Monday, December 10, 2018

Pheaturing Andy West From Dixie Dregs

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Let's start by talking about how shade queen JK Rowling came for Trump after his latest Twitter rant. Expelliarmus! When Trump tweets, I cry... then I dive under my desk to brace myself for the impact. I monitor his feed as my anxiety and confusion mount. What is he even talking about? Am I the idiot for not understanding them? Then I pour myself a stiff drink and sniff Epsom salts to recover. Just kidding! I take a deep breath and remember that reality is an illusion and Trump is a manifestation of my darkest fears. JK Rowling takes a different, non-delusional approach: she roasts 'em. At least that's what she did in response to Trump's latest Twitter tirade regarding the Robert Mueller investigation. Ms. Rowling put that imagination of hers to work and banked Trump's tweets for future character inspiration. That Jo, always so clever! Such a Ravenclaw.

Fans were elated to see the creator of Dumbledore's Army take down such an offensive foe. JK turned my day around with her signature wit and verve. We bow down to a queen of fiction AND shade.
Ever since Gwyneth Paltrow announced that her baby's name was Apple, it's been a damn free-for-all out here. You can't attend a toddler sing-a-long class without being introduced to someone's son named Wood Chip, or something of that nature. Sure, anyone has the right to name their child whatever the hell they want. This is true. But at some point we are going to laugh at their choices. That's exactly what happened to a woman who decided to name her child... wait for it... Squire Sebastian Senator. Yes, that is just the first name. No, her friends and family did not take it well. In fact, apparently they talked so much shit that the mother canceled the baby shower. She took to Facebook to call out and clapback at the shower's invitees. Let's go over some highlights, shall we? “His name is Squire Sebastian Senator. That is that. You cannot force me to change his name. This is that name I was meant to give him. No, that is not his full name. Squire Sebastian Senator is only his first name. This is how it will be. He will not be allowed to have a nickname, he is to be called by his full and complete first name. He will not be allowed to have a nickname! If he even thinks about having his friends call him 'Squi Seb Sen' he is GROUNDED! We come from a long lasting family of both squires and senators. If you look back in our family tree, the survival of this clan is literally rooted in squiredom. We are all related to senators too. This name conveys power. It conveys wealth. It conveys success.” I never thought I would read the words "this clan is literally rooted in squiredom," but here we are. What a world. "My baby’s name WILL be a revolution. It will push people to question everything. Why name your baby boring and over-used names like Joshua, Brian, Sam, Nick, Mark, Bella, Marina, etc… when you can name it something special." Ah yes, just the revolution we need right now. Also, I imagine and hope that the names listed here are those of the children of the people who were talking shit. Like, "my baby's name will make people question everything and have an existential crisis, and yours will be stuck with the dumbass name of Brian. Take that, CATHY." Anyway, if any of us have the pleasure of meeting Squire Sebastian Senator one day, we know not to start shit with his mother. Lesson learned.
If GOP men really wanted to keep their dignity in tact, they would stop coming for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at every turn. The 29-year-old Democratic Socialist has fast become the Chrissy Teigen of politics, and by that I mean she doesn't hesitate to drag Conservative trolls to filth, and for some reason... they keep crawling back. Last Monday Ocasio-Cortez dragged Mike Huckabee to filth, alongside his daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders after he implied she was "looney." Now, not even a week later, Donald Trump Jr. has come at Ocasio-Cortez with a meme claiming her vision of socialism would force people to eat their pets...

The quality and content of the meme is extremely on-brand for Don Jr.'s severely unhinged Instagram presence. On top of using shock factor to prove a point, the reference to eating dogs may also be drawing a false equivalence between the hunger devastation in Socialist Venezuela and Ocasio-Cortez' desire to make healthcare accessible. Regardless of whatever curt point Don Jr. thought he was making, Ocasio-Cortez was fully ready to shut it down.

An insult on his intelligence?! Check. A sly reminder of Don Jr.'s guilty implications in Robert Mueller's investigation? Check. A dose of patronizing friendliness to point out how stupid Don Jr.'s trolling is? Check. A reminder of her recent Congressional win? Check. This tweet really had it all. Again, I have to wonder if these GOP men will ever learn to leave her alone, or if they secretly love the humiliation.
Everyone's favorite millennial bottle of frustrated bleach, Tomi Lahren, has come out with a suggestion for anyone looking to spread conservative holiday cheer this season. On Facebook, Lahren posted what we can only assume is a sponsored advertisement for her fans to purchase a "Not My President" calendar that mocks everything triggering for "snowflake" liberals, and of course the fact that Hillary lost. In fact, the only real theme of the entire calendar is that Hillary isn't the president. The calendar features Elizabeth Warren in a Native American headdress, a scowling Hillary, a tax-hungry Bernie Sanders, a kneeling Colin Kaepernick, and Beto O'Rourke in a sombrero. And that's just the cover. Take a look...

Inside, it's equally as uncreative. November features Elizabeth Warren being served by suited butlers at what appears to be the first Thanksgiving, September is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being confused by Labor Day, "Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs!" April shows an April Fools "just kidding Hillary didn't win!" fake news headline and July, by far the creepiest of them all, shows Trump caressing an American Flag while Barack Obama and crew question, "why does he love this country so much?" Is that why conservatives think liberals have the beliefs they do? Because liberals "hate" America? This is news to me. I guess since Tomi Lahren can't even go out to a restaurant anymore without getting drinks throw in her face, she might as well get paid to boost the sales of a cartoon calendar that only works to divide our country further. I would even be fine with this calendar if it had one good joke, but alas, mocking liberals just isn't as funny as mocking conservatives. December features (surprise!) a bunch of liberal heads on snowflakes, one of them being Parkland school shooting survivor, David Hogg. Maybe next year, you could hire a comedy writer to do a punch-up? Stephen Colbert would be a good choice... Lahren's Facebook was generally supportive of the calendar with one fan suggesting she make a "Tomi calendar" with "a lot of guns!" but Twitter, of course, clapped back. Better luck next year, Tomi. Maybe you could use your cut of the calendar sales to buy a new perspective.
Rocky Dumais, 26, was riding around Lincoln last Sunday when at 1 a.m., he crashed his mother's car into a tree. The Smoking Gun reports that Dumais told the cops "that he crashed the Buick due to 'inoperable windshield wipers,' which forced him, 'like Ace Ventura,' to drive in the rain with his head outside the window." The police were sadly not convinced that the swerving was out of necessity or simply a tribute to Jim Carrey. Despite the Ace Ventura defense, Dumais was hit with DUI, careless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving with a suspended license. Sounds like he was a... liar liar.
Instead of doing this blog thing maybe I should be listening to this album...

Ummm... maybe not. So, sometimes people got their asses saved by a total stranger. Not all humans are the worst. Like this woman helping a baby learn to wave...

All together now... awwweeeee. You know, if I had a TARDIS I would like to go to witness a little bit of World War l but knowing my luck I'll end up on a battlefield right in front of a bagpiper.

That's my least favorite instrument. They say of I go to Walmart I'm gonna see something odd. I didn't believe it until I saw this...

Have you ever seen the TV show "The Great British Bake Off"? Well, I haven't but with scenes like this I really don't think I want to...

I love to shop but some guys sure don't and get bored. Like this guy on line...

Speaking of shopping, if you are looking for something for your wife or girlfriend for Christmas how about this Nightmare Before Christmas wrap?

Ward off those chills. Cover yourself from head to toe in Jack Skellington heads. It will give you the warmth of a throw with the benefit of leaving your hands free. You know one of the best things about the Internet is you can look at porn for free and so easily. But if you're at work or school you might get in trouble, so I came up with a solution...

You are welcome.

A man phones home from his office and says to his wife, "I have the chance to go fishing for a week. It's the opportunity of a lifetime. I have to leave right away. Pack my clothes, my fishing equipment, and my blue silk pajamas. I'll be home in an hour to pick them up." The man rushes home to grab everything. He hugs his wife, apologizes for the short notice, and then hurries off. A week later, the man returns and his wife asks, "Did you have a good trip, dear?" The man replies, "Yep, the fishing was great... but you forgot to pack my blue silk pajamas." His wife smiles and says, "Oh, no I didn't... I put them in your tackle box."

If you spot the Mindphuck then let me know. So, a magician friend just did a show this past weekend. I thought I'd invite him here to see how it went. Please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hello, David, how are you?

David: I'm okay, Jason, how are you?

Me: I'm good. So, how was your show this past weekend?

David: It was okay until I asked for a volunteer and a little girl no more than five runs up on stage...

Me: Okay, so, what did you do?

David: I said, "Hi there, little girl, I'm David, what's your name?" She said, "Katherine, but my friends call me Katie" I said, "Oh, can I call you Katie?" She said, "No." Then she ran back into the audience.

Me: So, did you do a trick then?

David: The only trick done was embarrassing me.

Me: Hahahaha. I'm sorry. Better luck next time.

David: Thanks, Jason.

Me: David Coppafeel, the world's worst magician, kids.

After a week in which he wowed the media for getting through George H.W. Bush's funeral without heckling or playing the corpse, President Trump has put an end to his "presidential" streak with a tweet at his former Secretary of State. Former SoS (lol) Tillerson was rumored to have found out about his firing while sitting on the toilet, and this tweet is almost as shitty. This went down after Tillerson allegedly called Trump a "fucking moron," which is actually quite generous. Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, broke his silence on the sentence he served in the Trump administration. He described the president as "pretty undisciplined, doesn't like to read." "What was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented ExxonMobil corporation," Tillerson explained, saying that it was hard "to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says, 'This is what I believe.'" Tillerson added what everyone and Robert Mueller has suspected... that Trump has a hard time understanding and respecting the law. The Houston Chronicle reports that Rex T. said, "So often, the president would say here's what I want to do and here's how I want to do it and I would have to say to him, 'Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can't do it that way. It violates the law.'" To prove Tillerson wrong and to show the world that he is, in fact, very disciplined, Trump took to Twitter to call Tillerson "dumb as a rock," questioning his "mental capacity." Nice! Another installment for the #BeBest files: a classic "I know you are, but what am I?"

Phact 1. There have been fourteen known fatalities in Britain from native adder bites since 1876. Recovery from a bite can take up to a year.

Phact 2. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi are a result of selective breeding of the wild mustard plant.

Phact 3. In 1954, John Stapp strapped himself to a rocket sled, accelerated to 632 MPH in five seconds, and then decelerated to 0 MPH in 1.4 seconds. He experienced 46.2 G’s. He went temporarily blind and experienced two black eyes from his eyeballs having been shot so far forward.

Phact 4. The word "avocado" means "testicle" named so because of its shape.

