Rabbit. Welcome to the Phile and happy new year, everybody! It's 2017. Let's never speak of 2016 again. I remember 2016 like it was yesterday. Dear, 2017, please don't be an arsehole like 2016 was. Signed, everyone. It may be the medication taking, but I'm feeling somewhat optimistic about 2017. Alright, let's get on with the news...
An Uber driver in Elk Grove, California picked up three passengers and, like so many chauffeurs before him, couldn't help but eavesdrop. And he soon realized he was driving two (alleged) female pimps and a 16-year-old girl to a Holiday Inn. "They just started talking right in front of me," said Keith Avila, in a Facebook live video he streamed just after police arrived. He said "they started like talking, like saying everything that was going on," seemingly unconcerned that he was sitting in the front seat, horrified. "Halfway there, I realized that it was child sex trafficking." The pimps were giving the teen girl instructions on how to check the guy for guns and collect his money. According to NBC, the teen was "discovered to be a runaway," and they're now sending her to an "alternative housing situation" while they locate her legal guardian." You could see from the look of her eyes that she was very, very innocent," Avila said of the teen. "Very insecure." The Uber driver tried to play it cool and act "chipper" while he drove the women and the teen to their location. After dropping them off at the hotel, he says he quickly "called the police, told them everything that was going on." To their credit, the cops showed up right away." They don't play. They do not play. Not when you're doing child sex trafficking." The two women have been arrested and so has the "suspected John" meeting them at the Holiday Inn. I hope the teen girl finds the help that she needs.
A Delta flight had to divert mid-air last week so the worst couple ever could be forcibly removed by cops for starting a "brawl" with the flight crew. And after watching the video, you'll see why the flight crew was so eager to tell these two byeeeee! Here's some screen shots of the video...
Adam Fleisig, whose LinkedIn profile says he's a VP at Citibank, and Anna Christine Koosmann were on a flight headed from Minneapolis to Los Angeles when the plane had to turn around 20 minutes after takeoff, because the couple “refused to follow crew instructions, became aggressive and created a disruption," the "Daily News" reported. In a video filmed by a fellow passenger, the couple are seen getting handcuffed and dragged off the plane by cops. Spoiler: they do not take it well. “Why? For what? For what?” yells Koosmann, 36, in the video, while Fleisig, 35, is more obedient. After they are escorted out of the cabin, the other passengers applaud. The disruption apparently started after Koosmann got up to use the bathroom shortly after the plane took off, said a fellow passenger. Anyone who has ever been on an airplane knows you can't move around the cabin during and soon after takeoff. But Anna Christine Koosmann apparently plays by no rules. Both passengers were arrested at the airport on charges of disorderly conduct. Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan told the "Daily News" that Fleisig was released at the airport, but Koosmann was taken to the county detention center because she was being "uncooperative." I'm sure there's another side to this story but frankly I don't need to hear it. If the whole airplane applauds after you get kicked off, sorry buddy, you're the problem.
So, George Michael donated millions to charity, but didn't want anyone to know. As if losing a lovely, funny, accomplished (he wrote "Careless Whisper" at 17 and "Last Christmas" at 21) musician weren't enough, it's now coming out through various media that George Michael was also an incredibly generous man. Like, way beyond Band Aid generous. And most of his donations were anonymous. According to "The Guardian," George Michael's charity work with Band Aid ("Do They Know It's Christmas?") raised over £9 million for Ethiopian famine relief. He donated the royalties from Wham!'s "Last Christmas/Everything She Wants" single to the same cause. The money from his duet with Elton John ("Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"), he gave to the children's charity Rainbow Trust and the London Lighthouse AIDS hospice. George Michael would apparently often set aside seats for NHS England staff and once dedicated an entire free performance to a group of nurses as a thank you for taking care of his mother when she died of cancer ten years earlier. According to "The Guardian," George Michael donated £50,000 to SportRelief when British comedian David Walliams swam the English Channel. The list goes on and on. If you lived in England anytime in the last 20 years, you've probably gotten money from George Michael. And he made a point of keeping his donations anonymous, because it wasn't about him, it was just about being charitable. He gave a waitress a £5,000 tip. He donated £100,000 to a children's charity every year on Easter. He gave a stranger £15,000 for IVF treatment. He gave another stranger £25,000 to pay off her debt. He volunteered at a homeless shelter. And one woman tweeted, "George Michael worked anonymously at a homeless shelter I was volunteering at. I've never told anyone, he asked we didn't. That's who he was." (Interesting. George Michael was the exact opposite of Donald Trump, who wants kudos for money he almost definitely didn't even donate.) George Michael volunteered at a homeless shelter! If that doesn't inspire you to help someone less fortunate than yourself this, then there's no hope for you.
Oh, Carrie Fisher. The Force will be with her. Always. Only a Wookiee had the words to express my grief at the loss of Carrie. In the wake of Carrie Fisher's tragic death, many are wondering about the fate of her beloved 4-year-old French Bulldog, Gary Fisher. Gary, who the Star Wars actress accredited to helping her cope with her bipolar disorder, has been posting many tributes to his "mommy" on his Twitter and Instagram. Well, maybe Gary did employ the help of someone with thumbs for the tweets. Fisher adopted Gary as a service dog. He accompanied her everywhere, from red carpet events to on-camera interviews. So where will Gary go now that Carrie has gone to a galaxy far, far away? According to TMZ, Gary Fisher will remain in the care of Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher's 24-year old daughter. Lourde already has a French Bulldog of her own named Tina, who she says is "best friends" with Gary. Additionally, TMZ is reporting that Fisher always intended to leave Gary to her daughter if anything were to happen to her, so it looks like the pooch will be in good hands. According to his Twitter, Gary seems cool with being adopted by the "Scream Queens" star as long as she provides bacon flavored treats. Good news, Gary.
You cannot trust brands. Just when you think they might be smart enough to stay out of delicate or controversial conversations on Twitter, they simply cannot keep themselves away. Inevitably, they say something that reveals that ultimately all any brand cares about is selling more product. As the world mourned the loss and celebrated the life of actor Carrie Fisher on Tuesday, corporate America couldn't help but jump into the mix. They truly never learn. Cinnabon was the most chastised offender for this since-deleted tweet...
Cinnamon buns as insidious product placement, courtesy of Cinnabon. But other brands, including the NFL and Roto-Rooter, did some similarly unsavory self-promotion while trying to honor Fisher...
Why would you do this?
Crazy to believe this ever seemed like a good idea.
This tweet got one more like than it should have, but at least it did terribly. All of the above tweets have been deleted, proving that "Never Tweet" is still the best and only mantra for everybody on this earth, but Cinnabon was the only one to issue an apology. Will we learn from our mistakes? Most definitely not. At times it seems like the only constant in this world is that companies will continue to try and make themselves seem like innocuous entities worthy of our affection, but as Gawker writer Sam Biddle best put it, Brands Are Not Your Friends. Some argued on Twitter over whether Fisher, who was known for her wonderful sense of humor, would have taken offense at the Cinnabon tweet. But whether or not Fisher would have liked the homage to her buns from the mall food court staple is beside the point. Ultimately, when brands attempt to chime in on sensitive conversations, it creates a disconnect. It takes a conversation about a real person and turns it into a chance for a brand to remind you that they exist. At its most sinister, it's a chance for a brand to send you the false message that they're human, and they're on the right side of the conversation, all as a means of improving your sentiment towards their product. Is it wrong for a brand to want to sell more product? Of course not. But should a brand capitalize on the death of a notable person, or the memorial of an emotional event to do so? Probably not. But brands don't want to learn that the general population doesn't enjoy when they chime in on these conversations. Remember the SpaghettiOs gaffe?
Or most recently, the 9/11 "tribute" by Coke and Walmart?
JUST. STOP. DOING. THIS.
Okay, I'll relax. It's the new year after all. You know, all my life people have made fun of my last name "Peverett." Well, there's some other names that could be a lot worse you know. Like this one for example...
Actually, that's not too bad. Hooker Phile doesn't sound too, too bad. Right? This year is gonna be great, kids! I cannot wait for this movie...
It looks great, right? So, there's a new brand of cereal that just came out. I'm not gonna to try it.
Nope. Definitely not gonna try that. Okay, so you know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's some strange stuff that happens in Florida that happens no where else in the Universe. So, once again, here's a story from...
A pregnant Florida college student is warding off student debt by selling her positive pregnancy tests on Craigslist, harnessing the strangeness of the Internet for her own benefit."Very self explanatory," wrote the woman on her Craigslist ad, titled "pregnancy tests/urine - $30." A local Jacksonville TV station met up with the six-months-pregnant woman under the pretense of buying her $30 tests. "I saw from other women and their experiences that it's very easy," the anonymous woman told the station, WJAX. So why not make "$200 in a day off something I have to do no matter what." "Me being in college working on a bachelor's and needing all this money to pay for a degree, this was a no brainer." So, you're wondering, why is there a market for this? Well, the woman speculated herself in the Craigslist post. "Whether you are using it for your own amusement as a prank, or to blackmail the CEO of Apple who you are having an affair with, I DON'T CARE AT ALL. This is an absolutely no questions asked type of deal." Still, whether prank or blackmail, it's tough to stick to that "no questions asked" mantra. According a law expert at WJAX, "Fraud is the first thing that comes to my mind." Although elaborating that it's not illegal to sell urine, the expert says that because the buyers are likely doing something illegal, "this is the kind of thing that makes legislators go 'we need to pass a law that says you can't do this.'" And while this woman's making really good money, she's not quite making the same amount of cash as the women who sell their dirty underwear on the same website. If you thought people don't use Craigslist anymore, you're just not into the right (wrong?) stuff. I'll tell the dirty underwear story on the Phile tomorrow.
October 20, 1932 — December 31, 2016
Geez. William Christopher, McLean Stevenson, Larry Gelbart, Larry Linville, Wayne Rogers, Harry Morgan, Alan Arbus, Loretta Swit's career... That show is starting to resemble a M*A*S*H unit...
April 1st, 1932 — December 28th, 2016
Singin' in the dirt.
October 21st, 1956 — December 27th, 2016
Help me Obi-Wan... you're my only... oops. Never mind.
Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Alright, Jeff and I already picked the football games for today but I still wanted him on the Phile today to talk other stuff. So, it's time for...
Me: Jeff! Happy new year! Welcome to the Phile for the last weekend of the NFL regular season..
Jeff: It's good to be back on the Phile.
Me: So, are you glad 2016 is over?
Jeff: In my near 40 years, this has been my worst year. I battled depression almost on a daily basis. I missed way too many people that I wish I could have seen more (and in many cases at all). I had someone I trusted stab me in the back. I saw many parts of my childhood die. So yeah,, 2016 can take a flying leap off a cliff into a fire. Here's hoping 2017 is better. Happy new year.
Me: Alright, we don't usually talk about events that happen other than football but so far a large portion of the Phile today has been about Carrie Fisher passing away. Do you have any thoughts about this?
Jeff: Losing Carrie Fisher like that was tough. She was such a part of our childhood. Star Wars was probably most of our's first fandoms. Not only was it my first fandom, other than professional wrestling it's my biggest fandom. So to lose such an important part of it hurts. It hurts even more seeing how she's in the new trilogy. I believe all of her scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII were filmed, but it becomes the question of what does J.J. Abrams and company do about her character for Episode IX? Even beyond her role as Princess Leia, you look at Carrie Fisher and all that she had been through. She battled mental illness and addiction. I really had hope that she would recover from this, but 2016 took our Princess. I made a meme on the day she died and it's still true... An entire Galaxy is now grieving.
Me: I like that meme...
Me: I like your drawing of Darth Vader crying. Did you just recently do that? I have to show it here...
Jeff: I did the Darth Vader crying picture the day she died. I'm not much of an artist, but I try. There's a website I use that shows how to draw characters in steps and Vader is one of the characters they show. I figured it would be an appropriate way to deal with the loss. Of course you can show the picture. Like I said, I'm not great at drawing but I thought it came out pretty good!'
Me: It's 2017 so things can only get better, right?
Jeff: You say 2017 can only get better? After 2016, one can hope. But I also have a bad feeling about this... (did you see what I did there?)
Me: Haha. Nicely said. Alright, let's talk about football. Did you see the Texans offer Dez Bryant a $72 million contract after seeing him throw the touchdown pass in the last game against the Lions? Is that crazy?
Jeff: Well, maybe that would stop all the stupid Cowboy fans from debating if he actually caught a pass from two years ago. Which is irrevevant since the only reason the Cowboys were in that playoff game was because the refs blew a call the week before against the Lions.
Me: Speaking of Dallas they are changing their name and their logo...
Jeff: The Owboys! Hahahaha. Only thing funnier is if it showed a Cowboy getting arrested. Hey, here's a joke... if two Cowboys are in a car, who's driving? The police!
Me: Hahaha. I can play for that team, right, Jeff? I think I hurt myself over the years a lot more than the whole team put together. Remember my injuries at work?
Jeff: Yes, Jason, of course I remember all your injuries. After all you do own a t-shirt that says "I Do My Own Stunts." You would make a horrible stunt man for the record. Movie studios wouldn't be able to afford insurance for your stunts! Sorry, it's true.
Me: I agree. Okay, so, we picked today's games last week. I'll have you back here this Thursday where we will pick the wild card picks. See you then. It's gonna be a crazy day of football.
Jeff: Sounds like a plan! See you on Thursday!
The 55th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Dave will be the guest on the Phile on Thursday.
The 34th artist to be pheatured in the Phile is Dan Hogan and this is one of his pieces...
Dan will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.
The first guest of the year I have to say is gorgeous, as well as talented. Her new single "Something to Show" is now available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Melody Federer.
Me: Hello, Melody, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Melody: Hi, Jason! I'm good thanks for asking!
Me: I have to say I love your voice and your new single "Something to Show." First of, what are you talking about showing? Feelings I think, am I right?
Melody: Hmm it could be feelings. I think I was meaning that if the person takes a chance in love, maybe in the end they'll have a life they've built together to show... either something concrete like a home, but also abstract things like a lifetime of memories and shared experiences.
Me: Before you started singing and performing your own material you were writing songs for other people, am I right?
Melody: I was performing and singing all along.
Me: Who did you write for, Melody?
Melody: I've written for Kelly Rowland, Jacob Whitesides, Hilary Duff, and some other people.
Me: What got you started writing for other people?
Melody: I got trapped in a terrible record deal and couldn't release music for three years. I was playing in a hotel lounge when I decided I had to drive to New York City from L.A. Intuition led me right. When I arrived my manager at the time said a guy named Billy Mann who had a publishing company wanted to meet me. I did some sessions. He signed me. It was a true miracle for me at the time.
Me: Do you like doing your own thing, recording your own material or writing for other people better?
Melody: I like whatever gets the music heard. If more people will hear it if I'm singing, I'll sing it. If someone else has a wider audience that will appreciate the song, I'd prefer them to give the song life.
Me: Where are you originally from?
Melody: Dallas, Texas. The home of cows and great Mexican food, and churches.
Me: Where are you living now?
Melody: Los Angeles, California!
Me: Okay, so, what's this I read you ran off to Paris with someone you met?
Melody: Yep. I was a bit of a gypsy, and a real sucker for romance. I still am. I saw this gorgeous French pianist playing at a party in New York and ended up using some of my smooth high school French on him. About a month later, I was moving to Paris to be with him.
Me: Why Paris of all places? That's in France. I'm from England so can't imagine why anyone would want to run off to France.
Melody: Ha! Very funny. Well, it was for the guy, because he was French and living in Paris. We started a jazz band together and got to play with old legends. We would play at ski resorts in the Alps and wine festivals. It was all pretty lovely.
Me: Lucky French bastard. I have to admit, I might've done the same thing if I was in his shoes... but to Paris, Texas. Hahaha.
Melody: You're funny!
Me: What did your family think when you told them you were doing this?
Melody: I think at this point, having already run off to Thailand and New York before, they weren't all that surprised.
Me: Okay, let's talk about your music, Melody... at the beginning of the song "Something to Show" it sounds almost like a trumpet, but can't figure out what it is. What is it?
Melody: It's actually just my mouth, ha!
Me: Hmmmm. You are working on a new album called "The Dogwoods Bloom" am I right? That's a flower, right? Where did the album get its name from?
Melody: It came from when I was living in Tennessee and when I found out that I was pregnant. The trees were blooming and so I was I. They are these gorgeous big trees with big white and pink flowers.
Me: Is this gonna be your first album, Melody?
Melody: Second full length actually. The first was a quirky jazz album with the French pianist Jean Baptise Franc and was produced by Pat Boone... it's a long story.
Me: How long have you been writing and singing?
Melody: Since I was a little kid, but really seriously since I was 18 and got my heart broken for the first time.
Me: What was the name of the first song you wrote called, do you remember?
Melody: Wow, that's an amazing question. Geez, it was something to do with water, "Waterfalls" maybe?
Me: Does songwriting come easy for you?
Melody: Yes, but I haven't written a ton of "hits" so I've obviously still got a ways to go there.
Me: I watched the video for "Something to Show." Where was it filmed? California I am guessing. It looked like you had fun making it... did you?
Melody: It was filmed on literally no budget by my brilliant friend Michael Koerbel. We did it out in the Palm Springs desert. Ironically I met him because I met his ex-wife in a Paris cafe singing there.
Me: I saw this pic of you holding a baby wearing a Nirvana shirt... good taste.
Me: Is that your baby, Melody?
Melody: Ha! Yes that is!
Me: Are you a Nirvana fan?
Melody: Her dad is from Seattle...
Me: Glad you didn't say he was French. Haha. So, I have to ask you about this thing you are doing... 1,000 songs for 1,000 strangers. Tell the readers what that is about and his did you start this?
Melody: It's a real passion of mine. I love strangers. I love brief but genuine connections. I had the idea and people said I was crazy, but I've been doing it anyway. Basically, I just make up songs on the spot for strangers and post them on social media. I also dedicate some to a charity I respect called Love146. I've done songs for cashiers, models, celebrities, sports fans, policemen, moms, dads, babies, and so on.
Me: How many songs have you done for this charity?
Melody: I think I'm on 417.
Me: Is this something that is close to your heart?
Melody: Yes it is. You just get me!
Me: Melody, thanks so much for coming onto the Phile. Will you come back when the album comes out?
Melody: Yes, of course!
Me: Yay! Go ahead and plug your websites... all the best, and take care. Happy new year.
Melody: Facebook: facebook.com/melodyfederermusic, Twitter: @melodyfederer, Instagram: @melodyfederer.
Me: Great job. I'll have you back on there Phile soon.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Melody Federer. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer Desert Tundra. 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