Monday, August 7, 2017

Pheaturing Ric Gordon

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. It would be really nice if my air conditioning worked right now. Ugh. Maybe I'll go to the gym... there's an air conditioner there. My man boobs are sweating. But at least I'm not a woman which brings us right into this story... Ask any woman carrying around anything bigger than a C-cup what the worst part of summer is... by far, she'll tell you it's boob sweat. Like it's cousin, armpit sweat, it smells and leaves embarrassing stains on your shirts... though perhaps it's even worse because at least armpit stains don't make you look like you're lactating. Anyway, apparently the worst summer-boob sweat issue is when you come out of the shower, steamed and clean, and instantly your beads of moisture begin to form all over and under "the girls." Well, someone created a solution to this problem. It's called the Ta Ta Towel aka the Boob Hammock. "The world has gone mad for a towel bra," reports the BBC. "It's Basically A Hammock For Your Boobs," explains Bustle. That's right, everyone is ta-ta-talking (sorry) about the Ta-Ta Towel, a real product with a real website. And, now, so am I. The Ta Ta Towel is exactly what it sounds like... a towel for your boobs. I have to show a pic of it...

Okay, so, on first glance, it may seem silly to you... but if you really think this through, this product is amazing for women everywhere. Not only do you not have to worry about walking around your apartment (aka in front of your open windows) topless, but it saves you the trouble of constantly having to fix your towel so it doesn't fall. It also gives you free hands if you're getting ready to go out right after you shower, but, you don't want to get a shirt wet/sweaty. And, if you're doing your makeup before you go out, simply use the Ta Ta Towel so you don't get your face sweat on your shirt. So far the reviews seem solid. What do you think, ladies? "I'm ordering one for sure," or "Why the fuck is this a problem?" And if you want, if you happen to get one, send me a pic wearing it and I'll post it right here. Not like I'm a creepy or anything. Hahaha. Ahem... moving on.
Late last night, just when many of you breathed a sigh of relief that none of your favorite "Game of Thrones" characters were prematurely axed, love died. Never put your guard down, people. Around 11pm, very fun and very hot celebrity couple Chris Pratt and Anna Faris announced via social media that they are "legally separating" after eight years of marriage. Faris broke the news first on her Instagram and twitter accounts. And Pratt later released the joint statement via his Facebook page. The couple has been together since 2007, wed in 2009, and share an adorable 4-year-old boy named Jack. The split has come as a shock to many because the couple was posting pictures of each other on social media up until their separation announcement (I'm not stalking, you're stalking). The Internet took the news pretty hard, and have been mourning the death of Chrisna Faratt all morning. Couples break up all he time, people. It happens.
Do you believe the truth is out there? Have you ever fancied yourself a superhero? Do you want to save the world? Well, have I got a job for you! NASA is now hiring a Planetary Protection Officer, which is definitely the coolest sounding job in all the universe. It involves protecting our planet from organisms from outer space, and it PAYS. Like, a lot. Via CNBC, "The job, which is offering a salary of between $124,406 and $187,000 per year, involves preventing alien microbes from contaminating the Earth, as well as ensuring human space explorers do not damage other planets, moons and objects in space." "Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration," NASA wrote in the job posting on its website late last month. Other duties include advising Safety Mission Assurance officials on planetary protection matters and ensuring compliance by robotic and human spaceflight missions. The role is open to those with "broad engineering experience" and a willingness to travel. Robots, aliens, planet protection, "willingness to travel?" It literally sounds like they are hiring the Doctor! I mean, sure, it's probably a little more technical than that, and there's nothing in there about operating a sonic screwdriver, but it still seems pretty cool. I would apply, except I have no "broad engineering experience." Or any experience engineering things other than broads, either. The job is for one of only two of these positions in the entire world... the other is with the European Space Agency... and NASA having one is one of the requirements of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. According to NASA, the gig is only a three-year stint, but for the rest of your life, you'd get to put Planetary Protection Officer on your resumé, which I imagine would get you in the door anywhere.
Oh, Paul Ryan, if only you were actually as awesome as you think you are. The current Speaker of the House and former vice-presidential candidate has always had a thing for forced images of himself looking... cool? Back in 2012 he did a photo shoot for "Time" in which he posed with dumbbells and a backwards hat... an attempt to solidify his image as the young, fit, P90X future of the Republican party. Only problem was, the photos made it look like he had literally never seen weights or a gym before. Unphased, Speaker-bro Ryan has toweled off and moved on to a super cool video promoting President Trump's border wall. No, really, the video has everything. Helicopters. Boats. Horses. Paul Ryan pointing at stuff... Not to mention an ultra clear message: Speaker Ryan is a badass action hero who will build the wall and who has totally been on a horse before. Sad. Maybe one day Paul Ryan will finally be taken seriously as the weightlifting, horse riding, helicopter pointing out of'ing badass he knows he is.
Meet Genie. Genie is a 4-day-old calf born on a ranch in Kerrville, Texas. Genie is not the 67-year-old bass guitarist and co-lead singer of rock band KISS. But you wouldn't know that at first glance, because...

WOAH. Is that a calf? Or is that GENE "The Demon" SIMMONS in full makeup sticking out his tongue because it's the '80s and that's considered a crazy thing to do??? Nope. It's a calf, at least according to local tourism site Hill Country Tourism, who shared a photo of the little guy, named after its doppelgänger, and a somewhat bizarre post in which they (jokingly?) imply Simmons is its...  dad? I think? The side-by-side photos are now being circulated all over Twitter. Because c'mon I mean would you just look at these two? TWINSIES, right down to that iconic tongue gesture. The best shout out came from the KISS member himself—or, at least whoever runs his Twitter account. Or maybe it was Gene Simmons and he likes to talk about himself in third person which tbh wouldn't surprise me. "This is real, folks!!! Calf called Genie is born on Texas ranch and looks EXACTLY like Kiss rocker Gene Simmons," the rocker's Twitter account tweeted. I can't get over this headline from "The Sun"... "I was Made For Loving Moo," which, honestly, might be the best thing about this already-great story.
So, did you know back in the day drugs were advertised? No. Check out this real ad...

So, on yesterday's blog which pheatured Harry Shearer I was supposed to show you this pic...

And tell you it reminded me of something. So, I'll tell you now... it reminded me of this...

Or maybe it was the other way. Who cares? It's fucking funny... right? Mark Hamill has to be one of the most creative famous people (my dad was pretty creative as well) when it comes to signing his autograph. Check it out...

Hahahahaha. That cracks me up! I love kids, and miss my kid... and I miss when he used to make me something. Anyway, kids are soooo innocent...

Hahahaha. So, I was at the book store the other day and I noticed a children's book that was kinda surprising...

That kids looks like me when I was a kid. Hey, the Democrats have a new slogan... which I don't think will help them at all.

So, this is Cody from "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"...

Feel old yet? Hahahaha. So, did you see Ben & Jerry's new ad?

So true. Marketing geniuses! So, I don't watch "Game of Thrones," I don't have HBO... but I saw this screen shot of the show and I might need to watch it now...

What the hell? Alright, in the past I have shown you different bathing suits and bikinis you might see at the beach. This summer I have one more to show you...

Do you believe you'll be in collusion with the beach this summer? If so, I have the perfect one piece for you... a smirking Vladimir Putin suit, by Beloved Shirts. If you don't want anyone to know you were there, just say you were somewhere else... people will believe you, despite evidence to the contrary. One thing I have to admit I love and that is... cleavage... but some of it is "inappropriate." Like this pic...

On the surface, Meghan McCain is a conservative Republican, just like her father, Senator John McCain. Yet anyone who has read Meghan's blogs or books knows that she tends to be very liberal about certain issues. Still, when she showed off her enviable cleavage to her 100,000 Twitter followers in 2009, she was shocked when the photo circulated around the Internet and she was called everything from "slut" to a disgrace to the Republican party. Instantly outraged, McCain threatened to leave Twitter over the media melee, but eventually she decided to simply acknowledge that posting the photo was not her smartest moment, and move on. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Startling Similarities Between Trump's "Wall Street Journal" Interview and The Emoji Movie
5. Features inane dialog from an insufferable, swoopy-haired turd.
4. Critics are calling it "a soul-crushing disaster."
3. Is best enjoyed by small children or people issuing parts of their brains.
2. Is a tragic sign that American culture has reached a horrifying new low.
And the new one similarity between Trump's interview and The Emoji Movie is...
1. Displayed a coherent understanding of Brexit.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. So, ever have deep thoughts in the shower? I do when I am taking a shower so once again here is the pheature...

How would a mermaid give birth?

Are you a lazy person? If so, I bet you're not as lazy as this woman...

Hahaha. She's standing between a nurse and soldier as well. Crazy. So, some people are so, so lucky they win at life and deserve a blue ribbon. So, here again is...

Today's award goes to... The courtroom sketch artist trolling Martin Shkreli. Pharma Bro and Wu- Tang Clan super fan Martin Shkreli is currently on trial for fraud. While the jury must of had a good time deliberating whether this repugnant price gouger's deals had "fraudulent intent," it was the court's sketch artist who was having the time of their life. This brave cartoonist isn't afraid to editorialize for the records of history.

Here's hoping Shkreli can afford the medicine for the burns.

Happy Monday, everyone! Donald Trump woke up this morning (imagine quick montage of him drinking a raw egg, working out his tweeting fingers, etc.) and decided to tweet about... everything. First called the (not really) failing "New York Times" "totally inept," saying that they'd "made every wrong prediction about [him] including [his] big election win (apologized)." The "Times" did apologize, but not Trump... to their readers, for their coverage of the 2016 presidential election, and for "underestimat[ing] his support among American voters." Next, Trump insisted that his fan base is bigger than ever, definitely perhaps in response to new "phony Fake News" poll results, which show a dip in support for the president from even those in his fan base. According to the poll, one in four registered Republicans now disapprove of Trump's job performance as president. Side note: It's interesting how the polls are only "fake" when they're not in favor of him. It is hard to believe that the Trump base would be getting stronger, despite his negative (true) coverage on basically every reputable news source in America. So hard to believe, in fact, one might even think he was making that up. Trump threw in a tweet to remind us that he is definitely not on vacation. The next target of Trump's attacks was Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), whom Trump referred to as a "phony Vietnam con artist." Trump also pulled out one of his classic "never in history" statements, saying "Never in U.S. history has anyone lied or defrauded voters" like Blumenthal. Surprising... I thought that record went to Hillary "Lock Her Up" Clinton. Trump went after Blumenthal today because earlier this morning Blumenthal was on the CNN show, "New Day," where he said that after the Department of Justice announced a crackdown on leaks, he was "concerned" it was "weaponing...  laws." Blumenthal also gave kudos to the (not fake news?) press, saying that when the "history of this era is written, the heroes will be the free press and the independent judiciary." Trump definitely doesn't agree.

The 64th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

I said yesterday that the author and Phile Alum will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks, but he'll actually be the guest here next Monday, a week from today. Okay, once again, here are some more...

Phact 1: Rich Romans sometimes made a complicated meal involving stuffed chicken inside a duck, then the duck inside a goose, then the goose inside a pig, then the pig inside a cow, and cooking the whole thing together.
Phact 2: Norah Vincent a lesbian feminist writer, once disguised herself as a man for 18 months to write a book on gender. According to her "men are suffering. They have different problems that women have., but they don't have it better." After the experiment, she was institutionalized for depression due to messing around with her identity for months ad the constant fear of discovery and the deceit that piled up.
Phact 3: There are still unexplored passageways in the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
Phact 4: There are 17 American men in history who have run under 2 hour 10 minutes in a marathon. In contrast, there were 32 Kenyans who did it just in October of 2011.
Phact 5: A captive killer whale at MarineLand discovered to could regurgitate fish onto the surface of the water, attracting sea gulls, and then eat the birds. Four others then learned to copy the behavior.

