Monday, July 3, 2017

Pheaturing Julia Othmer

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. Tomorrow it's July 4th... Independence Day. So, let's take a break from complaining about America to celebrate America. Tomorrow night you'll be able to play the game of guessing if that was fireworks or gunshots. I hope you have as many fingers and eyeballs on the 5th as you do today on the 3rd. Fingers crossed.
A photo of a 6-month-old with a cheek piercing has gone viral on Facebook, with over 11,000 shares and hundreds of comments. One problem with all the outrage: The piercing is digitally created. Enedina Vance considers herself an activist against body alterations in children. She speaks out against circumcision as well as ear piercing in babies. “It should be each person’s choice what to do with their bodies. Not even your parents should be able to decide," she told Yahoo. To make her point, she decided to Photoshop a cheek piercing onto her daughter. Check it out...

Enedina capped off her post with the hashtags #BodilyIntegrity, #MyBodyMyChoice, #HumanRights, #ChildrensRights, #Intactivism,#IntactGeneration" and most importantly, "#sarcasm. Unfortunately, not everyone who saw the photo took the time to read all the way down to the bottom of the caption. Commenters came out in support and in anger against the (again, fake) piercing."To each their own. Personal choice you know. I'd never bash you for bedazzling your baby," wrote Vee Savage. "It's sooooo cute! Don't let anyone say anything about it, you do you!! Parents always know best!!" agreed Courtney Carter. A few fans are in on the joke... "Should have had my girls clits done when they were babies," joked Carmen Montjoy. (At least, we really hope that was a joke.) Vance spoke to Yahoo about the thought process behind the photo, as well as how people have reacted. "I can’t believe how many people actually believe my photo is real," she said. "So many people are outraged at the thought of piercing my baby at such a young age, without her consent, and against her will. Yet, they don’t understand how other body mutilations, alterations, and modifications are the exact same thing for the exact same reason: aesthetic purposes." Whether it was read as intended or not, the post certainly did its job... it got us talking about body alterations in children.
Rich kids... they're just like us! They go through weird phases in their youth in which they play with Ouija boards and try to talk to dead people. The only difference is, of course, that when we tried to levitate our friends while chanting "light as a feather, stiff as a board," the "New York Times" Style section did not show up to comment on our choice of pajamas. Which I suppose is both a blessing and a curse. In what is definitely the most absurd thing you will read this week, this month and possibly even this year, a reporter stopped by New York's most famous apartment building, the Dakota, in order to attend a "séance" held in hopes of contacting the ghost of famed "West Side Story" composer Leonard Bernstein, who used to live in their apartment. As one does. The séance was hosted by two young socialites, Larry Milstein and his sister Toby and guest list included Princess Noor, the late shah of Iran's granddaughter, as well as "two of Ms. Milstein’s former classmates at Barnard College, Sarah Pierce and Julia Pissarro, a great-granddaughter of the Impressionist painter, both 24; Eli Rivkin, 23, Mr. Milstein’s boyfriend and a Yale classmate, who is the son of a former ambassador to France; Maddy Bohrer, 24, an artist; and Ben Piper, 32, and Paul Peglar, 33, who are musicians." This was, of course, not your normal séance. There was no toe cracking to be heard. Rather, they decided to gather 'round the piano and sing the ghosts back to the building. Because obviously, that is what Leonard Bernstein would have wanted. "The group touched glasses, and, accompanied by Mr. Peglar on piano, began a medley that included Mr. Bernstein’s Maria from 'West Side Story,' 'Imagine' by John Lennon, and, playing along with the evening’s theme, Taylor Swift’s 'I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,' recently popularized by Zayn Malik." I CAN'T. So, you might be wondering, did it work? Shockingly enough, Mr. Bernstein was not, in fact, lured back from the sweet hereafter by the mellifluous sounds of a bunch of rich kids singing Taylor Swift songs. Who would have thought?
Maybe it's just that I'm old and out of touch, but it's getting pretty hard to keep up with all this millennial dating garbage. From ghosting to bread-crumbing to breezing to haunting... it’s as if people forget how to just be in a normal, mostly unfulfilling relationship anymore. News-flash single people: The more games you continue to play, the more you're going to complicate things for yourself, and complication are what makes dating suck. Now, people are calling this new dating game cushioning. In reality, it’s basically a new-generational way to say... I’m cheating on you. Cushioning is like taking out insurance on your relationship incase you get dumped and you’re too scared of being alone. It basically means you’re creating a “cushion” for yourself to fall on. You hook other people that are interested in you, give them the notion that you may be interested in them too, neglecting the fact that you’re in a committed and “monogamous” relationship already. "This would be what emotionally insecure people do and its not really a new phenomenon," Dr. Jennifer Rhodes, licensed psychologist, relationship expert, and the founder of the bi-costal consultancy, Rapport Relationships, tells Bustle. "Quite frankly, it makes me sad that people have such trouble with emotional intimacy and talking about feeling scared with the person you are dating. You can't really fall in love unless you are ready to get hurt. Cushioning is for people who are not ready for real love." If you’re in a relationship with someone and the two of you have agreed to not see other people, that means you also shouldn’t be flirting and talking to other people. If you’re too scared to be alone and need “cushioning” incase things don’t work out... you’re clearly not mature enough to be in a relationship at all. Cushioning is for people who are not ready for real love. Urban Dictionary defines cushioning as “a dating technique where, along with your main piece, you also have several ‘cushions,’ other people you’ll chat and flirt with to cushion the potential blow of your main breakup and not leave you alone.” No relationship is perfect and sometimes, no matter how bad you want them to, things don’t always last forever. Just because you’re worried you may have to start all over again doesn’t mean you can fuck someone else over for being scared. If you’re busy “cushioning,” you’re not really invested in your relationship 100% and, that’s likely what is going to cause your relationship to end before anything else. The only way to make your relationship work, I mean really work, is by giving your all. Sometimes in life, you have to stop fearing what can go wrong and start to embrace what can go right... and, it won’t happen if you’re busy texting 4 different people while you’re laying in bed next to your partner. Actually, I might've do... never mind. Moving on...
So, there's a story my son wants me to tell... I should have him tell it... it might be more entertaining. Alright, I'll tell it... sigh.
Everyone loves to hate the “Cash Me Ousside” girl, Danielle Bergoli Peskowitz. I don't remember her so I asked Logan and he said, "If you don't remember, the 14-year-old (yes, she’s only 14) became an Internet sensation overnight after appearing on the 'Dr. Phil Show' last year and coining the phase, Cash Me Ousside, How Bow Dat?)" The story was... she was an out of control teen who her mother could not control... and, Dr. Phil was supposed to help them. Instead, Dr. Phil made her a millionaire overnight by allowing her on his show and, in turn, millions of teenagers lost tons of brain cells listening to her garbage. After appearing in court in Delray Beach this week (wait... it took place in Florida?!) Danielle pleaded guilty to several charges... including grand theft, possession of illegal drugs and filing a fake police report. All of these charges were filed before she was ever on the "Dr. Phil Show" and before she went viral online. While she has not been sentenced yet, she may face time in jail of up to 3 years... but, because she is underage, she will likely be sent to go to juvie instead. Logan and Twitter, for some reason, seems happy. How bow dah?
Now for a better story... On the 4th of July you celebrate U.S. independence. On July 5th, it's apparently National Bikini Day. And if you didn't blow all your money on hot dogs and sparklers over the weekend, maybe you'll be able to afford this pizza bikini.

It costs $10,000, and it seems extremely unlikely that you'll wear it more than once. Hard to say what's best about this: Getting pizza grease in your hoo-ha or getting kicked out of your friend's pool for clogging the filter with pepperoni. Or maybe it's the fact that all of Villa's locations have like a 2-star average on Yelp and they're trying this lame marketing stunt instead of making better pizza! Anyway, congratulations to the millions of people who would never wear this. Pizza is a beautiful thing, but even our favorite food has its limits.
Speaking of bikinis and bathing suits, the last few years on the Phile during the summer I have been showing you different bathing suits you might see someone wearing when you you go to the beach. So, I thought, why not show you some more?

The Sexy Chest One Piece Swimsuit by Beloved Shirts, comes with the slogan, "Make the pool boy say 'WTF!'" I believe the pool boy will instead be rendered speechless and just spend the remainder of his time in the company of the person wearing this suit looking for the nearest exit. Should you still desire to scare the wits out of the unsuspecting guy cleaning your pool, the suits sell for $44 on the company's website. If you go to the beach today or this summer I hope you don'r run into this...

That would really suck. Why couldn't it happen to this guy's car?

I like his "Not A Liberal" bumper sticker. No shit, dude. So, did you see the movie Arrival? I didn't and I don't think I would understand it when I saw this pic from the movie...

I have no idea what that means. So, do you kids like Mountain Dew? I used to drink to now and then. There might be a reason I don't drink it now...

Ever meet a celebrity and what you are wearing kinda fits in in a weird way? Like this for example...

Actually, that guy probably knew he was gonna see Nathan Fillion as he was at a convention. Alright, so, in England we don't have year books at all when we graduate so I always wondered what my senior year book quote would be. I bet it wouldn't be as witty as this...

Hahaha. What a name. Tonight when the clock strikes midnight all Americans will morph into their true forms...

Haha. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Tips To Enjoy The 4th of July
5. Stock up on ice for your cooler, as hands blown off by fireworks have a much better chance of reattachment when kept cold.
4. Enter your local hot dog eating contest. Enjoy one or two, then sigh, "lost again" and leave.
3. Toss some dogs on the grill and invite over any friends who don't mind eating dogs.
2. Display red, white and blue bunting, star and stripes gar;lands and any of a hundred other products made in China.
And the number one tip to enjoy July 4th is...
1. Fly down to Mar-a-Lago, get rebuffed by your Slovenian trophy wife, eat a bunch of burnt steak and grunt out a sweaty dump.

That one might be a little hard to figure out. If you do spot the Mindphuck let me know. So, apart from the "Cash Me Ousside" girl my son and I were recently talking about his we used to watch "Sesame Street" together and how much that show has changed since he was a kid. So once again here is the pheature...

Bert knows exactly who to blame for the church bombing in the newspaper.

Are you a lazy person? I bet you are not as lazy as the lazy git who came up with this...

Too lazy to use your teeth to eat? No problem! BONUS: It might also remind you of your first time having sex.


The 62nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Author Laura James will be the guest on the Phile next Monday, a week from today.

A man escaped jail by digging a hole from his jail cell to the outside world. When finally his work was done, he emerged in the middle of a preschool playground. "I'm free, I'm free!" he shouted. "So what," said a little girl. "I'm four."

Today's guest is a singer/songwriter whose album "SOUND" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Julia Othmer.

Me: Hey, Julia, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Julia: I’m feeling good. Thanks for having me!

Me: I thought you were gonna say "frickin' awesome." Hahaha. That's a great song that ends your album "SOUND." Were you in a great mood when you wrote that song?

Julia: Yes and no. Someone I used to love betrayed me right at a time when I was learning to gain some much needed confidence. Writing this song helped me to evolve that heartbreak into something I could feel good about.

Me: If you were in a bad mood when it came to record that song would it came out different or did you have to wait to be a good mood to record it?

Julia: Sometimes being in the "wrong" mood is the best time to record.

Me: Julia, where are you from?

Julia: Kansas City.    

Me: Where do you live now?

Julia: Los Angeles.

Me: I was hoping you were gonna say Orlando. Haha. It took two years to make "SOUND," am I right? Did it take that long to write the songs or did it take that long to just record it?

Julia: Some of the songs I had written before, even years before, but most were written while we were recording. When James and I starting working, my life was going through some dramatic transitions. So I really wanted to focus on new material. I really needed to be writing. And that takes time. So finishing the album did take way longer than we anticipated. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves because of that. But we made a promise to each other we weren’t going to stop until all of it was true and we were proud of it. No caveats.

