Monday, September 17, 2012

Pheaturing Kat Parra

Hey, kids, welcome to another entry of the Phile. What's up? How are you?  Okay, so, Paul Ryan said that he and Mitt Romney won't reveal their tax plan to the public until after the election. Other politicians couldn't believe it. They were like, "At least do the honorable thing and lie."  A new poll shows that President Obama has expended his lead over Mitt Romney since the Democratic National Convention. Of course, it didn't help Obama as much as that other event... the Republican National Convention. You can tell Romney’s depressed... last night he just sat on his couch and bought the Häagen-Dazs corporation.  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the United Nations on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. That's like the Kardashians giving a speech on Labor Day.  A man in California is accusing Miley Cyrus of punching him in the face at a nightclub over the weekend. Police had a lot of questions for the guy like, "Why would you want the world to know that you got beat up by Miley Cyrus?"  Speaking of pop singers, Nicki Minaj, who I know nothing about but could see I am not gonna like her when she becomes a judge on "American Idol", revealed that in her new song, she only sarcastically endorsed Mitt Romney. Or as Republicans put it, “Wow, you too?” Actually, members of Mitt Romney’s own party are starting to criticize him for being too vague. When asked if that bothers him, Romney said “Maybe.”   A new study found that running for two minutes is just as good for you as working out for 90 minutes. That doesn’t sound like a study... it sounds like something a chubby guy says after being on the treadmill for two minutes.  A new survey found that 34 percent of Americans do not have a Facebook or Twitter account. There's even a name for those people... productive.  The president of Pepsi announced that he is leaving the company after less than a year on the job. The company isn't sure but they think he might have a Coke problem.  A new ATM lets customers video conference with bank tellers if they need help. If you can't figure out an ATM by the year 2012, I'm sure video conferencing will be a piece of cake.  A recent poll found that most Americans believe president Obama would be a more loyal friend than Mitt Romney. In other words, Obama is the guy holding your hair back in the bathroom while Romney uploads the drunk photos to Facebook.  President Obama said he'll win the election if the turnout is anything like it was in 2008. While voters said he'd win if he were anything like he was in 2008.  I mentioned this yesterday, but will mention it again. How many of you guys are reading the Phile on your new iPhone 5? A lot of people are complaining that the new iPhone 5 is taller than the last model, which means they have to buy a new case. In response, Apple issued an official statement saying, "Exactly." This week, a man in Missouri reeled in a live grenade when he went fishing. Or as one fish put it, "That's for my brother."  You kids know who Sally Struthers is, right? She used to be on "All in the Family" back in the day. Well, she was arrested for drunk driving the other day. Was she operating under the influence of gravy? Boy the way that Sally drank, wound up in the ole drunk tank. Gee, her frickin' breath sure stank. Those woire the dayyyyyyyys!  Any of you kids hockey fans? I'm sorry. What has been written on the wall for months is now official. The NHL has imposed a league-wide lockout, the sport's second work stoppage in eight years. If NHL was a person, he just put gun to head... Meanwhile, in football... Did you see the posters the NFL are selling? I am not sure Miami Dolphins will like this.

At the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, the greatest theme park in the world, they added an Obama Audio-Animatronics figure in one of the scenes. Check it out.

Man, I need to ride that ride. Even though I work in the same park as that ride, I haven't ridden it in like 12 years or so.  So, yesterday I went to a store and Spongebob was there. Really.

Okay, and now for another...

I don't know what I am looking for in this, do you? Hmmmm... if you see it e-mail me at Okay, so, we all know the Mayans predicted that in a few months from now the world is gonna end. I believe it as those Mayans are so smart. I thought I would invite a friend to the Phile to give us some Mayan words of wisdom to get us through the week. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Marvin, welcome back to the Phile. So, what words and wisdom do you have for us today?

Marvin: Nya b’a’n tu’n t-xi tewin chib’aj cye tuliy, ku’n ajo chib’aj b’e’x cy-elil× chuk-ix.

Me: Marvin, I have been telling for since January myself and my readers don't understand Mayanese. Can you translate in English?

Marvin: It is not good to hide good food from visitors because it will turn into worms.

Me: Hmmm... well, as we don't get a lot of visitors at the Peverett household that's not a big worry, but I have been known to hide food before. Thanks, Marvin. Talk to you soon. Marvin the Modern Day Mayan, kids!

