Good morning, and welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you doing? Let's keep what happened between me and you and all my friends. Alright, I'm in a semi-good mood so let's start with a nice story about a cop who issued a touching surprise instead of a ticket to woman who was pulled over for speeding. Robin Sutherland was pulled over for speeding by Ashley Catatao, a five year veteran of the police department in Somerville, Massachusetts. Catatao had pulled her over for doing 40 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone. Sutherland was having a tough morning, since her 90 year old mother had recently been put into hospice care. The traffic stop added that extra bit of stress that can put anyone over the edge. While waiting for the officer to run her license and registration information, Robin began thinking about her mother, and other members of her family she'd recently lost. Her 107 year old mother-in-law, her father and an aunt have all died within the past year. It hit her all at once, and she broke down crying. When Catatao returned to the car to simply give her a warning, she was of course surprised to see how upset Sutherland had become. She explained the reason for her distress to the officer, who graciously listened and then let her off with the warning. Later that night, Sutherland received a bouquet of sympathy flowers for her mother being put into hospice, but she had no idea who could have sent them. The only people who knew about her mother's worsening condition were her husband and a friend who had been with her most of that day. Her husband then read the card, which was signed by the "officer who pulled you over this morning." Cue more tears! Here's what she wrote, "I'm very sorry to hear about your mother. I hope you find comfort in knowing she lived a long life and will continue to live on in your heart and in your memories. - Officer who pulled you over this morning." Officer Catatao is a new mother, and was impacted by the magnitude of life events hitting Sutherland all at once. Wow. If only every experience with a traffic stop and the police could be this good. She went well above and beyond the call of duty to find a way to make Sutherland's day a little brighter. Shoppers at a Walmart in North Las Vegas had an enraging shopping experience, and not just because they were at a Walmart in North Las Vegas. Some human, who is possibly racist but probably just ridiculously ignorant, hung clothes from the ceiling, which many saw as evocative of people hanging. Reporter Michael Burton took a picture and polled people on the street, asking them what they saw. One man saw, “four black items hanging from the ceiling as if they were four black people." A woman thought the display looked "a little like the Ku Klux Klan, black people hanging from the ceiling." Another person thought it was "mannequins of people hanging from the top of the roof.” The display has been taken down, but the Walmart people have yet to respond or apologize. Google will soon scan the content of your emails and serve up what it thinks is the perfect reply. Sort of like auto correct, except for entire sentences and paragraphs instead of words. The new feature, called Smart Reply, identifies emails that require a response and presents three options for replies. Smart Reply will roll out soon for people using Google's Inbox for Gmail app. The future of technology and automation has many looks: search and rescue robots that look like dongs, and robots that can walk around like giant dogs. Email is also going to receive some futuristic upgrades. Gmail has been trying to revolutionize email for some time. They recently released their "undo send" feature, which comes in handy when you drunkenly quit a job or a significant other. Perhaps the future of email is one in which you don't have to think about your replies. It sounds handy... laboring over the perfect thing to say to prospective employers and lovers is a tedious business. The only downside is how deep we fall into the rabbit hole. It could provide fun and festive ways to send rejection form letters when you have to RSVP for functions you dread attending. Only time will tell how much regular citizens choose to use such features. It could be a very practical tool, or it could produce results as hilarious as the Google searches that make us laugh when the search engine auto completes suggested queries. Or we'll have to add a signature that guarantees it is in fact us writing the email, just like Barack Obama signs his own posts. Thirteen year old Brandon Williams saved his classmate Jessica Pellegrino from choking on an apple with a little help from SpongeBob SquarePants. The students attend Barnes Intermediate School in Staten Island, NY. Brandon, who is autistic, sprang into action and knew to perform the Heimlich maneuver because he remembered seeing it in on an episode of SpongeBob. Let that be a lesson to any parents who expressly prohibit their kids from watching cartoons or sitting too close to the TV. Watching cartoons could one day help save a life. Brandon's dad gives him all the credit, "He picks up on things that most of us would miss, and files it all away in his head, and he can recall it all in an instant. That's how he knew instantly what to do. And we're glad he did. We're proud of him." The class held a party for Jessica and the man of the hour, Brandon. Some of the students and parents at the school think Brandon deserves a medal, but he disagrees. This is my favorite story of the week... A woman who gave her husband a beej in a mall in front of their kids had the weirdest defense. "What was I supposed to do, NOT get horny?!" That's basically the defense of a pregnant woman who gave her husband a B.J. at the Westfield London mall, while their two children, ages three and five, watched. According to "Metro UK," Akeela Ali and her husband Fahad Bilal told the court "It just happened," and that they "thought about stopping" when their children interrupted, but nah. Mrs. Ali told the judge that the hormones from her pregnancy made her super horny, so she went for it, even though she knew it was wrong to suck someone off in a public place. Basically something to the effect of, "If traumatizing my kids is wrong, I don't wanna be right." The judge banned the couple from coming back to London for two months, which is for the best. We don't need this lady anywhere near Santa's lap. A lot of magazines like to show you what celebrities look like without their make-up on so once in a while I like to do the same thing. You get some very interesting results, like this one...
Haha. Crazy, right? So, there's a new Peanuts movie out, and I was thinking I love the Peanuts and can't wait to see the movie. One of my favorite "Peanuts" comic strips is this one...
Charles Schulz's grammar was bad. One thing people that know me know is I don't like to break rules. I really don't, so it kills me what I see other people breaks rules. Such as this one...
She's hot though, so we'll let it pass. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York...
Top Phive Group Of People Who Went To See The Peanuts Movie
5. People who just want to get into the theater so they can hide out until the new Star Wars come sour in December.
4. The few dozen remaining Americans who still read daily-newspaper comic strips.
3. People who couldn't get into Spectre and hope to see a tuxedoed Charlie Brown take Lucy out with a snub-nosed pistol.
2. Psychiatrists, amazed at how Lucy can stay in business charging only 5 cents per session.
And the number one group of people that went to see The Peanuts Movie is...
1. Fans of the strip who've forgotten it's basically about a bunch of miserable, anxiety-ridden depressives.
Meet Wrinkles the Clown, the clown in Southwest Florida who will terrify you, your friends, or your children for just a few hundred bucks in cash. What a deal! Wrinkles looks like the stuff nightmares are made of, almost as scary as a clown that appears late night in a cemetery. He's now well known in the area for his antics and services, but before his creepiness became legendary, he just dressed like this for fun. "Ever since these kids put me on the Internet, my phone rings non-stop. It's ridiculous." That's right, Wrinkles was just walking around like that trying to drum up some new business before some kids put him on the Internet. Because as if walking around like that isn't terrifying enough, a cheap latex mask and a body suit aren't exactly the most comfortable things to wear in South Florida. And there's something else notable about Wrinkles: his thick Rhode Island accent, which is perhaps scarier than his mask. "I just want to have fun, and, you know, have a good time. Make a little extra money on the side, you know, have a little fun before I die." Wrinkles! Enough with all the jokes and antics! You're making us laugh so hard that we might die. "People pay me to go scare their friends, people pay me to go dance at their parties, you know, that kind of thing, bar mitzvahs and what not." Sure, every Jewish boy in Florida wants a terrifying clown at their bar mitzvah instead of celebrities. But Wrinkles receives lots of other entertainment requests too, mostly from freaky young women. "I’ve got women calling me all the time. Young ones, too, like weird goths with chains and stuff. I’ve had enough psycho women in my life already. That’s why I’m divorced. " Seriously Wrinkles, we already warned you about slaying us with too many comedy bits! No more jokes! As long as Wrinkles and his customers are having a good time, everybody wins. And clown masks still aren't as scary as the before pictures of contouring makeup.
Okay, a friend of the Phile has something to say about a mall I used to go to when I lived on Long Island and Christmas. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...
Good morning, humans... Happy Sunday, Phuckerz. So, it would seem that the owners of the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island (Southpark Malls and Simon Malls) have decided that "Traditional Christmas displays and Christmas trees in the mall may offend people and will be banned this year." To that I say... Merry Christmas. Fuck YOU! Annnnnnnd... I won't be spending a penny in that mall on my Christmas shopping OR on anything else... EVER again. Spread the word if this upsets you. I'm tired of this kind of bullshit and feel that as much money as possible should be taken from the pockets of the owners of this mall. SCREW Southpark Malls and Simon Malls... They are the owners. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to one and all... no matter what religion you are. No matter who or what you believe in, if anything at all. And if Christmas offends you... that's your choice. Just don't go ramming down my throat... you politically correct, reactionary, whiney little twats!
Okay, the 41st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
My good friend Jeff will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.
Today's pheatured guest is a keyboardist and member of the popular Canadian band The Dears whose new CD "Times Infinity Volume One" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Natalia Yanchak.
Me: Hello, welcome to the Phile. I am a big fan so I am thrilled you are here. How are you?
Natalia: Thanks for the invite. I am good.
Me: The Dears have changed members and musical styles over the years, Natalia. How would you compare how the band is now from when The Dears first started out?
Natalia: In 1995 you could distinctly hear the Britpop influences. I think over the years we have splintered off... far, far off... into our own musical genre. We are like a to-be-feared sect in today's musical climate.
Me: Who is currently in the band? We are Murray Lightburn, myself, Patrick Krief, Jeff Luciani, Roberto Arquilla.
Me: The band has been together for twenty years and have had quite a few releases out. I have all your albums, and just downloaded your latest "Times Infinity Volume One" from iTunes, and really like it. Who does most of the song writing in the band? Do you prefer to come up with lyrics or music first?
Natalia: Generally the music comes first.
Me: One of my favorite song you guys recorded is from the "A Gang of Losers" album, "You and I Are A Gang of Losers." Do you have a favorite song you have ever recorded?
Natalia: Hmmm... ever recorded? It always changes, I usually am drawn to b-sides, but lately I've been listening to songs from our first album, "End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story." I have always wanted to play more songs from that album live. I suggest your readers check it out, especially "Jazz Waltz No. 3 in b Flat." We were hacking through the jungle with machetes back then.
Me: Let's talk about the band name, Natalia. Where did it come from? And what kinda dears are you talking about? The expensive kind? The Expensives also sound like a good name for a band, doesn't it?
Natalia: What is an expensive dear?
Me: Never mind. You guys are from Quebec, Canada, so that means you probably speak French as well, am I right? Do you ever sing in French?
Natalia: We are bilingual to some extent. We've recorded French versions of some of our songs (most recently "Money Babies" from "Missiles"), but mostly there is that influence in our world view, that French is an inescapable part of our underlying culture.
Me: Everytime I interview a band or singer from Canada I have to ask if they are a fan of one of my favorite bands of all time, Barenaked Ladies. So, are you a fan of them?
Natalia: Well, in my youth (as in, when I was 14) I frigging LOVED them. Somewhere at my parent's house is a copy of their first self-released cassette that they used to sell at shows. Now, not so much.
Me: Awe. I should of said bonjour instead of hello earlier. How did you all meet before you started The Dears? Did you all know each other from school?
Natalia: No, we did not know each other from school. We all knew each other from the bars.
Me: Your band has been voted #3 most pretentious in Montreal, right? What did you think about that? And who was voted number one?
Natalia: I take pride in being in the top ten every year for the past several years. Of course, Arcade Fire was number one.
Me: I noticed you guys have a blog as well on your website. What kinda things do you put up on it? Do you all have turns writing?
Natalia: The blog on our website is an informal stream of ideas. When something occurs to one of us, we'll mention in. My personal blog (nataliayanchak.wordpress.com) is posted there automatically. I say all kind of stupid stuff that gets me in trouble on there.
Me: Haha. Same here. I saw you guys a few years ago on the Letterman show. Was that a fun experience for you? Did you meet anybody cool on that show?
Natalia: That was our second time on the show. We've done the rounds of most of those talk shows. The American shows keep the "talent" far apart from each other. Musicians are at the bottom of the totem pole. We've been guests on the same shows at Beyonce, Tracy Morgan, Ed Helms and tons of others and we never get to meet any of them. The British shows are more civil. They force us to mingle over there. When we did Jonathan Ross I was sandwiched between a billionaire and Martin Freeman (Tim from the U.K. "Office"). Awkward.
Me: Ha. Thanks so much for being on the Phile, guys. Go ahead and plug your website and I wish you continued success. Please let me know if you come to Orlando to play. Have you ever played here before? If you did, I cannot believe I missed you. Take care, and please come back soon.
Natalia: Orlando... yes, I believe we have been there once before. You missed us. We'd love to come back... its been years and our shows in Florida were really, really fun.
Me: Cool. And your website?
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and Natalia Yanchak. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum artist Al Abbazia. 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