Monday, November 30, 2015

Pheaturing Mary Jennings

Hi there, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. Not just any Monday... but Cyber Monday. You know who hates Cyber Monday? Cyber Garfield. I hope the hype of Cyber Monday helps you forget it's Monday. You know, I wish there was a holiday deal on hiring someone to delete all the emails I receive about holiday deals. I hope shopping on Cyber Monday doesn't take too much time away from your regular schedule of wasting the day on the Internet... like reading this blog. Anyway, enjoy your one day of non-violent holiday sale shopping. What else is going on?  Ahmed Mohamed, the 14 year old Texas high school student who was arrested after teachers mistook his homemade clock for a bomb, is asking for $15 million in damages. His attorney wrote two letters... one asking the city for $10 million and another asking the school district for $5 million... and in both letters, threatened a civil suit if the demands are not met. As with most of these types of suits, they are probably not expecting to get the full $15 million, but still, that's a lot of moolah. The letters lay out all the different (and illegal) ways school administrators and police mistreated Ahmed before and after he was arrested. They note the lasting psychological damage the whole ordeal has had on him, in addition to the negative effects it has had on the family, which has faced a lot of Islamophobia and public abuse since the incident and now fears for its security. The school district and city are aware of the letters, but have not responded to them yet. They have 60 days to do so, at which the civil suit will commence.  Kobe Bryant, a man from Philadelphia currently working in Los Angeles, has announced that he is retiring from his job at the age of 37, after 20 years. His job just so happens to be as shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, and he announced his retirement in a way just as dramatic as scoring 81 points against the Raptors in 2006. Bryant wrote a touching poem, that was distributed to fans and posted online. In "The Players' Tribune," he writes in verse his heroic origin story. Starting as a little boy in Philly, taking shots with his dad's tube socks at the age of six, into a relationship with basketball in which "[they] gave each other all that they have." The poem is very heartfelt and well-written, and Bryant truly might have a career in poetry and literature ahead of him. Brontë, Byron, Bryant: These are the poets' names to remember.  Sometimes it's just so hard to figure out what kids really want for Christmas... you ask them and ask them, but they never give you something clear, like a list with one gift request in 16 different languages. Not one little girl, who got straight to the point... over and over and over.

She wants a pony. Right?  This is a crazy story... A 19 year old boy has figured out how to manipulate women through their periods. And Twitter. Luke Buchy, a 19 year old college student/entrepreneur from Ohio, started a delivery service that sends women comfort items when they get their period, and it's weirdly successful. The service is called The PMS Package and here's how it works: Customers sign up online, giving the company their credit card number and a rough estimate of their menstrual cycle. They then choose between three different box types. The Mini Package is $13 a month, the Featured Package is $25 a month, and the Executive Box (Oooohhh! Ahhhh!) is $35 a month. Whenever a customer's period is on the horizon, they are shipped a box filled with fun, "girly" items such as stuffed animals, nail polish, candy, and snacks. While the company isn't making a profit yet, they're doing pretty well. They have four employees... all under 20 years of age and 111,000 Twitter followers. So far, they've shipped out 4,000 boxes, and plan to keep expanding. Right now, they work out of Buchy's dorm room and his parents' basement, a few hours away from campus. According to "Cosmopolitan,' the reason the business is successful is because Buchy was bestowed with a very strange, specific talent by the social media gods: The ability to appeal to young women on Twitter. Buchy's explanation of his service is basically that the box serves as a subscription boyfriend. s he an unlikely ally to women? Or is this a patronizing attempt to exploit them for profit? More importantly, can you sign up for a free trial box, get free snacks, and then cancel your subscription? Even if you're a dude? I mean, I already get Loot Crate and the new Star Wars Smuggler's Bounty so one more bix shouldn't make a difference.  There is a new video challenge on the Internet, and it is the condom challenge. It's a little bit like the ice bucket challenge, in that it requires assistance from a friend and a shower to avoid making a mess. And that's where the similarities end. A condom full of water is dropped onto someone's head, and it then sits there as if the recipient had a fish bowl on their head. That's it. No one donates money to researching cures for a disease. Nothing good comes from this. This is NOT SAFE and you should NOT try it. Just sit back and watch other reckless adventurers try it instead. Here's what it kinda looks like...

And there you have it. Once this trend is over, everyone can go back to watching water balloon tricks in which people have their heads safely exposed, or watch dogs pop giant water balloons instead.  So, this past Friday was Black Friday and there were some weird and strange ads this year...

Hot gifts for centaurs? Huh? And then there was this one...

I think Target is losing their mind. I love that bloody store though.  So, did you hear Disney is making Toy Story 4? I have an exclusive screen shot from it, kids.

I heard it's gonna be a love story this time.  Hey, the Phile has a new sponsor I forgot to tell you about.

That is a real product, people.  Have you seen the movie poster for the new Captain America: Civil War movie? If you haven't, here it is...

When I saw it for the first time I thought it looked vaguely familiar. And then it hit me...

Haha. That's a great album by the way. Well, it's Cyber Monday so I think it's time once again or the pheature...

This way, the cashier won't judge you for being a single, childless 31 year old who buys frozen chicken nuggets in bulk.

Hahaha. This is an easy one. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay,  it's Monday so it's time to talk football with my friend Jeff.

Me: Jeff, welcome back. It's been awhile since we talked football. Last time you were here we talked about your book. Anyway, did you have a good Thanksgiving?

Jeff: Always good to be back here on the Phile. It is a shame that when I was on, there wasn't Phootball Talk too. It would have been like "Saturday Night Live" when the host is also the musical act. My Thanksgiving was interesting, to put it mildly. I had a good one though. Hope you did too.

Me: I did. So, have you heard about this whole color thing that blind people get confused with who is playing?

Jeff: Yeah, the Thursday Night game last week had color blind people going crazy because the jerseys were different and it affected how the viewers saw it.

Me: Okay, so, any other NFL news? Romo was hurt pretty bad, but Eli is indestructible. Haha.

