Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Pheaturing Stanley Clarke

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Tuesday. While the rest of the world is arguing over whether or not "Game of Thrones" had a satisfying ending, lawmakers across America are fighting to strip women of their rights and overturn Roe V. Wade. Cool cool cool cool cool. Naturally, women across the country are outraged, and aren't being shy about it. And while women/those who can get an abortion's opinions are the most relevant here... since it is your bodies being threatened... you do need men to stand by your sides for this. You don't need them to grab the microphone from you and monopolize the conversation, and you certainly don't need them explaining your own bodies to you, but you do need them to acknowledge that they also benefit from abortions. Abortions don't just effect women... they effect everyone. And to pretend they don't leaves women alone at the front lines of a battle meant to undermine your existence and your freedom. Thankfully, writer Carvell Wallace decided to step up to the plate and share a story about how his life was saved by an abortion. Other men followed by example and shared their own stories. Louder for the people in the back! No, seriously, keep telling these stories.
It's very hard to write a satisfying finale for a beloved show that people aren't ready to say good-bye to. You're caught in a catch-22 where you either systematically tie up every conceivable plot line in what seems like a try-hard finish, or you leave fans confused about the purpose of certain story arcs. The difficulties being acknowledged, it's safe to say that a lot of fans were disappointed by the "Game of Thrones" finale. Naturally, since the show was based on, and inspired by George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire, the world was eager to get his thoughts on the finale. On top of that, fans eagerly waiting for him to finish the book series are hoping that readers will get a different ending than the show. In a post on his Not A Blog, Martin praised show runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and clarified that the book ending will be very different, for a myriad of reasons. For one, as he pointed out, the show only had 8 hours to fit a whole final season's worth of writing, whereas Martin's last two books alone will take up at least 3,000 pages. On top of that, the books have killed off different characters and include characters not present in the show, so it's a different animal, or dragon, completely. As for when his final books will be released, and how he feels about the ending itself, Martin managed to be eloquently vague about it all... "I'm still here, and I'm still busy. As a producer, I've got five shows in development at HBO (some having nothing whatsoever to do with the world of Westeros), two at Hulu, one on the HIstory Channel. I'm involved with a number of feature projects, some based upon my stories and books, some on material created by others. There are these short films I am hoping to make, adaptations of classic stories by one of the most brilliant, quirky, and original writers our genre has ever produced. I've consulted on a video game out of Japan. And then there's Meow Wolf..." As of now, it looks like readers will have to practice patience, and accept that the books and the show function on completely different timelines. For better or for worse.
Alabama is in the news again. First they passed an extreme anti-abortion law aimed to challenge Roe vs. Wade in the supreme court. Then Hank Williams Jr. offered the public $6,000 to help him find is "possibly missing" grandma's shotgun. And now, according to AL.com, Alabama Public Television (APT) refused to air an episode of "Arthur" featuring same sex marriage. In the episode “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” which aired nationally on May 13th, Arthur and his friends attend their teacher Mr. Ratburn’s wedding to his same sex partner. APT chose to air a re-run of Arthur that didn't feature the wedding. APT also chose not to run an episode of Arthur where Buster Baxter has a playdate with a girl who has two mothers. Mike Mckenzie, director of programming at APT said in an email, “Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire.” “More importantly... although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards... parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for 'Arthur' also watch the program.” Alabama: Where they're making women give birth and getting uptight over a gay wedding of anthropomorphic children's cartoon characters. Roll Tide, War Eagle, whatever the fuck...
Society loves to tell women what we can and cannot wear. I'm sure you're over it, ladies, and so is Katey Johnson, who runs popular blog The Mother Octopus. So during a girls' trip with her BFF, she decided to stick it to convention by rocking a little black dress she claims she has "no business wearing." "When I tried it on I knew the dress wasn't made for my 5’2″ body, 160 lb. body, but I felt great in it," writes Johnson, 40, in a viral Facebook post. "I’m not known to wear form-fitting clothes. At all. But I wanted it, so I bought it. And I was proud of myself for it." And now the Internet is proud of her, too. Because Johnson shared a photo of her wearing the LBD on Facebook, along with a powerful post about body positivity, and it's racked up over 4,000 shares in three days. Here's the pic...

In the post, she explains why it's important to her to let go of self-image and the restrictions you put on yourselves, and "start being kind" to yourselves. Commenters are applauding her newfound confidence AND telling her she looks great in the dress. Wow... judging from everyone's reactions, it's almost as if... it's no one else's "business" what you do, or don't, choose to put on YOUR bodies. Which is why I say, ladies, wear pajamas to work.
Nigel Farage, the Brexit hype man famous for racist demagoguery and a face as rubbery as Mr. Bean's, got a milkshake poured on him by a protester and it's a laugh and a half. Will taxpayers have to pick up the dry cleaning bill? The act of "milkshaking" is sweeping the United Kingdom like Beatlemania, and Scottish police are trying to put an end to it by cutting off protestors' supply. The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a milkshake is a good guy with a milkshake.
If I had a TARDIS I would, knowing my luck, probably end up on a boat with Fidel Castro and El Che...

I didn't see "Game of Thrones" but apparently a gay wedding is not just on "Arthur."

I have no idea who those people are. Wait. isn't one of them Jon Snow? Did you know that Avengers: Endgame was gonna have another title? Here is the unused poster for the movie...

That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...

One of the best things about the Internet is you can see porn so free and easily. But if you're at work or school you can get in trouble, plus I want you to keep reading the Phile so I came up with a solution.

You're welcome, kids.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. So, there's this friend of the Phile who seems to get into fights wherever he goes. I invited him back as I was curious to know how he got the name "Pork Chop." So please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Pork Chop, how are you?

Pork Chop Eddie: Pretty good, Jason.

Me: So, I was wondering, how did you get the name "Pork Chop"?

Pork Chop Eddie: This friggin' kid challenged me to a fight over where my friend group was sitting at lunch. When it came time to fight after school, he said his mom had called and told him it was “pork chop night” so he had to go home. I then said, "Here's a pork chop," and punched him out. My friends called me “Pork Chop Eddie” for the rest of the school year.... and it stuck.

Me: Ha. I knew it was something like that. Get into a fight recently?

Pork Chop Eddie: Yeah. I told my friend Vanilla Ice ripped off Queen with "Ice, Ice, Baby." He proceeded to punch me in the mouth.

Me: Oh, man. What did you do then?

Pork Chop Eddie: I knocked his fuckin' lights out and carried on as if nothing happened.

Me: Of course you did.

Pork Chop Eddie: Yup. Alright, gotta go, I'm thirsty for a beer.

Me: Pork Chop Eddie, kids.

All your hair belongs to him now. BOW TO THE HAIR KING! So, there's this inventor who likes to come on to the Phile and tell us what his inventions he's working on. He said he has three more that he invented, so I'm interested in what they are. Please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Mak, so, what are your latest inventions?

Mak: Hi, Jason. My first one is powdered water.

Me: Powdered water? What for?

Mak: Because we all know water isn't completely pure H2O.

Me: Ummm... okay. Next?

Mak: Do you like jelly beans?

Me: Yeah, some, why?

Mak: How about flavorless jelly beans?

Me: That's dumb. Okay, what's your last one, Mak? Make it good.

Mak: Okay. How about an igloo that keeps you cold?

Me: Sure. Whatever. That's it?

Mak: Yup. I have a few other ideas. I'll letcha know.

Me: Alright, then. The world's greatest inventor, kids, Mak Asterborus. He's ridiculous.

The 99th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is,..

