Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum Laura James

Good evening, and welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How're you? Many people throw around the age old saying "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." But the 22-year-old Amanda Mills has elevated the game with the new adage "when a dude hits on you, get some free gas." Mills is a Dallas native with a sizable social media following, so when she stunted on a creeper with a short but sweet life hack, she shared her winning moment on Twitter. Basically, Mills was standing in line at the gas station waiting to pay when a dude in line decided to make his move, or at least attempt to. When he called her "cute" she cleverly asked "cute enough for you to fill my tank?!" Much to the luck of her wallet, he obliged and Mills scored a $34 tank of gas. When she shared the exchange on Twitter, lots of women were taking notes. While some of the guys on the thread revealed they'd never dish out a free tank of gas. To be fair, the guy may have redeemed himself from the title "creep" when he purchased the tank of gas and left her to go about the rest of her day. Generally, given how much women are regularly solicited and harassed, any dude who tries to work game at a gas station isn't starting on a hot foot. This story, however, has a happy ending.
Actor Sylvester Stallone and his bodyguard reportedly jointly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl in 1986. The actor, now 71, was 40 at the time. The news comes via a police report obtained by the "Daily Mail." The detailed report was filed shortly after the incident. The victim, whose name is omitted from the report, said the assault occurred at a Las Vegas hotel. The 16-year-old was invited to Stallone's hotel room, and they had sex. He then asked her if she had ever had sex with two men at the same time, and his bodyguard Michael "Mike" De Luca, who had been waiting in the bathroom, joined in and sexually assaulted her at the same time as Stallone did. The men reportedly pressured the minor to keep the incident a secret, with Stallone threatening to "beat her head in" if she told anyone. Even though the teenager filed a police report, Stallone did not face much punishment, as she signed a "no prosecution" form. "I'm humiliated and ashamed, but I don't want to prosecute," she reportedly said at the time. You can read the full police report here... TMZ spoke with Stallone's spokeswoman, Michelle Bega, about the rape allegation earlier today. "This is a ridiculous, categorically false story," Bega told TMZ. "No one was ever aware of this story until it was published today, including Mr. Stallone. At no time was Mr. Stallone ever contacted by authorities or anyone else regarding this matter." This is not the only abuse accusation against Sylvester Stallone. As the "Daily Mail" notes, Stallone's half-sister Toni-Ann Filiti accused Stallone of raping and sexually assaulting her in 1987. She threatened to sue her half-brother, but he settled by paying her off before the case went to court. Filiti passed away in 2012.
Sexual misconduct is a bipartisan issue. This morning, TV host Leeann Tweeden has accused Senator Al Franken of sexual misconduct. There's a photo, and it's extremely disturbing.

In 2006, Tweeden and Franken were on a USO Tour to entertain the troops in the Middle East. According to Tweeden, Franken wrote a kiss between the two of them into the script, and insisted they rehearse. "He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable. He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘okay’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth." Oy. And later, on the plane ride home back to Los Angeles, Franken took the disgusting picture while she slept, which she didn't discover until hours later. "I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?" Men, you've had 200,000 years. It's time to put women in charge. Franken has so far resisted on responding to any calls to resign, but has sent his "sincerest apologies" to resign.
As Alabama's Senate candidate and alleged pedophile Roy Moore is cratering in the polls, Bold Champion of Women Ivanka Trump has finally decided to come to the conclusion that pedophilia is bad. In an interview about her efforts to enact tax reform that would drastically cut funding from Medicaid so she wouldn't have to pay taxes on her inheritance, Ivanka bravely stated, "There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I’ve yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts." Couple of things. 1. Her father is an alleged sexual predator who bragged about walking in on teenagers changing. 2. She didn't call on him to drop out of the race, or do anything useful with this information. 3. What took her so long? Stunning and brave.
Speaking of Ray Moore... he has now been accused by a total of nine women of "inappropriate sexual behavior" after a report by the "Washington Post" last week detailed the account of a woman who says the then 32-year-old Moore assaulted her when she was 14. In the wake of the allegations, most of which accuse the politician of sexual advances on teenagers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Moore to drop out of the race for Alabama Senator. In response, he issued the following tweet. See if you can spot the problem.

Poor choice of words, indeed. It led immediately to that special sound unique to Twitter, the clamoring of thousands of people making the same observation at once. And the Internet screamed back: A legendarily terrible tweet from Moore when you consider the high school cheerleading movie titled, in the exact same words of his tweet, Bring It On. Some commenters were even more brutal about the whole thing, pointing out that the actors in those movies were only playing teens and were probably too old for Moore's liking. One of the stars of Bring It On, Gabrielle Union, herself weighed in Moore's debacle of a tweet.

It's already been broughten.
So, sometimes Disney, the greatest company to work for ever, creates characters for their movies they might have a certain look than they do when the finished product comes out. Like this one for example...

That's a little different, right? Hey, do you like Tic Tac? Have you seen their new slogan?

Ha! Very true. One thing you may not know about me is I like to follow rules, but some people just take it a little bit too far...

Good job, unicycle rider. If I had a TARDIS I'd like to go back to 1945 to see my dad as a kid. But, knowing my luck I'll end up in 1945 and the only kid I'll end up meeting is this kid who was blinded from the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

Hmmm. Did I take that too far? Moving on... Hey, do you remember Pete Wentz from 2007? This is him now...

Feel old now? Hahaha. Did I win you back? Hey, parents, if you get a note from your kids teacher I hope it's not like this...

Oh, Demi. So, I accidentally Googled "corgi ship" instead of "cargo ship" and I got this...

Mr. Snacks is soooo cute. So, apparently there once was a time when Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden, basking in his ever-loving light. Well, I think this next pic proves that time has long gone, and darkness has fallen over the realm of men.

Oh, boy. Ummm... It's Thursday, people, and you know what that means...

Two female workers at a Pennsylvania Proctor & Gamble paper factory regularly brought their lunches to work and stored them in the lunchroom fridge. When it was time to eat, they routinely noticed a funny taste and a small pinhole in the foil lid of their yogurt cups; this happened at least 13 times. Not sure what was going on, their supervisors notified the FBI who set up a hidden camera. That's when it was discovered that Joseph Bartorillo, a co-worker, routinely injected their yogurt packages with his man fluid. Mr. Bartorillo pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 2 years in prison.

Ha! If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Hey, it's time to talk about football with my good friend Jeff...

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

Jeff: Always glad to be back here on the Phile! 

Me: This is a sad story which I have to mention... 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin scored his first touchdown of the season, an 83-yard catch, Sunday against the Giants and broke down with emotion in the end zone soon after. Did you hear why? No one did at first but Goodwin and his wife Morgan lost their newborn son that morning at 4 am due to complications with the pregnancy, announcing the news with an Instagram post shortly after the game. 

Jeff: Yeah, I did hear about Goodwin's emotional touchdown. That's what is great about sports sometimes, it can heal things. It's incredibly sad but I'm glad that he was able to have that moment. It's one that I'm sure he will never ever forget! 

Me: Speaking of the 49ers... they celebrated their first win of the season like they just won the Super Bowl. It was like watching someone win the Special Olympics. Hahaha. Do you think I'm bitter? 

Jeff: You? Bitter? Nah! But just remember how it felt when the Giants had their first win of the season? Their only win of the season? So can you blame the 49ers? So this leaves just the Browns as the only team in the NFL to not win a game. So hey, you have that going for you. You're not a Browns fan! 

Me: Have you heard about this? The NFL owners are discussing taking the Cowboys franchise away from Jerry Jones? Why do you think that is and do you think it'll happen? 

Jeff: Yes, I heard about Jerry Jones. I honestly hope that they do. The man thinks he is bigger than the NFL. Basically, the owners are talking about extending the contract of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Due to the ongoing issues with Ezekial Elliott who is finally serving his six game suspension, Jerry Jones is threatening to sue if Goodell's contract is extended. He isn't threatening to sue the NFL, he's threatening to sue individual owners! Talk about a bloated ego! 

Me: So, what other NFL news do you have? 

Jeff: Honestly? The Jerry Jones story is the biggest thing coming out of this weekend's games. Adrian Clayborn is not a name most people know, but he got a little more famous on Sunday night. He's a linebacker for the Falcons and he sacked Dax Prescott not once, not three times, not five times but he got six sacks on one game! It had only been done once before. 

Me: Hey, Disney has taken over another team... 

Me: What do you think? 

Jeff: Mel Gibson would be proud of that! I think that's supposed to be John Smith anyway. 

Me: Yep. Okay, Giants lost... blah blah fucking blah. How did we do, Jeff? 

Jeff: Oh? Did the Giants lose? AGAIN. To a bad team? BADLY. And did the Steelers win? Against a bad team? Barely? Yes they did! We both went 1-1 in our picks this week though. But my gain has expended by a point thanks to the Steeler win. 

Me: Ugh. Okay, let's pick... I say Cowboys by 4 and Saints by 3. What do you say? 

Jeff: My pick is the Packers by 3 and Eagles by 7. 

Me: Cool. Okay, next Thursday is Thanksgiving (and my birthday) so there won't be an entry that day. So, I'll see you back here next Wednesday. Have a good week, Jeff. 

Jeff: Happy early birthday!

So, the Roy Moore allegations are troubling Trump and I think we know why. Just in case we don't I invited someone to the Phile who could explain it. So, please welcome once again to the Phile...

Me: So, Sarah, today at the White House press briefing, reporter James Rosen of Fox News (whoa!) asked you why the sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore are "troubling," but why the official position is that all the women accusing Trump of harassment are lying liars. A typical, political bulshitting response, but fascinating to get it on the record, and by a Fox News guy, no less. This wasn't the only time Moore came up in the briefing. Asked approximately eight times, you wouldn't say that the President of the United States, Donald Trump, condemns alleged pedophile Roy Moore. Almost as fun as his refusal to disavow Nazis who marched chanting his name, Trump won't even show as much political bravery as a Ted Cruz (!!!) and say something like "These allegations are credible, Roy Moore is bad, he shouldn't be in the Senate, or even in the race." 

Sarah: We're still taking the "woah if true" line of thinking. 

Me: While this string of words might seem satisfactory at face value, it's what's missing that's important. You, Sarah, like jazz, is all about the notes you don't play.

Sarah: Why? Because I didn't say something strong and definitive like "Moore should leave the race," or even a statement like Ivanka's that says that he believed the women. I declined to answer if Moore is a "creep," because you can't determine that from afar. 

Me: Plus, you were asked about the many (sixteen to exact) allegations against Trump himself, and was typically word salad-y about it. 

Sarah: Jason, the White House hasn't caught on with the rest of the Republicans, who have withdrawn their endorsements for the man who has been banned from the Gadsden Mall for creeping on young ladies. 

Me: People are surprised that the president is sitting this one out. Not being a voter in a particular state never stopped Trump from sharing his opinion before. 

Sarah: Hell, Jason, nothing has ever stopped President Trump from sharing his opinion before. 

Me: Ha! He and Moore must have an "alleged sexual abuser Bro Code" or something. Thanks, Sarah, this was rather stupid. Hahaha. Sarah Huckleberry Sanders, boys and girls. That was so stupid. And now for...

I never liked the fact that images are square or rectangle but camera lenses are circular. 

Because Donald Trump seems hell-bent on undoing Barack Obama's legacy, Trump has decided to reverse an elephant hunting trophy ban Obama enacted in 2014. But hating Obama isn't the only reason Trump's lifting the ban. He's got two other reasons, namely his big game hunter sons Eric and Donald Jr. Elephants are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. There are only about 350,000 elephants left (spread across 18 African countries), according to the Great Elephant Census. They're also one of the smartest and most empathetic species on Earth. Overturning the ban means that now hunters who collect "trophies" from the elephants they kill in Zimbabwe and Zambia (but not Nambia) are allowed to bring them back to the U.S. Trump's decision is heinous, but hey, what can he do, his kids love hunting. During a press conference Trump held while still campaigning, he said, "My sons love to hunt. They are members of the NRA, very proudly. I am a big believer in the Second Amendment. But my sons are hunters, Eric is a hunter and I would say he puts it on a par with golf, if not ahead of golf. My other son, Don, is a hunter. They're great marksman, great shots, they love it." Yes, this is just what the Rust Belt has been demanding. Donald Trump may not fulfill all his campaign promises, but at least he's making sure that Obama's legacy is undone and that elephants should needlessly die so people can hang their severed body parts on the wall. 

Liz Smith 
February 2nd, 1923 — November 12th, 2017 
Word going around the Hollywood party scene has it that a "kinda journalist" with the initials L.S.  may not be "off the market" for good!

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum whose book "Safari Pug" is the 69th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome back to the Phile... Laura James.

Me: Laura, welcome back to the Phile. How are you? 

Laura: I’m very well, thank you! 

Me: Your new book "Safari Pug" is the 69th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Your last book "Cowboy Pug" was also in the Phile's Book Club. “Safari Pug" is the third in the Pug series, right? 

Laura: Yes, “Safari Pug’ is the third in the series. I’m very honoured it gets pheatured in the Phile’s Book Club... thank you! 

Me: You don't actually own a pug though, do you? I have to say pugs are my favorite dogs but there's two facts about them that I am not sure you touch on in the books... one is that they fart a lot and the other is their eyes pop out sometimes. Have you heard of those facts? They are the coolest looking dogs though. 

Laura: Pugs are wonderful dogs. I’m not sure that they fart more than other dogs! I have two wire-haired dachshunds and they are known to break wind from time to time (sorry dogs... but you do!). I’ve heard about the eye thing too but I don’t think it is a common occurrence. It sounds like an urban myth to me. Pugs are full of character and very loving. They are indeed very cool. 

Me: Anyway, what is "Safari Pug" about, Laura? How does he get to go on a safari? 

Laura: Well, it starts off with Pug’s owner, Lady Miranda, having a nightmare involving a lion. Of course she says that it was Pug who was frightened, not her. She suggests that Pug needs to get over his phobia and they head for the safari park. Pug and Lady Miranda tend to travel about in a sedan chair, carried by her two footmen, so you can imagine how that goes down in a safari park. It turns out they can be quite dangerous places if you’re a pug. 

Me: Does the book have the same characters as the others? 

Laura: The usual cast of Pug, his young owner, Lady Miranda, her housekeeper Wendy, and her footmen Will and Liam are there as always. They also get to make some new friends, many of them animals, and they meet the not-so-nice Arlene von Bling, a minor television personality who likes to steal… 

Me: Did this book take as long as the others to write or are they coming easier now? 

Laura: The first book, “Captain Pug” took the longest, mainly because I was building the world in which Pug and Lady Miranda live. The second book, “Cowboy Pug” and now “Safari Pug” were a lot easier to write. I feel like I know the characters really well now and that makes writing their adventures a lot easier. 

Me: So, have you ever been on a safari? I've been on a few... at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Haha. Would you ever go on a safari? 

Laura: Animal Kingdom... that’s a start! A few years ago I was lucky enough to trek through the Rift Valley in Kenya. We got to meet the orphaned elephants that live in a sanctuary outside Nairobi and went to the Giraffe Manor, which was fabulous. I’d love to spend more time in Africa. 

Me: Do you like to travel, Laura? 

Laura: I do and I’d love to do more. 

Me: You live in England... Bath, right? What’s your favorite thing about living there? 

Laura: I live near Bath, which is famous for being a beautiful Georgian city. Where I live is quite rural. I live in a cottage belonging to a nearby estate. It’s all very "Downton Abbey"! 

Me: I don't know if I told you this before, but I went to Bath once... there was a cool comic book shop there. You don't really read comics, do you? 

Laura: I have to say, I’ve never come across the comic book shop in Bath. I’ll have to see if I can find it, next time I’m in town. Comic books, as you’ve correctly guessed, are not really my thing. 

Me: So, your books are sold all over the world... I hope not in France though. Hahahaha. They can have their on French bulldog or poodle series. Anyway, your books have been translated in different languages, am I right? Does that make you laugh? 

Laura: I would love the books to come out in France! Especially as the illustrator, the amazing Eglantine Ceulemans lives there. One day, hopefully. It is very exciting to think of Pug travelling the globe and getting to go to places I’ve never visited. 

Me: I like the translated titles... “El Cowboy Pug," and "El Capitan Pug," Do you get a lot of reactions about the books from other countries, Laura? 

Laura: I know! I love "El Cowboy" and "El Capitan" too. Our Spanish publisher is amazing. They give me feedback although I haven’t heard directly from a Spanish reader yet. I was thrilled, really early on, when I received a message on my Facebook page from a girl in Australia who had dressed as Captain Pug for World Book Day. She looked adorable! 

Me: Awe. Do you see the books as being very “British"? 

Laura: I supposed in many ways the Pug books are quite British but the themes of the books are universal. Friendship and loyalty are very important in Pug’s world and there’s always plenty to laugh about. 

Me: Do you hear from American readers at all? 

Laura: I do! It's so exciting. The first book, “Captain Pug” came out in the U.S. in March and “Cowboy Pug” comes out next month. Some kids have done reviews on YouTube, they're very entertaining. 

Me: Okay... so, speaking of America... I have been talking to a few book store chains such as Books A Million and Barnes and Noble about you doing singings over here. I think Books A Million is very promising. They are getting back to me soon. 

Laura: You’re amazing! That is definitely something I’d like to do one day. 

Me: Also, have you ever thought about the books being turned into a children's series? I say we go to California and pitch. I will help you anyway I can. 

Laura: Ah, yes, Hollywood! Of course I think about it. I’m a big dreamer, like Lady Miranda. 

Me: Do you ever get requests for Pug merch? 

Laura: Yes, a few people have mentioned it. How adorable would it be to have a Pug?! You’d have to be able to change his outfits... especially hats, he’s big on hats. 

Me: Okay, so, I am sure you are working on another Pug book. Are you? 

Laura: I have just submitted “Pirate Pug” which will come out in the U.K. towards the end of next year. 

Me: Every book you come out with I will feature on the blog. I promise. 

Laura: Thank you, thank you! 

Me: Laura, tell the readers where you can get the books... I have to say thanks for the signed books you sent me. I hope this was as fun as the last time you were here. Take care, keep in touch and mention your websites. Take care. 

Laura: Pug’s adventures are available in all good book shops and online. Also, take a look at my website where you can download Pug activity sheets for free... Thank you so much, Jason. It has indeed been loads of fun. 

Me: Cool. I'll have you back here soon. 

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and Laura James. The Phile will be back on Sunday from Clermont Comic Con with Phile Alum Richard Rivera, creator and writer of the comic "Stabbity Bunny." 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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