Hey there, welcome to the Phile once again for a Monday. How are you, kids? Let's start with a story about North Korea banning sarcasm. Shocking. Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un has just banned all sarcasm about himself or his regime, because he totally loves freedom of speech. According to independent.co.uk, functionaries were asked to disseminate the message: there will be no criticism of the leader in any conversation.“One state security official personally organized a meeting to alert local residents to potential ‘hostile actions’ by internal rebellious elements,” a source in Jagang Province told Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service. Wait, how can they tell if a resident is mocking the regime or being, like, totally serious when they say how great Kim Jong Un's new haircut is? Apparently, the Grand Pooh Bah himself has sussed out specific offending remarks, like a “A fool who cannot see the outside world,” a commonly used phrase in N. Korea that just might refer to the glorious leader himself. Calling Kim Jong Un a fool doesn't seem so much like sarcasm as it does straight judgment, but maybe we can chalk up the confusion to the fact that Un has probably never had to experience criticism in person. In which case, will someone please explain to him that it isn't sarcasm when I say, "You're oppressing your people, idiot."
A physician for Hillary Clinton says that the presidential candidate is being treated for pneumonia. Apparently, the presidential candidate has been taking antibiotics since Friday. This statement comes after Clinton was seen leaving a ceremony commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks in lower Manhattan. Initially, Clinton's campaign claimed the former Secretary of State had "overheated" during the event before abruptly departing. It was only revealed later in the day that Clinton has been receiving treatment for an infection. On one hand, she works even when sick. On the other hand, it's a little shady that her team wasn't more honest about her sudden illness. Clinton spent time recuperating at her daughter Chelsea's New York apartment before being seen again, in good spirits. Trump supporters were quick to jump on this story for many reasons, none of them being genuine concern for the health of a woman. But, mostly, Trump supporters were happy to not have to explain recently resurfaced interview from Sept. 11th 2001 of their candidate gloating about how a building he owns is back to being the tallest in lower Manhattan. So that's the political news today: one candidate made a dramatic exit from a memorial ceremony that fed unsubstantiated rumors that she is harboring untreatable health problems. Meanwhile, audio evidence revealed that the other candidate can't help but make every issue, including unfolding national tragedy, about him. This will continue to unfold for the next eight weeks. Hopefully, we'll all get through this.
A hopeful romantic on the Internet... no, not Tom Hanks... is looking to court Hollywood Sweetheart Meg Ryan and make a real life rom com. Nick (which also happens to be her ex-husband Dennis Quaid's character's name in The Parent Trap… coincidence?), a humble man of 38 years, posted a Craigslist Missed Connection to see if anyone out there had a connection to Ryan.
The Missed Connection is rather tender, filled with smiley emoticons rather than Craigslist's more common "8===>" ones, but the aloofness of the "lol"s is embarrassing for all involved. Nick knows it's far-fetched, but he's seen enough Meg Ryan movies (or read enough of "The Secret") to know that good things will come if he "[puts] this out there in the world and [sees] what comes back." A simple Google search of "Meg Ryan single" suggests that she is unattached, having recently split with John Cougar Mellencamp. This wouldn't be the first time somebody who looks like Meg Ryan falls in love with a stranger, but it would be the first time it wasn't with Tom Hanks. If rom com rules apply, what happens next is obvious... Ryan will hear about this post from a chatty sidekick (a Carrie Fisher or a Rosie O'Donnell), and while apprehensive at first, she'll begin to chat conservatively with Nick before realizing that they understand each other ways in nobody else can. After chatting for a long time, the two will summon the courage to meet, and it'll be the first day of the rest of their lives. Maybe I should write a Missed Connection and try to meet Kelly Clarkson.
Well, here is a "stranger thing" for you. Chelsea Handler had Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo and Millie Bobby Brown, some of the kids who star in "Stranger Things," on her Netflix show "Chelsea" on Thursday. During their interview, Handler told the preteens that if they drink coffee, which Brown and Matarazzo admitted they do, they will become alcoholics. Well, she would know. Of course, Handler's comments were made in jest, and only because she is not really the type of person slated to interview young, innocent minds. The look on Brown's face once she finds out she's headed down the "Chelsea Handler" path was pretty hilarious, though. After the interview, Chelsea played a fake "anti-child" PSA that ended with the tagline, "Kids. They're not that great." You can decide whether that was on purpose or not.
Air China apologized to frequent flyers and a huge chunk of the population for a straight-up racist "warning" in their in-flight magazine.
Air China would likely advise its travelers to fear the MAYOR of London, Sadiq Khan, a Brit with Pakistani parents. The airline decided to apologize for its fear-mongering about spooky ethnic minorities. "As a civil aviation tourist magazine, 'Wings of China' has always been trying to present the local cultures and customs to our vast readers, and eager to exploit the beauty of the world along with our readers. The inappropriate expressions in the article are merely the mistakes made by the editors, and by no means represent the views of the magazine... We also would love to send sincere apologies via Air China to all the readers and passengers who feel uncomfortable because of this." Take precautions when traveling to China, lest you run into the racist writer for the in-flight magazine. Or, don't make such generalizations at all.
I mentioned Kim Jong Un at the top of the entry... and wanted t say he is looking slightly different nowadays.
"I was born ready. I'm Kim fucking Jong-un." Haha. I was changing the channel on the TV the other day and I caught something that was strange on "Wheel of Fortune."
Strange. At least it's not the Giants. Did you ever play with PlayMobil's when you were a kid? I always waanted them but there's sooo many. Like this set for example...
There's one thing I noticed about this election year, and that is the graphic department is trolling Donald Trump. Check it out.
That is 100% real, people. I don't know if you know this, and why would you, unless you know me, but I carry an EpiPen on myself all times just in case I get stung ever by a hornet, wasp, bee, fellow jacket, red jacket, blue jacket or whatever. Anyway, I was surprised when I found out about the obscene price increase of EpiPen. Mylan, the manufacturer of EpiPen even has a new logo.
Ha! So, it's back to school season and this month I am showing you awkwards pics of kids on their first day back at school.
Red, white, and outta sight! Last Wednesday, Apple held its semi-annual Special Event, in which the tech giant introduces its new slate of shiny gadgets and explains why they're so much better than the versions you just spent thousands of dollars on. It's always a hoot.Despite some exciting announcements, this year's event was tinged with controversy. Apple confirmed the dreaded rumors that the iPhone 7 would dispense with the headphone jack in favor of (included) wireless earbuds called Air Pods. Old-fashioned wired headsets will still work, but only with a special adapter. If you're one of the many people who were shocked and dismayed by this news, you may have a short memory. This is hardly the first time Apple has blindsided fans with disappointing product announcements. So, I thought I would come up with a new pheature showing the worst offenses in the history of the House that Jobs Built. So, here's...
That has to be one of the worst graphics ever by the way, and the longest pheature name. Anyway...
The Lightning cable (2012)
They called it "lightning" because so many people got burned. At 2012's keynote, Apple introduced the iPhone 5, blowing our minds with its 4-inch screen and LTE support (were we ever so young?). But fans were outraged at the announcement that it would require a new piece of equipment for charging and wired communication: the Lightning cable. Replacing the long-standing 30-pin connector, Lightning would be the new standard for all subsequent Apple products, meaning all previous cables were immediately obsolete unless you bought... you guessed it... an adapter. Sensing a pattern?
If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, so, there's a guy that wanted to come onto the Phile and tell a joke. The only problem is he's sold, no one understands what he's saying. But, as I;m pretty old myself, I do understand... and could translate. So, please welcome once again to the Phile...
Me: Hello, Alan, welcome back to the Phile. So, let's hear today's joke.
Alan: Old Lady Lovejoy, aged just threescore, whose lusty footboy rode behind before, is in a fit of fondness grown so kind, He rides within who rode before behind.
Me: Hmmm. That's a joke? Anyway, what Alan is trying to say is... A 60-year-old lady started screwing her horny footboy, so now instead of riding on the back of her carriage, he rides inside her vagina. Ha! Alan, it's political season, so, do you have a political joke for us?
Alan: Politics consist of two sides and a fence.
Me: Very good. That's hardly a joke though. Any other jokes real quick?
Alan: A man chiding his wife told her, that she could call nothing hers but herrRing, fillet and hair-lace, nay, her very breech was none of hers. Which the good and harmless woman understanding one night, let something drop into the bed, which he having found out by the smell, ask'd her what was the cause of her so doing: She told him, that whilst she thought her breech hers, she had command over it; but being his, she could not rule another body's arse.
Me: Okay, no one will understand that. Here's what Alan is trying to say... A husband says he owns his wife's butt, so she shits in their bed and says she's not responsible because she doesn't own her ass. Good job, Alan. Alan Raglafart, the 100 year old comedian, everyone. Okay, and now for...
Top Phive Reasons Why The Price Of EpiPens Increased
5. Extensive market research showed that people are willing to pay a little more to make sure that they don't suffocate and die.
4. It was felt that parents spend so much on back to school shopping, they won't even note an extra $600.
3. Users could die at any moment... so it's important to squeeze them for as much money as possible while they still can.
2. Mylan execs were hoping to make enough money to buy that Wu-Tang album off pharma-douche Martin Shkreli.
And the number one reason the price pot EpiPens increased is...
1. The board members were really wanted to see the "New York Post" headline "EpiPen-sive!"
Zari reads one more verse in the Quran before she straps on her suicide vest.
Today's guest is a Phile Alum whose latest album was “Entheogenic Dharma Music," and is available to buy as a CD on his website. Please welcome back the Phile, the always entertaining and spiritual... Lee Negin.
Me: Leeeee!!!! Hello, sir, welcome to the Phile once again. How have you been?
Lee: JAAAAAAAyson!!!! Please either call me Lee or Sir Lee (I'm often called Surly). You are American, so you can dispense with my title. Just like last night, when Paul rang me for advice (he needed the middle 8 for his new track, and John has left the building) and I called him Sir Paul. He said, "Mate, call me Billy! We go way back!" So, there you have it. Then I heard Kanye in the background shouting, "Tell Lee I'm a genius!" and Kim whispering, "Lee... Kanye found out about us... he saw the tapes!" and I hung up. Oh... yes... I've been trying to keep the dream lucid, thank you.
Me: Huh? Hahaha. I'm British by the way. Anyway. Last time I interviewed you here back in January you were living in Tokyo. Are you still living there?
Lee: Indeed, as we speak. This weekend I am moving near Yokohama (near Tokyo).
Me: Is there a buzz there about the summer Olympics being there in 2020?
Lee: No, not at all. Lots of financial scandals, and the Rio nightmare just ended. Four years is a long way off, and Japan has more pressing things to consider (like missiles being lobbed at us by Fat Boy Kim, people in Fukushima STILL living in temporary, cramped housing, typhoons smacking us left and right, etc.).
Me: Did you watch any of the Olympics this year? You're not a sports fan I don't think, right?
Lee: I don't have a TV, and you're right. I like playing sports more than watching. I feel the same way about porno!
Me: Lee, you are a pretty smart, and wise person with a lot of deep thoughts. So, I have to ask you... there's a crazy election going on this year in the states? Are you glad you are overseas? Haha.
Lee: Crazy erection you say? At my age, I'll take what comes up! Yes, but for more reasons than just the erection, They come and go.
Me: No, election. So, what is your take on it?
Lee: There's an ancient Chinese proverb I am quite fond of, and it is quite apropos to this situation: "Shit makes the corn grow." I want to keep this interview positive so I won't tell you my opinion... which no one cares about, and rightly so. Furthermore, as a part-time Buddhist it behooves me to (UK equals behoves) remind people of the one (and only) thing we can all be sure of: this amalgam of discursive thinking imprisoned in a mobile flesh-sack is going to "die." Fact. So, don't be distracted by the shadow play. Better to spend what little time you have coming to terms with your impending cessation, in whatever way brings you peace of mind and freedom from fear. Politics is just another distraction, and we prefer living in denial (about our inevitable "death"). Dig that! However, I have to share this charming family photo of The Donnie, with his daughter Ivanka and their son. In-breeding will tell!
Lee: My last comment about the erection. A great Zen saying, "The only thing left to do now is have a good laugh."
Me: True. What do they think of Trump, or Clinton or the election in Japan? Do you know?
Lee: Although Japan is a very homogeneous country, I cannot tell you what "they" think. However, in general, Japanese are pretty apolitical, especially when it concerns a foreign country. Furthermore, it is a very non-confrontational culture, so politics is not a popular topic of conversation (watch the fist-fights at Trump rallies). I know Americans find it hard to believe, but not everyone in the world cares about your internal affairs, even a tawdry one such as this.
Me: You are a professor, Lee, but you weren't teaching in Tokyo, is that right?
Lee: No, I am teaching. No choice in the matter. As I've said many a time, just as video killed the radio star, Internet has all but killed the 'recording artist,' which is my gig. Meaning: no teaching equals no eating!
Me: Alright, let's talk about your new music... you have a CD out called "Entheogenic Dharma Music." What does that title mean, Lee?
Lee: As you know, EDM is a genre of music quite popular these days with the youngsters (electronic dance music). Ninety-nine point nine percent of it is just mindless, vapid disco with the intent of genital stimulation (check the scene in The Matrix where Morpheus makes a speech to the people of Zion, and then they all start dancing and it becomes an orgy. LOL. Looks like a club in Ibiza)! EDM. My challenge was to make my version of EDM, something with a bit more thematic substance and intent, danceable but also suitable for good headphones in a dark room, with eyes closed and a bowl of herbs. As Grace Slick said, "Feed your head." Entheogenic refers to "a chemical substance, typically of plant origin, that is ingested to produce a nonordinary state of consciousness for religious or spiritual purposes." So, marijuana, mushrooms, peyote, MDMA, etc. Dharma is a Sanskrit term used in many Indian religious traditions. As a part-time Buddhist, I use the term in the Buddhistic sense: "In Buddhism (termed dhamma), it is interpreted as universal truth or law, especially as proclaimed by the Buddha" And music means music. So, the intent of the music on this album is reflected in the title.
Me: How long did it take for you to come up with that title?
Lee: Several lifetimes.
Me: The CD was a physical CD with only a 100 made, am I right? Why did you decide to go that route?
Lee: I'm an idealistic gluton for self-inflicted pain and financial loss. So I chose the route of most resistance!
Me: I love CD's and vinyl myself... are you a record buyer or do you like to download music better?
Lee: I loved vinyl and CDs, and that is still my chosen art form (I make albums, not collections of singles). However, I stopped buying music years ago, and stopped listening to music (except the noize I make) many years ago. There are many reasons for this. It's not unusual for seasoned musicians. In the formative stages, when learning my craft, I was a voracious consumer of music. I have hundreds of albums (vinyl) and CDs, and used to attend concerts frequently. Downloading music is dying now, too (and I was never a fan of it. The quality is shit and the artists get ripped-off big time). Streaming is the deal now, which is even worse for artists as far as making money. The largest downloading 'store' in the world is iTunes. Apple announced a few weeks ago that they will phase out iTunes over the next couple of years and focus solely on streaming... one of the reasons they paid far too much money for shitty quality headphones (Beats). Streaming means more money for Apple, Spotify, etc. and less money for musicians.
Me: The artwork for your releases are always so detailed and very colorful. Who did the artwork for the latest CD? He's British, right?
Lee: Yes, he is an ex-EU British geezer! His name is Bill Brouard, an incredible visionary graphic artist. Actually, I chose this image (he sent me many to use for my projects) and designed a cover from it (added the lettering, done by a Japanese artist I know). So, it was't originally created to be used as this album cover. I think it's suitable for the image/message of this album. He goes by the name Visual Alchemy.
Me: How did you meet him?
Lee: I was introduced. I have been friends for many years with one of the U.K.'s leading collage artists (he did the cover for my recent single, "Frack Art, Let's Dance"). His wife started a business a couple of years ago, selling merchandise at music festivals in the U.K. with images by a select group of artists. She asked me if I'd like to be represented by her (she sells merchandise, like mugs, t-shirts, etc. with some of my artwork on them, as well as other artists). So, I have been working with her in that capacity. madmuglady.co.uk/lee-negin.php#!/LEENEGIN/c/12689203/offset=0&sort=normal. She was working a festival last year, when she espied a very "eccentric looking fellow" walking toward her "booth," a modified hippie bus. Apparently he was wearing a top hat and tails, and had a walking stick!? Perhaps all in white (memories are tricky). In any case, this eccentric fellow approached her and he was carrying a portfolio. He said something about 'these are a few of my artworks, maybe you'll like them." After she found her eyes again (they popped out of her head), she asked him if he had any more like them. He replied "Yes, hundreds." She knows I like to collaborate with talented visual artists for posters, album covers and visuals for my live gigs, so she hooked us up, he and I exchanged emails, he checked me out and he sent me many images to use at my discretion.
Me: I watched your latest video for the song "In the Lucid Moments." I love the imaginary, Lee. Your music is very visual... did you make the video yourself?
Lee: Thank you! Yes, I "made" the video. I edit images together from many sources, including my group of great graphic artists, stock footage I subscribe to (a business; for a monthly subscription fee you get access to a lot of cool stock footage) and archival films and other works that are either Common Copyright (free to use) or the Copyrights have already expired (so, no, I'm not ripping anyone off. Besides, YouTube is very serious about that sort of thing and they regularly check and remove videos that rip off images). I will be releasing a new video soon that I actually made with my cool HD video camera. Another track from "Entheogenic Dharma Music." Stay tuned! youtube.com/user/passingphasemusic.
Me: Last time you were here you were planning on a tour, or doing some shows. Did that happen? How did they go?
Lee: Not yet. Actually, I was offered a live concert in Tokyo on August 28th, but had to turn it down. Bummer.
Me: I think I asked you this before, but you play a lot of instruments... which instrument was your first?
Lee: My mother told me that I was quite a gassy baby, so I guess you could say I played the flatulence horn first. She said I was quite creative, rather like a farting prodigy! Too bad they didn't have samplers then. She could have sampled me and I could do ambient pieces based on a methane tone poem.
Me: What instrument do you prefer to play?
Lee: Accordion and electric-kazoo (together). I love polkas and Benny Hill! I put them through a stack of Marshall amplifiers and make horrendous noise.
Me: Okay, so, you are a musical genius, Lee. coming up with such different sounds.
Lee: Sphincter control, dear boy. As Edison said, "Hard work is another name for genius."
Me: So, I was thinking... I wanna name a few musicians and tell me what you think of them. Ready?
Lee: Who is that? Ah... You made a typo! I read musicians but you named a hack magician! I seem to remember my grandmother talking about Ms. Cooper. My grandmother used to hang with the Rat Pack in Vegas (you know, Frank, Dino, Sammy and the crew). One night, I think it was in the mid-1950s, my granny went to a small dive off the main strip and saw a magician opening for a trained poodle show, and a guy spinning plates on sticks. She said this magician went by the stage name "Harriet Who Dini." It turned out, after getting booed off stage, my granny took pity and bought her a Jack Daniels neat. The magician told my gran, while sobbing, mascara running down her craggy pock-marked cheeks, "My name is Alice Cooper, and one day I'm gonna be on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'!" That's all I know about Ms. Cooper. I don't like magicians, much. Let's talk about musicians!
Me: Okay, Jimi Hendrix?
Me: Pete Townshend?
Me: Howard Jones?
Lee: I used to eat at his restaurants when I was a kid with my family. Are they still around? Big chain. Crappy food. They had motels too. Hideous color scheme. Again, let's stick to musicians. The service industry is not my niche.
Me: Ahhhh... Stevie Wonder?
Me: Okay, I have to mention one of my favorite tunes of yours is "Bossa Novocaine Salsa (with Cheeze)." Is that song on your new album, Lee?
Lee: Indeed. I'm glad you dig it!
Me: I love that you used the Cheeze character again. For those that don't know, wanna tell them who Cheeze is?
Lee: Cheeze might be dead, or.... Hard to say. Go hear for more info: cdbaby.com/cd/leenegin12.
Me: Ever think of writing a Cheeze novel or short stories? Do you write stories, Lee?
Lee: I would love to do a graphic novel of the Cheeze saga, and/or a manga style book or series (any manga artists reading this, contact me if interested), and a full-length motion picture... maybe make it in Mumbai, a la Bollywood to make it extra Cheezy! I already did a Cheeze radio play at: cdbaby.com/cd/leenegin12. "The Cheeze Opera" had a libretto, which I wrote. My undergraduate degree was in English Literature and Writing. I've had some of my poetry published, and used to write short stories. Different lifetime.
Me: Okay, so, last time you were here I asked you what you were dong ten years ago as this is the Phile's 10th anniversary... this time I wanna ask you what was your highlight in the last ten years?
Lee: Regular bowel movements, of course. One highlight was sitting with Jon Astley in his studio on the Thames (London). He is the geezer that mastered/produced The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Clapton, ABBA, etc. etc. In fact, he was Pete Townshend's brother-in-law for years. So, this lovely house (in which he had his mastering studio) was Pete's old house, where he (Pete) wrote "Tommy," "Who's Next," ("Life House") material, etc. in that very room we were sitting in. In that room, Pete recorded Thunderclap Newman's great track "Something in the Air." So, Jon was mastering two of my albums, and we were chatting and drinking tea (of course). He was, at that time re-mastering George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass," ABBA's "Greatest Hits," Led Zep and the Who's catalogue (And my two albums, LOL). Jon asked me if I'd like more tea, and I replied "yes." As he was leaving the room to fetch it, he said, "Here is something you might find interesting." and he placed two tape (recording tape masters) boxes on my lap and left the room. I look down and was completely gobsmacked! They were THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES for one of the greatest albums in history, "Who's Next" with Pete Townshend's handwritten notes all over the track list label! As a Who fanboy from way back, well, I soiled myself...There are pictures of me with Jon in his studio, and me holding the master tapes on my main Facebook artist's page.
Me: I have to show this pic...
Lee: My fat thumb stroking the ORIGINAL master tape for side 1 of "Who's Next" (dig the date- July 14, 1971). This, regular bowel movements, and returning to making music and videos after a 16 year hiatus. Working with Simon Humphrey in a world-class studio in the U.K. on my album "Hungry Ghosts" (and becoming great pals). (Simon produced/engineered The Clash, Culture Club, The Beach Boys, Hans Zimmer, David Byrne, XTC, Jeff Beck, etc... we mixed my album together. More fun than anything legal). Living in several countries. Some highlights of my minuscule incarnation over the last 10 years.
Me: Thanks so much for being back on the Phile. Go ahead and plug all your websites, Lee.
Lee: passingphasemusic.com, youtube.com/user/passingphasemusic, leenegin.com, Amazon (internationally) iTunes (ditto), facebook.com/LeeNegin1, twitter.com/umeboshiroshi, cdbaby.com/Artist/LeeNegin, contact: email@example.com.
Me: So, are you working on anything now? Any new projects?
Lee: Yes. Something major. A massive recording project slated for next year. I have already lined up two stellar artists to take part, possibly three (one being a tabla drum virtuoso from India... the other two in the U.K.). Can't say more. It will probably be my swan song... "Lee's Last."
Me: Thanks once again, and keep in touch. All the best, sir.
Lee: Thank you very much, old friend! As I told you, don't use my title. Just call me Billy!
Me: Thanks, Billy.
That does to for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Lee for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with musician Giulia Millanta. 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