Thursday, November 2, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum Graham Wood

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? Here's a crazy story to start off... Trump-supporter and overall racist, Laura Loomer, has been banned from using Lyft and Uber ever again after she posted a series of racist tweets blaming the fact that she couldn't find a "non Muslim" cab driver for making her late to a NYPD press conference yesterday. The right-wing activist has been posting a lot of controversial (translation: racist) tweets since Tuesday's New York City attack in which eight people were killed and twelve badly injured after an alleged former Uber driver drove a truck down a bike path in Lower Manhattan. In a brief email yesterday, Uber told Business Insider that Loomer had been banned for violating community guidelines. Lyft told them they'd deactivated Loomer's account. Good luck getting around now, lady. Seems like Loomer is going to have to continue being late to things now that she's been banned by the two biggest car services.
As NFL players have worked to bring awareness to the issue of police brutality, it is important to remember the real victim of this struggle: Papa John's Pizza. Papa John's, "the official pizza company of the NFL" according to ESPN, is blaming football players' for its recent dip in sales."The NFL has hurt us," company founder and CEO John Schnatter told ESPN. "We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this." Surprisingly, people are not moved by how protesting injustice has come to hurt a billionaire pizza mogul. Some people are even victim-blaming the 'za for it's failure to sell. Others suggest that this is all part of Papa's plan. Please keep Papa John in your thoughts and prayers during this devastatingly trying time.
Donald Trump Jr. got roundly roasted on Twitter Tuesday night after he tried (and failed) to make a joke about socialism. His tweet, in which he exploited his very young daughter to make a (wrong-headed) political point, got so much attention that it overshadowed another unintentionally hilarious thing Donald Jr. did, which is dress up like his own damn father for Halloween. Yes, that happened. No, he definitely doesn't have any daddy issues or anything. Don Jr.'s Instagram post included three pictures, and the one in which you can best see the costume is the third.

It is truly unsettling. It's not a full Donald Trump costume... there's no badly cut suit or overly wide Scotch taped tie. Instead, Jr. went with a Trump wig, and then donned a skin-tight American flag body suit. Like, SKIN-TIGHT. Yikes. This is a man who thinks kneeling in silent protest during the singing of the national anthem is disrespectful to the flag, but wearing it as a costume stretched against his, ahem, private area is totally fine. Interestingly, this goes against the official Flag Code, which states, "The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations." Nice that the son of the President of the United States has no idea what actually meets the standards of respect for the American flag. Somehow I'm not surprised.
Do you remember sitting in school, wondering when the heck you were ever going to use the things you learned in the classroom in real life? Well, consider this newspaper headline-gone-wrong to be a cautionary tale....This headline from the Pratt Tribune shows how one tiny grammatical error could turn a totally innocuous story into an eyebrow-raising exclusive on sexually active high school students.

Yeah, you might need to read that a few times in order to get it. These students were getting first-hand job experience, not running around giving each other the ol' tug-of-love. It's actually first-hand. Adjectival clause. See? You should have listened to all those English teachers when they told you grammar is important!
If you saw these last few days that "Civil War" was trending on Twitter... don't freak out. No, we aren't going to war with each other (yet), but these stupid controversial comments made by President Trump's White House Chief of Staff John Kelly definitely are not helping to bridge the widening divide in the United States. On Monday, General Kelly appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News, where the conversation turned to Confederate statues. Yes, people are still talking about this, apparently. That is when General Kelly called Confederate general Robert E. Lee "an honorable man" and said that "the lack of an ability to compromise" led to the Civil War. "I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man," Kelly told Ingraham. "He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand." The comments definitely raised some eyebrows, and several progressives on Twitter. Hm, using the old "both sides" argument to explain the Civil War? That sounds mighty familiar...
So, if I had a TARDIS I would go back in time to 1931 and meet Albert Einstein at the Grand Canyon. I always wanted to see the Canyon. What? You think he never went there?

Told ya. So, I tried to search "emo" on Google and instead typed in "emoo" and this is what I got...

Hahaha. You know, I have been known once in awhile to misread a situation. But at least I'm not as bad as this person...

Hahaha. Hey, did you see the new season of "Stranger Things" yet? I haven't, but I saw there was something familiar about it...

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down. Ha. That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...

I mentioned Papa John's earlier... well, have you seen their new pizza boxes?

Oh, boy. Hey, kids, so, it's Thursday... you know what that means...

For 30 years, Mark Berndt, an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles, liked to play a "tasting game" with his young students. He would blindfold them and then feed them cookies... laced with his own jism. The authorities were only alerted to the sick scheme when a drugstore photo printer noticed a lot of photos with young children wearing blindfolds. When police investigated Berndt's classroom, they found a spoon which was tested to find traces of his semen. He eventually pleaded no contest to 23 counts and was sentenced to serve at least 25 years behind bars. Many of his former students are in therapy and can no longer eat sweet foods.

Ummm... haha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. This is a good one. Okay, so someone who works for the White Hoise wanted to come onto the Phile and speak about something. I said, sure, why not. So, this is really exciting... here for the first time is...

Sarah: Oh my darlin', oh, my darlin', oh, my darlin' Clemintine... Hello, Jason.

Me: Ummm. Hello, Sarah... ummm. what do you want to say?

Sarah: Well, at a press briefing two days ago, I found myself in hot water for my comments about slavery. I seemingly defended Robert E. Lee, who led the Confederacy, by saying all of our leaders have been flawed.

Me: Yeah. And?

Sarah: So yesterday, a reporter turned that defense back around on me. He said, "Yesterday, from that podium, you said all of our leaders have flaws... what are President Trump's flaws?"

Me: And what did you say, Sarah?

Sarah: "Probably that he has to deal with you guys on a daily basis," I quickly responded, with a small smile, before calling on someone else. "In fairness, he doesn't deal with us on a daily basis," the reporter continued. "I think most every day actually he does," I responded. The reporter pressed for more, "So what are his flaws then? I guess, simple question." I responded, "I just gave you one."

Me: Really, girl? That's the best response you can think of? Making fun of the media, while talking to the media, while your fate is basically dependent on the media? Not to mention, ragging on the media has become your go-to joke whenever you can't think of a satisfactory lie to make up in the moment. To be fair, being asked to share your boss' flaws while on the job and in front of a bunch of reporters is not a fun situation... I'd probably make a joke too. But my joke would be much better than yours. Hey boss, if you're reading this, you have no flaws and even if you did I would never tell the media. Oh wait, aren't we the media? That wasn't the only followup question you were asked about slavery today, right?

Sarah: No. At a briefing, April Ryan, a CNN contributor, made headlines for shouting "Does this administration think that slavery was wrong?" at me as the I concluded the briefing. I called on Ryan, and the two of us got into a bit of a heated conversation. At the end of their back-and-forth, Ryan directly asked me the question that's been hiding between the lines all week, "Does this administration believe, does this president believe slavery was wrong?" My face immediately had a reaction, but Ryan continued. "And before you answer, Mary Frances Berry, historian, said in 1860 there was a compromise," Ryan said. "The compromise was to have southern states keep slavery but the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter that caused the Civil War. And because of the Civil War, what happened in..." And then I cut her off. "I think it is disgusting and absurd to suggest that anyone inside of this building would support slavery," I said.

Me: Disgusting? Umm, okay. Absurd? Hm... considering Donald Trump's hesitancy to condemn white supremacists, it's not too absurd a thing to suggest. Thanks for coming here, Sarah, please don;t come back again. Sarah Huckleberry Hound, everybody. Oh, boy, that was so stupid.

Hey, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff, kids.

Me: Hey, Jeff, welcome to the Phile. Did you have a good Halloween? Did you dress up? I was Axl Rose this year, which was pretty fun except the hair from the wig kept getting in my face.

Jeff: Always good to be back here on the Phile. No, I had a quite Halloween. I did sit in my room wearing a Batman mask though. Is that weird?

Me: Of course not. Okay, so, I have to mention this about your Steelers... Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster made history with a 97-yard touchdown. What the hell? He's the youngest player in the NFL as well, am I right? You must like this kid, Jeff, he's good. 

Jeff: Jeff: Oh, I'm certainly loving JuJu Smith-Schuster. The 97 yard TD isn't what made history (though I do believe he's the youngest player in history to score a TD that long) but he's also the most touchdowns in the history of the league before the age of 21. So yeah, he's going to be an exciting player to watch!

Me: By the way, did you hear he had his bike stolen? I thought it was funny he was wearing these cleats...

Jeff: Considering the NFL has fined people for things like that, I'm surprised that player didn't get a fine. That'd have been insult to injury. Stolen bike and losing money!

Me: I thought this was funny... it rained so much at the Jets/Falcons game someone on the Jets approved the printing of thousands of Jets ponchos but the white ponchos made MetLife Stadium look like a KKK rally. Check it out.

Jeff: Oh, that's bad. At least it was a Jets game and there weren't a lot of people in the stands. That would have been worse. The Republican party might have tried to crash the game. Sorry, bad joke but I couldn't resist.

Me: No, that was good. Was this a good idea, Jeff? Hahaha.

Jeff: I can think of about a 1,000 better ideas than that. So no.

Me: Okay, what's some other news in the NFL?

Jeff: The trade deadline is this week. The biggest trade is the 49ers traded for New England backup QB Jimmy Garapolo. All last season New England refused to trade him, saying he would be the heir apparent to Tom Brady when Brady decided to retire. But I guess they changed their mind. So poor Jimmy, going from one of the most successful teams to an Owen Eight, I mean 0-8 team. Maybe he can turn them around?

Me: So, Disney has once again taken over another team... look at this new logo... whatcha think?

Jeff: What do I think? That just looks weird. No, no I don't like that.

Me: Okay, so, how did we do last week? Am I at least catching up a little bit?

Jeff: Sorry, but not sorry. You didn't catch up. You did the opposite. The Steelers won and I pulled a perfect week going 2-0. The Giants had a bye week. You picked Seattle, and they won. But they didn't cover your point spread. You went 0-2. So my lead grows! I lead 24-9.

Me: Ugh! Double high! Alright, let's do this weeks picks... I say Cowboys by 2 and Cardinals by 8. What do you say?

Jeff: My picks for week 9 are Seahawks by 7 and Saints by 10.

Me: Okay, great job. I'll see you back on the Phile next Wednesday instead of next Thursday, Jeff. Have a good week.

Jeff: Have a good one, everybody!

The 69th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Author and Phile Alum will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks. So, my son and I were recently talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together when he was a little. That show sure has changed a lot in the years.

"First off, let me get something straight here. If any of you squinty eye fuckers try and serve me your dog, I am out of here faster that you can say Hiroshima. Capiche?

Yeah, for the second year I will posting the blog from the Clermont Comic Con. It should be fun. Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Startling Similarities Or Differences Between Kevin Spacey's Apology And The Special Counsel Indictments
5. Just confirmed what was widely known to be true.
4. Extensively covered on FOX News.
3. A Trump pardon is in the bag.
2. Could have a significant impact on the final season of "House of Cards."
And the number one startling similarity or difference between Spacey's apology ad the indictments is...
1. Will likely lead to the impeachment of the President.

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum whose videos and songs have gotten over millions of views. His latest "(My) Summertime" and "Stop!" are able to watch now on YouTube. Please welcome back to the Phile... Graham Wood.

Me: Hey, there, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been, sir?

Graham: I’m well thanks and thanks for having me back. Advanced warning for your readers. I don’t do emojis so please use your common sense as to where humour maybe used.

Me: Okay. This year you released two brand new songs and videos and I have to talk about them... but first I want to talk to you about the video and song "Grim Reaper, Leave Our Celebs Alone!!" That song was very smart and clever... it's also an original tune, am I right?

Graham: Thank you. Yes, it was indeed an original.

Me: Do you find it harder to write a parody song like what Weird Al does, or an all original song? 

Graham: For me a parody is no difficult to create than an original. I would say that if I hear a certain song on the radio and start singing in my head or out loud an alternative line then this could be a blank canvass for me to carry on writing. I suppose you could say the parody is slightly easier as the melody line is already there. I’m saying this, but the original music I write is so basic anyway that any bugger could do it.

Me: Do you like Weird Al?

Graham: It probably sounds ridiculous, but I’m only aware of his Michael Jackson parodies from when I was mere boy. However, a friend of mine introduced me to some of his polka stuff a few years ago and I found this highly amusing. He is certainly the king of the parodies.

Me: Who are your musical influences, Graham? I know you're a big Beatles fan, am I right?

Graham: Yes, the Beatles are up there. Lyrically I am pretty much drawn to gritty poetic story writers like Carter USM, Billy Bragg, Paul Heaton and Pam Ayres.

Me: That's cool. Billy Bragg is gonna be on the Phile soon I hope. Go you go to see concerts often?

Graham:  No. To be honest I have been to a handful of gigs over the last few years and there is no one out there who makes me want to get of my bum to see them and I certainly do not entertain huge arena gigs.

Me: I recently interviewed Nik Kershaw... were you into his music when he was big in the 80s? We are about the same age so I am guessing we have the same musical tastes.

Graham: Yes, he had some catchy tunes. Boring name drop alert! After the iPad song went viral myself and Andy were approached to perform at a massive 80s festival and Nik Kershaw was amongst others who were on the line up. That was actually a pointless name drop story as we never got to do the gig anyway as I had a restraining order put on Carol Decker from T’pal over a series of stalking issues from back in the 90s so we couldn’t perform on the same bill. Obviously I was lying about the Carol part, but the rest was true. Sorry I can’t help wittering on via a keyboard as well as verbally too.

Me: Anyway, how long did it take to write the "Grim Reaper" song, Graham?

Graham: Not to long as every bugger kept dropping like bloody flies for the first half of 2016 so the material came easy.

Me: I laughed out loud at the Cannon and Ball line... are they still on TV those guys?

Graham: Cannon and Ball were huge in the 80s and even made a film, Boys in Blue of which they played the lead roles. Enter the 90s and they were never seen again as a duo with the exception of a reality show. Bobby Ball however has carried on as a comedy actor and from the very little I see of him, he has still got it. Rock on, Tommy!

Me: Haha. Explain to my American readers who they were. I used to love their show when I lived back in England in the mid 80s.

Graham: Cannon and Ball were like Little and Large in suits only funnier, marginally. Who were little and Large I here you ask? They were like Cannon and Ball, but without suits. Both were comedy double acts.

Me: Some of those people you showed in the video I didn't know who remember who they were, and some I didn't know had passed... like the trumpet player from The Commitments. That was sad to find out. Is there anybody you didn't mention that you wished you did, Graham?

Graham: As I finished writing the song in April I couldn’t really add future deaths in that year as this would’ve literally made me the Grim Reaper. If I was to write a follow up now, which I’m not, It would certainly have to include Caroline Aherne, Liz Smith, Gene Wilder, Muhammad Ali, Carrie Fisher, Jean Alexander, Andrew Sachs... God the list goes on. Did any celebs survive 2016?

Me: You have to do a follow up. I have on the Phile a pheature called "Someone Phamous Has Died," as you might know and once in awhile I forget to mention someone... just recently Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park passed away and I forgot to mention it and I had a lot of pissed off readers emailing me asking why I didn't mention him. I simply forgot. Anyway, like I said, I think you should. But it did seem a lot more famous people died this year then last year.

Graham: I’m afraid no follow up is plan as I always try and do a different theme.

Me: You play ukelele... I play kazoo... if I still lived in England what a duo we would be. Hahaha. Was it a hard instrument to learn, Graham?

Graham: I take it you have heard me play the uke? I wouldn’t say I’ve learnt it yet. Now the kazoo on the other hand is a tricky instrument. How long did that take you to learn?

Me: Five minutes. Haha. My son says I suck at it. I am sure I asked you this before but when did you start to write songs and make videos?

Graham: I always wrote silly poems as a kid, my first lyrics for a band was in the early 90s for the mighty Fluffy Beer Cans and I wrote my first song entirely only a few years ago, but as always I rely on Andy Barker to produce said music. My first video I created was a Christmas tune for an old band, Croft, in 2008.

Me: What does your wife and kids think of you doing this, Graham?

Graham: Not much really. I have tendencies to prat around the household playing and singing silly songs all the time anyway, so when I show them a finished video they just react as if it’s nothing special and let’s face it a lot of viewers probably have that exact opinion when they see my vids too. 

Me: Are you always thinking of new songs to write? I am pretty sure you are taking notes and writing down ideas all the time, am I right? I am for my blog, so I am sure you are.

Graham: I haven’t exactly got a massive back catalogue as I am a really lazy writer, a whopping 1 song a year. So it does really depending on if I see there is something worth writing about. I only ever write about things that I personally find amusing/believe in. It doesn’t necessarily get the views, but if I’m happy with it and agree with its content then that’s job done in my eyes and if at least one person likes/finds it amusing then that is a Brucie’s bonus.

Me: I love your singing voice, Graham. You were in a band when you were younger, right? What was the name of the band? Why thanks!

Graham: Previous bands include The Fluffy Beer Cans, Croft and U2.

Me: Haha. I was in a band called Maroon 6... I left the band... haha. Who was in the band with you and are you still friends with them now? I bet they love your new songs.

Graham: No! They are all arseholes and I hope they die a slow death. Kidding!!!! A quick death as I want them out of my life asap!! No no no. I love them all dearly and as mentioned before Andy is my good friend and musical producer to date, I met up with Damien Daly and Mark Richardson fairly recently and Leanna is a good old Facebook chum and I miss her great sense of humour. Re: them liking my songs I don’t actually know. The worrying thing is that I don’t think Andy likes them and he’s part of them.

Me: Do you perform live occasionally to this day?

Graham: No. Not for the last few years. Andy occasionally tries to persuade me to, but I personally don’t feel it at present, but would never rule it out completely. I’d like to perform again as a band.

Me: Okay, let's talk about the song "Stop!" I love that song. That's an original tune, right, and not a parody?

Graham: That’s right.

Me: Are you playing keyboards on it?

Graham: All music is credited to Andrew ‘Lloyd’ Barker.

Me: There's been quite a few terrorist acts in the U.K. recently, so was that the reason you decided to write that song? I wrote a song for my music project Strawberry Blondes Forever called "Goodbye Loon" about different kinda terrorist acts, but your song is a lot better.

Graham: "Goodbye Loon"? I like the title. Yes, I was inspired by the recent London and Manchester attacks, but I have felt that for a very long time that there is a lot of negativity going on in our world. It would be nice if just for once I could switch on the news and it be free from death or the threat of it. More news announcements of dogs on surfboards are required I feel.

Me: Hey, so, Trump is our president over here... what is your take on him? Did you know about Trump growing up? I don't think you probably did, am I right?

Graham: As a child I was aware of Trump Towers and saw him as a wealthy man with shit hair and now I see him as your president with shit hair. I steer clear from political comments due to my lack of knowledge in this department, but if there was a political Top Trumps game then he would definitely get 10 out of 10 for twatability and the same for Getthingsdoneabilty. Yes, he has some really unacceptable extreme views, but how much would us Brits love a politician who actually stood by their promises and put them in place within days of being elected?

Me: Your other song you released this year "(My) Summertime" is a parody of Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime." Fun fact... Colin Earl was the piano player in Mungo Jerry and his brother Roger is in Foghat, the band my dad founded and was the lead singer in. I am sure you don't know who Foghat is but I am sure you know their song "Slow Ride." Anyway, was that an easy parody to write, Graham? 

Graham: Good fact! I did not know this. I must confess that I had never heard of Foghat, but have since learnt, via your Facebook page, how respected and popular they are. I am also very jealous of some of your dad’s outfits. The "Summertime" parody was a no brainer really. It pretty much wrote itself.

Me: So, has it been a really hot summer over there in England? It's been hot over here in Florida but of course it is.

Graham: If you was to speak to the average non manual worker over here then I’m sure they would quote "we haven’t really had a summer." My response being of factual evidence would firstly be to say FUCK OFF then to remind them how dry and warm April, May and June were with June actually breaking certain temperature records. Okay, so July has been a bit temperamental along with the start of August, but don’t have your head in the sand just because your sat in an air conditioned office or don’t even work at all. If the mercury goes over 20 Celsius when you’re working then it really isn’t fun I say. Do you detect that I am slightly passionate about meteorological matters?

Me: Yeah. Haha. What do you do when it's really hot, Graham?

Graham: I just walk around in either my mankini or birthday suit. I have been arrested 42 times to date.

Me: Did you get to go on vacation at all this summer? You need to come to Florida.

Graham: No holiday for me I’m afraid as my work will not allow it and the pennies wouldn’t stretch to Florida unfortunately. Maybe we could get signed up with our new ukulele kazoo double act and then we could get our record company to pay for me to get over there? I’m missing my Disney rush. 

Me: For the video for "(My) Summertime" was it fun to come up with the different pics for it? I am sure that's a pretty long process for you.

Graham: Yes, there is a lot of time spent on searching images purely because, like in person, I have a very short attention span and I digress and find myself looking at unrelated images, Facebook, YouTube, back to images, Facebook, YouTu…

Me: On Facebook you thanked Drew and Tracy Barker for help. Do they play on the track?

Graham: Drew, Andy Barker, is who I mentioned previously. He is my friend, music creator and occasional make believe lover. Tracy Barker is Andy’s wife and occasionally helps out by lending us her beautiful vocals.

Me: So, do you have any other songs in the pipeline?

Graham: I think I am burnt out. I’ve released 2 songs this year already. Funny enough myself and Andy communicated today and there was talks about a possible Christmas tune and a serious contender for Great Britain in the Eurovision song contest, you can imagine how that may end up.

Me: So, you have ten songs that you made that are on YouTube... and 11 videos as there's a live version of "We Didn't Own An iPad." That's ten tracks, plus a bonus song. That'a a CD right there, Graham, that you could put together and sell. Have you thought about that?

Graham: HaHa! That could be the money maker to get me over to Orlando. As long as I charge £10000 for a copy and my mum buys it then I’ll be seeing you real soon, Jason.

Me: I have to be honest and tell you I put together a CD of your songs and called it "We Didn't Own An iPad." I play it in the car and really enjoy it.

Graham: You do release that whilst your driving around in the humidity of Florida and playing my CD that I may be sending you subliminal messages along the lines of "TURN THAT BLOODY AIR CON UP!"

Me: Do you think you'll be making songs for a long time?

Graham: I don’t really know. I know it’s a cliché, but If I ever stop enjoying it then that’s when I’ll stop. Or maybe if I die before I stop enjoying it then I may stop writing then too. "Please stop enjoying it" I hear some of your readers plead, or die.

Me: I had an idea, listen to my bands music (we are on Bandcamp, iTunes and Amazon) and I think you could do a good cover of one of my songs... especially the Beatles one.

Graham: I’ll have a listen then be in touch. The deal is we cover it, but have to record it in Florida and you can guess where this is going. That’s right I’m not paying the fair.

Me: Graham, thanks so much for being back on the Phile. I'll have you back here when the next video you release comes out. Tell the readers where they can see the videos and hear the songs. 

Graham: Readers, please feel free to view my videos at the following link and convert them to MP3s just like Jason. It’s illegal, but a damn sight cheaper than buying them.

Me: Take care, and please come back again soon. Keep writing, sir!

Graham:  Thank you, Jason and Merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone.

Me: Haha. Okay.

That about does to for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Graham Wood. The Phile will be back on Tuesday with singer Imelda May. 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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