Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pheaturing Gary Conness

Hello, and welcome to the Phile for a Saturday, thanks for stopping by. I feel I don't thank you readers enough. So, thank you!  Let's start with a story about the President. Barack Obama yesterday said that he would be introducing a number of reforms to hinder the government's ability to electronically survey U.S. citizens... such as implementing a public advocate on the FISA court and not allowing the NSA to control metadata so you can all stop your complaining now and let those guys get back to combing through your Gmail. I like Obama, but let's face it, his Nobel Peace Prize is the equivalent of Crash winning the Best Picture Oscar.  A new Japanese study has revealed that babies sometimes cry without actually being upset in an effort to manipulate their parents into giving them what they want. The study did not reveal how many husbands have been using the same tactics.  Tired of seeing its markers for Mile 420 of I-70 stolen by marijuana enthusiasts, Colorado decided to replace them with special edition Mile 419.99 markers to apparently give collecting-obsessed nerds a chance to get involved. This is real, not a joke. Check it out.

A federal judge ended net neutrality by ruling that Internet service providers don't need to follow FCC non-discrimination rules, so your cable company will now be allowed to turn off the steady stream of Netflix, YouTube and other websites that keep you sane. Do you think they'll turn off the Phile?
Low-rent celebrities and sad people with nothing useful to do with their time are for some reason now fixating on a picture that actress Christina Ricci tweeted out months ago, and photographing themselves crammed into small-ish spaces. And thus #Riccing, the lamest Internet meme, was born. I have to show you the picture.

I was gonna try and do a Riccing but I'm too big. I have to find somewhere I can fit. But... if you take a Riccing picture email it to and I'll post it here on the Phile.  A group of old Korean people have staked their claim over a whole section of a McDonald's in Queens, New York, entering the store when it opens in the morning and not leaving until after dark, sometimes only sharing a single order of french fries. When ordered by the police to leave, they simply go around the corner and come right back in.  A new app called "Quit Your Job" will quit your job for you, so that the company you're working for won't even be sad to see you leave once they discover that you used an app to quit your job.  New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez accidentally... or perhaps on purpose for some reason handed Major League Baseball an exhaustive list of all the steroids he took over the years, while filing a lawsuit against the organization for having been suspended after getting caught taking an exhausting amount of steroids over the years.  According to a new study from Britain's Open University, married couples who do not have screaming naked maniacs running around their homes and trying to poop in the flower pot if you turn your head for one goddamned second were shown to be somewhat happier than their married friends who do.  So, you know there's a Miss Universe, Miss America and such, right? Well, there's a new one out now which I didn't know about.

So, a few week's ago at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World they held a parade for the University of Florida Knights who won the Fiesta Bowl, or something like that. Well, Mickey wasn't feeling it in the parade. Take a look.

Maybe he was feeling it. Haha.  Okay, I have to get something off my chest... Here's what we know so far: Justin Bieber is a prick. That was established long ago for lots of well-known reasons, but the latest one is that he's 20 years old and still pulling shit like egging his neighbor's house. What's almost as bad is that it appears he's not even smart enough to pull it off without being caught, because the Calabasas police raided Bieber's house. In the process, they arrested Justin's pal Lil Za for drug possession. And while you'd think that the police would have more important things to do (like pummeling Shia LaBeouf) than send eleven patrol cars to search the home of a suspected egg-thrower, the egg attack did cost an estimated 20 thousand dollars in damage making it a felony offense. That may sound like a lot to the non-gated community, but this is a gated community in Calabasas where kids probably ride bicycles worth twice that. Personally, I don't care if they wind up using helicopters, dogs and the world's best forensics team to put Bieber behind bars for one night. It's not like they're dealing with limited resources. They probably spend more on their annual Christmas party than most police departments do on salary. And even if egging a house isn't that big of a deal, Bieber has been thumbing his nose at the cops for months, so a serious run-in with authorities was bound to happen sooner or later. And better to have it happen over an egging incident than a few months from now after he's killed a dozen people while joy-riding his Bugatti around a roller skating rink. There. I said it. Alright, let's see who is pushing up daisies, shall we?

Dave Madden
Dec 17, 1931 - Jan 16, 2014
Played the manager of "The Partridge Family", then a diner patron on "Alice". We thought he was either a football guy or someone to do with women's shoes. Either way... somehow he's a celebrity. 

Russell Johnson
Nov 10, 1924 - Jan 16, 2014
And now we'll never know the answer to the question that only the Professor can answer. Ginger? Or Mary Ann?

If you spot the Mindphuck email me at Okay, before we move on I have to mention a few things. First of, on last Saturday's entry which was the 8th Anniversary entry I mentioned I saw Chris Pine who played Captain America at work. It was actually Chris Evan's I saw. I get those Chris's mixed up. Last week I mentioned that over at they are having an Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame and in the first week it's Styx versus Foghat.

Let's take a look and see who is winning.

Damn it! Styx is winning! You have until the poll closes tomorrow at 11:59 pm ET. So, go to and vote. A few minutes ago I mentioned Alex Rodriguez and I was wondering what a phriend of the Phile who is from New York thinks of him. He's a patriot and renaissance man... you know what time it is.

Just so I'm clear on this... A-Rod is filing suit against major league baseball and the players union because, and I quote, "I was treated unfairly and not protected under their structure." So... you knew P.E.D.'s were not legal for use... that you would be punished if caught... you took them anyway... lied about it when caught... suspended as laid out by due process... annnnnnnnd you feel you were done wrong? Ya know what? Fuck you, pal! You screwed up, end of story. Shut up... take your lumps... quit in a huff and take a job as a bouncer in Key West. In the words of the great Melvin Udall... "Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here."

It's 4:47 pm, 56°F and Kelly tweeted: "Didn't throw up once from pregnancy while walking my dogs #smallvictory #TMI #hashtag". That's great, Kelly, that's great.

Lucky fucking dog whatever his name is. Grrrr. Alright, it's time to talk football with my friend's Jeff and Lori.

Me: Jeff and Lori, welcome back to the Phile. First of, Jeff, thanks for being on the panel again for the 8th anniversary... It means a lot. Did you have fun?

Jeff: Of course It was my pleasure to be on the 8th anniversary of the Phile. I had a lot of fun asking you questions this time.

Me: Did you like the answers to my questions?

Jeff: Good answers to all the questions you got this time around.

Me: Lori, did you have a question for me?

Lori: Are you excited about coming to New Jersey for our wedding?

Me: Of course! It's gonna be a fun time. Okay, so, I know you, Lori, kicked my ass and beat you a bit, Jeff, how did we do last week?

Jeff: I went 2-0 in last week's games while you and Lori both went 0-2. Not that I have a chance to catch up, but that's fine. It just means we all have to do this again next year and see who the true champion will be. Lori is beating me by 11 points, which means I am officially eliminated from beating her. I am sorry to say you were eliminated too. A long time ago.

Me: In a galaxy far, far away. I sucked this year! So, there's two games this weekend so all three of us should just pick one game. I say the 49ers by 3. What do you say?

Lori: I'm picking Seattle by two points for the NFC championship game.

Jeff: I am going to go with the Denver by four points. 

Me: Okay, cool. Jeff, Laird just talked about A-Rod and I mentioned him in the monologue. I know you're a Red Sox fan so you gotta be laughing at this whole A-Rod deal. What do you think about it? 

Jeff: As far as the A Rod thing goes, there is a part of me that does want to laugh. But as I have always said, I am a fan of baseball first, not a fan of the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. Had to say it. And all these steroid allegations are a huge black eye on the sport, especially with a big name like A-Roid, I mean A-Rod. I would not like if he was on any other team. But like I said, there is a part of me that enjoys it thoroughly that a prominent New York Yankee is in the headlines for it. But it could just as easily been a Red Sox player. But it's not!

Me: Good point. Okay, there's not gonna be any entries next weekend as I'll be on vacation so I will see you in February. Good job, you guys.

Jeff: See you next month!

Today's pheatured guest is the author of "Employee Retention and the 21st Century Leader", the 30th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Gary Conness.

Me: Hey there, Gary, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Gary: Doing great. I've been very busy on several projects.

Me: Okay, I have to disclose this, you and I worked together years ago at Disney. When was that, Gary?

Gary: I started working at Epcot in July 1995. I remember you from day one. You helped me out a lot.

Me: I was looking for a photo of both of us together but I don't think I have one. You worked at Innoventions with me. What venues did you work at?

Gary: I was on what was called the Fly Team. Our job was to know all the exhibits, both the spiels and the information. So, I can say that I worked in every venue at Innoventions up to 1998.

Me: How long were you there, Gary?

Gary: I left there in 2000 and went over to the Norway Pavilion as the Coordinator of Training.

Me: Do you have any good stories about working with me you can share? Anything that stands out?

Gary: I especially liked listening to your Foghat stories.

Me: That's cool. You're originally from Wisconsin if I remember, am I right?

Gary: Close, I lived and got married to my lovely wife of 23 years there. I actually grew up in the East Bay Area of San Francisco area. I left there in in '87 after graduating.

Me: What made you move to Florida, Gary?

Gary: Too many vacations. Just in case you're not aware, Wisconsin full of great people and terrible weather. After vacationing in Florida a few times my wife and I decided to move to Florida.

Me: I remember you had like eight children. Haha. How many kids do you really have?

Gary: I have one beautiful daughter that is 21 years old. She's going to school to become a graphic designer.

Me: One daughter? I dunno why I thought you had a whole slew of kids. You left working with me and went to be a manager in foods, am I right? Working with food in restaurants is your background I think.

Gary: Yeah, I started with my mom when I was about eight with catering. Then I was a dish washer for a great corporation in high school. Food is in my blood.

Me: Me too, but for a different reason. I love to eat. Didn't you open your own restaurant? I should visit it. What is it called and where is it, Gary?

Gary: It WAS called Crescent's Coffee and Tea; named after my wife. It was very successful, but the hours took their toll on me. We were a coffee shop by day and an entertainment bar by night. Four bands actually got their start at Crescent's and many others played there.

Me: Man, I guess I waited too late. Will you open up another restaurant?

Gary: Not my own, but I'd run someone else's restaurant in an instant.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your book "Employee Retention and the 21st Century Leader" which is in the Phile's Book Club so you are sure to sell a few more copies. Haha. Anyway, what is a 21st century leader?

Gary: It's a new philosophy in leadership. Instead of bossing others around or looking for the worst in others and trying to fix those problems, you look for people's best points and use them to your advantage. I have weaknesses too and the last thing I want is my leader to harp on those. Instead I want him or her to see what I do great, give me a little praise, and utilize my strengths. I've raised the moral in many restaurants using this technique.

Me: What made you decide to write a book, Gary?

Gary: I know there are lots of leaders out there that have one of two problems; high turn over or they just don't know haw to motivate their staff. This book gives you the details on how to fix both problems at the same time.

Me: Was it a hard book to write and put together?

Gary: It was time consuming to start, but once I got the basic outline created I actually finished it in a couple of weeks.

Me: So, what kinda helpful hints are in the book?

Gary: The main idea of the book is to remember that we all are equals as humans, but we just have different jobs within our companies. If you can remember this, the Zagat ratings will start flowing your way in no time at all. I've worked at four myself.

Me: Who is the book aimed for?

Gary: Those who really want to stop being a manager and change into a leader. You see a manager gives out rules, but a leader people follow. Alexander the Great is one example. His men would die for him because he truly believed in his men.

Me: I have to mention the book cover... it is you and a bunch of Norweigans. Smart move. Do they know they are on a book cover?

Gary: I personally contacted all of them and asked for permission. My Norwegians mean a lot to me. This cover photo was taken on my last day working there at restaurant. I cried a lot that day, but also had a very special day full of memories that I will never forget.

Me: Did you send them all a copy? If they had a Kendal they all received a free copy.

Me: That was when you managed the restaurant at Epcot... I can't think of the name of it. I worked at Epcot for 23 years and I can't think of that restaurants name. Anyway, what made you choose that picture?

Gary: Restaurant Akershus.

Me: Yeah, that's it! Thanks.

Gary: It has so many great many great memories. As I mentioned before, this particular picture means so much to me.

Me: Did you have to get permission from Disney at all?

Gary: Not directly, but I did talk to all those mentioned in the book. This is not meant for just Disney leaders but for leaders everywhere. I've worked for for several chains in my lifetime.

Me: You are not at Epcot anymore, Gary, right? What made you leave?

Gary: I was sent to Cosmic Rays over at Magic Kingdom. At time my grandmother started living with us so I needed to spend more time with her, so I needed to quit. Now she lives near my mom in Wisconsin and is doing great.

Me: That's good. So, apart from writing a book, what else have you been up to? Where are you working now?

Gary: I started an internet brokerage company that is doing well. Also, I again work for Disney over at monorails which I love.

Me: Do you think you'll write another book, Gary?

Gary: I'm actually working on three books right now, but can't tell the details right now. The first one should be out in January and has nothing to do with leadership.

Me: What does your wife think of the book?

Gary: She likes it. She especially likes that writing keeps me busy.

Me: I just found out something else about you I didn't know about, you play bass and sing. How come we didn't talk about this before?

Gary: Not sure why not. I've never been in a band, but I have played with many bands. I especially just like to sit and jam for hours on end.

Me: What kinda music do you do, Gary?

Gary: My favorite is classic rock, but I can play most anything but good jazz.

Me: Were you in a band?

Gary: No.

Me: Did you release any music?

Gary: I've been in the background on YouTube a lot if that counts.

Me: Not really, but I did find this picture of you jamming...

Me: Gary, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Tell the readers where they can purchase the book.

Gary: Right now they can only purchase it for Kindles, but soon it will be available for all tablets on Just type in Gary Conness.

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you ready? What's the one thing you've done that you'd like to erase?

Gary: None really, life has treated me well. I've done well and I've lived in poverty and still had a bright outlook on life.

Me: You're a better person than I am then. Gary, thanks again. I hope this was fun. Go ahead and plug anything you want to, and take care. All the best.

Gary: Thanks again for the interview. Please look in January and later this years for my other books, they are all different styles. Viva la Phile.

Me: Viva la Phile. "Employee Retention and the 21st Century Leader" by Gary Conness is available right now.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim, Jeff Trelewicz, Lori Sedlacek, and of course Gary Conness. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer Aradia and then on Monday Lauren McCullough who has an amazing blog called The Not Dying Girl. Check it out at Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!

No comments: