Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pheaturing Dena Blizzard

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday... how are you doing? You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you just know you've forgotten something crucial, but can't place your finger on it?!  Well, the feeling isn't limited to us bumbling individuals. Apparently, gigantic camera companies can also forget crucial information, in this case... the existence of half the population. According to "The New York Times" the latest photo-shoot for Nikon's D850 campaign featured 32 photographers testing out the new camera, none of which were women. Yikes. This picture is so serious and masculine it could be a high-end cologne ad.

Unsurprisingly, Nikon quickly released a statement expressing their appreciation of female photographers. Allegedly, they asked female photographers and no one showed up. But how many?! When 32 men show up and 0 women roll through, it's reasonable to assume a frat's worth of bespectacled men were asked compared to a small handful of women. People on Twitter were not convinced by the apology. Especially since Nikon doesn't have a great track record with gender diversity. In past statements, Nikon's president Kazuo Ushida has made it clear he doubts women's fluency with cameras. To be fair, it's really hard to work a camera when you're busy birthing demon spawn because Planned Parenthood clinics are shutting down and Satan won't stop booty-calling you. Needless to say, the erasure of women disappointed female photographers hard at work in the field . It's like a visual slap in the face. It also bodes badly for young girls looking for representation. Again, it's pretty reasonable to expect at LEAST 1-2 women in a group of 32 photographers. It's not like they gathered 5 guys with no women. That would be statistically a lot more understandable (but still flaming bullshit). The optics of this definitely make Nikon look biased towards the menfolk. More specifically, the photo itself makes them look biased towards men who collect cigars and carry Moleskins (aka photographers). On the bright side, at least there wasn't just one woman at that shoot. I can only imagine how many times she would've been interrupted.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was the only woman amongst a group of 10 men, including Donald Trump, at a White House dinner Wednesday evening. As you're probably already predicting, yes, the men made sure to talk over Pelosi. However, being the badass that she is, she shut them the hell down and commanded the room. As reported by "The Washington Post," when Pelosi was trying to make an important point at the dinner, the dudes started interrupting her all over the damn place. At one point, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asked, “What exactly does the president get out of this deal?” As Pelosi, the only woman at the table of 11, tried to make her point... that the president gets the cooperation of the Democrats, which he will likely need on a host of issues... the men in the room began talking over her and one another. Instead of acquiescing, Pelosi reportedly interrupted them with the perfect one-liner, “Do the women get to talk around here?” And it gets better... "The Washington Post" then wrote, "There was, at last, silence, and she was not interrupted again." The point of the dinner was to discuss Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama era program that protects minors who were brought to the U.S. as undocumented immigrants from deportation. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced they would be ending DACA, a decision that was widely panned by Trump's critics (including Obama). While at the dinner, Trump came to an agreement regarding the protection of young undocumented immigrants with Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, who was also in attendance. According to "The Washington Post," those who were protected by DACA will be allowed to stay in the U.S. in exchange for a border security package, which is supposedly separate from Trump's border wall. (Can you even believe the wall is still a thing?) News of Pelosi's sick burn spread 'round the Internet, and many expressed their admiration. Here's hoping Pelosi gets invited to a few more important dinners.
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is in hot water after jokingly suggesting he would poison the president. Hahahahahaha? Last week, TMZ asked Bourdain the question, "If Trump and Kim Jong-un were going to have a bit of a summit to try and mend relations and they wanted you to cater, what would you serve?" His answer? “Hemlock," deadpanned Bourdain. In case you are not up on your biennial herbaceous flowering plants, Hemlock is a deadly poisonous plant. How very Agatha Christie of you, Anthony! Of course, conservative Twitter was furious. Dunno what that has to do with the whole "poisoning Trump" thing, but Bourdain is known to eat some really weird things on his CNN food and travel show, "Parts Unknown." At one point, yes, he did actually eat warthog's rectum while visiting Namibia. But that's besides the point... Fox News late contacted Bourdain about his comments, and the chef told them that he meant to say "kale." But this is hardly the first time Bourdain has shown his disdain for Trump, and has been tweeting about the reality show star president since 2012. Additionally, Bourdain told Eater that he would never eat at a Trump restaurant or share a meal with the president because he has "utter contempt for him, utter and complete contempt.” But still, you would think that Bourdain would be a little more careful with his words seeing that both Kathy Griffin and Reza Aslan were fired from CNN for their anti-Trump sentiments. Gee, CNN sure does a lot to protect Trump for being a fake liberal news network! So far, CNN has not made a statement on Bourdain's comments, and the president has yet to tweet mean things about Anthony Bourdain. 2017 is so weird.
This has to be one of the worst "it seemed like a good idea at the time" failures in recent memory. Like, remember when Walmart stacked boxes of soda to look like the Twin Towers on 9/11? These are the kinds of ideas that should not even make it to the planning stage, let alone come to fruition. Take a look at this condom wrapper that was posted on Reddit.

What does it look like it says? Did you get the donut was supposed to represent the words "do not," because I sure didn't. I thought it simply read, "Go Further Without Consent." YIKES. Maybe condom wrappers aren't the place for cutesy visual puns? According to Perez Hilton, the condoms were made by a company called Say It With a Condom. They design "consent condoms" which are meant to "start a conversation about how to ask for consent before engaging in any sexual activity." A conversation was definitely started, but most of it stemmed from complete confusion. Why did this condom seem to be promoting rape? Many of the commenters on Reddit and Twitter didn't make the connection either, or even if they did, couldn't help but point out how terrible it was. The condoms have been removed from Say It With a Condom's online store. The company's founder and CEO, Benjamin Sherman, told "Us Weekly" that they "didn't receive any negative feedback" from the donut wrapper. He explained, "We went through our normal checks and balances with this design. Whenever we create a new campaign we send it out to universities and domestic violence shelters for feedback and we didn't receive any negative feedback. If we're not given the green light, we redesign or just choose a different tagline." Yeeeahhhh, might want to change that normal design routine, add in a step or two, some more "checks and balances," because wow, no.
There are endless ways to deal with a tragedy the scale of Hurricane Irma. Some people silently donate to reputable foundations. Others volunteer and lend their time to help victims. Still others, create art and bolster the stories of those affected. All of these are great options. Unfortunately, there are lots of people who don't quite grasp the sensitivity needed to address other people's pain. To this point, a report from "Teen Vogue" revealed a makeup artist created a Hurricane Irma look. Unsurprisingly, she received a storm of backlash for the hurricane-inspired look on Twitter. The makeup artist Kali Harlow posted a side-by-side of her eyeshadow creation and a satellite image of the storm. Her caption read, "Remember in the eye of the storm, God remains in control."

Umm. People were quick to point out that modeling you makeup after a storm that's taken the lives of (at least) 67 people is a bad look. Also, saying God is in control is a lot easier when you're not one of the victims of tragedy. One guy suggested it'd be better to focus on addressing climate change, instead of posting Hurricane-inspired makeup looks with prayer captions. Some people on Twitter were gracious with their critique. While others couldn't comprehend why Harlow was surprised about the backlash. The concept of God being in control of a deadly storm really rubbed people the wrong way. There were a handful of people who appreciate the gesture. Luckily, given the widespread critique, it seems doubtful this will inspire any online makeup trends.
Hey, it's Sunday... instead of doing this blog thing I should be listening to this album...

Nah, maybe not. So, now football season has started there's a new football TV show about to make a debut...

Hahahaha. That joke is so old but still so funny. Do you like your neighbors? I barely no mine, which is a good thing I guess. But some people have problems with their neighbors and get notes like this...

Hahaha. You know, one thing about the Internet is you can look at porn easily. That's great except for I rather you read the Phile. But then I thought what if you can do both... but then I thought what about if you are at work and you get caught looking at porn. So, kids, I came up with a solution.

Ha! You're welcome, everybody. So, you know I love football and Star Wars, right? Well, some people might like both of those just a little bit more than I do...

Here in Florida people try to get away with some very creative license plates...

I can think of a number of women who might match that plate. Haha. Hey, ever been really embarrassed? I bet you weren't as embarrassed at this person who tweeted this...

Hahahahahaha. It actually took me three times reading it before I understood. Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Startling Similarities Between Trump's Alliance With Democrats And The Indians' Winning Streak
5. Would've seemed utterly impossible just a few weeks ago.
4. Is distraction from a heinous racist legacy.
3. Is a rare bright spot for historic losers.
2. Is resulting in lots of new fans every day.
And the number one similarity between Trump's alliance with the Democrats and the Indians' winning streak is...
1. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can't fucking believe it's happening.

Ha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, there's this guy who contacted me and said he was fired from his job and wanted to come onto the Phile and see if anyone would hire him. So, please welcome to the Phile for the first time...

Me: Hello, Dindo, welcome to the Phile. So, you had a job and was fired?

Dindo: Yeah.

Me: Okay, so, what kinda job did you have?

Dindo: I was a welder.

Me: A welder? You don't look like a welder. Okay, so, how did you get fired?

Dindo: I blew a million bucks.

Me: I don't understand, Dindo. How did you blow a million bucks when you were welding?

Dindo: When I was welding I screwed up a $65,000 door and may or may not have blown a hole in a $1,000,000 plus missile launching platform.

Me: Oh. Ummm. Okay. So, I see why you were fired.

Dindo: Yeah. So, if anyone wants to hire a welder I am your guy.

