Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pheaturing Phile Alum Jeremy Croston

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? Let's start off with a story on
Pharma bro Martin Shkreli who decided you don't hate him enough so he released a video threatening Ghostface Killah. Martin Shkreli is tired of being known as the a-hole who raised the price of AIDS medicine. Now he wants to be known as the d-bag who threatened a member of the Wu-Tang Clan while drinking red wine from a stemless wine glass. In an unintentionally hilarious video obtained by TMZ, Shkreli, dressed in a blazer and surrounded by masked "goons," threatens rapper Ghostface Killah and demands he gives him a written apology. "Not in crayons, either," suggests a thug, and Shkreli agrees that's a good idea. An apology for what you may ask? Shkreli is pissed that Ghostface referred to him as the "Michael Jackson nose​ kid." Which isn't really an insult if you think about it, since Jackson paid a lot for that nose. The comment came after Shkreli dropped $2 million for Wu-Tang's one-of-a-kind album. The low-budget diss video looks like something your high school friends would make in their mom's basement for an "SNL" audition tape. Basically: it's both awful and the best. Shkreli even gets a pretty sick diss in there when he called Ghostface by "his government name" Dennis. "You're old, Dennis" is the best insult since #FingersInTheBootyAssBitch tweet from Amber Rose to Kanye. Hopefully 2016 will have a beef-a-day, because it's the saddest/most funny thing "celebrities" do.
Oh Barbie, you thought you were so progressive making dolls in a variety of skin tones and body shapes, didn't you? Well guess what: now Lego is hot on your (w)heels, making its first minifigures in wheelchairs. The new mini figure, spotted at two toy fairs in London and Nuremberg, is part of an upcoming Fun in the Park set that even comes with a helper dog. Of course, we also know from The Lego Movie that in the Lego universe, some disabled Lego mini figures instead choose to build themselves a super-suit with a shark for an arm. Apparently, Barbie also had a wheelchair once, but ironically the wheelchair wouldn't fit in the Barbie Dream House's elevator. That's less of a problem when you can just move a few bricks to make a toy building accessible to people with disabilities. If only it was that simple in real life.
This woman believes she's a cat trapped in a human's body and makes a pretty compelling case...

Nano is a 20-year-old woman from Norway who thinks she's a cat. She meows, purrs, and hisses at dogs. She wears a plush tail and ears and says she hates water. She claims to be able to hear things that others can't, like keys jingling in pockets and suitcases rolling by (no word on how well she can hear a can of cat food being opened). She states that she often walks on "four legs" and sleeps in the sink (hey, a lot of people like sleeping in sinks, that doesn't make us cats). Sometimes she stalks and chases mice in the shadows, but she admits she's never managed to catch anything. Hang in there, lil' kitty, it'll happen! Nano's best friend Svein has multiple personalities, one of which is a cat. They meow at each other, and they swear that they can communicate using "cat language." According to Nano, it's possible to get used to living with cat instincts, but it's "exhausting," which must be why cats sleep so much. Nano claims to have felt this way since birth, but it wasn't until she was 16 that doctors found a "birth defect" that explained it. She stops there, though, without going into any further details about what that defect is. There is a phenomenon known as "species dysmorphia"... a disorder wherein people believe they were born into the wrong species. However, there is no mention of Nano having been diagnosed with that condition. Her psychologist told her she could grow out of it, but she thinks it's unlikely (you know what they say: once you go cat, you never go back). This brings up a lot of questions though, like: what does a cat even talk to a psychologist about? How much money does she have to spend each month on string? Can she get high from catnip? And if you drop Nano, does she always land on her feet? Not to be skeptical, but the only way she could ever prove that she really is a cat is by licking her own butthole. Your move, Nano.
Hey, this is a story for you, Sam... Lauren Graham officially confirmed that "Gilmore Girls" is returning to television (or Netflix, anyway). You haven't been this excited since Lorelei finally kissed Luke. According to "Time" magazine, most of the major actors are returning, including Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop, Sean Gunn, and Keiko Agena (noticeably absent so far is huge movie star Melissa McCarthy, perhaps for reasons of being a big movie star). Netflix hasn't given out a premiere date or an episode count for the show yet, so stay tuned to find out how Rory Gilmore’s newspaper coverage of a then-obscure politician named Barack Obama turned out.
Everyone knows that Disney princess movies are usually at least a little sexist... Snow White is a brainless dope whose biggest joy is cleaning up after seven men... but now there's a new reason to be suspicious of these movies: even though in all of them, women have the lead role, in many of them men have way more lines of dialogue than women, a new study found. Believe it or not, this trend didn't begin with movies like Snow White and Cinderella, with their decidedly retro gender politics; it began with The Little Mermaid, which was praised at the time for its spunky, rebellious heroine. In The Little Mermaid, of course, Ariel literally gives up her voice in exchange for legs, but women speak even less in the five princess movies that came after the 1989 classic. This may be because most supporting characters are made male by default. “There's one isolated princess trying to get someone to marry her, but there are no women doing any other things,” one of the researchers said. “There are no women leading the townspeople to go against the Beast, no women bonding in the tavern together singing drinking songs, women giving each other directions, or women inventing things. Everybody who’s doing anything else, other than finding a husband in the movie, pretty much, is a male." "My best guess is that it's carelessness, because we're so trained to think that male is the norm,” another researcher on the study added. “So when you want to add a shopkeeper, that shopkeeper is a man. Or you add a guard, that guard is a man. I think that's just really ingrained in our culture.” So, it turns out Disney princess movies are sexist in an entirely different way than you thought.
So, I told you the other day that Adam Driver resembles a cat, or vice versa... well, there's other people from Star Wars that resembles animals as well. Check it out...

By the way, Han lives... he was caught shopping at Target.

I think that's Target. I don't know about you, but love the news... especially when they make mistakes...

That's snot right. A fan of the Phile and Foghat found something that was on eBay and wanted to share it. It should be a Mindphuck...

That's not Foghat, people. That's Five Finger Death Punch I think. Technically, the band should be called Four Fingers and a Thumb Death Punch. Am I right? So, I have been showing you some pictures of why presidential candidates really shouldn't pose with kids. Like this one...

"Is this a better fake smile?" Also, for the Phile's 10th anniversary I have been showing you pics of people what they look like when they are reading the Phile.

How nice, they are having a picnic and looking at the Phile. Very nice. The other day I told you the story of the people behind this health campaign really should have consulted Urban Dictionary first. Well, here's another one of their ads I thought I had to share...

It's never too late to try new things. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York...

Top Phive Reasons Why We'd Like To Have Melania Trump As First Lady
5. Well, there's the whole "former swimsuit model" thing.
4. She's a great example to girls that a super-hot woman can accomplish anything her gazillionaire husband out her mind to.
3. Anyone who has skincare product line called Caviar Complexe C6 has to be a woman of the people.
2. She's still young enough to have more children, which will produce the kind of delightful media frenzy beloved by the British Royal Family.
And he number one reason why we'd like to have Melania Trump as First lady is...
1. Her April 26th birthday is shared by both William Shakespeare and Jet Li. Try telling me that's a coincidence.

Okay, so, all through January I have been showing you Mindphucks sent in by some of my readers. I know how you guys feel now, when you can't figure them out. Anyway, here's the last one sent in by a reader. If you spot it, let me know...

Okay, real quick, a lot of you asked how Laird Jim was doing. He apparently is still in the hospital but is doing better. Laird, we are thinking of you, my friend. Okay, so, there's doe stories that definitely deserve to be put under their own pheature. That pheature is known as...

No, a woman stranded on a desert island was not saved by Google Earth. A quick glance at this story, posted on some bedbug-infested, back alley flophouse of a website called (come on, at least try to look legit) makes immediately clear that, no, a woman named Gemma Sheridan was not rescued by Google Earth after being stranded on a desert island for 7 years. Not that anyone cares, since it's already been shared on Facebook and Twitter enough times to be depressing. In an apparent exclusive, a non-existent person named Gemma Sheridan was boating with two friends across the globe to Hawaii when "there was a huge storm that took out the boats [sic] electronics and washed her 2 friends overboard and seriously damaged her boat." The piece doesn't dwell too much on the apparent death at sea of Ms. Sheridan's two friends, since none of this ever happened. Long story short, her damaged boat drifted ashore to a desert island, at which point the article switches to first-person so Gemma can use her own words to recount a bunch of details that read like they were plagiarized from the treatment for the movie Cast Away. Here's the pic that's supposedly the Google Earth image that fake-saved a woman's fake life...

Duh! You've probably already seen it in your Facebook feed with a bunch of comments like "Incredible!" and "Hooray for technology!" and "Remember me from high school? I'm even more stupid now." Snopes has already debunked the pic as having been published in 2010 by "Amnesty International" in an article about violence in southern Kyrgyzstan. The photo was cropped to remove surrounding buildings.

Further, Snopes finds that much of the text was lifted from a 2013 article in the "Daily Mail." But you don't need to be an Internet sleuth to know this is bullshit. Nothing in the article is sourced, and appears to be one of those news sites that hasn't raised the capital to afford things like quotation marks or spell-check yet. This is 2002-era hoax quality. "The Daily Currant" staff are shaking their heads at the amateurs who put this thing together. But still, it's everywhere. We need to reset. Start from the assumption that everything you see on the Internet is a lie or, at the very least, a Jimmy Kimmel "prank." The burden of proof is on the content, and no one can share it until all reasonable doubt has been removed. Until then, it's lies.

Paul Kantner 
March 17th, 1941 — January 28th, 2016
Guy was in a rock band for five decades, advocated the use of LSD and marijuana, opposed the use of cocaine and alcohol, and had 3 kids. Someone please send me an obit for this weirdo, please?

Today's guest is a Phile Alum and author whose novel "The Negative Man: City of Chaos (Pacific Station Vigilante Book 1)" is the 44nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome back to the Phile... Jeremy Croston.

Me: Hey, there, Jeremy, welcome back to the Phile. How are you?

Jeremy: Thanks for having me again! I’m not too bad, Mr. Peverett, how the heck are you?

Me: Ugh. You don't wanna know. Okay, first of, what's the deal with you hair in the pic, Alfalfa? Haha.

Jeremy: Don’t bash the power of the ‘hawk, my friend. It is my secret weapon.

Me: Ha! Alright, so, I have interviewed Jeff Trelewicz on the Phile twice... as well as have him on the Phile as a guest to talk football so many times and we talked about how because of me and this blog you guys are talking and now have the podcast and Two Dudes, Brews, and Books. How is the podcast doing?

Jeremy: The podcast is going great. It’s a fun 18-22 minute show each week where we talk about everything from books and beer (obviously) to sports, music, and movies. We try to avoid "real" topics like politics and world news. I mean, who wants to listen to that nonsense?

Me: Do you give me credit as well? If it wasn't for me and this blog you guys wouldn't have your podcast. Haha.

Jeremy: Oh sure... Two Dudes, Brews, & Books, Power by JP – My name’s Jeremy… whoa, was that a Mission: Space flashback?!

Me: How do you guys do the podcast? On the phone? Jeff invited me as a guest to be on it sometime.

Jeremy: We do it through Google Chats, so basically like a phone call. Jeff records and edits it then on his end with a podcasting program. It’s actually quite easy and a great way to get to even more people.

Me: You guys now have a website, right?

Jeremy: Yeah, last year we decided to really embrace the digital age and get a website. Wix offers free ones to poor authors (which we qualify as!) and was born.

Me: Alright, so, let's talk about your latest book "The Negative Man: City of Chaos (Pacific Station Vigilante Book 1). Shit, that's a long ass title, Jeremy. So, this book is not part of the hockey/Norse series I take it.

Jeremy: Nope, this is a totally new and separate series. The "Ragnarok on Ice" series is finished, spanning three volumes, "Power Play," "Penalty Kill," and "Game Over."

Me: How many books have you written now?

Jeremy: "The Negative Man" makes book number 6. Whoa, I can’t believe I’ve published six books so far.

Me: I love the premise of this book. I love super hero movies and comics, so I think this is great. It kinda reminds me of George R.R. Martin's series from the 90s called "Wild Cards." Have you heard of that series?

Jeremy: I have not but now you got me curious. I like Martin’s writing style, so this sounds like something I need to check out after the interview.

Me: I wish "Wild Cards" was a TV show instead of "Game of Thrones" but we are not here to talk about thats series. Are you a comic book fan and a fan of super hero movies, Jeremy?

Jeremy: I love comics. My wife probably wishes I didn’t as much as I did, but those be the breaks. One thing we can agree on in comic inspired movies for the most part of five shades of awesome.

Me: What is your favorite super hero and super hero movie? I am a HUGE Watchmen fan myself. 

Jeremy: Favorite super hero… that’s a tough one. If I had to pick, I’d say Michaelango from "TMNT."  As for my favorite movie, I could watch Captain America: The First Avenger all day. That was one of the best.

Me: Okay, so, where did the idea for this book come from, Jeremy?

Jeremy: A lot of comics these days are pretty vivid and I wanted to bring that to the novel realm. At the same time, I wanted to create a world that was a bit of a throwback... gritty, corrupt, and dangerous. Pacific Station (where the novel takes place) is not a good place to live. The theme of the book is the city is at war and there is this aura of suspense hanging over like a dark cloud.

Me: The Negative Man is me, right? LOL. Actually, I'm more like Worst Case Scenario Man. Seriously, who is the Negative Man?

Jeremy: That’s a really good question. I guess somewhere in that book of mine the answer pops out! 

Me: The good guy in the series is The Dark Lion? Do you have an idea in your head what these characters look like? Have you drawn them at all?

Jeremy: I know what each character looks like in my head. Unfortunately I’m a crappy artist and can’t draw them. If any of your readers are artists and would like to collaborate, I’d be all about that. 

Me: Could you see this book being a TV show or comic, Jeremy? It's cool that it is a novel. 

Jeremy: Definitely a comic. I mean after all, the idea came from my love of comic books so it would only be natural for it to jump to that format one day.

Me: So, the book does;t take place in the real world, right? Where is Pacific Station supposed to be? 

Jeremy: No, it’s a fictionalized version of the U.S. Pacific Station is the San Diego of that world (for "Flash" fans, think of this as Earth-2).

Me: This is volume one... how many volumes are you planning in this series?

Jeremy: Three main volumes with a ton of supplemental on various websites (my blog, our main website, WattPad, etc…). All the supplemental stories will be free, just to expand the universe I’ve created.

Me: If it was gonna be made into a movie do you have an idea who you would want to be in it? Which actor to play certain roles?

Jeremy: That is a good question. I don’t know that I can answer that right now. Heath Ledger might’ve been an amazing Negative Man just based on his performance as the Joker a few years back. Tough question there, Jason…

Me: Okay, so, I talk a lot about Star Wars on the Phile so I have to ask, what do you think of the latest movie? How many times did you see it? I saw it twice so far and I loved it.

Jeremy: Yeah, it was a throwback to A New Hope, but every story needs a starting place. For those who thought it was bad or a rip off, this is a movie that I think can only be judged properly after the next release.

Me: Good point. The cover of "Negative Man" has a city scape, why not pictures of the characters? 

Jeremy: Pacific Station is as much as character as anything. Plus, in my writing, I want the reader to have a chance to form their own versions of the characters. Everyone’s perception of a character will be different and that’s really cool.

Me: So, what's your next book gonna be about, Jeremy?

Jeremy: I think every great story needs a sequel. We’ll be coming back to Pacific Station later this year.

Me: This year it is the Phile's 10th year so I am asking my Alum guests what they were doing in 2006. So, what were you doing?

Jeremy: That was my last year at Innoventions, so I was probably making fun of random guests with you!

Me: Thanks for being back here on the Phile. Go ahead and mention your website and where a reader can purchase the book. Take care, and I'll have you back on the Phile soon.

Jeremy: Yeah, check out Jeff and I’s work at! Plus you can find all my latest goings on at my blog... Thanks for having me again, Jason, these interviews are always a blast!

That about does it for this entry. Thanks to Jeremy for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum Alexis Bambini. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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

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