Monday, July 2, 2012

Pheaturing Jenn Summers

Hello, welcome back to the Phile... deny everything!  So, are you excited about the Summer Olympics that starts real soon? Two female sprinters may have to do a coin toss after they tied in an Olympic qualifying event. The coin toss will last just a second, while NBC's coverage of it will last about a day and a half.  A new survey found that Tampa is the vainest city in the U.S. In fact, they’re so vain they probably think this joke is about them.  A new study found that a record number of America’s wealthiest citizens are renouncing their citizenship to avoid high taxes. Which explains why today Donald Trump claimed HE was born in Kenya.  The other day in New Hampshire, President Obama said Americans need someone who will wake up every single day and fight for their jobs. Then he said, "But until we find that guy, I'm still your best choice."  Rapper 50 Cent is doing fine after he was involved in a car accident. There was a lot of damage, but fortunately his insurance covers him up to like, 75 cent.  President Obama has a new ad that hits Mitt Romney’s business career by calling him an “outsourcer-in-chief.” Romney responded with an ad of his own... made by an excellent company in India.  A family in Colorado was reunited with their lost bulldog, after it was found 500 miles away. In response, the bulldog was like, “Jeez, can’t these people take a hint?”  A new study found that pigeons can actually recognize human faces. So I guess my pigeon friend was just blowing me off the other day in Starbucks.  Ford has a new technology to help keep a car in its lane on the highway. They say it works great... until you want to exit the highway.  It was reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wore her lucky purple shoes for the Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling... while House Speaker John Boehner wore his lucky orange face. For several minutes after the ruling, CNN was mistakenly reporting that the Supreme Court struck down President Obama’s healthcare law. In response, CNN was like, “Thank God no one watches us.”  Pittsburgh Penguins star Jordan Staal was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes last weekend while he was getting married. Not good... you never want to find out on your wedding night that your husband’s playing for the other team. It was reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wore her lucky purple shoes for the Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling — while House Speaker John Boehner wore his lucky orange face.  Well, this Wednesday is of course Independence Day. Is it an urban legend that in George III's diary on July 4, 1776 he put, "Nothing much happened today."  In Arkansas, the Fourth of July is celebrated annually on the 2nd in deference to those who cannot count beyond two.  I am not American, I am British, so the 4th of July means nothing to me, but I do like the 4th of July inspirational poster that is out this year.

Have you seen who the new model for L'oreal is, people? I was surprised when I saw it.

I was watching the news the other day and when they did the weather report, I was kinda stunned what I saw. The Weather Channel is getting lazy.

Okay, so, all through Summer on the Phile I will be talking about one of the greatest inventions known to man. I am talking about, of course, the bikini. Today's bikini... The Bacon Bikini. The best combination for a man: women in bikini and bacon. It's a win-win situation.

You're welcome, fellas. Now, from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is this week's...

Top Ten Things The Supreme Court's Obamacare Ruling Won't Change
10. The American healthcare system will still rank somewhere between those of Cyprus and Malaysia.
9. Death panels will still be a figment of Sarah Palin's imagination.
8. Dr. Conrad Murray will still be unavailable for private practice.
7. Psoriasis: still a heartbreak.
6. Side effects of prescription antihistamines will still include trembling finger, second tongue syndrome, volcanic toe, ruptured eyelash, vanishing nose, spunts, urination fatigue, leg shrub Cecil Fielder's Disease and ham-brain.
5. Dr. Oz and Sanjay Gupta still won't accept United Healthcare.
4. During the annual physical you'll still have to sit on that crinkly butcher paper like a miserable, half-naked deli pickle.
3. Urine samples will still be foolishly discarded after lab testing.
2. Republicans will still insist that Obamacare is "a Satanic, socialist plot to destroy American values hatched by an evil Kenyan-born Muslim." In response, Democrats will stand united and mumble something about it "being okay."
And the number one thing the Supreme Court's Obamacare Ruling won't change...
1. All nine Supreme Court justices will still have much better health care than you.

Well, with this talk of health care and Obamacare all over the news, I thought I would invite a friend of the Phile's back to tell you how important it is. If it is important. So, please welcome back to the Phile, our friend, Chair for the Democratic National Committe... Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Me: Hello, Debbie, welcome back to the Phile. So, how important is this Obamacare deal?

Debbie: Jason, in 2007, I heard the words no woman wants to hear: "You have breast cancer." 

Me: I am sorry to hear that. In 2000 I lost both of my parents to cancer, so I can imagine what went through your mind. What did go through your mind, Debbie?

Debbie: I remember sitting in the hospital after my surgery, waiting for a test to come back, wondering how many more birthdays I would get with my kids... how many more anniversaries I'd get with my husband. I don't care how strong you are: It's a terrifying moment. 

Me: So, the Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare is a big deal...

Debbie: For millions of Americans like me. 

Me: So, is the fight to protect it over?

Debbie: Far from over. If elected, Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal it on Day One, and I believe him.  

Me: and this fight is personal to you.

Debbie: Yes, I want to do everything I can to protect health care for every American. 

Me: So, what are we to do, Debbie?

Debbie: We need to make sure Romney and Republicans can't take away our health care. 

Me: So, explain to my readers what Romney means when he talks about getting rid of Obamacare.

Debbie: It means children with pre-existing conditions would once again be denied coverage, some women would lose access to critical preventive care, and millions of seniors would lose the benefits that help pay for life-saving medicine. 

Me: This law is far too important to too many Americans for Republicans to throw it out, am I right?

Debbie: Yes, Jason, you are right.

Me: Thanks, Debbie, I will talk to you soon, and I am glad you are doing okay five years later.

Debbie: Thanks, Jason.

Alright, I don't know if you heard, but the other day America’s favorite cookie stirred up more than milk today after Kraft Foods posted a gay pride Oreo on the cookie’s Facebook page. Oreo posted the photoshopped picture of an Oreo cookie stuffed with rainbow-colored layers of frosting Monday evening. Here is the ad.

Well, as you can imagine people were up in arms about it, so I thought I would invite a good friend to the Phile and myself, who is gay, to give his reaction. So, please welcome to the Phile...

Me: Adrian, hello, so, what do you think of the Rainbow Oreo?

Adrian: I think that it's great! Kills two birds with one stone in my opinion. They say the Midwest has an obesity problem, so now if all the Midwest gay haters are boycotting Oreo that will hopefully help combat the huge pandemic of fatties in wheel chairs. Plus its always nice when companies support the gays.

Me: Thanks, Ade. Adrian Bram Giannotta, everyone. Nice job.

The 20th book to be pheatured in the Phile Phile Book Club is...

The Whiskey Rebel will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks, kids. And yeah, that's a real book. It's available on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.

Today's guest is a fantastic singer whose new album "When Life Gives You Lemons" is now available on iTunes. She'll be appearing next at The Bowery Electric in New York City on July 17th. Please welcome to the Phile, the lovely and talented... Jenn Summers.

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

Jenn: I'm doing great! Thank you so much for having me!

Me: Where are you from, Jenn? You have that California look and your music has a California feel, but you're not from Cali, right?

Jenn: No, I'm actually born & raised in NYC. I've thought about moving to California so many times, but I'm too much of a New Yorker. LOL. Eventually I think I will move there for a little bit at least.

Me: Whereabouts in New York, Jenn? I used to live in Port Jefferson out on Long Island. Ever been there?

Jenn: Of course I have, I was born in Staten Island, but have lived the past 17 years in Manhattan. There's no other place like the city. If only New York had palm trees it would be perfect!

Me: We have to talk about this, and I was surprised when I found out as you look so healthy and robust. You have congenital heart disease?

Jenn: Yes, I've been very blessed that my heart defect was corrected 10 years ago and now I'm able to live a strong and healthy life! So I like to think of myself as a heart disease survivor! I was born with Tricuspid Atresia (without a tricuspid valve). I do have a pacemaker to help control my heart rhythm and take meds regularly, but it could have been a lot worse and I'm so thankful that I'm healthy now.

Me: For the readers that don't know what it is, can you explain? I am sure it's real bad, as anything to do with the heart being unwell is not good. Did I just say the dumbest thing ever? I am sorry.

Jenn: Don't be sorry, I've been very fortunate to have amazing doctors throughout my life. Being born without a tricuspid valve meant that blood was not able to flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle, which causes a lack of oxygen flow to the lungs. Another term I prefer use is Blue Baby Syndrome. A little over 10 years ago I was told I needed a pacemaker to help control my heart rhythm as well, since it was abnormal. The pacemaker paces my heart so it stays at a normal rhythm.

Me: How old were you when you first were told you had the disease?

Jenn: I was only 2 months old when my mom noticed I had blue lips. She brought me to an amazing Cardiologist, Dr. Michael Lacorte. He said he'd take care of me & he's been my doctor ever since.

Me: How did you and your parents and everyone take it?

Jenn: My parents were clearly devastated. When I was younger they were told I might not live past the age of 12. I can't imagine hearing that about your child! Growing up they were so supportive and without their strength I wouldn't be who I am. We all managed with whatever obstacles came our way. They always taught me to focus on the positive. We never would dwell on being sick. I was in and out of hospitals a lot when I was younger, but they always kept me thinking about what fun things we would be doing when I would get out of the hospital. They always told me to stay focused on my dreams and goals and I think that's why I'm so determined!

Me: Okay, this proves what a big wuss I am... I don't like to go to work with a migraine but you performed a few weeks after your last surgery singing the national anthem, is that right? What the hell?

Jenn: Ha ha, migraines are painful! I stay home also when I have one. LOL. Yes I did, I can't say it was my best performance, but it was appreciated and it was to support The American Heart Association, so I didn't want to back out!

Me: First of, was that gig already booked before your surgery?

Jenn: Yes it was, even if it wasn't, I probably would have still committed to it and sang :)

Me: It wasn't an out procedure surgery, you had open heart surgery and then you performed. How did you feel when you sang the anthem?

Jenn: No, actually this was a smaller surgery, thank God! It was to replace the battery in my pacemaker. Luckily it wasn't open heart! It was not easy though. I was still swollen from the surgery & breathing was a little difficult, but I held my own!

Me: Did anybody try and talk you out of it, or did you have second thoughts?

Jenn: When I was standing in front of 2,000 people I was thinking, why the hell did I sign up for this! But my family and friends were there and as always I had their support so it was much easier to get through.

Me: I have a picture here of you singing at that game.

Me: I interviewed a musician awhile ago named Scott H. Biram who after he had a major car accident he performed on stage in a wheelchair and an IV in his arm. Anyway, I am a wuss. How are you feeling now, and do you have to have any more open heart surgeries or is that it?

Jenn: Okay, see that I could never do, because I hate needles! Then again it depends on the gig... LOL. I'm sure I could be convinced. I am feeling amazing! It's been 11 years since my last open heart surgery, my pacemaker surgery was not as intense a few years back, but doctors have given me a clean bill of health to pursue my dreams & live my life the way I want to :) I obviously face obstacles, but every person does in their life.

Me: How many surgeries have you had altogether, Jenn?

Jenn: Three open heart & the 1 battery replacement for my pacemaker which makes 4 all together. No biggy... LOL.

Me: Well, I am glad you are doing okay. Your parents must be very proud of you, am I right?

Jenn: Yes, extremely. They both push me to go after every opportunity that is presented to me.

Me: Let's talk about happy stuff, Jenn. I downloaded your single "When Life Gives You Lemons Make L.O.V.E." and love it. What does L.O.V.E. stand for, Jenn?

Jenn: It's just a different way of saying love :) I received an email from a mother telling me that her daughter learned how to spell love after hearing my song! Glad it's educational as well as fun... LOL.

Me: How did that song end up being the album title? If anyone knows about life giving you lemons, it's you, am I right ?

Jenn: It's actually not the album title, I know I made it totally confusing for people! I think there should almost be a question mark after the title "When Life Gives you Lemons" The single kind of answers the question, as does most of the songs on the album. "When Life Gives You Lemons" what do you choose to do with them? You can sit back and feel sorry for yourself or you can move forward and make L.O.V.E. After 3 open heart surgeries I think I've had some perspective of what's truly important in life and to me L.O.V.E is. It's the only thing that doesn't cost anything in life & probably the most rewarding!

Me: You have a song on the album called "Blue Velveteen". Is that a drink?

Jenn: No, but maybe it should be... good idea! I have spent a few years working in the fashion industry as my day job & I think the that's what inspired me to name it that. I'm very much a different person from when I started pursuing my dreams in New York. The last year i've really struggled with jobs and rent as many others in this economy have. I came up with the title because blue velveteen is a luscious, rich fabric. I wanted to send the message that you can be rich in life without owning a lot of expensive possessions or being materialistic. So right now my life is like "Blue Velveteen", and I've never been happier!

Me: Your whole album and feel is definitely perfect for summer. Hell, even your name is Summers. You must really love the Summer, right?

Jenn: Well, I'm not a fan of Winter that's for sure!

Me: Jenn, your video for "When Life Gives You Lemons Make L.O.V.E." was filmed on a beach. Are you a beach person?

Jenn: Yes, any chance I can get to one I go! It was actually inspired by 60's beach party movies. I love Bikini Beach & all of the Elvis movies from that era. I'm also a huge fan of the surf culture. I can't surf unfortunately because of my pacemaker, but I very much admire it and am inspired by the culture. 

Me: You have another song on the album called "Muchi Muchi". What is that? Is sounds Hawaiian for something? The song sounds Hawaiian.

Jenn: The Hawaiian sound comes from the ukulele in the song :) Which I've recently started to play. I came across the word on line somewhere & looked it up. "Muchi Muchi" means absolutely nothing! So, I created my own meaning for it. I just loved how it sounded... soo cute! I started saying to my friends & family. Instead of saying goodbye I would say "Muchi Muchi... I love you." LOL.

Me: Did I read that song was written for your cat? Did your boyfriend say, "Why not write a song about me?" Or did you?

Jenn: Ha ha, I've written a million songs about my boyfriend, he actually loves "Muchi Muchi". It's about our 2 cats. You should see how attentive they are when I play it for them... LOL. I think anyone can relate to it. Whether you love your, dog, cat or boyfriend, it's all about love! Wow, I sound like such a hippy... LOL.  

Me: Your music is very Beach Boy and Colbie Callaitish. Are you fans of them? Who else do you listen to?

Jenn: Oh, that makes me so happy to hear you say that! I'm kind of obsessed with The Beach Boys! I just saw them perform at The Beacon Theater and it was kind of surreal! They were one of the biggest influences for this album! Colbie's a fantastic writer. I'm also a huge fan of Bob Marley, No Doubt, Jack Johnson and Jewel. As for newer bands I listen to a lot of Foster The People, Fun. and Vampire Weekend.

Me: Apart from being a very talented singer, Jenn, you also are an actress. What came first, singing or acting?

Jenn: Definitely singing. I was interested in learning more about acting which is why I spent some timepursuing it, but my real passion is music.

Me: You have been in "Ed", which is a show I loved, and "Law and Order". Which "Law and Order" were you in? Were you a victim on that show?

Jenn: Nothing as glamorous as a victim... LOL. I can't even remember it was so long ago... I think I was a high school student? There was a close up of me smiling or something. That was my big moment... LOL.

Me: You also were on "Project Runway". That's a reality show, right? What did you do on that show?

Jenn: Yes , they were doing an episode called "Design Your Heart Out". They wanted to use real heart disease survivors as models. I was lucky enough to be chosen.

Me: Are you gonna continue acting?

Jenn: You never know! If I get presented with the right opportunity!

Me: Jenn, do you play any instruments?

Jenn: A little piano from when I was younger , but my main instrument is the ukulele now. I don't think there is any happier sound than the uke!

Me: Who produced your album, Jenn and who plays on it? Do you have a band?

Jenn: My album was produced and recorded at Killingsworth Studios in LA, by Tomas Costanza and his amazing team. I have a band in New York that I play gigs with. They are also amazing! Can't wait to do live shows with them this Summer.

Me: Jenn, I take it you do a lot of work for the American Heart Association. They must be very important to you, right?

Jenn: They are! I got involved with them over 5 years ago when I was still feeling sorry for myself about all that I had to go through as a child. I started volunteering for different events and realizing there are so many other women feeling the same way. It brought a great deal of comfort to become part of such a strong community of survivors! Also giving back is the best way to deal with pain I think. So many mother's of children that are dealing with heart disease have told me that I'm an inspiration to them. It's a great feeling to be able to touch someone else's life and give them hope. Then again I guess that's why I'm a singer, in hopes my music will inspire others.

Me: Jenn, I am a big fan of your music and you are an inspiration. Thanks for being here on the Phile. Please, please come back again, Jenn. Go ahead and plug your website and anything else you want, and please keep in touch. All the best. Take care.

Jenn: Thank you so much for having me ! It's been great! You can find me at the following sites & don't forget "When Life Gives You Lemons" is now available on iTunes and Spotify!,,

Well, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Adrian Bram Giannotta, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and of course Jenn Summers. The Phile will be back next Sunday with singer Kim Edwards, then on Monday it's British blues great Mick Clarke. Then the following weekend it's author Phil Irwin, The Whiskey Rebel. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Oh, have a safe July 4th. Muchi muchi.

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