Good morning, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday. Two Phile's in a row. Aren't you lucky? Haha. Melania Trump, of "married to Donald Trump" fame, has already baffled the world with her chutzpah to claim she's an advocate against cyberbullying when her husband is the cyberbully-in-chief. Fresh off of telling the #MeToo movement that they're going to need "evidence" if they want to come forward about sexual assault, Melania told ABC News that she became interested in the issue because "I could say that I'm the most bullied person on the world."
ABC graciously changes the "on" to "in" for the tweet, but the First Lady does say "on." Never mind the grammatical issue... as questionable as the syntax of the slogan #BeBest... this rich, powerful lady who spread racist conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama is saying that she's a victim? Seriously? Does she have any EVIDENCE that she's a victim? By her own standard, she should produce some documents or shut the F up. Yeah, people aren't crying for Melania. Has she heard of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, whose assaulter is on the Supreme Court, and still can't go to her house because of death threats? She's starting to sound a lot like Donald, isn't she? With her pursed lips, she's starting to look like him, too. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama celebrated the International Day of the Girl and launching a girls' education initiative. Maybe Melania should try plagiarizing Michelle again.
Just when we thought everyone was falling to pieces, someone has won Internet prank of the year by purchasing a domain name for Brett Kavanaugh and getting the most millennial revenge ever. Brett Kavanaugh, alleged sexual assaulter, beer specialist and frat boy from hell, was confirmed to the supreme court on October 6th. It was a long journey with an unhappy ending that gave us little hope for the future despite his victim, #Metoo movement hero Christine Blasey Ford's, inspiring and gut-wrenching testimony. Now, another hero has stepped up and bought BrettKavanaugh.com before Old Bretty could and has given Kavanaugh's image a makeover. The site's powerful homepage banner says it all...
Chills. The new Brett Kavanaugh Internet presence is not just a prank, though, it is a resource for victims of sexual assault, harassment and rape. Toward the bottom of the homepage, the site offers help and hope for change through the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, End Rape On Campus, and the Rape, Abuse and Incest Network. And, at the very bottom of the site is a link to Fix The Court, which has information about what we can do to stop not only Kavanaugh's power in the Supreme Court, but also to prevent other justices from using their Yale and Beer degrees to get away with assault, and serving for life as a Justice. Fix the Court has fessed up to the takeover and the executive director of the organization, Gabe Roth, wrote in a statement, "Three years ago, I bought a handful of URLs that I thought might be useful in any forthcoming Supreme Court confirmation battles. Included were BrettKavanaugh.com, .org and .net. Today I am redirecting those three to a landing page with resources for victims of sexual assault. I believe Dr. Ford. I believe Prof. Hill. I also believe that asking for forgiveness is a sign of maturity and strength, not weakness. Watching last night’s White House event and listening to the President again cast doubt on veracity of Dr. Ford’s claims, while not hearing a word of contrition from the newest justice, was difficult for many Americans who have experienced sexual misconduct firsthand. Fix the Court stands with you. We believe you, and we support you. And if you seek additional resources, you can go to BrettKavanaugh.com. Thank you, Gabe Roth and Fix the Court for not only the laugh, but also the step towards progress. And Kavanaugh, I hope you love your new brand!
Even though they themselves are actors who play journalists, it appears that the people at Fox News do not understand how acting works. In what is framed as the ultimate "gotcha!" against Hollywood liberals, state TV the network posted in absolute horror the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis has guns in her upcoming horror movie, despite being against murder machines IRL. The tweet was quickly ratio'd... an objective measure of its stupidity.
Just wait until the people at Fox News hear that there is a whole industry around people doing things they otherwise wouldn't do in real life. Dear Leader Donald Trump is also different on screen then he is in real life. He played a successful businessman on TV, despite going bankrupt multiple times. Contrary to popular belief, the gun control movement seeks not to outlaw all guns, it just wants to control their availability. That's why it's called "gun control" rather than "gun banishment" or "gun extinction." As always, I'm glad Fox News is how the president of the United States gets his intelligence briefing.
Filmmaker Richard Linklater has brought us such masterpieces as Boyhood, the Before trilogy, and Dazed and Confused, which introduced the world to the pre-McConaughssaince Matthew McConaughey and introduced Foghat and "Slow Ride" to a whole new generation. Linklater has an extremely impressive IMDB page, and he just might have made his most powerful film yet. The hardcore Texan was recruited by Fire Ted Cruz PAC to make an ad roasting Ted Cruz's corny "Tough as Texas" campaign slogan, which absolutely delivered. The ad stars Sonny Carl Davis, in character as the straight-talking coffee shop customer from Linklater's 2011 film Bernie. Talking straight to the camera, Davis calls out Cruz for his complete and total lameness in bowing down to Trump after the crazy shit Trump said about the Cruz family in the primaries. "I mean, come on," Davis says. "If somebody called my wife a dog and said my daddy was in on the Kennedy assassination, I wouldn’t be kissing their ass. You stick a finger in their chest and give ’em a few choice words. Or you drag their ass out by the woodshed and kick their ass, Ted. Come on, Ted." That extra "come on................ Ted" is truly devastating. The ad has already gone viral because it rules. What do you have to say to that................ Ted?
In a truly bonkers turn of events because nothing about the year 2018 is even remotely normal, the midterm elections have become a proxy war between Taylor Swift and Kanye West. Even stranger: country singer Swift is the one endorsing Democrats while Kanye has gone full MAGA. The alt-right, who once heralded Swift as their "Aryan Goddess," are devastated that the pop princess has abandoned them for LGBTQ rights and human decency. Along with neo-Nazis on 4chan, one of the people kvetching about Swift's admission of empathy is the Taylor Swift of Fox News, Tomi Lahren. With absolutely no understanding of irony, the 26-year-old talking head denounced celebrities who "pop off shit they don't understand. Period."
Well according to Twitter, Lahren just described herself. Period. Oh, and that also sounds like the president, who started off on a reality show. For what it's worth, it looks like Termi Lerman doesn't want to burn ALL her bridges just in case Taylor ever wants to invite her to join her Girl Gang. You're still not invited to the Fourth of July barbecue, Tammy.
Have you heard of the Christy Miller series? I haven't, but I thought this was kinda funny...
I said this before, Baby boomers everywhere are doing their damnedest to communicate via text, often with their tech-savvy millennial children. Let's look at an example, shall we?
Speaking of complete non sequiturs... haha. You know who would do a better job as president? A bloody penguin.
I saw this pic and it reminded me of something.
The it hit me...
Looks pretty much the same, right? Ever see those homeless people on the side of the road holding signs? Well, have you ever seen anything like this?
No penis. I feel bad for those people. Here's a random meme to get you laughing this morning...
Hahahahahahaha. I think today's guest, Lukas Nelson would get a kick outta that. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...
Top Phive Things That Would Happen If Men Ran The World
5. Telephones would cut off after thirty seconds of conversation.
4. Breaking up would be a lot easier. A smack on the butt and a "nice hustle, you'll get 'em next time" would pretty much do it.
3. Birth control would come in ale or lager.
2. Valentine's Day would be moved to February 29th so it would only occur in leap years.
1. St. Patrick's Day would be celebrated every month.
Haha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Here's another common Halloween costume you probably didn't know were horribly...
Costume: Captain Jack Sparrow.
Why it's offensive: Ever heard the term "rape and pillage"? Pirates are pretty much the originators of rape culture, and dressing as one is basically telling the world, "I think every relationship should begin with a dose of Rohypnol." And as everyone knows, Johnny Depp developed this particular character by copying the mannerisms of Keith Richards, maybe the most famous substance abuser in the world. Sorry, anyone in recovery or anyone who lost a loved one to addiction!
The 88th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
David Attenborough will be the guest on the Phile on Tuesday. Okay, so, there's this guy who once in awhile comes on the Phile and gives an update on his life. He doesn't really have the best luck, and we haven't heard from him in a while, but he wanted to come on and let us know what's the latest in his life. So, please welcome back to the Phile...
Me: Hey, Dindo, what's new with you?
Dindo: Hi, Jason. Well, a few days ago I grabbed the wrong briefcase from my office while I was rushing to the airport... It had a loaded Walther P99 in it.
Me: What? Why would you keep a loaded gun in your office?
Dindo: I dunno.
Me: Well, what happened?
Dindo: I got a $5,000 fine from the TSA.
Me: Oh man, that's a lot of money.
Dindo: Yeah, but it was bumped down to $3,000 because I paid within thirty days. Really stupid of me to say the least.
Me: You could say that again. Guess it backfired though. Take care of yourself, Dindo.
Dindo: Thanks, Jason. You too.
Me: Dindo Nuffin, kids.
A third-grade teacher was instructing her students in some of the wonders of nature and ended by saying, "Isn't it wonderful how baby chickens get out of their shells?" An 8-year-old, showing more curiosity than the rest said, "What gets me is how they got in."
Today's guest is an American musician who Lukas Nelson co-produced and wrote the music for the new film A Star is Born. His band Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real appear in the film as Bradley Cooper's band. Please welcome to the Phile... Lukas Nelson.
Me: Hello, Lukas, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Lukas: I'm good, man, thank you.
Me: I saw you play at Sunfest in West Palm Beach and you were fantastic. Anyway, you co-wrote and produced the music in the new remake of A Star is Born. I didn't see the movie yet, Lukas, can you tell me and my readers what it's about?
Lukas: It's the perfect music story. Two people falling in love, one a budding singer going to the top and the other a legend who is struggling.
Me: This is a remake, am I right?
Lukas: Yeah, it's a story been told in Hollywood three times. Most recently by Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson back in 1977.
Me: Did you just bring music to the movie, or anything else?
Lukas: Well... I was the basis for Bradley's entire character. Being the son of Willie Nelson probably helped with that.
Me: Okay, so, when did Bradley first saw you? Do you know?
Lukas: Apparently it was when Bradley saw me backing up Neil Young.
Me: Oh, cool. So, what did this big movie star, Bradley Cooper see in you?
Lukas: He saw the camaraderie that we had with each other and the band. There were no sort of special effects. Neil actually had the screen covered in burlap that was behind the stage with a big burlap seed back covered the stage and he had teepees on the stage. It was just pure jam rock and roll legendary Neil Young songs.
Me: I like some of Neil Young music and would love to have him here on the Phile, but I saw him in concert with Crazy Horse and it was one of my least favorite concerts ever. Didn't help that Sonic Youth was the opening band. Are you a Neil Young fan, Lukas?
Lukas: Well, I always feel there's two types of people that I meet in this world and their Neil Young fans and not Neil Young fans. If you don't like Neil Young and I find out, like if I was on a date or something, then suddenly a phone will ring and my mother will need help somewhere so I will have too leave. Haha.
Me: Ha. So, when you first sat down with Bradley Cooper what did he want you to show him?
Lukas: Bradley's a very wise guy. He mediates and he's calm and he's collected and he's focused. I think he understands the inspiration is sort of contagious. If someone is in an inspired place than being around that is good for wherever I'm working on. So I think he got inspired by us with Neil and felt that energy and that vibe and said he wants to create something like that with the character and recreate A Star is Born, which he'd already been thinking about and then kinda came along so maybe he just wanted that energy around. He wanted a piece of that energy that he saw and felt there around and that was I could bring that with him and that sort of feeling that that authenticity, of you want to call it that, but all it is is that specific energy of that moment. He wanted to bring the momentum of that into the screen and sort present this is what he loves about music, this is Bradley Cooper's love of music and the way he thinks about music. He is a deep guy when it comes to that.
Me: The opening scene I heard is kind of crazy where's he's singing "Black Eyes." What can you tell us about that scene?
Lukas: That scene was filmed before Jamey Johnson's set and my father's set at Stagecoach. There's a fifteen minute set change window where the film crew got in there and the band went in there, recorded that song in front of the audience filming him doing that. Actually what you hear in the movie is exactly what it was. He's singing that part and the vocals have not been altered at all. That's exactly what he sang in there.
Me: Who knew Bradley Cooper could sing. What do you think of his singing, Lukas?
Lukas: The progression to be able to go do that in front of a crowd like that where he didn't miss the notes it's pretty amazing. The character himself is supposed to be on the decline. He's got ear issues, he drinks too much, he still sells out major stadiums but he's kinda on the decline. So the rawness of him having just gotten to this place as a musician in real life and then in the movie he's sort of on the decline. He sort of hits the perfect combination of timing where it really works, it's believable, it's there. He's got potential, I could see his potential fore being an actual incredible musician. I'm hoping contrary to the films trajectory he continues to sing and practices to sing because he's got the talent inside him. If he keeps doing that he could be a musician. It's obvious it's in him and so that first scene really shows that to me.
Me: A lot of my friends who saw the movie say how good Lady Gaga is as Ally. What do you think makes her so good?
Lukas: Well, she's dedicated, she practices... she practiced. I think that's what it all comes down to. Really the good ones acknowledge they have to put the time in to their work and give their whole lives. We don't see an Olympian unless that Olympian has practiced. It doesn't happen over night, they have to put the time in.
Me: What was it like to write songs for this movie?
Lukas: I just write what I feel. I'm a guy who had a lot of epiphanies in my life. Every time I come to a new understanding and have an epiphany that can turn into a great song because when art reflects the state of mind of the artist and then this artist has a sort of an epiphany that epiphany can be transferred onto sound and lyric and then sort of triggers that epiphany and inspire others. Maybe they won't have the same epiphany but they'll feel that that inspiration is behind that art and it resonates. I write songs from THAT place than it really cannot help but be relatable to everybody and smile enough yet elegant enough to translate across genre boundaries or boundaries of the worlds to be cultural boundaries.
Me: Man, that's deep, Lukas. Hahahaha. So, being a musician does the story that Bradley put together or the movie seem like real life or is it farfetched, how money gets in the way of the art?
Lukas: Yeah, it is the struggle of our time to find meaning and expression in a world where we're being drowned in commerce and the idea that sort of material gain is more important than spiritual gain. We're sort of getting lost in our devices, our computers and our interconnectivity which is a beautiful thing because it brings us together but at the same time we sort of feel lost and anonymity of this. That's why we celebrate people who are able to rise above the anonymity somehow or create something special. I think that is the great question of our time really, is can we keep our humanity as technology and the race of the world and commerce sort of drive this ship called progress.
Me: In real life when people are famous or getting famous, someone always tries to make a couple of bucks from them. Managers, record companies, agents, you know. Do you ever see that?
Lukas: Here's the thing... that is a very real part of any job anyone will have. I think there's a lot though in the music industry because first of all as artists we're vulnerable by nature. And so it's hard for us. If somebody comes up and says they love what I do, they want to bring that out. Like for example, the Ally character, probably for months in the time line of the film before the new manager comes in and says, "Hey, I like what you're doing." She was taking out the trash in a restaurant. And it can be almost devastating easy to compromise who they are in order to say "you know what, I'm not quite sure I like this. I gotta do it, because what else am I gonna do? I gotta play music. Maybe I can get famous and then I'll be able to do whatever I want after that because I'll have enough money to be able to do it." A lot of people sort of compromise and they're isn't a right or wrong on it. They got to make a living. That's just the thing, when I see somebody who is able to make a living and keep who they are, that's really worth the title "celebrity." That's really when we can celebrate somebody, that's when I think it's worth it. Because if you see someone out there like Gaga, like Stephanie, or Ally, whose made it and the success is there the fame is almost like the symptom of the success because they're just driving, they're driven, they want to do the best they can at what they do and that is worth celebrating to me.
Me: You and I have something in common and that's both our dads were famous musicians. My dad was Lonesome Dave from Foghat and yours as we know is Willie Nelson. I am not in the music business really, but you are. Did your dad ever give you any advice or talk to you about the business?
Lukas: Well, yeah, sort of. Dad and I talk about a lot of things. We get philosophical, we see things eye to eye. He taught our family. Our family, my mother and father are good people and they raised us with conscience and I think about them when I'm making decisions in life all the time. I don't think it matters though I was a musician but it's all about staying true to who I am really in life. Resisting temptation, the temptation to lose ones self for gain. Like the Beatles said, "Gain the world and lose your soul." "We were talking, about the space between us all and the people, who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion never glimpse the truth, then it's far too late when they pass away..." What's that song?
Me: That's "Within You Without You." Are you a Beatles fan, Lukas? Paul is gonna be on the Phile next Thursday!
Lukas: That's very cool. "Within You Without You," one of the more beautiful lyrically songs. I love George Harrison to because George was one of those guys. The Beatles, Paul McCartney, down to earth people. Yeah, sure they were around a lot of famous people and there's a scene that surrounds people who are elevated like that in different ways. They're about goodness, they're about bringing goodness to the world, love to the world and standing for something, and they have something to say. Like Jackson says in the movie, "If you don't have something to say you're not going to have legs."
Me: So, what do you think young artists who are starting out is going to take away from A Star is Born?
Lukas: I hope it inspires young people and old people, it doesn't matter how old they are. I hope it inspires them to want to slow down and do something for themselves and then have something to say. I think the rat race gets us all caught up in what we feel like we have to do in order to make ends meet. And yes, most of us have to spend all of our time making ends meet. Even so, even the hardest of working of us in countries where people have nothing they have art and they have music and they bring that into their lives and it enriches their lives despite the haves and have nots in life. And I think no matter what they do in life, if they sort if find music I think they'll do better, think better, be better.
Me: So cool. Lukas, thanks for being on the Phile. Come back again soon and tell your dad he needs to be on the Phile.
Lukas: Absolutely. It was a pleasure.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Lukas for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Tuesday with author and TV legend David Attenborough. Then like I said next Thursday it's the one and only Paul McCartney! Holy shit. Crazy, right? 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