Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? You're working too hard. It's time to take a well-deserved break and check out this hilarious blog. Time flies when you're laughing. You'll be clocking out before you know it. Man, oh man. Michael Cohen just implicated the whole damn Trump family in the Russia scandal. It’s party time. Michael Cohen, the real life incarnation of Barry Zuckercorn from "Arrested Development," plead guilty to telling EVEN MORE lies on behalf of President Donald Trump... the shady character known in the guilty plea as Individual 1. After previously implicating the president in a conspiracy to shirk campaign finance laws to pay off a Playmate and a porn star, the latest lies Cohen plead guilty to are about Trump's true loves: real estate and Putin. The guilty plea explains that Cohen lied to Congressional committees about the Trump Organization's efforts during the presidential campaign to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. That's right: Individual 1 LIED. "Cohen falsely said efforts to build a Trump-branded tower in Moscow ended in January 2016, when in fact discussions continued through that year, the filing said. Among the people Cohen briefed on the status of the project was Trump himself, on more than three occasions, according to the document," The Washington Post recaps. Discussions weren't with any old Russians... they were with the damn Kremlin. Not only did Cohen brief Individual 1 on his discussions with Kremlin officials, they even discussed taking a trip. The news that Trump was angling to make a deal with Russians while running for president (and the Russians just so happened to be assisting his campaign) is at once shocking and boring. Hillary Clinton ('member her?) raised this possibility of Trump working on a real estate deal at the second presidential debate, and is probably feeling smug that she was right. Individual 1 is acting very calm, cool, and collected about this guilty plea, downplaying his relationship with Cohen and going full Cartman. Oh, and as journalists are noting, if Cohen is guilty of lying to Congress, that means Don Jr. is too. Oh, and this guilty plea also confirms that the Russian President has had blackmail material over the President of the United States this whole time... and not just the pee tape. Sing, Michael Cohen, SING!!! This news is setting off the Collusion-Meter. Consider a shoe dropped.
A mom from El Paso, Texas is accusing a Southwest Airlines Gate Agent of "name-shaming" her daughter at John Wayne Airport in Orange County. Traci Redford is the mother of 5-year-old Ab-city, which is spelt A.B.C.D.E, and hilarious to some people. She notes that Abcde has epilepsy, so they often board first. "The gate agent started laughing, pointing at me and my daughter, talking to other employees. So I turned around and said, 'Hey if I can hear you, my daughter can hear you, so I'd appreciate if you'd just stop,'" Redford told ABC 7. Redford adds, "While I was sitting there, she took a picture of my boarding pass and chose to post it on social media, mocking my daughter. It was actually brought to my attention by somebody who had seen it on Facebook and reported it to Southwest Airlines." The airline didn't do anything for two weeks, but ultimately disciplined the mocker and apologized. Southwest said in a statement that they reprimanded the agent. They also said that they do not condone such mockery. When it comes to the name Abcde, I hereby plead the Fifth.
Normally, television and news stations like to compile their best clips into an engaging sequence that will draw new viewers in and remind faithful viewers why they keep coming back. But this year's Fox Nation recap video is so cringe inducingly bad I had to check multiple times to make sure it wasn't satire. It truly has it all, there's a "Jeopardy" style moment where a contestant giggles over the word "Black" in Black Panther, there's a clip from cooking with Steve Doocey where he loudly jokes about drinking a full bottle of whiskey on the air, there's a moment where a woman literally scoffs at a man promoting his sport's book, and of course, there are several equally bizarre and awful clips of Tomi Lahren aka Toomey Layren. In case you didn't see or make it through the full clip out of self-love or some other remarkably healthy emotion, there is a clip of Tommy Looren eating an ice cream cone and thanking her viewers, there is a completely decontextualized clip of her practicing soccer tricks, and we have a very classic Barbie Hitler moment where she claims legal asylum seekers don't think tortillas are good enough. Here's a screen shot of her playing practicing soccer...
I wasn't the only one who had to pinch myself to believe this recap was real, there is a whole Twitter thread full of people cry-laughing about how accurately this sums 2018 up. I'm truly and sincerely sorry I did this to you, it will take a full therapy session just to get the images of Tomee playing with a soccer ball in front of her pristine suburban home. Sometimes, real life is just too much to stomach. Sorry.
