in this state that probably won't happen anywhere else. So here we are again with...
A Florida man took matters (and scissors and his neighbor’s penis) into his own hands after he could no longer stand the thought the man living next to him going unpunished for sleeping with his wife. Alex Bonilla of Gainesville, Florida walked next door, held his neighbor at gunpoint and threatened to kill him if he resisted, tied the man who slept with his wife up, cut off his penis, and ran out of the house with his neighbor’s penis in hand. The man’s children were in the house while it happened. According to Bonilla, he caught his neighbor sleeping with his wife last May and, apparently, his frustration with that knowledge reached a point of no return. Police charged Bonilla with aggravated assault, cruelty toward a child, and burglary. Maybe just get a divorce next time. Or move. Or do literally anything other than cut a man’s penis off while his terrified kids are in the other room. Move on. Put on your Maui Jim shades and your best Margaritaville flip flops, head down to the dock bar, and find a replacement for Tammy. A new Florida woman who will love you and be loyal. How about Patty over there smoking a Virginia Slim 100 and sipping a Mai Tai at the bar? She’s nice. She has a good job at the Publix, her hobbies include painting seagulls and watching amateur motorcycle races. Heck her brother owns a jet ski. You could’ve had some real fun with her. But no. You cut off a guy’s penis. Pride really is the most destructive sin of all. According to the New York Post, there is no word on if doctors were able to attach Bonilla’s victim’s penis but, man, hopefully they were able to. But really that shouldn’t even be an issue. It’s 2020. Why are we not growing this man a bigger, shinier penis with stem cells? Ridiculous.
If you know anyone who is experiencing substance abuse, call the National Drug Helpline at 1-844-289-0879.
A proud and confident genius makes a bet with an idiot. The genius says, "Hey idiot, every question I ask you that you don't know the answer, you have to give me five dollars. And if you ask me a question and I can't answer yours I will give you $5,000." The idiot says, "Okay." The genius then asks, "How many continents are there in the world?" The idiot doesn't know and hands over the five dollars. The idiot says, "Now me ask: what animal stands with two legs but sleeps with three?" The genius tries and searches very hard for the answer but gives up and hands over the $5,000. The genius says, "Dang it, I lost. By the way, what was the answer to your question?" The idiot hands over five dollars.
The 118th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Hopefully Booker will be on the Phile next week. I hope I don't have to go back to work next week.
Me: Hello, LeVar, sir, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
LeVar: Hello, Jason, I'm gad to be here. Your blog is an interesting read.
Me: Thank you... I think. Hahaha. Okay, so, you have said it's important to read, but why is it important for us to listen to stories?
LeVar: First of I think everybody loves being read to. It's a very elemental part of our childhood experience. It just takes us back to a period in our lives when things were so much simpler. It's a real shortcut to stress relief. Just surrendering in your imagination to the power of the written word. Lord knows we all need some additional measures for stress relief these days. Don't you think?
Me: I think so. I never saw "Reading Rainbow" but saw a clip of you from the show with the book called The Robbery of the Diamond Dog Diner. Do you remember that book?
LeVar: Yeah, I do. I love that book.
Me: How does it feel that you're an outlet for so many people for storytelling?
LeVar: My mom was an English teacher, Jason, and when she passed over a year ago now and everything I've ever done in the field of literacy especially for children is in honor of Irma Jean. She was my first teacher, she was an avid reader herself, she always had two or three books going for her own personal enjoyment. We took two daily newspapers when I was a kid. I grew up in a household where it was clear to me reading was as important to the human as breathing. I'm totally away of the impact of literacy had in my own life. For some reason I have this passion where I want to share that joy with folks.
Me: I'm a grammar nazi, sir. You must be too having your mom being an English teacher, am I right?
LeVar: Yeah. When my grammar is right at home then I have this superpower I go out in the world and correct everybody else's grammar.
Me: Yup. I have a habit of doing that. You wouldn't believe how many people I interview here for the Phile have terrible grammar. And people hardly ever say something like, "LeVar and I went to the store." They'd say "LeVar and me went to the store." Am I right?
LeVar: Yes, indeed.
Me: Ha. Your podcast "LeVar Burton Reads" has nothing to do with the Diamond Dog diner, right?
LeVar: It does not. No.
Me: I listened to a little bit of one of the podcasts, LeVar, and you sound so relaxed and calm, it made me feel calm. You took a breath, why is that?
LeVar: I take a breath and encourage the audience at the beginning of every story for a couple of reasons. Again taking a deep breath is a great tool for stress relief. The deep breath at the beginning of each story creates a portal, a threshold really, between that became before the story and the story itself. It's a way of entering that world of receptivity and imagination and story.
Me: Do you change your reading techniques based on adults and children?
LeVar: No. I don't think I do. It's the material that dictates the voice, and the energy required for the story. I think children's books really require a lot of voices and engagement and energy. But it's the same princess for me, no matter the audience it's all about delivering the story, putting myself simultaneously the head of the writer and the reader. And trying to deliver on the potential of the moments that are laid out for me.
