Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pheaturing Benjamin Hackman From The Holy Gasp

Hi there, kids, and welcome to the Phile. How are you? What's going on? Well, "The People v. O.J. Simpson" is so popular, the LAPD is investigating the case again. The miniseries has so far been a critical and commercial success, and now new evidence is being investigated, perhaps so there can be a second season. First reported by TMZ, but confirmed by the "Los Angeles Times" so it's officially legit, the LAPD is currently testing a knife that was found on O.J. Simpson's Brentwood property. A construction worker discovered it and turned it over to a nearby cop, who apparently brought it home and kept it for years. That cop retired from the LAPD this year and finally told a friend in the Homicide Division about it. TMZ reports, "Our sources say the knife is currently being tested for hair and fingerprints. It will be moved to the Serology Unit next week, where it will be tested for DNA and other biological evidence," to see if it can be linked to the brutal 1994 double homicide. The LAPD held a press conference confirming that this knife was indeed found, and explaining that the cop held onto it because he thought the case was closed. It wasn't. In 1995, the prosecution never produced the murder weapon. The defense claimed to have done so with a famous "mystery envelope," but later forensic evidence found that it was in pristine condition with no indications of usage. This folding buck knife just might prove what the Court of Public Opinion has ruled for decades, and since O.J. was officially found not guilty... in that unofficial court it's an open case. But regardless of the forensic findings, The Juice couldn't be prosecuted again because in the real legal system that's called double jeopardy. Also, who knows? Maybe the LAPD planted it like they could have done with the gloves.
Five women in New York have filed a class-action lawsuit to strongly urge lawmakers in New York to lift the tax on tampons and other sanitary products for women. The women point out in the suit that certain "necessary" hygiene products like "Rogaine, foot powder, dandruff shampoo, Chapstick, facial wash, adult diapers, and incontinence pads are not taxed," but tampons and pads are. Since tampons and sanitary pads are necessities for many women (and Rogaine maybe isn't a necessity for anybody), the women say that the say the tax on tampons is an unfair tax on women. The group who filed the joint suit includes mathematician Catherine O'Neil, photographer Natalie Brasington, and Margo Seibert, co-founder of Racket. According to CBS News, "Racket is a women's advocacy group which encourages women to embrace their periods while promoting menstrual cycle resources and wellness." “A tax on tampons and sanitary pads is a tax on women,” the suit states. “Defendants should be required to follow the law, and return the many millions of dollars they took illegally at the expense of women’s health.” ABC7NY reported that "women spend $70 a year on tampons and pads, and New York State collects $14 million." These American women aren't the first to fight tampon taxes. Across the globe, supporters have already protested for a ban on tampon taxes in places like Paris and Britain. They say take your tax and shove it.
One of my favorite stores is Whole Foods, but there's now backlash against the backlash over Whole Foods' pre-peeled oranges. Let me explain... Whole Foods has a reputation for being an expensive "healthy" grocery store that sells things that aren't always necessary, like $6 asparagus water. But no one saw this peeled oranges catastrophe coming. The Twittersphere went off when Nathalie Gordon tweeted out a picture of pre-peeled oranges being sold in plastic containers at a Whole Foods in California, The Huffington Post reported. The response was fiery. Why on earth would Whole Foods do such a thing, people wondered out loud. Whole Foods soon responded to the PR disaster and apologized in a direct reply to Gordon's inciting tweet. Whole Foods' tweet noted that the product has been taken out of stores. And yet, some on Twitter are unhappy with the initial negative reaction against the oranges. These people are arguing for the pre-peeled oranges, because they're easier on some people with disabilities, plus the plastic container is recyclable. It's a rare example of Twitter outrage triggering Twitter outrage that's prompting people to think about the needs of others (instead of just prompting more outrage). And all because of oranges.
Ladies, if you want to breastfeed your child at a Bernie Sanders rally, he won't mind. In fact, he might actually commend you on fulfilling your motherly duties, as he commended Margaret Ellen Bradford at a recent rally in Ohio. The Cleveland mother had taken her six-month-old daughter, Harper, to the event and nursed her when the infant exhibited signs of being hungry. Bradford found out a photographer had taken a picture of her and Harper after it had already gone viral. In a Facebook post addressed to Ellen DeGeneres (who Bradford hopes will help her obtain a photo of Harper with Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders), Bradford explains her interaction with the candidate, "This past week my daughter and I got to attend a U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders' rally. While there, she got hungry like babies do, and unbeknownst to me at the time a reporter took this photo of us. After the rally, Bernie and Jane O'Meara Sanders both thanked me for doing what mothers do and taking care of my daughter when she needed her mom, even if that meant nursing in public!" Bradford's comment under the same post revealed that the surge of support also came with a lot of hate mail. "I can't tell you all how much this support means. I've been trying to stay positive but honestly I've cried 3 times already from some of the hateful messages I've received, telling me my daughter should be taken or that I'm just an uneducated lowlife hick. I was starting to lose it and considering taking the picture sown. To know I have so much support keeps me going." She "sown" instead of "down." Anyway, unfortunately, mothers receiving flack for breastfeeding in public isn't anything new (*cough* Trump *cough*), but Bernie himself caught wind of the viral photo and took to Twitter to reiterate his support for mothers. Bradford is taking the high road and twisting the situation into a way that best helps her candidate of choice via the new and phonetically satisfying #BoobsforBernie. Bernie may have a lot of boobs sliding into his DMs today, and he deserves every one of them.
Donald Trump's campaign just got busted for almost definitely photoshopping the skin of a white model on his website to look darker. On Thursday, Eric Ming, the digital director for Donna Edwards' Senate campaign, tweeted the side-by-side images above. As Jezebel reports, the left image is from Trump's online shop, while the right image is from a custom print store called jcgapparel. Even worse than digitally changing someone's skin color, the Photoshop job itself is atrocious. Humans usually have things like shadows and highlights on their skin, which show up in pictures to keep them from looking like someone just covered them everywhere uniformly with a bucket of paint. On Thursday, Eric Ming, the digital director for Donna Edwards' Senate campaign, tweeted these side-by-side images...

As Jezebel reports, the left image is from Trump's online shop, while the right image is from a custom print store called Even worse than digitally changing someone's skin color, the Photoshop job itself is atrocious. Humans usually have things like shadows and highlights on their skin, which show up in pictures to keep them from looking like someone just covered them everywhere uniformly with a bucket of paint. As Trump has bragged, he has "a great relationship with the blacks" (you know, "the blacks.") Maybe someone should let "the blacks" know that, though, so he can find someone willing to wear one of his shirts? The Trump campaign didn't respond to Jezebel's request for comment, but they did change the model's skin color again... she's lighter now, but still darker than she was initially. And at least she appears to have dimensions. It's still TERRIBLE photoshopping, though... just look at her neck, where her skin appears to be overlapping the shirt.

What Trump should worry about is having a great relationship with his graphic editors.
Speaking of Donald Trump, did you see his latest campaign poster?

I love it. He must be a Star Wars fan? You know who else is a Star Wars fan it seems? Marco Rubio!

He looks like he is having so much fun. So, last week Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar which a lot of people talked about and were excited about... but no one mentioned what he did up on stage when he received it...

Good job, Leo. Last week Facebook revealed some new "reactions" emoticons and like I said, I think they got just a little to specific.

I can use that one a number of times. Did you notice a lot of magazines out there like to show you what celebrities look like with and without their makeup? Well, here on the Phile I like to do the same.

Hahaha. That's probably the best one yet. So, I have been showing you for weeks now why presidential candidates shouldn't pose with kids. Like, for example, when Bernie Sanders nailed the attentive grandfather pose with this kid.

Do you miss Jeb? I do. I miss his disappointed look on his face, like the time he realized McDonald's had already stopped serving breakfast.

Hey, Jeb, now you can get breakfast all day long. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive People Who Are Binge-Watching "House Of Cards."
5. Fans of "Fuller House" who will binge-watch anything with "House" in the title.
4. Lovers of God-awful fake Southern Carolina accents.
3. Kate Mara fans, fervently hoping for her return as a vengeful zombie.
2. Dimwitted gamblers who thought the show was about poker.
1. Gary... who simply refuses to pace himself.

Bud Collins 
March 4th, 2016
Aaaaaaand, that's match.

George Kennedy 
February 18th, 1925 — February 29th, 2016
Can't we go one year without a Kennedy dying?

Oh, boy. Haha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Alright, my son os visiting from Pennsylvania and we were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together which is now a whole different show now that it's on HBO. So, here's a pheature called...

"Bert, I will only allow you to shove one finger up my dick hole. I know you have a kink of that shit, But I was pissing blood for weeks."

House of Cards
"House of Cards" is an American political drama about a highly fictionalized world in which elected officials actually get things done.

Okay, today's guest is the lead singer for the Canadian duo The Holy Gasp whose new single "The Mating Song" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Benjamin Hackman.

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

Benjamin: Hi, Jason! Thanks so much! I'm great. How are you?

Me: I'm doing pretty good. So, can I call you Ben, or do you prefer Benjamin?

Benjamin: I prefer Benjamin. Thanks for checking.

Me: You're from Canada, right? Let me guess... you know Adam Bentley. Why does every musician in Canada know Adam?!

Benjamin: Well, Jason, in reality, you probably just hear from Canadians who employ Adam to do their PR, and you're getting press releases from Adam about the bands he represents.

Me: Ahhhh. I have to get him on the Phile again. He's been here a few times when the Rest was a band. If I interview him again, what should I ask him?

Benjamin: I really have no idea. Probably something relevant to a project he's working on, and for which he's requesting relevant press.

Me: Good point. Okay, so, ever since I had Canadian guests on the Phile I asked them if they were fans of one of my favorite bands... Barenaked Ladies. Are you a fan?

Benjamin: No. Not at all.

Me: Oh. Okay. So, what part of Canada are you from?

Benjamin: Toronto.

Me: Did you grow up there, sir? That's where BNL is from!

Benjamin: I grew up in Toronto, yes.

Me: Okay, so, there's two of you in The Holy Gasp, Benjamin. I thought you two were brothers at first as you look similar... but you're not, right?

Benjamin: We're not brothers, no.

Me: So, who is the other member?

Benjamin: The other member is Sebastian Shinwell.

Me: Your music has a lot going on for two people, so do you have more people in the band?

Benjamin: We tour as a quintet, but the writing happens mainly between Sebastian and myself.

Me: You sing, right? Do you also play guitar?

Benjamin: Uh... yeah, I sing. And no... I don't play guitar.

Me: What does Sebastian do? He plays guitar?

Benjamin: Sebastian plays guitar. Do you really feel like you couldn't have worked these last two questions out on your own? This information is widely accessible.

Me: Alright then. So, which one of you named the band. It's a great name, Benjamin. Where did it come from?

Benjamin: I named the band. My wife, who is a liberal gasper, inspired it. I liked the idea of a band not being the subject of the gasp, nor the gasper in question, but the sound of the gasp itself... the audio manifestation of something awesome and incredible.

Me: So, which one of you write the songs or do you both do?

Benjamin: I write the words and music and Sebastian arranges and orchestrates.

Me: How long have you two known each other?

Benjamin: We met in 2012.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new single "The Mating Song." Like I said, there's a lot going on with this music. It might as well be called "The Fucking Song." What's the inspiration behind it?

Benjamin: What I'm attempting to sort out in "The Mating Song" is how men can be better feminists and still express baser, carnal inclinations. As the culture shifts slowly towards greater levels of gender equality, many men are struggling to find healthy and consensual expressions of lust. Deciding which aspects of our sexuality need to be overcome and removed from our repertoires, and which ones are healthy and in need of reconciliation is a challenging problem. "The Mating Song" tackles this issue in some way or another, and gives voice to that little ooga booga in all of us which cannot be ignored, but needs to be kept in balance in the fight against patriarchy.

Me: Will you be making a video to go with it, Benjamin?

Benjamin: Um... yeah. It was included with the press release we sent you.

Me: I love your prior release which was the album "The Last Generation of Love." You write some interesting music. I can't imagine who your influences are... Frank Zappa if I had to guess.

Benjamin: Frank Zappa is definitely an inspiration, as is Tom Waits, Nick Cave, the Cramps, B-52s and Dead Kennedys. We also borrow a lot from film scores and TV theme songs.

Me: How long have you been writing and recording, Benjamin?

Benjamin: Since I was a child. I've always written songs.

Me: I love how you describe your music as "It's like a bunch of hopped up junkies singing 'Surfin' Bird' with a bad case of the shits." What were you on when you came up with that or did someone else come up with it?

Benjamin: I was on my computer when I came up with that.

Me: So, are you guys gonna be coming out with a new album that "The Mating Song" will be on?

Benjamin: Yes, we are in the process of putting a new album together. We hope to share it by the autumn, but it's hard to say for certain when our fans can expect it.

Me: You guys are gonna be touring... what is a typical The Holy Gasp show like?

Benjamin: It's like going to a venue where music is performed live. You pay a bit of money, you order a drink, perhaps, you stand around and watch a band. Maybe you dance. Hopefully you like the performance so much you introduce yourself to the band and buy an album, and then you go home and sleep, or maybe out for a slice of pizza before the night's over.

Me: Oh, like  typical show. Haha. Okay, so, on the single cover, is that you? I am glad it's not both you and Sebastian in bed. Hahaha.

Benjamin: Yep, it's me. Why are you glad it's not both of us?

Me: Ummm... two hairy guys in bed... never mind. Alright, so, what's next for you guys?

Benjamin: We're on tour this March in Ontario and Quebec, and again in July to the east coast. We're working on new material and trying to finish an album.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, I hope it was fun. Go ahead and plug your website if you like and please come back when tour next release comes out. Continues success.

Benjamin: Thanks so much for having me! You can follow us on just about every social media platform that exists, and purchase our music everywhere digital music is sold online.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Benjamin Hackman for a great interview. I think he probably thinks I'm an idiot though. Haha. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer Danae. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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

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