Okay, well, as you know David Axelrod, who is the Senior Strategist for Obama's re-election campaign wanted to come back on the Phile to talk about a Las Vegas millionaire and his donation to the Romney campaign. So, please welcome back to the Phile... David Axelrod.

Me: Hello, David, welcome back to the Phile. So, what's this about a Vegas millionaire?

David: Jason, Sheldon Adelson, the conservative billionaire, not millionaire, Las Vegas casino owner, has pledged to give up to $100 million... whatever it defeat Barack Obama. 

Me: Man, he must really love Romney. Do you think that's why he's doing it?

David: We know it's not out of love for Mitt Romney...

Me: Then why pay so much money?

David: As President Clinton reminded us the other week, sometimes the answer is as simple as arithmetic. 

Me: Alright, David, I am not good with math. Can you break it down?

David: According to a new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Adelson could see up to $2 billion in savings under Mitt Romney's tax plan versus the President's plan. That's how much Romney's policies would favor millionaires and billionaires. 

Me: Then if Romney wins?

David: Two billion dollars more for Adelson. 

Me: Okay, so, if Barack wins..?

David: If Barack Obama wins, millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. 

Me: I don't get it.

David: Jason, it's a highly cynical but straightforward calculation.  

Me: So, what are the Democrats gonna do?

David: Make sure this election is decided by millions of Americans, not a handful of billionaires. 

Me: Okay, that I get. David, I still don't understand how it would work for Adelson in a Romney-Ryan administration.

David: Romney would keep in place the Bush tax cuts, and cut Adelson's income taxes by an additional 20 percent. 

Me: How much would Adelson save?

David: $1.5 million per year on income he earns as CEO. Romney's plan eliminates taxes on foreign profits like the ones Adelson makes on his Asian casinos. Adelson savings: $1.2 billion. Romney's plan maintains the current low tax rate on dividends. Adelson savings: $120 million per year. Romney's plan removes the estate tax. Adelson heirs save: $8.9 billion. 

Me: That's crazy.

David: Yeah, I honestly can't think of a more straightforward contrast in this election. 

Me: You need regular people to help like you said, not Sheldon Adelson.

David: With all due respect, we don't want him. We're relying on more than 3 million grassroots donors, who are giving an average of $58.

Me: I think you'll get it. David, thanks for coming back on the Phile. We'll talk again soon.

David: Thanks, Jason.

Me: Is there anything else you wanna say?

David: With less than 50 days until Election Day, the money we raise right now is critical. Don't hesitate, chip in today.

The 24th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Stephen "Zomboy" Harris, and this is one of my favorite pieces of his.

Stephen is gonna be a guest on the Phile this coming Wednesday.

Okay, today's pheatured guest is a jazz singer whose new album "Las Aventuras de Pasion!" is now available on iTunes and CDBaby. She'll be appearing next at Redwood City Salsa Festival in Redwood, California on September 29th. Please welcome to the Phile... Kat Parra.

Me: Hello, Kat, welcome to the Phile, how are you?

Kat: Hi! I'm doing great. Thanks for having me here.

Me: Kat, where are you from? On your recent album "Las Aventuras De Pasion!" you sing in English, Spanish and French, right?

Kat: I am from the San Francisco Bay Area, currently based in San Jose, CA. On this new CD I actually sing in English, Spanish and a dying language called Ladino (also called Judeo-Espanyol) which is the language of the Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492.

Me: How many languages do you know?

Kat: Well, I speak English and Spanish fluently. I can very poorly speak Portuguese and French but can sing in both those languages pretty convincingly. Romantic languages are pretty easy for me as far as pronunciation and comprehension go.

Me: When you song write do you write in English at first?

Kat: LOL! If I'm writing a song in English, then I will write it in English!! :) But if I am writing a song in Spanish then it is written in Spanish. I am very comfortable with both languages. It just depends on the song and what kind of feeling I want to express.

Me: When I looked at the track names of the CD, I thought one was called "Duran Duran", but then saw it was "Durme Durme". What does that mean, Kat?

Kat: Durme, Durme means Sleep, Sleep. It's one of the Sephardic songs on the CD. It's about a man who is watching a beautiful maiden sleep and professes his deep love for her.

Me: I don't know Spanish, but I think I translated the album name... "The Adventures of Passion", am I right?

Kat: Spot on! :)

Me: Where did that name come from, Kat?

Kat: When I was trying to figure out how all the songs fit together and what the driving theme for them all was, I realized it was passion. This CD project was quite an adventure in many ways and thus, "Las Aventuras de Pasión!"

