Sunday, June 10, 2012

The 500th Entry Pheaturing Dion


I will write 500 blogs, I will write 500 more... Hello, everybody, welcome to the 500th entry of the Phile! Five hundred... or phive hundred as I should say, that's like half a thousand. This is gonna be the biggest entry ever, so I hope you have a few hours to read all this. Let's get to it, shall we?  You know DC comics? Turns out the Green Lantern is gay. It's funny that the Green Lantern is the character that is gay and yet Spider-Man has the Broadway musical. Wow, talk about irony!  Miss Rhode Island is the new Miss USA, ladies and gentlemen. And today Donald Trump demanded to see her birth certificate.  Anybody enjoy the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration? Well, I thought Helen Mirren did a nice job as the Queen.  Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy, was engaged to a 22-year-old woman and then at the last minute it fell apart and they didn't get married. Guess what? They're back together. Once again they're sharing his adjustable hospital bed. What 22-year-old American girl doesn't dream of one day marrying an aging smut king?  The National Spelling Bee champion's name is Snigdha Nandipati. Every Spelling Bee champion's name sounds like it came from an explosion at a Scrabble factory. Snigdha won by correctly spelling JWoww with two w's at the end.  Presidential primaries were held in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota today. Both candidates for president, Obama and Romney, have already clinched their nominations. So the primaries were mostly for people who really like stickers.  So, do you kids like astronomy? Astronomy is fascinating, and this past week there was an eclipse. Venus was involved along with the sun and the Earth. The depressing part is it won't happen again for another hundred years. It's like a Mets no-hitter.  Hey, tonight on TV is the Tony Awards. I might watch it for the first time, Green Lantern is hosting.  New York City Mayor Bloomberg has outlawed giant cans of soda. Now Mayor Bloomberg wants to make something else illegal. He wants to remove the third layer from a club sandwich.  Another al-Qaida No. 2 guy was hit by a drone. I'm telling you, these al-Qaida leaders, they don't last as long as a Kardashian marriage.  So, did you kids see that new Snow White movie Snow White & The Huntsman? We saw it last week, I will review it in a bit. Anyway, it had a different spin on it than the Snow White you're used to. Take a look at this screen shot.

I think that's the Huntsman taking the photo in the background.  Speaking of movies, it was recently announced that in the next James Bond movie, Skyfall, the legendary spy will not be drinking his trademark martinis... instead he’ll be sipping Heinekens. I think it’s shameful when a classic institution whores itself out  and I realize it’s only the beginning in a slew of dreadful product placement in the Bond films.

Well, like I said this is the 500th entry of the Phile. People often ask me what is it like writing the Phile all this time? Well, I couldn't sum it up in words, so check it out from this picture. This goes through my head every time I sit at the computer.


You know, 500 is a whole lot when you think about it. I mean, McDonald's is charging 500 bucks for for food nowadays.


Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, Long Island, here is this week's...

Top Ten Ways I Was Thinking To Celebrate 500 Entries Of The Phile
10. A list of my favorite moments from 500 Days of Summer
9. A list of 200 facts about 300.
8. A list of 300 facts about 200 Cigarettes.
7. A list of 399 facts about 101 Dalmations.
6. A list of 420 facts about 40 Days and 40 Nights
5. A list of 495 facts about "Party of Five Starting"
4. A new blog show called Party of 500.
3. 488 facts about 12 Angry Men.
2. 477 facts about the movie 23.
And the final way I might celebrate 500 entries on the Phile...
1. Something something 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Okay, for the last five weeks I have invited my good friend Jeff Trelewicz to the Phile to talk about the Star Wars films one by one. Today we are gonna wrap it all up by discussing Return of the Jedi. Please welcome back to the Phile, my good friend Jeff.

Me: Hey, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile, and for the 500th entry to boot. How long have you been a guest on the Phile now? Over a year, right?

Jeff: Congratulations on making it to 500 entries! That's amazing! Yes, I think I have been a guest here for a year or so. I like to think a regular contributor, but if you want to say guest that's fine! Just kidding.

Me: No, I guess I can say contributor. Alright, let's talk about Return of the Jedi, our last Star Wars movie we're gonna discuss. No, we are not discussing the Clone Wars film. Did you like Episode 6?

Jeff: Yes, let us not talk about the Clone Wars movie since I have never seen it! Return of the Jedi is a good place to end, I say. Of course I liked Episode 6. It's a great way to end the original trilogy.

Me: Last week you said something about the Ewoks, that you didn't like them. What didn't you like about them?

Jeff: What's to like about the Ewoks? Are they cute and cuddly? Some of them are. But let's face it, teddy bears with sticks and stones should not be able to help over turn an Empire. Is it sad when an Ewok died at the Battle of Endor? Of course. They were just eating and singing before the Stormtroopers had to come to their home planet!\

Me: Well, I didn't mind them. I didn't like in the film how they used Lando though. He could of been used more.

Jeff: What do you mean Lando could have been more useful? He helped destroy the Death Star II. Someone had to pilot ships up there. Not everyone could be on the surface of Endor.

Me: I didn't say useful, he was useful in a way, but they could've used in more. I would rather him go to Endor and watch Han and Lando argue the whole time. Anyway, what did you think of Boba Fett's ending? You know he didn't really die in the Sarlaac Pit, right?

Jeff: I had heard rumors that Boba Fett didn't die at Sarlacc. He had used his jet pack to fly out of the mouth of the beast. Is that what you heard too?

Me: Yeah, in the Extended Universe he survived the Sarlaac. They need to make a whole Boba Fett spin-off movie series. Okay, I asked you a bunch of random questions about the films, let's do the same here. Why are there transports in the Battle Of Endor? It doesn't seem sense that transports were to go into to battle without any armament at all. Also, the Death Star II is seen firing on one of these transports. Wouldn't it be more reasonable to fire on Home One?

Jeff: There had to be transports to Endor. If the battle station that housed the shield needed supplies, the transport ships were there to give them to them. Plus it's how the Stormtroopers went back and forth from the ground to a space station. They are simple transport ships, they wouldn't need armor. But the Empire thought no one would notice them there, so the ships didn't need weaponry. I'm not sure what you mean when you talk about Home One.

Me: Home One, also known as the Headquarters Frigate, was an MC80 Star Cruiser in the Alliance to Restore the Republic's fleet, famous for its role at the Battle of Endor and as one of Admiral Ackbar's flagships. It was the namesake of the Home One type subclass and was noted as being the largest and most advanced of the Rebel Star Cruisers. Duh. LOL. Alright, when Vader realizes that Luke has a twin sister, does he know that Leia is the sister or just that someone is Luke's sister? Or does he know when he/Anakin sees Luke and Leia during the Ewok celebration later?

Jeff: When Vader sensed Luke had a twin sister, he searched Luke's mind and knew it was Leia. No matter how he tried to block Vader from finding the truth, he is a bad ass Jedi who will always know the truth!

Me: Jeff, I'm sort of curious about why the Vader, the Emperor, and other Sith (in the other movies/books) refer to the dark side as the "dark" side. It sounds like a negative term. In Episodes 2 and 3, both Dooku and Anakin seem to think that the dark side is the truth and the right thing to follow, so why would they call it "dark"? Even though the Emperor creates a lot of schemes and wants power, he probably doesn't think of himself as evil, so him calling his powers "dark" (in Episode 4) seems a little odd.

Jeff: I know I am switching shows and movies and what not, but Lex Luthor in an episode of "Smallville" once said, "The Villian is the hero of his own story". I am sure it has been said before as well, not just by Lex. That's why Dooku and Anakin feel justified in what they do. They are doing the right thing, in their mind. Anakin is completely justified in slaughtering the young childen at the Jedi Temple. He was instructed to do so and is only following orders. The Dark Side term was probably started by the Jedi, but the Evil ones probably really liked it. It just sounds cool! Especially when Darth Vader says "If you only knew the power of the Dark Side". It would sound lame "If you only knew the power of B Side."

Me: That's funny. LOL. Okay, next question, when Luke asked Leia if she remembers her real mother she said she does but she died when she was very young. Her mother died during child birth. How can Leia remember what her mother looked like?

Jeff: That is something that has always bothered me. Leia clearly couldn't know her birth mother. But maybe her memories have super powers since she too has a bit of a the force in her.

Me: Actually, something just occurred to me, Jeff. I think the mother Leia refers to would be Queen Breha Organa of Alderaan. At this point, Leia has no idea that she was adopted. What reason did the bounty hunter who was Leia in disguise have for staying in Jabba's palace overnight? Wouldn't Jabba expect the person to leave after getting the payment for Chewbacca?

Jeff: There was a lot of bounty hunters still in Jabba's palace. Not just Princess Leia in disguise. I just assumed that it was a hang out spot for bounty hunters until they were given other assignments. They had a band. Why not stay there?

Me: Good point, it was like a night club/hotel. Jeff, I wonder what Luke's Sith name would have been had he turned to the Dark Side. Any ideas?

Jeff: I am kind of hoping that if Luke did go to the dark side he would have been Darth Farmboy.

Me: According to what I've heard, when a Jedi dies and accepts it, their body disappears, like Yoda and Obi-Wan, Darth Vader accepted that he was going to die, so why didn't he disappear? Is disappearing more complex than that, or did Darth Vader not really accept his death, and if not, why? Man, that was a complex question.

Jeff: When Yoda and Obi-Wan died, they were on the good side. So they disappeared. Vader, while slowly turning good, probably didn't disappear for that exact reason. Plus he was more machine then he was human, so that probably played a part in it too.

Me: There, Jeff, we completed talking about the Star Wars films. Please come back on the Phile soon. And if you could think of anything to discuss let me know. And remember, football season is starting up real soon. Take care. Jeff Trelewicz, everybody. And now for some sad news.


Ray Bradbury
Aug 22, 1920 - Jun 6, 2012
Something wicked this way smells.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who eats raw bird hearts and takes baths in Elmer's Glue and hollers like Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest and black-widow sexes guys to death and sucks the virgin breath out of teen models and aspires to Kristen Stewart-based cannibalism best of all?  It's a rhetorical question. You know the answer. And, lucky us, Charlize Theron decided to commandeer this film for her own purposes, delivering the hissingest, preeningest, shoutingest, screechingest, nakedest, writhingest, wigglingest, stabbingest performance of 2012 to date. It's more than worth the cost of a ticket and may wind up edging its way into film history alongside Dunaway and Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls as one of the great go-for-broke moments of misunderstood female awesomeness.  As for rest of it, may I interest you in a a beautiful-looking and directionless mess that mashes up Excalibur and Princess Mononoke, all rote superhero origin stories and whatever your favorite romantic drama starring two people with no romantic chemistry happens to be? There are worse choices lurking at the multiplex, so why not?  The story goes like it always goes: the queen is pissed off that she's getting old and when the Mirror Mirror (here resembling a phantom made of shiny butterscotch syrup) lies to her and tells her that she does not, in fact, look exactly like Charlize Theron but more like Charlize Theron in Monster, she's got to eat the heart of Snow White (Stewart) to make it stop. Enter The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), a frequently drunk man whose ability to fight seems to depend on whatever mood the script happens to be in and whose backstory... the queen killed his wife... is more compelling than any single moment he shares with the inert young woman he's eventually going to have to kiss the life back into.  Now, no matter what the internet tells you there isn't much out there that qualifies as "epic" failure. There are always shades of gray, matters of degree. And because the movie itself is never really sure what it wants to be... honestly, Spice World has a more complex understanding of the concept of "girl power" than this thing, from it you can parse just about any message of female empowerment or retro misogyny you choose. Is Snow, our bedraggled warrior-heroine, a cipher? A damaged post-traumatic stress disorder patient? A super hero in waiting? In need of someone, anyone, to rescue her from, well, everything? Will the magic forest cooperate with her when its magic rules already seem so arbitrary? And why, in her Henry V/Braveheart sequence, when she really needs to rally the troops to go after Mecha-Charlize, why can't she take a few deeper breaths and really let it rip? The movie's not telling. And you won't much care. The camera will eventually find its way back to the huffing, puffing, black-feather-suited Theron and, when it does, she'll be snacking on bloody red bird hearts like they're popcorn shrimp. Nice. From 1 to 10, it gets a 7 and I probably won't be buying it when it comes out.

Okay, I have interviewed a lot of people over the last few years on the Phile. For the 500th entry a Phile Alumni wanted to come on and ask me a few questions. I said sure, what the hell.

Interviewing me is an Alumni who was last on the Phile just recently on May 28th. Please welcome back to the Phile, Robert A. Medeiros from The Clarences.


Me: Okay, Robert, welcome back to the Phile for the 500th entry. So, go ahead, hot me with your questions.

Robert: Coolio. How long have you worked at Disneyland?

Me: I don't work at Disneyland, Robert, I work at Disney World and have been there for almost 25 years. That's like quarter of a century!

Robert: Have you seen any famous people?

Me: A lot of famous people over the years.

Robert: Who?

Me: Way to many to name... John Travolta, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, George Lucas, Tom Cruise, Molly Ringwald, Sidney Poiter, Meat Loaf, Bob Saget and all the cast from "Full House", Jim Henson... I can go on and on...

Robert: Does it bother you when people refer to Disney World as Disneyland?

Me: Not as much as when people say Disney World is The Happiest Place on Earth. That's Disneyland's tagline.

Robert: What made you come up with the Peverett Phile?

Me: I always wanted to have a talk show and do stand up (which I tried three times before) and when I heard about blogging I thought it was the easy way to do it. It's not that easy though.

Robert: How long have you been doing the Peverett Phile?

Me: I'm into the sixth year. A better question would be how long will I be doing the Phile? I really don't know, but I did almost quit doing it a few times.

Robert: Does it bother you that Florida is considered creepy?

Me: I didn't know Florida was considered creepy. If it is, no, it doesn't bother me.

Robert: Are you proud of the HUGE Florida death metal scene?

Me: I also didn't know there was a huge Florida death metal scene. I don't like death metal, so I am not proud of it. But is nice that we are known for something apart from people like Casey Anthony, or screwed up vote's and Mickey Mouse.

Robert: Who is your dream interview (besides The Clarences)?

Me: Well, you would be a dream interview if I didn't interview you twice already, Robert. LOL. But my dream interviews would be Dave Edmunds, Kelly Clarkson and any of the Barenaked Ladies.

Robert: Do you remember the USFL team, the Orlando Renegades?

Me: Vaguely, yeah... we had so many teams here in Orlando over the years. Thanks for the questions and wanting to be a part of the Phile's 500th entry, Robert. Come back again soon. While you are here why don't you plug your websites and stuff?

Robert: Thank you, Jason.,,,

The 18th artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is comic book artist Robert Pope. This is some of his work.


Robert will be a guest on the Phile next Sunday.

Okay, people, now for the interview you and myself have been waiting for. I am so freaking honored to have today's guest on the 500th entry of the Phile. He is an American singer-songwriter whose work has incorporated elements of doo-wop, pop oldies music, rock and R&B styles to straight blues in his recent work. One of the most popular American rock and roll performers of the pre-British Invasion era, Dion had over a dozen Top 40 hits in the late 1950s and early 60s. He is best remembered for the 1961 singles "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer". His latest album "Tank Full of Blues" is now available in stores, on Amazon and iTunes. He is the king of New York streets. Please welcome to the Phile, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer... Dion!

Me: Hello, Dion, welcome to the Phile. It's such an honor to have you here. How are you?

Dion: I am good, thanks.

Me: Okay, I have to start by saying you are renowned for being a rock 'n'roller, sir, what made you embark on recording a trilogy of blues albums in the past few years?

Dion: It's nothing new, really. I was there at the beginning of rock n roll, and back then we didn't draw bright lines between rock and blues, or rock and country. So I was influenced by Howlin' Wolf as I was by Elvis... and Elvis himself was soaked in the blues. We all were.

Me: Did you just start recording the blues in the last few years?

Dion: I started recording blues in the 1960s. I made a single of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" years before Cream did. So these albums are not so much a departure as a return to my roots.

Me: It's cool you made three great blues albums, which I downloaded from iTunes. How does it start with "Bronx In Blue" and how does it finish at "Tank Full of Blues?" There is a narrative, right?

Dion: If it does finish on “Tank Full of Blues.” I didn't have a story line in mind. If you want to read into it, I guess you can say the trilogy starts in the Bronx, like I did, then finds mentors and influences in black southern bluesmen, then finds a certain fulfillment as I make my own music... a tank full of blues.

Me: I read that in your sleeve notes you are pretty candid about driving the crew crazy. Have they forgiven you? LOL. What was challenging about making this album?

Dion: The challenge was that the music was coming into my mind so fast and furious that I couldn't control it. It wouldn't let me go. I'd get songs while I was driving, showering, making breakfast. It's never happened to me this way before. I ended up writing many more songs than ended up on the album... and almost all of it happened during the recording of the album.

Me: There's not many covers on the album, are they?

Dion: Originally I'd planned to make this a disc of covers. It turned out to be a disc that's almost entirely made up of my music.

Me: How did your lifelong passion for the blues start? Why did it resonate with a kid from the Bronx?

Dion: It started with those first transistor radios. Guys would sit out on the front stoop of their apartment buildings and crank up the volume. People don't give the 1950s the credit for being what it was... a time of tremendous creativity, especially in music, but also in the other arts. If you're walking down Arthur Avenue in the Bronx's Little Italy and you suddenly hear Hank Williams moaning a country blues, it's gonna stop you in your tracks. It stopped me... and it remade me, down to my soul. The blues speaks to something deep inside us, no matter who we are or where we live.

Me: If you had made these blues albums back in the late fifties, sir, do you think they would have received a different reception compared today?

Dion: Definitely. The new media have made it possible to create communities of blues lovers with instant access to one another and to the new music as it appears, no matter where it's coming from. Earlier this year I toured the Caribbean on a "Blues Cruise." And I play now and then at the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. There's a network, an institution, and a means of reaching people that didn't exist when I was a kid. Back then you had to hope on the good graces of a visionary disc jockey.

Me: Do you think you would have pulled off making a blues record back then?

Dion: Writing the songs, yeah. Recording them... maybe not so easy. Again, the technology was expensive, only a few people had it, and they controlled the access. They were suspicious of rock n roll and its long-term survivability. They wanted me to record a couple songs in the Sinatra style, just to secure a "grown-up" base. I don't think the record labels would have warmed up to the idea of a blues album from Dion... a song or two, maybe, but not an album.

Me: So, you think technology has changed the game?

Dion: Everybody, the musicians and listeners, has access.

Me: You mentioned before I read Jimmy Reed and Robert Johnson are your heroes. For example your song “Ride’s Blues,” is for Robert Johnson. What made you write a song about Robert Johnson, as opposed to any other blues singer?

Dion: I always wanted to write a song about Robert Johnson. You hear all the urban legends about him, and they don't jibe with the songs he wrote. If he'd sold his soul to the devil, could he have sung the line: "Lord, have mercy ... Save Bob if you please"? I don't think so. Robert Johnson was a tormented soul, but he was a believer who wanted salvation. He had such a gigantic talent, though, that smaller talents couldn't let him rest. They did it to Mozart, too... just plugged him into the folk tales, and we got the movie Amadeus. No human being should be able to play guitar the way Robert Johnson does. To us mere mortals, his talent is a mystery; so people plug him into the myth of Dr. Faustus selling his soul. I wanted to rescue him from all that. The theme of this song is the theme of Robert Johnson's life: loss. As George Harrison said: all things must pass. Or as Jesus put it: on earth, moth and rust consume and thieves break in and steal. Tell me what you got, I'll tell you what you lost. Tell me what you bought, tell me what it cost. Look out your window now, it's gone like morning frost.

Me: Dion, sir, You have been solidly producing hits since the late fifties, performing, you have been nominated for Grammy awards, wrote a book last year and a trilogy of albums over the past few years, plus you are still looking great. What's your secret? I barely made it through 500 entries of the Phile.

Dion: I think it's staying close to God. He's the source of everything. I think of the blues as the naked cry of the human heart longing to be in union with God.

Me: Sir, you have been nominated for a Grammy award for best Gospel album to best Christian album. You have a lot of faith in you, right?

Dion: Yeah, I think it keeps me fresh, keeps me young, keeps me in tune with other people, and that's what makes the music. I'm still feeling the rock n roll, and I think it's because I'm still a kid living in my Father's house.

Me: My dad was into the blues maybe more than you, I am not sure. Anyway, he didn't believe in God and wasn't religious at all. Do you feel that this spirituality is present in the Blues? Do you see it as a spiritual form of music at all despite the usual subject matter focusing on life, from alcohol, women to death?

Dion: Absolutely. It's all over Robert Johnson's lyrics. Alcohol and adultery aren't bringing him any joy. That's why he's singing the blues, and a lot of the time he's crying out to God. I knew some of the great bluesmen. I took guitar lessons from the Reverend Gary Davis in his home in New York, and he was a Christian preacher who happened to have a guitar in his hand. I knew Skip James, and he's the one who challenged me to recognize that I was a sinner... just like him and everybody else, and look to Christ for salvation, not to booze and drugs. These guys had strong faith. The blues comes out of faith. Open the Bible and read the Psalms, especially the Psalms of lament. If King David wrote those today, we'd call them the blues.

Me: I have to mention this, towards the end of last year, there was a play/musical developed about your life and was performed to the industry only. Did you see it and how did you feel to see the story of your life on stage?

 Dion: It's a little strange, a little gratifying. It was all part of that period of creativity I mentioned earlier. I wrote some new music for the play as well.

Me: You describe it as a story of redemption, sir, why is that? Is that how you see your life?

Dion: I've seen a lot of people in the music business die young as casualties to drugs and drink and fame. If you get to be my age and you're enjoying the company of the same woman you dated in high school, and you're surrounded by kids and grandkids who are still speaking to you and to one another, you got to realize that you were redeemed... especially if you wasted as many years with heroin and booze as I did.

Me: Someone once said about you "the history of rock 'roll' is all in that voice." That's quite an accolade. Have you ever had to work on your voice to suit the various styles of music you have played? Or is it a case of singing what comes natural to you?

Dion: I try not to over-think it. When I do, you can tell. By the way, it was Richard Gottehrer who said that quote. Richard's a beautiful man.

Me: Cool, sir. Anyway, you are described as the only first generational rock’n’roll artist who has remained creative and relevant through the intervening decades. Is there anyone apart from you that you feel fits this bill? 

Dion: Not that I know. Dave Marsh said that, and he's the historian, so I'll trust his word.

Me: I don't know if I should ask you this, but I will anyway... You nearly ended up on the same flight that tragically killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. What does that leave you feeling about the idea of destiny/fate?

Dion: God has a plan. It includes a place for Buddy and Ritchie and the Bopper and me. God loves us all, and he gives us a part to play. I believe music is an important part of God's plan. He gave us bodies that respond to a backbeat, and he created some great souls to make music that thrills us. Those guys made some great music and they made history, even by dying. Don McLean said that their death marked "the day the music died." I disagree. I think it's the day the music was born. Rock arrived that day, and I think it's here to stay.

Me: Dion, sir, thanks so much for being on the Phile. It was a huge honor to have you here and please come back soon. Is there a website you wanna plug?

Dion: Thanks, Jason. Keep up the good work.

Wow! That was so cool. That about wraps it up for the 500th entry. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz, Robert A. Medeiros from The Clarences and of course Dion. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Alumni Mike Finnigan from Phantom Blues Band and then next Sunday with artist Robert Pope. Thanks for reading, and I do hope to post another 500 entries. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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