Monday, November 12, 2018

Pheaturing Mavis Staples

Hello, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. Happy Veteran's Day to all who could never be replaced by a drone. Last week in politics saw the Democrats winning the House (House party, anyone?), Trump firing his Attorney General and placing a hot tub salesman in charge of the Mueller investigation, and another mass shooting that killed twelve people. If you were thinking, "Hey, the one thing this week is missing is a report that President Trump was heavily involved in the criminal conspiracy covering up his affairs with porn stars," then do I have the report for you! The Wall Street Journal just broke the news that Trump directed the payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, the campaign finance violation Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to in federal court. WSJ reports that in 2015, Trump met with his friend David Pecker... owner of The National Enquirer... and arranged for Pecker to buy women's silence by purchasing the "exclusive rights" to their stories. The Journal says that that meeting is just one of many instances in which the president was directly involved in suppressing news that wouldn't jive with his new evangelical alliance. This is yet another controversial Trump Tower meeting that Trump and is team have lied about. They also raise the possibility that the president of the United States violated federal campaign-finance laws.Oh, and LORDY, there are tapes! "Mr. Cohen, who complained to associates about Mr. Trump’s frugality, was also worried his boss would balk at reimbursing Mr. Pecker. He secretly recorded Mr. Trump discussing the deal," the Journal writes. The key fact here is that Trump allegedly told Pecker and Cohen to "get it done," and keep Stormy and McDougal quiet, and doing it for the purpose of helping his campaign. Pecker is said to have "researched campaign-finance laws before entering into the McDougal deal," which sure seems like some sort of consciousness of guilt. While we're mostly desensitized to Trump controversies at this point, this is a big fucking deal. Republicans will do absolutely nothing about federal prosecutors having proof of possible crimes committed by the president, but the new Democratic House (!!!) starting in January might. The Wall Street Journal has the nitty-gritty on how the Devil's Triangle of Trump, Pecker, and Cohen issued the payments. Read the whole thing at but finish reading this entry of the Phile first.
Last weekend on "Weekend Update," Ariana Grande's ex Pete Davidson riled up a lot of people when he made a joke about wounded Navy SEAL vet and Texas Republican Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw. Crenshaw wears an eyepatch, received from an injury during his third combat tour in Iraq, and Davidson joked that it makes him look like a "hitman in a porno movie." The joke was, IMHO, not that cruel besides taking the low blow of making fun of someone's appearance. But yeah, maybe mocking a wounded veteran the weekend before Veteran's Day wasn't a great move, especially considering how despicably we treat our veterans in this country. Both liberals and conservatives got in their feelings about it (as Davidson joked, the left and the right finally agreed on something, "that I'm a dick"). And Sean Hannity even told "Saturday Night Live" to "go to hell!" You'd think the man who's taken actual bullets could take a relatively tame "SNL" joke about his appearance, and it turns out, he can!!! Because Crenshaw himself appeared on "Saturday Night Live" last night to accept a very sincere apology from Pete Davidson and then throw back a few zingers of his own, in a segment I'm calling "lol aren't Republicans funny when they're not propping up a racist, sexist, corrupt and extremely dangerous political regime?!?!" Okay, fine, this Dan guy seems pretty cool and he made some good points. And if there's ever a time to put aside our political differences it's while showing respect and gratitude to people who have risked their lives to serve our country. Then tomorrow, we can all resume wildly hating each other.
World leaders have gathered in France this weekend to attend events in honor of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. However, a bit of rain put a damper on Donald Trump's willingness to participate, as he canceled a visit on Saturday to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France, where fallen American soldiers were being commemorated. Trump claimed that his cancellation was due to so called “scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather." By this we can only assume that he means "logistically" he cannot leave his hotel room if it is raining because he does not want to. I'm tempted to make a joke about Trump being afraid of melting in the rain, but I honestly don't think he is impressive or cool enough to be compared to a witch. People were quick to criticize the president, and many took to Twitter to share photos of Barack Obama in the rain. Claims of Trump's helicopter not being able to operate in the rain were also refuted with photos of Obama boarding the helicopter in the rain. There's nothing quite as satisfying as a drag of Donald Trump that simultaneously praises Barack Obama. Once again, Obama reminds us what leadership looks like. Now, if only we had the behind the scenes footage of Trump furiously looking scrolling through his Twitter feed and screaming at the photos of Obama.
The midterms, besides being an opportunity to exercise your civic duty and vote, were an important reminder that social progress isn't linear. Once rights are attained through legislative reform and/or the transformation of social attitudes, they don't necessarily stay that way... but change remains possible. Someone who understands this phenomenon profoundly is Davis Hammet, an activist who first moved to Kansas in 2013. His Facebook post about LGBTQ rights in the midwestern state has gone viral, and for good reason. Davis lies parallel the state of gay rights in Kansas and his work as an activist, beginning in 2013 when he painted the rainbow-colored Equality House directly across from the Westboro Church... a notorious hate group hostile to queer people. The post resonated with thousands of people, including many current and former Kansans who appreciate his local activism. Arguably most heartwarming was an exchange between "Nancy" and Davis's actual mom. Keep fighting the good fight, Davis. And thank you for sharing the painstaking reality of effecting political change at the state level... it's not necessarily as fun as Instagramming marches and cursing Trump out on Twitter, but it's always worth the effort.
Thursday's mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California was the 307th mass shooting of the year. The violence has become so routine that there is a predictable cycle to fill the time before the next one. Thoughts, prayers, dry, rinse, repeat. It is because of the National Rifle Association's lucrative iron grip on Republican politicians that prevents them from bringing forth solutions that'll save lives but sell less guns. With legislators locked down, the NRA is now bravely standing up to another group of professionals that has the balls to say that many murder machines are bad: doctors. That's right, the American College of Physicians on Twitter wrote up a report on reducing firearm injuries and deaths, outlining policies that would cut into the NRA's profits. The NRA tweeted out a release with a corny stock photo of a dude in a lab coat supposedly representing "anti-gun doctors," telling these physicians to "stay in their lane." A day after this tweet was published, a gunman killed twelve people at a bar in California. Much like the teens, healthcare professionals are calling BS. Doctors are slamming the NRA for telling them to shut up about gun violence.

