Monday, August 24, 2015

Pheaturing Maggie Björklund

Hey there, kids. Welcome to the Phile on a bloody rainy Monday. It's raining here in Florida and in California there's wild fires. Let's ask Native Americans to set aside their petty dislike of the white man to save California's forests with a rain dance.  I like this Foo Fighter guys, do you? The Foo Fighters performed a perfect 2-minute set at a Westboro Baptist Chuch rally. The Westboro Baptist Church, a super racist, homophobic hate group with terrible Yelp reviews protested outside of a Foo Fighters show in Kansas City Friday night, because they think the Fighters and their universally-beloved, Grammy-approved alt rock is a threat to America or something. Dave Grohl and his warriors of foo weren't going to stand for it, though. They fought hatred the only way they knew how: with 80s dance pop. They drove by in a pick-up truck and blasted Rick Astley's 1987 opus, "Never Gonna Give You Up" in a beautiful act of Rickrolling. The Foo Fighters are winning everyone's hearts with their summer full of public stunts. Looks, like I've got a confession to make... DAMMIT, STOP IT, DAVE GROHL!  Sam, hey, this story is for you... Jimmy Fallon's last injury went so viral, he hurt himself again. Thankfully, he's fine, and it's not as gross as the finger thing. Remember earlier this summer, when Jimmy Fallon explained in excruciating detail how he almost lost his finger when he tripped and caught his wedding ring on a counter? Now Fallon is at it (getting injured) again with a chipped tooth. He posted an Instagram photo from a dentist's chair and wrote, "Chipped front tooth trying to open tube of scar tissue repair gel for recovering finger injury. Thank you Dr. Jobe DDS! #BestSummerEver Brand new Tonight Show tonight." Poor Jimmy! Can this guy catch a break? Or is falling down just the latest social media power move in the late night wars  Apple's iPhone recall may at least partially explain your terrible photos. Your blurry photos aren't your fault, maybe! Do you have an iPhone 6 Plus? Did you buy it between the September 2014 and January 2015? Then your out-of-focus photos might not be all your fault! Apple announced that there is a defect with the front camera and they will be fixing it free of charge at any authorized retailer. You can enter your phone's serial number here to check if your phone is from the faulty batch, or if you're just not good at iPhone photography. Fingers crossed that it's Apple's mistake, and not due to your inability to focus long enough to take a picture! By the way, I don't have that problem... I am still using my iPhone 4s with the original operating system. Ha!  Here's a crazy story... FBI lets terrorist build a death ray, and arrested him right as he installed the final component. Disgruntled white men taking their anger out on society with big guns is nothing new in American society, but very rarely do those big guns merit the charge of conspiring to build WMD. Glendon Scott Crawford, a 51 year old KKK member from Galway, New York, was convicted on Friday on charges of distributing information with respect to a weapon of mass destruction, use of weapon of mass destruction, and trying to build and use a radiological dispersal device. Specifically, an X-ray weapon he described as "Hiroshima on a light switch," which he hoped to point at mosques and the White House. If this guy had only been Iraq in 2003, he could have justified the whole war. He is the first person to ever be convicted of this. A few years ago, Crawford and his accomplice... 56 year old Eric J. Feight (since convicted of providing material support to terrorists) approached the Israeli Embassy, the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, and the Congregation Gates of Heaven in Schenectady to ask them if they would help him buy an industrial-grade X-ray device for the purposes of killing "enemies of Israel." These groups politely declined his offer and reported him to the FBI. By April 2012, the FBI had dispatched undercover agents who were secretly recording conversations with Crawford about his plans, which seemed sparked by his conviction that Obama had directed immigration authorities to bring in Muslims to carry out terrorist attacks. Naturally, his response was to plan his own terror attacks. In August 2012, Crawford then traveled to South Carolina to seek funding from Chris Baker, a KKK Imperial Wizard who also turned out to be cooperating with the FBI. But here's the weird part, and it factored into his defense attorney's arguments: the FBI was heavily involved in helping him build this device. A device assistant U.S. attorney Rick Belliss called "very real, very viable and very deadly." Crawford and his accomplice Feight both worked for General Electric, but when they became frustrated with the slow pace of their progress, undercover FBI agents apparently helped them acquire the necessary parts and even test a device to remotely activate the X-ray weapon, which would be stored in the back of a truck. When Crawford and Feight showed up to acquire the final component of their weapon, they were arrested by the FBI. The involvement of FBI agents have led Crawford's attorneys to argue that while he may indeed be guilty of disseminating information about WMDs, the government's involvement in this case is tantamount to entrapment. While I do hope this guy is convicted, it does raise the question: are X-ray WMDs real, and if so, why is the government helping terrorists almost build them?  A guy was arrested for insane behavior on the way to his 40th reunion probably didn't get laid much in high school. Marc Rehmar was apparently running late for his 40th high school reunion, so when he saw the plane begin to push away from the gate at the Denver International Airport, he busted through an emergency exit and ran toward the moving aircraft. Because life is not a romantic comedy, he didn't get to board his flight. Instead, he was arrested and charged with a felony count of endangering public transportation, along with a misdemeanor count of hindering transportation. That sounds like being charged twice for the same thing, but who am I to question the law? Either way, this reunion story is so darkly funny it belongs on an episode of "Louie." It's too bad he wasn't able to finally tell the girl from Honors Bio that he loved her, or whatever made him act so bonkers. Marc is out on $10,000 bond, so hopefully he can see what he missed at the reunion on Facebook.  This is a story for all you Harry Potter fans. J.K. Rowling commented on Harry Potter fan theory which is magical for nerds. J.K. Rowling has Harry Potter enthusiasts shooting celebratory sparks from their wands since she commented on a theory that Dumbledore might be death from "The Tale of the Three Brothers." The theory contends that Voldemort, Snape and Harry are the three brothers, with Dumbledore representing death. She didn't confirm it, instead calling it a "beautiful theory" that "fits" within the story. So now we will leave it to devout fans to scour the books and debate their findings in forums. Dumbledore did once tell Voldemort that "Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness." One thing we know to be certain about Dumbledore is that J.K. Rowling confirmed in 2007 that he was gay, so if he's also death, this guy had a very complex and nuanced life.  Speaking of Harry Potter, did you know there's a new book coming out? Here it is...

I bet it's a good one.  The other day I saw this picture...

And I wondered what does it remind me of. Then it hit me...

It's obvious, right? Hahahaha.  So, this whole Subway Jared Fogle mess. There's word that Subway knew what he was doing, and Subway ad kinda proves it.

Okay, that's dumb.  Remember when you'd go to summer camp as a kid and they'd make you write a letter home, so your parents would know that you're not dead? Well, for the rest of summer I am gonna show you some real letters kids wrote.

Awe. Nice kid. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things You Know You're Really 70 When... Vince McMahon Edition
5. You've managed to outlive practically every aging wrestler except that damn Hogan.
4. You've changed your entrance music to the theme song from "Matlock."
3. After you finally have a decent bowel movement, you wish it had been a Pay-Per-View event.
2. You think for a moment that your brand of mindless, raging buffoonery might not befit a man if your age... but then you come to your senses.
And the numb rome thing you know you're really 70 is...
1. Tomorrow you have a meeting with the undertaker (not the wrestler).

This is a semi-hard one. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, on Friday's entry I mentioned that Yvonne Craig who was Batgirl in he 60s "Batman" TV show has passed away. She was my first TV crush so I thought for fun I'd look for pictures of her. And then I discovered this...

You're welcome, gentlemen.

Ken Burns
Ken Burns is what happens when a powerpoint gets funding from the Kellogg Foundation and viewers like you.

The 39th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Suzi will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest is a singer and slide pedal musician whose latest CD on Bloodshot is "Shaken" and it is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Maggie Björklund.

Me: Hello, Maggie, how are you? Welcome to the Phile. 

Maggie: Hi and thanks for your interest in my music.

Me: Judging by your last name, I take it you are not American. Where are you from, Maggie?

Maggie: I am from Denmark. Born and bred.

Me: How do you say hello in Danish?

Maggie: Goddag, or hej.

Me: Okay, goddag. Do you still live in Denmark?

Maggie: Yes, I still live just outside Copenhagen in the country side.

Me: Have you ever been to Legoland there? We have a Legoland here in Central Florida now.

Maggie: Yes, I have been there. It is a lot of fun, it is the kids dream come true.

Me: You have a place in Seattle as well. What made you decide to come to America and pick Seattle?

Maggie: I have some great friends in Seattle, thats why it is my base when I am in America.

Me: I have to ask you about the Danish pedal steel guitar that you play, Maggie. When did you first decide that was gonna be your instrument to play?

Maggie: I started out as a regular guitar player, but along the way I bought a pedal steel from a friend. My first attempt at playing it was not a success, it was too hard to for me at the time, but some years later I tried again and was able to get some good sounds out of it. Then I fell in love with the instrument and its vast universe.

Me: Barbara Mandrell was famous for playing the pedal steel, were you a fan of hers growing up?

Maggie: I didn't know her when I was growing up, I didn't discover her until I started on the steel myself. But now I am a huge fan.

Me: You have to be a fan of country music though, right? It's mostly country that uses the pedal steel.

Maggie: It's traditionally used in country music, but tradition is there to be broken. There are some amazing jazz pedal steel guys out there, and it really can be used for anything you want. Your imagination is the limit...

Me: Was it a hard instrument to play? Do you play in sitting down or standing up?

Maggie: It is a hard instrument to play, yes. It takes dedication to learn how to master it. You have to sit down at a pedal steel guitar, since you use both your feet and your knees to work the pedals and the levers.

Me: What's the difference between a Danish pedal steel and say, an American pedal steel?

Maggie: There is no such thing as a Danish pedal steel.

Me: Ohhh. Haha. You have a new album out called "Shaken," which I downloaded from iTunes. It's a very relaxing album to listen to, Maggie. Is this your second solo album?

Maggie: Yes, this is my first solo album. It was great fun to make, and I am very proud of it and grateful for all the people who contributed to the making of it.

Me: You are in a band called the Darleens, right? How does the Darleens music differ to your solo stuff?

Maggie: Darleens was my first professional band. It no longer exist. Darleens was far more traditional country than my solo stuff, but I wrote most of the material for that band too. And I didn't play steel guitar on the first two Darleens albums. On the third one I put some one.

Me: You have done a lot of session work, and played with a lot of people like Jack White. Do you prefer to do your own music, or do you still enjoy playing and guesting on other people's records?

Maggie: I always enjoy doing session work. It is fun to dig into other peoples music and learn how they think and feel. But nothing beats making your own music and being in charge of how the musical landscape is drawn.

Me: I have to ask you about one song on your album "Insekt." from your "Coming Home" CD. What is an "insekt"? Is that an insect?

Maggie: In Dutch, do you always change a 'c' with a 'k'? In Danish insect is spelled insekt. I liked to use the danish word for it, knowing that it could be understood in English too.

Me: Cool. I was right. Maggie, I know you have to go. Thanks so much for being on the Phile. I hope this was fun for you. Go ahead and mention your website and please come back when your next release comes out. All the best, Maggie.

Maggie: Thanks a lot! Yes my website is, I am on Facebook too. Best.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Maggie Björklund. The Phile will be back next Sunday with jazz musician Frank Carlberg. 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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