Me: You wanted to work with James T. Lundie so bad, didn't you fly to London and knock on his door to ask him?

Julia: It was kind of a chance encounter. Somewhat out of the blue, a friend invited me to go with her to London. I’m usually up for an adventure and I had this intuition that I needed to go. I figured I would find out "why" when I got there. The next evening I found myself knocking on a door in north London and James answered it.

Me: Okay, I have a whole list of things to ask about this... one, I have to say of a gorgeous woman yourself would fly to Clermont, Florida, knock on my door and say they wanted to work with me I would of dropped everything right there. What was his initial reaction?

Julia: I think he was curious and a bit surprised.

Me: Did he invite you in for dinner at least?

Julia: It helped that I brought a bottle of scotch with me.

Me: What would you have done if he said, "hell, no."? He would of been an idiot, right?

Julia: He did say no, but in the nicest way possible. If I had taken no for an answer, I would have been the idiot.

Me: Did he know who you were? How did you know who he was?

Julia: We found out we sort of knew each other without knowing it. A year before, he had been staying at a mutual friend’s place to help on a recording project. I heard it and I loved it. But I was under the impression someone else had produced it. It took a while to get that misinformation straightened out. That same mutual friend has these amazing parties where a lot of musicians get together and perform... and James remembered he had heard me play at one of those parties. It’s so bizarre we didn’t meet then. Or if we did meet, neither of us remember.

Me: The album was recorded in Los Angeles, right? So, how quick did he go there to work with you?

Julia: Though I left London not having convinced him, by a curious twist of fate, he was in L.A. about a month later and came to my gig. After seeing the show, he changed his mind. Then several months after that, he returned to L.A. and we started putting together the studio and plotting out what we wanted to do.

Me: What was it like working with him?

Julia: Its like my world kind of opened up. He is really open minded and curious to try different things, as am I. We spent a lot of time experimenting and pursuing all kinds of impulses. We have a high level of trust and consideration for each other, so there’s this space for him to challenge me, for me to challenge him, for us to really be honest. It helped us push our boundaries. Good for making music.

Me: You play piano, right?

Julia: Yes.

Me: Did you get to play piano on the record or did he play most of the instruments?

Julia: We didn’t really think in those terms... we just wanted to make the best music we could however we could. I did play piano on the record and the Rhodes, accordion, pianorgan, did the vocals, had some moments on ukulele and guitar, plucking the strings of the piano, and various percussion stuff, like foot stomps, tambourine. And then it was like James was the whole rest of the band. It is so much fun to play with him.

Me: How were the demos for these songs different from the final recordings?

Julia: Only a few songs even had demos. On the new songs, if we liked an idea we sort of skipped the demo phase and went straight to track-in-progress.

Me: I love the song "Purple and Gray." First off, what is the story behind that song?

Julia: It just kind of happened. We went into the studio and pressed record. James played guitar, I started singing and most of the song showed up, sort of stream of consciousness. It’s about departure. When something is no longer in your life like it was before. The space that is left behind and the distance that develops.

Me: I like the surf guitar on the track... was that your idea?

Julia: There’s nothing quite like the sound of surf guitar.

Me: I enjoyed the video and song "Hungry Days (Make Me Feel)." What is the inspiration behind that song?

Julia: It’s an anti-apathy anthem. With all that is going on in the world today, it’s a reminder not to get complacent or jaded.

Me: I love the hook on that song... and the music in the background. Was that a complex song to work on?

Julia: There were a lot of moving parts and elements. A lot of layers. It was an effort to find its balance.

Me: The video looked like it was fun, and tiring in the same way. Was it a fun video to make?

Julia: It was. Looking back on all of the footage, we should probably make a blooper reel.

Me: I'd love to see that. I have to show a screen cap of the video... there is so much going on visually in it.

Me: When you write do you write on piano or guitar, Julia?

Julia: Mostly piano, but songs show up in different ways. Sometimes it starts with a lyric I write on the back of a receipt or a melody I record on my phone. Sometimes it’s picking up an instrument I don’t play well and making noise. Or kind of like with "Purple and Gray," I’ll hear James play something and I start singing. Each song had its own process.

Me: What was the hardest song to work on?

Julia: All of them had frustrating moments. Though I think the hardest part of the process was making ten songs that would live together on an album, having those songs be somehow related or cohesive. If we could do it over again, I think we would have preferred releasing songs as we recorded them. Some of our favorite ideas were tabled because they didn’t feel like they belonged in this particular grouping of songs.

Me: Some of your music seems very serious... like "Never Too Far," and "As I Lay Dying." Do you prefer to write serious songs or fun songs?

Julia: My proclivity is probably to write more "serious" songs... which is ironic because I think I am generally more playful than serious. Or maybe I just think I am. I do really love performing fun songs. Love it. But I’m not really in control over what songs show up when I’m writing.

Me: I was gonna ask if you are a more serious person, but I saw this great photo of your toes with drawn faces on them. I have to show that here...

Me: So I guess you are a very fun person. Am I right?

Julia: All I know is that if you haven’t drawn faces on your toes, I highly recommend it. It’s wonderfully disturbing.

Me: Maybe I have. Haha. So, how did the album get to be called "SOUND," Julia?

Julia: We like to leave space for people to find their own meaning in what we do. We wanted our title to be one word to reflect that aesthetic. Sound is obviously literal... the noise of it, but it’s also a state of being; it’s a process of investigation and measuring the depths of the sea; it’s a body of water; it goes on and on. It felt right.

Me: You did this album by raising money on Kickstarter... was that a hard thing to get out there and get people interested?

Julia: It’s a humbling experience... I felt very vulnerable, but I am so grateful for the incredible and generous support of fans and friends and family. It would have been way harder to make the album without that support.

Me: Would you go about it the same way with your next album?

Julia: I would definitely consider another Kickstarter campaign. I also am interested in the Patreon platform because I think regularly releasing songs feels really good, and having a more connected relationship with my supporters. I’m not saying I won’t put out another album, but I like the idea of being open to other possibilities.

Me: I have to ask you who your influences are... I am guessing a wide range of people, am I right?

Julia: I pick up influences from all over the place, often unconsciously. As for artists, off the top of my head... Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Beethoven, Laurie Anderson, Edith Piaf, Three Dog Night, Leonard Cohen, Die Antwoord, the Ramones, Concrete Blonde, Bill Withers, Sinead O’Connor, the Pretenders, the Proclaimers, Tom Waits, Porno for Pyros, the Eels, all kinds of books, movies, people, moments.

Me: You have shared the stage with Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris and Heart... is there anybody you haven't played with that you wish you could?

Julia: That would be a long list. I hope to share the stage with a lot of artists.

Me: I have to ask you about the CD cover... it looks like you're underwater.

Julia: The inside shot on the album, if you have the hard copy, is underwater.

Me: Where were the water shots taken? In a pool or ocean?

Julia: In a pool.

Me: Cool. Okay, so, now your album is out what are you gonna do? Any tours planned? Are you gonna be coming to Florida?

Julia: Right now, we are collaborating with different kind of artists to make more music videos for the album. We are recording two new songs to accompany an author’s novel and continuing to write and record our next songs. Starting to build a tour for the fall.

Me: Very cool. Julia, thanks so much for being on the Phile. This was lots of fun and I hope you'll come back again soon. Go ahead and mention your website and everything and continued success. By the way, I only play one instrument... kazoo, so if you need a kazoo player you only have to fly down to Clermont, Florida to knock on my door and I'll be there. Just saying. Haha.

Julia: I would love to play again in Florida. Would Orlando be close enough?

Me: Yeah, very close enough.

Julia: My website is Thanks for spending time with our music and sharing it. All the best.

Me: Thanks,  Julia.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Julia for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with composer and songwriter and Disney legend Robert M. Sherman. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let alligators and snakes bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a safe July 4th.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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