Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pheaturing Jeremy Croston

Hello, welcome back to the Phile. You had to do it, didn't you? You had to go see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles over the weekend, thus contributing to the Michael Bay production's $93.7 million worldwide take. Just one week after making Guardians of the Galaxy the all-time biggest opening weekend moneymaker for August and making Hollywood consider the possibility that putting a little effort into their films might pay off in the long run, you just had to tell it, "Nope, never mind. We're swallowing whatever bullshit you feel like feeding us." Well, guess what! You get what you deserve. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 is officially a go! I actually can't say anything, we went to see it as well... unfortunately.  According to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers may have finally cracked the code to human happiness. And it looks a little like this...

For any dullards out there who can't grasp the meaning behind that equation, it essentially boils down to this axiom, according to the study's lead author: happiness “doesn’t depend on how things are going. It depends on whether things are going better or worse than you had expected they would." Or, to put it into more practical terms: expect the worst, and the world will always meet your expectations. That's essentially what the Buddha said, isn't it?  A new study to be published in the upcoming issue of Perspectives on Politics shows that the average non-wealthy American citizen who is not a corporation or the head of a business-controlled interest group has a 'near-zero' influence on the actions of the government. So, there you have it, the situation's not quite so bleak as it seems. I don't have a problem with the government taking away my civil liberties. As long as they don't take away my right to ROCK!  Maryam Mirzakhani, a 37 year old, Iranian-born Stanford University professor has just become the first female winner of the highly prestigious Fields Medal since the mathematics prize was established 80 years ago. In a press release, Mirzakhani called the award "a great honor," and said she hopes it "encourages young female scientists and mathematicians." Don't tell your daughter how pretty she is, tell her how math she is! And when she acts confused by that statement, criticize her hair.  According to San Diego County records, one of the fastest-rising demographics in the methamphetamine-abuse community is the 50 and over group. "A lot of grandmas and grandpas are using meth and have been using for many, many years," according to a recovery center official. So, does this make hard candy a gateway drug?  Star Wars: Episode 7, which took a break from filming recently, after Harrison Ford selfishly decided to get surgery for his fractured leg will restart production this month. Unless someone else decides to be a jerk and hold up everyone while they receive emergency medical care. Hollywood actors can be so egocentric. What if the Star Wars movies are a dream that Harrison Ford's character had while he was in a coma in Regarding Henry?  Triplet pandas born in a Chinese zoo on July 29 are being referred to as a "new wonder of the world," due to the extreme rarity of such incidents in the species and how much people just goddamn love baby pandas. Check them out, they are so cute.

Welcome to the world, baby panda triplets! I guess one of you doesn't read the news. Haha.  Well, I don't know about where you are, but kids here in Central Florida have started going back to school yesterday, and some stores have really good back to school sales.

Did you see this?

A math teacher bought that t-shirt without reading. I should of saved that for a Mindphuck. She's really cute, I never had a math teacher like that. I did have a cute teacher once who never wore a bra. I sucked at math and one summer my parents hired her to come to our house and tutor me. Yep.  So, I mentioned we saw the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. I wasn't really impressed with the way the turtles looked.

So, for the last month through Summer I have been showing you different bikinis you can wear. Check this one out.

Duct tape has a variety of uses and has come a long way since its original use for sealing duct work and repairing household items. One fun use for duct tape is to make clothing and other craft projects. There are contests for duct-tape clothing items, such as the duct-tape prom contest sponsored by Duck Brand duct tape. You can make a duct-tape bikini in a few hours using approximately two rolls of duct tape.

This is an easy one. If you spot the Mindphuck email me at As you probably know on the Discovery Channel this week it is Shark Week. Here on the Phile we have a shark as well... a joke telling shark. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Feargal: What did one shark say to try to comfort a friend who had just gotten out of a relationship?

Me: I don't know, Feargal.

Feargal: It's okay, there are plenty of other birds in the sky.

Me: That's horrible.

Feargal: You like Star Wars, right?

Me: Um... yeah.

Feargal: Then what are the sharks favorite creatures from Star Wars?

Me: That's easy... Jawas.

Feargal: Very good. Here's one last one... what do yuppie sharks like to drink?

Me: I don't know.

Feargal: Jaw-va.

Me: That's really bad, Feargal. Anything else you have to say?

Feargal: Yeah. Remember to stay safe this Shark Week by not getting anywhere near angry NASCAR drivers. 'Bye.

Me: Feargal the Shark, everyone. That was so stupid.

There’s a “movie” trailer floating around the internet this week for something called Cool Cat Saves The Kids. It’s billed as “the first anti-bullying and kid gun safety movie.” It stars Vivica A. Fox, Erik Estrada, and a shrieking adult in a furry, orange cat costume. It appears to have been filmed in an abandoned apartment by people who have abandoned life on Earth. It's relevant to this review, so take a look at this screen shot of it.

Okay, now you’re filled with the weird pleasure and feeling of freedom that comes when you abandon your ideas about goodness and human competency and realize that everything is meaningless and the world is chaos and that you’ll die soon. It’s the perfect moment for you to almost enjoy the newly rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The story involves a mutagen. Bad corporate people want it in order to develop an antidote for poisons they plan to inflict on the population. (Best line: “Initiating the toxin release procedure!”) Shredder and the Foot Clan are involved. This is a job for the turtles.  But you don’t actually care about the story, and that is either because you are a child and the turtles take you to the land of make-believe where you, too, are a ninja with a rat for a father, or you are an adult between the ages of 20 and 35 for whom the the turtles were a part of childhood fantasy. No matter to which demographic you belong, the baseline pleasure you seek is here. There’s a frantic, somewhat confusing chase down the side of a mountain. It’s fun to look at. There’s big city building destruction, like the sort you find in a Transformers film. It's pretty exciting. And the turtles fall in line to utter various catchphrases and perform tasks appropriate to their character traits. Pizza. Cowabunga. Etcetera.  There is no greater meaning than that, and here it’s by design. This is a non-essential children’s film about anthropomorphic animals, where there is no other agenda than to jumpstart a dormant franchise and reestablish a global brand. No second meaning for adults. No complications. It meets the minimum requirements.  It could be more coherent. It could be funny. It could be smart. It’s none of those things. It could also become something else; it could evolve into a future product, one with characters that appeal to both children and non-nostalgic adults, a franchise that reaches beyond pre-teen desires for awesome, colorful, grape-flavored junk. But, really, has anyone been yearning for that to happen? As it exists, TMNT is competent, loud, confusing, cynical, fast and rough. But it's not damaged or sad. It's not a waking nightmare masquerading as socially responsible message-fun. And that means it's not Cool Cat. Nothing should ever be Cool Cat.

Lauren Bacall 
September 16th, 1924 — August 12th, 2014
You know how to succumb, don'tcha, Lauren? You just put your lids together and go.

Robin Williams 
July 21st, 1951 — August 11th, 2014
Dead People's Society.

Today's guest is the author of "Power Play: Ragnarok on Ice" the 32nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Jeremy Croston.

Me: Hey there, Jeremy! Welcome to the Phile, man. How have you been?

Jeremy: Not too bad, Jason! Waiting for football and hockey season to fire back up.

Me: In full disclosure you and I worked at Disney together quote a few years ago. You are in fact, the third person I have worked with at Disney who has written a book and who I interviewed here. Anyway, how long ago did we work together?

Jeremy: It has been so long, but we worked together from 2003 until 2006. Those were three awesome years, especially causing mayhem in The Forest.

Me: Yeah, the old Forest For Our Future venue at Innoventions... I was looking for a picture of both of us, Jeremy, and I couldn't find one. Do you have one?

Jeremy: I checked my pictures too and didn’t see one. Maybe one day since we don’t live too far away, we can remedy that.

Me: Yes, definitely. Do you remember Jeff Trelewicz? He is on the Phile often talking about football. I know you are a hockey fan, but are you a football fan as well?

Jeremy: How can one forget Jeff! I still remember the time he gave Tom Morrow the bird in Innoventions West!

Me: Haha. I remember that. Tom Morrow was the audio animatronic spokebot for Innoventions in Epcot. I think I have a picture of him here.

Me: Anyway, you are a football fan, right?

Jeremy: I am a huge football fan. Nothing beats a Sunday afternoon with a few cold ones and a good game on the TV.

Me: Who is your team? Mine are the Giants!

Jeremy: You’re not going to like me anymore, but I am an Eagles fan. Fly Eagles Fly!

Me: At least you didn't say Dolphins. Jeremy, where are you originally from?

Jeremy: The small town on Manchester, PA... which is about 30 minutes south of Harrisburg.

Me: I know where that is, my wife is from Camp Hill. Is that why the book is based in Pennsylvania?

Jeremy: Yeah, I wanted to pay homage to my hometown and what better way than to put it in a book.

Me: So, I take it you are a Philliess fan. Am I right?

Jeremy: When I do watch baseball, I will root for the Phillies. As you can guess my hockey team is the Flyers.

Me: That's what I meant, the Flyers. I isn't thinking about baseball. How long have you lived here in Florida?

Jeremy: Going on 14 years now. And I’m still not used to the heat!

Me: You don't live too far from me in Clermont, do you?

Jeremy: Nope, right down the street in Winter Garden. Hop on 50 and head west!

Me: Last time I saw you, you were a bachelor, and now you are married! Congrats. What does your wife think about your book, Jeremy? Did she read it?

Jeremy: She is currently reading it right now. It wasn’t necessarily her cup of tea, but now that she has started, she is hooked.

Me: Let's talk about your book "Power Play: Ragnarok On Ice". The book is about hockey and Norse mythology. I know you're a hockey fan like we just said, but are you a fan of Norse mythology as well?

Jeremy: That is right. I got hooked on it from a class at UCF.

Me: Have you always been a fan of mythology?

Jeremy: Yeah, I was introduced to Greek mythology early on and have expanded to others as I’ve gotten older.

Me: A lot of your characters in the book might seem familiar to comic book readers and movie goers... Sif, Thor and Loki. When you wrote the book did you imagine those characters being the same as in the movies?

Jeremy: It’s hard not to see the movie characters anyone someone says Thor, you know? But my characters are quite a bit different from their movie counterparts, especially Loki. His part in the story is one of my favorites.

Me: Are you a fan of the Thor movies, Jeremy?

Jeremy: Oh yeah, Marvel has done those movies justice. But in all honesty, the Captain America movies are my personal favorite.

Me: Did you hear in the comic books they are gonna make Thor a woman now. What do you think about that?

Jeremy: I think it is a cop-out. They want to have another strong female lead, which I am all for. But instead of putting their minds together and making a new awesome character, they “change” an established character. I foresee a lot of backlash on that.

Me: If they do this in the movies she's gonna be hot, right?

Jeremy: Do we even need to ask that question! Of course!

Me: Okay, so, when did you get the idea for the book, Jeremy?

Jeremy: A long time ago, in college. I wrote the story treatment up as a project in my creative writing class but never did anything with it. One day, my wife finds it in a storage box and tells me to write it. So I did.

Me: How long did it take you to write it?

Jeremy: It took about 2 months to write it and then another month to smooth out the edges.

Me: I read the first five chapters and could easily picture it as a comic book. Can you?

Jeremy: That would be amazing! To see your characters come to life in that medium would be the highest honor.

Me: Okay, so, some readers might not know who or what Ragnarok is, so, wanna explain?

Jeremy: Ragnarok is the end war in Norse Mythology, like the apocalypse. It is also known as the ‘Twilight of the Gods’ as most of the major deities die.

Me: In the book the main character is named Jack Skelton, which is similar to Jack Skellington, but you say he was named after a cartoon character in the book. What cartoon character?

Jeremy: You nailed it! The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite movies and I named Jack after Jack!

Me: This is the first book of a trilogy, right? Have you written the other two books yet?

Jeremy: I have not, but I have the outlines done. I have written a short story entitled "Hat Trick"(think book 1.5) that was just released. While the main characters are in Asgard doing their thing, "Hat Trick" takes place right here on Earth and follows an interesting character.

Me: Do you have other plans for you to write any other kinds of books?

Jeremy: I just finished a totally separate novel entitled ‘The Cactus Killer.’ It is about a werewolf named Victor Inglewood for can’t turn into a wolf. That one is more of a supernatural mystery novel. 

Me: So, who created the cover for "Power Play", Jeremy?

Jeremy: My friend Lena Alexa makes my covers.

Me: So, if they were gonna make a movie based on "Power Play", who would you want to play Jack?

Jeremy: My wife would go crazy with this pick, but I think it has to be Ryan Reynolds. He brings the wit and action that exemplifies Jack so well.

Me: The book is only available on Kindle right now, will you be publishing a regular book? You know, one that's not on a computer? Haha.

Jeremy:  That is right. Once it does well enough and my name gets out there to the masses I will introduce it into paper back.

Me: I think it's cool you have published a book, Jeremy. And for some reason I'm surprised tree's no cuss words in the book. I don't know why.

Jeremy: There are cuss words scattered throughout, plus some adult situations. Nothing graphic, more implied than anything.

Me: Is the book aimed at teenagers or younger kids?

Jeremy: Teenagers, maybe, but definitely not children. My target audience was probably 17 and older.

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics... ready? Is there only one soul mate for each person? That's a lame question.

Jeremy: Haha! Let me cop out and say that it is different for each person. I think everyone has someone out there who makes them incredibly happy.

Me: Jeremy, thanks for coming onto the Phile. Good luck with the success of your books, my friend. Please come back soon.

Jeremy: Thanks for having me, Jason. I follow the Phile regularly and really enjoyed being on this side for once! Maybe you can have me on for a hockey pick ‘em like you do Jeff with football?

Me: Maybe, but I don't follow hockey. Tell my readers where they can get your book from. Thanks again, and take care.


There you go, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jeremy Croston. Now, I mentioned Robin Williams with a blurb, but I feel I should say something more about him. Robin Williams was more than an actor. He was a ball of manic energy. Whether in a movie, on a television show or in person, he was willing to manipulate any part of his body or his voice to make you feel something. Early in his career, the feeling he wanted was always comedic in nature. Later on, he went for sadness and heartache. Eventually, he found that sweet spot that lived somewhere in the middle, that spot that felt like life: a mixed up mess of happiness, sadness, nostalgia, love, pain and unbridled joy. Now we’re all feeling all of that, as we fondly remember one of the most beloved actors ever to hit Hollywood. He was only 63. But goddamn did he crush those 63 years. He leaves behind 3 children, a wife, two ex-wives and a lifetime of incredible moments. Okay, the Phile will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum Britney Christian, so spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker.

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