Ivanka Trump works for an administration that tear-gasses children. She would very much not like to be seen as a person who tear-gasses children, even though her participation in an administration that tear-gasses children is complicity in the tear-gassing of children. Speaking of children, Ivanka sat down with "Good Morning America"'s Deborah Roberts for a rare interview at an Idaho elementary school she was visiting with Apple CEO Tim Cook to talk about something tech-y rather than tear-gas. The White House advisor was asked about the White House's immigration policies, and in a voice slightly above a whisper, Ivanka tried her damnedest to perform what is known as "human empathy." At the mention of tear-gas, she victim-blamed the mothers and children for being at a location at which they would be tear-gassed, and tried to defend her father's violent stance before she was inconveniently confronted with the truth. After insisting that the pictures are "devastating," Roberts asked her to comment on Donald Trump's directive to use lethal force "if necessary." "I don't believe that's what he said," she said. But "Good Morning America" had receipts. Roberts played a clip of saying exactly, to which a panicked, short-circuiting IvankBot said "he's the Commander-in-Chief... he's not talking about innocents." Constituents were not impressed with her response. Being a part of an administration that tear-gasses children has sent Ivanka on a fulfilling journey of personal growth. She also insisted that she should not be locked up. Ivanka also insisted that Daddy isn't empowering hate groups, even though hate groups say that he is empowering hate groups.
What was thought to be a big cow stole hearts and minds as its gigantic size saved him from the slaughterhouse and inspired everyone who has ever felt different. This is a big, NAY, a HUGE cow, a majestic mooer so tall, he reaches the Heavens. If you haven't seen it, here it is...
Now The Washington Post is reporting that the Knickers the Big Cow is not a cow, because nothing is sacred and fun on the Internet is meant to be ruined. Aniek Bouwman, an expert in animal breeding and genomics at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, told the Post that "Knickers is not a cow but a steer, because males are typically quite a bit larger than females." The Mainstream Media isn't disputing that Knickers is large, just that Knickers is a large cow. "At the shoulder, Knickers stands a mighty 6’4”, which means he’s two inches taller than Arnold Schwarzenegger. And he weighs roughly 2,800 pounds, which is the approximate equivalent of 14-and-a-half Danny DeVitos," they note. The Post also notes that Knickers looks huge because he's surrounded by shorties. "In other words, Knickers is a large specimen, but he looks larger because he’s standing among a herd of Danny DeVitos, not a herd of Arnold Schwarzeneggers," they write. Now I have beef. Hey, WaPo,
do you enjoy destroying all of our joy? Are you going to publish a piece debunking Santa Claus next?
Perhaps the real Big Cow is the friends we've made along the way?
So, sometimes times people get their asses saved by a total stranger. Not all humans are the worst. Like these neighbors kindling the love connection between their pets...
Speaking of dogs, I love dogs but they can be such jerks sometimes.
If he could talk he'd say, "Hmm? Your scarf? I haven't seen it." Haha. If I had a TARDIS I would go back in time to New York City in the 1940s. Knowing my luck though I'd be there right when Evelyn Mchale leapt to her death from the Empire State Building.
Do you ever read the Hardy Boys books when you were a kid? I used to read a lot of them but there's one that I don't think I remember reading...
Do you remember that one? Haha. Photoshop is used so often nowadays but sometimes you might see a photo you'd think is photoshopped but isn't...
This is called a fire tornado, when wind and fire combines. Be afraid. So, if you're thinking on your loved one you might think twice after seeing this...
They forgot the other "s" in "asshole." Hahaha. You know what makes me laugh? Old people wearing inappropriate t-shirts...
Hahahahahahahaha. So, Marvel is saying that the title for the next Avengers movie is from a line from a previous MCU movie. I think I know what it is...
What do you think? Alright, it's Thursday... you know what that means...
What the double fuck? Man, that must hurt. Let's move on. It's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.
Me: Hey, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile. How are you doing?
Jeff: Hey, Jason, it's always good to be back on the Phile! Especially talking some phootball. I'm doing alright, how about yourself?
Me: I'm good. Just tired. So, William Shatner is on the Phile today, Jeff. Are you a fan of him and "Star Trek"?
Jeff: While I've never been a fan of "Star Trek," Shatner has earned his place as a legend. Sure he's guilty of a a little overacting. But really who isn't?
Me: True. So, did you see the brawl that broke out between the Jags and the Bills? Multiple players were ejected for throwing punches. I think Jalen Ramsey’s trash talk was the cause of it. What do you think?
Jeff: Yeah, I saw that fight. I wouldn't be surprised if it was Ramsey who started it. For a guy on a really crappy team, he certainly likes to run his mouth. Before the season started he went off on most quarterbacks in the league and said most of them are overrated, he said his quarterback was the best in the league. In other news, this week Blake Bortles got benched for the second time this season.
Me: What NFL news do you have?
Jeff: Andy Dalton got injured this week and was placed on the IR. The Bengals then traded with the 49ers to get Tom Savage to be the back up QB in Cincinnati. Speaking of QBs in the AFC North the Browns beat the Bengals this week. Browns QB Baker Mayfield ran up and gave the game ball to his former head coach Hue Jackson, who is know on the Bengals coaching staff. A war of words has ensued since then where Mayfield is angry at Jackson for coaching a team that plays his team twice a season. In other news, Leonard Fournette has been suspended one game for his actions in the fight that we mentioned already.
Me: So, Britain took over another team...
Jeff: That's a good one. Not too far off from the original!
Me: Yeah, but the Rams also moved from St. Louis. Haha. Okay, the Giants lost to the Eagles... ugh. How did we do? Am I still behind?
Jeff: The Giants weren't the only team to lose! The Steelers lost too. However I went 2-0 in my picks and you went 1-1. So my lead has now gained. The score is 31-27 in favor of me!
Me: Shit! Alright, let's do this week's picks... I say Panthers by 6 and Miami by 3. What do you say?
Jeff: My picks are Saints by 4 and Rams by 9.
Me: Alright, I will see you back here next Thursday.
Jeff: See you next week!
Me: Hello, Sister, welcome to the Phile. What can I do for you?
Sister Xtian: I have to tell your readers something.
Me: Ummm... okay.
Sister Xtian: When you write "f*ck" instead of "fuck," God still knows what you're saying. And he thinks you are a pussy.
Me: Uhhhh. okay then. Sister Xtian, the nun who doesn't give a damn, kids.
Phact 1. When Stephen Hawking guest starred on the "Star Trek: The Next Generation," he paused in front of the warp core set piece and remarked, “I’m working on that."
Phact 2. Tim Russ, who played Tuvok on "Star Trek: Voyager" also played the Spaceballs trooper that said, “We ain’t found shit!”
Phact 3. Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) resigned from "Star Trek" after the first season, but reconsidered after a conversation with a big "Star Trek" fan. The fan was Martin Luther King, Jr.
Phact 4. George Takei once called for peace between Star Wars and "Star Trek" fans to unite against Twilight fans.
Phact 5. The first scripted interracial kiss on U.S. television was on "Star Trek." It was meant to be filmed with and without the kiss. Shatner and Nichols deliberately flubbed every take of the shot without the kiss, so that they could not be used.
Okay, here we go... Today's guest is a Canadian actor, author, producer, director and singer. In his seven decades of television, Shatner became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, in the "Star Trek" franchise. His latest book, "Live Long and ... : What I Might Have Learned Along the Way," is the 90th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. I am so excited about this... please welcome to the Phile the one and only... William Shatner!
Me: Holy shit, welcome to the Phile. How are you, sir? I can't believe you are on the Phile.
William: Thanks, Jason. I will say "holy shit" too, can't believe I am on here as well.
Me: So, you're from Canada, right? What part?
William: I was born in Montreal. I was in Montreal until I graduated from McGill. I was there from birth until 21-years-old of age. Hardly going to anywhere else except to places like Mount Tremblant to ski. When I was a kid youngster summers in the lake area is drive up there when I visit Montreal and see this forest barren land with this wild lakes that had very few homes on them if any. I don't know what they must be like now now with the dirt roads with logs underneath the dirt so they don't be bumpy. A part of that journey would be bumping, wrecking the car. I remember my father saying in true Canadian language, "It's not doing any good."
Me: So what do you think it's like that there now if you had to guess?
William: I bet it's all modern with coffee shops, cupcake shops and cabins on every square inch.
Me: So, what's this you were an understudy once for Christopher Plummer? Am I right?
William: Yeah, I think it was my first year. I understudied Chris in "Henry the Fifth." Shortly after we opened I went on for one night. Chris tells the story my standing when he sat and my sitting when he stood, but what he doesn't even yet realize I knew nothing. I had no idea of where to go and what to do. I had rehearsed the words in my bathroom, so I knew the words I thought. Until I didn't know the words. I did go on as an understudy without any rehearsal and did very well.
Me: Were you hoping the whole time that Chris would get the flu?
William: Ha ha ha ha. You know the idea of being the understudy and going on and scoring is such a fairy story tale in the theater. Understudies never go on no actor is going to let the understudy go on, they'd have to die before they let the understudy go on! It never happens and it never happens after that.
Me: So, you were in a movie called Incubus and the whole film was done in Esperanto. What the hell? What is that and did you know what you were saying?
William: Not only do I not have any idea what I was saying but the movie was then asked to go to the festival in Italy, so the subtitles were in Italian. Then the company was asked to come and see a viewing of the movie they put together. I watched a movie in which I was starring in, which I spoke Esperanto, which I learned phonetically, with Italian subtitles which I didn't know, and I had no idea what the movie was about or what I was doing. Off we went to the big Venice Festival.
Me: You never found out what you were saying?
William: No, I never wanted to know. It's reminiscent of an animated feature that I did with some Hollywood people and I was invited to the Venice Film Festival and so were we all, and now the whole cast is marching up to some really big names in Hollywood that would be recognized. We're walking up the red carpet to see the movie and to my right there was a group of people walking up the festival steps at the same time. I turned to somebody and I said, "Who are they?" He said, "They are the people that translated us into French." I said, "Well, why are we going up? It's an animated film and our faces aren't there what are we doing?" It was absurd.
Me: Hahahaha. One of the things I took from your new book "Live Long and ... : What I Learned Along the Way" is you saying "yes" to things. Is doing a whole movie in Esperanto an example of that?
William: Yes. Ha ha ha ha. I said yes to this interview with you too. Well, look, I always say "yes." I wouldn't say "yes" if you asked me to jump off a bridge but I mean "yes" to life.
Me: Haha. So, you have written quite a few books. What is different about this one?
William: The book is about as I age and I tend to say "no, the rocking chair would be fine for me." No, say "yes" to life. Life beckons me. Follow the beckoning. In my case if it's a country music album which I have out there now, say yes, it's a great album. People are loving it. Say yes to this book that I wrote. Live long and dot dot dot if I want to do it myself. I have a Christmas album that came out called "Shatner Claus." Electric bikes, pedego bikes, go get on a bike and pedal, and then if you get tired hit the electric switch. The world is alive and waiting for you. If only you would just say yes to it.
Me: Yes. Ha. So, I have to talk about the role you are the most famous for... Captain Kirk from "Star Trek." That is the role you're most famous for, right?
Wiliam: Yes. Although there are seventeen people in Tokyo who know me from that Esperanto thing.
Me: Ha! I'm sure you told this story about when you got the past of Captain Kirk a million times. What can you tell us what you remember from the audition?
William: I didn't audition, I was asked if I would play the role of the Captain.
Me: How and where were you when you got the offer then?
William: I was in New York doing something so very important that I can't remember what it was. Maybe I was unlearning Esperanto that was beamed into my head and I was trying to get rid of it with therapists. The phone rings and it's this guy, Gene Roddenberry, he says, "We've made a pilot that didn't sell. NBC wants to try another pilot with a different cast. Would you come to Hollywood to look at the pilot we made with the idea of playing the lead?" So I go to Hollywood and I see this film that's really quite good. It was a little self-important, and I pointed that out I said, "If you're five years together on a trip and you're on the only boat around, and you say 'Turn left,' you don't pompously say, 'Starboard ahead! Good, good, good, a little to the left.'" It's funnier, I think. Who knows what it's like to be five years in space anyway. I'm just guessing we might be a little lighthearted about it that was my thought. And everybody made their own suggestions and the second pilot was improved thank they very cleverly kept Leonard Nimoy as Spock. Leonard had grasped the dimensions of his character, he was glorious, and I did the best I could. The pilot sold and it became "Star Trek."
Me: You talk about Leonard in the book. Was it hard to write about him?
William: Yes. It's hard to write about people who've passed, who I had memories. I loved him, he was my brother.
Me: So, you once did a cover of the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." What do you remember about that?
Me: What was the reason that song was chosen?
William: Combined with a piece of literature that had solidity and similar to Cyrano de Bergerac, "I may climb perhaps to no great heights, but I will climb alone." Combine with a song that needed drugs to climb that was the original intent. Played alone like that you'd think what the heck is the actor doing but that's what the actor was doing.
Me: Can you believe it was fifty years since the album "The Transformed Man" came out?
William: I know.
Me: The album had Captain Kirk's name right on the cover next to yours. I have a pic of the cover here...
Me: Did it feel that you as a person and the character were the same person?
William: I never felt like a starship Captain in real life. Although I have actually acted like one. I may have been a bit demanding more or less. I would say turn left to someone, I would use the word "starboard" if someone was driving in my car. No, I don't confuse the acting world with the real world.
Me: At the time did people see you as William Shatner or Kirk?
William: Well, there was a time. Motorola had designed a StarTAC phone after the new years of "Star Trek." They gave me one. I was in an airport and I flipped open this StarTAC Motorola phone to make a phone call. It was one of the first electronic phones and gathered a crowd who were laughing at me. At first I didn't understand why. I realized then it was right out of "Star Trek."
Me: One thing I love that you did was that infamous "Saturday Night Live" sketch where you were at a convention. Do you remember when you first went to a convention?
William: I do. Very vividly. I didn't want to go because I thought true real actors, serious actors, artists do not go to what were conventions then.
Me: Where was the first convention you went to? My first one was on Long Island I think.
William: It was in New York.
Me: What was the experience like when you were there?
William: They said 15,000 people will be there and I said, "Well, what do I say?" They said, "Well, you make it up as you go along." It took years to perfect confidence and somewhat a routine to answer some of the questions. And confidence really, that I was going to be all right. So that first comic convention was a nightmare.
Me: Were you nervous?
William: Yeah, I was nervous I was going to slip up, nervous on how I was going to answer the question, what am I going to say? How can I keep people amused for an hour? Out here I'm all alone.
Me: Are you comfortable with interviews and stuff now?
William: Well, out of all that travail came a one man show I did on Broadway. Toured the United States, toured Canada, toured Australia. Out of that came a tour which I just did with a film called The Wrath of Kahn, a "Star Trek" film. I come out afterwards and do an hour with the audience. Go to Williamshatner.com and see what I'm doing. Go get a Pedago bike.
Me: So, what's with the Pedago bike thing?
William: It's like a little motorcycle of you wish or you could peddle away. Fifteen members of my family, we have a close knit family anyway, but fifteen people going out on a bicycle trip, everybody hanging together, no one is faster than the other. Pretty good, right?
Me: I guess. So, what do you think of fandom nowadays, sir? Do you think it is healthy?
William: Oh, well, which health are you talking about? If someone is locked in a room obsessing on a game or a show and putting on thirty pounds by eating at McDonald's... no. But if someone is taking inspiration... like I was doing a film and I needed transportation, I had what would of amounted the total budget I had to make this film to transport me to the places I had to go I called Bombardier and I said, "Listen. I'm a Canadian. I need an airplane, you're an airplane manufacturer, can you lend me an airplane?" The guy said yes, and I met him later on the tarmac and he said, "The reason I'm lending you this plane is to pay you back. I became a aeronautical engineer and then became the head of Bombardier because of you. So this is payback." And off I went.
Me: Do you think the Internet has changed on what it means to fandom?
William: Everything. The Internet changed everything.
Me: What is the big difference between your fans back then opposed to fans now?
William: Everything. The fans participate in me and have a sense of ownership, which is fine. But the Internet and social media could be used for good. There could be a positive, people know, that you and millions like us on the social media could be a force for good, not this ugly thing we keep hearing about.
Me: You are doing so much, William. Do you think of retiring and lying on a beach?
William: Yeah, but I could get cancer of the skin by lying on the beach.
Me: What's keeping you going?
William: The cancer! I don't want to get cancer! What keeps me going is I love it. I'm enjoying talking to you. People are reading this blog all over the world, Jason. Can you believe that? I'd rather do this than eat. Though I don't mind eating.
Me: Sir, I am so honored and excited to have you here on the Phile. This was a big thrill for me. I hope you'll come back again soon.
William: No. The thrill is mine.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests, Jeff Trelewicz and of course William Shatner for a great interview. I think it was great. The Phile will be back on Monday with Tito Beveridge, founder of Tito's Vodka. Then a week from today, next Thursday I have to tell you who will be here... NPH. Yup. Him. 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