Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pheaturing Alumni Shirli McAllen From Leftover Cuties

Hello, kids, welcome to another entry of the Phile. How are you? I am kinda sad, today is the last day of the Olympics. Are you sad as well? But at least the Spice Girls are gonna perform during the closing ceremonies. They'll all be named Sporty Spice tonight.  I can't believe it's the last day. Wow, it  just whizzed by, this Olympics. Seems like it was only yesterday that it was a month before the Olympics. I am gonna miss watching beach volleyball. But I kept wondering is London really the right venue for it? Nothing says beach volleyball more than a cold, rainy day in east London.  Why don't they allow professional wrestling at the Olympics? They allow pro basketball players and hockey players. Olympic pro wrestling would be awesome. The team from Mexico could wear those Mr. X masks. The French wrestler could hit his opponent with a baguette. Or perhaps just surrender.  Mayor Bloomberg is saying now that he has banned large sodas in New York City, his next target is going to be alcohol. Once that's out of the way he'll start his crusade against fun.  One of my favorite movies of the year came out on DVD and Blu-ray this week.... The Lorax. If you didn't see it Danny DeVito is the title character. It's an oddly shaped hairy creature that resembles a small walrus. So is the Lorax.  The other day was the one-year anniversary of those riots in London. If you watch the news today, it seems like the riots are still going on over there. But it's just drunk Australians at the Olympics.  I would like to congratulate the team at NASA’s jet propulsion lab. You deserve every missed high five of your celebration. NASA says it received a signal from the Curiosity rover after a plunge through the Martian atmosphere described as "seven minutes of terror." That's funny, that's what my wife called our wedding. When the Mars rover got to Mars it sent back a message to NASA. "Finally ready to start the day! Looking forward to staring at fucking dirt for the next two years."  So, people are still talking about this whole Chick-fil-A controversy. This crisis has pitted brother against lower cholesterol brother. It's like the Civil War, if you replace slavery with waffle fries. Well, as I said the Olympics is over today. And once again, what about that Michael Phelps guy. Don't smoke weed, they said. You'll never be the most decorated Olympian of all time they said. Anyway, here's a pic of Phelps with his favorite gold of them all.

Well, as I said, the Mars rover is on Mars, which makes sense. If the Mars rover was on Venus it be called the Venue rover. Anyway, it sent back it's first photo of Mars. And I have the exclusive picture here on the Phile.

So, this week is one of the biggest weeks on TV. It's Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, and I am so glad they released an inspirational poster, but it's not exactly what I had in mind.

Okay, so did you hear that in honor of all the competition on the Olympics McDonald's and Taco Bell joined together for a new ad that has both chains competing against each other? No, well, I have a pic... actually, hold on. Now that I second guess myself this may be crossing the line. I don't know if I should post the pic or not. What shall I do? Okay, if you want me to post the pic and show you this horrible joke email me at or Or leave a comment. If I get enough readers to say they wanna see it I will post it tomorrow. I will show you a piece of it to help you decide.

Okay, so, let me know. In the meantime lets see who checked out.

Judith Crist
May 22, 1922 - August 7, 2012
Two thumbs down.

Marvin Hamlisch
June 2, 1944 - August 7, 2012
The way he is.

Okay, there's someone else who passed away this past week that I have to mention. Mary Tamm, the first actress to play the Time Lady Romana on the long-running British TV show "Doctor Who," has died of cancer at 62.  I always thought she was way hotter than Lalla Ward, who replaced her. Anyway, she's the first Phile Alumni to pass away. You can read that entry she was interviewed in at  I am glad I got to interview her here on the Phile and pheature her book "First Generation" which was the second book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club. Anyway, she will always be remembered here. See, I am not always an ass when it comes to people dying.

Well, like I said earlier it's Shark Week on the Discovery Channel which is all fine and good, but did you know the Phile has a shark as well? Me neither until a few days ago. So, in honor of Shark Week week, please welcome out own shark...

Me: This is so dumb. Hello, Feargal, welcome to the Phile, how are you?

Feargal: I bit a tourists leg off.

Me: I can see that.

Feargal: I'm endangered.

Me: I can see that as well.

Feargal: So, you wanna hear some shark jokes?

Me: Umn, not really, but go ahead I guess.

Feargal: What kind of shark is always gambling?

Me: A Cardshark.

Feargal: Very good. What is the average sharks favorite movie?

Me: Um... Jaws?

Feargal: Nope, The Shaw-Shark Redemption.

Me: That's stupid, that's not even a real movie. Give us one more then go back to the ocean.

Feargal: What is a sharks favorite sci-fi show?

