Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pheaturing Phile Alum Jeff Trelewicz

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. So, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, kids. Just think... if the Indians had given the Pilgrims a donkey instead of a turkey, we'd all be having a piece of ass this Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving may you devour more food in one day than the Polgrom colonies ate in one year. May your Thanksgiving be filled worth the same actions you take for the homeless on our streets, as you are demanding for refugees. Also this week as you know it is Black Friday. Once you go Black Friday, you never go back Friday. Haha. I have no idea what that means.  Well, this is the last day I will be forty-six years old. Yep, tomorrow I will be forty-seven. Yes, I'm older enough to remember to poop without a smartphone. I'm so old my driving terrifies people. I hope I'm still around when the iPhone 237 comes out. I doubt I'll be around the iPhone 7 comes out. Alright, enough about me, let's talk about what is going on in the world.  Jared Fogle was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in prison a few days ago, and during the court proceedings, his attorney argued that his Subway sandwich diet was a mitigating factor in his pedophilia. John Bradford, an "expert witness," was called in by Fogle's attorney, Jeremy Margolis, to argue that Jared treating his food addiction via Subway sandwiches led to a sex addiction developing in its place. Bradford is a psychiatry professor at the University of Ottowa, and sounds like someone you really wouldn't want to get your psychiatry training from. He also characterized Fogle's actions as "mild pedophilia," which prosecutors quickly pointed out is literally not a thing.  Hey, this story is for you, Sam...
Maybe you've been guilt-tripping yourself for sleeping the day away, or maybe just your "friends" and "family" have been. Well, forget everything you knew about being unconscious! Scientists have unlocked the secret of sleeping in. It actually means you're a creative genius. No shame in the game (if the game is hitting snooze over and over on your persistent alarm clock). The Huffington Post compiled a list of research outlining all the strengths of being a night owl, but two papers in particular focus on the benefits of sleep as they relate to two things: How smart you are and how creative you are. The first, from the University of Madrid, studied the circadian rhythms of about 1,000 teenagers, categorized them into night or morning people, then tested them a bunch. The results were that teens that stay up late do better than early risers with inductive reasoning, which is used to analyze general intelligence. Yet, they often do worse in school because school happens in the morning, duh. Why would people staying up all night be smarter? "One theory to explain the extra brain power of night owls is that intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be nocturnal because in ancestral times any activities at night would have been novel and would, therefore, have been more likely to attract people with inquisitive minds." Curiosity and inquisitiveness also makes for more creative people. In the other study, published by the Department of Psychology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, they discovered folks who stay up late are more likely to come up with innovations and look at the world differently. Professor Marina Giampietro, who led the study, said, "Being in a situation which diverges from conventional habit, nocturnal types often experience this situation, may encourage the development of a non-conventional spirit and of the ability to find alternative and original solutions." Yeah, like when the grocery store is closed because it's 4 a.m. so you make a sandwich with bread for filling, then binge-watch "Orange is the New Black." What a GENIUS does!
Justin Bieber was taped serenading Selena Gomez the other night at a hotel bar in Beverly Hills. This seems like a pretty good indication that these two might be rekindling their romance. It also means that paparazzi photographers are going to begin relentlessly stalking them. Lots of people get back together with an ex in their early twenties, then regret it and go meet someone more interesting. Even famous people do it! To be certain, Bieber does what Bieber wants. He walks out of interviews, and when he manages to complete interviews, he insists he's single. But his song choice for this impromptu tune sounds like he's trying to win her back... "My Girl." Generally speaking, you don't sing "My Girl" to a girl unless she's your girl, or in this case if she used to be your girl and you want her to be your girl again. There were no reports of Selena grabbing the mic and reprising famous scenes from "Wizards of Waverly Place." I like Justin, he's a Foghat fan...

Remy Martin has funded a John Malkovich film that won't be seen for 100 years. It's a classy way to advertise their stupid-expensive 100 year old Louis XIII Cognac. Directed by Robert Rodriguez (known for From Dusk Till Dawn and giving college film students filmmaking boners) with cinematography by Claudio Miranda (known for Life of Pi and being a hair hero), the Malkovich-penned film deals with what life will be like in 100 years. But unless somebody gets on some legit life-extension right quick, you're never going to see the sucker, because it's getting locked in a safe box for 100 years. Malcovich says that he studied futurism and science fiction to help decide exactly what vision of the future the film would take. He noted that there are so many possibilities, "An incredibly high tech, beyond computerized version of the world, a post-Chernoybl, back to nature, semi-collapsed civilization and then there was a retro future which was how the future was imagined in science fiction of the 1940s or 50s." Some of these different visions are played out in the film's teasers, but none of these contain footage from the actual film, apparently. According to, the fine cognac folks "are sending out metal movie tickets to about 1,000 influential people inviting them to invite their descendants to a screening exactly one century from today," as if the children of today's influencers aren't going to be total screw-ups. That'll be a fun screening. Anyway, how expensive is the Cognac? One site has a bottle of the current batch listed at a cool $2,999.99, approximately the cost of 100 bottles of very tasty bourbon or almost 3,000 bottles of refreshing beer (and probably, like, 4,000 cans of shit beer).  Schuler's bakery in Springfield, Ohio has taken a bold and public stance on the growing culture war in the U.S. A sign recently posted on the store's front door warns any and all prospective customers that their fresh bread will come with a free side of unapologetic heartland values whether they want them or not... political correctness be darned!

A photo of the sign was posted to Facebook by Springfield resident Jackie Stevens. One of her friends, Angel Jacobs, shared the image to the page of local CBS affiliate WHIO, where it quickly went viral. Many commenters were delighted to see a local business take a stand against political correctness, saying the things that they imagine others are afraid to say. Others were less enthusiastic about the sign, arguing that it was hostile and misleading, like the rest of the "War on Christmas" rhetoric. They also argued that the sign was unnecessary, because it's a fucking bakery. Schuler's Bakery: serving up hot bread and hot topics. The attitude is just as fresh as the donuts. Except the day-olds, which are available at a discount.  So, you know about this whole Starbucks cup controversy, right? Well, they have solved the problem once and for all...

Yup. Problem solved.  Did you guys see the new McDonald's billboard? They have a very strange advertising campaign going on...

Then I would surely eat a lot. Hmmmm. Moving on...  I am not a big candle fan, but I am sure some of you are out there. You hard about the Yankee Candles, right? We'll there's one I am not too sure about...

No, that's not me on the label. Ha!  Ted Cruz has a very odd poster out right now.

What is he thinking?  So, I was looking at the guide on my DVR to see what shows I wanna watch on Thanksgiving and this came up...

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

Top Phive Startling Similarities Between The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 And Justin Bieber's New Album.
5. Features a blonde, feminine protagonist.
4. Will be illegally downloaded by millions.
3. The public wishes there was more to come after this installment.
2. Feels like it's three hours long.
And the number one similarity between Mockingjay, Part 2 and Bieber's new album...
1. Is much more than just a cynical corporate cash-in.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, it's fall, so here's another...

This toaster hack.

Okay, I am gonna have to try that. Okay, so, you know I live in Florida by now, right? Well, lots of strange things happen in Florida that happen no where else in the Universe. That's why I have a pheature called...

A woman in Florida appropriately named Christian Kayla Normandin has attracted the Internet's attention with a 15 minute video she posted on Facebook ranting about her son's history textbook. Her son, a sophomore, was issued a textbook in his World History class containing numerous references to Islamic history and its influence on the world, as well as an entire 40 page chapter dedicated to the history of Islam and the Islamic Empires. Forty whole pages! In a World History book! About one of the major forces in world history! Normandin tagged her video with this description: "Here is the video I promised about my sons 6th period World history class for sophomores. I did a basic overview of the whole 40 page chapter and other paragraphs on other issues. We need to put an end to this now!! I have contacted the principal again on this and am waiting on the call and will record the call!! So give me your opinions and questions and I'll answer them the best I can." In the video, Normandin takes issue with the fact that the book doesn't have chapters dedicated to other religions, ignoring the fact that the chapter is clearly focused on the history of the Muslim world and not the religion itself. She also complains that it doesn't give sufficient attention to "the negative side of Muslims." She also doesn't approve of the book's criticism of the Crusades, or the fact that it teaches kids how to write "I-rabic numerals," which she seems to not realize are the numbers we use every day. There are actually too many entertaining quotes to pull from this video for me to list here. Watch it yourself if you've got 15 minutes to spare and plenty of rage in your heart.

That's the problem with history textbooks: too objective.

Cranberry sauce
Cranberry sauce is the worst thing to happen to Thanksgiving since your dad found out about Obamacare.

It's 2:17 a.m., 77°F and
In celebrity barfing news, Kelly opened up (no pun intended) about crazy morning sickness. Kelly  revealed that she's been suffering from really bad morning sickness. She joins Kim Kardashian, Adele, and Chrissy Teigen in the new celebrity trend of being super real about pregnancy. All the coolest A-listers are barfing while carrying babies, and if the trend continues, we should be prenatal projectile vomiting all over the runways next season. You might remember that Clarkson dramatically blurted out her pregnancy news while on tour in the middle of performing a song about dads. Now she tells CBS News, not only does she have morning sickness, but "I'm familiar with all-day sickness. I have to get IVs and fluids because I get so dehydrated. It's really bad." But she says it's worth it to "pop out magical unicorns," aka babies, like her one year old daughter River Rose. Which famous person will candidly explore the physical and emotional changes that accompany birth next? Let the sordid rumors begin.

Get this pop star some ginger ale.

Okay, today's guest is a good friend of mine and is often here on the Phile talking about football. He is a Phile Alum whose book "Paranormal Contact Volume 2" is the 41st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club and is available on Amazon. Please welcome back to the Phile... Jeff Trelewicz.

Me: Jeff! Welcome back to the Phile. Let's talk football. Oh, wait... never mind. Haha. How are you? 

Jeff: It was another wonderful week of football... oh wait, not what we're here to talk about. Not here anyway.

Me: You've been on the Phile more than anyone... except me of course, and this is the second interview about your books. That's pretty good, right?

Jeff: Have I been on more than anyone? I would think Laird has been on more than me. After all you asked him for thoughts on a dead wrestler recently and not me. But that's pretty cool! I will gladly take it.

Me: Yes, you beat Laird. Before we talk about your book "Paranormal Contact Volume 2," how are your other two books doing?

Jeff: My other books have kind of hit a wall as far as sales. To the point that to get interest up for "Paranormal Contact Volume 2," I gave "Volume 1" away for free for five days. Even that, the numbers were lower than I expected. I didn't get into becoming a writer for the fame and fortune, though I would have no problem if it happened. You know what I mean?

Me: Yeah. Three books in a year or so, that's pretty good. You must like writing, right?

Jeff: I love writing. Where else do I get to create worlds and control people's destinies? I have been writing in one form or another for most of my life. I wrote short stories growing up, then stage plays then screen plays with country music demos tossed somewhere in between. Now I can officially call myself a novelist I guess.

Me: Okay, so, this new book is in the Phile's Book Club. I never got to interview you about "Volume 1." Both books are about ghosts and stuff. Have you always been into that kinda thing?

Jeff: Yeah, I'm a big fan of the paranormal. As far as I could remember my Godfather always told me stories of the paranormal, even from a young age. So his stories were my first contact with stories of the paranormal. I think I was like ten or eleven when he first told me about Bigfoot. And it's because of him that "Paranormal Contact Vol. 1" was dedicated to him.

Me: Ever do a ghost tour?

Jeff: I have been on a ghost tour before. I've done several of them actually. I also technically led one as well.

Me: You must be a fan of Ghostbusters, am I right?

Jeff: Ghostbusters is such a great movie. But I'm a fan of 80s movies in general. But yeah, I really like the movie. I don't even hate the second movie which is rare.

Me: So, I have to ask, do you believe in ghosts? I think I know the answer. Haha.

Jeff: Not only do I believe in ghosts, but many of the stories from the books are based off my own experiences in the paranormal. Some of them have been told to me. Some of them I have read. But yeah, I believe in all of it.

Me: So, are the same characters in "Volume 1" in "Volume 2"?

Jeff: For the most part yes, the same characters from "Volume 1" appear in "Volume 2" as well. Some characters do not, as well as new characters are introduced. But it is a continuation of the story featuring the same characters. There are seven characters that appear in both books.

Me: There's a character named Jason in the books. Is he named after and based after someone in particular?

Jeff: Yes, the main character's name is Jason. No, he's not based off you! He's named Jason Grant because the two people who founded the TV show "Ghost Hunters" on the SyFy Network are Jason and Grant. I was going to name a character after you in the first book, but didn't want two Jason's. So as you remember, I asked you for permission to name a character and combined your father and your son's names. Even threw in the word Lonesome in honor of your dad!

Me: That's right. But this Jason character, is he a nice guy or an ass?

Jeff: I would like to think that the character is a nice guy. But everyone has their limits. We see more of those limits in "Vol. 2."

Me: More importantly, does he have a hot girlfriend and get laid? Haha.

Jeff: As a matter of fact he does have a hot girlfriend and gets laid in "Vol. 1."  

Me: The new book takes place in St. Augustine. I love it there. You do as well, right?

Jeff: St. Augustine was one of my all time favorite places to visit. I have been there a few times.

Me: That place is very haunted, Jeff. Is that why you made the book based there?

Jeff: Yeah. That's why the book takes place there. There's just so many stories to be told there. I didn't even start to scratch the surface of all the ghost stories that take place in St. Augustine.

Me: I remember you telling me a story of a boy who was in a tree at a cemetery or something. What is that story?

Jeff: The story of James is an important part of "Paranormal Contact Vol. 2." James is buried in the cemetery away from everyone else and no one knows why. They don't know his last name or how he died. Just the year he died in. There's a tree that is outside the cemetery but the large branches extend inside the cemetery. James has been known to play in the tree and make his presence known to other children that are near. We witnessed one of those incidents. It's in the book. It was just so strange to have seen.

Me: So, is there gonna be a "Volume 3"?

Jeff: Yes, there will be a "Paranormal Contact Vol. 3." It was always my intention to make it a trilogy. I plan on releasing that book next Halloween!

Me: I have to ask you about your podcast you do with Jeremy Croston. What is it called and how is that going?

Jeff: Jeremy and I started a podcast months ago. We actually started our own publishing company called Two Dudes, Brews and Books. And that's also what the podcast is called. Every week we discuss a different topic from our books to drinks or anything pop culture. We have had many a discussion of Star Wars. We have started to have guests on our podcasts and you know you have a standing invitation to guest star on our podcast anytime you want to.

Me: That'll be cool. What is your next book you are gonna write? Any ideas?

Jeff: I have plenty of ideas in my head for future books. In fact, I officially started my next book just this past Sunday. I'm two thousand words in. My goal is somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 words so I have a long way to go!

Me: I am thinking of writing a novel, but have no idea how to publish it. I might need your help. Whatcha think?

Jeff: With everything that you have encountered in life I think you would make a great writer. I will gladly help you with your book. Anything you need, you just let me know! And then when it comes out I will interview you for my blog! Time for a role reversal!

Me: Cool. You have a great imagination, Jeff. Ever think about writing a science fiction story?

Jeff: The next book will be more science fiction than the previous books. There will be no ghosts, no aliens this time around. I will be dealing with another subject in the realm of science fiction. Time travel. For the most part I'm keeping things under wraps for the time being. But as a bit of a teaser I will ask this... How far would you be willing to go to save your family's legacy? The new book will explore that question.

Me: I have to ask you about the books cover... is that lighthouse in St. Augustine? Did you take that picture?

Jeff: Jeremy had designed the cover originally but the lighthouse was not the correct style. It was a plain lighthouse without the stripes. The picture on the cover is not the actual St. Augustine lighthouse, but I have many pictures of the lighthouse. Every time I go to St. Augustine that is a required visit.

Me: Okay, so, in January the Phile will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. Wanna be part of it?

Jeff: Of course I want to be a part of such an occasion. You don't even have to ask. I'm on board!

Me: Thanks for being back on the Phile. Tell the readers where they can get the book and I will see you back here real next Monday to talk football. Keep writing, my friend.

Jeff: You can find my books on Amazon. Just type in my name or follow this link... Thanks, Jason, and I will talk to you later!

That does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jeff for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with the kids from the band Year of October. Spread the word, not the third. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pheaturing Phile Alum Neara Russell

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Tuesday. How are you? I'm in a very good mood so let's start with a nice story about a photo of an old couple helping a young man that reminded the Internet that things can be nice. In Atlanta's Lindbergh Center train station last week, a man named Redd Desmond Thomas snapped this photograph of a Norman Rockwell painting happening in real life, as an older couple took time out of their day to help a young man starting out in the world.

It's since been shared over 201,000 times on Facebook. Too often, it's the stories about spiteful people, mean people, jerks and even hateful people that go viral online. There are a lot of those people, and the world is tough enough without them. Everyone would be living out nasty, brutish and short Hobbesian lives if someone like this didn't stop to help... and judging by the hundreds of thousands of people who shared this post, it reminded a lot of people of those helpers and moments. Many want to read politics or social trends into this photo, but it just is what it is. It's a story about three people on a train platform. A lot of men will tell you that learning to tie a tie was actually a stressful moment in their lives, and those who had to learn themselves would have really appreciated this gesture from someone. Keep up the good work, humans.  Actor Charlie Sheen announced on the "TODAY Show" this morning that he is HIV positive. According to Sheen, he was diagnosed about 4 years ago, which puts his public freakouts from the time into context, though Sheen claims they were triggered by steroids he was taking. The former "Two-and-a-Half Men" star says, "It's a hard three letters to absorb. It's a turning point in one's life." One of Sheen's main motivations in admitting he is HIV positive is to beat back the many people who have been blackmailing him by threatening to expose his diagnosis to the world. He says he's paid out almost $10 million to people he trusted with the info (among them, prostitutes without hearts of gold), one of whom had a pic of his anti-retroviral drugs. In general, Sheen is in good health, and since he has a lot of money, he can afford the treatment that will potentially keep him that way for a long time. Best of luck to him.  Oxford Dictionaries has announced their word of the year for 2015, except this time it's not a word. Ten years ago, words such as "sudoku" and "podcast" topped their list. Not bad, as those are two activities that can help you learn. But more recent words may be indicative of how everyone's brains are melting. In 2013, Oxford chose the word "selfie," and last year's word was "vape." If words of the year are any indication of where society is headed, we might be doomed. This year's word is an emoji. Yes, those little images that have come to dominate text messages and social media posts. Emojis have become such an important part of flirting that some companies have created sexually-charged emojis specifically for that purpose. But this emoji is "Face with Tears of Joy," the innocent, laughing emoji that's safe for the whole family.

It's worth noting that Oxford Dictionaries considered some words that would indicate society has not given up on learning or real words; "refugee" and "sharing economy" were on the short list. But so were "on fleek" and "lumbersexual." Society is back to being doomed! Doomed!  Americans (and anyone else deeply invested in Christopher Robin and friends) can't get over the fact that Winnie the Pooh is actually... gasp... a girl bear! Does that make you feel differently about the no-pants situation? It's weird that this is suddenly making waves, because it is a matter of public record that the character of Winnie the Pooh was based on author A.A. Milne's son Christopher Robin's teddy bear. That teddy bear was named after an actual female black bear purchased by Lt. Harry Colebourne, who brought the bear to London from Canada during World War I, naming her "Winnie," after Winnipeg. So, she's also technically Canadian, eh. Canadians have known that the gluttonous honey-muncher is a woman for years. Of course, the character in the books is referred to as he. Almost all of the characters in A.A. Milne's books are, except for Kanga... she's a mom. This is like The Berenstain bears all over again. Are no fictional bears to be trusted? You know about the Berenstain story, right? Sigh. Okay, I'm not gonna go into it here, but if you wanna know go to this website... But finish this entry first, people.  The Green Bay Packers went up against the Detroit Lions on Sunday and lost, but before the game even began things were going downhill for everybody. After the Paris terror attacks on Friday, the NFL teams decided to have a moment of silence honoring the people killed. One fan appeared to misunderstood the concept of "silence," because they decided to shout out something pretty hideous from the stands. At a press conference after his team's loss, quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke out against the fan's hateful interruption. He said, "Yeah, I think it's important to do things like that [moment of silence]. We're connected, a connected world, ya know, six degrees of separation. I must admit, I was very disappointed with whoever the fan was who made a comment that I thought was really inappropriate during the moment of silence. It’s that kind of prejudicial ideology that puts us in the position that we’re in today. As a world." Good for Rodgers for standing up for 1.6 billions Muslims in the world who have nothing to do with these attacks. Almost makes you want to shout, "Go Packers!"Almost.  Okay, I work with the public every day and in my job I swear aliens are real. Really. I mean, take a look at this guy...

I arrest my case.  You know about the whole big Starbucks cup controversy, right. Well, they just released these new white and gold cups to shut everyone up...

Haha.  SeaWorld if you haven't heard is doing away with its killer whale show at its park in San Diego. If you are wondering what they are doing with those whales I will show you...

Big plastic bags.  Do you kids like Pepsi? I don't, but I think they have the best marketing gig going right now.

They must of spent millions on that. Ha. I wonder how many people are gonna complain about that. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Things Overheard At The Ronda Rousey Knockout.
5. That's so sweet... a young fan in the upper deck just caught one of her molars!
4. I can't believe she fell for the ol' "Is there something on my foot?" trick!
3. First the Mayweather fight, now THIS. From now on, it's strictly basement cockfighting for me!
2. She should've paid attention to her horoscope when it said "You will be kicked in the neck today."
And the number not thing heard at the Rousey knockout...
1. Her aura of invincibility has been shattered... also, the right side of her jawbone!

Haha. This is not a hard one. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

Me: Hey there, Jeff, welcome to the Phile for a Tuesday. How are you?

Jeff: Always good to be back on the Phile. Doing all right. How about you?

Me: I'm doing pretty good. Okay, so, Bob Iger from Disney says he wants to help LA get a football team. Are you surprised?

Jeff: LOL. Oh, Bob Iger. Worry about fixing your parks before you bring a football team to LA. Lots of other people want to do the same thing. Besides, there's not a Disney movie that they could name a team after like they did with the Mighty Ducks before they got tired of it and distanced themselves from sports again.

Me: Any other NFL news?

Jeff: The biggest news is more injuries. Somehow Ben Roethlisberger was injured last week, they said he would miss 1-2 weeks but he led the Steelers to victory this week after our 3rd string QB got hurt. Somehow Pittsburgh has survived Ben getting hurt twice, Michael Vick getting hurt and Landry Jones getting hurt. I'm not going to argue with it though. The Patriots won a nailbiter against your Giants this week. They are still perfect. So are the Bengals. So are the Panthers. There's a funny meme out there. All the undefeated teams in the NFL are named after big cats.

Jeff: A bengal tiger (for Cincinnati), a panther (Carolina) and a cheetah (New England, Cheater with a Boston accent).

Me: That's funny.  So, what's this Peyton Manning story?

Jeff: Peyton Manning got benched after he broke the record for most yards thrown in his career. The rest of the game went down hill. There are some reports that we may have seen Peyton's last start. I truly hope that is not true.

Me: As long as it's not Eli... In the monologue I told the story of NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers shaming a fan who yelled out a hateful comment about Muslims at the game. What do you think of that? Did you hear this story?

Jeff: I say good for Aaron Rodgers for commenting about the disrespectful fan. You can't blame all for the actions of a few. What happened in Paris should never happen, but it did. But you can't blame every single Muslim for the actions of ISIS. That's just close minded.

Me: You're right. So, how did we do last week? Am I still winning?

Jeff: Yes, you're still winning. In fact you went 1-1 last week and I went 0-2. I did get a point with a Steeler win though. So as it stands you're lead grew now to five points over me. I don't like this. I feel like I'm cursed...

Me: That's funny. So, let's pick this week... I say Texans by 1 and Falcons by 3. What do you pick? 

Jeff: My picks are Bears by three and Chiefs by 5.

Me: Alright, I will see you back here next Sunday when you're a pheatured guest on the Phile. It's my birthday on Monday but this year there's not gonna be a special birthday entry as I have plans.

Jeff: Sounds good! Happy early birthday to you by the way.

Me: Thanks, Jeff.

Eiffel Tower
After pompous arseholes, the Eiffel Tower is what you think of when you think of Paris.

The 41st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

The author and my good friend Jeff will be the pheatured guest on the Phile next Sunday. Okay, in the beginning of the entry I mentioned Americans are pooping in their honey pots after learning Winnie the Pooh is actually ​a girl bear. Well, I just happen to know Winnie's brother Vinnie who has been on the Phile before a long time ago. I invited him back to get his take on it. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Vinnie, welcome back to the Phile. It's been awhile. So, what do you think of this story about your brother Winnie being a girl?

Vinnie: Ha! The world just discovered Winnie is a girl and I and Canada is like duh.

Me: So, you knew it?

Vinnie: Yeah, but I preferred Winnie the Pooh when they were genderless.

Me: Ummm... okay. Thanks, Vinnie.

Vinnie: Bye.

Alright, today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum who has a new single and video out called "Dance With Nobody." She's one of my favorite guests I met doing this blog. Please welcome back to the Phile the beautiful and talented... Neara Russell.

Me: Neara!!!!! Welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Neara: Hiya, Jason! Great to be back. I’ve been well, learning about the world and writing songs about it! How are you?

Me: I'm good. Last time you were here was on a birthday entry in 2013 on November 23rd. When is your birthday?

Neara: I hear you have a big birthday coming up. Congrats on the tenacity! My birthday is July 11th. That’s right, free Slurpees at 7-Eleven for me.

Me: Haha. I have to be honest, I have met and interviewed so many cool people since I started this stupid little blog and you, Neara, are one of my favorite guests. You are good looking, talented and fun. Anyway, what have you been up to since last time you were here?

Neara: Whee thank you so much! Well, I’ve been working as a touring and session keyboardist. I was honored with a Nord keyboard endorsement last year, and played some big festivals this year with British DJ Duke Dumont. I also released a music video for my new song “Dance With Nobody” this month!

Me: You're originally from Wisconsin. Do you visit home often?

Neara: I am a Cheesehead through the heart. I sadly don’t get home so often, though my parents are holding down the home front. Nobody ever tours through Wisconsin, which needs to change! I want a working vacation back to Madison, please!

Me: Have you been touring with anybody lately? Do you still perform with Bridgit Mendler?

Neara: Yep, Bridgit is still my girl. She’s focusing on writing and acting at the moment, but I’ve been playing shows with Duke Dumont, including Coachella and T in the Park music festivals. His shows were huge. We were up in front of 40,000 people and a stage full of lighting production, everybody having a good time. I’ve also joined the dance-rock band Magic Man for some U.S. dates this fall, finally living the dream as an indie rocker! They have been super fun to jam with.

Me: You are one of the most photogenic people I know. I love this pic!

Me: Ever think of modeling or acting, Neara? 

Neara: Why thanks, Jay! I’ve been approached with that question before. Lots of my peers have gotten into acting and modeling since moving to LA. Some have even switched over from music and made acting their careers. I don’t consider myself a looker, and would rather stay focused on what matters to me: the music. Geeking out over a passionate interest is the sexiest thing to me.

Me: I have to ask you about the cover pic for your new single "Dance With Nobody." Whose idea was for you to wear all that make up? They're an idiot! Haha.

Neara: Ha! All my idea! I’ve encountered different opinions of what is "attractive" while working in LA, many of which involve lots of makeup and posturing and imposed feminine ideals. When the time came for a photoshoot, I grabbed face paint at the local art store and said, you know what, if this industry wants me to paint my face to look all sweet and feminine, I’ll take it to the extreme and have fun with it.

Me: Let's talk about your new song and video. I looked for the song on iTunes and it isn't there. Will it be? I love the song and want a copy.

Neara: It’s on iTunes right now! My artist name for this release is NEARA. Here’s the link: I’m so happy you like the song!

Me: "Dance With Nobody."? Neara, I find it very hard to believe you can't find anybody to dance with. Haha. What was the inspiration behind the song?

Neara: Haha... well, my first heartbreak inspired this. I was infatuated with this guy and got dumped hard. This song came from the aftermath of that experience, learning to find joy within myself and feeling secure with my independence. As much as the emotional pain was not fun, I’m thankful for the challenge of learning to stand on my own without seeking constant affirmation from others. Besides, dancing alone is the best! No competition!

Me: Someone dumped you? What an idiot! Is the song gonna be on a new album you are working on?

Neara: Yes, the plan is to release an EP next year. I’m collaborating with producer Max Mitchell on more songs.

Me: So, what came first, the music or the lyrics?

Neara: Spontaneously simultaneous! Max lent me his Prophet 08 keyboard, and the first thing I wrote were the synth riffs in this song. I have a rough voice memo of the song from my rehearsal space, improvising the lyrics in real time.

Me: I love the video. Where was it filmed, Neara?

Neara: Thanks! I love it too! This video was also a collaboration, between myself and a team of wonderful and generous talents. Kelly Elaine Garthwaite was our director. Jamie-Lynn Fincham co-produced. Jonathan Barrera Ortiz edited. We filmed this as guerrilla-style as possible in Los Angeles. I wanted the video to showcase my freedom of expression, with a twist of self-discovery.

Me: You always look like you are having fun with whatever you're doing. Is that true?

Neara: I do! Filming day for this video was one of the best days of my life. There is nothing more joyous for me than expressing myself in a creative and honest way.

Me: Is there something career wise you haven't done that you would love to?

Neara: I’m excited to release more new music in upcoming years, and produce more videos. I’d like to continue traveling, and spend some time on a bus with a touring project that I’m creatively invested in. Also looking forward to co-writing with more producers and artists.

Me: So, is there any new bands or musicians out there that you are listening to now?

Neara: Best album of 2015 was "Talking is Hard" by Walk the Moon. I’m indulging in some musical geekery lately and listening to Vulfpeck, and finally getting around to the "20/20 Experience" by Justin Timberlake. I tend to get super invested in popular albums about two years after they were released, haha.

Me: What was the last CD you purchased?

Neara: "1989" by Taylor Swift! So much romance. I swoon.

Me: I don't think I ever mentioned this in a prior interview with you, and if I did let's talk about it again. You graduated from Berklee... what was our major, Neara?

Neara: I did. I double majored in classical composition and piano/voice performance.

Me: You mentioned before the band you were apart of... The Backliners. Are you still with them? 

Neara: Yes! The Backliners are my boys. They adopted me when I first moved to LA, and I’ve been working on countless projects with them ever since. We have done live shows, recording sessions, and music videos together with various local artists. I’m honored to play with musicians of their caliber, no matter what the situation.

Me: You also got a heart tattoo on the back of your neck we mentioned before. Any other tattoos? 

Neara: That’s it! I had a brief moment where I thought I might need tattoos to be cool. Gave up on being cool shortly afterwards. Happy about my tattoo though. I drew the heart myself.

Me: Neara, in January this stupid little blog will be celebrating 10 years. I am having a bunch of Alumni coming back throughout January. Would you wanna come back to the Phile then?

Neara: Woohoo! Of course! Will be my honor.

Me: Cool! Thanks so much for being here again. Mention your website and I'll see you back here in January.

Neara: Thanks for hosting me, Jason! See you soon: and

Me: Thanks, Neara.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz and Neara Russell. The Phile will be back next Sunday with author, friend and Phile Alum Jeff Trelewicz. Haha. 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

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pheaturing Phile Alum Kim Edwards

Hi there, and welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you?  Okay, let's start off with a story about Hot Pockets saving a man's life by helping him narrowly avoid a plane crash. An Akron, Ohio man, Jason Bartley, says a stop for Hot Pockets saved his life on Tuesday. Seven employees of a Florida real estate investment company were on the second day of a multi-city Midwestern trip when their small jet crashed into Bartley's apartment building. Regrettably, all nine people onboard were killed. Bartley just barely avoided the crash because he was out running errands. He left home Tuesday afternoon and took slightly longer than planned because he stopped to buy the Hot Pockets for dinner and breakfast, which might be the first time having Hot Pockets for breakfast has saved someone's life instead of shortening it. The 38 year old factory worker says he saw flames and smoke on his drive home, and a bystander explained that a plane had just crashed into his building. Bartley says he feels lucky to be alive, but is obviously distraught over the close brush with death. He told the "Akron Beacon Journal," "Sometimes you get nauseous thinking about it. It’s still even hard to comprehend." To be clear, he's talking about the plane crash, not having Hot Pockets for both dinner and breakfast. Unfortunately, he did not have renters insurance, so a GoFundMe account has been set up to help him replace his belongings and buy him some new breakfasts and dinners. You can go her if you want to pledge...  Over 100 women are suing Atlanta-based drug company Qualitest Pharmaceuticals for a 2011 error in their birth control's packaging, which the women claim resulted in unplanned pregnancies. Why? Because the worst mistake you could ever make while packaging birth control happened: the placebos were in the wrong place. As if that isn't bad enough, the name of the company is Qualitest. They combined the words "quality" and "test" to name their company, then failed to perform tests ensuring their product was quality. Three years ago, Qualitest recalled its birth control pills after discovering the pills’ labeling had been placed upside down. As a result, many women took the placebo pills when they should have been taking the hormone pills. The lawsuit includes 94 women who gave birth after taking the defective pills, 17 who didn't carry out their unplanned pregnancies, and two others who did not become pregnant. It's not clear what the other two are suing for; perhaps they or their partners had heart attacks after learning about the recall. According to the lawsuit filed on November 5th, the women who took the pills are seeking millions in damages to compensate for their pain, suffering, lost wages, and child-rearing expenses. In Oregon, state law specifies that child-rearing expenses include the the child's college tuition. That could make possible settlements quite pricey if the kids grow up to be highly intelligent. The company claims the recall was based on a small number of pill packs, and that the mistake was due to an external contract manufacturer. Either way, someone is totally getting fired.  Bloomingdale's has apologized after publishing a super uncomfortable advertisement suggesting that you celebrate Christmas by acting like a date rapist. The ad was published in their holiday catalog and features a somewhat creepy-looking dude next to a laughing woman with the message, "Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking." Here's a picture of the ad...

Bloomingdale's gave a statement about the ad to "Tech Insider," in which the company apologized, "In reflection of recent feedback, the copy we used in our recent catalog was inappropriate and in poor taste. Bloomingdales' [sic] sincerely apologizes for this error in judgment." Go with something simple next time, like "Happy Holidays," or "'Tis the season," or "Give people presents, not drugs against their will."  Alexa Rice of Matthews, North Carolina was biking home on Wednesday when she passed a truck with a Confederate flag bumper sticker parked in her neighborhood. She continued home, where she kept on stewing in rage over the controversial image, getting madder and madder as she thought about the racist implications of it. Finally, she decided she'd had enough. She wrote a very pointed note and returned to the truck. Peeling off the sticker with her bare hands (apparently this was the most easily-removed bumper sticker of all time), she replaced it with her message. She documented the entire operation in a Twitter video. Leaving nothing to chance, she also uploaded a close-up image of the note itself...

Rice's video tweet quickly went viral, with almost 5,000 retweets and more than 6,000 likes as of press time. Many commenters supported her and her anti-racism message, while others pointed out that what she did was illegal, constituting theft and destruction of property. Of course, Rice was aware of that, which is why she identified herself in the video. She didn't want anyone else to get the blame (or the credit). "Fox 8" reports that since the tweet was posted, Rice's note has been removed from the truck (duh). However, reporters were unable to find the vehicle's owner for comment. There are just too many trucks with Confederate flag stickers and "Dixie" decals in North Carolina to sift through.  Last year, Facebook created Safety Check, a tool specifically for "disasters and crises" that helps you see whether your friends and family in an affected area are safe. Friday, Facebook turned on the tool in response to the horrible attacks in Paris. If you go to the Safety Check page, Facebook will list all of your Facebook friends in Paris who have checked in as safe. Furthermore, the tool will also notify you when other people on your friends list have checked in. Here's the link... The flip side of this is that if you're currently in Paris or you're in an area of crisis in the future, you can let Facebook know you're safe, and it will inform your friends. My thoughts are with everyone in Paris...  Okay, so, dod you hear about this whole Starbucks Christmas cup controversy this week? Well, they decided to change their logo...

I am not too sure what to think.  Do you guys like video games? Have you heard of the company Square Enix? I haven't, so I don't exactly get their new ad, but you might.

Is that a good thing?  I was in the store the other day looking at different books and I found this one...

I am kinda confused. It seems there's a lot confusing me recently. Haha.  Okay, so, if you know me well you know I don't like to break rules. Ha! Anyway, some people obviously do...

That sign says "Do Not Climb On Wall." What is he doing?!  It's almost one month to the new Star Wars movie and people like me are wondering why Luke wasn't in the trailers. Well, he was, you just have to look for him. Here'd a screen shot...

Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Disturbing Signs That Starbucks Hates Christianity
5. Their baristas refuse to recite passages from Leviticus while making your latte.
4. They're willingly serve unbaptized customers like it's no big deal.
3. During the holiday season, its stores play "O Come all Ye Faithful" mere 87 times each day.
2. They don't offer a communion wafer-flavored frappucino.
And the number one disturbing sign that Starbucks hates Christianity is...
1. When they're the focus of a pointless, asinine controversy over cup design, they don't rush to re-design those cups to appease the far-right shitmonkeys who manufactured the whole thing in the first place.

Helmut Schmidt 
December 23rd, 1918 — November 10th, 2015
The worst thing this guy ever did was apparently smoke near a "No Smoking" sign, and even that didn't stick. How has this guy never done anything bad or funny? He's GERMAN for chrissakes. Thanks for ruining my day, Helmut.

I saw this map and with my warped mind I noticed something. Anyway, do you notice it? Let me know if you see it. I et none of you do. Okay, so, I just mentioned the Starbucks cup controversy... 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...

Good morning, humans. Happy Sunday, Phuckerz. Okay, people... Calm the FUCK down. There are those out there who are "upset, insulted, hurt and/or angered" by any and all public displays or mentions of Christmas. 1. Get over yourselves. 2. Pick up a newspaper and find something important to worry about. 3. Read the words closely, you whiney little turds... it says... "Freedom OF religion." not "Freedom FROM religion." 4. If my wishing you a "Merry Christmas" or the sight of a Christmas tree or hearing any mention of Christmas in a song somehow offends you... kindly fuck off, get lost and squat on a fire hydrant. You're a reactionary moron and I have no time for your particular brand of stupidity. Hope this cleared up any misconceptions regarding my feelings on coffee cups, religion, Christmas greetings and idiots.

The 41st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

My good friend Jeff Trelewicz will be the guest on the Phile next Sunday.

Today's phatured guest is a very talented musician who has a new EP out called "Lovers and Loners" which is available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Kim Edwards.

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

Kim: Hey, Jason! Thanks for having me again. I've been well... it's been a busy season, but a good one!

Me: Last time you were here I was sick and you were on one of the shortest entries ever. Not this time though. Ha. Anyway, in the last two years since you were here your life has become really busy, am I right?

Kim: The busy-ness ebbs and flows, to be honest, depending on whether I'm writing, recording, touring, in between projects, etc. But yes, the last few months have been especially hectic with the new record. But it's a good kind of hectic.

Me: What has been the biggest change since "Wanderlust" your last release came out?

Kim: I think the biggest change has been me. Maybe it's just a part of growing as a person, but I feel much more... "settled" these days, I guess. I did a lot of moving from place to place around the time of "Wanderlust," and while I still love to travel and am always up for the next adventure, there's something nice about being at peace with where you're at... not just a physical location, but in life in general.

Me: You're from Pennsylania, right? What part?

Kim: I am. I'm from the Lehigh Valley area, about an hour north of Philadelphia.

Me: Did you recently move to Dallas? Why did you move there? It wasn't for a guy, was it?

Kim: Ha, I actually did not recently move to Dallas! It's okay, I did do a lot of cross-country moves a few years ago, and I have successfully confused all of my friends and most of my family on my current whereabouts. Whenever I run into a friend, their first question is usually, "How are you?" followed by "So where are you living now?"

Me: I love the new EP "Lovers and Loners." Where did the title come from, Kim?

Kim: The phrase "Lovers and Loners" came to me a few years ago, and eventually it took shape as a song. It also seemed like the right title for the project as a whole since the EP encompasses all the different stages of love and heartache. And really, "Lovers and Loners" kind of covers everyone!

Me: So, which one are you? Me? I am more of a loner. Ha.

Kim: Ha, I hear you! I'm more of a loner at the moment, too.

Me: How long did the new EP take to record?

Kim: It was recorded off and on over the course of a year.

Me: Why did it take so long?

Kim: There were some technical delays (for instance, my producer moved his studio from one facility to another, which is a very meticulous process and takes time to make sure everything is set up correctly), but mostly I wanted to do this record right, and I was willing to wait for the right arrangements, the right musicians, the right people to come together.

Me: The more you write, does it come easier, Kim?

Kim: That's a tough question. In some ways, yes, the more I write, the easier it is for me to get into the mode of writing. But sometimes inspiration can be a struggle, and I'm finding that, for me, it really depends on if my creative tank is full or not. If I try to force myself to write too often, I can become depleted and feel like I don't have anything to say. When that happens, sometimes I have to take a step back from songwriting for a little while, fill up my tank with life experiences and films and stories and whatnot, and then come back and try again.

Me: I love the video for the song "The Sweetest Sound." Where was it filmed?

Kim: Thanks, so glad you like it! It was filmed on my friend's farm in Pennsylvania.

Me: Didn't you almost get seriously injured making it? What happened?

Kim: I had runner's knee a few years ago, and the pain occasionally flares up if I'm walking or running for long stretches of time. Well, as you can see in the video, there's a lot of both! Usually, if I know I'll be walking a lot, I'll wear a knee brace, but unfortunately I forgot to bring it that day. I felt my knee starting to give out right before we started shooting the running scenes, but I knew that we had a limited amount of time left, so I decided to grit my teeth and bear it. It probably wasn't the smartest decision I've ever made, but I was really determined to finish the video. Long story short, I ended up going to the Emergicenter a few days later because the pain was pretty intense, and the doctor prescribed some pain meds and physical therapy exercises for me. It's been almost two months since the shoot, and my knee feels back to normal, thankfully!

Me: So, what is the sweetest sound? I have a favorite sound but not gonna say what to is here. Ha. 

Kim: The sweetest sound is really anything you want it to be. I wanted to approach the concept from the place of learning to love again after having your heart broken; it's got to be one of the toughest (and bravest) things a human can do. "The sweetest sound you'll ever hear / Is when walls fall and you love without fear."

Me: Hey, I have to congratulate you on being on the cover of "Performer." I have  apic of it here...

Me: That's almost as cool as being on the Phile. Ha! The magazine is colder though, right? You can tell me.

Kim: Thanks; it's an honor to be on the Phile (of course!), and it is an honor to be on the cover of "Performer."  I knew they were going to run some kind of feature about me, but I had no clue it would end up being their cover story.

Me: Have you been touring quite a bit, Kim? Have you opened for anybody that is kinda cool?

Kim: I just got back from playing shows in Los Angeles, Dallas, and St. Louis, and last night I played a radio show in Long Island. It's been a while since I've played out, and so I have really loved reconnecting with fans/friends and also meeting new ones. I haven't opened for anyone recently, but I'm always down for that, too! 

Me: On the new EP you do a song with Cameron Ernst. Who is that?

Kim: Cameron is a great friend of mine and a fellow singer/songwriter. We met in Dallas a few years ago at a songwriting event, and we've been friends ever since. When I was writing "Love," I knew early on that I wanted it to be a duet, and I immediately thought Cameron's voice and style would be perfect for the song. He totally nailed it. 

Me: Do you think he'll wanna be interviewed on the Phile?

Kim: You'd have to ask him!

Me: You are a friend of a Phile Alum or two I think... Joy and her sister Peace. I love this picture of you guys...

Me: How long have you known them and when did you first meet them? 

Kim: I love Joy and Peace Ike! They are two of my favorites. I've known them for a couple years now, I think. I first met Joy when she reached out to me on Twitter about doing a show together, and I met Peace a little later at a different gig we shared. Joy and Peace are both insanely talented (I love catching their live show), and they are two of the most genuine and kind people I know.

Me: Joy has to be on the Phile again soon. Is she coming out with any new music?

Kim: Hmm, I don't know, but I sure hope so!

Me: You two should record together. Ever think about that, Kim?

Kim: Maybe! I think it'd be fun to perform a song together sometime. We both play ukulele (she plays a baritone, I play a tenor), so I'm sure we could come up with something!

Me: So, what's next for you? Anything exciting?

Kim: As for the immediate future, I'm pretty excited to celebrate the album now that it's finally out and about. As for the semi-near future, I'd like to continue writing over the winter and maybe get back on the road again in the spring. And, if possible, maybe record and release a single sooner rather than later...? We'll see.

Me: Thanks so much for being here. I know you are very busy, which is a good thing. Mention your website, Kim. Thanks so much for having me again!

Kim: It's always a pleasure. My website is

Me: Continued success and please come back on the Phile again soon.

Kim: Thanks, Jason!

That about does it for this entry. Thanks to Laird Jim and of course Kim Edwards. The Phile will be back on Tuesday with another Phile Alum... Neara Russell. 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