Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pheaturing Phile Alum Martin Belmont

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. Happy World Chocolate Day from someone who is also naturally bitter. Let's start off with a horrible story about the TSA outdoing itself by beating up a half-blind teenage girl with a brain tumor. Hannah Cohen was flying home with her mother through Memphis International Airport in June when she set off an alarm at a TSA checkpoint. Hannah was returning from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, where she was undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. Hannah is currently impaired as a result of radiation treatment and the removal of the tumor, which left her partially deaf, blind and paralyzed.She became disoriented by the alarm and was confused by the TSA beginning a physical search. They interpreted her failure to cooperate as a threat, and slammed her to the ground. They arrested Hannah, though the charges were dropped once they realized they slammed a disabled cancer patient's head to the ground and drew blood. So they got one thing right that day. Naturally, the TSA and the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority are being sued. But Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority president and CEO Scott Brockman did have this to say regarding the matter: "Anybody can file anything, and we don't comment on active litigation. Clearly there are additional facts in this matter, and we won't comment until we address the litigation." That is correct. Anybody can file anything. And Hannah's mom filed a lawsuit which is seeking a "reasonable sum not exceeding $100,000 and costs." They're lucky she didn't sue for a cool million, because they'd probably get it.
Lord knows its hard out there for a good Christian woman to raise her daughter to have exemplary labia, but Twitter's newest (least) favorite person Jennifer Mayers will be damned if she doesn't try. To preach about sex-ruined labias to the masses, Mayers opted for a good old fashioned visual aid... a sloppy ham sandwich.

"The reasons I preach #Christianity," she writes. "My daughters represent the right. Taylor Swift's vagina represents the left."And she tagged Taylor Swift. For comment, presumably. Wooowww. Okay. There are so many things are wrong with this it's hard to start. First, is she slut-shaming Taylor Swift, as though having pre-marital sex can cause loose or external labia... it can't? Second, how closely is she monitoring her own daughter's vagina that she knows what it looks like? Third, if she is going to be preaching on this topic, she should know the vagina is, you know, internal and that the bread in this case would be the vulva and the ham the labia. How did it come to this? Fourth, I think she means the sandwich on the right represents her daughters vulva, and not that her daughter's vulva represents a sandwich. Naturally, this atrocious tweet caused the Twittersphere to go ape. Eesh. For everyone who suspects this woman could be a troll, her posts go back to April 2015. So, that's a lot of effort to finally drop a hot viral ham sammich tweet. Taylor Swift has yet to comment, and is probably too busy feeding Tom Hiddelston a ham sandwich to care.
Add "drunkorexia" to the list of things you may have done in college that you thought were a good idea at the time. This "rising trend" on college campuses, as "Science Daily" reports, is a non-medical term used to describe eating disordered behaviors, like anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating, combined with substance abuse, most often binge drinking. And according to a new study, it's growing and thriving on college campuses of America, because of course it is. In theory, drinking on an empty stomach might seem like a good idea. Alcohol hits your system faster with no food to soak it up, which means more bang for your buck! Plus, there's society's whole obsession with dieting and body image, on top of college culture's obsession with drinking to get drunk. Combine the two and wham! Drunkorexia. A cute word for a kind of scary phenomenon. In scientific terms, "drunkorexia refers to a complex pattern of drinking-related behaviors that take place before, during, and after a drinking event," Dipali V. Rinker, a research assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of Houston, told Science Daily. "College students appear to engage in these behaviors to increase alcohol effects or reduce alcohol-related calories by engaging in bulimic-type or diet/exercising/calorie/restricted eating behaviors." Drunkorexia​, which is both an alcohol disorder and an eating disorder, isn't anything new, say experts. "The effect is very well known and has been discussed and observed by many experts," Dr. Petros Levounis, chair of the department of psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told CBS News. What is new, according to this latest study from University of Houston, is that the behavior could be more common than previously thought. Researchers surveyed 1,184 college students, mostly from Texas, who said they had consumed alcohol heavily at least once in the past 30 days. And more than 80% said they had engaged in at least one drunkorexia-related behavior in three previous months, such as drinking to excess on an empty stomach or attempting to counteract the calorie intake of drinking with purging or extreme diet or exercise.​ Members of sororities or fraternities were at slightly higher risk of these behaviors, as were college athletes, said researchers. And interestingly, though eating disorders remain more prevalent among women, drunkorexia does not discriminate. "There were no gender differences for engaging in drunkorexia to increase the effects of alcohol or engaging in bulimic-type behaviors to compensate for alcohol-related calories," said Rinker. "In some cases, men were more likely to engage in bulimic-type and diet/exercising/calorie-restricted eating behaviors to reduce alcohol-related calories."​ She pointed out that this may be because college-aged men are more to abuse alcohol. Restricting calories while boozing heavily might seem good in theory, but without food to mediate the effects of booze, you are at higher risk for drinking-related injuries, alcohol poisoning, or worse, texting "u up?" to the contact in your phone labeled "DON'T TEXT HIM."
A new scientific study is sure to upset sugar addicts who also enjoy having a penis... apparently consuming large quantities of soda (or pop, if you're from an area where people speak incorrectly) may affect men's sexual potency. Men who drink a liter of carbonated sugar water a day could see their sperm count reduced by 30%, and put themselves at greater risk of erectile dysfunction. Researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital sampled the semen of 2,554 men and found that heavy soda drinkers had an average sperm count of 35 million per milliliter, as opposed to 56 million for guys who knew when to stop going back for free refills. Meanwhile, a separate study conducted at the Nicolaus Copernicus University and the Professor Franciszek Lukaszczyk Memorial Hospital in Poland (because Europe is obsessed with this, apparently) found that drinking soda was linked to erectile dysfunction. Maybe that's why they're called "soft" drinks. The scientists who conducted the latter study believe that a sweetener found in cola may damage the arteries of the penis, preventing it from inflating with blood like it's supposed to when you're all horned up. And even if you do manage to get erect, your semen may be as thin and clear as Crystal Pepsi, thanks to your lowered sperm count. The good news is that the researchers from both studies concluded that there's no danger to enjoying the occasional glass of soda. It's only when men consume excessive quantities on a daily basis that it becomes a problem. And as for women, there doesn't seem to be any sexual danger at all. Just the regular dangers: obesity, cavities, diabetes… but the sex will be fine.
Watching fireworks on TV is the Yule Log of summer, and for those who can't see fireworks from their home or are simply avoiding the outside, watching the popular "A Capitol Fourth" broadcast is a great way to be a patriot without leaving your couch. Every year, PBS shows a live broadcast of the fireworks straight from the nation's capital... but this year, viewers noticed that something was not quite right. People realized that not only did the weather in the footage seem different than the actual weather, but that the Capitol Building... which is currently under construction... seemed to be missing its scaffolding. This suggested that the "live" broadcast wasn't "live" at all. Finally, PBS released a statement via their @July4thPBS Twitter account to clear up the confusion.

Yep. Due to bad weather, PBS used recycled fireworks footage to trick people into thinking what they were seeing was the real deal, even though the whole broadcast was a big fat phony. It was really a lose/lose situation for PBS, who would have gotten complaints for broadcasting a bunch of clouds if they did it live, but still ended up getting complaints for using old footage. Oh, well. Everyone knows the best way to celebrate the birth of our nation is to complain over social media, anyway. It is the American way! Despite the backlash, the program (which has been broadcasting the fireworks show for the past 36 years) stuck to its guns in it's decision to use the old footage. Judging by the promotional picture for this year's event, is it any surprise that they ended up faking it?

Made on Windows 98. Haha.
Okay, so, one thing you might not know about me is I do not like breaking rules. Unlike these people...

Get outta that tree, you two! So, there's one thing I love about summer and that is the bikini... one of the best inventions ever. This year I am showing you some bikini pics with something not so sexy in the background. Like this one...

This is how you know a couple will last. Do you kids have a Fitbit? I was really thinking of getting one, now they have badges for lazy people...

So, Lay's just came out with three new flavors of potato chips for the summer, kids. Check them out...

Do you guys like video games? There's a brand new one that just came out.

Hmmm. Okay, it's Thursday and you know what that means.

Ugh! I do apologize. I hope you're not eating. Alright, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Ways That Starbucks Is Ripping You Off
5. Its luxurious coffee-shop aroma is actually an exclusive Glade Plug-In.
4. All money collected in its tip hats goes to buy more and bigger tip jars.
3. Starbucks "rewards"? The chance to work unpaid 12-hour shifts.
2. Their tins of Classic Mints are filled with aquarium gravel.
And the number one way that Starbucks is ripping you off is...
1. Two words: Folgers Crystals.

Years from now, when our children read about the 2016 Presidential election, the textbooks will chronicle how both candidates regularly threw shade and "clapped back" at one another on Twitter. That seems to be the situation we are in until the general election in November, so buckle up, folks. As reported earlier this week, Donald Trump tweeted an anti-Semitic image of Hillary Clinton over a backdrop of money, alongside the Star of David housing the words "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!" It was not subtle.

Trump justified the image by insisting that star in the picture is actually just a "Sheriff's star," which would be a funny explanation for a five-year-old who doesn't know any better, but is a pretty horrifying one for a grown man who wants to run the country. In the end, Trump's camp edited the image by crudely sticking a big circle over the star, but if you think that Trump can just "Let It Go" and move on from this scandal to focus on bigger things, you are obviously not well-versed in the ways of Donald Trump.

Yes, the man who wants to lead the free world brought adorable Disney movie Frozen into his anti-Semitic mess. He literally tweeted a pictured of a children's sticker book and asked the world where the outrage was. Donald, that inanimate object isn't trying to run the country. Hillary Clinton, or more accurately, whatever young intern runs her Twitter account for her, was probably anxiously awaiting another misstep from Trump, and was locked and loaded with the perfect response.

This was a parody of the song "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" from the movie, and if you have ever seen the film before, you definitely sang it as you read it. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a straw man is defined as "a weak or imaginary argument or opponent that is set up to be easily defeated." Hey, instead of a debate this year, maybe both candidates should hire writers to sling insults at one another over Twitter. It will be like the digital version of that show "Yo Mama," but much whiter.

If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. And now for some sad news...

Elie Wiesel 
September 30th, 1928 — July 2nd, 2016
Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, writer of 57 books. No scandals, affairs, controversies. I'm going to pass on this one. You guys have fun with it.

Scotty Moore 
December 27th, 1931 — June 28th, 2016
He was Elvis Presley's guitarist. If right now you are thinking "Elvis had a guitarist?", then you need a lot of researching to do. Don't talk to me.

Buddy Ryan 
February 17th, 1931 — June 28th, 2016
As a coach for the Houston Oilers, he punched another coach in the jaw after a fumbled snap. Not sure where the nickname "Buddy" comes from though.

Ralph Stanley 
February 25th, 1927 — June 23rd, 2016
The bluegrass legend is helping the green grass grow.

Okay, today's guest is a Phile Alum and a founding member of Graham Parker and the Rumour... one of my favorite bands ever. He is also the author of "The Songs of Three Chords Good and Mystery Glue." the 50th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome back to the Phile... Martin Belmont!

Me: Hi there, Martin, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Martin: Hello, Jason. I've been fine thanks.

Me: Your book "The Songs of Three Chords Good And Mystery Glue" is the 50th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. But before we talk about that, let's talk about Graham Parker and the Rumour. You guys released two new fantastic albums... "Three Chords Good" and "Mystery Glue" in the last few years. Did you know there would be only 2 albums, or were you surprised, Martin?

Martin: When we first got back together it was just to do an album. No thoughts of anything else apart from the totally unlikely invitation to play ourselves in a Hollywood movie which was filmed later the same year... 2011.

Me: When Graham called you originally and invited you and the other Rumour members to be on "Three Chords Good" what did you think? It was a long time you played with them.

Martin: When GP sent out the emails I thought... YES!!! No doubts.

Me: So, out of all the Graham Parker & The Rumour albums, which was is your favorite? 

Martin: My favourite GP&TR album before the reunion is "Squeezing Out Sparks" closely followed by "Howling Wind." Since the reunion I would add "Three Chords Good" AND "Mystery Glue" to my top four.

Me: Recently the band played their last show... what was that like? Do you think the band will ever play together again?

Martin: The last show was brilliant. We even had the three surviving members of the Rumour Horns play half a dozen numbers with us. But as it happens, The Rumour with Graham, on their worst show, was better than most other bands best! No, I don't think there will be any more live shows unless someone comes along with a large... make that very large... offer. It's uneconomical to tour with half the band living in the U.S. and half in the U.K. We may record another album though.

Me: As well as playing with Graham, you played with Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash and even George Harrison. I am guessing you were and are a big Beatles fan like I am. What was it like playing next to George? Were you nervous?

Martin: Playing next to George Harrison was one of the most memorable moments of my life. A BEATLE! Surreal as well.

Me: And what about playing with Johnny Cash? That must of been a cool experience. Was that fun? 

Martin: Playing with Johnny Cash was fantastic as well. I played a couple of studio tracks and was in a band backing the Carter Family and he got up and sang a few. And this was in a smallish club! Brilliant. Lovely man too. 

Me: Is there anybody you didn't play with that you would love to, Martin?

Martin: I always felt I should have played with Bob Dylan.

Me: Do you have favorite guitarist of all time?

Martin: I have several favourite guitarists. In no particular order: George Harrison, Scotty Moore, James Burton, Hubert Sumlin, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Robbie Robertson, Hank Marvin, Ry Cooder, Lowell George, Steve Cropper, Albert King, Grady Martin. There are many more but it could end up a very long list! These are the tops.

Me: Okay, let's talk about the book... when did you get the idea to write it?

Martin: I got the idea to write a book after the last tour. I always liked songbooks and written music and thought it could make a fitting momento of the Graham Parker and The Rumour reunion.

Me: When you came up with the idea and told Graham and the other guys what did they think? 

Martin: Graham was all for it and the other guys thought it was a fine idea.

Me: I purchased the book from Amazon and really like it. I liked how the band members wrote their own pieces. Was it easy to get them to do it?

Martin: No, it wasn't hard to get everybody to contribute. I asked each of The Rumour to pick two songs (one from each album) and give me their thoughts about them... in any way they liked... technical... humorous... whatever their feelings and/or memories.

Me: How long did it take you to put together?

Martin: I started it in November '15 and it was on sale towards the end of March '16.

Me: The photos in it are pretty cool... there's even a photo of Graham without his sunglasses. That's rare, isn't it, Martin?

Martin: I wanted lots of photos but ones that hadn't been published or used before. So there are a lot of them that were taken on phones in the studios and various places during the five years of the reunion. Graham without his sunglasses is his idea of "incognito"!

Me: Haha. The book looked like it was easy to put together, but was it?

Martin: A lot of work went into putting it together. I did all the songs, notation, tablature and between myself and John Howells we picked the photos and John put all the pages I sent to him and turned it into a book. It was the proof reading over and over again, finally thinking you have checked it all and their are no typos or mistakes in the music and then you find that something you have looked at many many times is spelt wrong or is the wrong note. It seemed to go on forever! We got there in the end though.

Me: Have you had anybody ask if you would come out with books like this about prior Graham Parker and The Rumour albums?

Martin: I think there may have been a suggestion or two on FB for a book of the songs of other  albums but that's par for the course. Whatever you do some one thinks of something else you could do! I have thought about maybe trying a "Squeezing Out Sparks" book but we'll have to see if I can be bothered!

Me: So, have you been playing many shows lately? Doing solo stuff?

Martin: I mostly play in duo's these days. It's the only way you can make money and it is much simpler logistically. I have a duo with Phil Rambow who had a band called The Winkies around the same time as Ducks Deluxe and we played together in a country/rockabilly band called The Tex Pistols around the late 80s. Sean Tyla and myself play together in a duo called Redux Deluxe... Duck's songs reimagined for a duo format. I have just finished a weeks recording with My Darling Clementine whose first album I played on and was in their road band on and off for around five years. They are Michael Weston King and his wife Lou Dalgleish and they sing and write really fine songs. Country but these recordings have a strong soul and pop approach. Don't know when it will be out or on what label but keep your eyes open for that one. The two of them were the guest act on some of GP and Brinsley's east coast shows last month.

Me: I don't know if you know but it's this blog's 10th anniversary and I am asking my alum what they were doing ten years ago in 2006. What were you doing back then?

Martin: In 2006 I was playing with some of the same people I work with now. I moved into the flat I live in now in 2006. The last thing on my mind was the thought of GP and The Rumour playing together again.

Me: Martin, thanks again for being back on the Phile. I am glad your book is the 50th to be pheatured. Is there anything thing you would like to plug?

Martin: So, I have nothing else to plug. Please all check out the book on and You don't have to play to enjoy it. There is loads of other stuff in it apart from the songs!

Me: That's true.I don't play and I loved it. Take care, and please come back on the Phile again soon. All the best.

Martin: Thanks and happy 10th anniversary.

That about does it for this entry. It's way past my bedtime. Haha. Thanks to Martin for a great interview. He's so fantastic! The Phile will be back next Monday with Christopher Pappas from Miracle Parade. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Tooting is the best!

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

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