Me: "Shark Tank"?

Feargal: No, "Shark Trek".

Me: Get outta here. Feargal the Shark, kids. One of the dumbest Phile characters yet.

Well, football pre-season has started and Dwight Howard is leaving the Orlando Magic. So, I thought I would invite back to the Phile a good friend to talk about these events. Please welcome back to the Phile, my good friend Jeff Trelewicz in a pheature I call...

Me: Jeff! Welcome back to the Phile! How has your summer been?

Jeff: It's always great to be a guest here on the Phile. My summer has been very good. I got to spend some time with the family back home, so it's always a good time to get away. How about your summer?

Me: Okay, just working and blogging. We'll probably take our vacation in October or November. Have you been watching the Olympics?

Jeff: Yes, I have been watching my share of the Olympics. How about you?

Me: Yep, a few hours every day and at work as well. I love the Oympics, especially this year with it being in London. Makes me wanna go back there so bad. What do you like about the Olympics, Jeff?

Jeff: It's always interesting to see the countries compete and see which country is good at which sport.

Me: Okey doke, there's a few sports stories going on I wanna talk about. Did you hear Dwight Howard is going to LA? What is your take? Are you surprised?

Jeff: Don't get me started on the Dwight Howard thing. The team did everything they could to make him feel welcome this off season. He didn't like the coach or the GM and they fired them both to make Dwight Howard happy. Instead of being a superstar on his own team, he now becomes just another guy on a superstar team. They might as well just set the finals to be Lakers vs Heat for next year. I'm not surprised he was traded to the Lakers. It was one of his requested teams, including the Brooklyn Nets and the Dallas Mavericks.

Me: Doesn't it make the Magic look like a farm team?

Jeff: Without a doubt, this trade makes the Magic look like a farm team. Of the four teams involved in the trade, Orlando got the worst part of the trade. Orlando lost a superstar and should have gotten a superstar in return. They didn't. If they win .500 % of their games next season, I will be surprised.

Me: Jeff, football pre season starts soon. The Giants' first game is with the Cowboys. How do you think both teams look?

Jeff: The Giants lost a lot of players in the off season. Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham are now in San Fransisco. The Giants proved last season you don't need to have a great regular season to win it all. So if they can put it all together like they did last season. I think they have a good chance of doing well again this year, like they did last year. No one cares about the Cowboys. Hehehehe.

Me: What about any other team, how are they doing? Any big changes?

Jeff: The biggest changes in the NFL involve Peyton Manning going to Denver. It should be interesting to see how he does on a new team for the first time in his
career. Other then Tebow to the Jets and Chad Johnson (No Longer Ocho-Cinco) to Miami, it has been a very quiet off season. Hines Ward is no longer on the Steelers, which is sad for me. But he retired instead of playing for another team. Of course we are going to play another season.

Me: When does the real season start? We're still gonna do our pick competition, right? And remind the readers who won last time. LOL.

Jeff: For the record, Phile fans he beat me last year. But it won't happen again! The Regular Season kicks off September 5th.

Me: Jeff, thanks for being here and I will talk to you soon before September 5th when we'll do our picks and start over again. Jeff Trelewicz, everybody. You rock, Jeff.


Well, yesterday was a big day, political wise. We found out that Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney's pick for VP. So I thought I would invite someone to the Phile to get his perspective and teach us somethign we might not know about Ryan. So, please welcome back to the Phile, the Axe... David Axelrod.

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

David: Hello, Jason. Good morning.

Me: So, tell the readers of the Phile in case they don't know, what happened and what we are talking about.

David: Well, yesterday morning, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan stood on a platform in Norfolk, Virginia, and introduced themselves to the country as "America's Comeback Team."

Me: "America's Comeback Team"? I didn't know anybody left. What do you think of their slogan?

David: "Go Back Team" would be more appropriate...

Me: That's funny, why do you say that, David?

David: Because a Romney-Ryan administration is the definition of a fast track back to the failed, top-down economic policies of the past.

Me: So, the million dollar question is why do you think Romney picked Ryan?

David: In Ryan, Romney has selected a running mate best known for designing the extreme GOP budget that would end Medicare as we know it, and just like Romney's plan, actually raise taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for an additional $250,000 tax break for millionaires and billionaires.

Me: What about Ryan? What do you think, David?

David: As a leader of the House Republicans and a Tea Party favorite, Congressman Ryan has led the relentless, intensely ideological battle for these kinds of budget-busting policies that punish seniors and the middle class.

Me: And with Romney's pick yestersay...?

David: Romney doubled down on those policies.

Me: David, most Americans don't know Paul Ryan. What will the Democrats do about this?

David: In the coming days, the other side will spend a lot of time trying to define Romney's choice and what it says about his candidacy

Me: Personally, what do you think of the running team of Romney and Ryan?

David: If their records are any indication of how they'd govern, it's not looking good (unless you're a right-wing conservative in the top 5 percent of income-earners and NOT a woman or a worker counting on Medicare in your future).

Me: Is this just a matter of opinion?

David: No, this isn't a matter of opinion. As an architect of the extreme GOP budget, Ryan will be Romney's biggest advocate for his plan to give more tax breaks to millionaires, paid for by $2,000 in higher taxes on middle-class families with kids.

Me: The Ryan plan, which Romney said is "an excellent piece of work, and very much needed," calls for what exactly, David?

David: For deep cuts in education... from college scholarships to Head Start, critical scientific research, and clean energy investments, all to help pay for those tax cuts.

Me: And Ryan has something to do with Medicare, am I right?

David: Ryan authored the original plan to convert Medicare into a voucher program, costing seniors an additional $6,000 or more each year.

Me: Well, he talks about balancing the budget.

David: Ryan talks tough on balancing the budget, but his own plan would fail to do that for a generation. The burden of balancing any Ryan budget falls squarely on the backs of seniors and middle-class families while no one at the top is asked to pay even a dollar more.

Me: Any other info you can shed the light on him?

David: Both Romney and Ryan are severely conservative, threatening to take us backward on women's issues and civil rights. Ryan cosponsored a bill that would ban common forms of birth control, in vitro fertilization, and abortions even in cases of rape or incest. He voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, voted against the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and sponsored a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality. On so many issues, Paul Ryan, like Mitt Romney, has taken extreme positions that are out of touch with the values most Americans share. It's our job, especially in these first few days and weeks, to make sure voters get the facts on his record, and a clear picture as to what a Romney-Ryan administration would look like for regular people, when the slogans fade away and the real policy decisions they'd face as president and vice president are on the table.

Me: Well, David, thanks for educating me and my readers, and thanks for being on the Phile.

David: Thanks for everything. Big day yesterday.

Me: Is there anything else you wanna say, David?

David: Election Day is closer than you think.

The 22nd artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is somebody named RobotrobotROBOT, and this is one of his pieces. A very cool piece of art if I don't say so myself.

RobotrobotROBOT will be a guest on the Phile next Monday.

Okay, kids, today's Alumni guest was last on the Phile on May 22nd 2011. Since then they have a new EP out called "Departures" and a new single called "Big Smile" that Samsung chose for their Galaxy S III Olympics commercial. They'll be next appearing at Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles on August 17th. Please welcome back to the Phile the singer for one of my favorite bands Leftover Cuties... Shirli McAllen.

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

Shirli: Thanks for having me, I've been well.

Me: I downloaded the new EP "Departures" off from iTunes and really liked it. You already did a few covers you released, "You Are My Sunshine" and Lady Gaga's "Poker Face"... what made you kids decide to record a few more covers and release the EP?

Shirli: Glad to hear you liked it. We thought it would be fun to take a few of a our favorite covers and mix them up with some new ones for an EP release. One of our favorite things to do is to take songs by other artists and put our own spin them. It's fun and people get a kick out of it.

Me: Did you all choose which other covers to do?

Shirli: For the most part, yes. There's one song that our Facebook fans helped us choose. We asked our fans to suggest songs to us, we narrowed them down to three we liked best and had them vote on it. "Fidelity" by Regina Spektor was the winner.

Me: I know you're a big Dylan fan, so was it easy to choose the Dylan song?

Shirli: It's never easy to choose a Dylan song cause there are so many great ones. But this one I've been playing around with for a little while, so that's why it came to mind when it was time to pick out songs.

Me: Why did you choose the Dylan song "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"? I am glad you did, it's one of my favorites.

Shirli: Because it's so beautiful and easy to relate and connect with, like many Dylan songs. This song really moves me, we actually all got quite emotional when we recorded it. It was one of those moments you hope would happen when you're recording.

Me: "Places To Go", your last release was produced by Tony Berg who also produced Dylan. Who produced the EP?

Shirli: Our very talented friend Jake Sinclair, who actually produced "Sunnyside" on "Places To Go" as well. We've worked with him many times and we keep coming back for more. He's just a pleasure to work with and he really gets what we're trying to do.

Me: Your last release was "Places To Go" this release is "Departures". What is it with the leaving terms?

Shirli: I see "Places To Go" as more of an arrival theme, the idea that each song takes you to a new place, or that all the songs collectively transport you elsewhere. "Departures" stands for leaving the original version of the songs behind and doing something innovative with them. So it's all positive stuff really.

Me: How did "Departures" get to be the name of the EP?

Shirli: Well, we were trying to find a title that would describe what this EP of covers means to us. We also liked the idea of continuing the theme of travel that we set forth with our "Places To Go" LP. "Departures" seemed like the perfect fit.

Q: You're from Israel, right, Shirli? How long have you been in the States now?

Shirli: Yes, I was born and raised in Israel, and I've been in the states for about 11 years now.

Me: What made you decide to settle in California? Florida is nice as well.

Shirli: Florida is nice, but California reminds me of home. I live in Venice near the beach, and I love the creative energy and the feeling of community here. Plus , as a musician, LA is a good place to be. 

Me: How long did it take you to settle in the States and form the band, Shirli?

Shirli: It took me a few months to start writing in a second language. After about a year, once I had enough songs, I met some musicians at the guitar shop and I started collaborating with people. Leftover Cuties came much much later though.

Me: Once you were here what was the first thing you did?

Shirli: I looked for a bar tending job.

Me: Have you been back to Israel since?

Shirli: Yes, I go ones or twice a year to visit my family.

Me: Your family back home must be proud of your success, what do they think of your music?

Shirli: They are very proud, and they're pretty much my biggest supporters. My father shows our videos to anyone who'll watch, and my mom does the same with the CD's. They are so cute about it! 

Me: Have you heard of the singer Meaghan Smith? I interviewed her a few years ago, she's from Canada. Her music and yours are very similar. You two could make some amazing music together. 

Shirli: Yes, Meaghan is incredible. We're big fans of each other and she was actually kind enough to sings some harmonies with me on "Places To Go". She sounds like an angel.

Me: See, I know what I am talking about. Shirli, I watched the video of the Cuties singing at a baseball game... it was The Padres I think. What was that experience like? I have a picture of you guys singing there.

Shirli: One that I'll never forget! It was my first baseball game ever and I got to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in front of thousands of people. It was nerve-wracking and so thrilling at the same time. We all had a blast that day. Go Padres!

Me: Are you a baseball fan?

Shirli: Not really. I find it a bit slow, but I have liked some baseball movies. The game seems much more exciting on film.

Me: Was that the largest crowd you sang in front of?

Shirli: Definitely yes.

Me: This year you guys played SXSW... was that the first time you were there? What was that experience like?

Shirli: We were all there in previous years, but never together as Leftover Cuties. We had a great time! We played many shows and even busked on the street for a bit, and the response was very warm. Austin is a great city and we'll be happy to go back again and again.

Me: Shirli, I forgot to ask you about this the last time you were on the Phile. On the cover of "Places To Go", and the new EP you are holding a suitcase, which has a speaker in it, am I right? What's the story behind that case?

Shirli: Austin, our uke/Bass player had started making speakers out of old suitcases. When we came up with the idea of having me hold a suitcase for the cover of "Places To Go", we had Austin make a speaker from the suit case we got for it. We though it to be much more interesting and symbolic then just a plain suitcase.

Me: Apart from "The Big C", which you guys sing the theme song, didn't I hear one of your songs in the TV show "Justified"?

Shirli: Yes, you have. Our song "Through It All " from our "Game Called Life" EP was featured on an episode of "Justified". it was fun to watch.

Me: Is there a TV show you would love to have your music featured in?

Shirli: "Mad Men". But they only use original songs from the era, so it most likely will never happen. 

Me: So, what's next for the Cuties? Are you kids working on a new album?

Shirli: Yes we are. We are going to record this summer and release it either in the fall or early next year. We are very eager to get into the studio and start laying down the songs we've been working on. It's very exciting for us.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile again, Shirli. I am a big fan. Go ahead and plug your website and anything else you want. And please come back again. All the best.

Shirli: Thanks so much for having me, Jason, and I'll be glad to be back. For more fun stuff about the Cuties you can always visit and see what we're up to. Thanks again, Jason, and the Peverett Phile.

Well, that about does it for a pretty long entry of the Phile. That's what happens that I only post twice a week. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz, David Axelrod and of course Shirli McAllen. The Phile will be back tomorrow with jazz singer Anna Estrada. And remember, if you want to see the full joke of the Taco Bell, McDonald's competition ad then email me. Next week on the Phile it's another Alumni... Toots from Toots and the Maytals and then on Monday it's artist RobotrobotROBOT. I think that about does it. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. I will leave you with a photo I took of Phile Alumni the late Mary Tamm back in the 80's I my first ever convention.

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