Hello, and welcome to A Peverett Phile Christmas 5. Man, that's a long ass title, right? How many words is that? Fifteen? I think that is the long title ever. Anyway, it's two days to Christmas, and two days 'til we get a new Doctor for you Whovians out there. Alright, I want to start off with very uplifting and inspirational story. James Gray is an 85-year-old Irish retired butler living in London. He doesn't have any family, many of his friends have passed away, and frailty prevents him from getting out and about like he used to. As a result, though he doesn't like it, Gray has gotten used to being alone most of the time. The hardest time of year is Christmas. Gray told the Irish Post: "This time of year is so hard if you are old and alone because it feels like everybody else around you is enjoying themselves." This would have been Gray's 10th Christmas alone, but he was inspired to try something new. He placed an ad in the Irish Post, asking if any other pensioners would like to get together for Christmas lunch. Sadly, he only got one reply, and that person later canceled. Then, something magical happened. Niall O'Sullivan of the Irish Post ran a piece about Mr. Gray's quest for companionship. Readers were moved, and pretty soon cards, letters, and invitations to spend Christmas Day together were flooding in from all over the U.K. and the world. So far, Mr. Gray has received over 1,000 cards. Gray has also received a few gifts, including a bottle of whiskey and a Quality Street toffee penny that someone tucked into a card... OMG, this is the most British story of all time. And I would know. The Post says they're still arranging a special Christmas dinner for Mr. Gray. But as O'Sullivan reminds readers in an opinion piece for the paper, there are plenty of other lonely people, many elderly, who have nowhere to go for Christmas and no one to turn to the rest of the year. There's probably a lot more we could all be doing. Still, this happy Internet story is a testament to the power of simply asking for help, and the amazing things people can do when they reach out. So, does this mean love actually is everywhere? Sorry, had to. According to a new Pew poll, whatever that is, approximately half of U.S. citizens no longer view Christmas... the winter solstice celebration filled with traditional pagan iconography such as evergreen trees and yule logs, as a mostly Christian holiday. Meanwhile, one-third of those polled say they see it as more of a cultural holiday which also happens to be a good excuse to get fat and buy a new gaming console. Researchers at Stanford University have conclusively determined that narcolepsy, the disorder which causes people to suddenly fall asleep with little or no warning, is not just a very easy punchline for comedy writers hoping to bang out a joke with little or no effort, but also an autoimmune disease which can possibly be contracted by zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... What? I'm awake. Where was I? Conservapedia the conservative version of Wikipedia which replaces uncomfortable facts with more useful right wing talking points, is in the process of rewriting the Bible to remove any gross un-Christian liberal bias which may have crept into the text over the past two millennia. The entire New Testament and several books of the Old Testament have already been translated from the accepted but flawed King James Version to their new and improved edition. Phrases such as "Peace be with you," have been altered to read “Peace of mind be with you,” because obviously Jesus would never have supported a concept that gets in the way of invading Iran. Good thing the Bible doesn't say anything about coveting thy neighbor's Playstation 4. In a 43-8 vote, the New York City council passed a bill that expands the city's ban on smoking in places such as bars, restaurants and parks to include e-cigarettes, which do not emit smoke and have not yet been shown to have any negative effects on people nearby, other than the pathos-induced revulsion felt toward the ridiculous-looking e-cigarette smoker. Did you see this? There are now mistletoe drones flying around San Francisco, forcing people to kiss. I have a screenshot of it here...
While I'm sure the people behind this idea thought they were being whimsical, I fear this is the beginning of the end. Once robots learn that humans have to kiss when there's mistletoe around, they will exploit that to gain supremacy. Humans will be constantly made to kiss, and they'll be late for their jobs, and then the robots will be like, "I'm never late." They get hired and then they make the employees kiss each other until everyone's been fired by HR (now RR), then they win an election by campaigning against people who collect welfare and kiss all day and then goodbye democracy, hello communism. Robots are huge communists. Brought to you... foolishly by San Francisco artist/weird-projects-like-this person George Zisiadis, and guy who-according-to-his-Facebook-page-partners-up-with-a-giant-boombox-robot-to-start-parties Mustafa Khan, the reason they did this, as George told The Bold Italic, was that "drones have been causing all sorts of paranoia lately and I wanted to reframe them from being something scary and ominous to being fun and human." Dudes, this project is awesome, but drones becoming human is exactly what is terrifying. I wasn't really feeling the Christmas cheer this year until I saw this magical picture of penguins dressed up as Santa Claus and Christmas trees parading through a theme park in South Korea.
After all, isn't forcing animals to wear adorable red and green costumes what the holiday is all about? Didn't Joseph and Mary look down, see the heavenly glow on their child's face, and feel compelled to throw a jaunty red bow on their camel? It's true. Matthew 11:14. The penguin parade took place at Everland, the largest amusement park in South Korea. The park says the parade was such a success that it will be held every day between now and Christmas. South Korea has a large Christian population... although the penguins consider themselves "spiritual" and plenty of excited onlookers turned out for the first day of the parade. Can you even imagine this kind of thing happening in the United States? Pretty soon someone would put out a documentary called Flightless, and we'd all be forced to learn that penguins really hate costumes because they're humiliating and itchy. I guess we'll just have to keep importing our Christmas cheer from East Asia, along with our Christmas gifts. Okay, it's two days before Christmas and do you know what Santa is doing right now? I'll bet you'll never guess.
Do you guys like gingerbread houses? I'm not a big fan, but I thought this one was really cool.
Next year there is a new X-Man movie coming out, and I have an exclusive photo from the set of Magneto and Professor X. Wanna see it?
I guess it the movie takes place over Christmas. This movie might be a funnier Christmas movie than Elf. I love Christmas specials, and do you know what my favorite one is?
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Tauntaun". That's a classic. Speaking of Rudolph, do you know who his dad was? No?
That's so stupid. I think that's the stuipdest thing on the Phile in a long time. Alright, so, all through December I have been showing you some creative Christmas ads. I think I saved the best one for last.
You're welcome fellas. And now, from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...
Top Phive Things If The Story Of Christmas Took Place On Facebook Part 4
5. A Bunch Of Sheperds shared a link from The Huffington Post.
4. King Herod shared a link from Upworthy - with Magi.
3. Magi checked into Bethlehem.
2. Magi bought Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold from Mary's Baby Registry on Buy Buy Baby.
And the final number one thing if the story of Christmas took place on Facebook is...
1. Santa wrote: And what do you want for Christmas, Baby Jesus?
If you spot the Mindphuck email me at email@example.com. Okay, Christmas is only two days away like I said, and you might still be trying to figure out what to buy for someone. That's crazy, you're running outta time, but you still might be struggling. Have no fear, I'm here to help with...
Outshine the competition with this futuristic Lighted LED Chess Set.
The ancient game of chess just got a dose of WOW with high tech LED technology. The world's first LED lighted chess set will have everyone fighting to take a turn. This LED glow chess set comes with both a wall adaptor and a car adaptor, so you'll be ready to light up the night with your gamesmanship wherever you go. You can buy it here: amazon.com/LED-Glow-Chess-Set-Color/dp/B0033JCKZI.
And now a Christmas story from a patriot, singer and renaissance man. You know what time it is, right?
Good morning, humans. My granddaughter Olivia: "Pop-pop... is there a Santa Claus? Coz this mean girl at the playground said he's not real." Me: "Of course there is, sweetie. I bumped into him at work last week. Tell this girl that I said Santa is very busy right now making certain that mean little girls get nothing but a bag of dog poo for Christmas." Olivia: "You're so silly, pop-pop... YOU don't work at the North Pole." Me: "He told me you've been a very good girl this year." Olivia: "Realllllly? You DID meet him!" Pretty clever for a five year old.
Casual Hobbit/Lord Of The Rings viewers, do you exist? Two films into this series... five if you're lumping them into one extra-long, jewelry-based throwdown of impossibly named characters and giant sword impalements... the possibility that there is anyone who would walk into the muddly middle of a three-film, nine-hour prequel to another nine-hour saga and expect to know what's going on at all seems unlikely. By now you're either in or you're out. And you're reading this so that means you're in. Therefore, explaining the entire plot, with its fantastic array of characters, creatures and battles is, at this point, beside the point. It's as you expect it to be. Bilbo (Martin Freeman) still has the ring; the dwarves, led by the heartthrobby Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), want to retrieve the gold from the mountain where Smaug the Dragon (the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch, busiest man in show business) lies sleeping so that they can then restore the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor; there's Gandalf (Ian McKellen) popping in and out to help with wizarding activities and warnings that everybody ignores; and there's a lot of running, chasing and fighting. After that there's more running, chasing and fighting. You came for it. You get it. Peter Jackson wears this series like an extremely expensive yet well-worn coat, one he's very willing to share with you. His actors feel bonded to their characters, probably due to the sheer amount of time they've spent inhabiting them, and it fills in the blanks when writing turns thin. Details that would be discarded in a one-shot adaptation get a chance to exist on screen whether or not they're necessary. Nobody gives a damn about chopping out one bit. Tolkienists demand more and more and they are given every little moment. And as for that high frame rate situation that made the first installment feel like an eye gouging conducted with a fork, this time around there'll be more opportunity to see it theatrically as though it were just any other old-fashioned 2D, 24 frames-per-second movie instead of a digital torture device. It's a next chapter that will surprise no one and yet be loved simply for existing. A small thing blown up superlarge, less complicated at its source but made ornately and then further padded for maximum comfort. It's a lot piled on top of a lot, anti-minimalist and indulgent, exactly as fans need it to be. But the hypnotic repetition of endless questing, struggling and fleeing somehow doesn't turn it dull. The effect is, instead, satisfying and warm. It's a smell or sound that triggers longing, the same bedtime story told night after night that you never tire of hearing, the blanket you make into a fort, the eating of the biggest bag of potato chips in the world. You're not casual about it, you're committed. And nobody can tell you you're wrong. From 1 to 10, I give this Hobbit movie an 8
The 29th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Phile Alum and author will be a guest on the Phile next Sunday.
It's 9:52 am, 72°F and Kelly posted this Tweeted this picture saying Merry Christmas from the Blackstocks.
Damn! It should be Merry Christmas from the Peveretts.
Okay, today's pheatured guests are two members from the alternative rock band Vendetta Red whose new EP "Light Year Anniversary" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile from Vendetta Red... Zach Davidson and Burke... not Burt as I have been calling him... BURKE Thomas Overdrive.
Me: Hello, guys, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Zach: We're good.
Me: Okay, I have to tell you something... I meet bands and musicians and other people through various ways here. From publicists, managers, the interviewees themselves, recommendations from different people, friends recommendations and so on. You get the idea. With Vendetta Red, a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page a picture of iTunes with the song "Fuck Me On Star Tours". You see, we both work at Star Tours at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando and thought that was funny. I then decided to send you guys an interview request. So, where did that title come from?
Zach: Haha, that's amazing. The title came from the space god of pleasure theme of the song and when we were discussing names it was either going to be "hold my hand on Space Mountain" or "Fuck Me On Star Tours". We all consider Star Tours a better ride.
Burke: Actually, I stole the title from my wife Lian. We both think it's hilarious that everything has to be "sexed up" in today's culture from people singing "The Star Spangled Banner", to dog food commercials to Freddy Kruger costumes. So, we have a voice in a SoCal teenage girl's voice that goes... "Oh my God, fuck me while I'm doing taxes, fuck me in the car wash, fuck me in this garbage can... fuck me in Star Tours". I brought it into the rehearsal room and it inspired.
Me: The song is not really about Star Tours, is it?
Zach: No, the song is about the birth of Slaanesh and the near extinction of the elder race because of it.
Me: Have you been on the Star Tours ride at Disney?
Me: You do know it'll be impossible to have sex on the ride. Now, if you sit in the back row you can do other stuff, but that still might be tricky.
Zach: Where there is a will there is a pinche way.
Burke: I don't know about that. I've been kicked off many a Pirates o' Caribbean.
Me: Is that the Irish version? Haha. The song is on your new EP "Light Year Anniversary". You actually have released two EP's this year... "Scripture" and "Light Year Anniversary". Why release two EPs and not a full length?
Zach: Well half of the songs are about the birth of Slaanesh and the other half are unconnected to each other and about completely random things like my kids, love, racism, Seattle prostitutes who jump off the Aurora bridge.
Burke: High five.
Me: The band was formed back in 1998, but broke up in 2006. What happened?
Zach: We broke up because we couldn't make a career out of it.
Burke: Implode, Explode. Needed a breather, get some wives and other life stuff.
Me: When you guys were originally together you opened up for AC/DC at the New York Roseland Ballroom. I bet that was crazy, and a good show. Was that a great experience for you?
Zach: Yes and no, AC/DC were amazing, fantastic live and really cool people but their crowd didn't like us at all so we spent our set defending ourselves and offending the audience. Still an amazing experience.
Burke: A weird match, but it puts hair on your chest.
Me: What was the best show you guys ever played?
Zach: I think with this lineup our best show has been the December 2010 show at El Corazon. We had a string quintet and Alessandra Rose on keys and back up vocals and my friend Joel on second guitar. It was epic.
Burke: Yeah, our first show at El Corazon with this lineup. I think back in 2005 we had two pits going at a place in Indiana. One pit was on the mezzanine. Also, Endfest 2005 was rad. I don't think Jonah played his guitar that day. He just hung from the rafters the whole set. We also shared a dressing room with Tegan and Sara, but none of us knew who they were.
Me: Where are you guys from and who is in the band?
Zach: Leif and Jonah are from Seattle, Burke and I are from California originally but we have both been here way longer.
Burke: SOCal represent.
Me: When you guys got back together was it with the original members?
Zach: No. I've been the only original member in the band since 2004.
Burke: That's true. I used to tour in the van before the Sony deal when other members couldn't leave town.
Me: How did you guys get back together? Was it a planned thing or just a fluke?
Zach: We planned the show after a fluke email saying we were playing that night. We thought, that's actually not a bad idea.
Burke: Cellphone prank turned out okay, but who was the pranker? No one knows to this day.
Me: And did you start to write new material right away?
Zach: Yeah, we had a bunch of tunes within just a few rehearsals so it all came out very naturally.
Burke: High five.
Me: You guys were once on Epic Records, back when major record labels meant something. How did signing to a record label like Epic change your lives?
Zach: Well, that was an incredible experience. I was able to do music as my job and tour the country for about four years because of that and see the music industry for what a corrupt and phony entity it was.
Burke: I went from eating 7-11 dinners at home to eating 7-11 dinners in the van and shitty motels. I really have to change my diet plan.
Me: I listened to some of your music and I guess you would be hard rock, but I'm not sure. You're listed as an alternative rock band. What genre of music would you say you were?
Zach: That has always been hard for us because we write some proggy, hardcore, then pop tunes with orchestral movements, then juxtapose that with a little bit of good old fashioned alternative. So I would say we are a rock band. For sure.
Burke: I would say it purely splurge core with a hint of death campfire.
Me: What bands are you guys into?
Zach: I'm gonna tell you everyones favorite bands... Burke: Rush, The Smiths, Jonah: The Misfits, Queen, Me: Echo and the Bunnymen, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Leif: Guns N Roses, U2.
Burke: Good enough for me.
Me: I saw a picture of one of you guys wearing an Anvil tshirt. Are you guys fans of Anvil? I interviewed Steve "Lips" Kudlow here on the Phile a few months ago.
Zach: Yes, ANVIL SHALL RULE!
Burke: Sad damn movie. Good for them they got another tour out of it.
Me: What about Foghat? They are a good band, right? Haha.
Zach: Fuck yeah. Foghat is an amazing band... talk about underrated. Dave Peverett is one of the most amazing guitarist, singers in the world. Definitely a band that helped encapsulate the sound of 70s rock.
Burke: All those bands had amazing album covers. Foghat, that was "Jeramiah Was a Bullfrog" right?
Me: Um... no, Burt. Alright, so, I have to ask you about the cover to "Light Year Anniversary". There's a drawing with a kid in a rabbit suit. That has to have some kinda meaning, am I right?
Zach: Christy is such an awesome artist, I have always loved her work and she really nailed the overall feel of this EP. It just really makes you feel uneasy like something is behind you, following you with ill intent.
Burke: Yes, Christen Shaw is one of Seattle's best artists. I could write many songs inspired by her paintings.
Me: Talk about meaning, what's the deal with scissors? A lot of your die-hard fans get scissor tattoos on their bodies, am I right? I have a picture of one here I have to show.
Zach: Yeah it has become an icon synonymous with our band. It means different things to different people and I'm sure they all get asked if they are hair stylists.
Burke: What happens in scissor club stays in scissor club.
Me: So, are you guys working on any new music now? You're not gonna break up again, right?
Zach: Yes, we are all doing some pretty amazing things right now, Jonah's fronting a band called Trash Fire, Burke and his wife are working on her solo stuff and a new project called The Gossip Choir and Leif and I are doing a band called Crooked Veils. Always working never sleeping, coffee, coffee coffee.
Burke: Always press record.
Me: I didn't ask, where did the name Vendetta Red come from? Who came up with the band name?
Zach: I thought those two words sounded really well together and it just kinda fell off my tongue way back in like '96.
Burke: More like Vendetta Shred.
Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. You ready? What remains undone that you've wanted to get done for years?
Zach: I've always wanted to reach more people through music and build a sustainable fan base with it. Still on the journey you know?
Burke: My glow in the dark Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings chess set.
Me: Thanks so much for being here, guys. Go ahead and plug your website and I wish you lots of luck. Please come back again.
Zach: Vendettared.com. Thank you so much.
Burke: Have a great day.
Ta-da. That's about it for this Christmas-filled entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and Zach and Burke from Vendetta Red. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Phile Alum and author Jim Korkis. Then on Monday the last entry of the year with singer Mark Lassiter. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. And have a safe Christmas, kids.