Monday, April 23, 2018

Pheaturing Abby Stern

Hey, kids, good afternoon, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Early this morning, the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a son... her third child with Prince William. According to Kensington Palace, the new prince was born at 11:01 a.m. local time at St. Mary’s Hospital in London... the same place George, Charlotte, Prince Will and Prince Harry were born. The baby weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces. At time of publication, no name was announced. Thanks to a change in the laws of succession in 2013, this will be the first time that a girl is not overtaken by a male relative, and Princess Charlotte will remain fourth in line, in front of her new brother. Prince Harry, however, is now bumped down to sixth in line. Sorry, dude.
If Madonna wants to keep the love letter the late rapper Tupac Shakur sent her in 1995, she's going to have to bid on it like the rest of us. A judge ruled today that Madonna had waited too long to sue for the return of some of her personal items that went missing after she moved out of her Miami house in 2004. In the suit, Madge claimed that she didn't realize that some of her most personal possessions were indeed missing until the auctioneer Gotta Have It! Collectibles put up the Tupac letter, a hairbrush with her hair still in it, a pair of her panties, and other memorabilia back in July. Madonna sued the auctioneer, Darlene Lutz, but Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Gerald Lebovits ruled that she waited too long to do so, because of New York State's short statute of limitations (AKA she snoozed, and thus lost). "Mere ignorance or lack of discovery of the wrong is not sufficient to toll the statute," Judge Lebovits wrote in his ruling. If she has the money, she might be able to get her underwear back from a creep and her hairbrush out of the hands of someone who wants to use it to clone her.
The "Chicago Sun-Times" reports that an elderly woman was found in the South Side of the city pushing around a shopping cart that just happened to have a dead body in it. "Officers responded to a well-being check at 7:53 p.m. in the 8600 block of South Calumet and found the woman with the body of a female, whose identity and age was unknown, Chicago Police said," according to the "Sun-Times." Among the many other mysteries of this story include... 1. Who was the lady pushing the cart? 2. Who was the lady in the cart? 3. How long was the dead lady dead? 4. How did the dead lady become dead? 5. Is this real or just production on the all-female Weekend at Bernie's reboot?
Bindi Irwin is growing up to be just like her dad, the late Steve Irwin of Crocodile Hunter fame. She loves all animals, and she's seemingly fearless, as this recent tweet of hers proves...

Um, hi Harriet. Okay, maybe Bindi needs to cuddle with a huge hairy tarantula, but I definitely don't, and neither, it seems, do a lot of people on Twitter. People were also shocked by just how grown up she is now. But in all honesty, there's no need to be scared about Bindi cuddling Harriet. Tarantulas rarely bite, and even when they do, it's usually (supposedly) not much more painful or dangerous than a bee sting because their venom is very weak. Unlike Bindi, who is strong and tough and would make her dad very proud.
Despite declaring the opioid crisis to be a national emergency, the Trump administration has yet to institute any policies or allocate any funding to combat it beyond thoughts and prayers. The government, however, is mourning the hundreds of thousands of Americans lost to addiction, with a new memorial near the White House. The very human, very normal Melania Trump paid a special visit to the installation, which she called "very moving."

Note: Service is spelled "service," not "servuce." Spelling errors are the one thing she and her husband have in common. If she were capable of showing emotion, I'm sure that we would see that she's very moved. Seeing the First Lady out in the wild with her signature "arms not in the sleeves" look is already a notable event, but her very posed, very pensive photos make it all-the-more interesting. People are weirded out by Melania's photoshoot in the memorial, and suggest that it's not a sufficient move to combat the epidemic. Advertising It raised some questions. Why is she touching the wall? Isn't "Keep your hands to yourselves" the first rule of viewing art, and the last rule any Trump understands? She'll touch the wall, but not her husband. Nobody in the White House really knows how to keep their hands off the art. While Melania's photos raise a lot of questions, the most important one was in fact proposed by the First Lady herself, years ago, about a beluga whale.

What is she thinking?
So, I'm thinking, instead of doing this blog thing maybe I should be listening to this album...

Man, I used to love the Mandrell sisters. If I had a TARDIS I would like to go back to the end of World War II. It'll be kinda cool to see Allied forces mock Hitler from atop his balcony at the Reich Chancellery at the end of the war.

So, once in awhile I like to get on Twitter and look up certain words. One of those words I like to look up is "Foghat" and this is one I saw a few years ago...

I have no idea what Nova Dancer is saying. Here's another sign from March for Our Lives.

Hey, parents, I hope your kid in school is this creative when they don't know an answer...

I wish when I was in school I was that creative. Speaking of being creative in school, here is another creative way a Parkland student is trolling their new "safety" backpacks.

Hahahaha. Blaze it. I heard stories of people looking weird and dressed odd in Walmart and I didn't believe it until I saw this...

I wanted to wear that same outfit today. Haha. Alright, as I mentioned earlier at the top of the entry the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a son and I have the exclusive pic...

That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...

Hahaha. So, once again here is the pheature called...

The Lotus 
The fact that both your partner and yourself will be straddled against each other doesn't give you an opportunity to make any extravagant moves. Which is great because even the most subtle movement will keep you soaring in this one due to the fact that it's so intimate and intense.

This might be a hard one but if you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, a friend of the Phile who really, really tries to be funny says he has some really funny material and wants to come back on here and give it a shot. So, here he is once again...

Me: Hey, Ollie, it's been awhile, man, how are you?

Ollie: I'm good, Jason. I have some really good jokes.

Me: Okay, great. Let's hear one.

Ollie: Okay. Woman's rights.

Me: Ummm... Ollie, that's not at all funny. That's pretty disrespectful. Try again.

Ollie: How do you make a plumber cry?

Me: I don't know. How?

Ollie: You kill his family.

Me: Ollie, that's just plain dumb.

Ollie: Here's a Batman joke because I know you like Batman, Jason. What did Batman say to Robin before they got in the car?

Me: I don't know... what?

Ollie: Get in the car.

Me: Ugh. That's lame. What about a "yo mama" joke? Those are pretty simple.

Ollie: Yo mama is so stupid, she believes in god. God isn't real.

Me: Man, oh, man. Okay, you have one more chance. Why don't you try one of those jokes about a duck walking into a bar or something. Those are always funny.

Ollie: Sure. A duck walks into a 7-11 and says, "Give me some Chapstick, put it on my bill!" But the cash register attendee doesn't speak English and cannot understand him. He does, however, question whether his God is punishing him because as all people know, ducks cannot speak, however, this hallucination must be punishment for a horrid misdeed. The employee breaks down into tears and begins reciting prayer. The duck, slightly miffed, walks out, pondering why he'd need Chapstick anyway, since he has no lips.

Me: Ugh. Okay, Ollie, I'm done with this. You need to keep trying. Come back when you have better jokes.

Ollie: Okay, I tried. Bye, everyone.

Me: Ollie Tabooger, the guy who doesn't know how to tell a joke, everyone. Sheesh.

I don't get it. Hey, wanna play a game?

So...which is it? A potato or Amy Schumer? And now for some...

Phact 1. "The Looney Toons Golden Collection" DVDs have a disclaimer at the beginning given by Whoopi Goldberg explaining that the cartoons are a product of their time and contain ethnic stereotypes that have not been censored because editing them would be the same as denying the stereotypes ever existed.

Phact 2. New York City beekeepers noticed their bees making red honey, which led to an investigation that ultimately exposed the city’s largest marijuana farm in the basement of a Brooklyn cherry factory.

Phact 3. Out of the top 30 100m sprint times, only 9 were run by athletes not associated with doping, all 9 are by Usain Bolt.

Phact 4. While in Sharon Springs, Theodore Roosevelt was approached by a 12-year-old girl who asked if he would like to have a badger. Expecting to humor her, he agreed, and the girl came back with a 2-week-old badger. President Roosevelt named him Josiah and he became one of the presidential pets.

Phact 5. When Princess Diana went to Disneyland she made her sons Harry and William wait in line just like everyone else.

Come on, Shania.

Today's guest is there author of "According to a Source: A Novel," the 79th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Abby Stern.

Me: Hi, Abby, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Abby: I'm wonderful. Thanks for having me.

Me: Abby, so, when I first heard about the book and read it I thought it was an autobiography, even though it says in the title it's a novel. I'm an idiot. How much of it was truth and how much of it was fiction?

Abby: Well, it is all fiction. It is a story that is a novel, not a memoir or an autobiography by any means.

Me: Ahhh... okay. Damn it. Haha. What inspired you to write the book then?

Abby: I was inspired to write the book because when I tell people that when I freelance for a celebrity magazine, do red carpet interviews, and went to parties and met celebrities they were all really intrigued. I was writing different television pilots and at first I thought maybe this the book would be a show, and when I sat down and started writing it really took the form of a novel and that seemed to be the best way to explore this world and these characters I was creating. So that's how it kind of ended up starting.

Me: Have you done a lot of writing like this in the past, Abby?

Abby: I was always writing my entire life, and acting as well, and I thought I should always write my own material, because that's how I really showcase my abilities.

Me: You have met sooo many celebrities over the years I am sure. Was there any that got you starstruck?

Abby: I feel that I have three. Two I have been personally been starstruck in person and the third has yet to be. The first one was Britney Spears, I'm from Louisiana, I will forever love her. The second would be Mick Jagger, who I have had the chance to meet. The third one who I have not met yet is Keith Richards. People who I have grew up with and have find memories of their music and different events surrounding their music.

Me: I have met Britney and my mom went to school with Mick Jagger and my dad was good friends with both he and Keith back in London in the 60s. Also my mom dated Brian Jones back in the day. Haha. Any others you have met that stuck out?

Abby: I got to meet Dick Van Dyke who is just a cultural icon. That was more exciting than meeting any A-list celebrity. It's the people that I remember from my childhood that have resonated with me that gets me starstruck opposed to someone I saw on a magazine cover.

Me: I agree. I have interviewed and met some cool people over the years. You didn't mention any celebrities by name in the book but you did kinda say who they were. What made you decide to go that route?

Abby: Again it is fiction so the incidents didn't happen. So, I didn't want to put anybody in the position of saying, "Oh, this is a novel but she's using real celebrities so I am confused." That was one thing, and the second was I love the idea of using archetypes, the blind item like former A-list hot mess actress or I think one of them was aging younger multi-winning Oscar bachelor. I could be thinking of one person and one archetype and someone who's reading could be thinking of a complete different person. That was a really fun way for the reader to use their imagination and insert themselves in the story and kind of participate a little bit in the story. These are archetypes that have been around forever, there's always going to be another former A-list hot mess actress unfortunately from every decade. That way the story can really live, and it also shows these archetypes don't move the plot for the story for the antagonist. So, while maybe there is a kernel from something that inspired me that I saw or a friend has scene, I wanted to use that for the book. I maybe had to change up what kind of celebrity it was just so I really could tell Ella's story.

Me: Why didn't you make up celebrities?

Abby: I don't like the idea of using fake celebrities, I feel it never resonates. I didn't want to make anybody made up, and for me these blind items were the best way to serve the story and be really clear.

Me: You talk about the Paparazzi in the book, and how people act around them, and wanting to know everything about them. Celebrities are just human beings, but a lot of people don't think of them that way. Why do you think that is?

Abby: I don't know. I think we see them especially now, now that we have such access on social media, things lose their boundaries. It is almost less of an escapism than we feel we have the right to know as a society I feel like. There's also a lot of the mindset of they traded their privacy when they wanted this lifestyle, they get paid a lot of money, get a lot of perks, but they give up a lot of anonymity and privacy. I think that's the mindset a lot of people have and they don't take into consideration that someone could be going through something that is very personal and something they aren't sharing. Maybe that's why they're in a bad mood and lash out at photographers and something like that. I think that it's just the times we are living in, where we we feel we have so much access so we deserve even more access.

Me: Yeah, and there's websites and shows like TMZ that don't help, right?

Abby: Yeah. That's the other side of that there are businesses that monetize these stories like by getting clicks and by getting shares, that's how they get advertisers. If they get some kind of intel their competitors don't have hopefully they'll be getting it. They say show business is the business side of the actor, it' a business, you have to keep that in mind. But it's also very much a business on this side.

Me: Why do you think some celebrities cope with fame better than others?

Abby: Um, I think that's a difficult question. I think a lot of it has to do with their background, how they were raised, and their support system. If they have a lot of yes people around them it's really tough, because they can get away with a lot and then push the envelope even further. I think another thing too is depending on how they made it and what their big break was, there's so much stuff that goes on behind the scenes that we honestly don't talk about with the art and getting to a certain level, where it's not just the rejection but they're kind of berated and sometimes they are made to feel bad by their own team. I think that when they reach that certain level something clicks in but they also have all those other feelings going on and they might be thinking that they don't deserve this, maybe this is a fluke. I think maybe that makes people act out or maybe might be quite so nice because there's a lot of inner turmoil going on with them. I think that all goes back to again how they cope with all of this and the support system they have. A lot of celebrities go to therapy which I think is a very great idea. There are emotions they don't experience with and their best friend could be the loviest person around, but if they are not in this industry they might be able to emphasize but they won't be able to understand how that is affecting them. I think that once again it goes back to who you surround yourself with, as I said it three times already. LOL.

Me: What are somethings you love about the industry?

Abby: For me it's all about the art and creativity. For me it's so exciting to talk to an actor whose work I truly admire. I ask them about their project, or their role or why they decided to do this and not that, looking back at their career, their reelections... just really interacting with people that want to tell stories, that hopefully affect other people. That's my favorite part.

Me: Cool. So, on the flip side, what do you wish you can change?

Abby: Hmmm... things like people being famous for not having much talent, just putting themselves out there. I don't love the whole influencer culture where it's all about how many followers they have. I think hopefully that's a trend we are going to see die out, even though I'm not sure. When there's nothing to back it up and they don't have the craft, it seems to me that it's very short lived. I wish we weren't applauding all these people for taking a photo in a bikini. There's so much good in life, and like anything in life the bad... I wouldn't really call it the bad, I call it the annoying or the frustrating or irritating. I think there's a lot of content being created now because there's so many avenues to do so with the Internet and out iPhones, that we're kind of getting back now to the art which is nice.

Me: There's many people with YouTube shows, websites, podcasts, blogs... how do you know what's real and fake?

Abby: I think in terms of real and fake just do your research. If you ever look at something and it has a weird looking link, it has a lot of numbers v's and x's in it, it's probably not a legitimate news source. I have to say they are a lot of people that are not technically trained interviewers that I have worked with, that I've done their podcast and been with them on red carpets and they've been wonderful. I think as long as someone is thorough and done their research and is insightful and thoughtful, they don't necessary have to go to journalism school. Not in any means I'm saying there's only one way.

Me: When I first started interviewing people ten years ago for this blog I had no fucking idea what I was doing... but I think in the last few years I have gotten better and have been getting bigger names, and more of a name for myself, and more professional. If anybody was starting out what advice can you give them?

Abby: I think if you're just starting out I would say watch more interviews and see how people give good responses and not just a sound bite for a quote that would be a great headline, but a really great interview as a whole.

Me: Have you ever met someone you really look up to, and think the world of but when you got to interview them they were a total let down? Has that ever happened to you?

Abby: It has. I had it happen a couple of times. It is true but in some ways it is very humanizing. I get to think they get to do great work, don't love them as a person, but that's the same as my every day life. I don't love everybody I work for but they might do great work, so it's just another star, they're just like us.

Me: What did you learn from writing the book, Abby?

Abby: I think I relearned lessons of the protagonist, about always being true to myself, that I might end up somewhere in life, might be career. peer pressure or something of that nature. I have to make tough choices and all my choices good and bad have consequences. Also on a personal level it just reaffirmed my beliefs in persistence, it's a very long process for me. It's not an easy process, not just the writing process, but the whole process of what happens when I write a novel. Not that it's bad, it's just a very interesting process. If I stick with it and stick with anything in life I really think persistence wins out in the end. A lot of people just give up and quit so it's just reaffirming that for me, and if I believe in myself and I can do it, don't listen to anyone else.

Me: Are you going to write another novel? A sequel?

Abby: I hope so, we'll see. I think that Ella's story is very nicely bookended and finished. There is a character named Holiday who is supporting and Ella's best friend, maybe a little spin-off on her could be fun. I have a couple of ideas that are completely different that are not in this realm at all of popular culture and entertainment. I have even been kicking around the idea of a children's book that would sound less intense, but I hear is more intense than writing novels. So, hopefully as long as I'm being creative I would love to continue writing all of them.

Me: The book would be a great television show as well.

Abby: Yeah. Hopefully we are working on it. So... I'm just putting that out in the universe.

Me: Cool. Good job, Abby. Good luck in the future and I hope I did a good job interviewing you. Did I?

Abby: Yeah.

Me: Cool. Thanks for being on the Phile, Abby, I hope it was fun.

Abby: Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

That about does it for this entry. Thanks to Abby for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with DJ, producer, rapper Naughty Boy. 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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