As I said yesterday obviously Leonard Cohen won't be on the Phile as he passed away about three years ago but his son Adam will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

One day a little cat was walking through the park when he came across a pond. He peered into the pond and noticed that at the bottom of the pond there was a little cocktail sausage. The cat was feeling quite happy so as the water wasn't that deep he reached in with his little paw, hooked the sausage out and ate it. The next day the cat was walking through the park again and peered into the pond. There was another sausage in the pond but this time it was a normal sized one, so the cat reached in. This time he had to put his whole arm into the pond. The cat hooked the sausage out and ate it. The next day things go basically the same and the cat again looks into the pond. There he found an enormous Cumberland sausage at the bottom for the pond. It looked so delicious but it was so deep that he had to really stretch to get it, then SPLASH... he fell in. The moral of the story is: the bigger the sausage, the wetter the pussy!

Today's guest is an American bassist and founding member of Return to Forever, one of the first jazz fusion bands. He has composed music for films and television and has worked with musicians in many genres. Please welcome to the Phile... Stanley Clarke.

Me: Hi, Stanley, welcome to the Phile. How are you doing?

Stanley: Okay. Let's get this going.

Me: Sure. Haha. when I read your bio I was excited to read you worked with some guy named Paul McCartney.  Haha. You also worked with Brian Epstein on something, is that right?

Stanley: Yeah, the first record label I was signed to was Nemperor Records and it was run by a lawyer named Nat Weiss, who was a lawyer for Brian Epstein, so that was always there. When I worked with Paul that kind of sealed it. I used to live a couple blocks from George Harrison.

Me: You are listed a co-write on Paul's song "Hey Hey" from the album "Pipes of Peace" which is pretty cool. Do you think it's cool?

Stanley: Yeah, I'm one of the few guys that actually written with those guys. I read in a book, one of those books with all the Beatles tunes, and their songs, it's funny, not too many writers are in there but you'll see my name.

Me: How did that get to happen, sir?

Stanley: Paul was generous. We were working on a song and it was a bass line I came up with, it was a slap bass line that they would know it's me. It was very generous of him to credit me in that and it was very nice.

Me: What do you think of Paul's bass playing?

Stanley: I always admired his bass playing because it was melodic. I've always liked the melodic bass players back in those days. Paul McCartney and James Jamerson.

Me: You have worked with soooo many people. Was Chick Corea the first major player you played with?

Stanley: I first met Chick in 1970 or '71. It's a little hazy back then. I met Horace Silver before I met Chick. I was still in college but in the summer time I would drive up to New York from Philadelphia and I remember going to an audition with Horace Silver. I was eventually able to play with him, we traveled a bit, mainly in the summer. I met a lot of people because obviously a lot of people came to see Horace. When we played in New York we played a real seedy club called Slugs. It had all those kind of guys in there, low scoundrel New Yorkers. But I thought it was exciting.

Me: Did working and being friends with Chick had an impact on your writing?

Stanley: Yeah, we both recognized we were writers. Chick really encouraged me to write for bands. We were together, we did one album and Chick mainly did the majority of the music on the first album... I think he did it all. Then he said to me, "You know what? I know you write music. Why don't you write something?" I said, "Nah, I don't feel like writing something. You know you got that together." He said, "Look, if you write the song I'll name the album after the song you wrote." He titled the album "Light as a Feather" and kept his word. That was a very good thing, even though he was really young, in his 20s, he had the insight as a band leader to be generous. I always tell the guys that have their bands to encourage the younger players to do things and don't be stingy. Chick could very easily said, "Alright, I'll write everything." I wouldn't have written anything as I really was not interested writing music for bands. I was really a bass player, that's all I wanted to do. But I got into composing and many other things like film composing, jazz songs, pop songs, R&B songs, all kind of things.

Me: When you write do you just jam or write everything down on paper?

Stanley: In those old days it was all paper because we had nothing to put it down. We had cassettes and there are very few musicians other than Frank Zappa that owned a studio, that was uncommon back then. The good thing for me was I was actually studying to be a classical bassist. I played a LOT of classical music and was preparing I was going to play for the Philly Orchestra then I met Chick and he kind of talked me out of that. I've listened to a lot of classical music so using music with that stuff as a backdrop is actually kind of easy. I remember the song "The Magician," that's probably the craziest thing I've ever written. There's a lot of composers I referenced in that, just things that went through my head from influences and things like that. It's very cool.

Me: You had a band called Return to Forever... was it hard to get musicians who could "keep up" with you?

Stanley: The beauty of Return to Forever, especially when Al Di Meola came to the band was they could play anything, at any speed. He was at 19-years-old a really accomplished technically. It's funny, his musicality had to catch up with his technical prestige actually. That was true for all of us, except Chick... Chick was pretty full blossomed by the time we played with us. We were young guys that had a TREMENDOUS amount of technique. It didn't matter hat he wrote or what anybody wrote we could play it and read it. That was fun for a composer. Lenny didn't read music but what was cool about Lenny was he's one of the few drummers that actually has a photographic memory. What we used to do with our complicated pieces we could say okay, this is at the end. We'll show him the end and say this is the third section. Then we are going to rehearse the fourth section then the first section and then the second section. He'd string it together in his head and lay the whole thing down. Then he would end up writing music and he would get me to notate it. He wasn't just a guy that owned the melody and said fill it in. He actually hummed all the parts, all the words, so it was very difficult writing with him at first because he knew EXACTLY what he wanted. If you played the wrong note he'll say that's not it. Later when the music software came out he would sit down and spend forever putting the chord down and that was great. That actually was cool.

Me: You are recognized as one of those pioneers of the electric bass. Do you hear people copy your playing? Mark King from Level 42 comes in mindful me.

Stanley: Oh, to me I don't know, I read somewhere that was the highest form of flattery. I just always had that in my mind. I remember hearing a record that Mark did and it's funny, I was in Spain and at this house where I used to go for holidays and I turned on a radio station and I thought I heard one of my songs and it was Mark. I thought it was cool, because he's always been very respectful of me and I'm very respectful of him. He is a great, great bass player. It's nice, I like it. When I came along and Jaco came along and Lenny Graham, it was a great time for the bass because a lot of things changed. Each one of those guys had their own thing they brought to the party. It must've been great to be a young bass player at that time, other than us. I sometimes wonder what it'll be like me listening to me and Jaco and Larry Graham and the other guys. It must've been fun because there's a lot of thins to reference. The bass, I believe out of all the instruments had a quantum leap as far as what people did with it. It literally went from an instrument not totally an obscurity but almost.

Me: Who was the first electric bass player you remember seeing or hearing about?

Stanley: Bill Wyman from the Rolling Stones. He was standing there and didn't look happy to me. I always had that kind of thing, I'm sure he was happy... maybe. He was just kind of cool, like most bass players just stood in the back. So it went from that in a short period of time to guys doing their own records, standing in front of bands, writing songs for the bass.

Me: Have you seen your bass player, mother, standing in the shadows? Hahaha. What did people think of you when they saw you playing bass on stage?

Stanley: When I took my band out for the first time headlining theaters and things like that people used today to me, "Man, this is crazy." I remember I was in Indiana and a promoter said my show was sold out. There was about 2000 kids there and we were playing, and this promotor stood on the side of the stage saying he didn't believe it. The rest was history.

Me: Do you think the bass instrument has changed and become more popular, or people choosing that instrument differently now?

Stanley: Yeah, there's thousands of bass solo records... not all of them are very good but "A" for the effort. It's a normal thing for a bass player to go to school now to learn an electric bass... that was a no no, the electric bass was not even considered a real instrument. Now it is, someone can go to college, they've got books on electric bass which they didn't have when I was growing up. I think Carol Kaye had one book but she just had whole notes in there, not a whole lot. Now there's method books and all kind of things. There's bass soloists that go out and play solo bass, there's all wild bass players now. So for me it's really fun and expanded a lot.

Me: How did you get to learn the style of playing you do?

