Hello, welcome back to the Phile, on another Saturday. So, how are you? The head of Toyota had to appear before Congress to be yelled at. It was actually refreshing to see a car company CEO appear before Congress and not ask for $10 billion. About a third of the members of Congress are on Twitter. Now we know why nothing is getting done. There’s a new member of Twitter: the Dalai Lama. I think he just did it to make China mad. Everything he does annoys China, it’s like he’s Ellen DeGeneres and China is Simon Cowell. Dick Cheney was released from the hospital. Doctors say he’ll be up, shooting lawyers in the face in no time. Man, it's been awhile since a good Cheney joke. President Obama hosted a bipartisan healthcare summit. They met for a little more than six hours which, coincidentally, happens to be the average wait time at the emergency room, if you’re bleeding. Obama and several others made the point that Congress uses taxpayer money to buy themselves excellent health insurance. It actually led to a plan to make everyone in the country a member of Congress, so congratulations, representatives. The Olympics are over and Great Britain won one medal... a gold in skeleton, whatever that is. The Olympics have been a mixed blessing for Canada. They were hoping to win more medals than any other country, but they are way behind. You would think that at this point, Canada would be very comfortable not being No. 1. I wonder if I'll get any more Canadian interviews after this. So, yesterday we went to Medieval Times. It was cool that my wife could leave the house and do something for a short while since her surgery. Anyway, they had a banner hanging up in the castle which I thought was odd.
I guess they had bro's before ho's back then. Also, in the gift shop they had inspirational posters, and you know what a big fan I am of those. I was puzzled they had this one, especially with kids in the area.
Congressman Dan Sickles of New York shoots and kills Philip Barton Key, the son of Francis Scott Key (who wrote the "Star Spangled Banner"). The younger Key was having an affair with the congressman's wife. Sickles later pleads insanity and is acquitted.
The Reichstag conveniently burns. A mad Dutchman who was arrested at the scene, Marinus van der Lubb, may have been partially responsible but if this is so, he is likely someone's patsy. The Nazi Party benefited greatly from the subsequent crackdown, and it's suspected that SA stormtroopers set things up for van der Lubb.
Rolling Stone Keith Richards arrested in Toronto with his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg for possession of heroin. Found guilty at trial over one year later, he manages to get off with a suspended sentence plus benefit concerts for the blind.
Freelance photographer Wayne B. Williams found guilty of two counts of murder, though he is suspected of killing 22 other Atlanta area black boys. Williams was caught dumping a suspicious load from atop a bridge in the middle of the night.
Mitchell brother Jim shoots and kills Mitchell brother Artie for reasons that aren't exactly clear. The brothers had built up a San Francisco porn empire centered around the O'Farrell Theater, and were responsible for one of the best-selling porno films of all time: Behind the Green Door, starring Marilyn Chambers and John Holmes.
Trying to get the lid off her McDonald's coffee to add cream and sugar, 79-year-old Stella Liebeck accidentally splashes the 180-degree liquid on herself, causing third-degree burns to the thighs, genitals, and buttocks. After skin graft surgery and weeks of recuperation, Liebeck asks McDonald's to turn down the temperature of their coffee and pay $20,000 to defray her hospital bills. McDonald's tells the old lady to fuck off, as they had done for a decade of similar burn claims. Ultimately, a jury awards Liebeck $2.9 million in the resulting lawsuit, which immediately triggers a renewed call for legislative tort reform.
Okay, now for the announcement on the sixth book in The Peverett Phile Book Club. Almost fifty years after he first crossed the small screen, "Doctor Who" remains a science fiction touchstone. His exploits are thrilling, his world is mind-boggling, and that time travel machine -- known as the Tardis -- is almost certainly an old-fashioned blue police box once commonly found in London. Paul Parsons's plain-English account of the real science behind the fantastic universe portrayed in the "Doctor Who' television series provides answers to such burning questions as whether a sonic screwdriver is any use for putting up a shelf, how Cybermen make little Cybermen, where the toilets are in the Tardis, and much more. Taking the show as a starting point -- episode-by-episode in some cases -- Parsons dissects its scientific concepts. The book is...
It comes out in June and you can preorder it now from Amazon.com or go to Amazon.co.uk and purchase it already. Paul Parsons will be on the Phile in a few weeks as well. So, look forward to that, kids.
Today's guest is a nationally touring troubadour noted for her poignant lyrics. Her latest single "Strange Summer Snow" is available as a free download at her website Gabriellelouise.com. Please welcome to the Phile, the lovely... Gabrielle Louise.
Me: Hello, Gabrielle, welcome to the Phile. So, how are you? Should I call you Gabrielle or Gabby?
Gabrielle: Gabrielle is what I prefer, but despite this, many people resort to calling me Gabby. I'm quite chatty, as you're about to discover, and that's why.
Me: First things first, I have to ask you about the John Lennon Song Writing Contest. You won it a few times, right? I never heard of it, and being a big Beatles fan I am surprised. How did you find out about it, what did you have to do to win and what was the award?
Gabrielle: The John Lennon Songwriting Contest is a competition for aspiring and professional songwriters founded by Brian Rothschild. I did not win the contest at any point in time, much less a few, but I did get into the regional finals twice. That was a great honor for me because I was still in school, and just beginning my career. The contest has gained popularity thoughout the years, and is now open for anyone to enter their works. At the time that I submitted, however, you could only do so through the music education department at a collegiate level. I was still in high school then, but I was able to convince the administrator from a near-by college to submit my application.
Me: You have four releases out, right? I looked on iTunes and only found one album called "Journey". Are you planning on putting any more albums up on iTunes?
Gabrielle: Ha ha, I can't decide. It's been on my to-do list for, well, years. In some ways, being listed on iTunes is like being in the phone book, so there's a certain incentive from a publicity point to get your albums on there. On the other hand, iTunes keeps a large percentage of the sale, so it behooves us that have invested in the cost of recording our music to encourage fans to purchase the mp3s and records directly from us (at a show, on our websites) instead of giving 35% to a large company for the simple task of hosting the file and delivering it to you in a search result. (Speaking of search results, ever notice that from time to time, you can't find a household name on there?) At any rate, know that when you're buying music from an artist's website, you're giving your dollar the best chance to make it to the musician. When you buy it from other online sources a 35% cut is average, and then, if the artist is on a label or has management, more percentages will get chopped off until your dollar is looking more like a dime.
Me: You have an amazing singing voice, Gabrielle, have you been singing all your life? Your parents were musicians as well, right?
Gabrielle: Thank you very much for the compliment. My parents are musicians, and they did raise me in a household of song. My mother loves Joan Baez and is a music therapist, and my father is a professional guitar player and loves the Beatles. For every moment of mayhem and transit and lunacy that I experienced growing up in a very large family of creative crazies, I learned a song, and likely in three part harmony.
Me: My dad was also a musician but I have no musical talent, unless you count the kazoo. What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
Gabrielle: Hey man, the kazoo is totally countable in my book. And you've got one up on me because I haven't a clue how to play it. You just, eh, hum through it? And I saw photos of your dad, by the way, that define the pure bliss of playing music. Loads of old traditional folks songs, bluegrass and gospel, Joni Mitchel, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, the aforementioned obsessions of my parents, ABBA. Oh my god, ABBA--my childhood heroes.
Me: This is very cool, Gabrielle, I don't know what to say... you travel in a van that is powered by recycled vegetable oil. Is that right? Is that less expensive then gas? Where do you get the oil?
Gabrielle: This is your most complicated question so far. I'll answer in brief, but if readers are still curious, I recommend they head to www.gabriellelouise.com/veggie-workshop.html and dig up more info. That's a page that is devoted to the workshops my tour manager and I give about the how-to of alternative fuels. We're very excited about traveling the way we do, and are working on putting together a large resource of information online. Veggie is less expensive than gas, in fact, it's usually free. We get it from the fryer! Restaurants donate it to our cause, we get the same gas mileage, and it's carbon neutral!
Me: Do you have to mix it with anything?
Gabrielle: No, if we did, we'd likely be making bio-diesel, another, but very different, alternative fuel option.
Me: What made you decide to fuel your vehicle with Veg oil? I bet the exhaust smells good.
Gabrielle: I decided to convert my tour van to run on veggie because I was interested in being able to travel without contributing to global warming. Some people are discouraged from learning more about veggie oil because they've heard it smells like French fries. In reality, before it's used, the fuel needs to be filtered, so once it's purified, it has no smell.
Me: When you first came up with the idea, did anybody give you a hard time and think you were crazy? I would be scared to try anything like that, I might blow up my Prius.
Gabrielle: Ha. Ha. You would clog up your Prius if you tried, this particular method only works in diesel engines. In terms of the fear of blowing up an engine: vegetable grease, as you know from cooking with it, is much safer than gasoline or petroleum diesel. Did anybody think I was crazy? No, not really. I guess I have a lot of environmentalist friends, and that movement seems to be growing. If anything, people give us a hard time about driving a large van around the country... until they find out what we're fueling it with.
Me: Let's talk about your blog on your website gabriellelouise.com. When did you first start to do your own blog and do you enjoy doing it?
Gabrielle: I'm loving it! I wish I had time to update it every day. I put song ideas, poems, journal entries, photographs... anything creative. It's like my virtual scrapbook. I started it last month, although I've been meaning to do it for years.
Me: You are currently living in Buenos Aires, right? What made you move there? It's in Argentina, isn't it? I want to go to a lot of places in the world, but I don't think Argentina is on my list. Do you speak Spanish? What's there to do there?
Gabrielle: I am currently in Buenos Aires until April 1st, when I'll head back to the US to begin the touring season. I am learning Spanish slowly but surely, and really enjoying that accumulation of new information. I fell like a teenager again, minus the zits. The reason I came down here for the winter is because Buenos Aires is a hot spot at this time of year for music, dance, and culture. (Literally, too: it's summer in the southern hemisphere!) I love to dance the Tango as a personal hobby, and Buenos Aires is the birthplace of that beautiful dance.
Me: You have a very talented band, Gabrielle, why don't you go ahead and tell the readers who is in the band.
Gabrielle: Thank you. That depends on what show you see me at! Sometimes I perform with a trio of Ryan Drickey on fiddle, Niel Ross on upright bass, and myself on guitar and vocals. Sometimes I perform in a duo configuration with a good friend of mine, and fellow songwriter, David Rynhart. For big shows, I love to incorporate dancers, artists, and many creative personalities. And of course, I give solo shows as well, and those are much more personal feeling.
Me: You released a single called "Save The Arkansas", and there's a message behind that song. Did you write it, and what is the message?
Gabrielle: I used to be a raft guide on the Arkansas river before I started focusing so much on music. I also grew up on that river: the Arkansas River Valley and Salida, CO were a favorite returning point for my vagabond parents. When I heard about the mine tailings seeping from old silver mines into the headwaters, I was moved to write that single, as an address to our government to clean it up. There was a time when the "Leadville Mine Crisis" was being talked about a lot in the press as a potential disaster. Folks thought the mountainside was going to blow open with this toxic laden water. Although that hasn't happened, there is still seepage that is harmful to the environment, and I certainly hope that it doesn't have to be a Hollywood like disaster for people to pay attention to what's happening.
Me: Gabrielle, thanks so much for doing this interview. You are welcome back for Alumni Month in August. Go ahead and plug your website again, and tell the readers where they can get your music and if anybody wants to know more about fueling a vehicle with veggie oil where can they get more info?
Gabrielle: You're welcome! Thanks so much for having me on. My website is www.gabriellelouise.com. I don't use myspace too much, but I am on Facebook. For more info on veggie, please visit www.gabriellelouise.com/veggie-workshop. I'm also working on a larger festival carpool that has an online presence at www.carboncarpool.com.
Me: Take care, keep in touch, and be safe. Thanks again, Gabrielle.
Gabrielle: Adios for now!
That about does it. Now I am gonna go play "Super Hero Squad" on Wii with Logan. But first, thanks to Gabrielle for a great interview. I have to say, that was one of the best ones I have done, so please go to her website and check it out. It's gabriellelouise.com, kids. Also, thanks to Wikipedia, John Hopkins University for the details on "The Science of Doctor Who" and Paul Parsons for letting his book be on the P.P.B.C. The Phile will be back next Tuesday with English country singer Annie McQueen. Yeah, you read that right, an English country singer. Thanks for reading, spread the word, not the turd. Bye love you bye.