Monday, October 21, 2019

Pheaturing Ruthie Foster

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Okay, there are few images that cause more backlash online than the sight of a plus-sized woman comfortable in her body. Children on the heavier side face high bullying rates starting as young as 3, with girls receiving an even higher amount of abuse for their bodies. Sadly, this routine body-shaming continues well into adulthood as the childhood name calling shifts into concern trolling over health risks. Obviously, there are health factors that weight plays into, but you cannot truly predict how someone's health by looking at their body. Basing health concerns off weight alone ignores how many thin people have eating disorders, poor diets, drug and alcohol abuse issues, and sedentary lifestyles. Conversely, basing assumptions on image also ignores how many plus-size people are physically active, eat well and have healthy blood pressure. At the end of the day, someone's health and body is their business alone, and not a subject for strangers to debate. But the culture of fatphobia has obscured basic human privacy under the guise of "concern." One example of the culture of concern trolling cropped up when conservative YouTuber Dominique Samuels took issue with a Calvin Klein billboard featuring the rapper Chika. Here's the billboard...

"Why do we need the morbidly obese to speak the truth in their Calvins? Out of all the black plus-size models that exist, you just had to pick the one that looks 5 minutes from diabetes to promote unhealthy living, Calvin Klein? You should be ashamed," she wrote. It wasn't long before other people jumped on the thread to echo her sentiments about the billboard. However, plenty of people took issue with Samuels' rhetoric, and pointed out how weird it is to get bent about an underwear ad. Others went on to point out how reductive it is to conflate weight with diabetes, when there are plenty of thin people with diabetes and plenty of plus-size people without it. Eventually, Chika caught wind of the thread and jumped in with her own responses to the body shaming. Chika pointed out how fixating on someone else's body just shows insecurity and internal ugliness, and went on to point out the absurdity of defending her own existence when she is hurting no one. She also pointed out that the billboard was taken down months ago, so the backlash is literally late. After Chika responded, even more people jumped on the thread to appreciate the billboard and point out the hypocrisy of Samuels' original logic. Everybody wears underwear, so why can't we see people of different sizes modeling it?!
Sadly, a growing number of people have sipped the Kool-aid of anti-vaxx conspiracy theories and decided to ignore decades of medical research. This has resulted in an uptick of unvaccinated kids, which presents a huge public health risk. Because of this, more schools have been forced to implement policies that demand families vaccinate their children lest they be kicked out. The recent emboldenment of the anti-vaxx community and subsequent backlash has given the Internet a lot of wild exchanges between conspiracy theorists and people with a grasp of science. One of the more satisfying exchanges took place between an anti-vaxxer who posted a sassy meme, and a commenter who laid out why the meme was deeply factually incorrect. Here's the meme...

A commenter was quick to lay out how and why unvaccinated children pose a threat to themselves, vaccinated children, and immunocompromised people who rely on herd immunity. "Well, doctor, I'm glad you asked. Your unvaccinated kid is a risk to every kid not just the vaccinated ones. As I'm sure you can recall from the hours of immunology lectures you had to attend the vaccine efficacy rate varies from vaccine to vaccine, but none are 100% effective and of course it would be imbecilic to expect them to be. That as I'm sure you will recall from your high school lessons in epistemology and logic is what is know as a Nirvana fallacy, but I'm sue I don't have to explain such a basic failure of critical cognizance to somebody as learned as you." The commenter laid out exactly how unvaccinated people quickly become incubators for viral mutation and pose multiple risks to others. The commenter beautifully dismounted from the take down by asking why the meme doesn't accurately portray a velociraptor. "Anyways glad I could clear that up for you, now when you have a minute do you think you could see your way clear to back up your ridiculous claims that the flu shot caused 50000 deaths and chemo causes cancer, because people are starting to suspect you are just talking out of your ass. Nice meme by the way but why doesn't your velociraptor have feathers?" Unsurprisingly, the person who posted the meme had nothing to say in response.
Jennifer Aniston just joined Instagram and made a classic newbie mistake: forgetting to check the photo for traces of cocaine. J.An (Does anybody call her J.An?) "broke the Internet" with her first post, a selfie featuring a reunion of all six of the friends from Friends. The whitest show of all time featured an even whiter cast member in the pic: a mysterious powder on somebody's phone.

Right in front of Matthew Perry is the phone with powder on it. Is it baby powder? Snow? Dandruff? Perry famously struggled with addiction during the course of the show's ten year run. My first thought is "I hope that Matthew Perry is okay." My second thought is "Hahahahahahahaha." The picture with what looks like cocaine has everyone wanting to party with Jen and friends. CNN repots that people were so jazzed about Aniston joining Instagram that all the excitement crashed that app. Hopefully whatever it is on the phone doesn't cause a crash, too. Internet sleuths have theorized that the "white stuff" isn't coke, but rather a blurry view of her phone case. But if that's her phone on the table, then how is she taking the selfie? Really makes you think.
McLovin' from the 2007 film, Superbad is still resonating with the youths! Most of you who were teenagers when Superbad was released will never forget the joy of the ridiculous McLovin' Hawaiian fake ID. I personally have not seen the movie. Anyway, Superbad skyrocketed the careers of Emma Stone, Michael Cera (although he had Juno the same year), Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen. It was a cinematic teen dream from the rom-com "coming-of-age" factory that is Judd Apatow. Twelve years later, McLovin' is still beloved. While we shouldn't condone underage drinking, 20-year-old Iowa University student Daniel Burleson is getting some serious Internet attention for using a McLovin' ID as his fake ID and then handing it to a police officer. Burleson was charged with "possession of a fictitious card" which is better than if he had used a real person's ID, which is a much more serious crime. Burleson was allegedly holding an alcoholic beverage when an officer discovered he was underage. When officers spotted the McLovin' novelty ID in his wallet, he was escorted out of the bar. The 20-year-old told officers he bought the license on Amazon which is so hilariously perfect. I really hope that the bartenders had a solid laugh before serving this kid a beer. While fans of the film are celebrating this underage man's Superbad experience, it also caught the attention of Seth Rogen...

Victory! Burleson himself even responded...

I hope he made a solid amount on Venmo!
It's Monday and guess what, kids? The final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer is coming out tonight during "Monday Night Football," likely continuing the trend of giving fans a lot to talk about without giving away actual details. Once again, that’s not a bad thing and should really be the basis for all blockbuster trailers. This will be the toughest task for our heroes yet and is expected to be the finale to everything Skywalker-related, at least when it comes to the movies. Rey and Kylo Ren are clearly the biggest characters of this modern trilogy, so they will probably get a lot of focus in this final trailer, which shouldn’t be a huge surprise. What we really want to know is if Kylo will be redeemed in the end because no one buys Rey going to the Dark Side, not for a minute. Unless you’re 10-years old, pretty much everyone knows she is going to remain a hero. Honestly, after the mixed reception to The Last Jedi, fans are really hoping that The Rise of Skywalker sticks the landing. Granted, J.J. Abrams is going to be directing it, so we can expect some solid moments from the director, along with his signature lens flare and maybe a reference or two to Return of the Jedi.
Instead of doing this little dumb blog I should be listening to this album...

Maybe not. I don't understand German. I think it's in German. If I had a TARDIS I would probably end up in the time of the Plague and surrounded by doctors in scary masks.

A few weeks ago at the Global Climate Strike some signs were giving us hope for the future...

While others were a little bit snarky but fantastic...

Hahahahahaha. Do you guys know Democrat Pete Buttigieg? He is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and candidate for president of the United States. Well, I think his campaign poster is kinda odd...

What the hell? So, Trump revealed a photo of how windmills causes cancer...

Halloween is right around the corner and some pumpkins are very scary...

Luckily I don't have student loans. So, I was told I'd see some odd sights at Walmart. I didn't believe it until  I saw this...

Haha. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Signs Your Girlfriend is Going to Dump You 
5. Your Visa card and your belt both hit their limit.
4. She's been wearing an engagement ring for three weeks, but you don't recall proposing to her.
3. She just started a college course that meets seven nights a week.
2. Her love letters come soaked in formaldehyde rather than perfume.
And the number one sign your girlfriend is going to dump you is...
1. Whenever she introduces you it's always "I would like you to meet an old friend of mine..."

Hmmm... if you spot the Mindphuck let me know. And now...

If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, call the National Drug Helpline at 1-844-289-0879.

From raising a glass to raising the dead. Okay, so, do you guys remember Ed Enistink, the guy who lives in the 90s? Here's his pic...

He would come on the Phile once in a while. Well, something happened to him that's not good. He passed away. Yes, I killed off a character. But apparently he had a daughter who also "lives" in the 90s. So, please welcome to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Emily, welcome to the Phile. How are you? sorry to hear about your dad.

Emily: Sup, Jason.

Me: So, how did he die?

Emily: He drank from a hose. I always thought that was okay to do. Guess not.

Me: I never drank from a hose in my life. Anyway, you are welcome to come on the Phile any time you want.

Emily: Whatever. I to go. I have a bunch of texts to take care of. And look at screenshots.

Me: Texts and screenshots? That doesn't sound very 90s to me.

Emily: Sure it is. Take a look!

Me: Oh, boy. This is as dumb of a bit as before. Emily Enistink, kids, the girl who think it's the 90s. That's such a stupid premise. Hahaha.

The 107th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Butch Patrick will be the guest on the while next Thursday on the Halloween entry. Now for some...

Phact 1. In May 2000, a fireworks storage located in Enschede, Netherlands caught fire and eventually exploded, destroying an entire city district and killing 23.

Phact 2. Left handed persons are significantly more likely to suffer from autism and schizophrenia while at the same time being much more likely to have an IQ over 131 and being more proficient at math than their right handed counterparts.

Phact 3. It is impossible for a centipede to have 100 legs. They have one pair of legs per body segment, but always an odd number of body segments, allowing for 98 and 102 legs, but not 100.

Phact 4. Canada was invited to join the United States in the Articles of Confederation in 1777.

Phact 5. The Blue Mustang statue, nicknamed Blucifer because of its glowing red eyes, in front of the Denver International Airport killed its creator in 2006 when its head fell on him and severed an artery in his leg.

Today's guest is is an American singer-songwriter of blues and folk music. Her latest album "Joy Comes Back" is available on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Ruthie Foster.

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

Ruthie: I'm great, Jason. How are you?

Me: I'm okay. So, where are you from originally?

Ruthie: Just outside Austin, Texas.

Me: I love your latest album "Joy Comes Back." Was it fun album to record? A joy?

Ruthie: Ha. Correct. It was a safe haven for me to go in and record while I was actually touring. In between touring and all of that.

Me: You have won so many blues awards, but your style of music is not just the blues. You do gospel, soul, jazz. Did growing up in a music town like Austin influence your music?

Ruthie: I think growing up in Texas I was exposed to all different types of music. From gospel and a lot of folks know a lot of blues music came out the state. Even conjunto and tejano music. It's just a real mix of folks there. That definitely influenced my musical taste. You'll hear different elements of those genres in my shows.

Me: I don't like it when people are narrow minded about music, only listening to one genre. Do you agree?

Ruthie: Yes, I agree. I think that's something people take away from my shows. Once in a while I'll get people who claim they didn't like blues music because it was too depressing or whatever the reason. But they saw another side of it because I don't just bring the genre, I try to bring a kind of an education about the blues. Blues is just about life. Having a witness to living it's just really about every day living. Plus what I bring to the blues, I bring those different elements... gospel and folk to the genre. I like to think I do any way.

Me: I was surprised on the new album you cover Black Sabbath's "War Pigs." Were you or are you a fan of Black Sabbath?

Ruthie: LOL. Yes, it was more of an experiment than anything. Again listening to different times of music. Like when I when to college I was way into my rock music. I always had friends that would bring different types of records over. That's how I got into listening to Black Sabbath and a lot of rock bands that were popular during that time. Even before that time.

Me: So, you play guitar, which is cool. What make do you play mostly?

Ruthie: I love Sun House. I love playing a resonator, I don't travel with it as much. I already travel with one guitar so I don't want to travel with a lot of guitars.

Me: So, what made you decide to cover "War Pigs"?

Ruthie: I was recording something else and I had the resonator and I thought it would be fun to play around with that song on the resonator and the slide. The intro to "War Pigs" is a blues line, melodically is a blues lick. I've always heard it that way. I just thought it'll be fun to break it down and bring that song back. Plus it's kinda relevant. It's interesting on how relevant it still is in this time.

Me: I love the title track, "Joy Comes Back." Did you write that song?

Ruthie: Thank you. It was a tune brought to me by my producer Dan Barrett, by Sean Staples. He's an artist in the Boston area. At least he was at the time. And it really said a lot about where I was headed in my life. I was in this place where I was just ready for some good news. I needed some good news and that is just what this song says. The album in a round and about way did a full circle back to that I think musically.

Me: How long did the album take to record? A while, right?

Ruthie: It took about two to three years to make.

Me: What made you decide to title the album after that song?

Ruthie: That particular song kept standing out because it's a theme to get back to.

Me: I am surprised someone else wrote the song as it seemed so personal. I really thought you wrote it.

Ruthie: Swan allowed me to write an extra verse to it, in that way I got a co-wrote out of this song. It was a thrill for me to at least have a little bit of a say and add to the song in some way. I think it's just one of those "hallelujah" chorus songs that is definitely a part of what I do live.

Me: You wrote a lot of the music for your prior album. How many songs on this new album did you write?

Ruthie: I didn't. I think that's just where my head was at the time. I did write some, and I was sitting on a lot of tunes before that but none of them really worked with the theme of this record. Again it really wasn't much of a theme I have been looking at, and looking for. I kinda wanted the record to be about just getting feelings and emotions out. If we had enough of a group of songs to make a record that's great. Yeah, I didn't write much on this one. I didn't write much on the last one either.

Me: How did you decide which songs to cover?

Ruthie: I really began a fan if music, I want just to go back to listening. That's how a lot of these songs came about. I was listening to groups like the Weepies. I've always loved them and Dan and I have just gone and seen them in concert in Austin before we sat and listened to some of their music. That's where the "Forgiven" song really kicked off this album. I wanted to record that song because that's pretty much where I was sitting in my life. Then it kinda broke me open and gave me a chance to do a little more recording with other songs I really liked. I listened to a few more writers in Austin. Grace Pettis had written a lot of great songs. I knew Grace and I knew her dad too. She brought a few songs in that ended up on this record. We just kinda let the songs come to us really as we were recording.

Me: Are you involved in the songs that you cover?

Ruthie: Absolutely. That's important because I'm the one out there singing these every week. Yeah, that's important to me. I want to record the things I want to say, I want to relay, and relate to people. I think even to relate to my own life. I think it's important to be present when it comes to picking the material for my records.

Me: How would you compare this record to the other albums in your career?

Ruthie: This was just done differently. It was done in my home town. I could go home and sleep in my own bed after recording. There was some days after we recorded I would show up for recording and we wouldn't record. I just wasn't in the place to be in front of a microphone and try to interpret a song I didn't write. Some days Dan and I would just sit on the porch and drink coffee and talk about life and our kids and go have lunch and then go home. In that way it was very organic and let me open to whatever needs to happen. It wasn't one of those albums I had to put together or felt like I had to put together in a week because that's all the time I got. My producer with the musicians and too the time off the road to record. I really took my time and really I've gotten used to putting out a record every two years and I really didn't think I was ready to record at all. I didn't see myself putting out another record. In that way the record really was organically because I was not in a place to record at all when Dan and I met.

Me: How did you and Dan meet?

Ruthie: We met through our kids. He was walking his kid around the neighborhood in a stroller. I was at my yard watering the yard, so it just kinda happened that way.

Me: You have been with the label Blue Corn Music for a long time, so I imagine they let you record on your own terms, am I right?

Ruthie: Exactly. I didn't want to be in a place in this music industry, this music business where I felt I had to put out a record. Blue Corn never did that with me, I can't say that about my management. They are here to guide my career, I'm sure they'd love to see my come out with a record every two years. That's what I do love about working with Blue Corn, they never get in the way of what I do, which is really important. Denby Auble, who is the president, I always considered him a friend and very much a partner with what I do.

Me: Derek Trucks plays guitar on the title track on the album, which is cool. I saw him play in concert when he was like 12-years-old. Who else do you have guesting?

Ruthie: We got Willie Weeks on bass on a song. I think it's "Open Sky" he's on. A lot of Austin players, Mr. Warren Hood. Warren Hood is the son of Champ Hood, a lot of folks would know. We've got Joe Vitale on drums who played with Crosby, Stills & Nash and God knows, so many other people. Joe was in the studio working with another artist and we grabbed him to put a few drum tracks down. Gosh, there's so many sweet, sweet spirits that jumped in and really helped us out. Background vocals. The bass player in my band, Larry Fulcher is playing on a couple tunes. I think he's on "War Pigs" and "What Are You Listening To?" I know he's on that. Samantha Banks is playing spoons, she came in and laid down some spoon tracks for "Richland Women Blues." That was fun. I know people love that live and I've never recorded it. I've been doing it live for many years and we finally got to a place and a record where the song really works. I'm really pleased to have a good portion of my band on this record.

Me: Have you had your live band for a long time now?

Ruthie: Yeah, pretty much, I've had known Samantha for about twenty years now. She and I started out in two separate bands. She was in a fusion band and I had a local band in the Brazos Valley region in the Austin area. We've known each other for a long period of time, and played together for about fifteen of those years. Larry came to us maybe about five years ago. He still plays with and travels with the Phantom Blues Band and Taj Mahal. So, we get him when we can. I have another bass player, Tanya Richardson who is my cousin, and she pops in once in a while too. She popped out of the band to drive tricks, she wanted to do her own thing, which I think it's great. So, a lot of the folks I had with me for a long time. They're like family.

Me: I interviewed a few members of the Phantom Blues Band year ago. Anyway, that's cool. Ruthie, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon. Take care.

Ruthie: Thank you, Jason.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Ruthie Foster for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Thursday with singer Robbie Dupree. Spread the word, not the turd, Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Pheaturing B.J. Thomas

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? I have to admit before I start with this entry that I did very little research for stories for the monologue today. And I think this first story will prove that. There's a special place in hell for entitled people who treat people in the service industry like shit. And a woman who tried to shame her manicurist for food shopping has earned herself a one-way ticket there. Screenshots of a text conversation between the woman and her manicurist were posted on Reddit, where commenters are giving the woman the dragging she deserves. The woman texted her manicurist after seeing her shopping at Tesco, a British grocery store. Her complaint was that the manicurist had no right to go shopping since she said she was "fully booked" and couldn't do her nails that week. "I am fully booked like I said, sorry xx" responded the manicurist with much more kindness than this woman deserves. Then the woman responded "But U got time to go to Tesco fort u work 6 days long hours." The manicurist, patiently, explained that she works Monday through Saturday but that she still "needs to eat" and also feed her three kids, who are all under age five. But the woman continued to shame her, saying that she already found "someone else" who "will work around her clients." That's when the manicurist, justifiably, lost her shit. The manicurist dished out one of the best comebacks of all time (and this blogger has seen 'em all)...

Fan dabby dozy... I'm gonna say that a lot from now on. It might be a song on my next record. Anyway, commenters are dragging this terrible woman for thinking her manicurist belongs to her. In conclusion... If you think it's okay to treat people in the service industry like you own them, please go suck a big fat hairy toe you bone idol idiot!!
The draft isn't the only thing the Trumps are known for dodging. They're also experts at dodging the hell out of a question, especially when it pertains to them facing consequences for their criminal behavior. Ivanka Trump was recently asked by a Fox News host to give her thoughts on her dad's impending impeachment and... surprise!... she evaded the question entirely, and is now being thoroughly roasted for it. The President's daughter was asked, "what do you think about everything that's going on right now with the Democrats' attempts to impeach your dad?" This was her quintessential non-response, accompanied by her compulsively touching her hair (a nervous tic triggered by anxiety, perhaps?), "I think everything’s a question of priorities. We have our priorities in the White House. We’re fighting every day for the American worker. We’re fighting every day to improve the quality of life for every single person in this country and we’re delivering in that fight and on that promise. That’s our priority. USMCA... let’s get it passed Congress." Literally no clue what she's talking about, but it's definitely not her dad's impeachment. Ivanka Trump's awkward, shady response went viral on Twitter, where people have been quick to call out the bullshit. We're supposed to take grifter first daughter's short hair more seriously, right? People were not above commenting on her uncomfortable hair-touching. Ivanka may be able to run from this question, but she can't hide, even behind that blonde bob.
For those not deep down the rabbit hole of unsightly Internet figures, Stefan Molyneux is a Canadian podcaster and YouTuber who promotes white supremacy through conspiracy theories (including but not limited to the white genocide theory), and now he's under fire for a recent misguided tweet about women and the military. In true keeping with his brand of pronounced ignorance, Molyneux recently posted a tweet instructing women to "sit down when war is discussed." Unsurprisingly, Molyneux's claims that women can't be drafted and thus should be quiet about matters of war, was quickly met with corrections, rebuttals, and an infinity of eye rolls. Some people were quick to point out that women are affected by men being drafted, because its their friends, sons, fathers, and brothers who are sent off to die. Others pointed out the fact that Canada doesn't have a draft, Molyneux has never served, and even if there was a draft... he's too old to be conscripted at this point. Others brought up the fact that Molyneux's tweet erases all of the women who have spent their lives serving over the years. A lot of people brought up reproductive rights, and how far right figures like Molyneux should keep their mouths shut about birth control and abortion. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described Molyneux as an "Internet commentator and alleged cult leader who amplifies 'scientific racism', eugenics and white supremacism to a massive new audience," and it checks out.
Heath Edward Bumpous told authorities that he robbed a bank in Groveton, Texas to pay for a ring and a venue for his wedding. "He basically stated that he was getting married tomorrow so he didn’t have enough money for a wedding ring that he wanted to buy and he needed to pay for the wedding venue," Sheriff Woody Wallace told KLTV. Bumpous walked up to a teller, whipped out his weapon, and demanded money. Bumpous's fiancĂ© found out about the robbery when she saw the Facebook post with surveillance video stills, and told her man to turn himself in. He has been booked into the Trinity County jail on an aggravated robbery charge. It's safe to say that he won't make it to the church on time.
There was a time where it seemed like an NFL player was getting arrested on the daily, but could those days be behind us? After a stretch of time over the past few years where the NFL would have an average one arrest per week, the league currently finds itself in a streak of three months without having an arrest, its longest streak since 2000 (which explains why the Cowboys haven’t signed anyone recently). A database showing every single NFL arrest can be seen at, with the last coming via Darius Philon of the Arizona Cardinals on an aggravated assault charge. Surely this blog entry will have jinxed it and an important player on whoever’s reading this' favorite team will be booked and locked up in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.
A few weeks ago at the Global Climate Strike some signs gave us hope for the future...

Others were a little bit snarky. But I love it.

By the way, did you know September 4th was a record day for the Stock Market? No? I have proof...

See? Haha. Ever go to Walmart to shop? I was told I'd see some unusual sites there. I didn't believe it until I saw this...

Hmmm. Ever see the panhandlers on the side of the road? Some of them I have to admit come up with some clever signs.

Football fans, there's a new Dorito flavor that just came out. Take a look...
Hahaha. Nacho year. Sorry, Cowboy fans. So, Halloween is right around the corner and there are some very scary pumpkins out there.

Told ya. It's Thursday, kids, you know what that means.

Oh. Shit. I don't know what to say. I hope you're not eating lunch. Ewww! Moving on... it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

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

Jeff: Hey, Jason, it's always good to be back here on the Phile! I'm doing alright. How about yourself?

Me: I'm doing good. I guess the referees really feel bad for the New York Jets. During the first quarter of Monday’s Cowboys-Jets game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Jets offensive lineman Brian Winters was caught on camera punching Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford in the back of his head. The play happened in front of a referee but no flag was thrown. Do you have an explanation why? I thought for sure a flag would be thrown.

Jeff: Yeah, that was definitely strange that the ref didn't flag him for that. It was kind of blatant to watch. I have no explanation to that other than maybe Crawford owed the ref money, but he didn't pay. So it was like a mob hit? I don't know.

Me: This made me laugh... The Seahawks celebrated a touchdown by doing the N'SYNC “Bye Bye Bye” dance. Remember when they said players couldn't dance after a touchdown? Has that changed? 

Jeff: A few years ago the NFL flipped the rule about excessive celebration. The new rule says you can't use any props in your celebration. Has to do with the players that would hide cell phones in the goal post and pretend to call someone to celebrate.

Me: Oh. Hahaha. This was funny and annoying at the same time... Chase Winovich comes up with the blocked punt for the Pats and scores!!

Me: Do you see where that ball ended up?! Ugh!

Jeff: Well that's certainly one way to use your head. Not the way he should have, of course. Yeah I saw that play on Thursday. Oops!

Me: So, what NFL news do you have?

Jeff: There's not a lot of news coming from the NFL. A few minor injuries mostly. It's been a strange season with teams that were supposed to be good being bad, teams that were supposed to be bad being good... and the Jets are the Jets. But even they won thanks to the returning Sam Darnold and a clearly blind referee. A few weeks ago I mentioned CB Jalen Ramsey wasn't happy in Jacksonville and he requested a trade. He finally got what he wanted. The Jags sent Ramsey packing on Wednesday to the Rams, in desperate need to end a two game losing streak. In return, the Jags received two first round draft picks (2020 and 2021) as well as a fourth round pick in 2021. Ramsey is a shut down corner back that is a headache on and off the field, but he can certainly back it up on the field.

Me: Yeah, and Jaguars fans responded with the classic jersey burn. So, America has another team back and made it more patriotic...

Me: What do you think?

Jeff: I like the colorful logo but surprised they didn't change their name like most of the other teams did. The Eagles logo is kinda simple. I like the new logo though!

Me: Hahaha. Guess they thought the name was patriotic enough. Okay, so, how did we do with the last picks?

Jeff: You and I have both been very consistent. We both have been going 1-1 for the most part as we did this week as well. But the Steelers won (with a third string QB) and the Giants played the Patriots. The Steelers now have the same ugly record at 2-4. But I have a few more wins than you. So I'm up...

Me: Ugh! Let's do this week's picks... I say Rams by 7 and Titans by 3. What do you say?

Jeff: I'm going to go 49ers by 5 and Jags by 7.

Me: Alright, I’ll see you next week, Jeff. Good job as always.

Jeff: See you next week!

What the fuck? If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, there's this really tough guy who likes to come on to the Phile now and again. He wanted to stop by today and tell us what happened yesterday. I bet it's lame. Anyway, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Martin, welcome back to the Phile. So, what's going on?

Martin Masculinity: Hey, Jason. I fell down some stairs.

Me: What? How did that happen? That's usually my job!

Martin Masculinity: I was coming down the stairs from an upper apartment floor and kinda tripped near the bottom of the stairs and stumbled into this one guy.

Me: Were you drunk?

Martin Masculinity: Maybe.

Me: So, what did you do after that?

Martin Masculinity: I was so worked up about being tougher than the guy I stumbled into I started doing push ups.

Me: Martin, I don;t know what to say.

Martin Masculinity: I'm tough, dude, I could't just not do anything!

Me: Okay. If you say so. When I fall down the stairs I normally end up in the ER.

Martin Masculinity: I'm tougher than you.

Me: That you are.

Martin Masculinity: Well, I am gonna get a beer. Talk to you later.

Me: Martin Masculinity, the toughest man alive, people.

From life's a beach to life's a bitch!

The 107th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Butch Patrick will be the guest on the Phile's Halloween entry in a few weeks.

The teacher said to the student, "The essay you wrote about you dog is word for word the same as your brothers." "Of course it is." said the student, "It's the same dog."

Today's pheatured guest is an American singer. He is particularly known for his hit songs of the 1960s and 1970s, which appeared on the pop, country, and Christian music charts. Please welcome to the Phile... B.J. Thomas.

Me: Hey, B.J., welcome to the Phile. It's so cool to have you here. You are played more than any artist in the modern era. You're a legend, sir.

B.J.: Thanks, Jason, good to be here. I'm fine. I had my 77th birthday this year and I'm still kicking. 

Me: I'm so glad. So, you're a legend but who did you listen to when you were growing up and how did you get into music?

B.J.: What happens to me happens to everyone that goes into music in somewhere or another. I loved Frank Sinatra, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, I was listening to these guys when I first started getting into music. I happened to meet Bobby "Blue" Bland when I was 13. I went to the back door where he was appearing and for some reason they let me in. I had 150 Sinatra albums at one time when I was back in my 30s. I loved those guys and kind of went to school on what they were doing and the ways they were doing it. Especially Mr. Bland and Jackie Wilson and all those guys, I locked into when I was about 15. Anyway, all that led me to Memphis and I recorded, I just had "Eyes of a New York Woman" that I recorded in Memphis in '68 I guess. Then I recorded "Hooked On a Feeling," which was a big popular songs of mine and one of the most popular songs I do in a live performance.

Me: That's one of my favorite song of yours, sir, "Hooked On A Feeling," which they used so well in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Okay, with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" from the movie Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, how did that happen, you doing that song and it getting into the movie?

B.J.: "Hooked On a Feeling" put me in the back of Burt Bacharach's mind. Actually right after "Hooked On a Feeling," Florence Greenberg, the lady that owned Scepter Records in New York who was a great independent label, they had 'Twist and Shout," "Louie Louie," they had Dionne Warwick, they were huge... Chuck Jackson, and they had me. When I first signed with them I think it was widely believed in some areas that I was African American. Just from the sound of my first hit, so they were drawn to that. Also Steve Tyrell, who is a childhood buddy of mine and we're just like brothers, we grew up together and we were in competing bands, and what have you, he was working with Scepter Records, he got them to sign me when I had "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" was a number 1 record in Houston at first and he got them to sign me and it was my first million seller. Just from they get go Burt Bacharach and a Hal David song would be perfect for me and we worked on that. After "Hooked On a Feeling" they asked Gloria and I to move up to New York and Gloria and I had just gotten married. Florence said if we moved up to New York she thinks she could get me a session with Burt Bacharach. That sounded good, although I was living in Memphis. I was very aware of Burt Bacharach so we did, we moved up to Manhattan and I began to sporadically see Mr. Bacharach and work on this song and that song so I was just kind of in his mind. I had Steve Tyrell pushing him to, encouraging him to record me. Nothing was really happening for awhile. Then one say Hal came to me with the lyrics to "Raindrops Keep Falling' On My Head" and obviously it was not a Dionne Warwick song. With Steve's urging he picked me to do it so.

Me: What was it like working with Burt Bacharach?

B.J.: I flew out there. I was working three nighters in the midwest and I was worn out. When I flew out it turned out I had an acute case of laryngitis. I went to the doctor the day before we were to rehearse and he said this was the worst throat he had ever seen. He didn't want me to even speak for two weeks. I said I had a rehearsal today, I've got a session tomorrow for a song in a Paul Newman movie. So he helped me as much as he could. I went out to rehearsal with Burt and of course he could tell right away that my throat was messed up. I was kind of the situation that after my doctor diagnosed me I went back to the hotel and I talked to Gloria about it. It was the kind of situation where it wasn't like I as gonna call in sick. It wasn't like I wasn't going to show up. I was going to show up and if Bacharach went, "Man, you can't sing a lick," and he kicked me out so be it. It wasn't like I wasn't going to be there. It was a great experience, seeing him at his house and he was married to Angie Dickinson at that time. She was a beautiful person and we're still friends.

Me: I wish I could get Burt on the Phile. I know he hasn't been doing well health wise. When was the last time you saw him?

B.J.: I last performed with Burt about 2 or 3 years ago, he just turned 88... I think he's 90 this year. He's still brilliant and charming. When he starts playing that Burt Bacharach thing it's incredible.

Me: So, that version we heard a million times you are singing with a throat problem?

B.J.: Well, I went in to do "Raindrops..." for the bicycle scene. I went to the studio and they've got this big screen and all the 20th Century Fox people are there and I didn't say a word. I went in and they only had three musicians, they had a guitar player, a banjo player and a stand up bass player. It was a very simple version of "Raindrops..." Not the elaborate ending, it was a very simple thing. It sounded more western if you will. I sang it down and I got to sing it about five times. One of the movie people from 20th Century Fox came up and said, "That's a good idea, B.J." I said, "Pardon me?" He said, "You kinda sound like Paul is singing it." I said, "Yeah, that's it." It was like it was almost meant to be that way. The scratchy vocal and the way to came off, it came off just perfectly for that movie and Burt won an Academy Award for "Raindrops..." and one for the score. He was happy with it because the phrasing was right and the feel was great but we rerecorded it with a big orchestra at the CBS Studios on Broadway in New York City about 6 weeks later. That version came out in October of '69 and no one would play it. In fact WABC in New York City said, "Nope, we're not gonna play it. B.J. is singing a wrong note in there first verse." So Florence Greenberg said to the radio guy she guessed Burt Bacharach missed that. Anyway they were given us a hard time about it but when the movie came out it was a Christmas release in '69, when the movie came out it was a Christmas release in '69 it just busted wide open. Then it sold about hundred thousand records in about 3 years. It was a huge Christmas movie and "Raindrops..." was the first number one reached of the 70s. Just a beautiful experience and great memories for me.

Me: I think I read that Robert Redford was not a fan of putting this song in the movie... is that true? 

B.J.: Yes, of course I never met Mr. Redford but I understand he basically refused to have what he called this pop song in his art film. How they were doing it was different, the soundtrack especially, the score was different because it was done vocally and not with a bunch of strings or instruments of any kind, except for the bicycle scene. I guess it really was an art film to them, but it was just a western to me, and to most people. He was dead set against it, and he was convinced I don't know how exactly, maybe after he heard the recording he changed his mind. Of course it did end up in the movie. I think, not to make too big a deal out of it, because they had a lot of great film songs in the Bond movies or whatever, Alfie, but I think "Raindrops..." was done in such a way didn't it make any sense or did it make sense? Ultimately it did make sense. It opened up an area where they could make a musical statement, in an unusual place. Now you can't see a movie that doesn't have a major song in it somewhere.

Me: That's a good point. What do you think of the song?

B.J.: The song to me makes a worldwide statement... the rain falls on everybody at sometime or other but of course the rain could be a metaphor for a lot of things. as long as you're free you don't have that many worries. It really relates to America, the United States... I had many discussions with Hal David about that song. He just kind of wrote in a very simple fashion, but made huge statements. He just did in his own way with the lyrics really said a lot about life and about Butch and Sundance. They're running, they're trying to stay out of prison and trying not to be killed but at that point they're free, they're riding a bicycle and they're all right.

Me: You had a shit load more hits so it's not like this one but was this the biggest hit you had?

B.J.: Yes, by far my biggest selling record. It sold well over 10 to 12 million copies. When you go through my catalogue a lot of times you don't see the gold stamp on my songs because record companies, I want to say this delicately, sometimes record companies accounting world not exactly be up to par and when they were in certain dire financial situations they would not register. They would have to register the song with the RIAA and they keep track of it and give the gold record. If you go back and look at Motown virtually none of those guys had a gold record because their accounting was unique. "Hooked..." was probably around 4 or 5 million.

Me: Do you ever wonder how your life would have been if Steve Tyrell hadn't helped you to get that song?

B.J.: Oh, it was huge. He was a huge influence there and for a period of time he promoted my records as the A&R director for Scepter and he eventually was my manager for a number of years. He really was important tony career. As a matter of fact we went into a studio and we are going to do an album together, Steve and I. We did a Burt Bacharach music album.

Me: So, you made a few gospel albums later in your career... what made you go that route?

B.J.: Sure. After I did ""(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song," I had some personal problems that proved too much for me my wife and I sat down and we had a beautiful little daughter and we sat down and we said we had it and we retired. After that I started working about 6 or 8 shows a year. After that out of nowhere I recorded this gospel album. There's a company in Texas that asked me to do it and it became the first platinum gospel album in history. All of a sudden I was back on the road but not in a pop sense.

Me: You have been pretty religious for a long time though, right?

B.J.: I'm not a religious person at all really. But I still sing the music, I love the music but I could never get into the religious precepts.

Me: Oh, okay. So, what's your favorite genre to sing?

B.J.: I was a singer with the band called the Triumphs. It was eight guys and we all talked about having hit records. We never expected to have a hit record but we were gonna give it our best shot. It was an education for all of us, especially me, because I learnt how to sing all kind of different songs. When we first started we just hit the Top 40 charts and there was every genre there. I never have chosen this or that, it's just a natural thing for me. We were a huge R&B band and we kinda learned.

Me: So, how did you chose to do the Hank Williams song "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and how did that version of yours come a hit?

B.J.: It takes a long, long while to get up in front of a great number of people. I had to really deal with that and learn how to do it. Being with the band helped me have my thing together and when we did "Lonesome," my buddy who was a songwriter and I went to see The Hank Williams Story way back, the original one in the 60s, and I started to do "I'm So Lonesome..." because I really like the way it sounded in that movie and my dad's favorite guy was Hank Williams and I've seen Hank Williams sing that song when I was 8-years-old when the Grand Ole Opry came. I did that song and put it on the B-side on what our little record was that came out on a little local label. I took it down to the Top 40 station and I played them the A-side and they said, "Hey, B, I don't think we could play this but whole you're here let's play the B-side." So they turned it over and he loved it. They took it straight into the control booth and within three weeks it was number one. During that time Steve had to help break Dionne Warwick's first record, "Don't Make Me Over," and Scepter, the label she was on flown him to New York when my song went number one.

Me: What was your first show like once you left Houston, sir?

B.J.: My first gig out of Houston they booked me with James Brown. For its time I was a lot more R&B than country. I went up to see Mr. Brown and he was a wonderful man. When me and my guys first showed up at the first sound check we looked like we worked at the grocery store but I hesitate to say it but I feel that he really liked me. He took me under his wing, he could see we really didn't know what we were doing. He really taught me a lot for the short time I was on tour with him. Of course my next step was with Dick Clark and I toured with Mr. Clark a couple of times.

Me: I interviewed a few people like Freddy Cannon who knew Dick Clark. What was he like to you?

B.J.: He was a good guy, he was very charming. Everybody knows what a beautiful handsome guy he was, and he was well spoken. He was just an all time great as far as that kinda thing goes. He was very astute and a hard business man. That's the only thing he might ruffle a feather here or there. He knew how to do business. I never had any run ins with him. When I went out on that tour every week Dick would come in and I'd meet him in his hotel room or whatever and he'd come up and pay me and he was a great guy. It was pretty cool to get my money from Dick Clark.

Me: Wow! That's so cool. So, I mentioned "Hooked On a Feeling." Ten years after your hit with it Blue Swede comes out with a different kinda version of it, that's the one in the Guardians movie. What did you think of that? It has the ooga-chaka beginning, your version didn't.

B.J.: Well, let me first say obviously it was a great production. It was a great idea to do the yoga-chaka thing which was taken from a Johnny Preston record called "Running Bear." The guys sang pretty good, it was a great production and I totally think it was a great record. My problem is I've gone out my way not to cover people, Hank Williams was gone and I did "Don't Worry Baby" in '77, the Beach Boys song. The problem I had with the Blue Swede band and the producers is they had covered a few of my other records also. It was a little soon, you said ten years but it was more like three years. I didn't dig it but it didn't keep me awake at night. I don't have an axe to grind other than they covered a lot of my music and in the long run I didn't appreciate that. If I met them now I'd shake their hand no problem.

Me: Why do you think your version was better, or do you?

B.J.: I think what made my version and what helped it ultimately sell a million copies and do a lot of good things, was that sitar intro and instrumental by Reggie Young was just one of the classic guitar rides of all time. It has a lot of things going for it. It was really a simple but affective song.

Me: A lot of your hits were songs written by other people. Do you write songs as well?