Jeff: Romo came back and got hurt again. He's now out for the season, taking Dallas's chance at the playoffs with him. The Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham is hurt for the season as well. This season we have seen a lot of top players getting injured. Eli can definitely take a beating. That's for sure.

Me: Alright, how did we do two weeks ago, Jeff?

Jeff: Last week both the Steelers and the Giants had bye weeks, so neither of us were able to gain with a victory point there. In fact we both went 1-1, so your lead is still five points over me.

Me: Yay! Let's do this weeks picks. By the way, there's not gonna be an entry next Monday as I'll be on vacation. I say Dolphins by one and Saints by six.

Jeff: We should find a way to make up last week and next week since we will have lost 2 weeks. Two weeks opportunity for me to gain on you! Or two weeks for you to stretch your lead. It works both ways.

Me: That's a good point. So, what do you pick?

Jeff: My picks are Chiefs by three points and the Cardinals by five points.

Me: Okay, I'll see you back here in two weeks, Jeff.

Jeff: See you in two weeks!

Terms and Conditions
I could write literally anything here and you wouldn't read it so I decided not to bother.

Today's pheatured guest is a fantastic singer and musician whose latest CD "Metamorphosis" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Mary Jennings.

Me: Hi, Mary, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Mary: Thanks so much for having me! I am doing great!

Me: You're from Nashville, am I right? Have you lived there all your life?

Mary: I was born in Nashville but moved to Gainesville, GA with my mom when I was in second grade. I moved back to Nashville for a couple of years after college in South Carolina, then lived in NYC for about 7 years. Now I am back home again in Nashville.

Me: I thought your new CD "Metamorphosis" was your first, but you have been recording for a few years. How many releases do you have out?

Mary: Oh, I have been recording music since 2001! I have 6 albums and 1 EP.

Me: How has your music changed over the years, Mary?

Mary: My music has evolved with me. My first two albums are what I consider to be therapy albums. They helped me get through the loss of my mom and taught me how to express myself in a healthy way. Since then, my albums have evolved with my musical tastes, my knowledge of songwriting and have simply followed my life. With every album, my music has grown with me.

Me: Did you wanna be a singer all your life?

Mary: I have wanted to be many things throughout my life but the one thing that always stuck was being a musician. It gives me more joy than any other job I have ever had.

Me: Before you were a musician you were a teacher, an aerobics instructor and a paranormal investigator. Out of all the jobs, is being a musician your favorite or do you miss the other jobs you had?

Mary: As I stated before, music is where my heart is. I loved teaching and have done a lot of mentoring through the years. I taught aerobics in college for a little extra money. The paranormal investigating is more of a hobby than a job and I still do it today in my spare time. With every job I have had throughout the years, music has always been there too. It is my absolute passion.

Me: I have to talk about the paranormal thing for a minute. You have to read my friend Jeff Trelewicz's books about the paranormal. Have you been into that scary shit for a long time?

Mary: I haven't read Jeff's book but now I want to!! And yes, I have always been into scary shit. I have been watching scary movies since I was 7 and the paranormal has always fascinated me. The paranormal research isn't about being scared for me though, even though it does scare me often. It is more about curiosity of the mysteries of our universe. Wow, that sounded super hokey but it's true!

Me: Do you like scary movies? I don't. What is your favorite horror movie, Mary?

Mary: YES!! Times a MILLION! I LOOOOOOVE horror movies. I have about 400 in my collection. I have been watching them as a kid and in high school, I would often host horror movie marathons at my house. In fact, it is a tradition that I still carry on today. You say you don't like horror movies but I feel sure I could find at least one that you might enjoy! I love a good challenge. Choosing a favorite horror movie for me is almost impossible. I love so many for different reasons. Some of my tops would be The Exorcist, Suspiria, The Ring, Insidious, and Amityville Horror. However, if you asked me tomorrow I may have a whole other list.

Me: Didn't you have a song in a horror movie? What was that movie?

Mary: I did! My song "The Darkness" plays in the end credits of Devil Seed. It can be seen on Netflix.

Me: That must of been a big deal for you, am I right?

Mary: That was a big day for me! I mean my song in a horror movie?! WINNING!

Me: And didn't you have a song in the TV show "Dance Moms"? That is scary in itself. Haha. How did your song get to be in that show?

Mary: I actually have had two songs in "Dance Moms." The Candy Apple team danced to "Move" and Maddie Ziegler did her solo to "Loose Cannon." As much as I don't like the behavior of some of the adults in that show, the kids are incredible dancers and it is really inspiring to see them put their art to mine. I have loved it!

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new album "Metamorphosis." How did that song get to be the album title?

Mary: This entire album was inspired by a lot of change in my life. Since "Collapse, Collide," I got married, moved, went from my 20s into my 30s, suffered a lot of losses in my family and so on. Every song on the album has to do with some major change in my life or in the lives of those around me that helped me grow into the person I am now. It seemed appropriate to call it "Metamorphosis" since the whole album was born from change and evolution.

Me: You have a beautiful smile but your look so serious on the album cover. You are still photogenic though. Do you like having your pic taken?

Mary: Thanks for the smile comment! I don't like having my photo taken at all. I don't mind candids so much but I feel awkward when I have to pose. My friend and album art designer, Allie Oliver-Burns, knows this very well about me as she has taken tons of pictures for my music. She suggested I just take the picture myself and let her edit it. That's exactly what I did. I took my camera, a remote, and went to the only white wall in my house which happens to be a closet and did my own little photo shoot. I couldn't be happier with what she did with it.

Me: So, your music is very dark... the lyrics and everything. Are you in a dark place when you write?

Mary: I think every person has dark moments in life and I am certainly no exception to the rule. My music has always been an outlet for me. It is my way of untangling any discomfort, sadness, or any melancholic moment in my life so that I can be a happy and functioning person day to day. It is my therapy.