Me: I'm jealous, I wouldn't be able to read a book and people listen... they'd turn it off in a second. What's the secret to being able to read out loud and getting people to listen and being drawn in?
LeVar: It's the constant communication What's great about it and what's freeing about it for me that it's not my communication... I'm the interpreter. That's what story tellers are. I get to lose myself in the imaginings of the writer. I'm just trying to interpret what they laid down. Following the bread crumbs, I'm just walking down the trail that they already forged. It's very freeing for me.
Me: Did you want to be an actor because you listened to stories when you were a kid?
LeVar: That's actually a good question because I never made that correlation before. From my point of view my entry to the theater arts really came out of my decision to not enter the priesthood. I entered the seminary when I was thirteen. I was pretty young. But I was committed, I had the vocation. At least I felt I did.
Me: So, you had this "calling," is that what it's called?
LeVar: Right. So when I decided not to become a priest I was really searching for I was going to spend my life and theater arts was there and was becoming a very special pursuit for me and that's the connection I made. I get it, Jason, that looking back throughout the trajectory of my life it was my destiny to become a story teller. My mother was hugely instrumental in that first step.
Me: Wherever most people learned your name was "Roots," which was based on a book. I never saw it but I know my parents did. When that series aired it had such an impact. Did you feel that?
LeVar: Did I feel what?
Me: Did you see the cultural impact, did you see that it was getting a big reaction?
LeVar: Obviously there was a lot of people watching. Nobody knew that "Roots" would have the social cultural impact that it did. Not when we were making it, not the it started airing. It was sort of this snowball that gathered momentum and it became the conversation happening in North America.
Me: What was it like walking down the street back then after you got famous?
LeVar: Confusing. One day I was obscure, the next day I was recognized. There was a period of adjustment.
Me: Was it a positive recognition all the time?
LeVar: All the time? No, not necessarily. Black people in America have a reeeeaaalllyyy complex relationship with identity. Anytime the slave narrative enters the public consciousness there is push back. Some people think it's the only story about us that only gets told and so it's tired and played out. I am of the opinion that America has never reconciled itself with the original sin of slavery until and unless we do. We'll never get over it, we'll never be post racial. Everything that happens in America is based on a dynamic that includes and involves race. Period. Full stop. Our denial of that just continues too perpetuate problems that aren't going to go away. Obviously they haven't in a couple of hundred years.
Me: So, how did you feel back then about that show?
LeVar: Back in the day Kunta became simultaneously the symbol for some people the adorability of the human spirit and the desire for freedom. For other people he became a symbol that only reminded them of the shame of having been enslaved.
Me: You had to deal with all that, right?
LeVar: I had no choice.
Me: Was it easy?
LeVar: Eh. Ha ha ha.
Me: Hahahaha. That's my favorite answer to a question I ever had on this blog. Okay, so I have to mention "Star Trek: The Next Generation" as the "Star Trek" themed logo would be otherwise pointless in this entry. Here's a pic of you from this show...
Me: Did you feel the pressure of that show before it came out as it was the first "Star Trek" thing since the movies?
LeVar: I felt a responsibility having been an enormous fan of the original series. I'm a huge fan of the science fiction genre. Always have been. Science fiction has always been my go to literature for my pure enjoyment when I want to read something for me. Really all science fiction and fantasy.
Me: Were you into "Star Trek" when you were a kid?
LeVar: "Star Trek" was one of the few representations of the future I encountered when I was a kid, where people who looked like me were represented. So in an era in my life, in America it was rare to see black people on TV except for on the nightly news during the Vietnam War era where most of the soldiers we were sending to the theater of war were black kids. "Star Trek" was huge. Gene Roddenberry as a storyteller was saying to me when the future comes there's a place for me. It's hard to underestimate the power of seeing one self reflected in the popular culture what impact it has. It validates me. Absent seeing myself represented or people who are like me being represented in popular culture are sent a very dangerous message. A message that says I don't matter, I'm not important. So quite naturally I clung on to that example of black people in the future.
Me: Okay, do you think science fiction shows or other shows showed people of color in the future?
LeVar: Until very recently. Certainly in literature. There's an explosion now of African futurism or Afrofuturism. Diverse voices from people of color have really begun to infiltrate the speculative fiction realm in a very powerful and dynamic way. It's so exciting for a kid coming from Sacramento, California that read science fiction in his bed in the summer time to where we are now with all these great new voices coming to the forefront. It's really exciting.
Me: So, your new podcast is just audible. What does that do for you?
LeVar: It takes them where images always originate. In the mind's eye. It's how we first experienced stories as human beings around the fire. And radio, I grew up listening to the radio. t's always been my favorite form of storytelling. Reading allowed or being read allowed to.
Me: So cool. LeVar, sir, thanks for being on the Phile. I really enjoyed this, I hope you did and I hope you'll come back again soon. Stay safe.
LeVar: Thank you, Jason, I enjoyed this as well.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile, Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course LeVar Burton. The Phile will be back on Monday with Phile Alum "Weird Al" Yankovic. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Wash your hands.
I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon