Monday, March 21, 2016

Pheaturing Airi Mori

Good morning, and welcome to the Phile for a Monday. What's up, kids? Let's start with a story about  the weirdest and most mundane case of mistaken identity ever. A bailiff arrived at the home of Emma Caresimo and ordered her to pay a hefty fine for dropping a cigarette butt in Wigan, England. The weird part? Caresimo lives three hours away in Wales, has never been to Wigan, and does not smoke. Emma Caresimo was at home with her three-year-old son when a bailiff arrived and clamped her Volkswagen Golf. The only way the bailiff would remove the clamp was if Caresimo paid a £650 litter fine (that is about $941 U.S. Dollars) for dropping a cigarette butt in the town of Wigan. Caresimo tried to plead her case to the bailiff, but he would not budge. "I said 'I have never been to Wigan and I don't smoke' but he wasn't having any of it. He didn't believe me and said he'd heard it all before," she explained to the BBC. The bailiff simply handed her a torn half sheet of notebook paper that read: "9th Feb 2015 Market Place Wigan Cig butt No Court attendance." A cryptically written note on a torn up sheet of paper? Hmmmm, that doesn't exactly sound like the protocol, but sure? The bailiff then valued her car on the spot for £3700. Let's hope he is better at appraising vehicles than being a bailiff. Why was Caresimo connected to cigarette butt at all? Apparently, the woman they were looking for had the same last name as Caresimo's maiden name, as well as the same birth date. Of course, just seeing someone's last name and birth date seems like some sloppy detective work. After all, "Smith" was Caresimo's maiden name...and plenty of people share birthdays. George W. Bush and Sylvester Stallone are born on the same day, but no one is blaming Stallone for 9/11.
When a protester was yanked by his collar at a Trump rally, the incident was caught on camera and seemed to implicate Corey Lewandowski... Trump's campaign manager, who has already been accused of assaulting a female journalist. Naturally, the Trump campaign rushed to defend Lewandowski from a second accusation of violence on the job (among other allegations that concern even Trump staffers), and blamed it on the man next to him in a dark pullover. That man has since been revealed to be a security staffer for the Trump campaign. Trump himself said that the incident was primarily the protester's fault for having a "horrendous" sign with profanity on it, and that although he gave Lewandowski credit for having "spirit," he didn't touch him. A Trump spokesperson, Hope Hicks, declined to say why Trump's campaign manager was interacting with protesters, although Trump blamed it on lax policing in an interview with ABC. Just to be clear, this was separate from the other, much more violent incident at the same rally in Arizona. Ms. Hicks directly blamed the incident on the man in the pullover in a statement Saturday night. She suggested, according to Politico, that "his actions were justified by the behavior of the protester, who can be seen in the video grabbing the arm of a young woman in front of him." What she did not suggest, or in any way identify, was that the man is a security staffer for the Trump campaign. It was not a case of poor internal communication or mistaken identity, however... she did know. She said as much when confronted by reporters on Sunday, telling Politico, "Although we did not identify this individual, we did not make any suggestion as to his affiliation or lack thereof." Translation: "Yeah, we pretended he was some random guy, but we didn't say he wasn't our hired muscle. So, technically, we didn't lie."
Kraft Heinz says it has secretly and successfully introduced a reformulated recipe for its iconic mac & cheese, and consumers haven't noticed the difference. The first boxes of the new recipe hit shelves in December. The changes were not an attempt to mess with the flavor, but to remove artificial and processed ingredients. The new formula replaced artificial dyes with ingredients like paprika and turmeric to maintain the bright yellow color that the boxed pasta is known for. This of course means that it was previously bright yellow because of a special combination of food coloring. Kraft announced their ninja maneuver in a commercial with Craig Kilborn. In addition to not noticing that Kraft Mac & Cheese changed their recipe, most consumers probably didn't know that Kraft merged with Heinz (no word yet on whether they'll need to secretly change their ketchup). Consumers may also not know that if you get a couple thousand followers on your blog and Twitter feed, gigantic packaged goods companies might pay you to tweet about their product. #Didntnotice.
The Internet is losing their chill over one woman who apparently vanished during a live news report on Danish TV. While a man is being interviewed by TV2's "Sports Center" show at an airport's baggage claim, a blonde woman... who stood behind him in the shot... appeared to go poof. In the video, some random woman pushing a baggage cart walks past her and then the lady seemingly vanished. Uncanny, but probably not evidence of paranormal activity, right? Since it was posted to Reddit on Thursday, some folks have suspected that the lady is a ghost or the whole spooky spiel is some sort of "alien activity." Other people assumed the woman just coincidentally walked at the same exact time as the woman pushing the cart. According to Mashable, "If you look closely, you can see the blonde woman's blue jeans in the gap between the woman's arm and her body." The TV2 video has over 4 million views and people are still freaking out about it on the Reddit thread. Meh, only the dumbest things happen in airports. But it's better to lose your luggage at an airport than your being, right? As one snarky top commenter pointed out, "So? Everything disappears in baggage claim."
Prince William has been receiving flack for the lack of time he's been putting into his full-time pilot job with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, an emergency medical service dispatch for the people of East Anglia. Pundits are calling him "work-shy" for the 20 hours he flies a week, which "People" confirmed is about two thirds as much as the other EAAA pilots. But even so, the royal daddy shrugged off the criticism as "part of the job" in an interview with ITV, citing his other commitments, like helping species endangered by the illegal ivory trade, as worth the media bashing. "I didn’t want to get to 45 or 50 and sit back and say I could have said something about that issue but I didn’t because I worried about what people thought or what people said." Plus, with so many royal engagements to carry out, he's plenty busy, not a slacker. What critics argue is it's telling of his work ethic that last year he carried out 128 fewer royal engagements than his 94-year-old grandfather, Prince Philip. Doesn't it bother him to be called a "big soft lad of a son" by "Daily Mirror" columnists? The Duke of Cambridge told ITV, "It’s part of the job, Mark. Today is more about talking about the poaching crisis. And I want to turn round and turn to my children and my friends and talk to other people my age and having known we have truly made a difference, we have fixed something, we have given hope to the future. And that should give everybody a lift and realize there is hope that we can fix stuff." A true king in the making.
So, I mentioned that Kraft "improved" their Mac & Cheese... but I think they need work on their new slogan.

Hmmm. Speaking of slogans, kids, have you heard of the company Rockstar? I think they make video games. Well, they have an odd new slogan...

Why? Okay, so, a lot of people hate Donald Trump as you know. I didn't know kids didn't like Trump either though.

You know I am a big Star Wars fan, right? Well, there was one thing I didn't understand in The Force Awakens, and thought there was no reason for it.

Why the Back to the Future copy? That's as bad as the very bad Star Wars movie...

Why is Han reading a magazine and why does Luke look like he could be The Doctor? Oh, well. So, do you miss Jeb? I do. I miss his disappointed looks. Like the time he suddenly thought of a good zinger insult for Trump six days too late.

Kids, Easter is next Sunday! I think the whole thing about meeting the Easter Bunny is kinda scary. And I'm not the only one...

"Do you like violence, Timmy? Yes, yes, let the evil consume you." Awe. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Changes To Make To Your Dating Life Now That Spring Is Finally Here
5. Break up with the large, hairy man you couldn't bear to be apart from when it was really cold out.
4. Change your Plenty of Fish interests to be more than just a list of hot drinks.
3. Try out new ways of flirting besides hugging someone tightly and refusing to let go.
2. Don't limit yourself to only Skype dating no that it's safe to go outside.
And the number one way to change your dating life now that spring is here is...
1. Split the cost of dinner since you don't need the extra cash for your heating bill.

Ha. If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, so, my son is in town visiting and we were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together. Now the show is on HBO it's just a little bit different.

Bert and Ernie search tirelessly to find a jaguar for their "all natural" feline dildo.

Oh, boy. Okay, so, you know I live in Florida... well, there's some weird stuff that happen inFlorida that happen nowhere else. That's why I have this pheature called...

Mary Thorn of Lakeland, Florida, is fighting to keep her pet alligator, Rambo, even though Florida Fish and Wildlife law say he's too big to live with her. Rambo is housebroken, has his own bedroom, wears clothes, and rides in a sidecar on her motorcycle. According to "People," Rambo and Thorn have been "inseparable" for 11 years. Thorn, who lost her son last year, told the "Orlando Sentinel," “Without him, I don’t feel like even wanting to go on." Thorn has kept Rambo legally since he was four-years-old thanks to a valid permit. But, now that Rambo is six feet long, he's required by law to live on at least 2.5 acres of land, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife. Before he came to live with her, Rambo lived in a dark closet with a few other alligators. He's got a sunlight sensitivity (Thorn has a letter from her veterinarian corroborating this), and needs to wear sunscreen if he's outside for any length of time. Naturally, Thorn is worried about what will happen to her beloved Rambo if he can't live with her anymore. Her friends and Rambo's fans have started a petition to the FWC asking that they make an exception for this exceptional alligator, and Thorn is also looking into getting Rambo certified as a therapy alligator. Obviously, that would increase stress for strangers, but that's because they don't know Rambo.

Okay, so, I don't know if you heard this... but someone threatened Donald Trump's son, or family. Well, a friend of the Phile has something to say about this. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is.

Good morning, humans. Time to once again, kick Monday in the nuts. Okay... Just so I'm crystal clear on this... You claim Trump is a maniac and he needs to be stopped. That Hillary and the "Party of equality and Voice of tolerance" is the only way to vote. And your way of forcing Trump out... is to send a letter to his son Eric's NYC address with white powder in it... and a threat to "Harm Trump's family if he doesn't immediately back out of his campaign." Okay, then... that settles it. I don't like him... but I REALLY don't like her... never have... never will. I'm all for a female President... just not her. Oh... and as far as the whole death threat to his family thing goes? Congratulations... You just helped me choose the smartest kid on the short bus. I'll begrudgingly vote for Trump... then call his office and offer my services as a part of his security detail. He'll need all the help he can get... and it'll keep me busy for the next 4 to 8 years. Threatening a person's family is never a wise move... So... again, I thank you for helping me choose from a lousy menu with only two items (neither of which I like) AND for quite possibly providing me with job security for the next decade.

Easter is an annual religious holiday celebrating the one-hour resurrection of your lapsed Catholicism. 

Today's pheatured guest is a singer from Japan whose single "Fading" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Airi Mori.

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

Airi: Hello, I am very good. Thank you for having me here.

Me: I was gonna say hello in Japanese but don't know Japanese... haha. I guess I could've cheated. How do you say "hello"?

Airi: We say konnichiwa.

Me: Of course. I should of known from Cheap Trick... You were born in Japan, right? What part? 

Airi: Yes, I was born in the middle of Japan.

Me: How long ago did you come over to the states?

Airi: I came over about two years ago.

Me: Where in America do you live?

Airi: I live in Los Angeles.

Me: Did you come over here to L.A. for the music business?

Airi: Yes, I came here to become a singer-songwriter and producer.

Me: Alright, so, what part of Japan are you from?

Airi: I am from Nagoya, which is in the middle of Tokyo and Osaka.

Me: Ever been to the Disney parks over there, Airi?

Airi: Oh, yes. My family loves Disney, so as I grew up, we went there several times.

Me: I have to say, I love your name... it sounds like a character from Star Wars. What does it mean? 

Airi: Haha, thank you. You are the first person to say that. Usually, people tell me that it sounds like a Jamaican word, “iris,", as we hear a lot in reggae music, such as, “everything is irie!” (everything is alright!). In Japanese, Airi means “reason of love."

Me: You have been singing a long time, right? 

Airi: Yes, I have been singing since I was seven years old.

Me: In Japan did you copy and listen to American or British singers? Who are your influences?

Airi: My biggest influences were Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and many other soulful singers from the 80s.

Me: You went to Waseda University in Japan... what did you study there?

Airi: I majored in international liberal arts, so I studied various kinds of subjects, but I wrote my thesis on philosophy.

Me: Didn't you go to school in London for a while? What did you study there and where did you go? 

Airi: Yes, I attended London University for a year as an exchange student. I studied psychology there. I lived about an hour away from London.

Me: You're not going to school over here in the states, right? If so, now what are you studying?

Airi: I go to Musicians Institute in Hollywood to study audio engineering, producing, keyboards and songwriting.

Me: I noticed on iTunes you have released lots of singles... there's one called "Billie the Lover." Who is that song about?

Airi: I wrote that song as kind of an answer song to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean," just imagining, “if Billie in the song was a real person and had something to say, what would she say?” That is one of my brother’s favorite songs and after I wrote and recorded it myself, I presented him the CD as his birthday gift. It was before I came to America and studied audio engineering, so it is a little embarrassing to listen back to it now, but I think it is good to be able to notice my own evolution.

Me: One of the songs is in Japanese and is about your mom, am I right?

Airi: Yes, I wrote the song on the Mother’s Day when I was still in London. I was away from home, alone in my dormitory room. I wanted to give her something special, so I started singing about my appreciation toward her love along with one of my instrumental tracks and recorded whatever came straight out of my heart. I wasn’t able to use the first take because I started crying right after I began singing, being overwhelmed by emotion.

Me: What did your parents think when you told them you wanted to move to America?

Airi: I think it was both surprising and not surprising at the same time. Before I came to America, I almost started working at a manufacturing company in my hometown, which, at the time, I felt was the right thing to do. But when I finally made up my mind to go to America to pursue my musical career, they thought it was actually in alignment with my passion. They had observed my love for music all my life and understood my passion and career goal, so they immediately supported my decision, which I am most thankful about.

Me: What do they think of your music?

Airi: They think it has evolved a lot over the past few years. They are happy to see me grow as a human being even before as an artist, which is reflected in my music.

Me: In Japan you performed on some commercials... did you act in them?

Airi: I was a dancer in several commercials.

Me: So, I have to ask, what do you think of the Japanese game shows?

Airi: Haha… it is funny you ask that. A couple of my American friends recently told me about some strange Japanese game show in which people swallow insects and that sounded bizarre to me. It is interesting to see how often people can be introduced to some of the most extreme parts of other cultures.

Me: Anyway, back to your music... you have a new single called "Fading." What's fading?

Airi: It is a song about a person who is confused about falling in love and tries his/her best to fight the emotion, so that the person won’t get hurt. I tried to capture the euphoric feeling of daydreaming, when you fall into a trance and everything around you begins to fade.

Me: You are working on a release called "Reasons of Love." Is that an album? What can you tell us about it, Airi?

Airi: It is an EP that I am working on. I named it after my name as an introduction of myself to the world. I also feel that if there is anything the world could use more of, it’s love.

Me: I have to ask about A3M... what does that mean?

Airi: A3M stands for Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches. A3M is affiliated with the Be The Match Registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.

Me: You sing on the charity song, right? What is the charity and how did you get to be a part of it? 

Airi: A3M is a charity that recruits potential marrow donors primarily from communities in Southern California. We did the charity song to raise more awareness of the marrow donation. A producer heard me singing and contacted me to see if I wanted to be a part of the project. I had lost my family member to leukemia, so I wanted to do something to help other people recover from it. The song was recorded both in Los Angeles and Korea. Most of the musicians were from Korea, and I was the only Japanese singer for the song.

Me: Also, I read you worked on the soundtracks for Chappie and Pitch Perfect 2. Did you sing on those, or were you behind the scenes?

Airi: I was an intern at a mastering studio where they mastered the soundtracks. When I listened to “Flashlight," the main song in Pitch Perfect 2, in the production booth for the first time, I immediately loved the song. I was very proud when they won the AMA award for the soundtrack. It feels great to be a part of something that is greater and give your best.

Me: Did you see those movies? I saw Chappie and thought it was great.

Airi: I haven’t personally seen the movie yet, but I was invited to the premiere of Pitch Perfect 2 and it was a great experience. Their arrangement of the songs was amazing. The music producer, Harvey Mason Jr. and other guests’ told stories about how they organized and orchestrated all those big hits, that was interesting, too.

Me: And what's this, you worked with the Foo Fighters? Doing what?

Airi: It was at the same mastering studio. They came to re-master some of their hit records, and I had the privilege of assisting the process.

Me: How was that experience?

Airi: I was really thrilled to be able to work with them. They were obviously a big client, and personally I cannot forget how nervous I was. Once, they had asked me to go purchase a pack of cigarettes for the client as a runner and I realized that the store would not sell it to me without my ID. It was my first time ever buying cigarettes, so I wasn’t aware that I would need my ID until the lady at the store told me so. So I ran back to the studio, got my ID, got the cigarettes, and gave them to the client. As an apology for the unexpected delay, I bought them a lighter from the store out of my own pocket. But they were all very nice people. They smiled and only took the cigarettes. The main actress of Pitch Perfect 2, Anna Kendrick, was an extremely hard worker, and I did my best at the studio too, so that we could really make a great production. I got to help work the tape machine for the first time, which was also a great experience.

Me: Okay, so, when will "Reasons of Love" be out and what else will you be working on?

Airi: We are currently planning towards a summer release, and will feature a new music video for one of the songs from the EP.

Me: Your beautiful song "Heartbeat" was featured on a DVD called "1," Airi. What is that DVD about?

Airi: The DVD is a collection of dance videos produced by a dance artist/ choreographer, Kento Mori featuring top dancers from around the world. It was released last year by Sony Music Japan International. My song was featured as the end roll theme. 

Me: How did you get to be a part of that?

Airi: Kento, being the biggest fan of my music for years, told me that he wanted to use the particular song in his DVD. So many great talents are featured in the DVD, so it was my honor to be a part of the project.

Me: Is that you playing piano on it?

Airi: No, it is not. I do play piano, but for that particular recording, I had an amazing pianist and friend of mine, Noriko Olling play it.

Me: Alright, I hope this was a fun interview for you, and I hope you come back soon when your next release comes out. Will you?

Airi: Oh, yes. This was a very satisfying experience and I’d be happy to return next time.

Me: Go ahead and plug your websites if you want. Airi: You can find out more about our upcoming releases on my official website,

Me: Thanks so much for being here. Please come back soon, Airi. Now how do you say "bye" in Japanese? 

Airi: Yes, thanks for having me. Jikai mo otanoshimini, matta ne!

That about it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and Airi Mori. There's not gonna be any entries of the Phile next Sunday or Monday as it's Easter, but the Phile will be back on April 3rd with Phile Alum Brian Sumner from The Sumner Brothers. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a great Easter.

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

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