B.J.: That's probably one of my major short comings, I wasn't a writer I should've been. I write a lot of songs, I have songs but I don't play them for anybody. I have a kinda feeling about songwriters and it's probably something I need to overcome at some time. My success I think a big part of it I worked with some of the all-time greatest songwriters, that ever lived. I've been very fortunate that I was always in good situations with great writers.

Me: So, you went to the Oscars I believe when "Raindrops..." was nominated. What was that experience like?

B.J.: After the Academy Awards they have a big beautiful dinner called the Governors Ball and all the presenters and actors and winners, they go. We went and we were at a table with Mr. Bacharach and Angie and of course my wife Gloria and I, my brother and Steve Tyrell, and also at the table was Dennis Hopper. We had really good table and at one point Steve said let's going looking around and we took a walk around the entire ballroom and saw all the great actors like Elizabeth Taylor, and we were just taking a good look at everybody. John Wayne had won an Oscar that night for True Grit, whose song was competing with us for the Oscar and we walked over and John Wayne was eating. He happened to be eating a little dish of sorbet and the photographers rushed up to take his picture and he said, "In no uncertain terms do not take my picture eating this sorbet." He finished it and they backed off. He pushed it aside and pulled all the whiskey bottles over and he said, "Okay, now take the picture." We got a big kick out of that. It was a wonderful experience doing the Academy Award show, I had a big production number that was about fifteen minutes long. During the rehearsals I thought we were gonna win this thing, and of course we did and it was a great night.

Me: Did you ever meet Elvis?

B.J.: Oh yeah, I met Elvis many times. He was a wonderful guy. I think we all know Elvis loved every singer. He really liked me, and when I went to Graceland my albums were in a stack in his music room. I was so privileged to meet him and he had a certain presence that's totally unmatched. Ultimately there's a sadness there, that I'm always reminded of when I get into his stuff. He's the greatest star and personality of all time. He was a wonderful guy, he treated me really great, he knew all about me when I first met him. I just had a serious problem in New York City, I've been in the hospital for almost a month and he knew all about it. He was really great that way.

Me: Didn't you once fill in for him in Vegas? Am I right about that?

B.J.: When he passed he had three shows left and I filled in a couple of them. I loved doing them and able to say that and I loved doing something for him bit it was such a deep sadness.

Me: So, I have to ask you about the "Growing Pains" theme. I actually like that theme song. Hahahaha. How did that happen?

B.J.: I was just hanging at the house and the phone rang and the guy said, "I'm Steven Dorff and I'm a songwriter in L.A., We're out here writing a theme song for a pilot they're making. The songs sounds so much like a B.J. Thomas song that we have to know what you do it." I said yeah, I'd love to do it. He said they would finish it out and send it right to me. I flew out to California and did the song for the pilot. I guess the biggest thing in the pilot was Alan Thicke and Alan was kinda in a lull and low point of his career and no one really expected anything. But the first time it ran in New York City is was the most watched TV show that night and had about a ten or twelve year run. I did a couple of versions of it. I did one version that was just solo for a couple of years, then I did a version with Jennifer Warnes, which was a a good one. Then ultimately I did a version with Dusty Springfield. She's an incredible singer. Then I did another solo version before they finished their run.

Me: Cool. So, I'm 50-years-old, and you have been in the music industry the same amount of time. That's crazy. The industry has changed a lot since then. What do you miss most about it?

B.J.: Well, if I had to say one thing it's the radio. I realize now that it's so different, the Internet and on-line stuff has made it a whole different game. But for years and years radio has been big corporate ownership and all the stations would play our hit records. Back in my time I always felt like if I cut a good song it would find its way. There was a local station that might play my record for a week or so, even if they didn't like it. Stations had a freedom to play because individual disc jockeys and program directors had the freedom to play what they wanted to. Now I think they got thirty records they could play and that's it. They are benefits now because I can go right now to download my favorite album by my favorite group so there are a lot of great benefits to it. I think a lot of music goes missing because to get a record out now it takes at least a billion dollars to let the country know that there's a record out. When McCartney comes out with an album or James Taylor comes out with an album I never hear it, unless it is a number now or Top 10 because they have these huge following. I have a lot of respect for hip hop and rap music, I like a lot of it and it's all cool. The different genres in music we just don't hear that in any one place any more.

Me: I like your last album from a few years ago called "The Living Room Sessions." What made you do that album with new versions of your past catalogue?

B.J.: Well, I think that new music at least for me is kinda making me and pushing me, I am writing as we speak. If I get some new stuff I'm gonna have to write it. We were always against rerecording our material, anyway, these are people we know in Nashville and they came up with the concept let's do it acoustically. They made it interesting and we really enjoyed doing that. I've been in the business for a while I know the music and everything across the board it's always about the new guy. There's always someone coming along, thank goodness because that's what keeps American music so good and the music across the world so good. It's never just one guy forever.

Me: So, you had a lot of highs in your career, any lows though?

B.J.: Yeah, they have been many, many, many lows times. I've had every dramatic life. We've had so many highs it's ridiculous. I had a number one record with "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song," and I was flat broke. I was such a low point with my drug and alcohol use I couldn't perform and I was just there and nothing was happening. I had many lows. 

Me: Awe. Okay, so, you had so many hits... what is your favorite song of yours that you are most proud of?

B.J.: Well, there is a song, it was a song that I've written and recorded with Jimmy Webb. It's called "Song For My Brother." It's me and Jimmy, of course I was singing and he's playing the piano. Its a beautiful song but doesn't have the most significance. I go back to "Lonesome..." which has a connection to my dad, my family and my first record, but that was a very beautiful experience I had with Jimmy. I used to do it live, maybe I'll start doing it again.

Me: Nice. B.J., thanks for being on the Phile. Please come back again. I hope this fun. All the best. 

B.J.: Thanks, Jason, good work you do and I will be glad to come back again. All the best to you too.

That was really cool. That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course B.J. Thomas. The Phile will be back on Monday with blues singer Ruthie Foster. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon