Saturday, May 6, 2017

Pheaturing Pontea

Good afternoon, kids, and welcome to the Phile for a Saturday. How are you? As if you needed another reason not to fly, here's the latest airline horror story to keep you grounded. A New York family is suing Delta Airlines after they claim a Delta employee "slapped" their 12-year-old son's phone out of his hand while they were waiting for a flight from La Guardia Airport in New York City to Florida last July, the "New York Post" reports. On July 1st, 2016, Matthew Boggan was traveling to Florida with 10 family members when their Delta flight was delayed 17 hours due to a "weather event," according to court papers. The Boggan family and other passengers had been forced to sleep in sleeping on the floor, according to "Inside Edition." So when the Delta agent came over to explain the situation to the weary passengers, Boggan, being a millennial, took out his phone and began recording on Snapchat. He wanted to film the passengers' reaction to the announcement, his attorney Terrence James Cortelli said. The Delta ticketing agent said it was "illegal" for him to film the situation, the suit claims according to "The Post." She then "smacked" the phone out of his hand, according to the lawsuit filed in Rockland County. "She just came over and hit me," Boggan told "The Post. " "My phone went flying. I was in shock." According to Matthew’s father, Brian Boggan, passengers responded by yelling, "this is child abuse." Delta spokesman Anthony Black declined to comment on the incident, but a lawyer for the airline said Matthew "interfered with the Delta agent’s ability to communication an announcement." The Boggan family is seeking "unspecified damages" from Delta, the "Post" reports. The Boggans first filed their suit last year, but Matthew Boggan claims the recent viral video of a Kentucky doctor being violently dragged off an over-booked United flight brought back "horrible memories" and he refuses to fly either United or Delta. "I’ll only fly Jet Blue," he said. Cortelli said both incidents signal a much larger problem with airline employees disregarding their passengers' needs. "They don’t care. They know we’re trapped," he said. "We have to do whatever they say."
When Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something much, much worse... yeah, fine, call it Trumpcare... they put themselves in the awkward explanation of trying to explain how they're not actually evil. It's not going well for them! Take Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who the day after that historically tragic vote visited with constituents at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. There he was informed by a woman that the Trumpcare bill includes cuts to Medicaid that amount to a death sentence for some. Labrador called the line "indefensible," which was pretty rich considering what he said next. "Nobody dies because they don't have access to healthcare." Good luck getting reelected, dude!
Former Arkansas governor and current blathering old man Mike Huckabee likes to make jokes on Twitter. There is only one problem... he really sucks at it. In his latest attempt, Huckabee tweeted out this purposely distasteful "joke" about Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday that commemorates the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862...

Okay, so Huckabee is very obviously trying stir up controversy with broad stereotypes about Mexicans for no other reason than to just be an ass. Makes you long for the good ol' days when politicians at least pretended not to be racist, doesn't it? Although Cinco De Mayo is observed to commemorate an unlikely military defeat over French forces in 1862, many Americans mark the holiday by wearing racially insensitive costumes, guzzling alcohol and eating inauthentic Mexican food at chain restaurants. Nowadays, many like to exploit Mexican culture as they chant "build a wall!" The irony. Remember when we thought things couldn't get weirder than this Cinco de Mayo tweet?

Stick to politics, Huckabee. Oh wait, you were no good at that either. Maybe just go away?
Your boozy aunt Susan and your lush freshman year roommate might actually be right... Alcohol is a great painkiller. While research on the effects of alcohol has been swinging back and forth like you when you're drunk, a meta-analysis of 18 scientific studies in "The Journal of Pain" suggests that scientists can agree on one thing: Alcohol might be a better painkiller than acetaminophen, aka Tylenol. If you combine the great painkiller with laughter (the best medicine), a night with friends just might be the cure to your ills. That is, if you aren't in so much pain that you can't go out. Dr. Trevor Thompson of the University of Greenwich looked at 18 controlled experiments on the analgesic effects of alcohol and found that Blood Alcohol Content of approximately 0.08% (around three or four beers) "produced a small elevation of pain threshold and a moderate to large reduction in pain intensity ratings." That's the difference between a frowny face and a crying frowny face on the official emergency room pain scale! But there is a downside, of course. Thompson explained that the World Health Organization's guidelines encourage seeking alternatives because patients with chronic pain are at a higher risk of alcohol abuse. Also, obviously, this would not work with people with alcohol abuse problems who should not drink alcohol at all. So don't get in the habit of "drinking the pain away," especially considering that alcohol is often just delaying the pain until the morning. But if you're feeling for a more delicious alternative to Tylenol, beer is the way to go.
"Playboy" model Jaylene Cook is being criticized for cultural insensitivity after stripping down on a mountain that's sacred to the Maori community, the indigenous people of New Zealand. Cook, 25, climbed up to the 2,518-meter peak of Mount Taranaki, New Zealand. There she took a picture gazing out over the clouds wearing nothing but gloves, hat, and sneakers, which would hurt a lot if she tripped after she stripped. The mountain, which is an active volcano, is sacred to the Maori people, and a spokesperson for the local tribe told the BBC that "it's like someone went into St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and took a nude photo," which, damn... don't give "Playboy" any ideas. The BBC explains that for the Maori, "the volcano is considered the burial ground of the tribe's ancestor and is itself seen as an ancestor." "We simply ask people to please be respectful. This latest case is just another really annoying example where someone obviously didn't know how to behave here," the spokesperson, Dennis Ngawhare, explained. Mount Taranki's sacred status is explained on the New Zealand Department of Conservation's website, so isn't very hard to figure out. "The crater and summit is the sacred head of Taranaki, the rocks and ridge are his bones, rivers his blood and plants and trees are his cloak and offer protection from the weather… Respect the mountain," the official website states. Getting naked at "historical sites" seems to be Cook's "thing."

As the base says, "Give me your tired, your poor, your naked asses yearning to be free." In December 2016, Jennifer Lawrence was similarly called out for disrespecting native cultures when she bragged about scratching her butt with sacred rocks with shooting The Hunger Games in Hawaii. Dear beautiful famous people, there are many places to get naked that aren't considered holy. And there are many other things with which to scratch your butt.
The other day I saw this picture of Trump...

And I thought to myself it reminds me of some other pic I saw. And then it hit me...

Speaking of Trump... did you see he has a new toad tattoo on his face? No? Well, take a look...

What the hell? That's so stupid. Hahahaha. That's as stupid as...

Hahahaha. Doesn't Ed Norton looked kinda stoned tFhere? Hey, are you a fan of those Fast & the Furious movies? I have never seen any of them myself but I heard they are good. Anyway, the poster for the ninth movies in the series is out already.

Okay, I just think that's in bad taste. Just saying. Moving on... I love it when geeks get political, don't you? They just have the best signs.

Even if we're talking about xenomorphs. One of the things I love to do in my spare time is to look up certain words on Twitter. And one of the words I look up is "Foghat." Here's a tweet I saw a while ago...

Lillian, I don't low who you are but that's funny... and you are cute. Alright, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Groups Who Went To See Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
5. Moviegoers eager to see Vin Disel stretch his acting chops by playing a younger monosyllabic tree.
4. Sylvester Stallone lovers, eager to figure out which parts of his character's wrinkled, discolored flesh are makeup and which are his actual skin.
3. People who've waited 30 years for Stallone and Kurt Russell to be reunited... and summon the legendary magic of Tango & Cash.
2. Classic rock fans who can see no other way to listen to Fleetwood Mac.
And the number one group of people who went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are...
1. Trenchcoats full of enterprising raccoons.

This is really a stupid one. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Alright, so, I love comedy and I like giving comedians a chance on the Phile. There's one comedian that's really funny, except the problem is he is very old, and it's hard to understand him. Luckily for you though I am really old as well, and can translate for you. Yep. It's a talent. So, please welcome once again to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Alan, welcome back to the Phile.

Alan: Salutations, Jason.

Me: Alright, tell us a joke. I know it's gonna be funny.

Alan: A forward girl being in company of two or three with her mother, must needs whip her hand up her petticoats and scratch her... "Lord, child," says the mother in a pet, "what are you about?" "Only laying the itching of that which you have often plagued my poor father to do for you."

Me: Haha. That's good. Okay, let me translate as my readers will probably have no idea what you're saying... A girl reaches under her skirt in public to scratch her vagina. When the mom asks, "WTF?" the kid replies, "I'm just scratching my vagina like you're always asking dad to do for you." Alan, the 100-year-old-comedian, everybody. Good job, Alan,

Alan: Thank you.

The 59th book in the Phile's Book Club is...

Jack will be the guest on the Phile next Monday.

Okay, today's guest is a very talented and beautiful singer whose new single "Unpredictable" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Pontea.

Me: Hello, Pontea, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Pontea: I’m sooo good! Thank you for having me.

Me: So, how do you pronounce your name?

Pontea: I always tell people the “e” is silent, so try saying Ponta, it sounds like Pawn-tuh, and I usually sing that jingle Fanta Pontea, don’t you wanta, ha!

Me: Pontea, you are very stunning... I know you are a singer, but have you ever done any modeling? 

Pontea: Why, thank you, that’s very kind. I’ve done some modeling here and there in the past, but nothing major.

Me: Where are you from originally?

Pontea: Los Angeles, born and raised... same family home all my life. It’s funny because I’m considered a “unicorn” to others I meet around L.A. who moved here from somewhere else.

Me: Your dad is from overseas, right? Where is he from and where is your mom from?

Pontea: My parents are both from Tehran, Iran. That’s where they met and married. They moved here at the start of the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Me: They are creative people as well... your dad is a singer? My dad was a singer as well, but in a rock band... Foghat. I doubt you heard of the band. What kinda singing did your dad do?

Pontea: That’s really cool! So you know what it’s like to have a musical home environment. Yes, my dad has a beautiful singing voice and he’s actually a damn good whistler too. He was in a band in Iran when he was younger. I grew up waking up to the sound of him whistling tunes from his bedroom and singing his favorite songs when we would get ready for parties. He and I like to do duets together as well, with me on the piano and us singing together. He’s the live entertainment at most of his friends’ gatherings, singing mostly Persian songs with a few favorite Italian and pop tunes.

Me: And wasn't your mom a poet?

Pontea: She has a passion for writing Farsi poetry. Her words are beautiful. I wish I could translate some Persian poetry into English, but it’s never quite the same. 

Me: So, are you an only child, Pontea?

Pontea: Nooo, I’m the youngest of 4 siblings, one sister and two brothers. They’re way older than me though. My sister, who’s the oldest, is 20-years-older than me and the age gap between the youngest brother and I is 14 years... same parents, same marriage. I’m the baby of the family and I had somewhat of an only child experience, considering the huge age difference. My parents were pretty strict on my sister and brothers back in the day. But they were incredibly lenient by the time I came around. I had no curfew, never got grounded, had boyfriends, sleepovers, etc. This freedom stirred my creativity and allowed me to explore my surroundings my way.

Me: What do they think of your career and music? I am sure they are very proud of you!

Pontea: They’re my biggest supporters. They pushed me to do music even when I didn’t think I could.

Me: So, did you wanna be a singer all your life?

Pontea: I’ve definitely wanted to be a performer all my life, both acting and singing. That’s all my daydreams were about, and I spent most of my free time doing something in the arts.

Me: Who were your influences growing up?

Pontea: I grew up listening to all different styles of music including Persian and Mediterranean music, Latin, world music, hip hop, r&b, soul, pop, deep house, oldies in jazz, pop, rock, blues, Disney music, classical music, and musical theater. I’m a melting pot of what I listen to and there are so many artists who have influenced and inspired me. I've gone through stages of being hugely influenced by certain artists at different points. The ones that seem to stick with me are Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, James Blake, Jamie Woon, Ed Sheeran, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Eminem, Ella Fitzgerald, Melody Gardot, Sia, Banks, Maya Jane Coles, The Black Keys, Simon & Garfunkel, Bill Withers, Bonobo, Miles Davis, La Bouche, D’Angelo, N'Sync, The Beatles, Brian McKnight, Lady Gaga, Queen, and there are so many more.

Me: As well as singing you also play keyboards, right? Do you play on your records?

Pontea: Yes, I play keys on most of my records and arrange a lot of the bass lines as well.

Me: How old were you when you started playing piano?

Pontea: I was 7 and I started composing music soon after learning to play.

Me: Alright, so, do you do all your own songwriting?

Pontea: Yeah, I write all my songs, and I also love to co-write. It’s a priceless feeling to create magic while collaborating.

Me: So, you have a new single called "Unpredictable"... which is one thing I'm not.

Pontea: HA! You and every other guy in this town… hahaha. Yes! “Unpredictable” is the first single off my upcoming EP. I’m super stoked about it finally being out in the world. I love that it blends my love for soul music with my love for electronic dance music and ambient sounds.

Me: So, are you unpredictable?

Pontea: That’s a good question. I think I can be. But for the most part, I like steadiness and peace of mind.

Me: If I had to guess I'd say this song was about someone in particular, am I right?

Pontea: You can definitely say it was reminiscent of a past relationship. Not my best hour. He really toyed with my emotions and was constantly manipulative, yet I was helplessly in love with him. The song is truly relatable to those who have been in relationships that are in their own way unpredictable. I eventually grew out of him though, so that’s nice.

Me: Are you working on an album as well?

Pontea: I’ve been working on an EP and we recently wrapped up the finishing touches. I’m very happy with the song selection. The EP captures different sides of me... the hurt, the intimacy, the playfulness, the sexuality, and more in between.

Me: So, do you do a lot of shows? 

Pontea: I’ve done a ton of shows and took a pause for a little while to produce the EP. I’m excited to get back on stage with this new body of music that I’m incredibly proud of. I poured my heart and soul into it.

Me: What is a typical Pontea show like? I am guessing a lot of dancing.

Pontea: You can expect rhythmic beats, ambience, head-bobbing, and a range of emotions. I used to have fully acoustic live sets, and I’ve transitioned to an acoustic/electronic hybrid solo show, which I must say is sounding damn good in rehearsals. I love dancing while I perform, but I wouldn’t say it’s really a dance show, more just vibing out to the music. One day I may incorporate some legitimate choreography into my shows. That would be dope. I also beat box and sometimes I’ll throw some in spontaneously.

Me: I have to ask about this... you graduated from UCLA... what was your major?

Pontea: I majored in Psychology and loved every minute. I think everyone can use some psych knowledge. It’s made me more self-aware and more in tune with the human condition.

Me: Was it a hard decision to just concentrate on being a musician full-time?

Pontea: I always knew at one point that I needed to pursue this dream and it was only a matter of time before I gained the courage to actually go through with it. The actual decision was only the beginning of the challenge. It wasn’t easy going into such an unpredictable industry while everyone I knew had a more dependable path ahead, especially most people in my culture. My life became a theme of challenging the bubble I grew up in and breaking away from the norm of what is expected of me as a woman and an Iranian-American. I had to overcome a lot of adversity, a ton of uncertainty, and still am doing so in ways. But I’ve become more and more sure of myself as an artist and the message I want to send to the world.

Me: Well, I wish you lots of luck and I hope this was fun, my dear. Go ahead and mention your website and anything else you want to.

Pontea: Thank you so much, it’s been so nice chatting. Yes! You can go on my website, and find everything there. My single “Unpredictable” is available on all the digital services, and keep in touch with me on social media: @iampontea. You can sign up for my email list from my website, or like my Facebook page for updates and future shows.

Me: Take care, and please come back to the Phile again soon. All the best.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Pontea for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Monday with the kids from the band Sleeplust. 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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