Hey, kids, good afternoon, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? Let's start off with a story about Rod Stewart...
Rod Stewart's wife, Penny Lancaster, posted a video taken in the desert outside Abu Dhabi. You know, just a nice little fun vacation clip she took, of Rod Stewart and some friends climbing the sand dunes. And then reenacting something that looks very much like an ISIS beheading video, as Rod Stewart kneels in front of a friend who pretends to cut his head off. Ha. Ha. Oof. Lancaster uploaded the mock-beheading video with the caption "Rod Stewart (leader) band doing a Beatles sand dune crossing." She deleted the strange ISIS-like video a few hours later, though. According to the "Daily News," Rod Stewart issued an apology, which reads, "From re-enacting the Beatles’ "Abbey Road" crossing to spontaneously playing out "Game Of Thrones," we were simply larking about pre-show. Understandably, this has been misinterpreted and I send my deepest apologies to those who have been offended." But people are still very upset about the beheading video, and some British citizens are calling for Rod Stewart's Knighthood to be revoked, according to TMZ. Note: All references to "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" edited out for readers' benefit.
Vice President Mike Pence used a private email account to "conduct public business" while governor of Indiana, according to a report from the "Indy Star" published Thursday night. The story has the makings of another scandal in the Trump administration, as a top elected official has been revealed to use AOL. Wait. I still use AOL. Anyway, worse than that, for some observers, is the fact that Mike Pence's email was actually hacked last summer, and that Pence discussed "sensitive information" about his personal security, terrorist attacks, and FBI arrests on the AOL account. If you're having flashbacks to the Hillary Clinton email scandal that dominated news cycles for months... congratulations, you're only human. As Mike Pence's Washington office defends the vice president, they've said that "Mr. Pence fully complied with Indiana law regarding email use and retention," according to the "Indy Star." Of course, the FBI found that Clinton, too, had committed no crime in her use of a private email during an investigation in July. That was never going to stop prominent Republicans from calling for more and more investigation into whether or not she mishandled sensitive information. The Pence office is trying to draw a distinction between the two email controversies, according to Politico, saying that Clinton had an entire private server, rather than just an email account, and that Pence didn't have the same security clearance as Clinton... so he couldn't have mishandled "classified" information. Still, Pence's record on Clinton's private email during the campaign was extreme. Compounding the hypocrisy is the fact that the Indiana governor's office reportedly cannot release all of his private emails because of "information the state deemed too sensitive." All these facts have made retweeting Pence's October tweet extremely satisfying for many, and you can expect the following to dominate your timeline until the next scandal. Fortunately, it seems like there's always a new one to keep those hot takes piping fresh.
Disney's new live-action Beauty and the Beast movie doesn't hit theaters for two more long weeks. But the heavily-anticipated movie just gave us another reason to count down the minutes until its arrival: one of the characters will be Disney's very first openly gay character. But let's not go making assumptions about which character. Lumière? Nope. Belle? Also nope. Sorry. In an interview with "Attitude" magazine, Director Bill Condon revealed that Gaston's goofy sidekick LeFou, played by Josh Gad, is gay. In case your memory is hazy, this is LeFou...
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” said Condon. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it.” It sounds like the director didn't simplify or glamorize LeFou's story or play into stereotypes, though we'll have to watch the movie to find out. Condon also teased that LeFou's story might have a pretty happy ending. “That’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away,” he said. “But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.” Big ups to Disney for finally catching up to what the rest of us have known for a long time: LGBT people exist. And statistically, at least one out of every ten characters in a Disney movie should fall somewhere under that LGBTQ umbrella. Although to be fair, there have been loads of gay characters in Disney movies. They just haven't been "out" per se.
I arrest my case.
Patrick Stewart joined "The View" on Thursday to talk about becoming the poop emoji, to show off some "Star Trek" bloopers, and to muse about Donald Trump resistance. "I'm not a citizen, however, maybe it's the only good thing as a result of this election, I am now applying for citizenship. Because I want to be an American, too. All of my friends in Washington said there is one thing you can do: fight, fight, oppose. But I can't do it, because I'm not a citizen." There's always room in America for a good Sir, as far as ICE isn't concerned. But unfortunately, Sir Patrick Stewart failed to elaborate on what sort of resistance, exactly, he plans to exercise once he becomes a citizen. Obviously, you can still resist without being a citizen, although just as obvious is the fact that you're more likely to get kicked out of the country. The conversation made me reminisce about another British man, a celebrity who himself was nearly deported for his outspoken protest of the government: John Lennon. "The U.S. vs John Lennon" is a great documentary about Richard Nixon's government trying to silence a very popular, very British anti-establishment figure via deportation. Is Patrick Stewart this era's John Lennon?
People have found yet another item to be completely outraged by. (It's like the Starbucks cups all over again.) The culprit this time? A "Walking Dead" t-shirt. Clothing retailer Primark pulled the t-shirt from stores after it sparked complaints of being "racist" and "fantastically offensive." The t-shirt depicts a baseball bat covered in barbed wire and the phrase, "Eeny meeny miny moe," which "The Walking Dead"'s resident bad boy, Negan, said as he picked out his victim in the show's Season 6 finale. The line in the show is followed by "catch a tiger by his toe." Though there is some debate over the rhyme's history, The Huffington Post reports that early versions of the rhyme had the n-word in place of the word "tiger." According to the BBC, a customer named Ian Luncraft complained to Primark about the shirt. He told "The Sheffield Star" that he and his wife were "shocked" when they saw the t-shirt, and called it "fantastically offensive." "This image relates directly to the practice of assaulting black people in America," Luncraft told the "Star." "It is directly threatening of a racist assault, and if I were black and were faced by a wearer I would know just where I stood," he added. After the outcry, Primark pulled the t-shirt from stores and issued the following statement, "The t-shirt in question is licensed merchandise for the U.S. television series, 'The Walking Dead,' and the quote and image are taken directly from the show. Any offence caused by its design was wholly unintentional and Primark sincerely apologises for this." A lot of people agreed with Primark's decision to pull the t-shirt, but many aren't buying that the shirt is racist or offensive. Someone even launched a petition to bring the shirt back. Sigh. Will the Internet ever agree on what we should or should not be outraged by?
A few entries ago I mentioned "The Washington Post" added a slogan to their masthead. It says "Democracy Dies in Darkness" but the original slogan was a little bit different.
I like Arby's. I mentioned Negan from "The Walking Dead" just now and I am surprised they are making a Negan movie. I think the poster for it is slightly unoriginal though...
By the way, there's really no Negan movie coming out. But there is a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie coming out, and a brand new trailer for it was just released. There was one shot in it that makes me think they are cutting corners.
What the hell? So, Disney once in a while changes the way their characters look for whatever reason. They are the greatest company in the world so can do whatever they want. Anyway, they recently changed the look to two of their characters but I have no idea who they are.
Hercules and Esmeralda maybe? I have no fucking idea. So, Trump is signing a new executive order again. I wonder what this one could be...
Hey, that's a good one. I know a lot of drummers that would like that order. There's a lot of Trump products out there and all are not that flattering. Like this one for instance...
If I still drank beer I would definitely try that. Have you ever seen in some magazines they show a pic of a celebrity without their makeup on? Well, once in awhile I like to do that on the Phile.
And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...
Top Phive New Pheatures Of The Nintendo Switch
5. Gyroscope, accelerometer and haptic screen allow users to sound like even bigger dorks than usual when discussing the system.
4. Detachable tablet allows for continued gameplay on the go... eliminating the need for dragging your TV all over the place.
3. 1080p screen resolution and a frame rate of 60 frames per second, which will seem like Atari when the PS5 comes out next year.
2. When paired with earphones, the immersive tablet experience will lead to impressive 17% jump in pedestrian gamer fatalities.
And the number one new feature on the Nintendo Switch is...
1. Joy Cons, joy con grips, docking port, game cards and detachable screen give an array of options for rendering the Switch useless if one of them is lost or broken.
Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Alright, so, everyone gives me a hard time about being old... well, I am pretty old, and I can't translate old speak. It comes in handy as there's this really old comedian who likes to come onto the Phile and tell jokes. The problem is, no one understands what he's saying... except for me. So, I thought I'd invite him back on the Phile and tell a joke and I'd translate it. So, please welcome back to the Phile...
Me: Hello, Alan, how're you doing?
Alan: Salutations, Jason.
Me: So, tell us a joke, Alan.
Alan: One came to a citizen to buy a mat, and shewing him many, he liked them not; then he to jeer the country fellow, brought forth his daughter Mat, and told him, this was all the mats he had: "No," says he, "I must have one that has not been lain upon."
Me: Haha. That's a good one. Alright, I'm gonna try and translate it. Here goes... A guy wants to buy a mat, but doesn't like any of the ones the mat-seller has. So then they get the mat-seller's daughter, who is also named Mat for some terrible reason, and the guy buying says, "Yeah, I don't want a mat that someone has lain upon. In the sex way. Because your daughter has obvi slept with some dudes." That's a good one, Alan. Tell us one more.
Alan: An arch rogue hearing a woman cry kitchin-stuff ask'd her what it was? That which drops from flesh, says she. Say you so, says he, call to morrow and I'll help you to some. The next morning, she came, and he had prepar'd a pot half full of sir-reverence; the woman put her arm into the pot, and drawing it out, perceiv'd the abuse, and began to be angry. Nay, nay, says he, don't be angry, for this is that which drops from flesh. Is very true, said she, and now your flesh appears to me very dry, (stroaking his face with her hand) and wants a little greasing, and stands in need of basting too. Which she accordingly gave him.
Me: I love a good poop joke! Okay, here goes... A woman needs some cooking fat for her kitchen, and a big jerk offers to help her by bringing some over. But instead, he brings over a pot of poop, which the woman realizes when she sticks her hands in it. As revenge, she tells the guy that his face needs some greasing, and she rubs poop on it. Good job, Alan.
Alan: Thank ye.
Me: Alan Raglafart, the 100-year-old comedian, everybody!
According to your mother, a Nintendo is anything with buttons on it.
Alright, today's guest is the author of "Heart Language," the 57th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... the lovely Shelly Ambrose!
Shelly: Thank you so much for having me here, Jason. I’m doing fantastic! So many blessings are surrounding me this season. I have a very grateful and open heart.
Me: Okay, so, your name is Shelly with a "y" but on the cover of your book "Heart Language" it’s spelt with an "i" and "e." So, was that a mistake?
Shelly: Well, that was my attempt to be a creative artist. LOL. I was playing around with the spelling of my name for my writing. It began when I entered a writing competition and I was using Shellie. When my story was published, it was with an “ie." I thought perhaps that could be the author version of my name and then just use the “y” for life. Since then, other publications have published my name with a “y." It started to be inconsistent and confusing, so "Heart Language" will be changed back to show “y” to keep things consistent. Maybe once I am a famous author those” ie” versions of "Heart Language" could be worth something big for those who have one...I like to dream big.
Me: Alright, now that we got that out of the way, what is heart language?
Shelly: "Heart Language" is a bright and colorful book with positive quotes, thought provoking photographs, and vivid journal prompts. The book is intended to encourage readers to allow their heart to be seen.
Me: Is that something you believed all your life?
Shelly: Our heart is the most beautiful thing that we have if we cultivate it. I’ve always tried to live a sincere life. I mean what I say. I’m just human trying to do my best, but I know that there are many beautiful gifts in my heart that should be shared and not just kept for myself.
Me: When did you come up with the idea for the book, Shelly?
Shelly: I was writing a poem one day that had a line that said, “New thoughts cultivate art/ this process a work of heart.” Creating that poem triggered many creative thoughts which lead to stepping out of my comfort zone and creating a Facebook page called Work of Hearts. I went from 200 to 12K followers in a year. I felt that I had created a community that wanted to allow their heart to be seen and wanted to give and receive inspiration. I was blown away with emails and comments from people who creatively desired to make a difference. People told me I added sunshine in their day. It has been a very humbling experience. It pushes me to keep becoming the best version of myself. The Work of Hearts community inspires me to keep writing and sharing what was in my heart.
Me: Did it take long for you to put together?
Shelly: The first draft took about two months. I find myself always revising and adding more inspirational and interactive things to the book.
Me: Shelly, where are you from?
Shelly: I’m a midwest/northern girl I guess you could say. I was born in Ohio. Then I lived in Illinois. I spent my college years and early twenties in Minnesota.
Me: You live here in Orlando now, right? Do you like living here in Orlando?
Shelly: Yes, I love living in Orlando! There is always something creative to do here. Plus flip flops, sunshine, beach days, and Disney all year long are so much better than snow and ice.
Me: So, you have your own blogspot called Work of Hearts which is pretty cool... which came first, book or blog?
Shelly: Thank you! I try to keep it creative. The blog came first. I had a page on blogger for a while before I wrote the book. Then I created the website to try and keep everything in in one place with links to my pages and publishings.
Me: How often do you update your blog, Shelly?
Shelly: Haha... not enough! In a perfect world I update it once a week. Sometimes it ends up being twice a month.
Me: Have you been writing and being creative for long?
Shelly: I started writing in middle school when my great grandmother passed away. I wrote a poem about her called “The Sleep." Writing became my outlet and a way to express feelings and life at an early age.
Me: Are you always thinking of different positive quotes?
Shelly: My mind never seems to take breaks. Even in my dreams, I find myself creating something. There have been many days when I wake up and write down something from a dream before I get out of bed. Just a few words can sometimes trigger a bunch of quotes or poems or an all-night writing pajama party.
Me: Is there a favorite one you came up with?
Shelly: Oooh tough question... I have to choose only one?
Shelly: “When I release and let go of what I cannot control I begin to become whole…”
Me: Nice. In the book there's a cute pic of a little baby and Mickey at Disney World. I have to show it here...
Me: That's a cute pic... who is it?
Shelly: That is my son, Micah. His playground was Walt Disney World. That picture and his joy reminded me to reclaim my childhood sense of wonder.
Me: Does he know he's in the book?
Shelly: Haha. He did see it. He didn’t say much about it, but I think deep down past his sarcastic comments he appreciates it. I am not sure that he’s aware that people share that pic on Facebook. Haha.
Me: And now it's here on my blog seen by thousands of people. You also write poetry, right?
Shelly: I sure do... I love poetry.
Me: Is that something you like to do to relax?
Shelly: Poetry cleanses my heart and mind. I find it relaxing and it helps me to organize my thoughts and feelings.
Me: I have written song lyrics before but never really written poetry... there's a big difference, right?
Shelly: I don’t know much about writing songs but doesn’t it take more rhythm and planning?
Me: Not with my songs it doesn't.
Shelly: I wrote one poem called “Where You Belong” for my best friend who passed away. My talented friend Julia Bloom (Cabin of Love) turned it into a beautiful song. I noticed some things were repeated and the pattern in the words made me look like I actually had rhythm. LOL.
Me: I did write one poem in school when I was a kid... and I still remember it. I think I told it here before on the Phile but it goes like this... "Cindy Windy flew away, flying over the USA, she got popped, and down she fell, splashing in an old man's well." So, what do you think? Be honest.
Shelly: Haha... interesting! Maybe you should be a guest in my writing class. With that talent you might be able to go on tour as the traveling comedian poet. Go for it, Jason!
Me: Hmmmm. I'd love to be a guest in your class. Alright, so, can you tell us a poem? Write one about me. Hahahahaha.
Shelly: Way to put me on the spot! "Jason sits in the sun, where he likes to write. His British accent is fun. Hey... let’s go fly a kite! Ha. Reminds me of Mary Poppins. Imagine, maybe, one fantastic day you can make some shiny toppins with your comedic poem or essay."
Me: Good job. As well as the "Heart Language" book you wrote a chapter in the book "Lost Dreams." How did you come to be a part of this?
Shelly: Aww, I loved that writing adventure. Dawn M. Bell at Bell Publishing held a contest for an anthology called "Lost Dreams." She was looking for stories about something authors had lost and what they learned from their loss. I entered the contest and was chosen to be a part of the book.
Me: What is the chapter you wrote about?
Shelly: My story was about the first phase of my weight loss journey where I lost ninety one pounds. I wrote about how I felt that the mirror and who I was never agreed. In my story, I shared the thoughts that I had surrounding my weight and weight loss.
Me: Have you ever thought about writing a novel? I have a novel idea in mind, but don't know where to start.
Shelly: Don’t forget to include your amazing poetry somewhere in your novel... I’d buy it! There is one book I keep thinking about writing, but I am not sure if I am a novel writer. I’ve recently been selected to be a part of an amazing writing critique group, so I think I will try some things out there. Maybe if all goes well, I’ll add a novel to my works.
Me: When you go to write, where do you start?
Shelly: I usually start with a Starbucks peppermint mocha latte with an extra shot of espresso or obscene amounts of Herbalife tea. After that, anything is possible.
Me: Do you ever get writers block?
Shelly: Sometimes when life keeps me busy I experience writer’s block by not being able to create something. I try to jot down thoughts and come back to them when I can.
Me: So, do you have a favorite author or anyone you look up to writing wise, Shelly?
Shelly: There was a book that I read called "Life is a Verb" by Patti Digh. That book changed my whole perspective on life and how to use my words to love and live better.
Me: You're a teacher, right? What do you teach?
Shelly: Oh, yes. How many more days until spring break? I am currently teaching English.
Me: Do you let your students read what you write?
Shelly: Sometimes. When I taught college, some students followed my blog and page. Teaching high school students, I pick and choose what to share. If we are talking about poetry or something that my writing could apply to, I might share something depending on the class.
Me: Okay, so, are you currently writing any other books, Shelly?
Shelly: Two actually. I am currently working on a poetry collection and a book to pair with "Heart Language" that will hopefully inspire more creative living.
Me: Will you come back on the Phile when your other books come out?
Shelly: Only if you share another poem!!! Yes, of course... I can’t wait to share them with you.
Me: Tell the readers where they can get your book and mention your website.
Shelly: Right now you can find "Heart Language" and "Lost Dreams" on my website or on Amazon. My website is createheartsart.com.
Me: I wish you continued success and please come back on the Phile again soon. All the best.
Shelly: Thanks, Jason. It was a pleasure being on the Phile and thank you for sharing my writing. Talk to you soon.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Shelly Ambrose for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Brian Moran from Grupo Falso Baiano. Spreasd 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