Me: I lost my parents in 2000 from cancer... you lost your mom in 2001, right? How did that change your attitude on life?

Mary: I'm so sorry to hear that. Yes, I lost my mom in 2001. She was my first real loss. I even had all of my grandparents up until two years ago. It's tough to lose the most important person in your life first. No one can prepare you for that. It happened so suddenly and it made me realize that, as cliched as it sounds, life can be short and you shouldn't waste your days doing something you hate. That jumpstarted my musical path for sure.

Me: What would she think of your music? What does your dad think?

Mary: My mom was always supportive of my music before she passed so I am sure she would be into it now. My dad is great and very supportive of my music. He is the one that helped record my very first album. He is a cardiologist now but he played bass in a band in high school and has the same musical love that I have. He even played bass with me for several shows. I would say that makes him pretty supportive.

Me: You come from a musical family, am I right? Who in your family is musical like you?

Mary: My dad's side of the family is very musical. As I mentioned before, my dad plays bass. My grandfather is a wonderful singer and his father was too! I actually have recordings of both of them which is pretty impressive considering the technology back them. My grandmom was an amazing pianist. In fact, the piano I write on everyday belonged to her.

Me: You started to play piano at a young age. How old were you and did you choose the piano?

Mary: I started playing the piano when I was big enough to crawl up on the stool. Everyone in my family seemed to have a piano. It didn't matter if I was with my mom or my dad or either set of grandparents, there was always a piano around. To me, it was as normal to me as a sofa or a coffee table. And no matter which house I was in, the piano was never off limits. That's what got me hooked on piano.

Me: Who did you listen to growing up?

Mary: I listened to all kinds of music growing up. At a young age, I got really into celtic and new age music but also loved Michael Jackson, The Pointer Sisters, and Madonna. By the time I hit middle school, I learned about Tori Amos and I was hooked. That got me on the path to other female powerhouses like Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, Beth Orton, etc. By the time I hit college, it was all about Jump Little Children, Travis, and Imogen Heap.

Me: You have been compared to Florence and the Machine. I can see you opening for her. Are you a fan of hers?

Mary: I am a huge fan of Florence and the Machine. She is one of the newer female powerhouses that I admire so much! I love her music and theatrics!

Me: I have to ask you about the video for "Home." Where was it filmed?

Mary: It was filmed at Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, Tennessee on October 28th of 2014.

Me: You went into that lake. I have a screen shot of the video here...

Me: The water looked cold, was it?

Mary: I did indeed! Luckily it wasn't too cold at that point. It was a very overcast and drizzly day so that helped it look a lot colder than it was.

Me: Was it your idea to go in there?

Mary: My director, Anna Haas, had the idea to do that. We knew that was going to be part of the story from the very beginning.

Me: Did you choreograph the dancers in the video, Mary?

Mary: All I did was tell Anna that I wanted the video to have an apocalyptic vibe. She did all the choreography and came up with the story.

Me: I have to ask you about No Sass Creations. You design and sell bolos, am I right?

Mary: I sure do!

Me: How did you get into that, Mary? Do you wear bolos yourself?

Mary: Well, my great grandfather wore bolo ties a lot and I have always found them to be a unique accessory. I found one at a garage sale about 2 years ago, and decided to incorporate it into my wardrobe. Shortly thereafter, I started making my own out of antique pieces of jewelry. My manager, Nick, at the time told me I should start selling them at shows instead t-shirts or stickers. So I did, and I was really surprised by the response. By February of 2014, I set up my Etsy shop and created No Sass Creations.

Me: I used to wear bolos in the 90s. I thought I was hip. Haha. I'll try to find a pic of me wearing one.

Mary: I would LOVE to see that! They are definitely hip accessories!

Me: Where do you sell them? On Etsy you said, right?

Mary: I sell them on my website (, Etsy, at shows, and will even do booths at festivals.

Me: Okay, so, what is next for you? Any tours planned or new recordings?

Mary: I have done a fair amount of touring this year and will continue to do shows as they come up. I will be releasing "Metamorphose" in January which is a remix album of four songs from "Metamorphosis." Two different producers did remixing to show how even these songs can metamorphose. I am also going into the studio to work on a live in the studio looping album.

Me: Cool. Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon and continued success. Go ahead and mention your website.

Mary: Thank you so much for having me and for all of the great questions! I really enjoyed this! My website is

Me: All the best, Mary, I hope this was fun.

Mary: This was a ton of fun and thank you again so much!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Mary Jennings. Like I said earlier I'll be on vacation up on Long Island next weekend so the Phile will be back on December 13th with Phile Alum Mark Baxter. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

You can't tell but I'm wearing a bolo here. Haha.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pheaturing Year Of October

Good morning, and welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Personally I had the best Thanksgiving in years.  Let's start off with a nice story shall we about two brothers who took a spectacular selfie with a majestic animal they rescued from a trap. Neil Fletcher and his brother Michael were hunting in Dowling, Ontario, when they spotted a bald eagle stuck in a trap. The eagle had caught one of its talons in a claw trap used by fur trappers. They slowly approached the large bird, and draped a sweater over its head to keep it calm while they freed its leg. For the most part, the eagle did remain calm, and after some time they were able to free it from the trap. They were wise to be cautious, as eagles are complete bad asses that have been known to knock drones out of the sky for sport. After the rescue, they realized it was a rare opportunity to take a very unique selfie. Before setting the eagle off to magnificently cruise the forest, they posed for this picture...

One day, in the future, the Fletcher brothers are going to be in a tight situation. Their car might be perilously hanging off a bridge, or they could be outnumbered in a fight outside a bar. At some point, just when it appears that all is lost, this eagle is going to swoop down and save their lives. Then it's going to land on a perch, turn it's head and wink, and fly off never to be seen again.  There's a lot of cross-promotional stuff going on for the new Star Wars movie right now, but Disney probably didn't pay Spain's state-owned broadcast network Television Española to accidentally replace Al Qaeda's logo with that of the Rebel Alliance, the good guys of the original Star Wars trilogy. This occurred during a segment on how control of the Syrian city of Raqqa, now the "capital" of the Islamic State, has traded hands from Assad to Al Qaeda to the Islamic State. Someone did get to the bottom of how such a massive screw-up happened. A not-very-good-looking Spanish hip-hop label uses the Al Qaeda name and Rebel Alliance logo, which is such an impressive feat of unoriginality that it could conceivably piss off everyone from Western nerds to Middle Eastern radicals. Just a reminder, media: people understand the world is complicated. Take an extra day if you need to explain the history of a war-torn region without confusing it with conflicts from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Blue Origin, the space technology company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has just sent a rocket to space (100.5 km straight up) and landed it back on its own two feet like it's being piloted by Buck goshdarn Rogers. Eat that, SpaceX and your ocean landings. Cue rockin' guitar solo. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the United States of America. We're not just #1, we came up with the constant obsession with being #1. When we stopped being #1 in terms of rocket technology, what happened? Did we accept a future full of international cooperation? Hell no. Our billionaires (of which we have the most, because we're #1) started throwing money at the problem, because that's what we do, god dammit. You've probably heard of SpaceX, the rocket company created by PayPal and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk, their successful space missions, and their attempts to get rockets from space to land vertically at sea. Well, now we have two companies (besides the psuedo-military Boeing/Lockheed joint venture known as United Launch Alliance that buys Russian engines and sells them to the government) that make the Space Shuttle look like the stepping stone it was always meant to be.  A group of girls is trying to enter one of California's oldest boys clubs: no, not the club of high-paid Hollywood directors... the Boy Scouts. The group of five girls, who call themselves the Unicorns, are former Girl Scouts who want a more hands-on outdoors experience... the sort of experience the Boy Scouts offer. And the Unicorns are good at that hands-on outdoors stuff, too. In the spring, they participated against several Boy Scout troops in an event called Camporee where they're "judged for grit and spirit," and they placed second. Boy Scout leaders, however, are not interested in letting the girls join, either on the local or national level. Local leaders rebuffed the girls, and the national organization sent this to journalists, "We understand that the values and the lessons of scouting are attractive to the entire family. However, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are year-round programs for boys and young men.” Title IX is no help in this case, either... it actually has an exception for the Boy Scouts, noting that they don't have to allow women to enter. The arguments people are giving against letting the Unicorns join the Boy Scouts are things like "Yeah, this is supposed to be a place where boys can run around and get their sillies out" and "Coed tents? No THANK you!" as if agreeing to let girls join the Boy Scouts would automatically mean that they had to share tents. Neither of those are concerns of the Unicorns, who just care about getting to do the same work the Boy Scouts do.  So, I have a pheature on the Phile called Snack Hacks For The Phall as you might know... well, in the last entry I showed this one...

Well, Suzanne Dale from Manchester, England was excited to try the grilled cheese life-hack. BAD IDEA! A few minutes after Suzanne popped the sandwich in the toaster it started smoking. Seconds later flames appeared. At this point Suzanne acted on pure instinct, and threw the entire thing out her window. "Luckily I live in a house and have a garden, but if it was anyone living in a flat or somebody who was less agile who couldn’t get out as quick, they were real flames, it could be dangerous," she told Manchester Evening News. Thankfully Suzanne had no injuries. She posted the photo of her food fail on Facebook to warn other hungry/lazy people. Maybe stick to cooking grilled cheese the normal way, with an iron.  Did you go Black Friday shopping the other day? I went to Walmart just briefly after work, but I should of went to Target. Did you see the ads?

So, I'm not great with math but a Phile reader sent me this pic of a sign that I thought was interesting.

I don't get it.  Do you like the Disney movie The Little Mermaid? I have to admit, I am not a big fan, but I do have to say I like how they were originally gonna end the movie...

How realistic does the Creature look?  Did watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? I missed it this year, but wish I would of seen it after this happened...

That's so funny.  So, in the Thanksgiving Day Cowboys game Tony Romo was seriously hurt. Here is a picture of him laying down after his injury...

Oh, my. Moving on...

Yo, Adrian, I got a TV. Haha. Okay, well, it's fall and I have a pheature that hopefully will ell you, and not catch your toaster on fire. Here is...

This makeshift paperclip fork.

Use your scissors as the knife.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know.  And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is this week's...

Top Phive Signs You've Overeaten On Thanksgiving
5. The coroner lists your official cause of death as "Turkey Leg Thrombosis."
4. You come to on the floor, surrounded by bones, and your family is nowhere to be found.
3. A week later, you find the meat thermometer in your stool.
2. The paramedic didn't need to eat the emergency Sloppy Joe you'd brought in your pants pocket.
And the number sign you overate on Thanksgiving is...
1. Around the country, the thing most people are thankful for is that "That fat bastard Marty isn't at our table this year"... and you're Marty!

The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games is a 2012 film about teenagers killing each other with bows and arrows instead of texting while driving.

Okay, today's guests are the three members that make up the cool band Year of October whose latest CD "Golden Days" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Phlecia Sullivan, Josh Sullivan and Kody Muhic.

Me: Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Josh: We are doing well. Thanks for having us!

Me: I am a big fan of your music and love the album "Golden Days." You kids are too going to know what a golden day is. Haha. Where did the name come from?

Josh: The name actually comes from one of our singles on the album. It is a story about the house that Phlecia grew up in. It personifies the house and talks about its longing for the previous life that it had before her family moved in.

Me: Kody, I will get to you in a minute, I have to talk to the cute one in the band... not you, Josh. Phlecia, how are you? I love the spelling of your name. Is that intentional or were your parents creative?

Phlecia: Thanks so much. It is intentional. My dad really liked Phylicia Rashad but my mom didn't want to spell it that way. So she was at the hospital where I was born and she ran into a nurse who was named Phlecia and she loved the spelling. So I am named after a nurse in the hospital where I was born. It was pretty cool though because the other Phlecia gave me some personalized clothes because she knew how hard it was to find things with her name on them growing up.

Me: How many times do people say, "good-bye, Phlecia." to you? I have no idea why people are starting to say that but I promise I won't.

Phlecia: I hear that so many times a day. It is pretty ridiculous.

Me: I thought at first you and Josh were brother and sister but you're husband and wife, am I right? 

Phlecia: Yes, we have been married for a little over 4 years.

Me: Congrats, Josh, on having a cute and talented wife. So, what came first, the band or the marriage?

Josh: Thank you, I certainly agree on her being both cute and talented. We started dating and didn't start playing music until we had been dating for about a year. We just started playing a few songs together and then that turned into us writing our own stuff. 

Me: I also ask married couples who work and in bands together how they get along. Is it fun or stressful?

Josh: It is a lot of fun. We get to share what we love with each other. We travel and write. It really is a great time.

Me: Who is in charge? Haha.

Phlecia: I think that we both agree that Josh is the band leader.

Me: I should ask Kody, which one of the two are in charge?

Kody: Yeah, definitely Josh.

Me: Where did you two meet?

Phlecia: We met in college I was a freshman at the University of Kentucky and Josh was a junior.

Me: So, what did you study there? And I guess you are Wildcat fans? I have a UK shirt, but I tell people it stands for United Kingdom as that's where I'm from.

Phlecia: Nice, that's awesome. I studied broadcast journalism and political science and Josh studied telecommunications, like audio production and all that jazz. He records all of our music! I am a Wildcat fan but Josh is not. His family is originally from East Tennessee so he grew up a die hard Volunteer.

Me: How did you propose to her, Josh?

Josh: We were heading back to Phlecia's hometown one weekend to visit and I took her to a nice restaurant called Patti's up by the lake she used to go to when she was growing up. After we got finished eating I asked her to take me to her favorite spot. It had been raining all day so I was really worried that things weren't going to work out like I had hoped, but thankfully right as we got to this rock beach that she loved the sun came out and I got down on one knee on the beach and proposed. It was great because we were the only two people out there so we just hung out for a while and skipped rocks.

Me: Nice! Kody, how did you come into the mix?

Kody: I started playing with them earlier this year. They had another drummer named Greg who had been playing with them for a while who moved back to Utah to go to school. I played some shows in my other band Fat Tuesday with Year of October and they asked if I wanted to fill in after Greg moved and we just went from there.

Me: I have to ask you about the band name... it doesn't make sense. Where dies it come from?

Phlecia: When we first started playing it was just Josh and me playing acoustic songs we had written. I thought it felt like the music you would play around a campfire, so I thought October is a good time for campfires and I thought our music really took that feeling year round. So I came up with Year of October and it stuck.

Me: How long have you kids been performing?

Phlecia: I have been preforming pretty much my whole life. I grew up singing in church with my family. I also danced and did musical theater. Josh started playing music when he was 9.

Me: Phlecia, you have a fantastic voice. Have you been singing all your life?

Phlecia: Thanks so much. I have been basically been singing since I could talk. My parents have tons of old home videos of me making up songs and singing different songs I knew. When I was taking dance they used to call me the walking, talking, karaoke machine because I knew all of the words to the songs and I would sing them all the time. Also my grandmother plays piano and I would have her play music while I sang all of the classics. They ended up buying a karaoke machine and I think part of the reason was so I could entertain myself with it after she got tired of playing.  

Me: Who are you influences? I love Norah Jones. She is a major influence of mine. Also Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Patsy Cline, Rocco Deluca, Ryan Adams, Jeff Buckley, The Black Keys. The list could go on and on. I try to take things from different places and create something completely new.   

Me: You kids have been compared to Led Zeppelin, The Black Keys and Norah Jones. Not too shabby, kids. Are they influences of yours?

Phlecia: Oh yes, we are huge fans of all of them. It always makes us feel good when someone compares us to them.

Me: Josh, how long have you been a musician?

Josh: I started playing music when I was 9. 

Me: What is the first instrument you learned to play on?

Josh: The first instrument that I started playing was the trumpet. The first instrument that I really loved playing and what made me want to continue playing was bass. I started playing and taking bass lessons when I was 13 and I fell in love with it. I saved up money mowing lawns and bought my first bass. That was when I really knew that I wanted to play music for a living.

Me: Kody, you play drums, right? Have you been playing drums for a long time?

Kody: Yeah, I do. I have been playing for around nine years.

Me: So, who does most of the songwriting in the band?

Phlecia: Josh and I do the writing for the most part. I come up with the lyrics and melodies and Josh writes the music.

Me: I have to mention the video for "Gone." You kids have some odd fighting skills. I have to show a screenshot...

Me: Was all that practiced and thought out or done on the fly?

Josh: For the most part it was done on the fly. We plotted a little bit but that was basically so we hit the right spots in the end.

Me: I like the fight at the end with both of you. Josh, I would of picked Phlecia up and threw her into that lake. Did you think about that?

Josh: Yeah, I thought about it she was just too tough for me. 

Me: Maybe in the next video?

Josh: Haha. Maybe so. 

Me: I think it's cool that "Golden Days" is on vinyl. Are you kids big vinyl fans?

Josh: We are big vinyl fans. We worked at a record store in college and I think our love of vinyl started there. One of our good friends, Brian, was our manager at the time and he was big into vinyl. We started getting more and more into the store and we would order in stuff that we wanted. It was really cool seeing the resurgence of it in popularity. Also we basically had no money because we spent it all on music. Best job ever though.

Me: I love my record player and record collection... your album would look good in my collection. LOL. Whose idea was to have it black and red? It looks cool.

Josh: Actually we had a coupon for mixed colors. So it was cheaper to have them made that way then to do solid black. Also there are around 9 different colored vinyl so not just black and red and they are all different. We loved how they turned out though!

Me: What's the deal with the album cover? Why a fox? I would of put Phlecia on the cover myself.  

Josh: We were tossing around names for the album and for a while we were going with "Into the Night." We felt like it was a good representation of the album which is a little bit darker than our first record. In going with that we wanted a symbol to represent it. So we started thinking about different nocturnal animals and that is how the fox came about. Not only did it represent the night, but also they are sly and clever which is something I wanted to come across in this album. We ended up going with the title "Golden Days" as you know, but we still thought the fox was a good fit.

Me: So, what's next for you kids?

Josh: We are writing again and starting to record our third album which we are very excited about. We are also just playing as much as we can.

Me: Like I said, I am a big fan. Any plans to come down to Orlando to play?

Josh: Hopefully we can get something worked up down there this coming year. We would really love to play there. Phlecia also loved Disney World so it would be a double bonus for her. Haha.

Me: Well, I just happen to work there so... Thanks so much for being here. Please come back again soon. Go ahead and mention your website, kids.

Josh: Thanks again for having us. For more updates on shows and new music from us go to or find us on Facebook, just search Year of October.

Me: Alright. All the best, and continued success.

Josh: Thank you, we appreciate that!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to the kids in Year of October. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer Mary Jennings. 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, November 22, 2015

Pheaturing Phile Alum Jeff Trelewicz

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. So, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, kids. Just think... if the Indians had given the Pilgrims a donkey instead of a turkey, we'd all be having a piece of ass this Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving may you devour more food in one day than the Polgrom colonies ate in one year. May your Thanksgiving be filled worth the same actions you take for the homeless on our streets, as you are demanding for refugees. Also this week as you know it is Black Friday. Once you go Black Friday, you never go back Friday. Haha. I have no idea what that means.  Well, this is the last day I will be forty-six years old. Yep, tomorrow I will be forty-seven. Yes, I'm older enough to remember to poop without a smartphone. I'm so old my driving terrifies people. I hope I'm still around when the iPhone 237 comes out. I doubt I'll be around the iPhone 7 comes out. Alright, enough about me, let's talk about what is going on in the world.  Jared Fogle was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in prison a few days ago, and during the court proceedings, his attorney argued that his Subway sandwich diet was a mitigating factor in his pedophilia. John Bradford, an "expert witness," was called in by Fogle's attorney, Jeremy Margolis, to argue that Jared treating his food addiction via Subway sandwiches led to a sex addiction developing in its place. Bradford is a psychiatry professor at the University of Ottowa, and sounds like someone you really wouldn't want to get your psychiatry training from. He also characterized Fogle's actions as "mild pedophilia," which prosecutors quickly pointed out is literally not a thing.  Hey, this story is for you, Sam...
Maybe you've been guilt-tripping yourself for sleeping the day away, or maybe just your "friends" and "family" have been. Well, forget everything you knew about being unconscious! Scientists have unlocked the secret of sleeping in. It actually means you're a creative genius. No shame in the game (if the game is hitting snooze over and over on your persistent alarm clock). The Huffington Post compiled a list of research outlining all the strengths of being a night owl, but two papers in particular focus on the benefits of sleep as they relate to two things: How smart you are and how creative you are. The first, from the University of Madrid, studied the circadian rhythms of about 1,000 teenagers, categorized them into night or morning people, then tested them a bunch. The results were that teens that stay up late do better than early risers with inductive reasoning, which is used to analyze general intelligence. Yet, they often do worse in school because school happens in the morning, duh. Why would people staying up all night be smarter? "One theory to explain the extra brain power of night owls is that intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be nocturnal because in ancestral times any activities at night would have been novel and would, therefore, have been more likely to attract people with inquisitive minds." Curiosity and inquisitiveness also makes for more creative people. In the other study, published by the Department of Psychology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, they discovered folks who stay up late are more likely to come up with innovations and look at the world differently. Professor Marina Giampietro, who led the study, said, "Being in a situation which diverges from conventional habit, nocturnal types often experience this situation, may encourage the development of a non-conventional spirit and of the ability to find alternative and original solutions." Yeah, like when the grocery store is closed because it's 4 a.m. so you make a sandwich with bread for filling, then binge-watch "Orange is the New Black." What a GENIUS does!
Justin Bieber was taped serenading Selena Gomez the other night at a hotel bar in Beverly Hills. This seems like a pretty good indication that these two might be rekindling their romance. It also means that paparazzi photographers are going to begin relentlessly stalking them. Lots of people get back together with an ex in their early twenties, then regret it and go meet someone more interesting. Even famous people do it! To be certain, Bieber does what Bieber wants. He walks out of interviews, and when he manages to complete interviews, he insists he's single. But his song choice for this impromptu tune sounds like he's trying to win her back... "My Girl." Generally speaking, you don't sing "My Girl" to a girl unless she's your girl, or in this case if she used to be your girl and you want her to be your girl again. There were no reports of Selena grabbing the mic and reprising famous scenes from "Wizards of Waverly Place." I like Justin, he's a Foghat fan...

Remy Martin has funded a John Malkovich film that won't be seen for 100 years. It's a classy way to advertise their stupid-expensive 100 year old Louis XIII Cognac. Directed by Robert Rodriguez (known for From Dusk Till Dawn and giving college film students filmmaking boners) with cinematography by Claudio Miranda (known for Life of Pi and being a hair hero), the Malkovich-penned film deals with what life will be like in 100 years. But unless somebody gets on some legit life-extension right quick, you're never going to see the sucker, because it's getting locked in a safe box for 100 years. Malcovich says that he studied futurism and science fiction to help decide exactly what vision of the future the film would take. He noted that there are so many possibilities, "An incredibly high tech, beyond computerized version of the world, a post-Chernoybl, back to nature, semi-collapsed civilization and then there was a retro future which was how the future was imagined in science fiction of the 1940s or 50s." Some of these different visions are played out in the film's teasers, but none of these contain footage from the actual film, apparently. According to, the fine cognac folks "are sending out metal movie tickets to about 1,000 influential people inviting them to invite their descendants to a screening exactly one century from today," as if the children of today's influencers aren't going to be total screw-ups. That'll be a fun screening. Anyway, how expensive is the Cognac? One site has a bottle of the current batch listed at a cool $2,999.99, approximately the cost of 100 bottles of very tasty bourbon or almost 3,000 bottles of refreshing beer (and probably, like, 4,000 cans of shit beer).  Schuler's bakery in Springfield, Ohio has taken a bold and public stance on the growing culture war in the U.S. A sign recently posted on the store's front door warns any and all prospective customers that their fresh bread will come with a free side of unapologetic heartland values whether they want them or not... political correctness be darned!