Stanley: It was really natural because there wasn't much then. I started doing it then Jaco came on the scene, he had a whole other scene with a fretless bass, with a different tone and he played the way he played. It was stamped as a style. I don't think myself, or even Jaco, was calculated or anytime thought behind it, it was just it. A lot of it had to do with the instrument to. I remember talking to Jaco and he said he pulled his frets out or couldn't put them back in or something. That's the way it sounded. Me, when I finally got the Alembic bass the technology let me play a note and just cut like a laser beam though a band. I said shit, man, I'm out there, the note is out there, let me do something with it.

Me: I listened to the album "School Days" and like the title track, sir. I always wondered how instrumentals get their names... so how did that song and album get its name?

Stanley: I was watching the Grammys, I was very excited and happy... there was Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé, and we won this Grammy. I got very excited and it took me 5 minutes to write "School Days." In the morning I finished it, rounded off, put it on paper, put it in the closet and later that year brought it out again to record it.

Me: Did you think of putting a vocal on it?

Stanley: I was thinking about it but I didn't have time or money so we left it as bass solo. We used a great engineer, an Englishman named Ken Scott who also was connected to the Beatles, he did the "White Album" and a couple of other things. He did David Bowie and so many other things. He is an interesting guy you should interview, because he single handily framed the deep jazz rock sound. He did the first Mahavishnu Orchestra record, he did Spectrum with Billy Cobham, all these important iconic bass rock albums. That's what everyone copied. We went over to England to mix those albums because we liked the English sound opposed to the R&B sound in the states.

Me: Your music genre you played has changed over the years, Stanley. Why is that?

Stanley: As a musician, especially as a guy like myself, who loves a lot of different types of music, I couldn't find myself saying in one niche, so I moved all over the place. I was lucky to be able to in many ways experiment. My first 5 albums were a lot of experimentation. The first 3 are like a trilogy for me. They grow step by step and culminate with "School Days." Then I started going off in other directions, some of it was good, some of it was not so good. Not that it was bad but it was different, but it was all done in the spirit of experimentation. That kind of has to be there for me.

Me: You did a song with Louis Johnson, what can you tell us about him?

Stanley: Louis was great, a lot of times I used to record songs just to play with friends of mine. Some of my friends were outside the circle of jazz. I don't really believe in that circle anyway. Louis was a friend of mine, he came up later after me, he was a younger guy and was really funky and really took what Larry Graham did and really took it to his own thing. We used to gang out a lot, I used to hang out with a lot of different type of musicians... funk, R&B, country music.

Me: You also worked with George Duke, what can you tell us about him?

Stanley: Well, George was a really, really big force in music. He could do so many things well. He can come on the stage and play but he did 8 other things behind the scenes. He was a great engineer, amazing producer. Around the time when George started producing, I guess it was always there, be it with female singers or male singers that were great singers but they couldn't write nothing. They had no ability to write a note. So they would have to be put in the bands of a producer and the producer would literally have to come up with songs and fully produce that person. George was like that, he was a great songwriter and an amazing producer. I used to love to record with him because as a benefit not just him as an artist but as a producer. Our Clarke/Duke records were tremendous because of that angle. I learnt a lot from George. It was a tremendous loss when he passed away. A huge skill set disappeared in Los Angeles. I remember at the memorial I was standing next to Jefferey Osborne, the singer and a few other singers and he looked at me and said, "What am I gonna do now?" I said, "I don't know, don't look at me." George was a guy that a lot of those singers looked up to. Anita Baker, Jeffrey Osborne, Philip Bailey, a lot of singers, man, that he produced like Aretha Franklin. He could come on the scene and you'll know you were coming out with good songs. Not that there are not any good producers now but when he left he left a big space there.

Me: With all the different people you worked with from George Duke to Jeff Beck, is it all the same to you no matter who're you working with?

Stanley: You know what it is, I never really studied to be a "jazz" musician. I just studied to be a great bass player. I'll play some country music and play the hell out of it. Or I could play rock music, jazz rock fusion, whatever, classical music, pick up an acoustic bass and do whatever. I think there are many other musicians that are like that. I think that happens because of commerciality if I sell a bunch of records and they say they're jazz records then I'm a jazz musician.

Me: What was it like when you first met Jeff Beck and worked with him? I so what to get him on the Phile.

Stanley: After my "Stanley Clarke" album came out on Nemperor, I was sitting alone at home on Long Island, this huge limousine pulled up. It was a long stretch and this guy came out with a rooster haircut and came and knocked on the door with this other guy, he had a heavy English accent and asked, "Is Stanley here?" I said, "This is Stanley." Jeff came in and told me he was playing a song from that album called "Power." He was playing it live and just wanted to come in and meet me. He was playing in town in New York and before his soundcheck he wanted to meet me. He got my address probably from Nat Weiss and he just showed up and we talked for half an hour. I didn't know much about him. I knew he played in a band called the Small Faces or the Yardbirds, but I knew something about him. I said, "Hey, man, let's play sometime." The next album I did, "Journey to Love," I had him play on a tune. The tune was called "Hello Jeff." Then we started a relation, we recorded, went on the road, we did some really fun tours. I'd actually like to play with him again before we both get too old. I don't want to come out on the stage with walkers but he's very exciting to play with, we have a natural thing when we play together.

Me: I saw on YouTube a video of you and Gregory Hines on "The Arsenio Hall Show," I have a screen shot of it here...

Me: What was the story behind that performance? It's kinda odd, Hines dancing and you playing the bass.

Stanley: There was no rehearsal for that because that's kind of an old jazz tradition. The hoofers in New York and Harlem used to play, sometimes they'd be dancing and playing with a piano player for nickels. Sometimes a guy would have a guitar or even a saxophone and a guy would be dancing. It was a very traditional African-American thing, so it was normal. I knew his timing was great because he was a drummer, not a lot of people don't know that. His timing was impeccable, so I knew he could dance with anybody. When we played together I felt like I was playing with a drummer, because he is a drummer. I'll never forget when we showed up at the Arsenio Hall studio be brought his own floor in. All the technicians were like what is going on here. They all thought Arsenio was crazy anyway because all the weird acts he had on there. We did a short sound set but we didn't do anything. We sort of tapped our instruments, got sound and that was it. He didn't know what we were going to do. Arsenio was cool, he said just go out there and hit it. That was a great moment in television actually, I miss Gregory, he's another one. I really miss him.

Me: You mentioned earlier your film scores, you did like you did the score for Passenger 57, which was filmed in Orlando. What was it like doing film scores?

Stanley: I'm not sure if anyone can teach this or not, people have an ability to embrace the human condition. That's what film composers have. Why, I don't know. All I can say is I can see a visual and I can come up with some music. I have the ability to manipulate the visual. I remember many movies I've done where some of the most boring scenes in the movie are the love scenes. If I put the right music in the right place... there's all these different conditions that people are in and I have to be able to spit each one and I have to be able to write music for each one of those things. I also had in mind with Passenger 57 that this was Wesley Snipes' first action picture. I knew Wesley. Wesley saw me in a restaurant and said, "Hey, man, you better get it right." It was important to me because he was a like a black action figure, so I wanted to make sure that I got it right, rhythmatic enough that it would go long with his character at the same time which I think they missed out on what they call black exploitation films. Guys making love, you hear the wah wah pedal, he's running, you hear the wah wah pedal, he's upset there's the wah wah pedal. I wanted to change with that way of scoring with people of color, I wanted to to still have the rhythm that those the of actors need but at the same time have some musical stuff to create emotion because they are human beings. It worked out really well, so a lot of people know that, a lot of guys copied that.

Me: Are you still doing film scores?

Stanley: I don't so as much as I used to. I like touring, but every now and then, maybe every 2 years I'll do a film.

Me: Ahh. Okay, so, you're from Philly, you're clearly an Eagles fan... blah. Haha. Where do you live now?

Stanley: I live in the mountains in a city called Topanga, which is near Malibu. There's nothing there but coyotes and snakes. What is your football team, Jason?

Me: The Giants. I grew up on Long Island. When you do film composing do you write on bass? 

Stanley: I do very little on the bass. Although all the directors, every single one of them, want me to play some kind of bass. If you listen to all my scores there's some points where there's bass in there. Sometimes a lot, sometimes very little. I did a movie called Transporter and that movie has some very interesting bass in there. It's subtle but it's in there as the director wanted me to do that. There's a lot of bass in Passenger 57. Wesley wanted that.

Me: Stanley, thanks for being on the Phile. This was such a great interview. Please come back soon. 

Stanley: Cool. Good talking to you, Jason.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Stanley Clarke for a really good interview. Okay, so on Friday I am going to have a procedure done. They are gonna put one of these next to my heart...

With that said, the Phile SHOULD be back on Monday with legendary producer Rupert Hine. 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

Monday, May 20, 2019

Pheaturing Luke Bentham From The Dirty Nil

Hey, kids, good afternoon, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? On Friday A Man's Right to Know Act was introduced by Rep. Jessica Farrar of Texas. It was inspired by a pamphlet Texas doctors are required to give women seeking abortions. The bill would fine a man $100 each time he masturbates. It imposes a 24-hour waiting period for a colonoscopy or a vasectomy, and for purchasing Viagra. ​​​​ "What if men had to undergo the same intrusive procedures?" Farrar points out that Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. The bill was obviously introduced to make a point, and not actually pass, but some people were triggered. In response Rep. Tony Tinderholt issued a statement saying, "I'm embarrassed for Representative Farrar. Her attempt to compare to the abortion issue shows a lack of a basic understanding of human biology. I would recommend that she consider taking a high school biology class from a local public or charter school before filing another bill on the matter." Tinderholt introduced a bill that would charge abortion providers with murder. Now that the world has gone full Monty Python, you might as well watch the "Every Sperm is Sacred" scene from Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life. It would be funny if things weren't so crazy right now.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was attacked on Saturday during his visit to South Africa for the Arnold Classic Africa. The sporting event is described as a "multi-sport festival on six-continents each year. All events feature professional bodybuilding and related contests, amateur bodybuilding, strength and combat sports." The 71-year-old said he only realized he was kicked when he saw the video. He was in the country for the Arnold Classic Africa, a sporting event held in Johannesburg each May. I'm glad he's okay, and inspired by the "come and try" aspect of the event, which is described as a " programme for differently abled, children, parents, and pensioners who would like to partake in a specific sport or event they might be interested in." You go Arnold.
Women across the country are sharing their stories in response to the recent legislation in states of Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, and now the Missouri Senate banning abortion. Many of them are opening up in hopes of enlightening people about how common and necessary the procedure is. While others are sharing in hopes of making other women feel less alone, particularly those currently living in the states seeking to criminalize abortion. One woman, the Twitter user Brie, shared a personal story about an abusive ex-boyfriend who poked a whole in a condom in order to "trap her" in the relationship. During their second time having sex he poked a hole in the condom when she wasn't looking, when she bought a home pregnancy test and saw the results, he got excited and admitted it was on purpose. When Brie's friend took her to a women's clinic to confirm the pregnancy, they accidentally stumbled upon one of the many Christian centers posing as a women's health clinic. Rather than receiving comprehensive medical care, Brie was given a lecture about how abortion was murder, and would land her in hell. Since she was a minor, she was forced to go in front of a judge in order to receive rights to go through with an abortion. When she was granted rights to her own abortion, the procedure itself only took a few minutes, roughly five minutes to remove the embryo. However, the process of going to court and getting lectured at a "women's clinic" was much more traumatic. The manipulative boyfriend pulled a knife on her when she initiated a breakup, and proceeded to stalk her for a decade after she dumped him. The only thing that stopped him from staying on her trail was a full-on arrest from the police. She went on to share that she fully believes if she had given birth, he would have had more legal leeway to trap her in his life, and eventually she believes that would have led to him killing both her and the child. Brie revealed that this was the first time she's shared her story publicly, and while it's terrifying to open herself up like this, it's worth it if it makes one woman or girl feel less alone in their situation. Other people jumped onto the thread to commend Brie's openness and share similar stories of their own. A few people also gave shout outs to Brie's ride-or-die friend, who drove her to the appointments and remained a rock. Women should never feel like they have to air out their personal stories for the sake of humanizing a decision. But I do hope that as more women open up, more people listen, and others feel less alone.
Welcome to the United States of Amerikkka. In today's way-too-common segment of "white people being racist douchebags," two white students at Palos Verdes High School in Southern California are in hot water after a photo of them holding up a racist "promposal" sign went viral on social media and sparked a huge backlash, NBC reports. The students will face "severe consequences," according to NBC. It's good to see white people finally facing consequences for being racist... if only it were the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress and not a couple of idiot teens. But, hey, you gotta start somewhere! The photo, which went viral on Instagram and Twitter earlier this week, shows two teens laughing while holding up a sign which reads, "Bianca, you are racist but I would give anything for you to go with me to prom." Here it is...

Then, lest you had any shred of doubt that these teens are, in fact, racist: six letters in the sign are highlighted to spell out the n-word. Though it's not yet clear exactly what "consequences" these teens will face, let's hope it is, in fact, "severe" enough to actually teach them a lesson. The principal of Palos Verdes High School, Dr. Allan Tyner, published an open letter on the school's website, which reads, "Dear Parents and Community Members, Today I will be meeting with all students, class by class. We will review appropriate behavior and how the use of hurtful racial slurs like the one used on this recent picture posted on social media is unacceptable. I know that this one unfortunate event does not represent us as a school community. Racist words and racist acts have no place in our school community. We will rise above this, learn from this, and be a better school community because of it. Dr. Allan Tyner Principal Palos Verdes High School." Since the photo went viral and made the news, Twitter user and fellow student @Mayamardesich has been posting the responses from the school as well as the teens in the photo. First, the guy in the photo's little sister published an excuse/explanation in defense of her brother, who she claims "didn't know the N word." And the girl in the photo, according to @Mayamardesich, followed up with an apology-of-sorts, in which she also claims that the guy in the photo, who is rumored to be a foreign exchange student from Switzerland, "is not fluent in English" Excuse me while I role my eyes. If you don't already agree this is a load of bullshit, here's the (alleged) response from the guy in the photo...

I'm not one to support forced deportation (except Melania Trump), but this guy needs to GTFO. A freshman at Palos Verdes High School, 14-year-old Ava McCoy, told NBC News, "I find the sign highly offensive and extremely hurtful being a person of color. I think this behavior is intolerable and students need to be educated on the subject." Ava, I am with you 100%.
In most cases, new characters aren't introduced in the finale episode of a long-running show. There's really no time to give the proper exposition for a new character to make sense, and there's usually an array of other plot lines and relationships to tie up. However, the show runners for "Game of Thrones" went off-book with their finale episode by introducing a new character that functioned both autonomously and as a call-back to a recent episode: a plastic water bottle. In case you missed it, a few weeks back a Starbucks cup made an appearance in "Game of Thrones" episode, providing the fodder for countless memes and roast jokes about the show runners. And now, in the final episode, eagle-eyed viewers spotted a plastic water bottle in King's Landing. Could this, perhaps, be some sort of meta statement on consumerism?! Are these easter eggs meant as peek behind-the-curtain of producing an ensemble series?! Better yet, is there some sort of time-traveling element you've all been missing for the duration of the show? As these questions percolate the minds of fans now mourning the loss of their favorite show, the water bottle comments are flowing with more force than water itself.
So, instead of doing this blog I think I should be be listening to this album...

Maybe not. So, did you see last episode of "Game of Thrones" last night? I didn't but was surprised when I found out who won the "throne."

That's so stood. That's as stupid as...

Ever go to a museum and see a painting that looks like you? This woman did...

So, is your kid in school as "good" of an artist as the kid that drew this?

Hahaha. Oh. Boy. If you're thinking of cheating on your loved one you might wanna think twice after seeing this...

So he cheated on you... with his wife? Didn't know that was possible. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Comments From People Who Watched The "Game Of Thrones" Finale
5. The main theme of "Game of Thrones" finally became clear in the finale: the importance of breastfeeding to grow up big and strong.
4. "No one is very happy, which means it's a good compromise" is pretty much the main takeaway of this finale.
3. Only thing I’m happy about is Jon and Tormund being reunited...
2. Cersei and Jaime could have survived if they’d just moved a little to the right.
And the number one comment from a person who watched the "Game of Thrones" finale is...
1. Behind every king is a woman who dragged him around on a sled for three years never to be heard from again.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so there's a friend of the Phile who never has any luck... mostly to his own fault. He hasn't been on here for a while so I thought I'd invite him back to see how he's been. Please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Dindo, how have you been?

Dindo: Okay, I guess, Jason.

Me: Okay you guess? What is happening?

Dindo: I accidentally left an Asiatic Lily plant out in my apartment when I went to work. When I came home, I noticed my cat had chewed a bunch of leaves off of if, and possibly swallowed some. I immediately looked it up on-line and saw that lilies are extremely toxic to cats. They can cause kidney failure from ingesting only a small amount.

Me: Damn. So, what did you do?

Dindo: I had to rush him to a 24 hour emergency vet, where he had to be treated with high volumes of fluid via IV for 48 hours.

Me: So, how is your cat and what's his name?

Dindo: Floof. And my big Floof made it out alive and I couldn't have been happier he was okay, but the whole ordeal cost me close to $3,000.

Me: Shit, that's a lot. I hope you learned that if you have a cat, maybe you shouldn't adopt any plants.

Dindo: I did. I'm gonna go and make sure Floof is okay now. Byeeee.

Me: Bye. Dindo Nuffin, kids.

What's in a name? Hahahaha. There's this local teacher who is having a hard time this year she wants to quit. She wanted to come back on the Phile and tell us what happened recently. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Ms. Laststraw, what is going on? Why do you want to quit now? You have six days left of school.

Ms. Laststraw: Jason, I did quit. Today was my last day.

Me: What?! What happened?

Ms. Laststraw: A student handed in an article, which was supposed to go in a newspaper, that included no research and multiple emoticons. Emoticons.

Me: What? He never heard of Buzzfeed? Okay, go on.

Ms. Laststraw: So I gave the paper an F, and said come talk to me about this. I explained in short form why journalism exists, why it is important, and that his worst grade is dropped so this doesn’t have to hurt him. Hell, I would accept a redo. The student in question was an athlete and wanted to go to a big state school for throwing balls fast.

Me: Okay, so?

Ms. Laststraw: I got shit from the dean of students, my department chair, other professorial types. Why wouldn’t I let it go? Was I racist or hate sports or what? I just wanted him to try a little harder at the thing that was going to be his college major. I used to pick my words so meticulously because communication is so important. I held to my ethics, he got a tutor after a couple weeks, but it broke me.

Me: So, you quit because of this?

Ms. Laststraw: My mom had died less than a month ago and I had to explain my principal why “lol ;)” in the context of a journalistic article about a restaurant was unacceptable.

Me: I'm so confused...

Ms. Laststraw: Jason, this motherfucker threw balls fast and because of that I was supposed to pass him without question. Let’s go football, but between that and mom dying I could not go on. I figuratively died in that meeting.

Me: Ummm... sorry to hear about your mom. So, you really quit with only one more week to go?

Ms. Laststraw: Yep. This will be my last time being on the Phile. Thanks for listening, and have a good summer. Bye.

Me: This is sad. Bye, Ms. Laststraw. Ms. Laststraw, the teacher who wants to quit... and did apparently. I never found out her first name.

Herman Wouk 
May 27th, 1915 — May 18th, 2019
They called him "The Jackie Robinson Of Jewish-American Fiction." I have no idea what that means but assume it is something awesome.

The 99th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Obviously Leonard Cohen can't be on the Phile as he passed away but his son Adam Cohen will be on the Phile in a few weeks. Now do you wanna laugh?

A guy was in a cave, looking for treasure. He found an old lamp, rubbed it, and a genie came out. The genie said, "I will grant you three wishes, but your ex-wife will get double." The man agreed, and said, "I wish I had a mansion." The genie granted it, and his ex-wife got two mansions. The man said,  "I would like a million dollars." The genie again granted it and his ex-wife got two million dollars. Then the man said, "Scare me half to death."

Today's guest is the lead singer and guitarist for the Dirty Nil, a Canadian alternative rock band who won the Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2017. Their new album "Master Volume" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Luke Bentham.

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

Luke: I'm good. Thank you very much for having me.

Me: I was supposed to have you here on the Phile years ago and thought I did. Anyway, on your new album "Master Volume," on quite a few of your songs there's sound effects of car crashes. What's the deal with that?

Luke: I would say a lot of that is being informed by the fact that we were touring while the record was being basically written. We were developing the songs whole we were touring and on any given day we were in a vehicle for six to eight hours going across the interstate system of North America through the United States. Invariably we found ourselves in some sort of grid locked traffic situation and the reason for this always be some sort of vehicular pile up. We were just constantly exposed to those kinds of things. The inventible conclusion that we reach being a touring musician is that is a fate that could easily face us because of the amount of time we spend in a van.

Me: Do you ever do the "law of averages"? My dad, when he used to tour with Foghat did. He would figure out how long and how many days he'd be on the tour bus and say eventually that will catch up with him.

Luke: Exactly. Some of my rationalization or me facing that idea is just kinda laughing at it a little bit. We got to have a sense of humour about the things that are gonna kill us maybe.

Me: A hundred percent. Any close calls though, everything okay?

Luke: Generally speaking, yeah, there was a few wheel jerking moments but generally speaking we have been okay, Kyle, our drummer, does the majority of the driving. He's our "Skipper." our skip up front, so he's very good at that. He keeps us safe. I spend a lot of time programming our podcast that we listen to. So we all have our roles.

Me: Where are you guys from? I know Canada, but whereabouts?

Luke: Dundas, Ontario.

Me: So, in 2017 you were the Breakthrough Group of the Year at the Junos. What do you think of that honor?

Luke: I was generally surprised. I mean my favourite moment of the entire ceremony leading up to that announcement of course was when they were showing the other bands, just previewing sound samples of the other artists that were nominated in our category and they were very nice, and dare I say, very produced sounds, pleasant sounding drums and melodies, very manicured, then there was a crash of feedback and every one in the banquet hall shuttered a little bit. It was us and our picture that came out and I never felt more proud than that moment right there.

Me: What did your parents think of you winning the Juno?

Luke: They were never so proud as when we won the Juno.

Me: You must of been proud yourself, right?

Luke: Of course, of course. It was one of the first institutionalized recognitions of musical things in Canada I was aware of as a kid. I remember watching it with my parents so it definitely had a lot of weight in that category for me personally.

Me: What are your audiences like, Luke? Pop or punk people or both?

Luke: I think both definitely. And having some recognition, even some acknowledgement from a well respected institution like the Junos is always gonna be a very, very nice thing.

Me: Is that intentional at all do you think?

Luke: We've never been quite comfortable in terms to catering to one group of people at all. I think as soon as we find that we're being kind of shoe-horned ourselves in one place we do whatever we kinda alienate ourselves to that one sort of people and move on. I think at last for us, rock and rolls just about being able to have the ability to do whatever the hell we want. Be punk, or whatever, we just like having fun. If it rips, it rips.

Me: Do you do the songwriting in the band, Luke?

Luke: Well, all of us have a lot of input when it comes to arranging the songs. I think that the group of people that we have here, I feel comfortable bringing any kinda scrap of whatever and seeing what we could turn it into. Even things like "I Don't Want that Phone Call," when I first scratching away at it I didn't really have much of a mind to it for it even to be a Dirty Nil song because how kinda delicate it was in terms if the melody and some of the subject matter. I showed it to Ross and he encouraged me and we kinda worked on it and we came up with something that made everybody excited. Then we moved forward, that's kinda the story of all of these songs on this record. Some of the harder things we knew this was gonna be great, it'll fit in well, but some of the things we took more chances on but it never felt like a risk because what we were doing just felt so fun and natural. We had no dogma of we can't do this, we can't do that, it was let's just make some really good songs. 

Me: So, what's this I read that you opened up for the Who? 

Luke: Yes! We did open up for the Who.

Me: So, how was it?

Luke: It was the greatest thing of all time. I mean I said it before but there are certain accomplishments and things that we can look back at our career and we can always externalize with all the kinda negative things going on and kinda colours it was great. That particular event has none of that negativity at all attached to it. It was just pure gravy, back in time high fives to our 16-year-old selves who grew up on the Who, who'd stay at home watching videos of the Who on the early YouTube, and decided to form a band after watching those kinda things. That was a kinda thing I never conceived being a possibility.

Me: Did you meet them at all? Did you get to say hello?

Luke: I met Roger and Pete, yeah.

Me: How were they? I'm asking because one of them is gonna be a guest on the Phile soon and I am nervous. Haha.

Luke: I was a little bit disappointed that Pete Townshend wasn't a little bit meaner to me. I was kinda disappointed that he was such a nice guy. In Hamilton when they played he told that kid to fuck off. He told a little kid who held up a sign to fuck off and something about that... I think it's kinda the Replacements fan in me that enjoyed these kinda controversial moments. I was a little disappointed like I said he was kind to me. I wanted a Pete Townshend told me to fuck off story.

Me: Okay, so, you used the word "delicate" when you described the song "I Don't Want that Phone Call." What did you mean and that's the story behind the song?

Luke: Um, I would say that at this kinda point in our career at this stage in our lives in our late twenties we've had some friends who have maybe have not made it as far as we have and there has been some casualties along the way since high school. With this song it's hard kinda looking back on it because it is so on the sleeve and lacking in subtlety... it is quite personal to be honest with you. For obvious reasons I'll obscure identities but I'd like to, even though it definitely comes from a more personal place in terms of the inspiration for it my hope for it could be used for anybody needs a helping hand or anybody who is looking for a push in a positive direction.

Me: How do you guys do it and don't let the same problems happen over and over again?

Luke: Well, I think it's that we are all very focused on this job that we are so lucky to have. We understand how lucky we are. I think at this point bands that are our age that are in their late twenties most of them have made it through some kinda self devolvement of self discipline and sort of constitution. It just isn't fun if we're hungover and doing it every day. Make people do those tours then they first start out. We started touring when we were about 20-years-old. So we've had a lot of time to develop a lifestyle around our lifestyle. I think we're fortunate in that respect. Also we love what we do and are protective of what we do so we are very focused on keeping things on the level. That being said we have our nights where we enjoy what we worked for and enjoy the things afforded to us. We want to be able to give the children the goods because that's what the kids are paying for and we're gonna kick out the jams.

Me: You want to make it til you're playing in Hamilton and telling a kid who is holding up a sign to fuck off, right? Hahahaha.

Luke: Yeah, exactly, that's what we're hoping for! That's the dream.

Me: Haha. Luke, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back soon, you guys rock. 

Luke: Thanks, Jason. You too.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Luke Bentham for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with legendary bass player Stanley Clarke. 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

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Pheaturing Justine Bateman

Hey, kids, good morning. Welcome to the Phile from MegaCon. How are you? An acupuncturist is a pin doctor. I was wondering, who has the most unique powers... men or women. Then it hit me. Women. Wanna know why? They get wet without water, bleed without injury and make boneless things hard. See? Good job, women. I do have a power myself though... over-thinking.
And now for a feud that sounds like something you and your friends made up while playing MadLibs and drinking rosé: Kelly Ripa is feuding with "The Bachelor" franchise, pissed off Chris Harrison, and Ellen Pompeo jumped into her defense! This is like Avengers: Endgame for ABC properties. Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Morning show host and Manic Pixie Dream Weightlifter Kelly Ripa thew shade at the sovereign Bachelor Nation. Ripa's co-host, Ryan Seacrest, announced that the titular Bachelorette, Hannah B., will be appearing on the show, and Ripa confused her for the previous "winner" of "The Bachelor," Colton Underwood's girlfriend, Cassie. "Oh, it's an entirely different person?" she wondered aloud. "You know how I feel about this show," she added. "It disgusts me. I thought that I was disgusted because I couldn't stand the idea of 25 exceptional women fighting over one, ordinary fella, in my opinion. You know how I feel, ladies! We are too special to be arguing over a guy." The criticism went over as well with "The Bachelor" head honchos as anything that is said between women on the show. Host Chris Harrison pumped up the drama with a direct address to "Bachelor Nation." The shows creator, Mike Fleiss, got defensive on Twitter... the male equivalent of throwing a drink in her face. Ellen Pompeo, aka Dr. Meredith Grey (on "Grey's Anatomy," the only show with as many seasons as "The Bachelor") stole Fleiss for a sec, telling him to back off Ripa and stop declaring himself to be the god of ABC, attacking successful women and "[taking] credit for their success." The "savage" Pompeo also said, "don't get be started on your show," adding "Bachelor soooooo white." Is this what reality TV is like? I frickin' love it. After all that online awkwardness, Bachelorette Hannah B. appeared on Ripa's show, and defended her show's gender politics. Hannah B. said it was "empowering" to be one of 30 girls going for a guy, and then to have the experience in reverse. "Like you, I didn't really follow the show, wasn't a big fan," she told Ripa. "But, being a part of the show, it's not women fighting against each other. Really, some of my best friends came from the show and were really supportive. When you have a group of 30 people together, there's going to be people who don't like each other. That's simple facts." "But, ultimately, it was one of the most empowering things that I ever have done because I had to push myself and grow as an individual," she continued. "And I did. And I think that's why I decided that I wanted to be the Bachelorette and wanted that so bad." Congrats, Hannah B., on achieving your dream!
I don't know why nobody has learned yet that it's probably best not to mess with AOC. Considering she's a young woman with opinions, people are pretty upset. Attractive women talking about politics? That can't be allowed! For some reason, her haters seem to be hyper-focused on the fact that she used to work as a bartender. Do we all hate bartenders now, when did that happen? Or, is it just that bartending is considered "unskilled labor?" You know what else is considered unskilled labor? Being a reality television star. Did they stop us from electing one as president? Nope! If bartending doesn't require skills, I'd like to see everyone in congress babysit grown men falling asleep drunk in their chairs, vomiting in bathrooms and cheating on their wives while smiling out of their butts to prevent a bad Yelp review and get a decent tip. Out of all the things you could focus on, her former life as a bartender isn't that interesting. It doesn't make her less qualified for her job now, all it means it that she's a human woman trying to pay rent in New York City. So, when a man on Twitter (Cloyd) posted a hat he's trying to sell, Twitter let him have it. Red hats have really been ruined since 2016. Then, this happened...

Then it went back to the roasting. Better luck next time, Cloyd!
Carpool Karaoke King James Corden isn't just here to belt out tunes with our favorite celebs, he's also out here inspiring people to play nice on the Internet. What a truly delightful human. During last Monday night's episode of "The Late Late Show," Corden delivered a bit that compared Donald Trump to a character in "Game of Thrones." When talking about Trump's imposed trade war with China, Corden jokes about his fear that Trump will ride one a dragon and burn down an entire city if he doesn't get his way. Personally I feel this is giving Trump too much credit... he is no mother dragons... but I digress. The Internet generally hates and is unfair to a lot of things (women, for example), but spoilers take the cake for this. People lose their goddamn minds over spoilers. And such was the case for a certain Twitter user who replied to Corden's bit with a hostile, since deleted tweet. According to the Blast, the deleted tweet said: “It’s fucked up you can’t even watch TV without a fat fuck spoiling something… Luckily I got to see it before this, but seriously I hope his kid gets cancer." Shame! James Corden took it upon himself to personally reply to this troll and eloquently explain why it was offensive. When trolling online, people forget the severity of their words. Hiding behind a screen can make it easier to say horrible things, as you aren't forced to look the person you're targeting in the eye. Telling someone you hope their kid get cancer is repugnant, but firing it off in a tweet can feel almost like an afterthought as you angrily scroll through your feed, bitter about spoilers and whatever else. Corden's careful response brings this person back down to the real world, where horrible comments are delivered to a living human being. And his optimistic, forgiving attitude at the end of his response is the sweet yet refreshing cherry on top. Like I said, delightful human. And I'm not the only one singing his praises.
Hot gossip from the Social Security Administration! That's right, the SSA unveiled the top baby names for 2018, and the top ten for both boys and girls are hardly surprising. I hope all the Liams and Emmas out there like the first letter of their last name.

Hey, my son's name is on the list... at number 10. Daycares are overrun by little Isabellas and Jameses, classic, timeless names that are likely not informed by popular television shows. Rather than pick names from their families or the bible, there are people out there naming their kids after "Game of Thrones" characters, and a few Westerosi names actually cracked the top 1000. Even though A Girl Has No Name, "Arya" has been climbing steadily in popularity, with exactly 2545 baby Aryas born in 2018. Arya was the 119th most popular girl's name in 2018, and it's only going to get more popular after we watched Arya save humanity and slay the Night King. Arya, however, was a name before "Game of Thrones: and "A Song of Ice and Fire," but one made up word from the brain of George R.R. Martin has broken into the mainstream: Khaleesi. "For 2018, the number of births with name Khaleesi is 560, which represents 0.030 percent of total female births in 2018," the SSA writes. There are 560 little girls with Dothraki names who are going to want to see the show to understand it, and, um... they might want to wait until they can read the subtitles for all the High Valyrian. A whole bunch of baby nerds are likely to little Khaleesi Joe Murphy, a journalist at NBC News, tallied up the number of babies with other Westerosi names, and Sandor and Gregor might be duking it out over the Play Doh in a few years. There are also 8 Berics, 29 Sansas, and an 58 tiny Tyrions. It's going to be a fun Name Day celebration for the baby Khals!
If you grew up in the 1990s and/or care about sitcoms, you know about "Friends." Courteney Cox posted a "Friends" throwback Instagram that made 90s kids nostalgic. Though the series finale aired in 2004, its ten seasons endure as a cultural touchstone. You can see its influence in shows like "The Big Bang Theory," "New Girl," and "How I Met Your Mother." Jennifer Aniston was unquestionably its breakout star, but the other five "Friends" have gone on to respectable careers in film and television. Although co-creator Marta Kauffman is adamantly against a reunion, the show's legacy remains. Besides, would you REALLY want to see Ross and Rachel raise a child? They barely functioned sans bébé. Look how young they are!

Lil' cherubs unaware their NBC gig would make television history. Jennifer Aniston had no idea she'd become a sex symbol and inspire women globally to adopt an unflattering haircut. This was YEARS before she'd date John Mayer or shill Smartwater. Wow. All ten (!) seasons of "Friends" are currently viewable on Netflix.
I said yesterday did you ever notice Captain America always looks like a bird just flew away with his hot dog? Look...

Hahaha. Did you know "Game of Thrones" was partially made by Disney? No? I'll show you...

Told ya! So yesterday at the convention I saw this poster and it reminded me of something...

Then it hit me...

Could you imagine Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man coming from another Earth to help out Tom Holland's Spider-Man? I think it's gonna happen... I have proof.

In Avengers: Endgame there was one scene that you might've missed...

That's fantastic, right? I was surprised when I saw the Captain America poster that Marvel came out with, but I think I want it for my new apartment...

Haha. So, I din't know if you heard but a lot of people are complaining what the new Sonic the Hedgehog looks like in the new live-action movie. I don't think he looks bad, but he does look familiar.

So, everyone was bitching about the Starbucks cup on the one episode of "Game of Thrones." There's a reason it was there, kids...

See? Hey, wanna laugh?

Boy walks in on his dad masturbating. Never having seen anyone do this, he says, "Daddy, what are you doing?" His dad replies, "Don't worry son, you'll be doing it soon enough!" "Really? Why's that, daddy?" "Well, my arm is getting tired..."

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. So, I don't know if you heard but this August at the park where I work at a Star Wars theme land is opening. Well, there's this huge Millennium Falcon in the land and some people are getting upset they have a fence of some sort around it. Here's a pic...

Well, a friend of the Phile has something to say about it. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Let's talk about Galaxies Edge and how everyone is paying attention to a fence around the precious Falcon, or that reservations will only allow for four hours of playtime in the land. Naaaah, let's have a BETTER conversation. The bigger worry that has my big ole Star Wars heart racing like little Annie racing his pod-racer! No, it's not about the attractions or the one attraction we'll have at the start. No,  it's not the fact that aliens might not roam the park (But they BETTER...). And no it's not that they will have me work STUPID hours to MAYBE crowd control for the area. No, it's bigger then all the things I just mention but what has me TRULY worried... is the Cast Members working it. Yeah, I FUCKING SAID! Some of y'all HAAAATE interacting at a park that demands it. Some of y'all will give the minimum of what is asked and survive off that alone and Galaxies Edge is going to want EVERYTHING you have not just half of it. Some of the Cast Members put in for spot to Galaxies Edge and it scares me cause some of them will just stand there like a brick at a greeting position looking like C3-PO and be bland like the Solo movie. Understand me though, it's not ALL Cast Members! Just half of what I've seen during my time working for Disney and Galaxies Edge is aiming to be the most immersive experience know to anyone. Star Wars is a sensitive product of fandom that has history and emotions that are highly attached to it and is part of the story that we know and love. So the last thing people want is a Cast Member being bland as hell in this land full of color, you understand? But the real cause of fear is this... The park will only have one attraction in the whole damn land... if it goes out then what? Genuinely I believe that the Cast will be the saving grace if that happens or when it happens. Of course there will be other experiences but ultimately it will fall on them to provide that experience to make it all work... and just from working Hollywood Studios alone... that worries the living whomp rats out of me. Stay classy.

I.M. Pei 
April 26th, 1917 — May 16th, 2019
Not anymore you're not.

“Happily ever after” must start when they go to college. Yesterday I introduced you to a new superhero you might not have known of. Well, she's back again today. Please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Wonder Bread Woman, So, I was wondering, are you sponsored by Wonder Bread?

Wonder Bread Woman: No, I'm not sponsored by anybody, Jason.

Me: Okay, so, where are you from? Paradise?

Wonder Bread Woman: An island called Grupo Bimbo.

Me: Ummm... okay. So, what powers do you have?

Wonder Bread Woman: I have the power to walk through walls but fall through floors.

Me: Ummm... okay? Anything else?

Wonder Bread Woman: I also have the power to read minds, but only those of the mentally disabled.

Me: That's good. Then you can't read mine.

Wonder Bread Woman: Yes I can. I also have immunity to everything except bullets, fire and bears.

Me: Oh, man. I noticed you just have one small bracelet. Anything else before I let you go?

Wonder Bread Woman: I have the power to smell the future.

Me: Okay, then. Thanks.

Wonder Bread Woman: Now to find my fucking invisible plane. I know I parked it somewhere. Might have to get the shuttle to the west complex.

Me: Wonder Bread Woman, people.

That graphic is a clue to who the guest is gonna be. Now for some...

Phact 1. Stan Lee who worked for Marvel as a writer for hire sued Marvel in 2005 because he was hurt by Marvel Comics’ decision to keep profits from him over his 60 years with the company.

Phact 2. In the early 1990s, Michael Jackson tried to buy Marvel Comics just so that he could play Spider-Man in his own produced movie.

Phact 3. Due to strange laws in U.S.A., importing toys resembling humans are taxed higher than those that don’t. Marvel successfully argued in court that because their X-Men action figures are mutants and therefore should be exempt from such higher tax.

Phact 4. There was a 1995 issue of Punisher called "The Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe" in which he killed every single Marvel superhero and villain, including himself.

Phile 5. Venom, the Spider-Man villain was a fan-based concept that Marvel bought for $220.

Today's pheatured guest is an American writer, director, producer, and actress. Her acting work includes "Family Ties," "Satisfaction," "Men Behaving Badly," "The TV Set," "Desperate Housewives," and "Californication." She is the author of Fame: The Hijacking of Reality, which is the 98th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Justine Bateman.

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

Justine: I'm good, Jason. That's my brothers name as well.

Me: Yeah, I cannot believe he's such a big time actor now. Okay, so, your book is about being famous. When did you first realize you were famous?

Justine: I think it was a slow build in the first year or so but probably in crowded places, like in the mall or an amusement park or an airport and I realized quickly that I can't stop moving. If I stop I'm essentially signaling tp everyone that it's okay to come up. Then another person says well if those people are up there then it's okay to come up to me then I have a problem. I needed help to be removed from the situation.

Me: When I was a kid and went to the mall with my dad, who was Lonesome Dave in Foghat I loved it when kids would recognize my dad. Was your brother Jason acting before you were in "Family Ties"?

Justine: Yeah, he was doing acting when he was young and I followed him in there with my parents encouragement. He'd done some commercials but no other acting.

Me: So, did you get famous because of "Family Ties"?

Justine: Well, yes. After I was accepted by my brothers tenant agent within two months I had four commercials and the pilot for "Family Ties." There was no thought to it beforehand like what this could be. Actually the concept of acting for a living had never crossed my mind before that point either. So yes, it was during "Family Ties."

Me: What was it like when you first were on the show?

Justine: Like I said it was a slow build because I had a very concentrated television audience back then. I didn't look up what our lowest rating was, but our highest was something like 50 or 60 million people a week watching us. Even on the low end to stay on the air we had to get like 15 to 20 million people watching us each week. Compared to the ratings we have now it's quite a different story. It's much lower now. So as it grew the popularity of the show grew and Michael J. Fox's popularity grew with Back to the Future it just got to a point where it was quite the roaring rapids unmanageability of fame.

Me: Is there any show that can get those kind of numbers now?

Justine: I can only think of the Super Bowl that can get those kind of numbers now.

Me: When you first started pout on "Family Ties" what was your opinion of being famous and recognized? You must've liked it, right?

Justine: Well, in the book I poo-poo that whole attitude of I owe it to everybody. I probably contradicted everything in the book when I was seventeen. I probably laughed when I heard the word "famous" and I felt like I was public property.

Me: Looking back do you agree on how you felt? Is that a stupid question?

Justine: No, it's a good question. I do remember at the time, I'm sure there are others that feel this way too, that because I was so knew to this I just felt because "Family Ties" was such a great experience and I loved all those people, I did feel every time I went out I was a representative of that show and I was a representative of Paramount Studios, the producers of the show and NBC, the network that aired the show. Now remember I was seventeen, the show had been on a year if that and I do recall feeling that it was an obligation that I just assumed. That wasn't anywhere near the height of the fame that presented itself later.

Me: I was looking for clips of you on YouTube and I saw a clip of you on the Arsenio Hall show in '87. Here's a screen shot...

Me: You were really popular then but seeing the clip it sounds like you had doubt about fame even then. Am I right?

Justine: Well, doubts? It's just something that is on me. It's not like an amusement park ride where there's an exit just before I sit down in the car that s going to take me on the rollercoaster. I'm on the rollercoaster before I know it's happening. I really just have to check the safety of my seatbelt and just not fall out while it goes through the loop to loop or down a very steep decline. I just held on. 

Me: In the book you talk about people calling you "Mallory," the name of your character on "Family Ties." When I mentioned to friends that you were gonna be on the Phile and they all said it's cool Mallory will be interviewed. I'm not interviewing Mallory, I'm interviewing Justine. Was it difficult for you to be intertwined with the character? 

Justine: Doing the press for this book is sort of a meta-performance or epilogue to the book. To answer your question when people said Mallory is going to be on your blog what it does to me and people generally, not just performers, but when something is brought up that was their most popular thing, and I go into it in the chapter called "Inadequacies" in my book everything I ever do will be compared or will not rank rather relative to the high level of popularity of fame of whatever it is I did or is most well known for. It does make the individual feel like not seeing it all. Like it'll be if somebody was a really good high school football champ and everybody knew who they were. And later in life they get a normal sales job and maybe the thing they're the most proud of recently they really hones their carpentry skills. They built an addition on their home themselves but every time they see their friends, in particularly their old friends, and they say "you were such a rad quarterback." The guy could be sitting there thinking "what the hell?" Like their most well known thing is nor necessary the most interesting thing they'd ever done. So I do go into that in the book in regards to fame. People wouldn't say this exactly but when they see me they would say things like, "What are you up to now?" It is them saying or the feeling is "we gave you this and you squandered it and we're upset about that."

Me: Do you remember the moment when it was slipping, when you were getting less famous? 

Justine: Oh, sure. And I'll tell you, I'm very happy to talk about the backside of fame. I think that's actually the most interesting part of my book because it's talked about so infrequently by anybody who experienced fame. So when it starts slipping I guess I notice it starts slipping in a similar way to realizing in the beginning I'm gaining fame. When I first realized I was gaining fame its people are listening to intensely to me, they are approaching me more frequently of course, they are being more accommodating and part of me is this is weird, what just happened. Especially when I'm in a situation when they don't recognize me at first. I get some of their "normal" treatment. Then they realize who I am and everything shifts. The way they treat me changes almost instantly. Then when that starts slipping that's when I first notice it. And not to make it sound like I like an entitlement, like I expect to be treated like that, but I'm rather prepared to deal with being overly accommodated. I'm prepared to deal with that. When it becomes intermittent I'm like "do I need to be prepared to deal with this or can I just relax into like they don't recognize me"? It's all about how can I bet set up to deal with what they are going to come at me with. When it started fading almost completely I keep telling myself to make it better for me, "I'm not famous, I'm not famous at all, at all, at all." Then if someone DID recognize me they did try to over accommodate me I could just see it as bizarre behavior.

Me: So, was the book easy for you to write, Justine? There are other books dealing with fame I am sure.

Justine: Absolutely. They are a lot of books written on fame. A lot of them take on the historical approach. A lot of them seem to take on a fan approach, like here are all these famous people and this is why I like them, why we like them and these are my few encounters with famous people.

Me: What made you write this book?

Justine: What I really wanted to do is bring the reader into the whole experience, the whole lifecycle, not just this is what it's like to be famous but here is what it is like the lifecycle is like. And to submit to the reader that fame is a social construct. And I draw parallel between this creation that society has made with a Chutes and Ladders game board. Around 2000 we almost insisted that that game board become larger so that more people will have more opportunities to become famous. I just think that the striving for that limits us individually becoming the best people we can be.

Me: Justine, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I loved you on "Family Ties," I used to have a crush on you. I hope you'll come back here again soon.

Justine: My pleasure. Thank you.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile and me at MegaCon this year. Thanks to my guests Cadence Hall and of course Justine Bateman. The Phile will be back on Monday with Luke Bentham from the Dirty Nil. 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