Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? So, today's And today's Dumb Bigot on the Internet Award goes to..... this guy. He should not be honored.
If you haven't been acquainted yet, this is 35-year-old Alexander Downing. He went on a drunken, bigotry-fueled diatribe directed towards a Muslim family on a Texas beach last week and a video of the incident went viral. And so did his mug shot.
Crying after being an abusive bigot is not a good look. The family was trying to enjoy a private access beach in South Padre, Texas while on vacation for a family reunion, they explained in a caption on YouTube, when Downing approached them and started hurling Islamophobic slurs, threatening the family, yelling about Donald Trump (shocker: this guy is a Trump supporter), cursing and even grabbing his crotch, in front of their children, as the video shows. Horrible behavior. Also, illegal behavior. The family filmed the incident, including their call to the cops, who eventually showed up and arrested the guy, FOX 61 reports. But you already knew that from his history-making mugshot. For the record, no shame in crying like a little girl! Unless you're a bigot. It's awful that this poor family had their family reunion ruined by this dude's horrific bigotry. And worse, incidents like this are not uncommon in the ol' U.S. of A. But on a brighter note, at least the whole world got to see him cry.
J.K. Rowling retweeted a police report after an extremely rare, handwritten draft of her Harry Potter prequel was stolen from its owner after selling for £25,000 at an auction in 2008, according to "Time." "PLEASE DON"T BUY THIS IF YOU'RE OFFERED IT," shouted Rowling to her 10 million-plus followers. The story, written on a postcard by Rowling herself, was sold to benefit English PEN, a center that works to defend freedom of expression for writers. But look, you don't have to buy this black market postcard to read the Harry Potter prequel you're desperate for. According to reports from 2008, the prequel was made available to fans online around the time of the postcard sale, and now it's widely circulated on Potter fan sites. The short story follows a young James Potter and Sirius Black. They bamboozle a pair of pathetic town cops, then crush a few broomstick adversaries in an alleyway. If you're interested you can find the whole thing over at Mugglenet.
Millennials have a rising epidemic on their hands. The condition is painful, difficult to treat and increasingly common, according to doctors. Even worse? The cause is the thing millennials love the most. It's called "avocado hand." Millennials love avocados. Unlike other stereotypes about this generation... that you're lazy and entitled, that you don't read... this one is true. But as everyone knows, avocados need to be sliced open and cut to be consumed. And cutting a fruit that has a ginormous, spherical pit in the center of it is risky business. According to a report in the U.K.'s "The Times," surgeons are reporting "growing numbers" of patients ending up in the ER with injuries related to peeling, slicing or removing the pits from avocados. Ouch. "People do not anticipate that the avocados they buy can be very ripe and there is minimal understanding of how to handle them," Simon Eccles of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, told "The Times." He said he sees about "four patients a week" suffering from the condition. The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons is even calling for safety labels on the fruit to reduce the number of avocado-related injuries, which often involve nerve and tendon damage and may require "intricate surgery.""We don't want to put people off the fruit, but I think warning labels are an effective way of dealing with this," said Eccles. "It needs to be recognizable. Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it." Or, people could just follow this handy avocado cutting safety guide...
OUR ABILITY TO ENJOY AVOCADOS IS AT STAKE, PEOPLE. #RESIST.
Last night, Miss District of Columbia Kara McCullough won the title of Miss USA for the second year in a row. Before being crowned, McCullough, who "Newsweek" reports is a scientist working at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, answered a question about whether she thought healthcare was a privilege or a right. She went with "privilege." McCullough also declined to call herself a feminist, saying she preferred the word "equalist." Kara McCullough's answers caused mixed reactions on social media. Some conservatives agreed with McCullough (who, according to "Newsweek," follows President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump on Twitter), and showed their support for her. But lots of people disagreed strongly with her opinions. On one hand, you've got a woman of color scientist as Miss USA, which is great! On the other hand, she doesn't seem to know the actual definition of feminism (which has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with man-hating), and she views healthcare as a privilege only for people who have jobs. Hmm.
Russian President Vladimir Putin took a break from shirtless horseback riding and late-night phone calls with Donald Trump to give an impromptu piano recital in China... well, if you'd call having a cameraman on hand to film the whole thing "impromptu." According to "The New York Times," Putin decided to tickle the ivories while waiting to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing yesterday. Putin plunked out "Evening Song," by Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi, and "Moscow Windows," by Tikhon Kournikova, two songs written in the 1950s. Let's be real, though, he's not very good. Don't quit your authoritarian day job, Vlad. The clip went viral after "The New York Times" tweeted it with the caption "a piano recital in Beijing showers perhaps a softer side of Vladimir Putin."
Hey, Vlad, do you take requests? Play "Putin on the Ritz" next!
This just in, Trump is about to respond to Putin playing the piano...
Hahaha. That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...
Hey, that's Dan Rad... never mind. Have you seen Trump's new toad tattoo?
Why the hell is a water balloon being thrown at him? By the war, he just wrote a new policy. Let's see what it is...
Ha! So, most of you know I pretty much just wear shorts and t-shirts everyday. But if this was the 70s I might be wearing this...
Hahaha. The man on the right is wearing the bodysuit equivalent of half-and-half soft serve. You know what I think is cool... geeks that protest. They're normally very creative.
Whether you love the original trilogy or couldn't get enough of Rogue One, this sign is a great reminder that Leia and Jyn were critical in taking down the Empire's world-destroying weapon. Okay, so, yesterday I posted a graphic that advertised the Phile will be on Amtrak in June. It's true. On June 10th I will be taking the train down to Hollywood, Florida to see U2 in concert, and I thought it'll be fun to post a blog or two from the train ride. Don't ask me why it would be fun, but I think it will be. Anyway, I don't know what kinda ride that will be, but it made me think of some of the world's amazing train rides that I wouldn't wanna go on. Like the Maeklong Market Railway in Thailand.
The food market in Maeklong, Thailand is located on top of train tracks. Several times a day shopkeepers swiftly pack up their food stalls and pull back their canopies to let the trains pass. Once the trains have rumbled through, the crates of vegetables, fish, and eggs are placed back into position and shoppers return to the tracks, which serve as a path through the market. That's fucking crazy. And now for some sad news...
June 1st, 1948 — May 14th, 2017
The powers that be... are no more.
Ha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Alright, as you probably know by now with a narrow success in the House, Trumpcare has risen from the dead and is off to the Senate in its long, morally questionable journey to exchange healthcare for the needy for a tax cut to the rich, the ultimate Reverse Robin Hood. With a suspenseful vote that came out to 217-213 and the stakes that are literally life and death, I thought I would invite someone on the Phile to kinda explain what is all about and get someone in the know opinion about it. So, please welcome to the Phile, co-host Co-Host of Pod Save America and former Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama... Jon Favreau.
Me: Hello, Jon, welcome to the Phile. So, you're calling Trumpcare Wealthcare, am I right?
Jon: Yeah, that's right. Wealthcare. I'm still trying to make it work. But seriously...
Me: Hahaha. So, what do make of it being voted in by a few votes?
Jon: What the House of Representatives did was revolting.
Me: Even though the bill was voted in, it seems no one wants it. Why would the House vote
something in that no one wants?
Jon: It didn't matter that the bill they passed was overwhelmingly opposed by America's doctors, nurses, and hospitals.
Me: Surely some people wanted it though... what do you think the percentage of people outside the House wanted this bill to be passed?
Jon: Seventeen percent, but it does't matter to them?
Me: So, none of this matters?
Jon: No. It didn't matter that they had no idea how much it would cost, or what kind of impact it would have on the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Me: I am not even gonna go onto this pre-existing condition thing, Jon. I am very lucky to have good insurance through Disney, but if I didn't I would be screwed. I have too many health problems. Anyway, why would they vote this bill in? Something had to matter to them.
Jon: All that mattered to those House members was that they got a political win. And that their millionaire and billionaire friends got another big tax cut.
Me: Man, you seem more pissed about this than I thought you would be. In one word what you you say what they did passing it?
Jon: What they did was pathetic.
Me: Hmmmm. That's a good word. Haha. So, what do we do now?
Jon: We have to do everything we can to make sure their garbage bill never becomes law.
Me: Okay, you worked with Obama and I know he worked very hard on Obamacare, Jon, so I can imagine what you are thinking. Obamacare is a big part of his legacy. Did you have fun when you worked for the White House?
Jon: Yes, I'm proud that I worked in a White House that wanted to help people.
Me: How long did you guys work on Obamacare?
Jon: We spent 18 long months on it.
Me: It seems like the Republicans didn't listen to anyone, the doctors, nurses and hospitals, like you said. Who did you guys listen to?
Jon: We listened to experts: health care providers, the AARP, the American Cancer Society. President Obama even debated the law with House Republicans on live television. Most importantly, we listened to the people whose lives it would affect.
Me: A lot of people did complain about Obamacare though, not everyone liked it, Jon.
Jon: We certainly didn't get it perfect, but we did everything we could... and we helped a lot of people in the process.
Me: Okay, so, what's the worst case scenario about what you call Wealthcare? J
Jon: The bill will destroy that progress.
Me: Playing devil's advocate, how? It might be better than Obamacare, even though I doubt it.
Jon: Jason, it will deny medical care to millions of Americans who desperately need it. People will go bankrupt. People will die.
Me: Ugh. Okay, that's pretty bad.
Jon: I wonder if anyone who voted for this heinous bill gave a minute's thought to how a medical emergency could financially destroy the average family... especially when insurance companies are once again allowed to charge people more just for being sick or older.
Me: Like I said, I'd be screwed. So, what do we do to stop this, Jon?
Jon: We have to start making phone calls. We have to show up at their town halls. And if they won't hold town halls, we have to show up at their offices.
Me: Ugh. Okay, that seems like a lot of work. Anything else?
Jon: We need to protest. We need to march. We need to harness all of our energy and our outrage into a movement that they cannot ignore.
A story on Politico about how President Donald Trump "gets his fake news" is currently having a moment on Twitter, an impressive feat for a long, journalistic piece on complicated White House intrigue. But it's easy to see why. Here's how it opens: the deputy national security advisor, K.T. McFarland, gave Trump two "Time" magazine covers. One was from the 1970s, and it warned of a looming ice age. The next was from 2008, and it detailed the impending terrors of climate change. From Politico, "Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an Internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it." If Donald Trump used the Internet, he could have Googled the fake news story about the ice age. Here, I did it for him...
But as Politico reports, Trump "rarely browses the Internet on his own." So it's up to his staff to hand him the conspiracy theories that fit each of their agendas, and "they do so to gain an edge in the seemingly endless 'Game of Thrones' inside the West Wing." Trump will definitely call this story about fake news fake news. But after Politico published it, many, including "New York Times" reporter Maggie Haberman, lauded its findings.
The conclusion of the article is this, "A news story tucked into Trump’s hands at the right moment can torpedo an appointment or redirect the president’s entire agenda." Read the full story at politico.com/story/2017/05/15/donald-trump-fake-news-238379. But finish the Phile first. Okay, wanna laugh?
A proud and confident professor makes a bet with an under-performing student. The professor says, "Every question I ask you that you don't know the answer, you have to give me five dollars. And if you ask me a question and I can't answer yours, I will give you $5,000." The student agrees and the professor asks, "How many continents are there in the world?" The student doesn't know and hands over the five dollars. The student says, "Now my turn, what animal stands with two legs but sleeps with three?" The professor thinks very hard for the answer, but his face falls as he gives up and hands over the $5000. He says, "Wow, I lost. I must know, what was the answer to your question?" Smiling, the student hands over five dollars.
J.K. Rowling is the current leading author of Harry Potter fan fiction.
Me: Hey, Jack, welcome to the Phile. How are you, sir?
Jack: Not too bad, Jason. Thanks for having me.
Me: I love your name... it sounds like something out of a 70s or 80s TV show... "Jack Crosby, Private Investigator" or something. Anyway, where are you from, Jack?
Jack: I’m from New Jersey. I’m not proud of that fact, but my parents won’t let me change it on my birth certificate.
Me: Is that where you live now?
Jack: Nope, I hit the road and moved to Chicago. I’ve always been a fan of the Windy City.
Me: Okay, so, you have written a shit load of books... and I think all have a hot half-naked woman on the cover but for some reason I am pheaturing your book "The Crazy Guy's Guide to Bacon" in the Phile's Book Club. Are you a crazy guy, Jack?
Jack: I wouldn’t say I’m normal. And for the record, I tried to get a half naked woman on the cover of the bacon book, too. But alas, it felt a bit like overkill.
Me: So, primarily you're a fantasy writer, am I right?
Jack: Basically. I like dabbling in the whole angels and demons mythos and putting my own unique spin on the tales.
Me: How long have you been writing, Jack?
Jack: A few years now, published that is. I have a bunch of half baked fan fic stories up on various websites that are straight up nuts. I don’t point anyone to those because it would legit have readers question what the hell is wrong with me.
Me: Okay, so, I read that you had all your books pulled and have rewrote them, and gave them different names and everything. Is that true?
Jack: Yep. I wasn’t happy with the products that were out there so I did the only rational thing. I took them out back and put them out of their misery. From the ashes of those messes are going to be books that are a hell of a lot better.
Me: Why and what made you do this, Jack?
Jack: If you don’t take pride in your work, what’s the point, you know? Sure the stories were fun, but they were grammatical messes. I want fun stories that are also easy to read and not full of errors.
Me: Apart from the book about bacon which we will get into in a minute you wrote a book with Phile Alum Jeremy Croston called "Demons in D.C." I have to show it here...
Me: First of, how did you meet Jeremy?
Jack: "Demons in D.C." is the first of the revamped books, formally known as "Death Among Us." I met Jeremy on Facebook through an author group we belong to. He’d been at the point I was not too long before and lent me some good advice. I still tell people he named his kid after me, even though we both know that’s a crock of shit. Haha!
Me: Haha. Was it fun to write with Jeremy, Jack?
Jack: The bones of the story were in place, as I had previously written "Death Among Us." Jeremy tends to write battle scenes better than I do, so getting his added influence and expanding upon those crucial parts are the book were awesome. When I read the final product, I couldn’t have been happier.
Me: Do you prefer to write by yourself or with somebody else?
Jack: Either or. I’m a pretty easy guy and I just go with what makes the most sense.
Me: Why did you chose D.C. as the place for demons to be? Is this anything to do with the current president?
Jack: Hahaha. Ironically, I wrote the story back in 2014, but if you look at it now, you’d think it was a political statement. It’s not but it is damn funny how it all worked out. Could Donald Trump truly be a Greed demon placed in office by the Arch Demon Beelzebub?!?! Someone hit the mystery music!
Me: So, what is the book about?
Jack: We follow the horseman Death around as he womanizes his way through life. Unfortunately, a Lust demon named Roxanne shows up at his house and pretty much seduces him into helping her. From there, shenanigans!
Me: This is the first volume, will there be a second volume?
Jack: There will be four total volumes in the re-release of the series.
Me: The cover art is pretty eye-catching... who did the art work?
Jack: The same guy who did "The Negative Man" series, I think his name is Galuh Abudabi or something. I loved how Jeremy’s covers looked and he hooked me up with the guy. He was really excited to do as he put it, “a sexy book cover.”
Me: Do all your books take place in the same universe?
Jack: Yes they do. A fictionalized version of present day ‘Merica.
Me: So, do you have a favorite author?
Jack: I don’t know if many people had heard of him, but E. William Brown is a terrific author.
Me: Did you used to write stories when you were a kid, Jack? I used to most of my life til my late twenties and then I just stopped. I never ever tried to get anything published.
Jack: I did not. As a kid I used to pull apart my dad’s electronics and try to put them back together. I think he’d rather I wrote nonsense than what I did do.
Me: When was your first book published and what was it called?
Jack: "Death Among Us" (now known as "Demons in D.C.") was my first published work back in 2015.
Me: You have so many books out you must be writing every single day. How much writing do you do a day, Jack?
Jack: Actually not that much. I learned that it is better to write less but make it more quality over the few years I’ve been doing this. So now, maybe I’ll write a chapter or two a week when I have a book to write.
Me: Okay, let's talk about your bacon book... so, I love bacon myself but don't think I would ever write about bacon. What made you write a cook book about bacon?
Jack: To stick it to annoying vegans that have slowly infested Facebook.
Me: Do you cook or have any cooking experience?
Jack: I do cook here and there and as the disclaimer says I have no professional experience, LOL.
Me: Ever had chocolate covered bacon or bacon beer?
Jack: Yes and yes. Those two things are straight up legit. If anyone says otherwise, they aren’t your friend.
Me: So, this book is only 30 pages... that's a real short book. Haha. Did it take you long to write?
Jack: I wrote it in a day believe it or not.
Me: What's your favorite recipe in the book, Jack?
Jack: That’s like asking a guy to pick what car model is his favorite. I guess if I am being forced to pick a favorite, it’s my award winning apple pie recipe.
Me: There's also poems and jokes in this book... did you write them all?
Jack: The poems are all original Jack works, but the jokes I poached from various people over the years.
Me: Okay, let me hear a bacon joke... I am sure the readers would love to hear one.
Jack: What do you get when you cross a centipede and a pig?
Me: I don't know. What?
Jack: Bacon and legs… womp womp.
Me: Ha! That's terrible, but better than the joke I told about the professor and the student a few minutes ago. So, is this book aimed at mostly guys or anybody?
Jack: This book is aimed at the great people of any land who enjoy the fine food known as bacon.
Me: When was the first time you ever tried bacon, do you remember?
Jack: I’m pretty sure I’ve been stealing bacon off my mom’s table since I had teeth. I eat a few slices almost every day as part of a terrible, heart unhealthy diet.
Me: There's a store in Florida and maybe other states called Rocket Fizz that sells all kinds of stuff, and your book would fit right in. They have a bacon section. Is your book sold other places part from Amazon?
Jack: Not yet, but I do need to get this thing into paperback, don’t I?
Me: Yeah. So, do you think you'll write a follow up to this bacon book?
Jack: You’re not the first person to ask me that. If the response is good enough, I’ll write a second cook book for the world to be mortified at.
Me: Where did the title come from, Jack?
Jack: Honestly, it just popped into my head when I was talking to a friend. We both laughed and a book was born.
Me: Have you ever had bad bacon?
Jack: Unfortunately, yes. Nothing is worse than over frying the bacon and basically eating pig flavored cardboard. The texture people, think about the texture and the people you are going to be serving!
Me: I know people that have made their own bacon... which I don't understand. It's meat from a pigs ass so how do you make bacon? Anyway, have you ever made your own bacon?
Jack: I just did the other day. For a first attempt, I don’t think it went bad but it was a hell of a lot of work. You have to get the pork butt and slice it thin, and blah blah blah, hours later you have bacon. Next time, I’m just buying the sliced shit my butcher has fresh in his cabinet.
Me: How did it turn out?
Jack: Like I said not too bad. I didn’t season it was well as my butcher does to the stuff he makes, so I wasn’t happy with it. But that’s nothing maple syrup couldn’t fix! Read the bacon book to get the reference.
Me: Alright, so, what is your next book gonna be?
Jack: I submitted a book to a publisher who accepted it! It’s about a dude who gets sucked into a video game and ends up having to fight and have lots of sex to get back into the real world. This one is for sure going to end up in the Library of Congress one day!
Me: Will you come back on the Phile when it comes out?
Jack: Oh, you’re damn right I will. I have no shame in my shallow and sex fueled writing. I’d be happy to entertain this very space yet again.
Me: I see you have your own bloodspot... what is it called? Where did that name come from?
Jack: Grimmsreapers.blogspot.com... the name comes from the main character of my angels and demons series, Derrick Grimm (aka Death).
Me: What do you talk about in your blog?
Jack: My books, how much the world is a cold cruel place, my limited knowledge of sports, beer, so yep, pretty much a whole lot of nothing. But I encourage everyone to stop on by. You might lose a brain cell or two!
Me: Thanks so much for being here on the Phile, Jack. Keep writing and please come back on the Phile soon. All the best.
Jack: Thanks for having me, Jason. This was a shit ton of fun!
Me: Good. I'm glad. Haha.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jon Favreau and of course Jack Crosby. Now I'm hungry talking about bacon. Anyway, the Phile will be back next Sunday with singer Joseph Eid. 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