Monday, November 7, 2016

Pheaturing Anna Atkinson

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you doing? Lets start with a story about a 90-year-old woman who voted for HRC, died a few days later. Probably coincidental. Anita Harris cast a mail-in ballot for Hillary Clinton last week and then passed away a few days later of natural causes (unrelated to her voting for Hillary Clinton). She was 90. Her son posted the story in a private Facebook group called National Pantsuit Day on Nov. 2nd, along with a picture of his mom, and it unleashed a torrent of love from HRC fans, wracking up thousands of comments of condolences and support. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Scott Harris said he and his brother were "overwhelmed" by the massive response to his post and they saw it as a positive sign. “What is amazing is that human kindness still exists within this contentious election," he said. "It reminds me of people stopping and taking off a hat as a funeral procession passed by. Honoring a complete stranger. Just shows Love Trumps Hate.” Also? Anita Harris sounds like she was really, really rad. Apparently she didn't want a traditional service. Instead, “she just wanted us to go eat great Chinese food so when we do we will toast her and HRC," said Scott. "Frankly I can’t think of a better sendoff for mom than going viral. She always was a bit of an attention-seeker. LOL.” (If there is a heaven, she's up there like "HELL YEAH I WENT VIRAL!!!") If this doesn't make you want to go out and vote tomorrow, IDK what will. Side note: voting for Hillary Clinton has been in no way found to cause illness or death. But even if it did, it might be worth the risk.
A political talking head suggesting a fashion accessory for Hillary Clinton's inauguration would be bad enough if it weren't all a mean-spirited ruse. But of course it was just that when Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the GOP in North Carolina, went on MSNBC to smile and hold up a pair of handcuffs."Their candidate, if elected, could have these on inauguration day."

"You're bringing props for our show here, Dallas? That's a pair of handcuffs," said the utterly dumbfounded host, Hallie Jackson."Absolutely. Hillary Clinton inauguration jewelry!" The segment ended quickly after the prop comedy work, with Jackson saying "I'm getting a hard wrap from my producer...""Well, you know, your producer should loosen up," responded Woodhouse. "We make good TV together, Ms. Jackson." After the appearance, Dallas Woodhouse's brother, Brad Woodhouse, took to Twitter.

Brad Woodhouse runs a pro-Clinton super PAC and presumably the "anti-Dallas" section of the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Martin Shkreli, owner of the world's most punchable face, is promising to release his entire music collection for free, which he claims includes unreleased Nirvana, Beatles and Wu-Tang tracks, if Donald Trump is elected. When someone suggested he still release his coveted Wu-Tang album if Clinton wins, he responded that he would rather break it. Shkreli is the owner of "Once Upon A Time In Shaolin," which he purchased for $2 million at auction. Shkreli became the throbbing boil on the ass of America when his pharmaceutical company raised the price on Daraprim, on a drug used to treat HIV and AIDs patients, from $13.50 a pill to $750 overnight. In other countries, Daraprim costs less than a dollar. Oh yeah, he was also arrested on securities fraud charges in December 2015 and is awaiting trial January 2017. He does have good taste in music for such a shithead, though. At least there is now a silver lining to a potential Trump presidency now. A silver lining on a tremendous, turd-covered, hellish presidency.
This whole year, we've been trying to pretend that this god-awful presidential election wasn't happening. But have we done anything to actually stop it? No. Thankfully, Louise K. Nolley, a 62-year-old resident of Buffalo, New York, has crafted a legal plan to save us all. Last week, in federal court, she filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on behalf of all Americans, seeking the indefinite postponement of the election until better candidates are selected. "Neither of the candidates running for the Presidential seat shows that they can handle the position," states the 6-page filing with the U.S. District Court, according the "Buffalo News." "There shouldn’t be a reasonable doubt that Hillary can be trusted with confidential information," it notes, and where Trump is concerned, “being rich or having more than others does not make you a candidate for Presidency.” Instead, Nolley argues, we need someone "serious, qualified, trustworthy" to lead the nation for the next four years. Nolley is nothing if not serious herself. A recovering heroin addict with a long rap sheet and a history in prison... where she acquired the paralegal skill set behind her lawsuit... this is the first time she's eligible to vote for a president in her adult life. “I’ve been writing on it and thinking about it and praying. I was just waiting for an okay from God,” she said of her injunction to delay the election, which would be a first in America's 227-year history of transferring executive power. Barring that unprecedented decision, however, Nolley has vowed to abstain from voting for Clinton or Trump and will instead look to make a difference in down-ballot races. That's just the sort of patriot and devoted citizen she is.
Yesterday, the "New York Times" published a story that included a remarkable detail. Donald Trump's aides had "finally wrested away" his Twitter account. A major contender for President of the United States had his Internet privileges revoked by staff like a grounded teenager. Nor was this irony lost on the actual president, who used it to mercilessly mock Trump at a campaign rally on Sunday in Florida." This was just announced, I just read it so I can't confirm it's true but apparently his campaign has taken away his Twitter," said Obama to scandalized disbelief from the crowd. "In the last two days, they had so little confidence in his self control, they said we're just gonna take away your Twitter. Now, if somebody can't handle a Twitter account," said the president to more laughter, "they can't handle the nuclear codes. If someone starts tweeting at three in the morning 'cause SNL made fun of you, then you can't handle the nuclear codes." This campaign has unearthed a whole lot of comedy chops from everyone.
So, just think... tomorrow this could be the new President of the United States...

Ha. His new poster he just came out with kinda confuses me, but it's very well put together.

Meanwhile, this is real...

That's a real sign, people. I think this picture says it all though...

I don't know if you can read those stickers or not. Trump does have some decent supporters though...

Okay, I don't know about decent. Hahaha. Hillary had someone very odd show up at her latest rally.

Don't ask me what. Ugh. By the way, a Phile reader who works at a book shop sent this picture of a brand new magazine in that is about to hit the shelves.

Hmmm. Well, now we know. Thanks, Meghan. Apple has released a bunch of new emoji's and I have the explanation of what they mean. This one means...

"I have $150,000 in student debt. How about you?"  And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Other Phamous Doctors That Stack Up Against Doctor Strange
5. Doctor Strange: His costume includes the Cloak of Levitation. Dr. Dre: His costume includes a comfy black sweatshirt. Winner: Strange!
4. Doctor Strange: Says things like, "By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, Voltorg is upon me again!" Dr. Seuss: Said things like, "Fox in socks in box on Knox." Winner: Seuss!
3. Doctor Strange: Believes in the mystical powers of the Eye of Agamotto. Dr. Oz: Believes in the mystical powers of green coffee extract. Winner: Strange!
2. Doctor Strange: Stopped practicing medicine after a car accident destroyed his hands. Dr. Ben Carson: Stopped practicing medicine to run a comically stupid presidential campaign. Winner: tie!
And the number one famous doctor who stacks up against Doctor Strange is...
1. Doctor Strange: Battled Dr. Voodoo's brother to regain his position of Sorcerer Supreme. Dr. Dr. Drew: Tried to get Gary Busey to quit coke on season two of "Celebrity Rehab." Winner: Strange!

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Alright, so, you know I live in Florida, I hope. A lot of crazy shit happens in Florida that happens no where else in the Universe. So, once again, here is a pheature I call...

Nery Carvajal Gonzalez, an amateur surgeon, was sentenced to 40 months in prison on Wednesday for her role in permanently disabling the penis of a man who came to her for a procedure to enlarge his organ. The "Miami Herald" reports that the 39-year-old Florida woman pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Mark Schreiber, a disgraced plastic surgeon who helped her with this hack job. The victim, a man in his mid-50s, was in the habit of receiving back-room facials from Gonzalez. He agreed to take his cosmetic treatments a step further, and received an illegal "penis filler" operation from her in a Miami-area warehouse. Tragically, like so many warehouse surgeries performed by non-doctors, it failed, and the man was left with permanent damage to his penis. That's when Gonzalez decided to get a real doctor involved. But not a good one. She asked Schreiber to clean up her mess, either forgetting or ignoring the fact that he was forced to surrender his medical license in 2006 after a long history of botched surgeries, including one mishandled penis enlargement that killed a patient. (He was also accused of inappropriately touching a patient during surgery, and was later jailed for two years for operating on patients without a license.) As one might expect from Schreiber's resume, he messed this operation up too. The victim's penis was left permanently disfigured and unable to function. Now, Schreiber faces 15 years in prison. He pleaded not guilty, but considering that Gonzalez is testifying against him (not to mention his criminal record) it seems unlikely he'll get off. Which is probably for the best, since he clearly refuses to stop performing, and bungling, surgeries. For the record, if you're insecure about your penis (and who isn't), here's what you should do about it, in order of preferability: 1. Learn to live with it. It's not the end of the world. 2. Take those pills you keep getting emails about. They won't work, but probably won't poison you either. 3. Go to a professional surgeon and get a penile implant. (Note: this involves cutting your penis in half and reattaching it.) 4. Allow an amateur beautician you know, and her disgraced surgeon friend, to go to town on your hog in a warehouse. 5. Why are you still reading this? Go back to #1. Hope that helps.

Voting booth
A voting booth is a small room or structure in which voters cast their vote privately to all of their Instagram followers.

The 52nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Jeff will be the pheatured guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest is a Canadian singer and musician whose CD "Sky Stacked Full" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Anna Atkinson.

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

Anna: I am very well.

Me: You're from Toronto, right? Is that where you're originally from?

Anna: I have been based in Toronto for the past eight years but am originally from Windsor, Ontario.

Me: Cool. So, I ask all my Canadian guests if they like my favorite band which is from Canada... Barenaked Ladies. Are you a fan of them?

Anna: I’m not a huge fan, but I think "Gordon" is a great record... I grew up on it.

Me: You also know Adam Bentley I am guessing. Every musician I interview from Canada knows Adam. How is he? I need to have him back on the Phile soon.

Anna: I do know Adam... and I believe he is doing well... but you should send him a note and say hi!

Me: Alright, let's talk about your music, Anna. I listened to your new single "When We Were Young" and I watched the video. You seem so young now, so was that song about your recent life? Hahaha. 

Anna: Hahahaha. Everyone in my family looks like they’re 16 until they’re 50. It’s actually about my childhood... the house in the video is the one I lived in until I was nine years old. It was bought by the Ambassador Bridge company nearly twenty years ago, along with over a hundred other homes on the street, and has been empty and boarded up ever since. There’s actually a Supreme Court case involving these homes and the bridge company... in case you’re interested: The rest of the video depicts specific memories of mine... people quilting in our living room, running around the streets of West Windsor. It even references a dance film I was obsessed with as a child.

Me: That song has a deep meaning, right?

Anna: It does. I guess I described it a bit in the last question. I think that people can withstand a whole lot as long as they are connected to a supportive community. And the things we make together, like quilts, or neighbourhoods are very powerful manifestations of that. Also... in endeavours like these, we cannot hurry. As a songwriter and artist, I am very interested in things that take a very long time to make, happen, become.

Me: You have a lovely voice, Anna. On the single what instrument is playing in the background?

Anna: I play viola on “When We Were Young." There is also guitar played by David Occhipinti.

Me: Correct me if I am wrong but you wrote the song "When We Were Young" after you read an article somewhere about someone making a sweater for a house?

Anna: One of my mom’s art magazines had an article about an artist (Janet Morton) who knit a sweater for a house. My memories of the actual article are a bit hazy, but I remember finding it a fascinating concept, so years later, when I went to write the song, “Sweater for a House” became its working title.

Me: Where is this house and why would someone make a sweater for a house? That's a lot of wool.

Anna: I believe the house is on Wards Island in BC. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer why someone would do that. I agree... that is a lot of wool.

Me: I have to tell you, I had to look it up myself... and yeah, it's real. Haha. Have you met Janet? I need to find a way to contact her and interview her on the Phile.

Anna: I haven’t met Janet. But I would love to.

Me: I wonder of she knows that you wrote a song influenced by her.

Anna: Hahah. I doubt it.

Me: Where was the video for the single filmed, Anna?

Anna: The video was filmed in Windsor and Toronto.

Me: Was it a fun video to be part of?

Anna: It was great. The director, Gaƫlle Legrand, did a fantastic job, and all of the people who agreed to be in the video were so wonderful and patient and generous. A dream come true.

Me: Members of your family were very crafty like Janet is... are you a crafty person as well?

Anna: I like to make things. Mostly songs, but I also like to cook and bake... especially pies. I used to be really into bookbinding, making little blank books as gifts for people, or for myself to write in. I also really enjoy little spontaneous craft projects. A couple weeks ago, I found two small wooden hands in a grab bag at a thrift store. I took them home and painted them hot pink and stuck them on my wall.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new album "Sky Stacked Full." Where did the title for the album come from?

Anna: “Sky Stacked Full” is comes from a line on the first track of the album, called “Snowshoe." To me, it represents infinite possibility. The sky is huge and vast. Perhaps it could even be called empty. But it is also very full... of clouds, gases and matter of all sorts, animals, unknowns, planets, things we can’t even imagine. To think of it that way, in one sense, feels really heavy and maybe even scary. But it’s also exciting, inspiring.

Me: It took you ten years to write the songs on the album, is that right?

Anna: I wrote the songs over the course of ten years. Some of them are ten years ago, but many have been written in the last five years.

Me: How long did it take to record?

Anna: I recorded it over a period of five months in 2015.

Me: This is your second album, right? How do they both compare to each other?

Anna: Correct... this is my second album. “Mooniture” (my first record) and “Sky Stacked Full” are quite different from one another. My first album, “Mooniture” was fairly fanciful, even theatrical at times. I was exploring themes of madness, fictional characters, imagined landscapes. It featured a lush instrumentation of strings, accordions and a mallet instruments. “Sky Stacked Full” is very direct and personal. The language is much more straightforward, and the voice is the central character. The general vibe is more grounded, but perhaps more questioning also. It explores the past, belonging, loss. The instrumentation is still fairly lush, but also more intimate in many places. There are guitar pedals and swirling sounds, celeste and plenty of vocal layers at times.

Me: The album is not just you, it's with a guy named David Occhipinti... who is he and how did you meet him? Is the album duet album then?

Anna: It isn’t technically a duet album, because I wrote all of the songs myself, sang and played many of the instruments, but David made a massive contribution to the record and was the only other musician who played on the record, which is why I wanted to put his name on the cover. He co-produced, played guitar and edited and mixed the record. He is an amazing improviser and composer. He writes really interesting and beautiful chamber music for chamber ensembles and has released some wonderful records. I met David several years ago when I played one of his compositions in an orchestra I’d been hired to play in (I’m also a freelance classical violinist/violist) and I liked it very much. We became friends and began to play together. I was very lucky to have him involved in this project.

Me: Did you and David write the songs on the album, Anna?

Anna: I wrote all of the songs myself.

Me: So, David is a guitarist... you play the viola as you said. Do you play any other instrument?

Anna: I play viola, accordion, musical saw, celeste and rhythm acoustic and electric guitar on this record. David plays all of the other guitar parts of the record... any of the lyrical lines, and the effects. We both played celeste. (We actually found TWO celestes in a storage room at the studio, so we recorded several passes of us improvising together over the tracks).

Me: What is the first instrument you learned to play? Which one is your favorite?

Anna: I started singing when I was very small, but I began violin lessons when I was four years old. I think my favourite instrument to play is the viola, but I’ve recently acquired an omnichord and am smitten.

Me: So, when you're not making music, what do you do for fun?

Anna: I love to do Olympic style weightlifting. It’s such an amazing sport! I also really love to cook... and bake pies. And bicycle.

Me: Wow. Thanks so much for being here on the Phile, Anna. Go ahead and mention your website and everything.

Anna: My pleasure! Thanks for having me. My website is And you can watch my new video “When We Were Young” here:    

Me: Continued success and take care. All the best.

Anna: Thank you, Jason!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guest Anna Atkinson. The Phile will be back on Thursday with musician Andrew Marks. Before I go I gave to say something... While Election Day is bound to bring relief with the end of the nasty campaigns, the aftermath is bound to be scary. Whether or not Trump wins, the events of tomorrow could still bring about the apocalypse: a Trump loss could mean angry pandemonium, and a Trump win could mean happy riots like after a winning city after the Super Bowl. It's going to be a long night. His Majesty Sir President Trump once said, "Why can't we use nuclear weapons?" three times in a single briefing, and his desire to use nuclear weapons has been one of the only thing he's been consistent about. Under the Trump administration, it would be best to stay safe sleeping in the basement in event of World War III. Whoever you decide to vote for, just go out and vote. I'm not an American citizen so I cannot vote. This is the first election where I wish I could. Anyway, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Vote!

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

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