"Stay in their lane"? Bish, saving lives is their lane. Doctors all around the country called out the NRA's stupidity. Dr. Joseph Sakran, a trauma surgeon at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, asked the NRA, "Where are you when I'm having to tell all those families their loved one has died?" There's a difference between being "anti-gun" and "anti-bullet holes in human bodies." Doctors shared their devastating stories of encounters with gun violence victims. Dr. Mary Brandt shared studies showing that lax gun rules equals more gun deaths, and started a hashtag: #ItIsOurLane. Preventing death is their lane. The American Academy of Pediatrics called for more safety, which contrary to the NRA's belief, does not mean more guns. Among the many anti-gun control policies that the NRA pushed for was one that prevented federal money from being used to study gun violence, because they might not like the results. Perhaps a repeal of the Dickey Amendment is something that the incoming Democratic House (!!!) could actually get done.
Instead of writing this blog I should be listening to this album...

Ummm... maybe not. You know sometimes people got their asees saved by a total stranger. Not all humans are the worst. Like these commuters bonding over the daily grind...

I love dogs but sometimes they could be such assholes...

If they could talk they'd say, ""We thought the floor was too boring." If I had a TARDIS I would go back to see the Empire State Building in 1934, but would lose my mind if I saw these acrobats balance at the top...

I was gonna get another tattoo but someone had the same idea as I did...

Haha. You know what makes me laugh? Old people wearing inappropriate t-shirts...

I know, I know, that's not a t-shirt. I realize that now. So, are your kids in school as witty and clever as this kid is?

Hahahaha. They tell me I would see some weird sights at Walmart, I didn't believe it until I saw this...

That's me in about ten years. Haha. Do you like Fruit Stripe gum? Have you seen their new ad slogan?

I didn't know they still made that gum. Okay, so, one of the best things about the Internet is you can look at porn for free and so easy. The problem with that is you might go to a porn site without going to a blog such as this one. So, I had an idea... what if I showed a porn pic here on the Phile. But I don't want you to get in trouble at school or work so I came up with a solution.

You're welcome. Alright, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's stuff that happens here that happens no where else in the universe. So, once again here is the pheature called...

Maureen Pacheco, a 51-year-old woman in Palm Beach, Florida, went to the hospital to have back surgery to help the pain she experienced after a car accident. Not only did she leave the hospital with less pain, but she also had one less kidley. WFSB reports that one of Pacheco's surgeons, Dr. Ramon Vazquez, "mistook it for a cancerous tumor and removed it from her body without her consent, according to an administrative complaint from the Florida Department of Health." Pacheco adds that Dr. Vazquez wasn't even her doctor... he was just in the operating room to help out with the cutting. She recently settled a lawsuit against Dr. Vazquez and her own two doctors. I hope she got a gazillion dollars and at least one of their kidneys.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, in the past I had a few layers on the Phile who like to advertise and talk about their law firm here. So, here once again is...

Me: Hello, Bill, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Bill: I'm friggin' good, Jas, how are you?

Me: Not bad. So, any interesting cases lately?

Bill: Not really. I will tell you someone who used to drink in a local bar was getting divorced whilst he was building a new house, they had to get the place valued and then determine how much they would each get from the sale of it. Before the surveyor came round he plastered up the ceiling where the stairs were and said it was only a single story house with a big loft. Crazy, eh?

Me: Ummm... yeah. Is that it?

Bill: Yeah, that's it.

Me: Terrific. Bill Buggerz from the law firm Suetha, Buggerz & Wynn, everybody.

Bill: Have a good day, Jas.

The inventor of rolled toilet paper filed an original patent in 1891 that included illustrations of the paper hanging OVER the roll, not under it.

The Camp Fire that broke out early Thursday in Butte County has devastated the area. At least nine people have died and over 6,000 structures have burned down, making it the most destructive wildfire in California's history. Doing their best to mitigate the damage, California asked President Trump and FEMA for assistance, requesting they issue an emergency declaration that would clear the way for federal aid. Trump responded characteristically with a tweet that was equal parts callous and ill-informed...

That was it. No declaration of sympathy for the victims, their families, or anyone whose home or business was destroyed in the blaze. Trump responded to a massive environmental disaster by basically saying: good luck, and don't fuck it up. If you can believe it, people are... perturbed by our President's comments. Yes, let's go with perturbed. I keep running out of adjectives to describe the kinds of epic douche chills this guy's statements induce. I shudder to think of the next flood, hurricane, or tornado that will impact some region of the country... not just because of the potential damage and lives lost, but because Trump's comments will undoubtedly compound the pain. He's a living, breathing example of the maxim "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." The White House should hire an intern whose sole job is to prevent Trump from tweeting in the forty-eight hours following a tragedy. You know what? I volunteer.

There's this guy that loves the 90s so much he still acts and lives the 90s. He wanted to come back on to the Phile and say something. So, once again here is...

Me: Hey, Ed, what do you have to say today?

Ed: Hey, man, how are you?

Me: I'm good. So, what's up?

Ed: Do you get spammed a lot, dude?

Me: Yeah, by email and on my cell phone.

Ed: Well, spam calls in 1998 is like, "Hey, my name is Daniel, would you like to buy a subscription to Readers Digest?"

Me: Ummm... okay.

Ed: Well, you probably get calls like this... "The IRS and the FBI have issued a joint warrant for your arrest. You are being sought in connection to many crimes."

Me: Kinda.

Ed: Sorry, man. I gotta run. Chat soon.

Me: Ed Enistink, the guy who lives in the 90s, kids. Now for some...

Phact 1. Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor, was left stranded on a deserted island, but survived for over four years, partly by using feral cats to protect him from ravenous rats that attacked during the night.

Phact 2. Janusz Korczak was a man who accompanied 192 orphans to a concentration camp, refusing to save himself, while cheering and entertaining the children. He boarded the trains with them and was never heard from again.

Phact 3. 350 million years ago, there existed a twenty foot tall mushroom in Saudi Arabia. It was likely the largest living thing on dry land at that time.

Phact 4. The song “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison was originally titled “Brown-Skinned Girl," but was changed to “make it more palatable for radio stations.”

Phact 5. Some deaf people with Tourette syndrome involuntarily swear in sign language.

Today's pheatured guest is an American rhythm and blues and gospel singer, actress, and civil rights activist. She also is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. Her latest album "If All I Was Was Black" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Mavis Staples.

Me: Hello, Mavis, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Mavis: Hello, Jason, how are you? It's my pleasure. I'm all right, I have been around for a long, long time.

Me: I'm good. I heard that you say something like you are going to bring joy and inspiration before your shows, am I right?

Mavis: Well, that's exactly what we are about. I want them to leave happy, I want them to leave rejoicing, and we want to give positive vibrations. We want them to leave on a high, just up. It's just trying times right now for a lot of us. We just want to bring some joy into their hearts and keep them moving, give them reason to get up in the morning.

Me: Do you think the times now are really hard?

Mavis: Yes, it really is. I just try to carry on, especially for the fans that come out to see us. I want them to have a good year. Stay positive. Don't let nothing get you down, don't let nothing turn you around. Just keep moving, just keep moving upwards, keep pressing on.

Me: I love the new song "No Time For Crying" from your latest album "If All I Was Was Black." In that song you sing "we've got work to do." What kinda work?

Mavis: Actually, the work I've been doing all my life. I can't stop. I can't take a break. Because I've got work to do, I've go to continue with my journey. All my life, 68 years now, with my family. We started with Doctor King. It's all back. This is the 21st Century, and this is stronger than ever, the bigotry. I can hardly stand the word, I hate to say it. There's a reason. I know why but I don't want to talk about certain reasons. The people know. Well, we have in the U.S., we have a person in the White House who is the leader of all this. He has followers so it blossomed up again. Everything was getting better. It was really getting better, I was happy. Then I starting watching the news, and I feel like I'm living in the 60s again. I'm seeing it all over again.

Me: The Staple Singers used to open up for Doctor King, and you feel that this is all similar to you? 

Mavis: It is. For awhile it felt like it was going away but we've got things that are happening in the states that is just happening all over again. We had one city in Charleston, we had guys just marching through the city. We know they're the Klan. But they're so bold now, they didn't have sheets over their faces. They're just showing their faces. What is so hurting about it these are young guys. They look like college students. That hurt me so bad. I still talk to Doctor King, I still talk to Pops and let them know what's going on and what I'm still trying to do. I'm still on the case, on the job. I won't quit.

Me: Jeff Tweedy from Wilco produced the album. What was it like working with him?

Mavis: God bless Jeff Tweedy who produced the record. I'm grateful to him for bringing these strong lyrics. We've got work to do.

Me: I have to say I love the Staple Singers song "Freedom Highway." It's good, right?

Mavis: Yes. "I won't turn around, my mind is made up." You know what, Jason, I keep that song on our list. I keep the freedom songs in the mix. Because they're super relevant. They're still relevant. Why am I treated so bad? "Why? (Am I Treated So Bad)" was Doctor King's favorite. We'll be going to the meetings in the evenings and down in the parking lot he'd tell Pops, "Now, Stape, you're gonna sing my song tonight, right?" Pops said, "Oh, yeah, Doctor, we're gonna sing your song 'Why? (Am I Treated So Bad).'" That song was written for nine black children who were trying to integrate into high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, And I'll tell you over the years I met some of them, just recently. We would sing before Doctor King would speak. "March of Freedom Highway," that was the very first song that we wrote for the movement. It's amazing how a song is still so strong.

Me: Is it frustrating that a song like "Freedom Highway" is so relevant?

Mavis: It's frustrating but peoples got to hear it. It makes me feel good that we have a song like that that for that time and still time. That's what's so killing. This was '68, and it's been over fifty years. We're still marching up freedom highway. We're still trying to bring us together. At one time Pops would tell the songwriters, "If you want to write for the Staple Singers read the headlines. We want to sing about what's happening in the world today. If there's something wrong we want to sing a song and try to fix it." So that's my life, being informative and bringing positive messages and try to bring us together.

Me: Are you still able to wake up and be hopeful?

Mavis: Well, yes, I am. I never give up. I won't give up. I won't give in. You see that's what certain people want us to do. But I'm still here. I started out with Pops and Doctor King and all of my friends who have gone on. I am still here. I still have my voice. God has kept me. I'm pretty much up in age. But I feel myself getting stronger every day. Any time I go on stage I've got something to tell. I'm going to tell it with robust. I just can't be grateful enough to people like you. You keep us going to. You let your readers hear me. I appreciate you.

Me: Thank you. No one has ever really said that. That kinda makes what I'm doing on this stupid little blog worth while. Doctor King inspired you back in the 60s, who's inspiring you now in 2018? 

Mavis: Oh, man. It's hard. We've got this little guy, Chance the Rapper, he's from Chicago. South side.

Me: I read that you were going to get him on the new record, is that true?

Mavis: I tried. I tried to get Michelle Obama. You know that one song that's her. "When they go high we go low," that's where that title comes from. She gave that speech and I wanted her to do a spoken word thing. But she and Obama are still hiding out. I don't blame them. They've done a lot. And the little guy, Chance the Rapper, he's just so hot and so busy we couldn't get him. He's a positive force. 

Me: So, what do you think of all the marches that take place?

Mavis: We need these youngsters, this new generation. You see these kids marching, they're bringing these marches together for the guns. I feel so good seeing these young people.

Me: A few years ago you recorded a song with Prince called "Blood Is Thicker Than Time." What was your favorite moment working with Prince?

Mavis: Oh, man. Prince. A favorite moment. Every moment working with Prince was my favorite. He would tickle me a lot. A favorite was he was doing a special on TV. He asked, "Mavis, do you think your father would sing on your record?" I said, "Oh, yeah, Pops will sing on the record." It turned out Pops sang and played on the record. When he did the special this particular song was one Pops sang on so he had to be there. We were rehearsing and Pops is sitting on a stool picking on his guitar. Prince comes by and asked Pops, "You gonna sing tonight, junior?" Pops said, "What you call me?!" By this point when he said "you gonna sing tonight, junior?" he broke off and ran. Pops yelled, "What did you call me?!" He came back and said, "Junior." And he ran again. Pops said, "You better not let me catch you!" That was funny. Pops said to me, "That little guy called me junior."

Me: Hahahahahaha. So, Pops didn't like to be called junior?

Mavis: No, no. Pops was old enough to be his grandpa twice and he called him junior. He was comical like that. He'd keep you laughing.

Me: He worked with your sister Yvonne as well, right?

Mavis: Yeah. He told me one time my sister Yvonne, my sister who just passed, was always with me. Mostly Prince would talk to her instead of me. For a long time he wouldn't talk to me. He'd just talk to Yvonne. Yvonne and me would do "Melody Cool," and Yvonne had seen this wine cellar that he had in the basement and she wanted some wine. He said, "Alan, get in here. Get in here. Get some glasses and some wine. Yvonne wants some wine." When he brought him some wine he poured him a glass, poured Yvonne a glass, poured him a glass and said, "You can't have any, Mavis. You're about to sing." If it hadn't been about it I would have given him a little bit of trouble. But the song was fast so I really didn't need that wine.

Me: I interviewed Robbie Robertson last October from the Band and totally forgot to ask him about the song "The Weight." I didn't realize the Staple Sisters performed that song with the Band. That song is amazing! What was it like working with them?

Mavis: Man, I've got a good story about Levon Helm. Levon and Pops were partners. And so they would do things away from the rest of us. They'd do little shows of their own. At one point we had little break doing "The Weight" and Levon seemed like he wanted his drums. Pops said to Levon, "Levon, are you smoking two cigarettes at once?" He was smoking two cigarettes at a time. Levon was the only one who ever called Pops by his first name.

Me: What was his first name?

Mavis: Roebuck. Levon said, "Oh, Roebuck, oh, Roebuck, you've got to just try one." He had two different kinds. Pops said, "Man, I don't want that mess." Levon said, "Oh, Roebuck, you're missing out." It was funny. Levon and Pops were comical together. And Amy, his little daughter, I adopted Amy when she was a little baby. We go to Levon in the garage and so we wanted to rehearse a song and Levon didn't want to go into the studio where his drums were. So, Amy, his little baby, they called him the Mayor. Levon got on this babies drums, the tiny drum kit. It was something to see. He said, "I'm christening them for her, Mavis, I'm christening them." That was some funny times. That other little guy, Rick Danko, he was the funny one. He would just keep you laughing. He's just do crazy stuff. He'd jump around, get in my face, make faces. All those guys were just really sweethearts.

Me: Cool. So, do you still get a thrill from playing live?

Mavis: Yes, indeed. Do you play an instrument, Jason?

Me: Yeah, I play kazoo. Ha.

Mavis: A kazoo? Alright, I'll keep that in mind if I ever need a kazoo player.

Me: Cool. Mavis, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon. Take care.

Mavis: I had fun. Thank you, Jason.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Mavis Staples. The Phile will be back on Thursday with musician Jake Bugg. 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

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Pheaturing Gary Brooker From Procol Harum

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? Me? I'm too tired to be tired. It's the second day after the midterm elections and a LOT has happened. In bad news, the GOP still has control of the Senate, the lovely Beto O'Rourke lose to Ted Cruz (aka the Zodiac Killer), and power house Andrew Gillum conceded to Ron DeSantis in the Florida gubernatorial race (at only a 1% margin). Also, somehow a dead brothel owner won a Nevada state assembly seat (oh, 2018). However, there's a lot of good news as well! Democrats have now taken control of the House 221 seats (vs. 198 Republican seats), and there have been a lot of historic firsts. Michigan's Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota's Ilhan Omar won seats as the first Muslim women in Congress. New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez broke a record as the youngest woman in Congress. New Mexico's Deb Haaland and Kansas' Sharice Davids both made history as the first Native American women elected to Congress. Ayanna Pressley won as Massachusetts' first black congresswoman. In Colorado, Jared Polis became the first openly gay Governor in the U.S.! Lou Leon Guerrero became the first woman governor of Guam (and flipped from red to blue). Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia made history as Texas's first two Latina congresswomen, and that's just the tip of the iceberg! As you can imagine, and you likely experienced yourself... the results of the 2018 midterm elections brought on a LOT of emotions. There was disappointment, cynicism, bursts of hope, absurdism... pretty much any reaction you can muster.
So, mere hours after the polls closed in the 2018 election, President Donald Trump forced his Attorney General to resign, which is a fancy way of saying "fired him." Pundits, lawyers, and people who read the Wikipedia page for "Watergate" are launching the country into a constitutional crisis and giving the newly elected Democratic House majority something to look at when they take over the judiciary committee. In sending Jeff Sessions back to the North Pole, Trump installed an acting AG who has called special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into the Trump campaign a "witch hunt," just as any innocent person would. If that's not scary enough, the new acting AG also stans the Dave Matthews band.

This is an existential threat to Mueller, and probably because he is an existential Trump. At least it's the season where Sessions will be able to find plenty of work as an Elf on the Shelf.
In what is already three national crises ago, but still a big fucking deal, White House press secretary revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press pass as a distraction from the fact that Trump fired his Attorney General as a distraction from the fact that his party got wiped out in the House. At a bonkers press conference that sounded like he was free-associating on Sigmund Freud's couch, Donald Trump freaked out at Acosta, calling him a "rude, terrible person" and dispatching a White House intern to yank his microphone away. A few hours later, Acosta announced on Twitter that he was denied access to the White House and his "hard pass" had been revoked. To justify the flagrantly authoritarian move, Sanders tweeted out a video that was LITERALLY EDITED BY INFOWARS, sped up to make Acosta seem violent. Yes, the White House is co-opting the national movement condemning violence against women in order to ban a journalist, and it would be more believable had the president not bragged about grabbing women by the pussy and put an attempted rapist on the Supreme Court. Fellow journalist are sticking up for Acosta, analyzing the video shot by shot like it's the Zapruder film. Alarm bells are going off, and people who have read George Orwell are calling it straight-up Orwellian. That's a pretty nice First Amendment you got there. It would be a shame if something happened to it.
Another Halloween just passed... and with it, another round of regrettable costumes. Sure, it's embarrassing to have a "wardrobe malfunction" where your costume falls apart, or when no one understands the pun it represents. But unquestionably worse is a costume that's insensitive or racist in nature. Every year I go over this... and every year, people don't listen! The latest faux pas comes from a group of teachers in Idaho who dressed as Mexicans and the border wall. Yes, you read that correctly: they dressed as Mexicans and the border wall. Here's photo evidence...

People were downright pissed, as you might expect. Who thought those costumes, or that post, were appropriate at all? The mind: it is boggled. I think we're good on "ethnic" costumes until hmmm forever. They're not funny or imaginative. You could dress as ANYTHING and you choose to belittle someone's culture? Miss me with that.
I would imagine that being the mother of a crying baby is hard anywhere, at any time. But there are few spots where your crying baby feels like more of a spectacle than on an airplane. There you are, enclosed in this metal tube flying through the air with a few hundred exhausted people trying to fall asleep to The Illusionist, and your baby is screaming louder than the airplane engine itself. This scenario truly sounds like hell, which makes the story I'm about to tell you even more notable. When a mom found her hands full of crying baby aboard a recent Philippine Airlines Express plane, the 24-year-old flight attendant Patrisha Organo swooped in and saved the day in the most unexpected way. Basically, upon hearing the distressed baby, Organo went to check on the mother... and soon discovered the exhausted mother was out of formula. Rather than leave her to handle the baby alone, Organo took her help a step further and brainstormed a solution. Since there was no formula milk on board the flight, Organo asked her superior, Sheryl Villaflor, if it would be okay for her to breastfeed the mother's baby. With the permission of both her boss and the mother, Villaflor was able to breastfeed the baby into a peaceful slumber, effectively saving the nerves of the mother and a whole flight of people. She shared the story on Facebook, where it quickly went viral. This is truly the ultimate example of going above and beyond for your passengers' experience.
Recently I stayed in a hotel and was sure glad the hotel was like this with scrambled elevator buttons.

Why?! You know, there are times people got their asses saved by a total stranger. Not all humans are the worst. Like this chef who gave his favorite customer the ultimate dream: a sushi self portrait.

If I had a TARDIS I would go to West Berlin in 1961 and help residents show their children to their grandparents who reside on the Eastern side.

So, I was thinking of getting another tattoo but someone else had the same idea as I did...

Hahaha. Do you know what makes me laugh? Old people wearing inappropriate t-shirts such as this woman...

I love dogs but some dogs sure can be assholes...

If he could talk he'd say, ""Ummm I need this mat."
In a world that constantly feels like it's in the throes of hell, is there anything more comforting than lounging in your pajamas and binging episodes of "The Great British Bake Off"?! I haven't seen the show yet but after seeing this still I kinda wanna...

Did you watch CNN on election night? I was surprised when I saw what the Democratic agenda was...

Hahahahaha. Okay, so, one of the best things about the Internet is you can see porn and so easily. The problem though is you might decide to go look at porn instead of reading this Phile. So I thought what if I showed a porn pic here... But I don't want you to get in trouble so I came to a solution.

You're welcome, ladies. Hey, it's Thursday... you know what that means.

Damn it! I hate eye pics like that. Okay, wanna play a new game? It's...

"Game's over, losers! I have all the money!" So, who said it? Trump or Bender? Okay, it's Thursday and time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

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

Jeff: It's always good to be back on the Phile. How's it going, Jason?

Me: Pretty good. Before we talk football I know you're a big Queen fan... did you see Bohemian Rhapsody? What did you think? I have not seen it yet.

Jeff: Of course I saw it! I saw it first chance I got. And I absolutely loved it. The performances of everyone in the band were spot, especially the guy playing Brian May. Is it 100 % accurate? Nope, but most biopics alter timelines to add some drama. I would highly recommend it!

Me: So, I thought this was funny... Bills fans started a GoFundMe to buyout remainder of Nathan Peterman’s contract so he’ll retire. That's real... look...

Me: How do you think he'll feel? How would you feel if you were Peterman?

Jeff: That is kind of sad. But to be fair, I don't blame him. Peterman has not exactly been a good QB. And Buffalo has been suffering for a while. If I was Nathan Peterman, that would motivate me. But more than anything that would annoy the crap out of me. I'd be angry!

Me: Did you see or hear Jets fans and Dolphins fans don’t like it each other. As both teams struggled to put up any points on the field, Jets and Dolphins fans brawled it out in the stands, resulting in multiple fan ejections. Look...

Jeff: Judging by the actual results of the game, it looks like there was more action in the stands then there was on the field and that's just sad.

Me: Have you ever seen a fight at a game?

Jeff: No, in all the sporting events I've been to I have never seen a fight in the stands. And that's impressive because I've been to all four sports in Philadelphia.

Me: Hahahaha. Crazy people. I didn't see any fights at the Falcons/Giants game at all a few weeks ago. What NFL news do you have?

Jeff: It's been a slow news week. The Saints ended the Rams undefeated season. They were the last team to lose. And if the Saints aren't a scary enough team right now they might be bringing in former Cowboys WR Dez Bryant. And it's looking like the Steelers might finally be getting Leveon Bell back. Not that they missed him as he whined about being a millionaire and not getting more money. I hope they sit him on the bench all game.

Me: Okay, so Britain has taken over another team...

Me: What do you think?

Jeff: Oh, that's not a bad logo. I like that one!

Me: Okay, so, you were catching up to me... how did we do last week? Are you ahead?

Jeff: In the immortal words of LL Cool J, don't call it a comeback! Yes I have taken back the lead. I went 2-0 with a Steeler win when you went 1-1 with the Giants on bye week. I'm in the lead now by 2 points. Again, I'm only winning cause of the Steelers record. You have the better prediction record though.

Me: Damn Steelers. Let's do this week's picks... I say Eagles by 5 and Packers by 4. What do you say?

Jeff: My picks for the week are Saints by 7 and Falcons by 3.

Me: Okay, my friend, I will see you next Thursday.

Jeff: Have a good week!

Hmmm... if you spot the Mindphuck let me know. I have to say it's a pretty tricky one. Alright, so, do you ever lie? There's this guy that told a little lie and it ended up consuming his life. No, not Trump. Anyway, this guy reached out to me and wanted to come on the Phile and come clean. I thought why not. So, please welcome to the Phile for the first time...

Me: Hey, Chip, welcome to the Phile. So, what do you want to tell us?

Chip: Hi, Jason. I want to say that I could play the piano.

Me: Really?

Chip: Well, I never thought it would come up and I was safe with my lie. If it did come up, more often than I thought it would.

Me: So, what did you do?

Chip: I had to make up an excuse to not play, and people started to think I was lying about how to play. Eventually I took some lesson so that if it came up again I could actually play something and not look like I'm completely full of shit.

Me: How did that work out for you?

Chip: It paid off, and after I moved from that area I never told anyone I could play piano again.

Me: Good for you, Chip. Thanks for telling us. Chip Cooin, kids, the world's worse liar.

You don't have to be British to laugh at this meme, but it will bloody well help.

Hahahahahahahahaha. Hey, do you know what's the best?

Here's proof that you can't escape passing wind, even after you're dead! Up to three hours after the body dies, gasses continue to escape from both ends of the digestive tract, resulting in burping or farting noises. This phenomenon is due to muscles contracting and expanding before rigor mortis sets in.

The man who created the Pringles can, Fredric Baur, was so proud of his invention that he had some of his ashes buried in one when he died in 2008.

The midterm elections ain't over yet! The Georgia governor election between Oprah's friend Stacey Abrams and shameless voter suppressor Brian Kemp could be headed for a runoff. Florida Senator Bill Nelson is calling for a recount against Voldemort. Senate races in Arizona and Montana remain too close to call. While Texas voters rejected Sexiest Man Alive Beto O'Rourke in favor of the Republican whose face looks like an armpit, and racist Ron DeSantis squeaked out a tight win against heartthrob Andrew Gillum, the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, and that's a big fucking deal. While Republicans padded their Senate majority and Trumpian rhetoric had a good night statewide, that doesn't change the fact that Democrats now have subpoena power, and that the majority of Americans wanted an end to the one-party rule. President Trump, however, is celebrating the results as a total win, and people are wondering if he's simply projecting confidence or doesn't realize what is actually going on. Is being rejected by Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin a "tremendous success"? "Tremendous success" for whom? Does he know what the House of Representatives does? Is Trump lying, or does he not understand that he's in trouble? Both possibilities are equally likely.

The pilot was sitting in his seat and pulled out a .38 revolver. He placed it on top of the instrument panel, and then asked the navigator, "Do you know what I use this for?" The navigator replied timidly, "No, what's it for?" The pilot responded, "I use this on navigators who get me lost!" The navigator proceeded to pull out a .45 and place it on his chart table. The pilot asked, "What's that for?" "To be honest sir," the navigator replied, "I'll know we're lost before you will."

Today's pheatured guest is an English singer, songwriter, pianist and founder and lead singer of the rock band Procol Harum whose latest release "Still There'll Be More: An Anthology 1967-2017" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Gary Brooker.

Me: Hello, Gary, welcome to the Phile, sir. How are you?

Gary: I'm good, Jason, how are you?

Me: I'm okay. Man, Procol Harum is older than I am. Haha. You guys just released a box set with eight discs. Is that your biggest release ever?

Gary: Yes, I think that's the best package that's ever been really. People have put out the "best ofs" and put out things like that, but this is a very comprehensive line up of CDs of recorded things from '67 up to 2017. There's DVDs in the package as well, which are quite interesting. There's a wonderful book in it.

Me: I was gonna pheature the book in the Phile's Book Club but didn't know who wrote it, sir. Did you write the book?

Gary: No. My wife is a good archivist for me. She found a lot of photographs, posters and newspaper articles and things which ended up being scattered around things. I think Patrick Humphries wrote some of the book and Roland Clare has written some of the comprehensive look at the different tracks that are on there. These are people that know their protocol.

Me: A lot of the discs are live shows and broadcast material which is cool. Did you have a lot of this stuff already?

Gary: Yes, I had some of it already around just waiting for the right day and the right company that wanted to have it all. They were interested in what I had. Finding all the posters, finding all the photographs and finding also what tapes were knocking about was all part of doing it. The presentation in the end was marvelous.

Me: Did you have to do a lot of restoration of the music?

Gary: Well, I left that to the experts. It is what we call remastering, another word I had found a quarter of each tape at home and had to treat those very carefully in case they fall apart. I just had the check that the actual sound of them could be made just slightly good overall. Nothing was remixed from the overall tracks or anything like that.

Me: Did you put everything you have on this release or is there other stuff you didn't release that could be on other releases?

Gary: Well, I think they probably could do another entire set one day, but we'll have to see. They had to choose, they had to stop somewhere. You can't have everything in the package, you can't have it endless. We couldn't have 25 CDs in it or 15 DVDs either. There's a bit more around.

Me: Cool. Okay, I have to mention "Whiter Shade of Pale," which was one of my dads favorite songs and one of mine. Before that you were in a band called the Paramounts with Robin Trower who also went with you to Procol Harum, am I right?

Gary: Yes.

Me: How long have you been playing music, Gary?

Gary: I think we've been playing since we were in school. We turned professional about '63, and the Paramounts went on to about 1966. It seemed a very, very long time. Of course at the end of the day if we started when we were about thirteen wasn't all that long.

Me: How did the original line-up of Procol Harum come about other than you and Robin?

Gary: Well, what do you call the original line-up? 

Me: The group that recorded your first album.

Gary: Okay, well, B.J. Wilson was also a part of Paramounts. What happened was when Procol Harum was first ready to make a record we thought, myself, Dave Knights was on the bass, Matthew Fisher was on the organ and we had another guitarist and drummer. In fact, when we went to the studios and started making our first album the producer thought in fact they weren't quite cutting it once we got into the very demanding situation in the studio making an album so he thought we cannot carry on with these two and we had to replace them. I couldn't think of anybody else, the only people I could think of was B.J. Wilson on the drums and Robin Trower on the guitar. Perhaps because I knew them and they were old mates. I can't remember if anybody else came along and tried out but when B.J. came up and played with Procol and the producer was there he said, "These guys are great. Okay." That's what made our first record and went on.

Me: "Whiter Shade of Pale" went to straight to number one. You started from the top really, so, what did you think after that?

Gary: We definitely started off at the top, and we thought we have to move up from there. It was internationally known as well, we weren't just popular in the U.K. or even America, it was internationally known so it was a massive smash.

Me: Why do you think it became such a hit, Gary?

Gary: Part of it was it was very different I think it also came with a certain time with the atmosphere.

Me: Looking at your catalogue preparing for this interview I see you wrote a lot of songs about the sea... you must love the sea, am I right?

Gary: Some of it is in the lyrics of course, Keith Reid's lyrics. I was never a sailor but I'd grown up by the sea, and liked to stare out at the ocean. It was always just quite calming, it gives me a lot of movement. If suddenly something is set on a ship be it tales or pirates or whatever, then you got drama. It could be calming or it could be violent and dramatic. It's all involved there in things that could happen on the sea. If that sounds a bit vague then I'm sorry.

Me: You have done a lot of music with orchestra's and had orchestra's on your albums. Did you have formal training for arranging and stuff like that or is that something you just picked up?

Gary: I picked it up so I was self taught.

Me: That's really cool, Gary. You're a musical genius, right?

Gary: Well, I had to learn it of course. I had a friend who played on "A Salty Dog" who was a viola player and advised me. I did have to learn where an instrument sounded. They make different sounds in different registers, that's the trouble. I had to know that to make the richness of the sound to make them sound high and squeak. I had to take all that in, and of course right when I got to a bigger orchestra with french horns, trumpets and trombones, and wood wind instruments there's a whole lot more to learn.

Me: Procol Harum was the first band to tour with an orchestra. Did they travel on the road with you or did you use any pick-up musicians?

Gary: No, we've never done that. We've played with many orchestras over the decades, or over the fifty years. I say we have never done it, but we have toured Denmark with the Danish Radio Orchestra and a big choir. I think Denmark's not a very big country and I thought many nights they drove back to Copenhagen.

Me: Over the years back then Procol Harum went through a lot of personnel changes. was it hard to get the new members to learn the song or keep the band tooled?

Gary: No, I've always been there, up to 1977 B.J. Wilson was always there. we had a change after "A Salty Dog" where Fisher went, because he never liked playing anyway, didn't like touring. He went and we then went and changed the bass player at that time as well. We got Chris Copping in who actually was in the Paramounts actually. He played both bass and organ. Then we had a change, Dave Ball came in, and of course Robin Trower left after "Broken Barricades," Dave Ball came in then Mick Graham came in. I think we had tree guitarists in that first decade. I supposed we had three different guitars and three different organists at that point. Everybody else seemed to stay and be more or less the same.

Me: How long has your current line-up been around?

Gary: Well, the most recent arrival is probably Geoff Dunn on the drums but he's been with us over a decade.

Me: Reading your bio I was surprised to see you played in Eric Clapton's band. How did that come about?

Gary: Well, he was a near neighbour of mine in England. I had played with him, or he had been playing with me, in doing blues in pubs. That was our association in that point. We got on very well, I knew all the tunes he knew and he knew all the tunes that I knew. Whenever one of us started up we knew what was going to be played and we played with gusto and with enjoyment. One day he said, "Would you like to come play in my band?" I said, "Yeah, that'll be nice." I wasn't doing much, so that's what I did, I went and played in Eric's band. I was with him from about 1980 to about '83, something like that.

Me: Your voice still sounds great, sir. Is there a reason for that?

Gary: Well, I smoke the right tobacco, drink the right alcohol. I am quite careful, I can't especially these days burn the candle at both ends and be able to sing five nights in a row, singing for two hours or more. I have to bare in mind that of I abuse myself then I'm going to pay. I have to sing every night, all I need is something to go wrong, like get a cold, or something like that it can all go wrong. So I'm just very careful.

Me: The title of the box set is "Still There'll Be More." Will there be more?

Gary: Well, at this moment there is. This is a massive anthology from over fifty years. It's a great time to have it out because we just celebrated fifty years of Procol Harum. It's the best time to have it out. It's a very well put together package so yes, there will be more, I could assure you of that. Some of the last tracks on this package are from 2017, studio tracks I believe. So, we're still there. Our intent is yes, there will be more, but I don't think we want to leave it too long, before something new. We like to get into the studio again in the very near future and put down some new songs. Just keep that going.

Me: You have also been married for fifty years, which is amazing and rare in the rock world. My parents were married the whole time 'til they passed away. What is the secret, Gary?

Gary: Well, I think they have to be right, don't they? You have to pick the right woman and she has to pick the right man. They have to go together in some way. You have to ride through any upsets you may have, but we never had any great big upsets at all. There's never been other women, there's never been other men. Your wife has to be a supporter, especially in rock. I don't think if you're a wife, my wife is not certainly, I don't think you could be jealous. I'm away for weeks at the time and meeting lots of different people, women even. You have to trust somebody and if you are jealous and thought I wonder if he's been doing this or that your life would be a nightmare. My wife, bless her, has never been like that. Also we've together since before Procol Harum, in other words she never married because I was a famous musician.

Me: That's good. Gary, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon. I wish you continued success.

Gary: Thank you very much.

Whew! That was a long entry. That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Gary Brooker. The Phile will be back on Monday with the legendary Mavis Staples. 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