A photo of the sign was posted to Facebook by Springfield resident Jackie Stevens. One of her friends, Angel Jacobs, shared the image to the page of local CBS affiliate WHIO, where it quickly went viral. Many commenters were delighted to see a local business take a stand against political correctness, saying the things that they imagine others are afraid to say. Others were less enthusiastic about the sign, arguing that it was hostile and misleading, like the rest of the "War on Christmas" rhetoric. They also argued that the sign was unnecessary, because it's a fucking bakery. Schuler's Bakery: serving up hot bread and hot topics. The attitude is just as fresh as the donuts. Except the day-olds, which are available at a discount.  So, you know about this whole Starbucks cup controversy, right? Well, they have solved the problem once and for all...

Yup. Problem solved.  Did you guys see the new McDonald's billboard? They have a very strange advertising campaign going on...

Then I would surely eat a lot. Hmmmm. Moving on...  I am not a big candle fan, but I am sure some of you are out there. You hard about the Yankee Candles, right? We'll there's one I am not too sure about...

No, that's not me on the label. Ha!  Ted Cruz has a very odd poster out right now.

What is he thinking?  So, I was looking at the guide on my DVR to see what shows I wanna watch on Thanksgiving and this came up...

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

Top Phive Startling Similarities Between The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 And Justin Bieber's New Album.
5. Features a blonde, feminine protagonist.
4. Will be illegally downloaded by millions.
3. The public wishes there was more to come after this installment.
2. Feels like it's three hours long.
And the number one similarity between Mockingjay, Part 2 and Bieber's new album...
1. Is much more than just a cynical corporate cash-in.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, it's fall, so here's another...

This toaster hack.

Okay, I am gonna have to try that. Okay, so, you know I live in Florida by now, right? Well, lots of strange things happen in Florida that happen no where else in the Universe. That's why I have a pheature called...

A woman in Florida appropriately named Christian Kayla Normandin has attracted the Internet's attention with a 15 minute video she posted on Facebook ranting about her son's history textbook. Her son, a sophomore, was issued a textbook in his World History class containing numerous references to Islamic history and its influence on the world, as well as an entire 40 page chapter dedicated to the history of Islam and the Islamic Empires. Forty whole pages! In a World History book! About one of the major forces in world history! Normandin tagged her video with this description: "Here is the video I promised about my sons 6th period World history class for sophomores. I did a basic overview of the whole 40 page chapter and other paragraphs on other issues. We need to put an end to this now!! I have contacted the principal again on this and am waiting on the call and will record the call!! So give me your opinions and questions and I'll answer them the best I can." In the video, Normandin takes issue with the fact that the book doesn't have chapters dedicated to other religions, ignoring the fact that the chapter is clearly focused on the history of the Muslim world and not the religion itself. She also complains that it doesn't give sufficient attention to "the negative side of Muslims." She also doesn't approve of the book's criticism of the Crusades, or the fact that it teaches kids how to write "I-rabic numerals," which she seems to not realize are the numbers we use every day. There are actually too many entertaining quotes to pull from this video for me to list here. Watch it yourself if you've got 15 minutes to spare and plenty of rage in your heart.

That's the problem with history textbooks: too objective.

Cranberry sauce
Cranberry sauce is the worst thing to happen to Thanksgiving since your dad found out about Obamacare.

It's 2:17 a.m., 77°F and
In celebrity barfing news, Kelly opened up (no pun intended) about crazy morning sickness. Kelly  revealed that she's been suffering from really bad morning sickness. She joins Kim Kardashian, Adele, and Chrissy Teigen in the new celebrity trend of being super real about pregnancy. All the coolest A-listers are barfing while carrying babies, and if the trend continues, we should be prenatal projectile vomiting all over the runways next season. You might remember that Clarkson dramatically blurted out her pregnancy news while on tour in the middle of performing a song about dads. Now she tells CBS News, not only does she have morning sickness, but "I'm familiar with all-day sickness. I have to get IVs and fluids because I get so dehydrated. It's really bad." But she says it's worth it to "pop out magical unicorns," aka babies, like her one year old daughter River Rose. Which famous person will candidly explore the physical and emotional changes that accompany birth next? Let the sordid rumors begin.

Get this pop star some ginger ale.

Okay, today's guest is a good friend of mine and is often here on the Phile talking about football. He is a Phile Alum whose book "Paranormal Contact Volume 2" is the 41st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club and is available on Amazon. Please welcome back to the Phile... Jeff Trelewicz.

Me: Jeff! Welcome back to the Phile. Let's talk football. Oh, wait... never mind. Haha. How are you? 

Jeff: It was another wonderful week of football... oh wait, not what we're here to talk about. Not here anyway.

Me: You've been on the Phile more than anyone... except me of course, and this is the second interview about your books. That's pretty good, right?

Jeff: Have I been on more than anyone? I would think Laird has been on more than me. After all you asked him for thoughts on a dead wrestler recently and not me. But that's pretty cool! I will gladly take it.

Me: Yes, you beat Laird. Before we talk about your book "Paranormal Contact Volume 2," how are your other two books doing?

Jeff: My other books have kind of hit a wall as far as sales. To the point that to get interest up for "Paranormal Contact Volume 2," I gave "Volume 1" away for free for five days. Even that, the numbers were lower than I expected. I didn't get into becoming a writer for the fame and fortune, though I would have no problem if it happened. You know what I mean?