Phact 5. The orange couch used in Central Perk was found in the basement of the Warner Bros. studio.

Today's guest is an American bass guitarist and composer who is an original founding member of the Dixie Dregs, an American band formed in the 1970s. Their mostly instrumental music uniquely fuses hard rock, southern rock, progressive metal, and classical forms. Please welcome to the Phile... Andy West.

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

Andy: I'm wonderful, Jason, thanks.

Me: So, the original band is back after forty years. That's so cool. What do you think of it?

Andy: I don't know if we are on the same page but we certainly are a gang traveling together which is great.

Me: So, why now, after all these years?

Andy: It was just a timing thing as far as circumstance and it's forty years since the release of our first album "Free Fall," and kind of the fact that all of us are still around. We were still in contact with each so thought it'll be fun to hang out and play. We did that and it turned into this tour which is kind of amazing.

Me: So, for those that don't know, like myself, what led the band to break up in the first place?

Andy: Well, there was a lot of a kind of business pressure at that time if you're talking about after we did the original six albums and then split up. It was basically we had a record deal which was part way complete and the record company didn't want to give us the amount of money they said in the contract. It was just one of these the times are changing type of things and we had been beaten around for so long it was just our time to take a break and that turned into what it did, which was a bunch of different things for different people.

Me: I like your music a lot, even though I'm not a big instrumentalist fan, but your music is cool. How were you treated as a whole as a band, sir, were you treated like odd ducks?

Andy: Hahaha. Yeah, "odd ducks" I have never heard used but it certainly fits. I guess the way I would describe it is we would defy easy classification so it was just one of those things were people were always trying to figure us out. Face it, we have a weird name, we live in the south, we're on Capricorn Records, we are not really rock.

Me: With that how did you guys become popular?

Andy: We just followed our path. It was really with Steve's compositions, the band's performances and that was combined with finding our audience. We continued to play and had people respond. It all worked to a degree and I appreciate what you're saying, but to a point of discovery how could this even be.

Me: Okay, what kinda genre would you say the band is in? Jazz rock? Haha.

Andy: I would say we had exposure to jazz that really wasn't our musical language. There's influence there with bands from the fusion era which was incredible, but when we trace back those guy we find a very different kind of DNA than with us. With us it's all about the 60s and 70s rock because that's where we came from. With all the stuff thrown in, it wasn't the reverse.

Me: When you guys started and were a support band who did you open for? I am guessing there were some weird parings.

Andy: Yeah, there definitely were. Somehow we always managed to win them over. In retrospect and this is kind of cool, we opened up for Muddy Waters in Boston. It was just like what? It was cool and a head scratcher, but it worked. We played a bill with the David Grissom Quintet and that was when Mark O'Connor was with Grissom and that was really weird because we were probably equally represented bands but the Grissom folks were kind of in the front row and they all had their hands over their ears when we played because we are like loud and rocky. It's crazy. Also, because of our name and the way the business is we played with all the southern rockers... Charlie Daniels, Molly Hatchet, Wet Willie, just on and on.

Me: What is cool, if you like the music or not, each one of you guys sure know how to play your instruments. Do you agree? Of course you do. Hahaha.

Andy: Yeah. There's something going on there that would draw someone's attention in and hopefully in a good way.

Me: If you had to describe the band to someone that never heard of you guys what would you say? 

Andy: I think one of the defining features of the Dregs is the melodic aspect of it. It's not like we're playing singalong music, neither are we playing edgy extreme chops oriented instrumentals. It always had a purpose, the songs always told a musical story and take you on a journey somewhere. That's the whole point.

Me: How is the band different now writing or playing than you were when you guys first started? 

Andy: In the early days we did a lot of experimental stuff, stuff we really liked. It was very interesting and weird, but when the audience didn't appreciate it and people who would normally be open to more kind of things, we didn't want to pound them over the head with a hammer just because we said eventually this will feel good. It wasn't like that.

Me: When you guys got back together in a room and started playing again how was it after all the years later? Did it come easy?

Andy: Yeah, I think to the point of just being able to grasp the music I think it was natural. The thing that was challenging was the technique. We had not been as challenging music as and to go back into it so deeply that was both interesting and wonderful but also really challenging. Being in the room together and playing songs was natural.

Me: You went away from the band and got a different kind of job. When I interviewed Jim Babjak from the Smithereens we talked about this a little. Do people know you were in the band and ask you to sign their CD's and stuff?

Andy: Haha. Mostly no but surprisingly after the Internet really started to catch on. Before the Internet it was a lot more people in my later part of my career started to recognize that I've been a successful musician and that it meant something. But only really rarely or occasionally. "Wait a minute, there was a guy named Andy West who was a bass player." "Well, yeah, that's me." "Oh, wow!" That was cool, but mostly not.

Me: Andy, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I'll hope you come back soon, and tell the other boys they need to be interviewed. Anything you want to say before you go?

Andy: Thanks so much for your time, and thanks to everybody for the attention. This is just a kind of gift for all of us as performers and listeners. We feel a real sense of community in that. Thank you. 

Me: No worries. Take care, Andy, and good luck on the road.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Andy West for being my guest. The Phile will be back on Thursday with musician Keith Harkin. 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, December 6, 2018

Pheaturing Neil Patrick Harris From "A Series Of Unfortunate Events"

Baby, it's cold outside. Hi, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. Good morning. It really feels like Christmas now here in Central Florida. It's so cold I can barely stand the four minutes I'm outdoors every day. Okay, let's start with a story about Kid Rock...
Kid Rock, the human embodiment of an ash tray, was slated to be the grand marshal of the Nashville Christmas Parade, but was replaced with someone actually cool after his comments about Joy Behar. In a "Fox and Friends" segment promoting his new restaurant in Nashville, Kid "The Rock" Johnson issued a half-assed plea for civility, saying, "We can disagree and still be cordial with one another. God forbid you say something a little bit wrong; you’re racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, this that and the other. People need to calm down, get a little less politically correct, and I would say, love everybody." But it didn't end there. In true Trumpian fashion, he added, "Except, I’d say screw that Joy Behar bitch everybody but that." The Washington Post notes that Rock has had beef with Behar ever since the beer-stained tank top visited the White House with Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent, and Behar called it "the saddest day in the history of the White House since the British burned it to the ground in 1814." In the ultimate upgrade, Kid Rock has been replaced by James Shaw, Jr., the hero who stopped the Waffle House shooting with his own two hands. It's a switch known as a reverse of going from Obama to Trump. You rock, kid.
Pedophilia apologist and Guy Who Almost Certainly Sings "Be Prepared" From The Lion King at Karaoke Milo Yiannopoulos is said to be wrapping up 2018 with a Trumpian level of debt. The Guardian reports that his former allies in Australia put together an itemized list of the fashion-forward fascists debts to an impressive string of creditors: The documents indicate that as of April 2018, Yiannopoulos owed $1.6m to his own company, $400,000 to the billionaire Mercer family, $153,215 to his former lawyers, $76,574 to former collaborator and Breitbart writer Allum Bokhari, and $20,000 to the luxury jewellery brand Cartier. After maxing out his credit cards and appeal in the U.S. and the U.K., Milo set his sights on spreading his message that "feminism is cancer" to Australia. When plans for an Australian tour fell apart, they decided to make these embarrassing documents public, which is quite hilarious. Bigotry stopped being lucrative for Milo after he was booted off Twitter for spearheading a harassment campaign on "SNL" star Leslie Jones. He should take his own advice and simply stop being poor.

In case you were worried that Michael Cohen's recent guilty plea had broken Donald Trump Jr.'s insane spirit of loyalty and fandom towards his father, well, it sure hasn't. In our latest installment of Don Jr. posting absolutely bonkers stuff on his social media, the president's son decided to share his freshly decorated Christmas tree with his followers. This in itself would be considered pretty normal and expected, if his tree didn't double as a shrine for his father. Before we dive into the hell that is Donald Trump Jr's holiday topping, I feel it's my responsibility to jog your memory on some of his past Instagram high (low) lights. This is the man who once posted screenshots of people calling him hot, celebrated the Fourth of July by posting a creepy picture of his dad, and once made a rape joke using crayons. I am truly convinced that nothing is below him. Well, now, to celebrate Christmas Donny Jr. decided to top his tree with a thoroughly unsettling figurine of his father. Take a look...

Yup, this is real. To make matters worse, the picture is structured like a 4chan meme with the caption: "I couldn't decided between a star or an angel, so I picked both." Putting a figurine of your dad on top of the Christmas tree has got to be the highest level of Freudian nonsense possible. There's so much to unpack here it pretty much unpacks itself. Even if it wasn't the Trump family, this behavior would be weird as hell. I can't imagine owning a figurine of my dad, let alone decorating my Christmas tree with it. Actually, I wish there was a Pop Vinyl of my dad, or an action figure, but he was a rock star. Anyway, given all of their legal drama and their moral reprehensibility, people are dragging Don Jr. to filth for this latest bonkers display. People have largely been mocking Don Jr.'s next level daddy issues, while also theorizing that he sucking up so his dad doesn't turn him into Robert Mueller. The Instagram user flee_337 savagely wrote, "Does he love you yet? Have you won his love yet with all the memes?" MarySchultz 4658 poked at the Trump family's illegal behavior, and wrote, "Funniest thing I have seen for weeks! Couldn't you have find any criminal or conman or traitor ornaments?!" All jokes aside, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Don Jr. also has a box of Kremlin tree toppers, if you're going to celebrate your father figure, might as well celebrate both.
Tomi Lahren has expanded her Blonde Woman Screams Racist Stuff At You show from Fox News to Fox Nation, state TV's streaming service through Facebook that your grandparents can definitely figure out on their own. Timmy's latest fear-mongering monologue characterized migrants hoping to seek asylum in the United States as petri dishes of diseases, claiming that the LatinX people will give you AIDS. Timberley called the caravan a "Caravan of Diseases," which sounds like the title of a forgotten Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam song. As anyone who has ever Googled the Holocaust could tell you, characterizing a whole group of people as dangerously diseased is a propaganda technique meant to dehumanize people. You know, because once you stop seeing people as human, who cares if they get hurt? It's literally what the Nazis did. Literally. There are receipts called HISTORY. Timmy is going all in on this talking point.

If she really were concerned about viruses, she should tell her lemmings to VACCINATE THEIR KIDS. The viruses are coming from INSIDE the country.
The marriage respecter has logged on! Eric Trump decided to respond to his father's latest crime... some light witness tampering on Twitter for all of us to see... with a tweet about Kellyanne Conway's marriage. Let's back it up a bit. President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to issue a remarkably unsubtle message to his campaign advisor Roger Stone: shut the fuck up. Stone is reportedly under special counsel Robert Mueller's microscope for his communications with WikiLeaks, and the innocent president wants his innocent friend not to talk to prosecutors about how innocent they both are. In a great moment of legal shade, attorney and Kellyanne Conway's husband, George Conway III, quote-tweeted Trump with the precise statute that he's violating.

"18 USC §1512(b) makes it a federal crime to try to corruptly persuade someone into refusing to testify in an official proceeding," A Crime A Day explains. Eric Trump was all butthurt about Mr. Conway calling out his father's crime, and issued a tweet that reads like a talking head moment on a Real Housewives show.

The tweet went viral, because getting marriage and morality advice from a Trump is like getting vegan recipes from a butcher. Hopefully Kellyanne responds in the next episode.
So, I was thinking, if I had a TARDIS I would probably end up at the Orote Peninsula in the 1940s and get sad when I'd find a wounded combat dog...

I know, that's pretty obscure. Poor dog though, right? Speaking dogs, come dogs could be jerks...

I bet if he could talk he'd say, "I'm taking these pants and no one can stop me." How's your kid at school? I hope he or she is as creative as this kid...

Haha. Do you like Whitman's chocolates? I do and there's a brand new kind. Here's the ad...

Buy me some for Christmas. Haha. Have you seen the TV show "The Great British Bake Off"? I haven't but I know a few people that love it. I think because of the innuendo...

Haha. So, they say the next Avengers movie's new title will be a phrase that was said in a past MCU movie. I think I know what it is...

Great name, right? So, one thing you might not know about me is I love to shop. A lot of guys don't though and get rather bored and miserable, like this guy...

I'm here to help you though, guys. If you're looking for a Christmas gift for your wife or girlfriend how about this digital sand timer?

You don't want a mechanical timer that sounds like it will fail anytime or a digital timer with just a boring numerical countdown, don't you? Then this electronic sand timer which seems for $14.88 seems like a good compromise. If you are going to use the oven for ten minutes or want your kids to play for five more minutes, all you have to do is set the timer. You're welcome. Hey, it's Thursday, you know what that means...

Gag! I think I'm gonna be sick. Yeesh. Okay, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff in a pheature called...

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

Jeff: Hey, Jason, always glad to be back on the Phile. I'm doing well. Just counting down the days until 2018 is over. How about you?

Me: Same. So... Neil Patrick Harris is here on the Phile today. You're a big fan, right?

Jeff: Of course I am. I grew up on Doogie Howser, and then loved every minute of Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother."

Me: Cool. Man, what about your Steelers? The Steelers-Chargers game ended in one of the most bizarre ways possible after Pittsburgh was called for three straight offside penalties on Chargers game-winning FG attempts. What do you think about it?

Jeff: Man, I don't even want to talk about it. I went to sleep and they were up big so I thought the game was over. I woke up in the middle of the night and checked the score. I was not a happy camera at 3 a.m. That's for sure!

Me: Jeff, those Packers sure are savage for firing Head Coach Mike McCarthy on Aaron Rodgers’ birthday. What do you think of that mess?

Jeff: I could easily make a comment that maybe if Aaron Rodgers didn't make so many insurance commercials that maybe his team wouldn't be as bad as they are right now. The relationship between Rodgers and McCarthy had been rocky for a while. Two straight years of not making the playoffs and a huge contract extension for Rodgers this past off-season should have been a sign for McCarthy his time was up in Green Bay. And I think the way they lost on a missed field goal was just the last straw for him. McCathy is a good coach. He will find another job.

Me: So, what NFL news do you have?

Jeff: The biggest bit of news is the Redskins are now down to their third string quarterback. We talked a few weeks ago how Alex Smith broke his leg. Well, his replacement Colt McCoy broke his leg against the Philadelphia Eagles. So look out world, here comes Mark Butt Fumble Sanchez. The Steelers will be without James Conner for at least the next week as well due to an ankle injury. Former first round pick Wide Receiver Kelvin Benjamin was released from the Bills this year after a miserable stint with the team.

Me: Britain has yet taken over another team...

Me: What do you think?

Jeff: I would root for the Crimson Flighty Birds. At least get a beer with them!

Me: Okay, the Giants beat the Bears. Yoohoo! How did we do last week, Jeff?

Jeff: We both went 1-1 this week. The Steelers lost, the Giants won. So you did gain a point. As of right now we have the same record, but because of Pittsburgh's record I'm winning 33-30.

Me: Let's pick this weekends games. I say Eagles by 5 and 49ers by 4. What do you say?

Jeff: I'm going to go with Houston by 4 and Chargers by 5.

Me: Okay, see you here next Thursday.

Jeff: See you next legend... wait for it... Still waiting... dary... legendary week!

Me: Ha! Nice one.

Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so there's this character that hasn't been on the Phile in awhile and some of you want to know how he's doing. So, please welcome back on the Phile...

Me: Hey, Dindo, how are you doing, sir?

Dindo: Ummm... not so great, my friend. Do you know what bitcoins are?

Me: A little, why?

Dindo: I nuked a hard drive that had a bitcoin wallet with around three bitcoins on it, which would be worth around $120,000 today.

Me: Ohh, man.

Dindo: Yeah, I'm crying while looking at my bank account with $27.03 in it.

Me: Well, Dindo, congrats for understanding how bitcoin works. Condolences to you for not backing up their hard drive.

Dindo: Yeah, I have been into bitcoins for a few months. I had 75 bitcoins a few months ago. I sold them all off at about $100 CAD each. I could sell them for fifty times that much now, pay off my house and all other debts, and put away a bit of savings. I still gnash my teeth about that.

Me: Man, you're having no luck with that bitcoin business. I hope you get better luck soon, Dindo.

Dindo: Me too, my friend. Happy holidays to you and your readers.

Me: You too. Come back soon. Dindo Nuffin, kids.

President Donald Trump attended President George H.W. Bush's funeral at the National Cathedral, because he wasn't explicitly uninvited, for once. As "The Daily Show" notes, it's an event that reunited Trump with some of his favorite targets, including the grieving Dubya and Jeb(!) and of course, the Clintons and Obamas. While Trump was likely dreading an event where he wasn't the center of attention, luckily for the president, he was on peoples' minds, directly and indirectly. Hillary Clinton pretended that Trump didn't even exist. The candidate who won the popular vote in 2016 politely nodded at Melania Trump, and then looked straight on forward. Bill Clinton was facing in Trump's general direction as he shook hands with the Obamas, but when the president didn't extend a greeting to the Clintons, Bill joined Hillary in pretending that Trump doesn't exist. New York Times bestselling author Michelle Obama raised her eyebrows when subjected to the Trumps' presence. Michelle wrote in her book "Becoming" that she will "never forgive" Trump for putting her family at risk by spreading conspiracy theories about her husband, and while she was respectful of the fact that they were at a funeral, her eyebrows didn't forget. Canada's former Prime Minister and current Stephen Fry lookalike Brian Mulroney paid tribute to his friend and colleague George H.W. Bush by highlighting some of his legislative achievements. "President Bush’s decision to go forward with strong environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act… is a splendid gift to future generations of Americans and Canadians to savor," he said. "In the air they breathe, in the water they drink, in the forests they enjoy and the lakes, rivers and streams they cherish." "There’s a word for this. It’s called leadership.” Mulroney also praised the North American Free Trade Agreement that he and Bush both signed in 1992, and Trump has threatened to rip up. Former Senator Alan Simpson had jokes. Simpson's joke about the high road in Washington seemed like a subtweet at the president on the highway to hell. He also said, "hatred corrodes the container it's carried in," which might explain Trump's weird color. 5. Biographer Jon Meacham's praise of H.W. Bush is being interpreted as a rebuke of Trump through contrast. "A master of what Franklin Roosevelt called the science of human relationships, he believed that to whom much was given, much is expected. And because life gave him so much, he gave back again and again and again. He stood in the breach in the Cold War against totalitarianism. He stood in the breach in Washington against unthinking partisanship," Meacham said. "He stood in the breach against tyranny and discrimination. And on his watch, a wall fell in Berlin, a dictator's aggression did not stand, and doors across America opened to those with disabilities." Meacham also noted that "President Bush spoke with those big strong hands," something else the current president lacks. RIP George H.W. Bush, and in a way, Trump.

Phact 1. Natalia Romanova aka Natasha Romanov aka Black Widow is almost 70 years old. She kept her young looks thanks to a variation of the super-soldier serum.

Phact 2. About 4.77% of the adult population, or 657,500 Cameroonians, are infected with HIV/AIDS. In 2014, HIV/AIDS was responsible for 34,200 deaths in Cameroon alone.

Phact 3. Erwin Schrödinger never thought a cat could be both alive and dead. The thought experiment was a satire that criticized the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Phact 4. Even with the extremes of Mount Everest and the Mariana Trench the Earth has less deviation from an idealized spheroid than a billiard ball.

Phact 5. There’s a small college in Oregon with its own nuclear reactor, run by undergraduate students. It has more female reactor operators than all the other research reactors in the world combined.

Man, this is very cool... today's pheatured guest is an American actor, writer, producer, comedian, magician, and singer. He is known primarily for his comedy roles on television and his dramatic and musical stage roles. On television, he is known for playing the title character on "Doogie Howser, M.D.," Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother," for which he was nominated for four Emmy Awards, and Count Olaf in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" which season three streamlines on Netflix on January 1st. Tonight he'll be performing at the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. Please welcome to the Phile, one of my favorite celebrities... Neil Patrick Harris!

Me: Man, oh, man, are my friends gonna be fucking jealous. Hello, Neil, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Neil: Nah, they won't be jealous.Thank you so much. It's good to be here, Jason. You do good work. 

Me: Yeah, they will. Okay, so, you are one of the most loved actors on the planet, I never hear anything bad about you. Now you're playing a villain which is kinda weird. Is it fun to play this kinda villain role?

Neil: Yeah, it's actually been fantastically freeing. I wanted to make sure, after I've read the books, and gotten into Daniel Handler's mind, that Olaf was singular in his intent, which is just badness. Trying to inquire a fortune, trying to destroy either the physical lives or the emotional well-being of three children. I wanted to make sure there was no empathy, and find that he was a good guy at all. I think in this story having him behind them, trying to stop them at all cost singularly. But to answer your question, it was easy-ish to play bad and weirdly fun. We live as human beings, I hope, trying to make good judgment decisions that have positive influence and so getting paid to do the opposite has been quite fun.

Me: Okay, who is Daniel Handler? I thought Lemony Snicket wrote the books.

Neil: Daniel Handler writes under the pen name Lemony Snicket. Haha. You should interview him. Actually, maybe not. Haha.

Me: Okay. What should I ask Daniel if I interview him?

Neil: Ask him about the power of not underestimating children.

Me: Oh, cool. I will. so, how can you describe Olaf?

Neil: Well, I want him to be a bit like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner. He keeps coming up with this devious plots he's convinced will be successful in every way and he fails and he doesn't seem to learn from that, and keeps texting new versions of it. So there's a comedic element to it, he's not just nefarious, awful and horrible he's also a bit zany and delusional. Hopefully people will still enjoy watching him and not just cringe.

Me: I haven't seen the show but I know my son has. He loves that show. Is the show aimed for kids or adults?

Neil: This is one of Netflix's big entries into what they are calling the "four-quadrant program." It's as much for adults as it is for kids. Given that's a big demographic we want to make sure it's still watchable for 10-year-olds.

Me: What do you think Daniel does so well in his writing, Neil?

Neil: Through these stories of darkness and despair and failure there's an understood appreciation for the minds of children. I think he writes from the perspective and from the based idea that kids are smart and in many ways kids are more aware than adults are. So, these adults, Mr. Poe who is the banker who is handling their finances he is so into his work and wanting to get a promotion that he can't even engage in the conversation with them when they tell him the man standing next to him is Count Olaf in a ridiculous disguise. It means that Poe is not ignorant it's just he's an adult and he's distracted and he's an adult and think he knows better. I think that ideal, that way of thinking, is sort of honoring children, that they're able to see through things, that they are able to see things from a point of truth whereas adults seem to see things from exhaustion and agenda.

Me: Do you think "A Series of Unfortunate Events" can be seen as a positive story?

Neil: I think it does speak to some kind of positivity, some level of strength that the Baudelaires have. They realize in season two, in book four or five, that they can't count on adults to solve their problems, that they have to stick together and create their own future independently. And I think that's noble.

Me: I met you a few times at Disney, as you know, and your family. Your kids seem so bright. I remember Harper, your daughter asking me if I was from London because off my accent. She nailed it on the head. What are they into?

Neil: Our kids love adult content and Harper, who is 7-years-old, is very interested in dark things, like dark content. She really wants to watch horror movies. She doesn't understand why she can't watch Poltergeist. It's kind of all she wants, and from her point of view it's rated PG, so therefore she should watch it. We say, "Harper... that was before they had PG-13, and you're not going to watch Poltergeist." She wants to be scared but as an adult and as a parent I have to draw the line and figure out what "scared" should mean to her. I love how kids historically have been drawn to Grimm's fairy tales. I think we need in some ways when we're telling kids not to play with matches it's kind of an impactful story when it's one of a kid who sets himself on fire. I think kids can still separate that that's a fictional story but it's taking it to the extreme. Opposed to talking at kids it's one of the things I'm most proud of as a parent, and David, my husband, agrees, is that we really have always talked to our kids as if they're people. I was zinged for it a lot when they were much younger. I would talk reason, I would explain how things worked, I would explain how the brain worked. And he would look at me and shake his head, saying, "Dude, they're 3-years-old. They have no concept of what you're doing." But I think more of the energy of it all, of treating them like they're people, makes kids want to behave as such and not just stick a thumb in their mouth and wait for an adult to tell them not to touch something.

Me: Do you think a big part of how you are raising your kids, and talking to them is because when you were a kid you were surrounded by adults?

Neil: That's interesting. I was sort of put in a position at probably 15 or 16... probably when Doogie Howser started... where I was tasked with a lot of professional responsibility at an age where most kids are fumbling and thought to be incapable of that kind of responsibility. So I guess that kind of plays into that, but when I grew up in a small town in New Mexico my parents made a point to talk to us like regular people. I think it helps. I've always been the guy who loves process, who loves figuring out the structure are, figuring out the most productive way to exist in that structure, whether it's a family structure or a work structure, whatever it may be I think it's good to have a larger perspective than just I'm a kid, I cause trouble and adults don't understand me. My kids kind of understand where I'm coming from.

Me: So, you piss me off, Neil. You dance, sing, act, and do magic. In "A Series of Unfortunate Events" you do it all, right? Do you think that role was written for you? Haha.

Neil: Yes, well, in two ways I see that. I think the musicality came about because Daniel and Barry Sonnenfeld, who is our lord and savior, executive producer, show runner, amazing director and all around stellar man, they love music and it's the one thing you can't put in the books. So they wanted to add some musical elements to it to make the TV show separate from the books. The magic stuff they just always tend to throw my way. "Olaf produces tickets from the tips of his fingers." They just trust that I can do that which I am able to do.

Me: You played so many different characters in the past, Neil, what do you like about the characters you pick to play? Is it hard to pick?

Neil: Nope. My work from the last few chapters has been playing someone who was relatively extreme but still managed to be watchable. I think Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother" was kind of that. He was the friend that you'd didn't quite know why he was your friend. He was the one who would throw you under the bus, he was the one who would get you stupid drunk, he was the one who would embarrass you publicly, but he did it with such gusto and such positive enthusiastic commitment that it was still fun. Then when I went and did Hedwig & The Angry Inch after that again she was a transgender east German failed punk rock star who was convinced that has things gone differently she would be very successful. I looked nothing like myself and I told this two hour monologue with intense punk rock songs. It would requite me to commit to a level that defied subtlety as a safety net. It went well, it was an exciting chapter for me and people responded to it well. So, when this came around and they asked me if I wanted to play someone clearly older than me who doesn't look like me, who talks nothing like me and throughout the show I wear disguises I have to come up with different personalities who have to be bad versions, because Olaf is a bad actor. So all of these disguises and characters that he plays have to be ridiculous, but also fully realized, but not so fully realized that you think that he's a good actor. Those are the kind of challenges that I like.

Me: How long have you been acting now?

Neil: I've worked a lot of years. I'm 44-years-old, I started working when I was 12 or 13, so I have a few arrows in my quiver. I rarely get to do as an actor to do this kind of thing for three seasons where it's almost immersive theater.

Me: So, I was told you sang on "How I Met Your Mother" and I didn't believe it. Then I looked it up and you sang "Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit" on the 100th episode. I think I watched the very first episode of that show, Neil. You haven't played that character for four years, do you still feel close to Barney Stinson or miss him?

Neil: Well, I love I got to play him, because he's the guy you can't stop staring at at the bar. He's the one you want to buy the drink for, he wore sharp suits, he had catchphrases, so it was a really fun thing to get to and do every day at work. On a sitcom, especially that one, which is Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, who wrote in a very interesting puzzle structure type of way that was a bit of a mystery who the mother was, and the whole thing took place as a story that Ted, the protagonist was telling his now teenage kids. All of the episodes could be a bit over exaggerated because as one tells a story to their kids they may get facts wrong, so that structure just allowed him to be this self-proclaimed awesome guy. That's a blast to get to do.

Me: Okay, like I said, I never saw the show, but my sister and her family loved it, and my good friend Jeff loved it. Do you know what that show means to people? Do people still ask you about it?

Neil: Yeah, they do. I think less so now that time has past but a lot of college kids, a lot of frat guys ask me about it. It was nice to have that kind of approval by the "bros" of the world. They would think it was cool that I was at their establishment or something. The whole purpose of doing a show like that it's to provide rest from someones daily grind. That's why someone turns on network TV with commercials and sit there and don't have to think to hard. I only say that because the TV landscape has changed so much. I tend to seek out shows that I've heard was good, that are not on a network show and I binge watch. There's something about setting the remote down and having a laugh about something, right? I many ways it was fun important work, and it affected people in a good way, but at the end of the day we were hoping to have a laugh and make people chill out and giggle for a minute.

Me: What did you love about the show?

Neil: That we could sucker punch you in emotional ways. They would have parents die, they would have break-ups happen, when you're looking at it through the lens of comedy and something serious happens I think it could more impact in weird ways.

Me: I first heard of you when I was a big fan of the Doogie Howser show. You were nominated for a Golden Globe before that show, you had such a busy life, do you remember your childhood very well?

Neil: Hmmm, parts of it I remember really well. If I'm reminded of things then I remember those things with great clarity. I have been working a lot, since "How I Met Your Mother" really. It's been pretty much a fun rollercoaster and other parts a lot of handwork. Because of that I feel like a marathon hurdler, I have to take the time to take the time to look backwards and appreciate what happened or sit in what's actually happening. My childhood was very unique and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Me: You were on the Carson in 1990 and did an amazing magic trick. I have a screenshot of you on that show...

Me: Do you remember that or is that a blur?

Neil: Oh, I remember that very well. I did a comedy magic bit, I pulled out my prediction which was a barcode. There's the comedy. I remember all those moments really well. I've got to do some strange things. I got to do a magic trick with Johnny Carson, that's massive.

Me: What was the first big thing you did?

Neil: It was a movie opposite Whoopie Goldberg in 1988 called Clara's Heart. I could still remember almost every day of shooting, where the cameras were placed, where my trailer was in location to the house. Those things did really seer into my brain in a fun way.

Me: I loved it when you hosted the Oscars. What is it like to host the Oscars?

Neil: It's my favorite part to be honest. I'm backstage in the wings, I'm looking at what I'm supposed to do next, I'm looking at the clock to see how things are going. I'm looking at what's happening on stage and whether the speech someone is giving is funny and worth commenting on, and if so, I quickly turn back to the writers. So, I'm working technically a lot in those. The Tony's are the best that way. It's such a great show because the Tony Awards are full of performances of musicals that are being performed all the time, eight times a week, so it's a great show to watch because I get to see what people get to do every night opposed to if you do a musical number on the Emmys you're going to do it once, you rehearsed it and you'll never do it again.

Me: Do you think you'll host the Oscars again?

Neil: I don't know. I was dinged for being too casual and not being formal and respectful enough. If I'm too stiff and formal it seems boring, and if I'm too casual and glib they say I'm not respecting the craft. I'm not sure how I can win that, Jimmy Kimmel has done a fantastic job because he could do that. He could stand there and say so those sincere things and boldly insult someone in the second row and it's super fun. There's a lot of eyes on the Oscars and therefore there are a lot of checks and balances and I don't have to worry about that with the Tony's because they are just begging people to watch the show.

Me: Neil, I hope this was a fun interview, and I hope my blog cred went up a few notches. I know you have to go and I wish we could of talked about The Smurfs.

Neil: It was good. I'm just glad to still be working. Thanks for having me, this was fun. I doubt your blog cred went up though.

Me: It did. Please come back soon on the Phile. Take care.

Neil: You too. See you at Star Tours.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course the fantastic Neil Patrick Harris. The Phile will be back on Monday with Andy West from Dixie Dregs. 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