Man, is that everything I thought of this year? Holy shit. Let's get this thing started...
Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday... this is the last entry of 2015, can you believe it? Let's take a moment to remember all the things in 2015 that we looked at on our phones. Okay, here's a story about Nicolas Cage. Nicolas Cage returned a rare dinosaur skull to Mongolia after learning it was illegally smuggled out of the country. Cage purchased the skull at a Beverly Hills auction in 2007, outbidding Leonardo DiCaprio with a winning price of $276,000. Apparently you're not an official mogul in Hollywood until you have that skull bling. It makes sense as a benchmark for success, since so many people are obsessed with dinosaurs when they're kids. The skull was from a Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton, fossils of which have only ever been discovered in Mongolia. The paleontologist responsible for smuggling the skeleton from Mongolia was arrested in 2012, after which he helped authorities track down several fossils he had sold illegally. The auction gallery in Beverly Hills purchased the skull from the black market paleontologist, though the details of how it was smuggled from Mongolia to California are still unclear. It may have been flown out on a giant plane full of convicts, then driven through Los Angeles in a stolen sports car. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is still the hands-down front-runner for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America, but she's also the two-time champion of Internet pandering for the week of December 20-26, 2015, thanks to missteps that resulted in the hashtags #NotMyAbuela and more recently, #NewHillaryLogo. It all began with when the official @HillaryClinton account tweeted out this innocuous message of warm wishes for families celebrating Kwanzaa...
Whether this was well-intentioned or not (some commenters pointed out that her Twitter image changed in similar fashion for Christmas, Ramadan and Hanukkah), it fed into a perception of the candidate (and Democratic politicians in general) as being ham-handed in her efforts to relate to minority groups. Can anything rescue Hillary from this? Of course. Donald Trump. A new 50-minute investigatory report on sports doping from Al Jazeera America, "The Dark Side," released on Dec. 26, is tearing its way through the Internet. The report shines a light on the world of performance-enhancing drugs in a way not seen since Alex Rodriguez and 13 other MLB stars were suspended in 2013 for getting hormones from the Biogenesis clinic in Miami. This new investigation spent months following British track athlete Liam Collins as he travels from the Caribbean to Vancouver to Indiana, telling doctors he wants one last chance at the Olympics in 2016... all while secretly recording his interactions. The journey includes an arrogant Vancouver pharmacist, Chad Robertson, who claims he could get "fucking, a Russian tank through the border if I wanted" and that he could take "a guy with average genetics and make him world champion." As amusing as Robertson is, the star of the report is a less-bombastic but more bean-spilling pharmacist in Austin, Texas named Charlie Sly. Sly, who worked with the Indianapolis-based anti-aging Guyer Institute, is the source of the most explosive allegations uncovered. In particular, he claims that after his neck surgery that took him out of the 2011 season, Peyton Manning extensively used human growth hormones ordered under the name of his wife, Ashley, to speed up his recovery. Sly's name-dropping tic also implicates Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies, Green Bay Packers players Mike Neal, Julius Peppers and especially Clay Matthews, Pittsburgh Steelers lineman James Harrison, and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals. The response from Manning has been swift... although no one has denied that Ashley Manning did receive growth hormone shipments from the Guyer Institute. That was a private medical matter, spokespersons for the Mannings, the Colts and the Broncos have insisted. Whether professional sports leagues should allow athletes to use HGH to recover from injuries... something the drug has shown great promise for... is a topic worth discussing, but if true, Manning's use in 2011 would have certainly been against the rules. Furthermore, Al Jazeera did verify that Sly worked at the Guyer Institute during the same period. Also, since the NFL banned human growth hormone in 1991 but only started testing for it in 2014, it's hard to see how anyone could have detected Manning's use on this timeline. Charlie Sly has also issued his own rebuttal, although it's received less than stellar reviews. Happy 2016, everyone. Sorry it's not going to be any more uplifting than 2015. Hey, here's a story that happened that I witnessed in real life... When you want to tell a man that he's going to be a dad, maybe you shouldn't pick Darth Vader to help deliver the message. That is, after all, the man who cut off his own son's hand; he's not exactly making the cover of "Outer Rim Parenting" magazine. Still, Star Wars and Disney super-fan Bryan Starr seemed overwhelmed with joy when his wife Taylor told him the news, despite the fact that a windpipe-crushing villain loomed over them, arms crossed in disapproval or maybe boredom. Hopefully, their future child will live a life untouched by the dark side, and will only view Star Wars in the Machete Order.
If you don't know what the Machete Order is check out nomachetejuggling.com/2011/11/11/the-star-wars-saga-suggested-viewing-order/. But finish this entry first. Paul Terry, 26, was picked up by police this weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma and charged with armed robbery after the victim of the home invasion described Terry's hilariously identifiable tattoos... devil horns, a Nazi SS symbol, a lipstick kiss and "Fuck Cops" scrawled where his eyebrows should be. Almost as impressive as his absolutely terrible face in this mugshot is his serene expression, which seems to say "Yes, I've finally found where I belong... in jail, forever." Terry was arrested along with his accomplice, Sonja Moro. She is probably also going to prison, but at least she's not all over the Internet after deciding to turn her face into a billboard saying "Arrest Me." Bail for Moro has been set at $50,000, but $100,000 for Terry, who (big surprise) has a prior felony conviction. Wanna see his stupid face?
Nice face, asshole. By now I am sure you saw the Star Wars film and know Luke is only in it for a few seconds at the end... but in reality as I have been telling you he's in it in spirit more than you think.
It's the same thing! Haha. I love BB-8, but did you know he was in another movie before Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Check out this proof...
That's a Mindphuck. Haha. Did you know Kylo Ren was also in another movie?
Hey, this just in... Hillary has a new campaign logo.
Yolo. Ha! Bernie Sanders has a new campaign poster while we are on this subject...
Love it! I don't know what he is trying to say though. A few of you emailed me after yesterday asking why I didn't mention Steve Harvey accidentally announcing Miss Colombia as the winner instead of Miss Philippines. It was an extremely awkward moment, and of course resulted in an endless stream of jokes and responses on social media, and I have only so much time and stories to tell. But I thought it was weird that before Miss Columbia was crowned somebody else was.
Weird, right? In 2015 there was so many crazy stories. I was gonan go over them but instead thought it'll be easier to just show you this...
This tall, firm drink of water looks like a penis in a glass, but it's an illusion caused by the woman's arm and hair. Unless her upper arm is actually a penis. Ha. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is another...
Top Phive Least Popular Google Searches Of 2015
5. Chipolte gift cards.
4. DIY Lasik surgery.
3. Gluten-free goldfish care.
2. Upcoming George Pataki campaign events.
And the number one least popular Google search for 2015 was...
1. Peverett Phile.
If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. And as I mentioned yesterday all throughout January I want to show Mindphuck pics that you, my dear readers, sent in. So, email them to email@example.com with the subject line Mindphuck 2016 and I will pick out the best ones. Thursday it's New Years Eve and I wish I can be in Times Square to celebrate. It's on my bucket list. Well, a friend of the Phile can easily go there so I wonder if he will. He's a patriot, singer and renaissance man. You know what time it is. Laird, are you going to Times Square for New Years?
Hmmmmmm... let's see... drive in early... find parking... get to Times Square before noon... get corralled in like cattle behind barricades for 12 hours without a chance to leave and come back... stand in piss for hours with drunken tourists elbowing us to get a selfie. All so we can watch the ball drop and fight traffic afterwards? I think I'll pass.
Look what he'll be missing! Happy New Year, Laird. I'll see you back here for the Phile's 10th anniversary entry on Janiary 8th. Okay, it's Monday, the Giants lost yesterday and are out of the playoffs so I don't wanna really talk football but I will. Jeff?
Me: Jeff, welcome, so how was your Christmas?
Jeff: My Christmas was all right. It's hard to be in the Christmas spirit for me, but I'm trying.
Me: I totally know how you feel. Did you get any cool presents at least?
Jeff: My big present which I got several months ago was a Playstation 3 that my brother was selling. The only gaming system I had was a Wii so it was nice to jump into a better system.
Me: Cool. Jeff, this is the last entry for 2015. Any highlights this year? Whatcha looking forward to in 2016?
Jeff: Highlights of 2015 for me? LOL. Few and far between. My trip to Phoenix in June stands out in my head. So does my 20th high school reunion last month. And getting a chance to reconnect with two old friends. And of course my three book releases! If anything I'm looking forward to hopefully finding a full time job and re-starting my life which has slightly been on hold lately.
Me: Alright, so, what's the latest in NFL news?
Jeff: The biggest news is the Panthers finally lost. They were 14-0 but the Falcons beat them yesterday. A report came out that while Peyton Manning was injured he received HGH. Manning has come out and said this is not true at all. Other news is about which teams were officially eliminated from the playoffs.
Me: I was gonna ask you if you knew about the Peyton story as I mentioned it in my monologue. So, I was ahead by one point... How did we do?
Jeff: I went back and re-read my last email to you. We are tied as far as points go, but you have the tie breaker for having more wins going into this week. Both our teams lost this week so we didn't earn double points for that. You went 0-2 and I went 1-1 with the Colts win. So with that I take the lead. However, I'm going to attempt to go back and recheck the scores because my stats don't seem to be complete. I will keep you posted.
Me: Okay, you're fired! Just kidding. The Giants are outta the playoffs, so I'm screwed, right?
Jeff: I'm sorry to tell you with the Redskins win and the Giants loss, yes your team is officially out of the playoffs. And the Steelers are barely hanging on.
Me: That fucking sucks. Let's pick for next week... I say Colts by 5 and Packers by 6. What do you say?
Jeff: Houston by 4, Jets by 2.
Me: Okay, so the next entry will be on January 8th which is the 10th anniversary entry. We'll pick football picks then and if you want to say something nice about the Phile (and me) that'll be cool.
Jeff: That sounds like a plan to me. See you in the new year!
Me: Alright, see you here back for the anniversary entry!
Champagne is a white sparkling wine named after the specific region of the liquor store to which people gravitate on December 31st.
Okay, today's pheatured guests are the duo that make up the cool rock band Sit Kitty Sit whose CD "Everlasting Fire" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Kat Downs and Mike Thompson.
Me: Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile. How are you both?
Kat: Great, thank you!
Mike: Doing well, thanks.
Me: Okay, I am gonna come right and say it, your duo is very original... a piano and drums. So, whose idea was it to have that combination?
Kat: I guess that would be me. Originally I asked Mike to play only one song with me for a recording, which of course went incredible. After that I was looking at my library and I realized that a lot of my writing would work well in a double-percussion format. So I asked him if he wanted to experiment.
Mike: And the rest is history.
Me: Do you know any other band that just has drums and piano?
Kat: Only the Dresden Dolls, and I didn't even know about them until after Sit Kitty Sit was already up and running. Another band mate of mine in another project told me about them and since then I have, of course, fallen in love with them. But while the instrumentation is the same, their music is much much much different from ours.
Me: Kat, you play piano and sing in Sit Kitty Sit. How long have you been playing piano?
Kat: I started taking lessons when I was 6 because my mom couldn't keep me off of her piano. Ha ha!
Me: Did you always know you wanted to be in a band and be a musician?
Kat: I genuinely don't think it's a choice when you're an artist. You're sort of born that way. Music is all I've ever done. It's what naturally comes out of me. I don't write music because I choose to, I write because I can't help it. Ha ha ha! Eventually I stopped fighting it, and that brought me here!
Me: You studied classical music am I right?
Kat: Oh, yes. From age 6 all the way through college.
Me: You kids have been described as the Dresden Dolls, who you mentioned, King Crimson and Fiona Apple... which is the only one I can compare you with. Are you fans of those acts?
Me: Who did you listen to growing up, Kat?
Kat: My home was pretty conservative, so I grew up listening to Beethoven, Wagner, Handel, basically a lot of classical music. I didn't start listening to anything even remotely like rock until high school.
Me: Mike, how long have you been playing drums?
Mike: I started beating on stuff at a very young age but started formal lessons at 10.
Me: You didn't study classical music, right? I am sure you are a more classic rock fan.
Mike: That is correct. I would definitely listen to classical music from time to time but I was mainly interested in rock.
Me: So, who is your favorite drummer, Mike?
Mike: Ha, impossible to answer. So many drummers have influenced me equally in so many ways it would be inaccurate to put one above all else.
Me: Alright, you two are based in San Francisco, but are you both originally from there?
Kat: No... I'm from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Go Packers!
Mike: I'm from Westerly, R.I. Go Patriots!
Me: Go Giants! Ha! How did you both end up in that part of California?
Kat: I came out here for work back in 2001.
Mike: I think I got here in 200... 6? I moved here from Santa Monica when my mom relocated jobs from Boston to Napa.
Me: So, where and how did you both meet?
Kat: We met through a mutual musician friend. I knew a bandmate of Mike's who asked me to come in and lay down some keyboard tracks on an EP they were recording. That was the day I talked to Mike the first time.
Me: I have to ask, are you two a couple? If so, how does that work?
Kat: No, we're not. We are a couple of nerds, though!
Mike: Indeed! Hot Music Nerds Playing Hard Piano Rock.
Me: That should of been the name of the band. So, Kat, with the band name, I take it you named the band. Where did the band name come from?
Kat: I didn't name it, actually. A friend of mine did. Before this band I always played keys standing up, but this music is too complex for that. So I had no idea that if you sat me down I'd start thrashing around like I do while I play. She was poking fun at how much I was moving, "Sit Kitty! Sit!" And there you have it.
Me: So, which one of you does the songwriting?
Kat: That would be me!
Me: Okay, let's talk about your latest album "Everlasting Fire." It's based on Dante's "Inferno," am I right?
Kat: Yes. The whole thing from beginning to end.
Me: So, are you a fan of that book?
Kat: Absolutely! I studied it in college, actually, which is when I first got the idea of basing an album on it. But I was no where near having the chops necessary to pull it off back then.
Me: Whose idea was it to base the whole album on the book?
Kat: Still me. Originally we were discussing the seven deadly sins, but the only reason I was even interested in that was because of the Inferno, so then I thought, "why not just go to the source? Let's do the whole thing."
Me: Was it easy to write all the songs for it, Kat?
Kat: Some of them yes, some of them no. "Roots" was born in about 15 minutes. "Ditch" in about 30. But "The Pulse" took almost a year. The lyrics did not want to come out. Neither did the piano solo. I really struggled with that one. Which is also why I am so proud that it turned out so fantastic. I feel like I really earned that one.
Me: This past year you kids toured Europe. Where did you go?
Kat: We did the Netherlands, Germany, France and England.
Me: Was it a fun trip?
Kat: Yes... and a fantastic learning experience.
Mike: Agreed. Can't wait to do it again!
Me: I have to ask, how do you compare American audiences with European ones?
Kat: I have to say it was comforting that they are quite similar. Despite the language barrier, and the different backgrounds people are just really hungry for good music. We met a lot of amazing people and made some fantastic new fans!
Me: I have to ask you about the tattoos you kids have... Kat, are those moths or butterflies? I have a better pic of them here...
Kat: So far, they are all butterflies.
Me: Are you a butterfly fan? That's a stupid question I am sure. Haha.
Kat: Haha... I am, but it's more the symbolism of them that initially drew me. They represent rebirth!
Me: Mike, that's a big ass scorpion on your arm. Is there a story about that tattoo?
Mike: I am what you'd call a "Triple Scorpio" in Astrology terms. Look it up, it's fun.
Me: Mike, a lot of musicians I have interviewed here on the Phile went to Berklee. You went there, right? What did you study?
Mike: I studied Performance Techniques & Music Business.
Me: Was it a good experience?
Mike: The best. Loved it there. Met so many amazing people and musicians from around the world who in turn helped me to be the the musician I am today.
Me: Kat, where did you study?
Kat: At a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin called St. Norbert College. I majored in music.
Me: So, what's next for you kids next year? Are you working on a new album?
Kat: We are going to be touring A LOT. Which makes it more difficult for me to write. So most likely we'll be looking at releasing either a few singles, or an EP.
Me: Will you come back on the Phile when it's out?
Mike: With pleasure..
Me: Okay, go ahead and mention your website and everything. Please come back again next year.
Kat: Find everything in the world at sitkittysit.com and please add us to your playlists on Spotify!
Me: All the best, and continued success, you two.
That about does it for this entry. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim, Jeff Trelewicz and Kat and Mike from Sit Kitty Sit. Well, that's it for this year. The Phile will be back on January 8th with the 10th Anniversary Special. It should be fun. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a safe and Happy New Year! See you in 2016.
Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker