Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Christmas is approaching... remember to give Christmas hugs. Man, it has been a weird year for Billy Bush. In October of 2016, an 11-year-old tape of a hot-mic moment depicting then-candidate Trump bragging about sex to Bush leaked just weeks before the election. As a result, Billy Bush was fired from his job as a "Today" show host, while Donald Trump was elected to the highest office in the country. Then, about a week ago, the "Access Hollywood" story was back in the news after reports surfaced that the president may have privately told at least two people that it was not him on the tape after all. Last night, Bush himself came forward and clarified that it was Trump on the tape in a scathing Op Ed for the "New York Times." "He said it. 'Grab ’em by the pussy.' Of course he said it. And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator. Along with Donald Trump and me, there were seven other guys present on the bus at the time, and every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass standup act. He was performing. Surely, we thought, none of this was real. We now know better." Bush went on to acknowledge a handful of the many women who have accused President Trump of sexually assaulting them, thanking them for their bravery, and calling them "culture warriors at the forefront of necessary change." To these women, "I will never know the fear you felt or the frustration of being summarily dismissed and called a liar, but I do know a lot about the anguish of being inexorably linked to Donald Trump. You have my respect and admiration." People's response to the piece? Duh. To read Billy Bush's full Op Ed in the "New York Times," click here... nytimes.com/2017/12/03/opinion/billy-bush-trump-access-hollywood-tape.html. But read the rest of the Phile first.
"Rick and Morty" co-creator Dan Harmon might be responsible for one of the funniest, wackiest, and most batshit crazy shows on television, but the showrunner revealed a more serious side when a fan asked him for advice on dealing with depression. Twitter user @chojuroh reached out to Harmon earlier this week with this tweet...
They soon received an eloquent and heartfelt response from Harmon. Colton was undoubtedly grateful for the good advice... and a little starstruck, too. Soon, several other "Rick and Morty" fans were expressing their gratitude on the thread as well. Well, all I can really say here is "Wubba lubba dub dub." Thanks for being a good dude, Dan.
After receiving a concerned message from the journalist advocacy group The Radio Television Digital News Association, Walmart has officially pulled a t-shirt bearing a shocking racist and violent message, the "Star Tribune" reports. The t-shirt itself was listed on the Walmart website through the third-party seller Teespring and bore the terrifying message, "Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED." Check it out...
Once Walmart representatives received the message from RTDNA about the disturbingly violent (and deeply racist) sentiments, they pulled the t-shirt from the website. "This item was sold by a third-party seller on our marketplace and clearly violates our policy. We removed it as soon as it was brought to our attention, and are conducting a thorough review of the seller's assortment," Walmart told the "Star Tribune," following the debacle. While Teespring serves as a platform that allows online users to post shirt designs, the company confirmed that they've taken note of the scary message and removed the shirt from their platform. This incident is also spurring the company to sweep the entire site for potentially violent designs. "As soon as we were alerted to this content promoting violence against journalists we removed the content, added this content to our automated scanning systems, and kicked off a human sweep of the site to find and remove any similar content," Teespring said. Third-party seller or not, people have been rightfully alarmed by the fact that Walmart sold this shirt in the first place. Oversight or not, there's no excuse for selling a t-shirt that incites this level of violence.
Sahar Tabar, from Tehran, Iran, is said to have had over 50 surgeries to look like her idol, Angelina Jolie. Her transformation is document on Instagram to her over 370,000 followers, and it's quite extreme. According to Unilad, Tabar had all of her surgeries in a period of a few months, clearly intensifying the effects without time for recovery. Which one is Angelina?
Hopefully Tabar was celebrating Halloween in Iran, because some of the pictures are quite scary. It appears that some of the pictures may be edited, as the videos of Tabar feature a nose that's less severe. But a Double Black Diamond-level ski slope on her nose appears to be what she's going for in her Instagrams. Some of the comments have been savage. One person wrote, "Her: Doc make me look like an 8 month old corpse. Doc: say no more." Like the real Angelina Jolie, she has a lot of trolls and haters in the comments, calling her a "zombie" in multiple languages and begging her to eat something (but not brains). It's a lot of procedures for a tiny human. I hope she's okay.
President Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. As part of the plea deal, Flynn has officially agreed to cooperate with the special counsel, which is lawyer speak for the fact that HE'S GONNA SPILL THE TEA!!!! This is the hardest of news... fancy legal drama of the highest order... so allow me to explain what's going on. Here's what Flynn lied about. According to the court docs, after Obama announced sanctions against Russia for interfering with the damn election, Flynn called up the Trump transition and asked, "what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian ambassador." This is a big deal... it implicates Trump and his inner circle. They can no longer play dumb. After discussing the situation with an unnamed senior Trump transition official, Flynn called up the Russian ambassador and "requested that Russia not escalate the situation" with regards to retaliating against Obama's sanctions. The implication is that the Trump administration would rescind the Obama's penalties. The senior Trump transition official that Flynn spoke to before
communicating this to Russia? It’s reported to be none other than Jared Kushner. The court docs then say that there were conversations with MULTIPLE members of the transition team and Michael Flynn. PLURAL. Now the drama in the court right now isn't that Flynn did these things, it's that he lied about it to the FBI. On January 24th, soon after the inauguration and while he was serving as National Security Advisor, Flynn falsely told the FBI that he did not ask the Russian ambassador not to retaliate. After the call, the Russians didn't make a move. And after the Russians didn't make a move, Trump tweeted....this...
Flynn also lied to the FBI about calls he made to Russia and other countries regarding a United Nations Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements. He also lied on multiple documents with the Department of Justice about his contacts with foreign governments. He failed to state on Foreign Agents Registration Act filings that he worked on a project to benefit the Republic of Turkey. ABC reported that as part of his guilty plea, Flynn is prepared to share all he knows about Trump's actions with regards to the Russians, which reportedly include directing his staff to make contact. Flynn was facing heavier charges than making false statements, and the fact that he was charged with such a relatively minor crime suggests that he made a hella good deal with prosecutors so they'll go easy on him. And unlike the previously indicted Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, Flynn's participation extends to activity once the gang moved into the White House. As Duke University law professor Lisa Kern Griffin told Vox, "To receive a cooperation deal of this sort, he needs to be providing information about higher-value targets than himself. We can only speculate about who those targets are, but news reports indicate that Flynn’s testimony could implicate other members of the administration, including the president, in some coordination with the Russian government during the campaign." Is this the beginning of the end? The end of the beginning? Stay tuned.
Hey, it's Monday, instead of doing this blog I should be listening to this...
Ha! That's real, people. I saw this pic the other day...
And it reminded me of something... and then it hit me...
See? Ha. Ever run into a celebrity out in real life and what you're wearing is a coincidence? It happened to this guy...
Crazy, right? So, the other day I showed this pic on the Phile...
And I think I said something that I didn't know who it was. I was sent quite a few emails from you readers to explain to me it's Nigel the "Wild Thornberrys," which was a Nickelodeon show about a documentary filmmaker and his cartoon daughter who could talk to animals. I vaguely remember that show from when my son was a kid. I don't know if he watched it or not. But now I know. There's even a shower curtain I was told with him on it...
Ummm... no thanks. Did you see what some Walmart's are doing?
My Walmart is not doing it yet but I guess this is this is response to a fifteen dollar minimum wage. There's some really cool inventions out there that you might not know about... like laser guided scissors.
I might need those. So, I don't cook at all but there's products out there that make me almost want cook. Like this knife magnet...
It'll also save a ton of space in your knife drawer. You won't even need a knife drawer anymore. You'll have a free drawer! You can just make it your lemon drawer. Or your cookie drawer. Or your sex toy drawer. Fuck it. So, these days, Donald Trump Jr.'s Twitter is a goldmine for terrible takes on politics (and for WikiLeaks to slide into his DMs for some collusion). But before he was Donald Trump Jr.: First Son and Pundit, we was Donald Trump Jr.: Boob Guy. I don;t think he ever left the Frat House...
Ha! I think I just lost a few brain cells. You know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's a few things that happen in Florida that happen nowhere else in the Universe. So, once again, here is...
One Florida opossum successfully channeled the overall mood of 2017 when she broke into a liquor store and proceeded to get blasted on bourbon. A police officer brought our furry protagonist to the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge after a liquor store employee found her passed out with an empty bottle of bourbon. Honestly, who among us drinkers hasn't been there?!
"A worker there found the opossum up on a shelf next to a cracked open bottle of liquor with nothing in it. She definitely wasn't fully acting normal.," said Michelle Pettis, who works as a technician at the refuge. Again, who among us can act "normal" after drinking a whole bottle of bourbon?! It's likely this little opossum was dealing with a serious hangover... dizziness, existential crisis and all. Luckily, the lovely people working at the refuge were able to load her up with fluids and flush the booze before she suffered any alcohol poisoning. Everyone could definitely relate to the opossum's overall mood. It's been a hell of a year.
Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, in the past on the Phile I invited this comedian on who wanted to try his comedy. The only thing is he just doesn't know how to tell a joke or know what's funny. I thought I would invite him back again to see if he got any funnier. So, please welcome back to the Phile...
Me: Hello, Ollie, welcome back to the Phile.
Ollie: Hi, Jason.
Me: Okay, I hear you have some new material. Let's hear it. I hope it's good.
Ollie: Okay. Is this the Krusty Krab?
Me: Ummm. Huh?
Ollie: No, this is Patrick.
Me: That makes no sense whatsoever. Try again.
Ollie: What's worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm?
Me: I think you asked this before and you said the Holocaust which wasn't funny at all.
Ollie: Nope. Getting raped by a giant scorpion.
Me: Ugh. Ollie, that is stupid. Okay, you have one more chance. Go.
Ollie: A horse walked into a bar. Several people got up and left as they spotted the potential danger in the situation.
Me: That's so terrible, not funny and stupid. You need to go and work on your material some more, Ollie.
Ollie: I have one more thing to say, Jason...
Me: Okay, what?
Me: Ollie, go! Ollie Tabooger, the guy who doesn't know how to tell a joke, everybody. Ugh!
So, do you guys know what net neutrality is? Well, I'm here to explain it for you with a little help...
The 71st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Lol will be the guest on the Phile a week from today.
Phact 1. One of the main engineers behind NASA’s Challenger rocket, which exploded in 1986, revealed that after NASA would not heed his warnings against launching in the cold weather, he told his wife the night before the launch, “It’s going to blow up.”
Phact 2. The German grocery store Aldi is actually two stores: Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud. In the U.S., Aldi Sud has been rebranded as Aldi, and Aldi Nord is what we now know as Trader Joe’s.
Phact 3. While filming Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams would walk through the streets of San Francisco in his full Mrs. Doubtfire makeup and costume, and on one occasion he visited a sex shop to buy a large dildo and other toys.
Phact 4. During the exceptionally cold winter of 1795, a French Hussar regiment captured the Dutch fleet on the frozen Zuiderzee, a bay to the northwest of the Netherlands. The French seized 14 warships and 850 guns. This is one of the only times in recorded history where calvary has captured a fleet.
Phact 5. The 2003 Cat In The Hat movie was so bad that Dr. Seuss’s widow specifically said that she wouldn’t allow any more live-action adaptations of his work.
Today's guest is the lead singer and founder for the Canadian band Area Resident whose fantastic new album "Delano" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Doug Hempstead.
Me: Hi there, Doug, welcome to the Phile. How are you, sir?
Doug: I’m excellent. Just finished the first half of a split shift and now home, starting the wood stove.
Me: I just listened to your new album "Delano" and I really liked it. Is this your first full length release?
Doug: It’s my second! The first, self-titled "Area Resident" came out in Oct. 2016. It’s still for sale online, and I have some CDs.
Me: You are known as CBC's Traffic Guy in Canada... CBC is a TV and radio station, am I right? Kinda like the BBC in England. I know about CBC from my favorite band... Barenaked Ladies. Anyway, how long have you been working for CBC doing the traffic?
Doug: I’m the local traffic reporter in Ottawa on it’s two weekday local shows. I get up at 4 am, work from 5-8:30 am and then come home and make music in a marvellously empty house before going back in to do the afternoon show from 2-6 pm. I’ve been doing traffic for two and a half years. Been a journalist for 23 years... mostly covering mayhem.
Me: Was being a radio journalist something you wanted to do growing up all your life? I think it's cool.
Doug: No. It is, however, what I initially applied to college for... and was accepted. At the time, it’s not something I wanted. I liked photography better.
Me: Is being a musician something pretty much new to you, Doug?
Doug: OMG, you can tell?!! Hahaha. No. I’ve been writing original tunes since I was a tween, but started with bass lessons at 16.
Me: What does your CBC co-workers think of the new album? Do you keep both of your "jobs" separate or did you get to talk about the musical side of your life on the radio?
Doug: I don’t talk about the music on shows I work on. It would be an unfair advantage. Not cool to use my position to try and make money off the music. CBC does have both albums in its digital music library and I’ve had a number of plays on other shows.
Me: So, where in Canada are you from?
Doug: I’m from Pembroke, Ontario. About an hour and a half northwest of the capital.
Me: I mentioned Barenaked Ladies and I like to ask my Canadian guests if they are a fan of that band... are you?
Doug: Not especially, but their new record sounds very different and I like the sound of it.
Me: I have it but not heard it yet. Okay, let's talk about "Delano." How long did it take you to write this album?
Doug: Ten weeks. I do a song a week when I’m working on a record.
Me: There's a lot of instruments and cool sounds on the album, Doug, was that planned out before you went into the studio or beforehand?
Doug: I don’t plan anything. In fact, none of the songs are even written before they are recorded. They are written as they are recorded.
Me: Did you use the acoustic guitar to write these songs?
Doug: Nope, well, not on this record. I wrote one song on the last record that way. I tend to force myself to write songs on different instruments all the time so it sounds more varied and like a band.
Me: Tell the readers who produced the album... did you know him before hand?
Doug: Jordon Zadorozny. He’s been a best friend of mine since we were 6-years-old. He plays on the album quite a bit as well. I couldn’t do it without him. Way better musician than me.
Me: How did you get Jordan to be the producer? Did you know him before? I had no idea Blinker the Star was a Canadian band.
Doug: He lived in L.A. for awhile, I guess. Jordon is like a brother. I’ve never said that before about anyone. It just occurred to me. And it’s true!
Me: Awe. I'd like to ask you about a few of the songs on the album... I love the single "Riverside." Was was the inspiration about that song, Doug?
Doug: I grew up on the Ottawa River, outside of Pembroke on the border of Quebec and Ontario. The river inspired it. I go home to the house I grew up in every weekend to help my 88-year-old father out. The place is full of memories and shadows of the busy place it used to be, when I was a boy there.
Me: Who is Wendall in the song "Pray For Wendall"? Is it a place or a person?
Doug: Wendell is a wallaby. When I was a TV reporter, I covered a story about a winter storm which brought down a tree on an animal sanctuary. Wendell escaped. The cold wilds of rural Ontario is no place for a small marsupial.
Me: I am guessing the song "Macdonald Park" is a real place, am I right? What was the inspiration to write a song about that?
Doug: The lyrics of "Macdonald Park" is actually one of my radio traffic reports, put through a audio-to-text generators. It spit out a lot of nonsense which I decided to make into a song. The name comes from the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway in Ottawa, named after Canada’s first Prime Minister.
Me: That's funny. The title track "Delano," where did that come from? Who is "Diablo" and how you chose the album to be titled that?
Doug: Delano... that’s the middle name of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was brilliant.
Me: How much influence did Jordan have on this album, Doug? Did you both work side by side pretty well on it?
Doug: We are never in the same room. I send him the individual instrument tracks via DropBox. This works well because he gets his space and I don’t feel pressured in a studio setting.
Me: You released the album as a band name... Area Resident... that's a cool name. Where did that name come from and why not release it under your own name?
Doug: My name is clunky. Area Resident is something journalists write quite a bit. It’s a journalist joke.
Me: What does your wife and kids think of your new music?
Doug: It’s not her go-to style, but she’s very supportive and is probably surprised it’s as good as it is.
Me: I am sure you are busy doing the radio thing... What's the craziest thing you had to report on air, Doug?
Doug: Twice in one day, children’s wading pools ended up blocking traffic on the highway.
Me: Ha. Does any of your radio job influence your songwriting?
Doug: Yes, see "Macdonald Park." Most of my songs are about stories I’ve covered. "Warm It Up First" is about a man who worked at the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, where money is made. He was sent to jail after they found out he’d been smuggling gold out of there... in his bum.
Me: Where do you have time to write? Do you have to plan time or does it come naturally?
Doug: I have five hours off, between shifts. In an empty house!
Me: So, are you gonna be making any new music with Area Resident?
Doug: I’m starting the new record any day.
Me: I have to say I LOVE the artwork for the album. Why is a guy floating dead in the pool?
Doug: That’s up to you, I suppose.
Me: Who did the artwork, Doug?
Doug: Andrew King, of Ottawa. He’s another friend. Just a brilliant artist. He did the cover of the first album as well.
Me: Thanks for being on the Phile. Mention your website and I hope this was fun and you'll come back again soon. Take care. Great job on the album.
Doug: Arearesident.bandcamp.com, Facebook.com/arearesidentmusic.
Me: Cool. Great job. Looking forward to the next album.
That's about it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Doug for a cool interview. The Phile will be back this Thursday with Phile Alum Webb Wilder. 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