Me: Yeah. Three books in a year or so, that's pretty good. You must like writing, right?

Jeff: I love writing. Where else do I get to create worlds and control people's destinies? I have been writing in one form or another for most of my life. I wrote short stories growing up, then stage plays then screen plays with country music demos tossed somewhere in between. Now I can officially call myself a novelist I guess.

Me: Okay, so, this new book is in the Phile's Book Club. I never got to interview you about "Volume 1." Both books are about ghosts and stuff. Have you always been into that kinda thing?

Jeff: Yeah, I'm a big fan of the paranormal. As far as I could remember my Godfather always told me stories of the paranormal, even from a young age. So his stories were my first contact with stories of the paranormal. I think I was like ten or eleven when he first told me about Bigfoot. And it's because of him that "Paranormal Contact Vol. 1" was dedicated to him.

Me: Ever do a ghost tour?

Jeff: I have been on a ghost tour before. I've done several of them actually. I also technically led one as well.

Me: You must be a fan of Ghostbusters, am I right?

Jeff: Ghostbusters is such a great movie. But I'm a fan of 80s movies in general. But yeah, I really like the movie. I don't even hate the second movie which is rare.

Me: So, I have to ask, do you believe in ghosts? I think I know the answer. Haha.

Jeff: Not only do I believe in ghosts, but many of the stories from the books are based off my own experiences in the paranormal. Some of them have been told to me. Some of them I have read. But yeah, I believe in all of it.

Me: So, are the same characters in "Volume 1" in "Volume 2"?

Jeff: For the most part yes, the same characters from "Volume 1" appear in "Volume 2" as well. Some characters do not, as well as new characters are introduced. But it is a continuation of the story featuring the same characters. There are seven characters that appear in both books.

Me: There's a character named Jason in the books. Is he named after and based after someone in particular?

Jeff: Yes, the main character's name is Jason. No, he's not based off you! He's named Jason Grant because the two people who founded the TV show "Ghost Hunters" on the SyFy Network are Jason and Grant. I was going to name a character after you in the first book, but didn't want two Jason's. So as you remember, I asked you for permission to name a character and combined your father and your son's names. Even threw in the word Lonesome in honor of your dad!

Me: That's right. But this Jason character, is he a nice guy or an ass?

Jeff: I would like to think that the character is a nice guy. But everyone has their limits. We see more of those limits in "Vol. 2."

Me: More importantly, does he have a hot girlfriend and get laid? Haha.

Jeff: As a matter of fact he does have a hot girlfriend and gets laid in "Vol. 1."  

Me: The new book takes place in St. Augustine. I love it there. You do as well, right?

Jeff: St. Augustine was one of my all time favorite places to visit. I have been there a few times.

Me: That place is very haunted, Jeff. Is that why you made the book based there?

Jeff: Yeah. That's why the book takes place there. There's just so many stories to be told there. I didn't even start to scratch the surface of all the ghost stories that take place in St. Augustine.

Me: I remember you telling me a story of a boy who was in a tree at a cemetery or something. What is that story?

Jeff: The story of James is an important part of "Paranormal Contact Vol. 2." James is buried in the cemetery away from everyone else and no one knows why. They don't know his last name or how he died. Just the year he died in. There's a tree that is outside the cemetery but the large branches extend inside the cemetery. James has been known to play in the tree and make his presence known to other children that are near. We witnessed one of those incidents. It's in the book. It was just so strange to have seen.

Me: So, is there gonna be a "Volume 3"?

Jeff: Yes, there will be a "Paranormal Contact Vol. 3." It was always my intention to make it a trilogy. I plan on releasing that book next Halloween!

Me: I have to ask you about your podcast you do with Jeremy Croston. What is it called and how is that going?

Jeff: Jeremy and I started a podcast months ago. We actually started our own publishing company called Two Dudes, Brews and Books. And that's also what the podcast is called. Every week we discuss a different topic from our books to drinks or anything pop culture. We have had many a discussion of Star Wars. We have started to have guests on our podcasts and you know you have a standing invitation to guest star on our podcast anytime you want to.

Me: That'll be cool. What is your next book you are gonna write? Any ideas?

Jeff: I have plenty of ideas in my head for future books. In fact, I officially started my next book just this past Sunday. I'm two thousand words in. My goal is somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 words so I have a long way to go!

Me: I am thinking of writing a novel, but have no idea how to publish it. I might need your help. Whatcha think?

Jeff: With everything that you have encountered in life I think you would make a great writer. I will gladly help you with your book. Anything you need, you just let me know! And then when it comes out I will interview you for my blog! Time for a role reversal!

Me: Cool. You have a great imagination, Jeff. Ever think about writing a science fiction story?

Jeff: The next book will be more science fiction than the previous books. There will be no ghosts, no aliens this time around. I will be dealing with another subject in the realm of science fiction. Time travel. For the most part I'm keeping things under wraps for the time being. But as a bit of a teaser I will ask this... How far would you be willing to go to save your family's legacy? The new book will explore that question.

Me: I have to ask you about the books cover... is that lighthouse in St. Augustine? Did you take that picture?

Jeff: Jeremy had designed the cover originally but the lighthouse was not the correct style. It was a plain lighthouse without the stripes. The picture on the cover is not the actual St. Augustine lighthouse, but I have many pictures of the lighthouse. Every time I go to St. Augustine that is a required visit.

Me: Okay, so, in January the Phile will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. Wanna be part of it?

Jeff: Of course I want to be a part of such an occasion. You don't even have to ask. I'm on board!

Me: Thanks for being back on the Phile. Tell the readers where they can get the book and I will see you back here real next Monday to talk football. Keep writing, my friend.

Jeff: You can find my books on Amazon. Just type in my name or follow this link... Thanks, Jason, and I will talk to you later!

That does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jeff for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with the kids from the band Year of October. Spread the word, not the third. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker