Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum Tony Smith from Gone Dead Train

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Phile for a Thursday, and April 20th. You know what that means... today several planets will align causing the earth's moon to appear green for 90 minutes. This phenomenon is known as "green moon" and only happens once every four hundred and twenty years. See? You learnt something. Okay, it's also the unofficial birthday of the pot drug. Because it's 4/20, get it? Weed Day! It's also Hitler's birthday, but that's not really as fun.
Is United just straight up trying to go out of business? They keep having PR disaster after PR disaster after PR disaster. A woman named Maura Furfey wrote a post for Huffington Post detailing her own personal ordeal with United... the airline accused her Mexican husband of trafficking their own 3-year-old daughter, based on nothing more than the observation of a random passenger. Apparently the passenger was concerned that the man's daughter wasn't dark skinned like him (her mother is white, but wasn't present for the trip), and so she took it upon herself to alert someone on the plane. When the plane landed (they were returning from a trip to Mexico), Furfey's husband was approached by officers from the Port Authority and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and escorted off the plane before anyone else exited. Once they were off the plane, the officers surrounded them, asking question after question about where their daughter was born, who had been present, where her birth certificate was issued and so on. The little girl began crying from all the commotion. Finally, the officers asked for Furfey's phone number and called her with the same questions so she could verify the story. They were finally convinced that the Mexican man was the little girl's father and not someone trafficking her. They also mentioned to Furfey that the actual accusation came not from the CBP, who are "trained to identify these kind of situations," but from the woman who'd sat next to them on the plane. Bear in mind that the man had been traveling with a green card, a notarized letter from Furfey saying that she was permitting her daughter to travel to Mexico for the week, and passports for himself and the girl with the same last name. And did they get an apology from United? Well, sort of. When Furfey complained to the customer service department, they apologized and gave her a $100 travel voucher (which she claims is useless because they "won't ever fly with this particular airline again"). What she was hoping for was a promise that the airline would review its procedures, because, as Furfey points out, "a simple check of the passports or flight records would clearly show that there was no problem in this situation and would have prevented the drama and stress that it created." Does United hate their customers? Their shareholders? Being in business? SMDH.
Richard Spencer, aka everyone's favorite Nazi to punch in the face, got a verbal smackdown from a young student at Auburn University in Alabama yesterday, where he had rented out an auditorium to spread hate speech... I mean "speak," the Huffington Post reports. The event, which Spencer sprung on the school unbeknownst to them by renting out the room via a third party, NPR reports, was complete chaos. Spencer, who keeps trying to bring back white supremacy under the guise of the "alt right," and his legion of fascist followers, showed up, along with hoards of protesters. True to form, Spencer and his supporters tried to bully anyone with opposing opinions into silence. "He and his supporters continuously cut people off who were asking questions," Auburn student Morgan Buckels told the Huffington Post. "They disrespected people and he would call them boring or say he didn’t want to hear them and dismiss them." But it didn't quite work. Because even Spencer's army of bullies with buzz cuts were no match for one young black woman, an Auburn student whose name has not been reported. "I’m asking a question so we’re gonna listen," she said, while Spencer's supporters hurled insults at her. Nevertheless, she persisted, and managed to shut up the crowd enough to ask two powerful questions, which Buckels filmed. These were her questions: #1) "How are white people more racially oppressed than black people? Because I’m a black woman at a predominantly white institute and I want to know what challenges y’all face that I don’t." and #2) "How did it feel when you got punched in the face at the Inauguration?" Bravo. Unfortunately, the video cuts off before we get to hear Richard Spencer's response. But we can imagine it was something like "ouch." And you can watch Richard Spencer get punched in the face on the Internet anytime you want.
Here's a Mindphuck story for you... Royce Winnick, a photographer/mom from New York, was recently confounded by a homework assignment that her five-year-old daughter received in kindergarten. As a way of introducing youngsters to the alphabet, the handout gave them a letter (in this case "T"), then showed them a series of pictures and asked them to "tap out the word in the picture and write the sounds you hear." If that seems confusing to you, you're not alone. But strap in, because you're about to get much, much more confused.

For the life of her, Winnick couldn't figure out what the word for the rabbits was supposed to be? Troupe? Tawny? Trabbits? Neither Winnick nor anyone she knew could figure it out. She even shared the ditto on Facebook, but nobody had a clue. Her daughter wound up going with "pet." As you can see on the graded assignment, the teacher wrote "OK" next to the answer, indicating that it wasn't the answer she was looking for, but she'd accept it. (Maybe she finally realized how insane the question was.) Winnick shared the supposedly correct answer with The Huffington Post. The real answer was "vet" which makes no sense! Yes. "Vet." That doesn't even begin with T! What kind of crazy mind games are they playing with our children?!Winnick also shared the page for the letter "K" with The Huffington Post. If anything, it's more confusing. (For one picture, you have to guess that a man's name is Ken.) This kind of homework will either produce a generation of superintelligent geniuses, or perpetually depressed sad sacks with no self-esteem. Either way, this school is playing with fire.
Good news, ladies: weed tampons are here at last! A company called Fiora recently created "cannabis vaginal suppositories" as a way to help women deal with the sometimes unbearable pain of period cramps, and now finally available to the public. These cannabis-laced tampons contain THC and CBD (the two main active cannabinoid compounds found in marijuana), which help take down pain, release happy chemicals to the brain, and relax muscles and nerves. Many women who have already tried them are saying they've helped with the awful terror that is having your period. Admittedly (and understandably), these marijuana tampons are not super easy to get your hands on. To purchase them, you first have to join Fiora's collective... and depending on what state you live in, you might need to submit an application along with a physician's recommendation letter. They're not cheap, either. A pack of four will cost you $44 (that's $11 per tampon if you're already too baked to do math). But hey, it might be worth it if it means not being confined to the fetal position for a week every month.
Fresh off a "body positivity" debacle featuring tiny models in skinny jeans, clothing retailer Zara has been forced to pull an embroidered skirt from their website, according to the U.K.'s "Guardian." See if you can tell why...

Yes, that's Pepe the Frog, or close enough to draw the ire of commenters on Twitter. The skirt features several smug-looking cartoon frogs, and the Internet was typically quick in making the connection to Pepe, a smug-looking cartoon frog that has become the online mascot for white supremacists. Here's what you get if you type Pepe the Frog into Google Images...

Not great for a skirt. Pepe frogs often appear in the profile images of the alt-right and the Anti-Defamation League puts it in the category of "General Hate Symbols." (It should be noted that the original cartoon by artist Matt Furie didn't have the hateful connotation. As The Daily Beast explains, it was only after the meme had been around for years that it was eventually embraced by white supremacists.) A spokesperson for Zara said "there is absolutely no link to the suggested theme," the "Guardian" reported. “The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat. Mario explores social interactions through his work and in his own words: ‘The idea came from a wall painting I drew with friends some years ago.’" Nonetheless, the skirt is no longer available on the Zara website. The Pepe meme has become taboo for brands, and even social-media-hero Wendy's came under fire after tweeting it back in January.
Okay, let's talk about this crazy "unicorn" trend. In the past year or so, everything from unicorn eyeliner, to unicorn hair, to, yes, even unicorn horn dildos have been taking social media by storm, and at this point, the phenomenon is a feeling a little less... magical... and more overdone. Starbucks is the latest brand to hop on the sparkly unicorn-drawn bandwagon by debuting their new "unicorn frappuccino," because if you really want to live that unicorn life, it's not enough just to enjoy unicorn inspired things, you must also literally consume them. Damn, there is enough food dye in that thing to make your poop unicorn colored, too. What does it even taste like? Dreams and glitter? Now two hair stylists are taking on the challenge of making "unicorn frappuccino hair" the most Instagram-able trend yet. Living in 2017 is exhausting. St. Louis based hair stylist Caitlin Ford, who specializes in vivid hair color, is the woman behind this bright, bold unicorn frappuccino hair. She used Lime Crime's Unicorn Hair Dye for the impressive color. So, why are we all suddenly so obsessed with unicorns? Is the current political climate making us all regress into the child versions of ourselves because we seek the comforts of our simple pasts? Are we living out Lisa Frank fantasies later in life because brands better understand that nostalgia is a huge marketing opportunity? Or could it be that unicorn stuff is just really, really pretty?Who knows, but it seems that we are just about burnt out on the unicorn trend. Perhaps is won't be long before these fads, like the mystical unicorn itself, will cease to exist.
So, did you see the new trailer for The Last Jedi? There was one scene that kinda confused me...

I don't get it. Disney is very creative but sometimes when they create characters they don't know what they are doing. Like Pocahontas and John Smith.

That's creepy. Do you guys like Wendy's? I do, but sometimes they are rude to their employees.

Well, it's true... hahaha. Apart from the Phile being popular on the Internet, do you know what else is popular? Porn. But the problem is you can't really look at porn when you're at work... and I don't know want you to stop reading this blog and go look at porn. So, I thought I would show a porn pic that is SFW.

You're welcome, fellas. Hey, did you see the new United Airlines ad? It's kinda creative.

I think it's very clever. Hey, this just in... they're rebooting "The Beverly Hilbillies."

Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Trump... hahahaha. I amuse myself. Alright, I few entries ago I interviewed my sister Leila who is putting a great event together called Hops For Hope that will happen this coming Saturday. Here's the ad for it...

I say if yore in the Orlando area go and stop by or donate to Covenant House Florida. I think it will be a lot of fun and of course I'll be there. Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Phacts About Starbucks' New Unicorn Frappucino
5. Color changes from purple to pink as you drink it... and from pink to a horrifying neon red as you pee it out.
4. Plastic cup contains fewer artificial ingredients than the beverage itself.
3. Goes great with Panera's new Centaur Croissant.
2. An added shot of Pepto-Bismol helps alleviate excruciating stomach cramps and explosive diarrhea.
And the number one fact about Starbucks' new Unicorn Frappucino is...
1. Though the drink changes colors and flavors, you'll remain a ridiculous moron drinking a $5, 300-calorie milkshake for breakfast.

Ha! If you spot the Mindphuck, and I am sure you will, let me know. Hey, it's Thursday... you know what that means.

An American mother went to a McDonald's with her two 6 and 8-year-old children. She ordered two Happy Meals with chicken for the children and a hamburger with fries for herself. While they were eating, the 6-year-old was more interested in the slide across the street than in the chicken nuggets which he didn't even touch. So the mother decided she would eat them. Without actually watching what she was doing she was bringing a chicken biggest to her mouth, just when her 8-year-old son yelled not to eat it. So she looked at the biggest to find that... despite the crust, it looked just like a chicken's head. The manager offered them their meal for free and two more weeks of free meals. The mother pressed charges and demanded 100,000 dollars compensation.

Yuck! Gross! Okay, so, sometimes I complain about my life... and I am sure you complain about yours. Well, I thought a pick-me-up would be in order so I invited a friend of the Phile to give us some positive guidance in life. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man... you know what time it is.

So... you say you have a rough life... Your job sucks, the people you work with are idiots and your boss is a jerk. There are those out there picking through trash for bottles to cash in... so they can eat today... who only dream of having a crappy job like yours. One: Your significant other is a pain in the ass who gets on your nerves. There are those who go their entire lives never finding someone who loves and cherishes them... they spend their lives alone and depressed... they haven't got the strength to cry anymore... they've prayed for most their lives to no avail for someone like you have. Two: Your kids give you headaches and annoy you several times a day. There are those who long for but can never have children. Those whose child has been taken from them by disease or some tragic accident. Those whose spirits have been drained by the emptiness of mourning their own child. Three: You're upset because you don't like your hair or your weight or your body type or some other feature you need fixed. There are those who would trade everything they've got for an extension of the cancerous death sentence they've been given... for the chance to be free of the shackled life of constant treatments and pain... to be free of waiting for the inevitable to come and sweep what's left of them away. Four: You're tired of being so busy and all the running around... you need a break. There are those who sit in a wheelchair... wishing they could be in a hurry, running from their job to the gym... before going to the market and rushing through the aisles. Five: What I'm saying... is this. Count your blessings, I've just given you FIVE blessings that are probably already present in your life as you read these very words. So stop... fucking... whining about everything wrong with your life. Try this. Focus on what's right and celebrate it. Find a person with REAL problems and help put a smile on THEIR face. Because anything other than what came after the words  "Try this." Makes you nothing but a cunt... and I hate cunts... so, don't be a cunt...

Aaron Hernandez 
November 6th, 1989 — April 19th, 2017
Pretty good hang time for a guy that never played punter.

The alt-right, or alternative right, is a group of people who reject mainstream conservatism and embrace mainstream your uncle's Facebook timeline.

In an interview that aired on "Fox and Friends" Tuesday morning, which Donald Trump surprisingly wasn't live-tweeting himself, the president answered questions about the current situation with North Korea. Not only does Donald Trump not know what the plan is, it's also possible he doesn't know who is in charge over there. Trump said that two of his predecessors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have "all been outplayed by this gentleman." "This gentleman" likely refers to the current dictator Kim Jong-Un, who has been in charge since the 2011 death of his father, Kim Jong Il. Bill Clinton, who was president from 1993-2000, was outsmarted by "this gentleman's" father, who is a different person. People would like the President of the United States to be more specific when discussing foreign adversaries, or at least do a little more research. If his threatening tweets are any indication, it looks like he'll sure find out who's in charge.

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and lead singer of the cool band Gone Dead Train, whose latest album "Just Drive" is available on Bandcamp. Please welcome back to the Phile... Tony Smith.

Me: Tony, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Tony: Good... and busy writing a dozen more songs for Gone Dead Train.

Me: Okay, last time you were here you mentioned you live in France... but you're English. That's just wrong! Hahaha. I am sure we talked about this before, but why France?

Tony: France is 20 miles from England, the food is better, the weather (if you live down south as I do) is much better, the trains are better, the roads are better, the café is better... and my wife is French.

Me: What part of France do you live in?

Tony: South west, in Montauban, a medieval town near Toulouse.

Me: Is there anything fun to do there?

Tony: Not that much in Montauban but its only a 2 hours drive from the ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Pyrenees and the central mountain range. Montauban has twice weekly farmers markets... the town is great for sitting on café terraces watching the world go by. Spain is close too...

Me: Some of your band is French, right?

Tony: The guitarist, the rhythm guitarist and the drummer are French.

Me: So, who else is in the band?

Tony: John Bentley and myself who are both English. John only comes to play with us on larger dates as he lives in England. We’re playing the Vieussan festival in the Hérault with John on the 30th July.

Me: I have to talk about John... one of my favorite guests I ever had on the Phile. I'm glad he's still working with you.

Tony: Yes, he’s on all the tracks of the new album for 2017...

Me: How did you two meet?

Tony: I shared a house once with a mutual friend who introduced us.

Me: Did you grow up a Squeeze fan, Tony?

Tony: I really liked all their singles.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your band... Gone Dead Train. The name of the band is named after that great Randy Newman song from Performance. That's a great soundtrack for that movie. I remember watching that movie with my dad... he even played "Gone Dead Train" in concert and was gonna release it on his solo album. He recorded a great version of it. Do you guys play that song in concert? 

Tony: No, we don’t play it. I liked the slide guitar contribution by Ry Cooder on the track and I loved the film Performance... the only decent film Mick Jagger ever starred in.

Me: Do you play any covers in concert?

Tony: Just "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division to defend their honour in France. Ever since I witnessed the trendy french band Nouvelle Vague massacre it I‘ve vowed to play our version at every concert as an antidote... the rest are our own songs.

Me: George Thorogood heard my dad was gonna release the song "Gone Dead Train" and recorded a version of it himself on his "Haircut" CD. Have you heard that version?

Tony: No, ‘fraid not.

Me: Anyway, you guys have a new album out called "Just Drive." How did the album get that title?

Tony: It’s the title of one of the tracks... and also a change of style away from country alt back to more straightforward pop rock.

Me: Did you and John write all the songs on the album, Tony?

Tony: John co-wrote all the songs and he does all the backing vocals.

Me: This album has "Running Outa Beatles," a song on that was on the first album. Why did you put it on this album as well?

Tony: Because the video for the song was finally finished so we thought we’d slip the song on this album too.

Me: Where was the album recorded and how long did it take to record?

Tony: The album was recorded in Toulouse and in John’s studio near Brighton.

Me: I like the song and video "Sunshine." I have to show a screenshot of the video.

Me: Was that song written about Alice in Wonderland?

Tony: Alice and there is a "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" influence to.

Me: The whole Alice theme was pretty cool in the video, Tony. Who came up with the concept?

Tony: The video fitted well... actually it’s an education video from the sixties that was supposed to put teenagers off drugs!

Me: Ahhh. So, do you know who did the drawings for it?

Tony: A total pot head I should imagine...

Me: And who was that little girl that played Alice? Do you know?

Tony: Probably somebody’s grandmother now.

Me: True. There's another song on the CD called "Hey, Jemima." Is that someone in particular?

Tony: No, it’s just a name that fitted well.

Me: Are you guys working on a new CD to follow up with "Just Drive"?

Tony: Yes, we have 10 new songs recorded so far.

Me: I have to ask you about the album cover, that looks like a pic from America. Did you take that pic?

Tony: A friend took it on a road trip to the U.S. a few years back.

Me: The new album is not on iTunes yet, will it be?

Tony: We prefer just using Bandcamp. People can listen for free or download if they want to support the group (some people do). It’s a platform run by music lovers. I think all the others exist to rake in as much as they can and they’d be just at home selling washing powder if there were a few bucks in it for them.

Me: Where can I get an actual CD of it, Tony?

Tony: The contact mail is on the Gone Dead Train Bandcamp page and we can ship it anywhere for 10 dollars including post and packaging.

Me: Are you guys selling Gone Dead Train t-shirts?

Tony: No, I think the Chinese are making too many t-shirts as it is... they need a day off.

Me: Ha! So, I will probably interview John again... if he wants. What should I ask him if I interview him again?

Tony: He has a great radio show now on Radio Scarborough as well as playing live and working with us. I’m sure he’ll have lots to tell you.

Me: Tony, is there a website you'd like to mention?

Tony: L’église de la sainte consommation a sort of Ad Busters ‘à la française’... it’s funny and educational too.

Me: Thanks... I might check it out. Great job, Tony. Come back again soon.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and Tony Smith. The Phile will be back on Tuesday with Phile Alum Justin Levinson. 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

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