Hey, people, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday... how are you? What's new? Let's start with a story about Walmart and Amazon who removed a wildly offensive mug from their websites because they noticed it was there. A ludicrously inappropriate "Got Retard?" mug appeared on both Walmart.com and Amazon, before parents of children with Down syndrome saw it and demanded its removal. Teresa Holiday, herself a mother to a child with Down syndrome, told FOX40 that "it might be a stupid mug to some people, but to us in the community, it's not. It strikes a nerve. It hurts." Walmart and Amazon have both removed the product from their sites. Walmart explained that they themselves do not sell the mug, but the listing came from a third-party retailer allowed to post its own goods on their website. Said Walmart in a statement, "This item was offered through a Marketplace seller. It clearly violated our prohibited items policy and once it was brought to our attention, we quickly removed it from the Marketplace. We think it’s unacceptable a seller put it on the site in the first place." The spokesperson also pointed to the fact that 24 million products live in their online marketplace. Whatever automated vetting procedure exists clearly failed. Why this mug, actually sold by JM Holdings LLC... who also produce a "Got Hitler?" mug, even exists at all, is clearly the ultimate question here.
Well, if this don't beat (off) all. A man trying to rob a sex toy store called Lotions & Lace in San Bernardino, California, was foiled by quick-thinking employees (and some sex toys used as weapons) on Wednesday night. According to KABC News, the man walked into the store at around 9:45 p.m., as the store was closing up, with his face covered. He pointed a gun at the woman behind the cash register, but the employee, named Amy, wasn't having any of his nonsense. She told KABC, "With the gun, he walked in. I just thought he was trying to be funny, to scare us. But then I saw the gun and it was like, really? I don't have time for this." GIRL, GO. BOY, BYE. The man reached over the counter and grabbed Amy, and that's when the other store employee flew into action, hurling dildos and other sex toys at the would-be robber. That employee told KABC, "I think he was a coward. Coming in and trying to get over on two females and not realizing that were pretty feisty." DAMN STRAIGHT. Eventually the man ran out empty-handed. Happily, it turns out that he was caught on surveillance camera outside the store without his face covered. That video has been released by the San Bernardino police, who are still looking for the man.
Hey, here's the second story of the day that has dildos in it. A Spanish sex shop created the world's sexiest nativity scene out of dildos in their storefront window. And some people were like, "Hallelujah. Thank you, Jesus." But many were lie, "Jesus Christ, you've got to be kidding me." The three-part scene features Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus, and locals are outraged (and not because they left out the animals and kings). The owner of the shop, Hector Valdivielso, said he's received "numerous death threats" from offended Christians, and had his shop vandalized. How pious of them! The sex shop, Non Sit Peccatum, shared a photo of the display on their Facebook page with a post about the backlash they've received this year. I HAVE to show you a pic of the dildos...
The so-called "quirky Ceramic Nativity Scene" has been displayed in the store's window for the past three years with no problems, according to the post. But this year, "the response has been quite different, in getting the store multitude of complaints, verbal, painted on the labels and even an attempted assault in which had to intervene the police National." The shop, reasonably, had customers vote on whether the nativity scene should stay or go. And the verdict: it stays! "Closed the deadline of voting, our clients have decided by a large majority 78.5% that the Bethlehem must return to our window," wrote Valdivielso on Facebook, according to the "Mirror". To me, the only thing offensive about painting baby Jesus on a dildo is the fact that it's a baby. But other than that, I don't see a problem. It's not like no one has ever said the lord's name during sex before. Plus, let's be honest, adult Jesus could get it.
An Uber driver took a passenger on the longest Uber ride in Uber history and all she got was a (kind of) cool story and no tip, the "New York Post" reports. All because a young woman decided the best way to get from Virginia to Brooklyn was by Uber. Janis Rogers, 64, picked up a "19 or 20"-year-old woman outside of a Ben & Jerry's in Virginia and drove her nearly eight hours and 400 miles to Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, to visit her boyfriend. This story would be more shocking to me if I hadn't been 19 or 20 once myself. The bill for the ride came to a whopping $294.09. Which might seem like a lot until you consider that it took the driver 15½ hours round-trip. After subtracting 32$ for tolls and gas, Rogers says the whole trip earned her about $9 per hour, just slightly over minimum wage. “This was not lucrative,” she said. “I did it because it was an adventure.” This driver better have gotten five stars. Rogers described her passenger as “about 19 or 20” and "pretty" with “long brown hair,” which sounds about right. "She was sitting outside with a suitcase and a bag,” said Rogers. “I did not get her name. I think she had been Ubering up the coast.” When the passenger asked, “How far north can you take me?” Rogers said, "Well, I’m not doing too much today, so I’ll take you all the way." The passenger then slept the entire trip and was bratty upon her arrival. Not only did she not tip the driver, but “she didn’t seem excited to see her boyfriend,” said Rogers. “She was kind of blasé. She looked tired.” Rogers said the trip was “a little bit scary for me,” because she had "never been anywhere downtown in New York." Well, she got her adventure, at least. If you're the passenger in this story, please contact me. I have questions. Sooooo many questions. And also some life advice: tip your driver. For a ride this long, $20 at least. Also: there're these thing called airplanes, trains and busses. Check them out.
Before I begin this next story let me first invoke the Serenity Prayer. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference. Michigan resident Jami Kelly must have been muttering this prayer under her breath earlier this holiday season as she started putting up Christmas lights. Shortly thereafter, she realized she could never compete with the elaborate display her neighbors had installed and said, "you know what, screw it." According to "The Detroit News," Kelly has lived next door to her flashy neighbors (whom she calls "The Griswolds" after the family in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation who blinded the neighbors with their holiday light display) for several years now. I can imagine it gets draining to try to compete with a display that includes reindeer, an inflatable snow globe and a polar bear that sits on the roof. And so, Kelly didn't. Instead, Kelly took a piece of plywood and some screws to craft a sign that simply read "ditto." Fox 2 Detroit reports that it only took her four hours and a little help from another neighbor to help her complete the sign. I hope she took a luxurious bubble bath with all the free time she had after deciding to not put up elaborate and garish decorations. Personally, I believe that Kelly is an inspiration to us all. She serves as a reminder that it's never too late to realize you really don't care about keeping up with the Joneses. She decided to follow her heart, and in doing so made an IDGAF statement that the rest of the world ended up really connecting with. "All my neighbors think it's hilarious," Kelly said. "It's not meant to be anything but a compliment." When you think about it, her "ditto" is really a work of art. You probably wanna see it, right?
What a brave statement to make. Lord, grant me the serenity to channel Jami Kelly the next time I'm feeling pressured to perform some arduous task solely to maintain appearances, the courage to make the same choice as her, and the wisdom to know that I am better for it.
So, Christmas is a week away and if you are gonna be spending it alone like I probably will you might wanna get this...
I won't be eating that. Ingenious or just sad? For just $9.59, you can get a complete Christmas dinner in a "HotCan" which heats itself. So, mentioned the dildo Nativity scene which was offensive to some... but there's a few other Nativity scenes that were done that were a little more offensive. The "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Brandi Glanville courted controversy after sharing a suggestive Nativity scene to social media. "Never forget the reason for the season #sweetchildomine #gunsnroses #sandiego #oldtown," the 44-year-old had posted, alongside a picture of her squatting over baby Jesus in the manger, as if she had just welcomed him to the world.
Outrage at the image was swift and plentiful. "I liked you, but this is definitely not appropriate and vile. In poor taste and offensive. Go to Church! Get some manners and money can't buy you class! Disgusting!" one woman wrote. Another added, "Brandy you look like a nice person, and that's why I like your page. But this is so offensive and out of control, (it) really make me rethink if you are crazy, or only looking for attention. Grow up!!!!!!" Brandi deleted the Instagram photo, though she kept it up on Facebook. She followed it with a picture of herself at a bonfire with friends, requesting everyone to "calm down." I don't know who this Brandi woman is but I wanna see a better pic of her.
Ahhh... that's better. Haha. I'm so stupid... almost as stupid as this...
There's some really cool Christmas ads out there. Check it out...
The review says, "I had it out in my yard less than two weeks when it bit and infected all my other gnomes. I had to go out in the middle of the night and shoot their heads off before they attacked the flamingos." Help your friends keep their yards looking tacky year-round for only $14.95. Did you guys see Rogue One? Do you know they are filming the sequel already? I have an exclusive behind the scenes pic...
It looks like it's gonna be great. Haha. Hey, I love puns, and if I had bakery I would call it...
Fantastic, right? So, are you wearing an ugly Christmas sweater this Christmas? Here's one that sums up the ugliness that was 2016.
I'm undecided on this one. Alright, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...
Top Phive Conclusive Proofs That Russia Hacked The Democrats
5. Every leaked John Podesta email included a different borscht recipe.
4. Strong evidence suggests Hillary Clinton's private server contained a bootleg cut of Rocky IV in which Drago wins.
3. Every night, the White House has GrubHub-ordered goulash deliveries showing up that no one ordered.
2. Last time Obama checked, all the nuclear code passwords had been changed to "YakovSmirnoffs."
And the number one conclusive proof Russia hacked into the Democrats is...
1. Trump says they didn't.
Haha. This is easy, but if you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, it's Sunday,,, and it's tme to talk football with my good friend Jeff.
Me: Yo, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile. What's up?
Jeff: As always it's great to be back here on the Phile talking phootball with you. Lots of happenings going around the NFL, so let's get into it.
Me: Alright. So, I have to mention this from the get go... isn't it cool the only team to beat the Cowboys this season was the Giants? Not once but twice! What do you think of that?
Jeff: It is impressive that the Giants are the only team that can beat the Cowboys. My hats off to your team for that. Steelers SHOULD have beaten them too but we didn't. But who did we beat? The Giants. Sorry. Couldn't resist.
Me: Very funny. Speaking of that game, did you hear the story that the Cowboys reportedly are upset with the Giants' use of unregulated radios, and they are expecting the NFL to launch an investigation? I say it's bullshit.
Jeff: I hadn't heard about the radio thing. But reports were saying during the game the Steelers beat the Giants, some Giants were complaining about air pressure in the football. Deflate Gate 2.0? I just figured it was more of your boy Beckham complaining after each time his team loses. So those are two stories to keep your eyes out for.
Me: So, the Rams fired their coach, Jeff Fisher. Is that surprising to you?
Jeff: Honestly? No, it's not surprising about Jeff Fisher. He has five straight losing seasons with the Rams. He has the most losses for any NFL head coach in the history of the league. He's even feuding with an NFL Hall of Famer. The weird thing about it was the Rams just the week before had announced a new long term contract with Fisher. That clearly didn't work out.
Me: Speaking of California teams... do you think the Chargers are gonna leave San Diego for Los Angeles? That's such an insult to the Chargers fans I think.
Jeff: It is a possibility that the Chargers leave San Diego. They tried to finance a new stadium on Election Day which got shot down. This is the second straight year they have talked about joining the Rams in L.A. Not only that but the Raiders are talking about moving to Vegas next season.
Me: Did you see another whopping crowd of 241 people showed up to the 49ers/Jets game? Five minutes prior to kickoff, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com snapped this photo of the "fans" in attendance for the game.
Jeff: In fairness would you want to see the 49ers or Jets playing either? I mean Innoventions had more people in it than that stadium at one point.
Me: Hahaha. Okay, what NFL news do you have for us, Jeff?
Jeff: Two starting quarterbacks got hurt this week. Matthew Stafford of the Lions is hurt but will play with a glove on his hand. He will start today. Not so lucky on the other side with Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins. His season might be over, but he might be able to come back if Miami makes the playoffs. And Leveon Bell, Steeler running back, had almost 300 yards of offensive in one game. 220 + yards rushing and 75 + yards receiving. Single season records for the Steelers.
Me: Did you see the Bears changed their name and their logo? This seems to be a trend recently. Haha.
Me: It's to me... it's the NFL. Haha. Alright, seriously, how did we do last week? You were ahead by 3 points. I have to be catching up, right?
Jeff: I'm not really sorry to tell you this, but I might be putting up the best season in the history of our contests. I've won 8 straight games! I had another 2-0 week with a Steeler win. You went 1-1 with a Giant win. So my lead is now 5 points over you. Biggety biggety bam!
Me: Ugh. Okay... let's pick... I say Chiefs by 8 and Falcons by 14! What do you say?
Jeff: My picks are Bills by 7 and Atlanta by 7.
Me: We both picked Atlanta... interesting. Alright, I will see you here Thursday on the Phile's Christmas Special entry, Jeff. Have a good few days.
Jeff: See you for Christmas edition! And remember don't be a ho ho ho.
Me: I will try not to be.
February 3rd, 1920 — December 17th, 2016
Died of a heart attack? Seriously? I just can't catch a break here.
March 1st, 1947 — December 13th, 2016
And getting thinner all the time.
The Internet has been awash with speculation over President-elect Donald Trump's meeting with Kanye West last Tuesday. Was Trump appointing Kanye to his Cabinet? Alas, no. According to TMZ, the two men spent about 15 minutes together, during which they "talked about life." (In Bizarro World, this makes complete sense.) TMZ had reported earlier that it was West who requested the meeting, which Trump's wife daughter Ivanka Trump also attended. They allegedly did not discuss anything along the lines of West performing at Trump's inauguration in January, although West did publicly say in November that he would have voted for Trump, had he voted at all. Of course, that was days before West suffered some sort of mental breakdown, but apparently his approval of Trump can't be attributed to that. Before leaving, West supposedly presented Trump with, according to TMZ, an "artsy book that includes nude pics," which they further describe as, "compilation of photos, including people wearing hoodies, a display of various tattoos and, yes, some nudes." Well, Trump can cross "book of artsy nudes" off his Amazon wish list now.
Tooting is the best, and there's a lot of great tooting stories to there. Like the woman who was left farting through her vagina after a cancer operation goes wrong. As if having cancer wasn't bad enough, doctors working on a woman's colon accidentally ended up connecting it to her vagina. Jasminka Velkovska had been in the hospital to have a carcinoma removed from her colon, but when she woke up, she realized there had been a problem. Jasminka said, "While I was recovering, doctors came and asked me if I was passing gas, and I said yes, but it's coming out of my vagina. They told me that it would soon pass, and I would be okay, but stuff had started to come out of my vagina, and I was feeling scared, and it was all very unpleasant." The staff at the hospital gave her an X-ray, which showed that her colon and her vagina were indeed tied together... and worse, her carcinoma was still there. The hospital agreed to pay Velkovska £25,700 ($37,000) in compensation following the botched surgery.
The 54th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Rachael will be the pheatured guest on the Phile tomorrow.
Today's pheatured guest is the 33nd artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery. He has a book out called "Between Here and the Lint Trap" and a graphic novel as well called "The Protector Corps." Please welcome to the Phile... the talented Gene Guilmette.
Me: Hello, Gene, welcome to the Phile. How are you, sir?
Gene: Thank you for having me! I'm doing well.
Me: I first discovered your work on Comic Book Resources when you did the piece of Captain America's shield next to a brick wall with the poster of Drumpfdok. Have you been doing The Line is Drawn page for CBR for long?
Gene: I entered the Line's call for artists contest in December of 2014. I was one of several people who won a position as a liner. My first official piece for the Line was my baby Galactus eating the Death Star, my personal favorite to this day.
Me: Then I have to show that one...
Me: That's brilliant. How did you come up with the idea for the Trump one?
Gene: Well, it is actually the third in a set that I did featuring Drumpfdok. The first was during Modok Madness week when I picked the tweeted suggestion of Donald Trump mashed with Modok. That was also around the time that John Oliver did his segment "Make Donald Drumph again!" so I called the character Drumpfdok. That piece is the poster in piece in question. The second piece was for Luke Cage week and actually caused a lot of ruckus on CBR's Facebook page. The tweeted suggestion was Trump and Cage on the cover of "Captain America #1" with Cage in the Cap position and Trump in the Hitler position. Before starting that one I researched to see what others had done with that iconic cover and during the planning stage I decided to work in the Drumpfdok angle. You can see that piece in the background monitor. For the last piece, I was really at a loss as to what to do. I decided to go with the angle of Captain America leaving his shield, like he did in the recent Civil War movie but with a black strip of mourning, next to a victory poster for Drumpfdoc. I also put the image on a black page, hearkening back to the last page in "Fantastic Four #267" when Reed learns that Sue has lost their baby.
Me: Where are you from, Gene?
Gene: I was raised in Inyokern Ca. I lived in Ridgecrest California, Phoenix Arizona, San Francisco, and San Jose before moving to Oregon.
Me: Is that where you currently live?
Gene: I currently live in Milwaukee, Oregon. My husband and I bought a house here in May of this year.
Me: How long have you been drawing, or painting professionally?
Gene: I've been a freelance artist since 1996. I took up making comic books in 2010 after I lost my day job to the recession.
Me: Did you also have a skill to draw or did you go to school and take lessons?
Gene: I knew I wanted to be an artist since I was 10 years old. I took accelerated and advanced classes through high school. I went to trade school for graphic design and some additional collage courses. I'm also constantly looking for new things to learn artistically.
Me: Is there anything you hate to draw and is there anything you love to draw?
Gene: Hmm, I'm not sure that there is anything I hate to draw. I'm certainly drawn to comic books, science fiction, fantasy, and superheroes.
Me: I noticed you don't focus on one medium but you are all over the place and that is a talent. What is your favorite?
Gene: I thank my art teacher Anita Thompson for that. She really instilled in me the desire to tackle art in all its forms. I'm current in my illustration mode, but I also love painting and I've not had time to really flex those skills beyond a few water colors in a while.
Me: I took it you are a comic book reader... so... DC or Marvel?
Gene: When I started out I was Marvel with very little DC. But as I've grown up and especially once I started seriously working on a comic book carrier, I decided to try a number of different publishers and I'm finding I'm liking the indies more and more. My current favorite is “I Hate Fairyland” by Skottie Young.
Me: Are you a Star Wars fan?
Gene: I was THE Star Wars FREAK in grade school, so I love Star Wars. It was what sparked my interest in collecting comic books as a child actually with "Star Wars #1." I do have a piece coming I'm calling "The Droid Bomb." It depicts BB-8 photobombing C-3PO and R2. My favorite character is R2-D2.
Me: Mine too! Do you attend a lot of conventions, Gene?
Gene: Currently, I'm only attending local conventions in Portland. I don't currently have the funds to travel. I do hope to eventually go to other cons, however. When I lived in California I would regularly table at APE and Big WOW.
Me: Is there one that you go to that's your favorite?
Gene: Rose City Comic Con has been really good to me and is my current favorite.
Me: Okay, let's talk about the book "Between Here and the Lint Trap"... it's a children's book, am I right?
Gene: Yes, an LGBT-friendly one.
Me: Desmond Miller came up with the story but you drew and wrote it. How do you know Desmond and what was his pitch to you?
Gene: I know Des through a mutual a fund-raising charity we both belonged to, The Bears of San Francisco. We are both indie comic book creators as well and would often share a table at APE or Big WOW. At one of the cons, we were talking about doing an LGBT-friendly kids book. He told me his idea for "Lint Trap," a young boy looking for his lost imaginary friend (a sock) and I liked it. So I asked him to send me an outline and after reading it I asked him if he would be okay if I helped with the writing as well as being the artist. As it was his idea he had final editorial say and let me run with fleshing out the idea. After 6 1/2 months, we had a book.
Me: Have you ever wrote a children's book or any kinda book before this one?
Gene: This is my first children's book. My mother had always encouraged me to write one. I have written an original play called "The Masque" which was performed for the first time by the China Lake Players in 1988. I also have a science fiction novel, "The Betrayers Game" that I've not published yet, but I hope to soon.
Me: Tell the readers what the children's book is about.
Gene: "Lint Trap" is about a little boy named JJay, who wakes up one Saturday morning to find his imaginary best friends, two socks, Boonie and his best mate Koonie are missing. He searches high and low but can't find them. Not even his fathers can help. But then he finds Koonie in the drier, JJay crawls into the machine to look for Boonie and ends up in another land.
Me: Alright, so, what took longer... writing it or drawing it?
Gene: Drawing it, defiantly.
Me: How many versions of the book did you do before you were happy with it?
Gene: I think we did three drafts, maybe four. We had some printer issues and we did some minor fixes when we were re-formatting between printers.
Me: Do you like to come up with your own characters a lot better than drawing or painting say another creator's character?
Gene: I really like both equally. I love helping others see their stories come to life and I love seeing my characters and locations on the page as well. I really love the creative process, be it by myself or with others.
Me: This book is the first in a series, am I right? How many are planned, Gene?
Gene: Yes, "Lint Trap" is the first of a four book set. Des and I want the set to be a day in the life of JJay.
Me: As well as this book, you also have a graphic novel called "The Protector Corps." What is this book about?
Gene: "The Protector Corps" is a superhero war story sent in an alternate reality. It takes my love of "Battlestar Galactica" and the X-Men and mashes them together. It is the last night of a super-powered world war that has lasted for seventy years. The world is toast, the villains have won. The Protector Corps have figured out, at the eleventh hour if you will, a way to save as many people as possible and the story follows their struggle on that last night. It was originally going to be a six-issue mini, but I've decided to do a full graphic novel.
Me: So many people are coming out with their own comic books now... how to do you get readers to get your books? Does that make sense? If someone is reading DC's "Green Lantern" say for example, how do you convince them to read your book?
Gene: It's hard. Not everyone wants to take a chance on something new. But I think people are really missing out if they only stick with the big two. There is a huge, diverse community of indie creators out there and their stories are amazing. For my books, I always have copies any con I'm at, along with the art. I also offer my books through several different portals, websites, and comic shops. I also help friends with their projects and they help me so there is a lot of cross promotion. I don't expect to get immediate success with any book really, that is unrealistic. I'm in it for the long haul. I love what I'm doing and getting to meet people and introduce them to my work has been a very rewarding process.
Me: So, what tools do you use? All of it, right?
Gene: Yes, all of it! For comic books and the Line, I draw both traditionally, pencil/pen on paper as well as digitally. For that, I have a Wacom Cintiq 22 hd. I also started experimenting with Copic markers this last year and I'm really loving them. I also have lots of water colors and acrylic paints.
Me: Alright, I like to ask my artist guests what they think of the Phile's logo for some reason. So, what do you think of it?
Gene: It is fun!
Me: So, what is next panned for you, Gene? What are you working on now?
Gene: Besides the Line it is Drawn, my current project is a graphic novel called "InterSections." The story is written by my good friend Rich Boutell and is illustrated by myself. It is a supernatural/superhero story set in San Francisco.
Me: Cool. Tell the readers where they can purchase and see your art.
Gene: They can see my contributions to The Line it is Drawn at comicbookresources.com. The Line is out every Friday and has a great group of artists. People can also participate with the Line and tweet in their suggestions for the weekly theme. I sell my work via my imprint RLT Press at rltpress.com. I have a patreon page at patreon.com/geneguilmette, here I offer a more insiders look of my work and I give out art rewards and discounts for my online store fronts for subscribers. I'm also on Facebook and Twitter and if you live in San Francisco, you can get my books at Whatever... in the Castro.
Me: Thanks so much for being here on the Phile. You're welcome to come back when your next book comes out.
Gene: Thank you so much for the opportunity!
Me: Take care, and continued success.
Gene: Thank you!
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks my guests Jeff Trelewicz and Gene Guilmette. The Phile will be back tomorrow with author Rachael Lavin. 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