Hey there, it's Thursday, and another entry of the Phile. How are you doing? Let's start with a story about porn. Why not. Top U.S. intelligence officers have released a cache of documents recovered from Osama bin Laden's secret hideout in Pakistan, but they remain steadfast in their refusal share any of the vast quantities of pornography the al Qaeda leader had reportedly been hoarding. Total non-bro behavior, bros! Seriously uncool! Kids all over the world are suddenly obsessing over a game that supposedly summons a Mexican demon named Charlie to the realm of humanity. By stacking one pencil on top of another, a person theoretically pulls a spirit of unfathomable evil and power from its slumber in the spirit plane, so that it may tell you whether or not that cute boy in Geometry class wants to make out with you. A team of researchers is preparing to study the use of MDMA (the main ingredient in the drug commonly known as Ecstasy) for treating the social anxiety often associated with autism. I'll be interested in phase two of this study, where they pack 500 test cases into a black room with just a bunch of glow sticks for light and tell them to not freak out. A laboratory-created hamburger patty, which used to cost approximately $325K to produce, now only costs about $12. Luckily for you, researchers estimate that artificial meat burgers are still two or three decades away from being a viable commercial option, so you won't have to make good on all your promises to yourself for a while yet. A group of archeologists exhuming a Mesoamerican site near Mexico City have gained some insight into how cannibal tribes prepared the flesh of their human victims, and some of it sounds pretty tasty. By studying ancients bones, researchers were able to determine that often the cannibal chefs would grill the meat, causing "the meat juices [to] concentrate around the bone and diffuse into it slightly." Other times, they would boil it with chillies and other colorful ingredients, resulting in slightly more yellow bones. Is it true that kosher cannibals don't eat hamstrings? A little girl had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth II today. She executed her part perfectly, offering a bouquet of flowers and making a nice little curtsy. The Queen begins to depart and the little girl, 6 year old Maisie Gregory of Cardiff, lets her guard down... and immediately gets smacked in the face by a soldier pulling his hand up to salute. "Ow!" she can be heard saying, which... by the way, in case you are ever smacked in front of the Queen isn't the polite exclamation. It's "What's the fuck, man?!" Maisie's mom says the soldier immediately apologized and Maisie is okay. Okay, so, China exports a lot of stuff. Three of the biggest are clothes, electronics, and cautionary tales. And they're unmatched in all three. Chinese cautionary tales are the best, whether they involve funeral strippers, nonconsensual diving pigs, censorship anthems, or IKEA squatters. This latest tale only applies to men, but they should take heed of it carefully, because it concerns their greatest fear. Mr. Yu, a man from Guangdong, China, was hitching a ride on a taxi scooter when he had a fall that put Humpty Dumpty to shame. He was riding on the back of the scooter behind the driver and another passenger, and decided to occupy himself by watching porn on his phone. I guess he figured no one would be the wiser because no one was behind him. The problem was that he wasn't holding on to the motorcycle. He had his phone in one hand and his other hand was… occupied in another manner. So when the bike hit a small bump, Yu went flying. And when he landed, he broke his penis. Of course, the penis doesn't have any bones to break. But a sufficient trauma while it's erect can literally crush the spongy penile tissue, causing intense pain and deformation that can take years to heal. It's a hefty price to pay for getting your jollies off on the way to work. Now, Yu is suing the driver for $65,000. I'm not sure if he'd be able to convince a jury that it was the driver's fault, or get the jury to stop laughing, but it's worth a shot. What else is he going to do with his time? His penis is broken. So, pretty much every book is being turned into a movie nowadays. There's this book that came out many years ago... I don't know when, I don't have time to do the research, but there's this book that I'd love to see be made into a movie. Check it out...
Wouldn't that be a good movie? So, do you kids like chocolate? This has nothing to do with chocolate as such, but just the names. If you join some of the names you'll get some pretty strangely named chocolate bars. Check it out...
Man, that was a pretty lame set up to a pretty lame joke. A lot of you probably are fans of "Game of Thrones," I am sure. Did you know it was almost gonna be a Disney cartoon? No? Here's proof.
I have no idea who that is supposed to be, I have never seen the show. Speaking of TV, there's a new host on "The View." It's a giant squid!
That is so dumb. I don't think any of those women are on the show anymore. Okay, and now for some sad news...
March 9th, 1930 — June 11th, 2015
His jazz is getting much, MUCH cooler now.
January 8th, 1924 — June 11th, 2015
May 27th, 1922 — June 7th, 2015
Haha. That's gonna be me in a few years. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, before we continue I have to mention something personal. Once again a good friend of mine passed away. Wes Fereday was a friend from Epcot when I wa sin custodial. He was one of the nicest and funniest people I ever met. When he first met my dad in the 90s backstage at one of my dad shows the first thing he said to my dad was, "Do you know Aerosmith?" Anyway, wes passed from a heart attack last night. Wes, my friend, you will be missed.
Okay, I just read a story I have to comment on. Blogger and mother of three Abi Bechtel tweeted this image of a sign she saw at Target in Green, Ohio.
Here's how I imagine Target decided to put up the sign: "We have to distinguish the building sets from the girls' building sets. Building sets are for normal children (boys) who want to build buildings and vehicles. Girls' building sets are for girl children who want to build things for girls, like ponies and feelings. We can't get them mixed up, or else boys and girls might forget that they live in different worlds, or which one is better." To Target's credit, it's not like this is part of some sexist conspiracy. They're just doing what they have to do to sell toys. In an email to The Daily Dot, a spokesman explained that they tried removing the gender indicators as an experiment. “In those stores," she wrote, "our guest research showed us that guests preferred having a variety of indicators that can help inform and guide their shopping trip. Additionally, on Target.com, when guests shop for toys, they most often begin their search by sorting toys by brand, age and gender." So are the parents to blame? No, no one is to blame. But that doesn't mean we can't all help to fix it. And Target could make a small difference by taking down this sign, but they already said they won't. And that's fine. It's just a bummer. Recently, toy companies like GoldieBlox and LEGO have begun marketing building sets aimed specifically at girls. It's a noble effort to get more young girls interested in building, which can't hurt at a time when the fields of science and engineering are desperate to recruit more women. All the same, it's a little disconcerting that girls and boys can't enjoy the same blocks. There's nothing inherently male about a standard LEGO set. Even LEGO seems to have forgotten that, although they understood it back in the 70s, when they included this note in their sets...
Everything about this is awesome.
Today's guest is a Phile Alum and the author of the "Chasm Creek," the 37th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome back to the Phile... Patricia Cox.
Patricia: It is great to be back with you, thanks! I’ve been just wonderful, enjoying and appreciating life!
Me: It's been five years since you were here last, that's a long time. Have you been writing all the time, Patricia?
Patricia: Yes. I pretty much write or think about writing or read about writing or talk about writing. All the time.
Me: Last time you were here was for the book "Ramblings" which was a bunch of short stories and essays I think. How did that book do?
Patricia: You have a good memory. "Ramblings" was a great learning experience for me, giving me an opportunity to learn about Create Space and Kindle on Amazon. I’ve actually made the most sales to myself because I use it for promotional purposes (meaning I give it away to generate interest in my webpage and my other writing).
Me: Well, I said when you come out with your novel I will have you back on the Phile and now "Chasm Creek" is out, and you are here.
Patricia: And very happy about it, too. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk to your fan base about my novel and about writing.
Me: You're welcome. You're originally from Rhode Island but live in Arizona now, am I right?
Patricia: Yes, I was born and grew up in Rhode Island and lived there for the first 40 years of my life.
Me: When did you move to Arizona and what made you want to move?
Patricia: I moved to Arizona in 1990, unbelievably that is now almost 25 years ago. Since childhood I had been drawn to the wide open spaces and to the 1800s. I watched all the westerns on TV, but they did not influence me. It was more the other way around – I already loved the west, and watched the TV shows to get filled up with it. Later, I read a lot of books such as "Pride’s Castle," "Lonesome Dove," "Deadwood," etc. So when I was finally in a position where I could take the leap (son grown up, house equity high), I packed up and took off.
Me: "Chasm Creek" takes place in Arizona but not present day. When does the book take place?
Patricia: The book takes place in 1880, when Arizona was a territory. There are also references to incidents from the 1860s and 1870s, when events crucial to the plot took place.
Me: Okay, tell the readers what the book is about.
Patricia: "Chasm Creek" is a story about friendship, loss, family, revenge and finding peace with your past. The three main characters are Morgan Braddock who is wanted in New Mexico for a murder he doesn’t remember committing; his friend Ruben Santiago who is a Navajo, but kidnapped as a child and raised in a Spanish household in Mexico City; and Esther Corbin, mother of four, abandoned by her husband on a farm outside the mining town of Chasm Creek. When Braddock and Santiago approach her about running a business supplying horses to the army, she rents her farm to them and moves into town. Their friendship becomes the catalyst for a string of events (ghostly encounters, violent confrontations) that tear apart the illusions each has been living with. No longer living lies, each must find their own truth, their place where they belong. Not a genre western!
Me: Is Chasm Creek a real place?
Patricia: Chasm Creek’s location is inspired by a real place: the town of Cave Creek in Arizona. I learned that it had been a gold mining town in 1880, and I did a lot of research on mining camps and the general history of that time period. Then I constructed a town in my mind based on what I had learned.
Me: Arizona is a big part of your life now, isn't it? You wrote a book for the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum, am I right?
Patricia: Yes, I used to volunteer at that museum in the 1990s and wrote a Guide to the Exhibits for them which they sold at the gift shop for several years.
Me: So, what do you like about Arizona?
Patricia: I’m tempted to just stick in the link from the Phoenix newspaper for “30 Things to Love About Arizona,” but instead I will just say: The scenery, the climate, the people, and its history. This is my home, and I love it. My most thrilling review said that I may not have been born in Arizona, but I write like I was.
Me: Have you always been into the history of that state and the old west?
Patricia: I always enjoyed history but didn’t do a lot of research into the history of Arizona until I lived there. When you travel around the state as extensively as I have, you see so much of the past seeping through into the present, you just need to delve into it and learn more and more.
Me: So, are there any characters based on people you know, Patricia?
Patricia: Not really, although I would say that Esther is slightly inspired by my mother. She lived out in the country (although in very civilized Coventry R.I. in the 50s) with 4 children. My father only “abandoned” us daily to go to work, though, and came home every night. The personalities of the 4 kids are also somewhat based on myself and my siblings, although all of the incidents are completely fictitious. I just did that because there were 4 of them and that was an easy way to keep them straight in my mind.
Me: How long did it take you to write this novel?
Patricia: I must admit I wrote the very first draft in the 90s, but it’s not like I worked on it nonstop since then. I’d write a draft, put it away, pull it out a year (or several years) later, work on it some more, put it away. I finally buckled down and got serious just a few years ago and after a year of really in-depth revision, felt like it was finished. I pitched it to a publisher at a Western Writers of America conference in 2013 and they offered me a contract.
Me: So, I have to ask, if someone wanted to make a movie based on your book what would you say?
Patricia: After I was revived, I would probably say, “Show me the money!” I used to daydream about this a lot, at one point envisioning a Last of the Mohicans reunion, with Daniel Day Lewis, Russell Means and Madeline Stowe as the main characters. But Russell Means passed away a year or so ago. I would hope for Clint Eastwood or Kevin Costner as directors, and then I would just trust them to do it right. I love movies and would consider it the pinnacle of success to have my novel made into a movie.
Me: There's a YouTube video advertising the book... I love the song and music in it. Who is that singing?
Patricia: I’m so glad you asked that! I have been attending writing classes for years that are taught by James Sallis at Phoenix College. He is a world-renowned author of crime novels (including the novel “Drive” which was made into a great movie). He is also in a band, Three Legged Dog. They had recorded a version of an 1800s hymn, “When Death is Only a Dream,” with lyrics just perfect for my story, and they allowed me to use it on my book video. I just love it. They are a talented bunch of musicians, hauling about 30 instruments to each gig, playing a mix of gospel, country, Cajun, folk, blues... you name it. They have a webpage and you can download their recordings, including the one used in the video. Check them out at: three-legged-dog.org.
Me: Now this book is out, are you already writing or planning our next book? I’ve already finished my second book which is placed with MacGregor Literary Agency. I’m hopeful they will find a good home for it. It’s entitled “Hellgate” and takes place in 1879 in Prescott, Arizona which was the Territorial capital. I’m working on the third, “The Cabin Door.” It’s in its earliest stages. All I can say is it takes place in the past (1800s Arizona Territory) as well as the present. I’m not sure yet where it’s going. It’ll be fun to find out.
Me: I hope it comes out before five years is up. Do you write something at least once a day?
Patricia: I join you in that hope! And, no, I’ve never been that organized. I’m more of a “spurt” writer. But I am always thinking about the next scene so usually when I do sit down to write, it goes pretty well and for quite a while.
Me: I used to write short stories when I was a kid but I don't think I'll ever have them published. A lot of them I actually threw out believe it or not. How old were you when you started to write?
Patricia: I don’t remember ever not writing, but things that stand out in my memory are writing a novel as a 7th grade assignment, one chapter a week. It involved aliens but also gunfights. And I wrote a poem in the 8th grade that my mother carried around in her billfold for the rest of her life. It had been taken out so many times, the creases are coming apart. I have it now. I might frame it someday. I wish you hadn’t thrown out your stories!
Me: Same here. Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? This is a good one. What's the most important right a person has?
Patricia: The right to change their mind.
Me: Patricia, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Go ahead and tell the readers where they can get the book. All the best, and please come back again soon.
Patricia: If someone wants a signed copy of "Chasm Creek," or would like to read some of the reviews, they can go to my website: patriciagradycox.com, and of course it’s also available via Amazon as a paperback or a Kindle version. It will be available later this month at Books on the Square in Providence, R.I., where I’m doing a book signing on June 27th. Again, thank you very much for having me back. As before, it was a pleasure. Great questions and I hope you’ll have me back with the next book!
Me: Of course.
There, that does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Patricia Cox. Okay, the Phile will be on vacation for a two weeks but will return on June 29th. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let alligators and snakes bite you. Bye, love you, bye.
Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker