Hey kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday... Happy Memorial Day. I hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend... I personally did nothing. Barenaked Ladies played in Tampa on Saturday... I didn't go, MegaCon was this past weekend... I didn't go. I was invited to the the beach... I didn't go. A great way to avoid Memorial Day weekend traffic is to avoid leaving the house.
If you're in Northern California and considering your water park options for the summer, you may want to think twice about The Wave, which just opened in the city of Dublin for Memorial Day weekend. Although the park cost a whopping $43 million, it's not clear that their rides are entirely safe. Dramatic video, in fact, shows a 10-year-old boy being thrown from a water slide called the Emerald Plunge just an hour and half after the ride had officially opened. He comes out toward the end and skids along the concrete. The "East Bay Times" reports that he was "just shaken up," with a scratch on his shoulder... but both that slide and the one next to it were shut down for reevaluation.
Scary stuff, but thank goodness he's okay. And if he's anything like I was as a 10-year-old, he was probably disappointed he couldn't ride that slide again.
Piers Morgan, professional big mouth with a foot in it, has decided to share his thoughts on what he thinks Ariana Grande should have done in the days since the terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester, England on Monday night. According to TMZ, Grande was "in hysterics" after learning of the bomb that went off at the end of her show, killing 22 people and leaving many others injured. That night, the distraught singer tweeted out this message to the victims and their loved ones...
Then on Tuesday, she canceled the rest of her tour in the wake of the tragedy and was pictured arriving home in Boca Raton, Florida. I can imagine she was probably traumatized and wanted to be home. And yet Piers Morgan, who no one asked for his thoughts on the subject, tweeted that he thinks Ariana Grande should have stayed in England and visited the victims in the hospital. Because this is what the Queen (who lives in England and also this is part of her job) did. Why would Piers Morgan use the Queen's empathy as a reason to attack Ariana Grande, who is already having a pretty rough week? Oh, because he's Piers Morgan. Most people by now would take a moment, realize they had tweeted in error, and pressed that handy "delete" button. Piers Morgan is not most people. Instead, he just keeps doubling down. The Internet is NOT having it and Twitter is shredding Piers Morgan over his comments. This guy's message was the most succinct...
Hopefully Ariana Grande hasn't read Morgan's tweets. We do, however, hope she has read the wonderful letter from a dad in Georgia, which has gone massively viral on Twitter. He ends by writing, "Take care of you first. Your fans aren't going anywhere." Love wins. Piers Morgan should try it sometime.
Hey, remember last week when I wrote about that weird, creepy listing for a house for sale in Columbia, South Carolina? The one where no one was allowed to see the upstairs, where a mysterious tenant lived and would not be paying rent? And I speculated that a ghost or demon might be living upstairs in this obviously haunted house? Well, turns out that the ghost is alive! And according to the "News & Observer," he's actually a 70-year-old artist named Randall McKissick. He's not even evil! The "News & Observer" interviewed McKissick, the divorced father of two and grandfather of one, who was once a world-renowned artist but has since fallen on hard times. His work has been shown internationally in Paris, Johannesburg and St. Thomas, as well as an abundance of places within the U.S. But with the advent of computer graphics, McKissick found himself struggling. On top of that, he dealt with divorce, eviction, and an ongoing battle with anxiety. Randall McKissick has been friends with the owner of the house, Michael Schumpert Sr., since they were children. For about the last decade, his friend has allowed him to live rent-free in the upstairs apartment, with his three cats. But in December, Schumpert was in a car accident resulting in a broken back. (He apparently couldn't be reached for comment by the "News & Observer"). It was Schumpert's son, Michael Jr., who wrote the ad for the house. He told the "News & Observer," “We don’t really have much choice but to sell the house; my parents need to sell it. But it’s been in the family for so long, we don’t really want to. And we want Randy to be able to stay there.” Michael Schumpert, Jr. has taken down the ad and the house is, for now, off the market. He's not sure what the next step will be. McKissick’s daughter, Amber Albert, said their family is looking into other housing for McKissick, a place with room for a studio that will let him keep his cats. But money is an issue in their family, as well. And then there's Randall McKissick's anxiety, which apparently makes it difficult for him to travel or deal with changes. But, he told the "News & Observer," if he has to move, he will. He said, “I just want to paint again. I just want to find that spark.”
When the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema announced plans to hold a women-only screening of Wonder Woman, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, you knew men were going to freak out. And they sure did. It's almost like sexist trolls are incredibly easy to provoke? But the theater itself, to its great credit, couldn't give a toss about these whiny dudes.
Wow! Controversy really sells tickets. In fact, the guys complaining about the screening seem to have given Alamo enough press to keep adding women-only showings of the one superhero film to ever feature a female lead. Morgan Hendrix, Alamo Drafthouse's creative manager, told the "Washington Post" that "providing an experience where women truly reign supreme has incurred the wrath of trolls only serves to deepen our belief that we’re doing something right," and as a result, "we will be expanding this program across the country and inviting women everywhere to join us as we celebrate this iconic superheroine in our theaters." So, male nerds, do you still think tweeting your outrage about this was a good idea? Apparently so, because you're still going.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, after repeatedly kowtowing to an unhinged President Trump and championing a healthcare bill that would cause millions to lose their insurance, is so politically toxic that even 8th graders won't pose with him. The kids were on a Washington, D.C. field trip from South Orange Middle School in South Orange, New Jersey, and on Friday they had the opportunity to pose for a photo with Ryan during their tour of the Capitol. About half the class, or some 100 students, refused... and stood in a parking lot across the way. Which helps to explain this awkward result...
According to local news source "The Village Green," the SOMS students had pointedly political reasons for the snub. "I think that taking the picture represents that you agree with the same political views and I don’t agree with his political views so I chose not to be in it," said Wendy Weeks, while Louisa Maynard-Parisi explained, "I didn’t want to be in [the picture] because he believes in most of what Trump believes in." Meanwhile, the comments on the actual Instagram post are a hoot, with at least one student claiming that the kids who stayed for the photo were just there to make fun of Ryan, whom they think of as a "walking talking meme." Truly, the children are our future.
So, it's Memorial Day and I have to show you something cool...
But for other people it's this...
So, recently I saw this picture...
And it reminded me of something. And then it hit me...
Ha! I have not actually seen any of this Austin Powers movies. And I wanna keep it that way. Speaking of movies though, I can't wait to see the new Transformers movie, even though judging by this screen shot it doesn't look as good as the others...
Most of you know I pretty much just wear shorts and a t-shirt, but if this was the 70s I might be wearing something like this...
Hahaha. Someone needs to explain to the man in the red pants that he will never look tough in that outfit, no matter how hard he stares. You know what I love? Geeks that protest, especially when they have signs like this one...
This sign says all you really need to know about President Trump's popularity. So, I thought this was fitting for today... Sanders should be president just for this poster alone...
Hahaha. Alright, so, in a few weeks I am gonna be taking an Amtrak train down to Hollywood, Florida and as it's quite a few hours trip I thought it'll be fun to post a Phile entry from the train, and when I come back. I have no idea what the trip will be like, and I wonder if it'll e as amazing as the Tunnel of Love...
The Tunnel of Love is a beautiful spot in Klevan, Ukraine. A three kilometer railway section leads to the fibreboard factory. The train runs three times a day and delivers wood to the factory. However, the trees make a green corridor, which attracts many couples, as well as photographers, for its eye catching avenue. It is said that if you and your beloved come to the Tunnel of Love and sincerely make a wish, it will come true. I wonder if there's anything like it between Orlando and Miami. I doubt it. So, some people have such good luck they beat the odds... which in a way pisses me off. I thought about this and decided to start a new pheature simply called...
The award goes to Maeve Lindell, a high school sophomore in Texas, scored an extra seven points for an on point rendering of the latest Spongebob meme, Mocking Spongebob. Frustrated with exponential equations because who won't be (BeCaUsE wHo WoUlDn'T bE?), Lindell drew up a Spongebob to mock the question and it actually boosted her grade!
So, kids, the most important equation is as follows: Math test + memes = extra credit. And now to...
Hahaha. Okay, so, as you know by now I live in Florida and there's doe crazy stuff that happens in Florida that happens no where else in the Universe. So, here once again is a pheature I like to call...
TMZ reports that director James Cameron is being sued for $300 million by Florida man Stephen Cummings for allegedly stealing his stories to create Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Titanic. Oh, and he also thinks that Cameron stole the story of the Titanic sinking from him, too. Court documents show that the complaint is arguing that Cameron got the idea for the gorgeous American rapscallion Jack Dawson after overhearing a conversation Cummings, a former "yacht master," was having with his friends in 1988. TMZ adds that Cummings insists that Cameron overheard him telling friends about relatives who were aboard the doomed ship, and just like in the movie, the husband died while the wife survived. One-thousand-five-hundred-and-seventeen people died on that cold night in 1912, so Cummings's tale isn't a particularly original take. Cummings is asking for $300 million, plus 1 percent of royalties. This lawsuit seems like a long shot. I believe that Cameron's heart will go on. BTW Pocahontas is also lawyering up to sue him for Avatar.
If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. If you don't spot it there's something wrong with you. Okay, so, it's Memorial Day and a lot of people get Veterans Day and Memorial Day confused, so I thought I'd invite someone to the Phile who can explain the differences very simply. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man... you know what time it is...
Dear Dumbasses... Memorial Day... a day to remember those who lost their lives during service. Veterans Day... a day to honor living soldiers who served. Kindly learn the difference. I feel like doing something selfless, today... something for the greater good of society, as a whole. So today I've decided to bitch-slap every man I see who is guilty of any of the following crimes against society... wearing a romper, sporting a man-bun, vaping, playing with a fidget, wearing skinny jeans, wearing Buddy Holly glasses and a "Duck Dynasty" beard, wearing spray on tanner, wearing a speedo and/or yoga pants, wearing pajama bottoms in public, listening to (and singing along with) any Adele song, posting about how they're looking forward to the big Air Supply Summer Tour. You're welcome.
December 8th, 1947 — May 27th, 2017
Laid back. WAY back.
March 28th, 1928 — May 26th, 2017
Three Z's in your name? No. That's just wrong.
October 23rd, 1931 — May 26th, 2017
The honorable gentleman from Kentucky yields the floor.
Donald Trump infamously accused Hillary Clinton of lacking the "stamina" to be president, but now, on his first foreign trip in the role, Trump is the one who's apparently "exhausted." And at no point has that been more obvious than when when he got together with G7 heads of state from the U.K., Italy, France, Germany, Japan, and Canada in Taormina, Sicily. According to the "Times," all the leaders walked "700 yards" from a group photo op to another spot in town... except for Trump, who apparently needed a ride in an electric golf cart to cover that ground. Lazy president, or laziest president? Imagine how disappointed he was to find out there was no actual golf course.
Pandora is an Internet radio website that allows uses to listen to everything but the song they actually want to hear.
The 60th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Author and Phile Alum Wesley Stace will be on the Phile a week from today.
Today's pheatured guest the lead singer for the Long Island based heavy metal band Exist Among whose latest self-titled album is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Marc Morello.
Me: Hey there, Marc, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Marc: Doin' well, Jason. Thanks.
Me: You're from Long Island! That's so cool. What part, sir?
Marc: I'm originally from Queens, New York and moved to Sayville like 15-years-ago.
Me: I grew up in Port Jeff... I am sure you have been there a few times, am I right?
Marc: I didn't know you grew up in Port Jeff. Very cool town. I play acoustic shows there from time to time.
Me: You are in the band Exist Among and you play solo gigs... both of those are completely different, am I right?
Marc: Jekyll and Hyde different. LOL.
Me: Which one do you prefer?
Marc: I need them both. The solo acoustic thing allows me to really keep mastering the skill of simultaneously playing guitar and singing which is what I do with the band only 100 decibels louder. LOL.
Me: I read you know about 200 songs by heart... that's fucking cool. I barely know three. Hahaha. Are all those songs in the same genre?
Marc: I know more like 600 songs but not by heart. I gotta have the lyrics and some chord notations when I play but in reality as soon as I start it all clicks in. What's cool with acoustic is you can really change the mood of a tune simply by setting a different rhythm approach and voice inflection. I've done acoustic Slayer and you'd think it was blues. LOL. Acoustic isn't really a show. It's just adding to the vibe in the restaurant or bar.
Me: So, do you play any Foghat songs?
Marc: Every now and then I do "Third Time Lucky" and of course I'll do "Slow Ride." I want to do "Stay With Me" from "Stone Blue" but the magic of that tune is Lonesome Dave's voice which was from another dimension. Be tough to recreate. LOL.
Me: How long have you been p;aging guitar, Marc?
Marc: I've been playing guitar since I'm 13.
Me: Do you remember what the first song you learnt was?
Marc: I believe it was "Show Me the Way" by Frampton. Either that or "Paranoid."
Me: Were in bands when you were in high school?
Marc: Yeah, but they were fucking awful. I was fucking awful. LOL. It wasn't until I was 17 or so that I got obsessed with getting better on guitar.
Me: So, what kinda music did you listen to growing up?
Marc: I consider myself pretty lucky for the musical era I grew up in. I caught the tale end of the 70s going into the 80s. And I was a fuckin' sponge absorbing and listening to everything. In Queens my house was attached on both sides so if your neighbor flushed the toilet you heard it. LOL. My neighbor who was a kid 3 years older than me would always blast his stereo in his room. My bedroom was on the other side of the wall. Albums he blasted were Thin Lizzy "Live and Dangerous," Black Sabbath "Masters of Reality," Judas Priest "Stained Class" and of course Foghat "Live" among others coming in nice and clear in my wall. LOL. I got into Sabbath, Yes, Queen, Floyd, Tull, Rainbow, Kiss, Aerosmith, Priest etc. right into the 80s with Metallica, Slayer, Celtic Frost, Angel Witch, Sabbath The Rods, Megadeth etc. and into the 90s with Morbid Angel, Pantera, Tool, Soundgarden, Sabbath, death metal etc. I loved discovering new music. Still do. Did I mention Sabbath? LOL.
Me: No, I don't think you did. Hahaha. Let's talk about your band Exist Among. Exist among what? Where did the band get its name from?
Marc: I can be pretty fuckin' negative. It's a mental state I'm in at times. All the bad shit around me from personal demons, to family dysfunction, and just the way of the world today. I felt like I was just not living much at times. Existing. Exist among. People think its got to do with zombies cause I'm a huge "Walking Dead" and horror movie buff. Might be some truth there too. LOL. The music is kind of old school doom mixed with whatever.
Me: Are you the founder of the band, Marc?
Me: So, who is in the band with you?
Marc: We've had some different line-ups over the last few years (mostly bassists). My drummer Tom (Mojo) McCrone has been with the band for 3 years and Scott (The Antagonyst) Casey is the newest member and I think the final piece. He fits what we do perfectly.
Me: Did you write the songs for the self-titled album?
Marc: Yeah, for the most part. I write the lyrics and on some tunes we collaborated musically which is thankfully becoming more of a songwriting ritual now, I want everybody to put their stamp on a tune. I might be the seer but in the end everybody has to be satisfied.
Me: I like the song "World of Shit." What is that song about?
Marc: Standard doom topic. Self absorbed/fucked up world not aware that the Bringer of Doom and Death has arrived and is planning on exterminating humanity. In the end once the deed is done signs of life begin to rise signifying rebirth. You'll never get a happy tune from us.
Me: Most of your songs are pretty long... is that planned?
Marc: Not at all. They don't seem long to us. You want a tune to have whatever it needs for it to come across.
Me: So, what kinda music would you say Exist Among plays? Heavy metal?
Marc: Heavy rock, heavy metal... ehh, whatever you wanna call it.
Me: Who are your influences, Marc?
Marc: As a guitarist Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Randy Rhoads, Paul Kossoff, Jimmy Page are the ones that stick the most. For vocals I'm a huge Dio fan as well as Bon Scott, Dave Mustaine and of course Lonesome Dave Peverett.
Me: Cool. In the band you all have nicknames... and yours is Kaiser. Where did that come from?
Marc: Just a moronic nickname from a previous band that stuck cause I was a big fan of the movie Slingblade. You know the scene in the movie where he says, "Some people call it a Kaiser blade but I call it a sling blade." So I was Kaiser Blade. Then Kaiser. Kaiser Roll sometimes when I don't get to the fuckin' gym. LOL.
Me: Does Exist Among do many shows, Marc?
Marc: Not as many as we'd like to. Maybe one show every two months on Long Island. There are a handful of places on Long Island that we play that have live original bands. They support it. Metal and heavy rock isn't exactly drawing mass amounts of people as it once did here. Plus some of the venues push that pay to play bullshit. Basically your band wants to open for a major act the venue wants your band to sell maybe 30 tickets at 10 bucks apiece, then surrender the money to the venue before your band plays like a 25 minute set on the same stage as the major act. To be in an original band today you gotta be in it for the love of it. If it catches on that's great. If not... whatever.
Me: Is this new self-titled release your first release?
Marc: Actually its the second. We did an album three years ago with myself and a different drummer and bassist. It was okay but I wasn't happy with the performances. The drums especially. I didn't release it but there are some good tunes on it. One is this tune called "Dead Soon" which we will play live, and another is a tune called "Time To Die." Maybe on our next release I'll just throw them on as bonuses. I think on the reverbnation.com/existamong website you can check them out, but don't say I didn't warn you. The drumming on those recordings is shit.
Me: Where was this new CD recorded, Marc?
Marc: Brocks Studios in Hicksville. My friend Rob Broccolo is owner and is a good friend among being an excellent bassist and recording engineer. Check out his Facebook page at facebook.com/brocksstudios.
Me: I have to ask you about the album cover... it's very creepy. Who painted it?
Marc: Jason Noto at Morning Breath Inc in Brooklyn. He's ridiculously talented.
Me: So, what's next for the band, Marc?
Marc: We are currently working on new material which will be a bit different from this latest release. Heavy as always but some different rhythm styles. Try some different vocal approaches as well. I'd be lying if I said we'll have something released by end of summer but hopefully by end of the year.
Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Will you come back again in the future when the next project comes out?
Marc: Fuck yeah... and thanks much, Jason, for allowing me to blab about Exist Among on your blog.
Me: Go ahead and mention your website and I wish you lots of luck. Keep rocking, man.
Marc: Thanks, man. So if you'd like to download our album its available at most Internet music stores such as Amazon, iTunes, etc. You can also purchase a hard copy CD or t-shirt as well as a download at existamong.bandcamp.com. Give us a like at facebook.com/existamong.
Me: Great job, take care.
Well, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Marc Morello. The Phile will be back next Sunday with actor Wally Wingert. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a great rest of the holiday weekend.
Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker