Monday, August 31, 2015

Pheaturing Glenn Aitken

Hi there, good evening and welcome to the Phile for a Monday.  So, Ashley Madison brags about landing 80,000 new women who they pinky swear are not robots. First, hackers released private data about who was using website Ashley Madison for "discrete" dating, aka cheating. Then, we found out that Ashley Madison users were overwhelmingly men and robots. And now, Ashley Madison's parent company has released a statement about how chill everything is over at illicit robot affair headquarters. Avid Media is bragging that "hundreds of thousands" of new users have signed up even since the hack, and that 87,596 of them are women. Just ladies, ladies everywhere. Human ladies. And you know what's so sexy about them? How they're not bots.  How much would you love a Hawaiian vacation right now? What if that vacation lasted a whole year? And you spent it in a dome located in an abandoned quarry, locked inside with five other people? Sound good? Also, you have to put on a spacesuit to leave. That's the treat in store for six volunteers taking part in NASA's Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (or HI-SEAS) experiment. The experiment is meant to test the viability of a manned mission to Mars by simulating the experience of living in a Mars base right here on Earth. That means eating nothing but canned food, breathing nothing but canned air, and having nothing but canned conversations with the same five people for a full year. They won't even have full access to the Internet. The aim of HI-SEAS is to see if the "astronauts" will be able to get along, or if they'll try to murder each other and become sole despot of Mars. I give it three weeks.  Do you know who Rachel Bilson is? Well, she gave her baby a Disney princess name. But it's a weird one, because she's a celebrity. Actress Rachel Bilson and you-probably-forgot-he-was-her-husband Hayden Christensen named their baby Briar Rose. And Christensen told "Us Weekly" the reason: "There’s a Disney reference there I suppose. The original Sleeping Beauty is called Briar Rose. Rachel... we both love Disney... but Rachel especially was very keen on the name." Yeah, I suppose that is a reference when you give someone the exact same name as a character whom you love. I see the connection. But Briar Rose is kind of an obscure reference (at least it's not "Br'er Rose"... that would be a whole different news story). If they really wanted people to get the Disney aspect, they should have just gone with Sleeping Beauty Bilson-Christensen. Or Minnie Mouse.  Did you kids watch the VMAs last night? I kinda wish I did now. Miley Cyrus officially left nothing to our imaginations, she flashed her nipple on live TV. This "nip slip" was by far the most calculated moment of the Video Music Awards. It was more planned than the Taylor Swift/Nicki Minaj kiss-and-make-up sesh. It was much, much more orchestrated than Nicki Minaj throwing the B word in Miley's face. It was... inevitable. The Free the Nipple campaign is one of Miley Cyrus's pet projects, so of course she wore her button proudly last night. Her button is the nipple itself. What's there even to say about seeing Miley Cyrus's nipple? It's like when you haven't even seen a movie, but everyone around you has seen it and talks about it so much that you feel like you were there opening night. Miley Cyrus's nipple is the Citizen Kane of nipples: exactly what you expected. Here it is just in case you wanna see it.

Start writing those complaint emails now, people. Moving on...  Last night also at the VMAs, Kanye announced he's going to run for president in 2020. Just another reason why it's important for young people to watch TV. When West was presented the Video Vanguard award, he made an honest 12-minute speech about art, his reputation, millennials, and the future. And most shockingly of all, he criticized all brands. This was a rare moment in the show that didn't feel planned by our VMA overlords to stir up excitement (unlike Taylor lying that "College Dropout" was the first album she bought on iTunes).  Bryce Petty, the new quarterback for the New York Jets, made an offhand tweet about pizza and his fans went crazy. After leaning about Domino's new AnyWare system, which allows you to text Domino's a pizza emoji as a means of ordering pizza, he basically tweeted, "Whoa. That's cool." No big deal, right? Well, seeing as New York is the pizza capital of the world, and how as quarterback for the Jets it is Petty's duty to be unapologetically jingoistic about how amazing NY pizza is, his fans went off. Bryce was quick to realize what he had done, and issued an apology. He also made a joke about the whole "scandal," after seeing that it was posted about online. This has been Pizzagate 2015.  So, did you survive Hurricane Erika?

We will rebuild. Haha.  Did you see the new Bernie Sanders campaign poster?

Briliant!  There's a new movie Batman movie coming out. No, not that Batman movie... This Batman movie.

Mexican Batman. I bet it'll be good.  By the way, this is not me age I went to school...

It looks like me though, right? No, he's better looking.  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, the last few weeks I have been showing you actual letters kids wrote from summer camp. This is the last of the summer entries so I will show you one more letter.

That was brief, right? And now for some sad news.

Wes Craven 
August 2nd, 1939 — August 30th, 2015
He was born in Cleveland, which explains quite a bit.

Oliver Sacks 
July 9th, 1933 — August 30th, 2015
I'm racking my brain over here trying to think of something funny to say about this guy.

Wayne Dyer
May 10th, 1940 — August 29th, 2015
Looking for a funny obit? Help yourself.

If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, so back in November I think it was the Norway ride Maelstrom at Epcot closed down to make way for a Frozen ride. In the old ride there was a polar bear who kinda was glad he was free because what he really wanted to do was stand-up. So, various times I had him on the Phile here to tell some jokes and try out his material. He hasn't been here in awhile so I thought it was due time I had him back. So, please welcome to the Phile once again...

Me: Hey, Petter, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Petter: Hei, Jason, ikke veldig bra. Fortsatt prøver å gjøre mitt komedie.

Me: Ummmm... Petter, once again I don't understand Norwegian and I don't think my readers do either.

Petter: Unnskyld... I mean sorry.

Me: That's okay. So, do you have any jokes for us?

Petter: How does a polar bear stop a VCR?

Me: Haha, Polar bears still use VCRs? Ha. I don't know, Petter.

Petter: It just presses the "paws" button.

Me: Funny. That could of been used with any animal that has paws.

Petter: How do you keep a polar bear from charging?

Me: I don't know.

Petter: Insist that it pay cash!

Me: Petter, I hate to say it but these jokes are really bad.

Petter: What did the polar bear put on the sign when seals were very scarce?

Me: I don't know.

Petter: "Tourists Welcome!"

Me: Ugh. Petter, you have one more chance then we have to move on.

Petter: What do you call a dream in which polar bears are attacking you?

Me: A nightmare.

Petter: A bitemare!

Me: Petter, good try. Thanks for coming back. Come back real soon, okay. Good luck out there.

Petter: Takk, Jason. Bye, alle sammen.

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 very talented musician originally from New Zealand whose new album "Platform" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Glenn Aitken.

Me: Hello, Glenn, welcome to the Phile. First of, I have to say I am a really big fan after I downloaded your album "Platform" from iTunes. How are you, sir?

Glenn: Hi, Jason, great to be here! I am doing very well thanks and many thanks for becoming a believer in my music.

Me: You're originally from New Zealand, right, but live in London now. What made you decide to move?

Glenn: Yes indeed, I grew up in New Zealand and left the beautiful country for the world in 1995, I travelled throughout Asia... China, Malaysia, Bali, playing music in 5 star hotels 6 nights a week and ended up on a desert island in the Maldives for about 5 years! I was destined to be there forever until a chance meeting with my all-time musical influence offered me the chance of a lifetime... to come to London and pursue my musical dream.

Me: I am originally from London, but live in Florida. I was born in Balhem but lived in Putney near Wimbledon. Whereabout's do you live?

Glenn: I live just around the corner from Putney, in Fulham SW6.

Me: Cool!  Do people ever think you are Jason Statham when they see you? Haha!

Glenn: That's a common one actually... either that or Freddie Lumberg (I believe he's a footballer). Someone on Facebook recently posted a pic of me and R Kelly saying we looked alike. Hmmmm. Not really no.

Me: Yeah, he's black. Let me see if I can find a picture of Freddie Lumberg...

Me: Yeah, I can see that. By the way, his name is Ljungberg. I just watched the video you made for the song "Ordinary People" from your last album "Extraordinary Lives" and really liked it. Whose idea was to film it that way?

Glenn: Thanks! It was all my idea (he says humbly). I am also a photographer/videographer and I wanted to do something very difficult photographically... which was to shoot the whole video at a very slow shutter speed, and have me move at 300% of normal life... then when we sped it up to normal I was moving normal and everyone else is blurred and fast. It was REALLY hard! Playing that slow in –1 degree C (it was winter time) and walking is tough as you need gravity to move and when you have to walk without it... sore legs!

Me: Was that the first video you made? Was it fun, or boring?

Glenn: It wasn't the first video I have made, but the first that I starred in. I loved every minute of it, except perhaps when the police stopped us for filming at Heathrow...

Me: Where was it filmed and how did you get those people to move so fast while you moved slow? 

Glenn: We filmed in various locations around central London, anywhere there were crowds or action. I decided on Westminster as there was a demonstration, Covent Garden as its always jammed, and Heathrow because of the traffic and planes. As I mentioned, it was using a photographic trick... where I sung along to the track (slowed down 300%) and walked and moved like a zombie (funny in a crowd I tell you), and everyone else just was themselves. Because of the slow shutter speed (1/6 sec) when we sped it up they became blurred and I was more or less normal. I really wanted to make the effort, rather than shooting against some dumb green screen. Its not perfect, but I feel it suits the subject matter for the song.

Me: I have a screen shot of the video to show everybody. It really is cool.

Me: This pic does it no justice, but you are playing slow and the cars are whizzing by you. You have a really good band on your two albums, and it is produced nicely. Did you get to choose who you would work with?

Glenn: I was very lucky to work with John Ravenhall... a very big producer who has worked with Sting and Kylie and many others... he was in charge of the whole album project, and had some musicians he wanted to use, and we put them together with some of mine too, with the sole ambition of doing what was best for the song / album. I brought in my favourite sax player Greg Lyons... who played on Central Park in Fall, and my favourite bass player, Paul McCartney (winking smile) who played on "Ordinary People."  

Me: Do you have your own band? \

Glenn: Yes, I do, I have a fab 5 piece band and we are currently touring the U.K., doing select festivals and smaller venues. I am on vocals, acoustic, saxophones and Simon Small the guitarist also for Chicane and who has worked with Tom Jones and Rod Stewart on guitar, Wojtek Kroll... who has worked with Groove Armada and Maxfield on bass, Alex Paolillo on keyboards and Lee Aaron... U.K. young drummer of the year finalist on drums.

Me: Glenn, you traveled to some crazy places, places I would never want to go to. Do you like to travel?

Glenn: Yes, definitely... travel is the essence of life and I am always going somewhere! I got to see the most amazing places and people and experiences on my travels, and it gave me so much to write about for my albums.

Me: Tell the readers some of the places you've been to. Ever been to America?

Glenn: I have been throughout China on the trains, the whole way around. So much history, sadness,  poverty. I have flown completely around the equator to so many small and crazy countries like Oman and places in the Caribbean and South Pacific, some beautiful, some exotic, some tragic. I have been to America a couple of times... we recorded and mixed in Chicago... such a great city.

Me: What about touring over here? Would there be anyone you would like to tour with? Say... Paul McCartney...

Glenn: I would love to tour the USA... I have had many emails pleading me to come over since Paul McCartney put one of my tracks on his "UNCUT" magazine album of favourites. If you can get your readers to buy enough albums I certainly will ! And as for supporting Paul .. well...  

Me: Okay, you know I had to ask, Glenn. You signed to his publishing company MPL Communications. How did that happen?

Glenn: It came about in the Maldives where he came on holiday, he got to see me play and I guess was suitably impressed.

Me: So, you met the man? Where, how and what was that like? Did you shit in your pants?

Glenn: Yes, very much so, I spent a lot of time with Paul, I was filming his underwater dives, recording the backing tracks with him for the DVD, doing a private dinner gig for him (which brought about my publishing deal as I played some of my tunes) and also doing a private gig with him where we played about 7 Beatles tunes together. Unforgettable.

Me: Are you still mates with him?

Glenn: I am very honoured to have him as a friend, we see each other not so often as he is the most busy musician on the planet, but I have had a few dinners and meetings and had him come and play on the album too, which is just the greatest musical moment of my life.

Me: You are a lucky bastard. LOL. You were a finalist in a U.K. Songwriting contest three years in a row which is cool. You must really like what you are doing. How many songs have you written?

Glenn: As I said at the beginning of my album credits... I am a lucky man. Bastard probably. But having said that, I have always pushed for my dream, paid my dues (read: played 6 nights a week for 10 years) and have... although Paul helped open a door and shine a light... walked the path myself. I wrote over 130 songs for the first album, and did well in the song writing contests, won the U.K. Loopstation contest, and other things, which is nice to get recognition.

Me: Was it easy or hard to pick the songs for the albums?

Glenn: Very tough! Lucky I had a good producer to help. Imagine only one in ten songs gets to be heard on the album... heart wrenching!

Me: So, what's next, Glenn? Any new music planned?

Glenn: Always! Always writing new stuff, I am really excited about the next album... which will become reality when I pay this one off! (So about 2130 then).  "Overload"... one my new tunes was finalist in 2010s U.K. song writing contest... so at least I know I am on the right track.

Me: Man, I wish you continued success. I really love the album, and cannot wait for more music from you. Why don't you go plug your website, sir?

Glenn: Thanks again for your support, Jason, and please help to be one of my musical ambassadors. My website is, Facebook is Glenn Aitken Music, Twitter is @GlennAitken and just Youtube Glenn Aitken to see more.

Me: Take care, and tell Paul I said hello.

Glenn: Thanks again. Will do! Thanks again in for your belief and support.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Glenn Aitlen for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with musician Chad Valley. 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

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pheaturing Frank Carlberg

Hello,  and welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. Try to forget summer is almost over by reading the Phile. Don't you wish the Phile was as non-addictive as LinkedIn?  Did you hear this story of a drone catching a man tanning on top of a wind turbine as summer reaches new heights? Just when a man thought he'd found a place to soak up some rays where he wouldn't be discovered, a drone came by and caught him on top of a 200 foot wind turbine. When he heard the drone approach, he simply sat up and waved. That's pretty much the best response to give when you receive an unexpected drone visit. This guy is either the laziest employee to ever work on a wind farm, or the most committed person to getting some alone time. It's incredibly impressive that he went to the top of this turbine, and if he did it without proper authorization or access, he's a hero. Either way, let's hope his secret happy place hasn't been permanently ruined. There's no chance he'll have quiet and solitude trying to nap on top of a hydroelectric plant.  Tila Tequila, whoever that is, defended Hitler and it cost her a job. Surprise! Tila Tequila has been kicked off "Celebrity Big Brother" for some old blog posts in which she defended Hitler and dressed up like a Nazi. It's interesting that reality stars and celebrities somehow never learn that saying or doing horrifically racist things is going to create a public relations nightmare. “Back in 2013 I made a statement about Hitler not being a bad person, and immediately realised soon after that I had made a terrible mistake that would ultimately come back to haunt me.” You'd think someone would have at least a moment of realization before they defend Hitler that it's going to come back to haunt them. And while she acknowledged that this was during a period of severe substance abuse and depression, she also managed to create a nicely designed image of herself dressed as a Nazi in front of Auschwitz. Typically, people suffering from severe depression can barely open their laptop, let alone hop into Photoshop to design an image of themselves wearing an SS uniform. I have no idea who this is, so I looked her up...

We expect more from our reality stars.  Jerry Seinfeld's family lemonade stand shut down by police and probably Newman. If only it had the resilience of Kramerica Industries. A charity lemonade stand run by Seinfeld's son Julian was shut down after neighbors complained about all the illegally parked cars stopping for lemonade. Believe it or not, incredibly wealthy people in the Hamptons can't be bothered by a few extra cars on the road. And the socially elite certainly cannot tolerate a kid's lemonade stand. Incidentally, this lemonade stand donates its profits to a charity that clothes needy families. So at this point, a fair guess about who owns a Hamptons home next to the Seinfelds would be Mr. Burns or Voldemort.  So, Subway eats fresh bad news: an employee says they knew about Jared Fogle for years. This is even harder to choke down than one of those yeast-y sandwiches. It's not particularly shocking to find out that Subway prioritized their brand over exposing a known pedophile, but it is satisfying to watch the people who aided and abetted him get called out. Cindy Mills, a former Subway franchisee, claims she contacted the CEO of SFAFT (Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust), Jeff Moody, about Fogle as far back as 2008. 2008!!! Fogle had made numerous statements to her about having sex with minors between the ages of 9 and 16 in the United States and Thailand. This is how the conversation went: Mills says Moody cut her off in the middle of the conversation, saying, “Please don’t tell me any more.” He indicated that he had dealt with similar complaints in the past, according to Mills. “He said, ‘Don’t worry, he has met someone. She is a teacher and he seems to love her very much, and we think she will help keep him grounded,’” Mills recalls. Subway is denying all this, of course, and made the following statement to "People" magazine: "When we first heard about an alleged complaint being made to the company about Jared Fogle, we immediately investigated and found no record that this was ever brought to our attention. When we heard about the possibility of a second complainant, we began an investigation that is ongoing." Of course, if they did know about Fogle's crimes, that's terrible on many levels. From the most cold-hearted, practical perspective, it's terribly stupid. If you know your spokesman is a pedophile and aren't willing to turn him into the police (what!), you might want to fade him out of your advertisements. Maybe make your new mascot a dog in a sandwich suit, or something. Someone people can actually look up to! If you didn't get that reference, Fogle was brought down by a 2 year old in the end. "I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for that meddling FBI and their dog!" This is Bear.