Ummm, excuse me, but the definition is over here.

Today's guest is a singer/songwriter whose new EP "Despair's Lover" is available from Bandcamp. Please welcome to the Phile... Ric Gordon.

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

Ric: Hi to you and your readers. Thanks for having me on, Jason.

Me: You're welcome. Not only are you an accomplished musician but you are the head of your own record label... Russian Winter Records. First of, you're not Russian, are you? Not with the name Ric Gordon. Haha. Where did the label get its name?

Ric: I started Russian Winter Records in March of 2007. The name just came to me thinking about tag lines and branding. Our tag line is "Nothing is harder than a Russian winter." Just all sort of fit, with that name.

Me: Have you ever been to Russia?

Ric: Unfortunately no.

Me: What made you decide to form your own record label, Ric?

Ric: I've been a record producer most of my career, so have also been associated with a label most of my career. Started producing artists in 1970 and have produced albums and EPs for 26 artists over my career. I have produced for both major and indie labels and have been an owner in three labels, starting with Treehouse Records in 1975. I founded Russian Winter Records in 2007.

Me: Apart from yourself there's other bands on the label... I might've interviewed one or two of those bands. How many are on the roster?

Ric: We currently have releases from seven artists in production. I have my two new Eps just being released on the label, but we're also releasing a Braggers live EP this fall and expect a new Braggers Studio album for summer 2018.

Me: How do you go and seek out the bands for it?

Ric: We've done many interesting projects as a label. We released five albums curated by international music blogs, podcasts and a syndicated radio snow. each had ten different artists. One even had a new track from James Stevenson (Cults, Generation X, Billy Idol). These were limited edition to 500 copies each on CD. Have also done a dozen or so releases with bands in limited editions on CD or cassette.

Me: I have a music project out called Strawberry Blondes Forever. We should be on the label. Haha. Do you ever get bands asking to be on the label, Ric?

Ric: Cool, would love to hear your band. Besides the label, we have also publish the Floorshime Zipper Boots music blog since March, 2011 and feature reviews, videos and more from emerging bands on Bandcamp. The label now is more an avenue for my production projects. I always have great interns helping me run it.

Me: So, you also have a PhD? That's crazy. Where did you go to school and what is the PhD in?

Ric: Yeah, that's a bit weird. Took 20 years out of my music career to be a scientist have a family. I'm a physicist actually. Did music as a full time career till I was 30 years old, Then took a science break and now am back to the music career.

Me: I have know idea what that is but I am guessing it has to with computers... am I right?

Ric: Most of my work as a physicist involved what are called artificial neural networks. Computer systems based on the architecture of the human brain, that learn rather than being programmed and can be used to model many different things.

Me: Okay, so, you have been releasing music for a long time, Ric. When did you start to seriously become a musician?

Ric: Music has been something I wanted to do my whole life, as young as I remember back to. I started playing coronet really young and then started playing guitar after hearing the Beatles. That was at the beginning of 1964. Was playing in a band by August at age 11. Was a union professional musician by 14 and did my first work in a recording studio in 1968.

Me: Who were your influences growing up? I wanna say bands like Squeeze, XTC, and various British bands but I could be soooo wrong.

Ric: Of course the Beatles started everything for me with rock music, but my influences soon took a more esoteric direction. While most people were into The Beatles, Searchers and the Dave Clark 5, etc, I discovered the Velvet Underground, MC5, Iggy and the Stooges and was shaped musically by those proto punk bands. Also got heavy into folk music, basically the whole NYC scene musically.

Me: Do you remember what the first song you ever wrote was?

Ric: I do actually. Wasn't very good, but it was all so exciting. As a teen I was playing all the time. Everything was about the band, it was all consuming. Those times were different than it is today. The musicians union controlled the clubs, so gig were always paid. You could make a living playing music, being in bands, playing coffeehouses as a single. You always had that union minimum for each gig. Same for studio work. Somewhere during my hiatus as a scientist, that all changed and the union lost out. Much harder to make a living as a musician now. Clubs expect bands to play for free. Which is rubbish.

Me: You play with a band and acoustic, right? Which do you prefer?

Ric: I don't play with a band any more, just as a solo artist. Do mainly acoustic live, but on record I do both and range a bit wider stylistically. I like electric guitar based post-punk, but also like acoustic guitar based singer/songwriter stuff, indie and folkrock.

Me: I love the new EP "Despair's Lover." Where did that title come from, Ric?

Ric: Thanks, so much. very glad you like it. The EP title came for the themes of the songs. That whole time was a place of political despair, urban despair, lost love. Had the idea in my head for "Despair's Lover," just liked the sound of that. Fit with everything.

Me: What was writing the songs for the album like? Did you decide to just sit down and write or was the writing process lengthy?

Ric: My last full studio album came out in 2013. Since then I have been totally focused on producing other artists. That changed in the spring of 2016, when I really began the songwriting cycle for a new full studio album that yielded 15 songs of which 10 or 11 will end up on the two EP of which "Despair's Lover" is the first.

Me: I like the song "Suddenly Single." I can relate to that song. Hahaha. Ahem. That's not a true story, is it?

Ric: Ha, yes and no, romanticized. That song is more of a lark than the others.

Me: Do you create stories or write with an autobiographical point of view?

Ric: When I was songwriting it was kinda 50/50. It's both with me also. No song is explicitly about my life, but it's all in there in some way.

Me: You have had another EP I like called "Busking Out." Did you really busk?

Ric: Yes, I love busking. Though, that EP was a studio work, an homage. I perform a lot, several days each week at musical residencies at local art galleries and a local farmers market, but also just street bust when an opportunity arises.

Me: Where did you go and what was that like?

Ric: I've busked at sidewalk sales, local downtown areas, parades. Love just doing it. Keeps you sharp and tight musically. Playing all the time is important. I play live 20 hrs a week on average.

Me: Did you play all covers or originals?

Ric: If I'm doing a show, a concert, at a club or coffeehouse, I do all originals. For my long gigs at my residencies I do half original and half cover songs. About every other song is a cover. Takes a lot of material to get through 4 and 5 hours of performing.

Me: I am sure you have had some strange stories about busking, am I right?

Ric: Oh, yes, you meet all kinds, but it is really mostly a beautiful experience. Children are great and many parents are bring their children up to tip buskers. teens and pre-teens are the most consistent tippers. It's great. I love to busk, it's all just great fun and good for the musical chops.

Me: So, you have another EP coming out this fall called "Standing Here." Is that EP gonna be similar to this one?

Ric: "Standing Here" comes from the same songwriting cycle. As I worked on the studio, they seemed to take two different directions very organically. Five became "Despair's Lover," heavy post-punk, raw, lo-fi. The other group of 5 or 6 songs will be "Standing Here." This is the singer/songwritier record I have always wanted to make. It's acoustic based, pop and I think it's the best thing I have ever done.

Me: What made you decide to release two EP's in a year, Ric? Your creative juices must be flowing. 

Ric: The idea was always to release a single full studio album, right up to the end when we decided it should be two EPs. Would have made a schizophrenic album and would have been treating the songs unfairly to group them together. From the label and PR perspective, it would have unnecessarily limited marketing the more commercial "Standing Here."

Me: I am so glad I got to interview. If there's any bands on Russian Winter that you think I should interview let me know. I hope this was fun and I hope you come back in a few months when the new EP is out.

Ric: I would love to come back to talk about "Standing Here." I think you'll like it and am excited about its upcoming release. Thank you very much for the opportunity to talk to you and your readers. 

Me: Cool. Mention all your websites, sir, and please come back again. Take care.

Ric: You can find all of the label's releases, including my own, at:, you can follow me on Instagram #ric_gordon and on Facebook @russisanwinterrecords.

Me: Excellent. Take care, Ric. I'll have you back here soon.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Ric for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with British musician Nik Kershaw. 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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