Me: Alright. Well, good luck, Dindo. Dindo Nuffin, everybody.

Are you a lazy person? If so, I bet you are not as lazy as the person who came up with this idea...

Hahaha. That's pretty clever. And now for some sad news...

Harry Dean Stanton 
July 14th, 1926 — September 15th, 2017
Fire Corpse with Me

Pete Domenici
May 7th, 1932 — September 13th, 2017
He voted to impeach Clinton because of his "lewd conduct," and then got a 24-year-old staffer pregnant and didn't admit it until 12 years later. Lewd indeed.

The 36th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Gilson Lavis and this is one of his pieces...

Gilson will be the guest on the Phile tomorrow.

A man appears before St. Peter at the Gates of Heaven. "Have you done anything of particular merit?" St. Peter asks. The man did not hesitate to say, "Absolutely, on a trip near Reno I met a group of bikers who were threatening a lady. I told them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. I walked up to the biggest, meanest looking biker and kicked his bike over before punching him in the face and kicking him hard in the shin. I yelled, 'Now back off or I'll beat the tar out of all of you!'" St. Peter was impressed. "When did this happen?" "A couple of minutes ago."

Today's guest is a comedian who has a stage show called "One Funny Mother," and a weekly YouTube series called "Tipsy Tuesday." Please welcome to the Phile... Dena Blizzard.

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

Dena: I’m tired. Like every other mom in America.

Me: I love your name... it's a great stage name, but it's not a stage name, is it?

Dena: It’s my married name. Everyone think it’s fake.

Me: You're from New Jersey... do you still live there? Have you lived there all your life?

Dena: Born and raised Jersey girl. Still here. They won’t let me leave.

Me: Okay, so, I first discovered you or found out about you when I saw your Target back-to-school video which went viral. That was very funny. For people that haven't seen it tell the readers what you are doing in it. Did you plan to do it beforehand or was it a spur of the moment bit?

Dena: I have three kids and my youngest struggles with comprehension and has some learning disabilities. I was so tired of listening the people complain about the school supplies. If there is someone willing to help me educate my daughter… I love them. None of it was planned... other than the fact that I was doing it.

Me: I know a lot of teachers who I am sure would love the video and appreciate what you are saying in the video. Have you been getting a good response from it?

Dena: Wonderful responses. I am the “spirit animal” of about one million woman around the world. 

Me: I try not to read comments but some people are fucking stupid... taking the video way too seriously, I talked about that on this blog about that last week. Anyway, did you get more good feed back or bad feedback?

Dena: The vast majority was good but there were definitely people who said I shouldn’t have kids if I don’t want them around me. Frankly, every good mom I know is exhausted and could use some time away.

Me: Your sister is a teacher, right? What did she think of the video?

Dena: She is a teacher. She loved it. That made me happy.

Me: Dena, you have been making funny videos for awhile and is becoming a YouTube sensation. When did you first start to make videos?

Dena: We started making videos about 8 years ago. I taught myself to edit (with some help from friends and tutorials along the way). We seemed to have learned some things through the years. The best lesson is to just be yourself.

Me: Didn't your husband tell you to get into comedy, Dena?

Dena: My husband bought me a comedy class for my 30th birthday… I took the class, I was probably horrible, but I loved it.

Me: You do stand-up as well, right? So, what came first, stand-up or the videos?

Dena: Stand-up was first. I think you need to learn what’s funny first… with a live audience. Then, when you’re making your videos you can start to hear where people (hopefully) would be laughing. 

Me: Your "Chardonny Go" video became a big hit and Kathy Lee even talked about it. I have a feeling that was a fun idea you came up with, and had fun making. How did you come up with that idea?

Dena: "Pok√©mon Go" came out and I had no idea what it was. I figured there is no way I’d run around the neighborhood unless I was going to find a glass of wine… and "Chardonnay Go" was born.

Me: This is a board game now, am I right? What the hell?! You're a genius. I have so many questions about this alone... did you come up with the game idea?

Dena: I came up with the idea. The video was such a phenomenon. I figured if women loved wine that much, why save all that energy for just one video, let’s make it something women came enjoy year round. There is no running in the game. Just lots of laughter.

Me: How did you go and get it made and did you do a lot of designing for it?

Dena: I researched Cards Against Humanity and found out who their manufacturers rep was. We are working with them. I designed the game on my own. I really wanted the game to come in a wine bottle box. That’s my favorite part of the game.

Me: How do you play it? I take it it is a drinking game.

Dena: We don’t call it a drinking game because you don’t have to drink to play it. We call it "The Board Game for Wine Lovers, Moms and Other Shameless People." You can drink whatever you want. The game is set at a vineyard with players trying to get to the tasting room. There are a series of challenges and funny things that happen along the way. You can be put into Time Out or become the Wine Bitch. It’s very exciting!

Me: Haha. How long did it take for it to be a concept to a real thing you can buy and where can you buy it?

Dena: From concept to game boards in hand will be one year. Feels like forever to me though. You can buy (pre-order before October) the game at

Me: Your kids must be very proud of you, am I right? Your husband as well.

Dena: I don’t know. They would never admit it. I think it’s nice to show that you can follow your dreams. Whatever crazy, drunk dreams they may be. I’m proud of that part.

Me: What do they think of your comedy? What are their ages?

Dena: A son, 17 and two girls 15 and 13. I don’t think they think anything of it. I hope when they get older and have kids they will really relate to it.

Me: On Tuesday's on YouTube you have a series called "Tipsy Tuesday." Haha. That's a great title... what kinda show is it and do you really get tipsy?

Dena: It’s my weekly, Facebook live show from my living room. It’s where I drink wine and talk about nonsense for an hour a week. You won’t learn anything… you won’t be a better person. It’s just a lot of fun. The rules are… you must be in jammies, no bra and a drink in hand.

Me: Nice! I take it you like wine... you are drinking in the Target video. Hahaha. What is your favorite wine? White I think. Do you drink beer as well?

Dena: No beer. I’m gluten free. I love wine. Any wine… I love Cabs and Merlot… and of course, Chardonnay.

Me: How did you get the idea for the "Tipsy Tuesday" videos? Is it hard to come up with material weekly?

Dena: I basically drink and talk about my week. I’m pretty sure it’s horribly boring. But by Tuesday night I’ve had it. I’m sure there is something nice to hearing a drunk lady in her living room talking about her crappy life too. That would make me feel better.

Me: You also host an Off-Broadway one woman show called "One Funny Mother." Did you write this show yourself, Dena?

Dena: I did write it. It’s the culmination of the first 8 years of my stand up and how hard it was to go from being single with no kids, to married with three kids. I found it difficult and hysterical at the same time.

Me: How long did it take you to write and the first time you performed it were you nervous?

Dena: Our first performance was in 2008 at a local theater in Jersey. I had no idea if people would show up. I needed 600 people to show up just to pay the bills. My husband stood by the door and counted everyone. Six hundred and ten people showed up. We had enough to cover our bills and buy pizza... that was a big night.

Me: Do you stick to the script or do you ever go off script?

Dena: There is a script but there is a part of the show where I do talk to the audience.

Me: I am sure women love the show, but what do the men think?

Dena: Men LOVE it. I think it’s kind of nice to hear another woman talk about how crazy she is. It feels very universal. I think I might be saving some marriages.

Me: Did you grow up performing, Dena? Did you ever think you'll be doing comedy?

Dena: I’ve playing classical piano since I was a kid. I have a degree in Biology and a Master’s in Gerontology… so… no. It was just meant to be. I’m a big believer in following my gut and apparently my gut says, do comedy, drink in your living room and make a dirty board game.

Me: Okay, so, you work on the Anderson Cooper show... I bet that's fun. How did you first get that gig?

Dena: I love Anderson. We had a great relationship and I learned so much from him. I got the gig through working on some other shows as a warm up.

Me: I saw a video of you sitting next to him rubbing his head and his expression was funny... he had no idea you were gonna do that, right? I have to show a screen shot...

Dena: Anderson had no idea I was ever going to do anything, but he was always such a good sport. I’m a fan.

Me: Anderson is one of my favorite people on TV... remember when he was on "The Mole"? Anyway, I have zero gayder and was surprised when he came out as gay. Working with him were you surprised?

Dena: I can’t believe you didn’t know. Come on...

Me: It's true. Haha. Phile readers know I am a huge fan of the 60s "Batman" TV show and I saw the video of you and Lee Meriweather... that was a funny clip getting her to sign the box with the Catwoman doll in. She didn't know what to think of that, right?

Dena: Lee Meriweather is one of my best friends. I love her! She is always up for my schnanigans. Everyone should get to meet her in their lifetime. What an amazing lady!!!

Me: So, what is next for you? Any plans for more videos?

Dena: As long as there is wine and annoying children… there are always videos to be made.

Me: You need to bring your family to Orlando... a video of you at Disney would be great. Have you ever been to Disney?

Dena: We’ve only been on one family vacation… and it was to DISNEY!! Let me know when you get some tickets!!! We need another vac a!!

Me: Deal. Okay, tell the readers where they can see your videos, Dena. Thanks for coming onto the Phile. Keep it up, and I hope to have you back here again soon. I hope this was fun.

Dena: This was great. thanks for reaching out.

That about does it or this entry of the Phile. Thnaks to Dena for a great interview. I will have her back here soon. The Phile will be back tomorrow with artist and drummer Gilson Lavis. 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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