Me: I love your version of "Iko Iko". I always liked Amazulu's version but yours is better. Have you heard of Amazulu? They were a British ska band from the 80's. I wonder if they're still together. I would love to get them on the Phile. Anyway, where were we? Oh... "Iko Iko"... that's a New Orleans song, I think. Who wrote it, Kat, do you know?

Kat: Never heard of Amazulu until now! But thanks for the nice compliment about "Iko Iko". I love that Wayne Wallace arranged it to be a bomba. It was really fun to record. And yes, it's a song from New Orleans and the original lyrics talk about the time around Mardi Gras and competing groups. It was written by James "Sugar Boy" Crawford. The lyrics I sing on the CD are by Zap Mama, written for the first Mission: Impossible movie.

Me: Most of the tracks on the new album you wrote, right?

Kat: Oh, how I wish I could tell you I wrote most of the tracks but I would be lying and would probably get sued by someone somewhere! I actually only wrote two of the songs on the CD: "Call Your Name" and "Oye Papi". I wrote the lyrics to "Gymnopedie" and added lyrics to one of the Sephardic songs, "La Comida de La Manyana" (The morning meal).

Me: The song "Call Your Name" is dedicated to your drummer, am I right? Was the song written for him? I know there's a story behind this beautiful song, Kat.

Kat: "Call Your Name" was partly written while thinking of my original drummer, Paul van Wageningen, who is fighting a battle for his life right now. It was also in tribute to another friend who is also going through a life threatening illness. This song is about loss and my fear of losing someone close and how I will deal with it. The song kind of wrote itself, meaning the words were gifted to me from some source that I was lucky enough to tap into.

Me: Your music is labelled jazz, but it's not the kinda jazz I am or most people are used to. Jazz is getting more of an international flare, and not just the Great American Songbook, am I right?

Kat: Yeah, I guess I'm going to have to name it a whole new genre of "eclectic world jazz" LOL! Honestly. I've never been one to follow the same path as everyone else. My interests are too varied and my attention span too short to learn all the songs of the Great American Songbook! I love those songs, don't get me wrong, but how many times can you redo them? I much prefer finding songs that not only resonate with me, but also bring a richer and more diverse feel into the jazz idiom. It certainly makes it more interesting for me to explore so many different rhythms, instruments and styles and place them under that giant umbrella called "jazz"

Me: By the way, I was just corrected... The Belle Stars did "Iko Iko", not Amazulu. Crap. Have you heard of The Belle Stars? LOL.

Kat: Well, I actually have heard of The Belle Stars, mainly because when I was researching "Iko Iko" I came across their version on YouTube. It's a fun version, for sure.

Me: The Belle Stars' version was also in another Tom Cruise movie, Rain Man. He must love that song. Maybe your version will be in the next Cruise film. Anyway, Kat, did you go to school to study music?

Kat: Yes, I have my Bachelors Degree in Jazz Studies and Vocal Performance from San Jose State University. I've also been to Cuba a few times to study afro-cuban music. And I'd like to think that my music education will never end as long as I live. :)

Me: Have you always wanted to be a singer?

Kat: Singing always seemed to come too easy for me and as I said before, I have never been one to follow the easy paths, so first I tried piano, then guitar, ended up starting my music education at UCLA as a classical flutist and then got married and pregnant (in that order, mind you!!) and decided to finish my degree at SJSU as a vocalist because I thought that would be the fastest way to complete my degree. Little did I know that Patti Cathcart (of Tuck & Patti) would open my eyes to a whole new world of what it meant to be a singer.

Me: How old were you when you first started singing, Kat?

Kat: As young as I can remember I have been singing. And I hope that I can say "as old as I can remember" I'll still be singing. :)

Me: Kat, thanks so much for being on the Phile, I hope it was fun. Please come back when your next CD comes out, or before. Why don't you go ahead and mention your websites, Kat?

Kat: Thanks so much for having me here. It was an honor and a pleasure. My websites:,, Facebook:, Twitter: @katparrasings.

Me: Take care, and continued success.

Kat: Thanks. Hope to come back soon!

That about does it for another great entry. Thanks to my guests David Axelrod and of course to Kat Parra. The Phile will be back with a Wednesday entry pheaturing artist Stephen "Zomboy" Harris. There's not gonna be an entry on Sunday as I will be at the Orlando Comic Expo, but on Saturday there's gonna be an entry with the kids from the Breedings. Then on Monday it's Cy Curnin, the lead singer from the great 80's band The Fixx. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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