Even if you just met this guy and knew his name was Bear, you'd think he was pretty awesome. Little do you know! Bear, age 2, is one of only a handful of K9 dogs in America capable of sniffing out storage devices. "Bear is unique because he can sniff out SD cards, thumb drives, external hard drives, iPads and micro SD cards," said Bear's handler, Todd Jordan, "It's something we probably can't smell." Crazy. Bear's involvement in former Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle's child pornography case has been known since the FBI raided Fogle's house (the second video in this article is from July). But, authorities are now saying evidence discovered by the canine officer, specifically a hidden thumb drive, was a key factor in building the case that led Jared to confess. Said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota, "It's all critical. We put together a huge spreadsheet and understanding of everything Fogle did during a broad period of time, and what he didn't do. That's one more point in that whole understanding of what that's all about." Whether you're counting Bear in human years or dog years, this is still poetic justice. Good boy, Bear. Good boy.  A school sent a girl home with baffling letter banning her Wonder Woman lunch box. Forget zero-tolerance towards violence, now kids can't even be fans of superheroes or anyone who solved problems with anything more aggressive than a calculator. In today's America, schools exist to teach children that life is a series of arbitrary rules handed down by a panel of incompetent adults who literally have no clue what living on planet Earth is like. It has been so since time immemorial, but somehow gets worse and worse every year. Sometimes, the problem is dress codes. Actually, the problem is often the dress code. Or it's sex ed. Or it's school lunches (also a recurring problem), or attendance for kids with cancer. It's been a while, in fact, since we've had a good old-fashioned outrage moment about a zero-tolerance policy towards violence that goes way below zero into the realm of imaginary violence. That's what happened in the case of this letter that was sent home from school with the daughter of Daniel and Sarah:

Wow. It turns out this somehow managed to be both a fictional violence problem and a dress code issue. One that attacks a feminist icon (who uses the Lasso of Truth to solve problems with as little violence as possible, by the way) while at the same time implying that this policy is disproportionately enforced against this girl's male classmates. Frozen lunchboxes, despite being an abomination, are fine, but anything from the Marvel or DC universe (and hey, I'd love to see some more female-led superhero flicks) means your kid is a problem. It is, in other words, the Perfect (Shit)Storm of academic idiocy. So far, there's been no response from the school, but I'll let you know if the universal "WTF?" reaction online has any effect on this policy, which really just makes you want to punch something.  I just mentioned Jared Fogle, did you see he's gonna have his own talk series?

Haha. Fucker.  Have you ever seen an object that looked like a face? That kinda stuff creeps me out. Look...

Haha.  This weekend Florida almost got a hurricane called Erika. I think Erika was drunk though...

All those hurricane forecasters in Florida were like...

Haha. That actually looks like someone puked on a map.  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, I have been showing you some real letters from summer camp. Here's another...

What an amazing toilet story. Okay, as you probably know, I live in Florida and here in Florida there's some really crazy stuff that happens that will happen nowhere else in the universe. So, that's why I have a feature called...

Florida mother Ashley Habat has a 4 year old son named Will, who up until recently was enrolled in Sonshine Christian Academy (get it? Son... shine. Get it?). According to her interview with "News4Jax," Habat was running late taking Will to school on August 21st, and when she arrived, she was surprised to hear a teacher say "It's picture day, Will! Are you excited?" She complained to the school that they had not given notice that it was picture day. The school replied that they had slipped a note into students' folders the week before. Habat apparently thought this level of notice was insufficient, and took to Facebook to say so in a post she set to be seen by "friends only." Unfortunately for Habat, she also tagged the school in the post, negating her attempt at privacy. Before she left to take Will to Sonshine the next day, she got a call asking her to drop by the office when she came. When Will skipped off to class, the school administrator told Habat that after that day, he would no longer be welcome at the school. They also sent a letter, stating that Ashley's "relationship with Sonshine did not get off to a very good start the first day of school. ...You utilized social media to call into question not only the integrity, but the intelligence of our staff. ...These actions are also consistent with sowing discord, which is spoken of in the handbook you signed." Said Habat, "I was in shock. Why would you expel a 4 year old over something his mom posts on her private Facebook page only people on her friends list can see?" She happens to be wrong about that first part... because she apparently doesn't know how Facebook works, but she's right about the punishing-the-child aspect. I mean, do you really want to leave a 4 year old to be educated solely by someone who can't even write Facebook posts correctly? The school had no comment.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. By the way, last entries Mindphuck fucked with my mind. This is what it was...

The Mindphuck I was thinking was that the girls arms are different lengths. That might be true, but 99.9% of you said there was a face in the couch. I took a closer look and guess wheat, you're right. Good job, everybody! My mind was fucked. Moving on...

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

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

Today's guest is a jazz pianist whose latest CD "Uncivilized Ruminations" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Frank Carlberg.

Me: Hello, Frank, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Frank: I'm very well, thank you! And thanks for asking!

Me: Frank, when I think of your last name Carlberg for some reason I think of beer. Why is that?

Frank: Because it sound a bit like Heineken... no?

Me: Huh? No, that's not it. Anyway, where are you from, Frank?

Frank: Finland.

Me: You live in New York, now, right? When did you move from Finland? Do you visit there often?

Frank: Yes. A few years ago. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Me: I interviewed a few jazz artists here on the Phile, Frank, and most play more then one instrument. I know you are a piano player, but do you play any other instruments?

Frank: I also play soccer.

Me: That's not an instrument. Growing up in Finland, what music did you listen to?

Frank: Rauli Badding Somerjoki, Juice Leskinen, Olavi Virta... you dig!? Oh yes , and Alice Cooper.

Me: How old were you when you started to play piano?

Frank: Four.

Me: Let's talk about your latest album, "Uncivilized Ruminations." I have no idea what that means, Frank. Jazz is always so deep with names, and how albums are put together, let alone the music style. What does the title mean?

Frank: Did you read the poems?

Me: No, I didn't.

Frank: Anyway, it is kind of the opposite of civilized ruminations.

Me: This isn't your first album is it? How many other albums have you had out in the past?

Frank: Twelve.

Me: I know you had an album out called "American Dream." It was described as a 12 part song cycle with settings of poetry by Robert Creeley. See, that's what I mean by jazz being deep. Any other genre would say the album has 12 songs... not a 12 point cycle. What is a 12 point cycle anyway?

Frank: Not point... part, baby, part... A 12-part song cycle consists of five tunes... you didn't know that....?

Me: If I did I wouldn't of asked. Do you listen to other genres of music apart from jazz, Frank?

Frank: I love genres..... one of my favorites.... big genres, small genres, hot genres, cold genres... and leftover genres are almost better the next day!

Me: You head a few bands, right? The Frank Carlberg Quintet, which I am guessing has four people in it, and the Frank Carlberg Big Band. How many people are in the Big Band?

Frank: It is not so much about the number... it is more about the size.

Me: Do any of these bands appear on "Uncivilized Ruminations"?

Frank: Sure do!

Me: You have a female singer on this new album, Frank. Do you sing, or do you prefer having other people sing?

Frank: I sing and other people prefer that I have other people sing.

Me: And when you write a song, what comes first, music or the lyrics?

Frank: Lyrics.... did you actually open your promotional CD or did you just list it on eBay?

Me: I opened it. Speaking of your songs, there's quite a few long songs on the album. I think the shortest is just over four minutes long. That's normal or jazz recordings though, right?

Frank: Very normal... exceedingly normal!

Me: Frank, you went to school in Berklee, right? I interviewed a lot of musicians who went to school there. How was your experience?

Frank: It was awesome...I think... actually I can't remember... I went there?

Me: Sheesh. Okay, Frank, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I hope this was fun. Someho I feel it wasnt. Want you want to plug your website?


Me: All the best, and take care. Thanks again, sir.

Frank: Sir!? For a minute there I thought you were interviewing Uncle Leo... anyway... you're welcome.

Ugh. I have no idea what to think about that interview. I wanna bang my head against my wall. Why do I bother? Ha. Anyway, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks, I guess, to Frank Carlberg. The Phile will be back tomorrow with musician Glenn Aitken. 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

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