Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Tuesday. How are you? That feeling when you can't take one more second and your job and you're seriously about to snap at the next co-worker who crosses your path, yeah I get it. This blog will hopefully release the tension and have you laughing until you finally get to clock out. Chase Bank really missed the mark on their #MondayMotivation tweet. While they've since deleted it because of all the brutal roasting and pushback, the Internet always keeps receipts. If this were anyone other than a bank, people may have been more sympathetic. But, alas, this tweet was rough... especially when it comes from a company whose name sounds like a frat boy that loves lacrosse and Bud Lite. "Hey, come meet my boyfriend, Chase Bank!"
Hearing financial advice from one of the most powerful banks in the world is definitely irritating for anyone who isn't a 23-year-old trust-funder who works for a hedge fund and got a yacht for Christmas. First of all, who is taking cabs for three blocks? Unless you have a condition where you absolutely cannot walk, nobody I know who is strapped for cash is going to splurge for a cab that's an otherwise four minute walk. This was the first sign that Chase is truly out of touch with how people who aren't rich budget their money. Then, of course there's the classic "skip the Starbucks" mentality which really only works for those abused puppy commercials. Without coffee, nobody would be able to work, and without work there would be no money and without money, Chase bank would disintegrate into cold, heartless ice shards like the Night King. Later, they tried to apologize...
And it was, um... not very well received. Better luck next time, Chase!
Michael Cohen took some time out of his last days before prison to give a long, self-pitying interview to Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker. The former fixer and recovering Trump cultist is heading to jail on May 6th after both being found and pleading guilty to a number of crimes, a few of which were committed at the behest of President Individual-1. "During the campaign, Cohen played a central role in two similar schemes to purchase the rights to stories... each from women who claimed to have had an affair with Individual 1... so as to suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election," prosecutors wrote in his sentencing memo filed last December. Cohen is outraged that he is facing consequences, while the guy who put him up to it is not. "You are going to find me guilty of campaign finance, with McDougal or Stormy, and give me three years... really?" Cohen told The New Yorker. “And how come I’m the only one? I didn’t work for the campaign. I worked for him. And how come I’m the one that’s going to prison? I’m not the one that slept with the porn star." It's Department of Justice policy that the president can't be indicted for the crimes he committed to become president because a sitting president can't be indicted. The New Yorker summarized just how shitty Cohen's situation is... and it's also bad for people who were hoping to see the office that prosecuted him bring down Trump, too: Cohen’s legal problems have been compounded by financial setbacks. The rise of Uber and other ride-sharing services has caused the value of his taxi medallions to plummet, just when he needs to raise funds to pay his debts to the government and to provide for his family while he is in prison. (After his guilty pleas, his law license was revoked.) In the months following Cohen’s congressional testimony in February, his lawyers offered to bring him in to the Southern District to assist in its ongoing investigations, but prosecutors refused to meet with him. Under the federal criminal rules, the only way Cohen’s sentence can be reduced or delayed now is if the prosecutors ask for it... and this, it has become clear, is not something they are going to do. The prosecutors may regard Cohen as unreliable, or they may believe that there are few outstanding issues left to resolve. The Southern District, on which so many of the President’s adversaries have pinned their hopes, may have limited potential to bring him down. So much for a Cohen ex machina.
Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. Without science on their side, anti-vaxxers have resorted to an episode of "The Brady Bunch" to try and spread the lie that measles is a chill illness. NPR reports that fans of childhood diseases have referenced a 1969 episode of "The Brady Bunch" to refute doctors' claims that getting measles is bad. "If you have to get sick, sure can't beat the measles," Marcia Brady told her siblings as they played Monopoly. Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia, was not happy to see her childhood self featured in anti-vaxx memes. "I was really concerned with that and wanted to get to the bottom of that, because I was never contacted," she told NPR. "As a mother, my daughter was vaccinated." McCormick also mentioned that it wasn't only her character who got measles, as she caught the infection as a kid. "Having the measles was not a fun thing," she says. "I remember it spread through my family." Today, the virus is running rampant in New York City, and can cause pneumonia, and in severe cases, deafness and brain swelling. Doesn't sound so fun now, does it, Cindy?
Masculinity is so fragile that oftentimes, a woman being awesome shatters a male ego like it's a White Walker hit by Valyrian steel. The latest episode of "Game of Thrones," "The Long Night," saw everyone but Cersei up in Winterfell taking on the Army of the Dead. There's no doubt who the MVP was in the battle to save humanity: No One. That's right: ARYA STARK is the GOAT. Many men, including Kit Harington (at first), were shocked to see a teenage girl save the human race from the ice zombies. Butthurt boys found the woman beating the Zombie Lord to be unrealistic. To repeat, this show has DRAGONS AND ZOMBIES. Even smart non-Trump trolls were disappointed by the moment that was foreshadowed throughout the entire series. One guy kept calling Arya a Mary Sue. "Mary Sue" is a term misogynists use to justify their hate for a female character by claiming that they were written poorly. Here's how the dictionary defines it: "Mary Sue is a term used to describe a fictional character, usually female, who is seen as too perfect and almost boring for lack of flaws, originally written as an idealized version of an author in fanfiction." hat I read about Arya is she's not "too perfect"... she got her skills by training since day one. She literally lost her eyeballs for a time on her journey to becoming the best assassin in the Seven Kingdoms (plus Essos). "Mary Sue" started trending on Twitter, mostly to tell these men that they are wrong and dumb. Arya is a hero who earned her title as savior of humanity, and Maisie Williams deserves a boyfriend who sees that.
Hole-y shit. You might thing that you take breakups poorly, but did you ever become a creepy stalker and get stuck in a hole? A 50-year-old man in northern Mexico had to be rescued from a pit he dug near his ex's house after he was ordered to stay away from his former girlfriend because of domestic violence charges. According to the newspaper El Universal, the woman heard scratching noises from her house, which she assumed were from a cat, "But when the sound grew louder, she investigated and found her former partner of 14 years trapped below." He is now in jail. They should have left him in the pit.
Y'know, if I had a TARDIS I would go to Hoboken, New Jersey in 1858 to see the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club.
Do you know who they are? The Knickerbocker team were the first organized baseball sports team and if you read their rules now, it’s pretty similar to the baseball we know today. The team also came up with the first uniforms too. That’s quite impressive for just one organization! Do you kids remember the Hardy Boys books? I betcha don't remember this one...
Hahahaha. So, Fox News contributor Lawrence Jones III is not a the border today. He's at some play that is worse...
Poor guy. They tell me if I go to Walmart I'm gonna see an odd sight. I didn't believe it until I saw this...
Oh, boy. Do you kids like Hot Pockets? There's a whole new flavor that just came out.
I betcha they are really hot. That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...
Did you see the new Avengers movie? I was surprised at the way the Hulk looked. This is not a spoiler, trust me.
Hahahahaha. That makes me laugh. Nope from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...
Top Phive Bumper Stickers I Actually Saw
5. "Women who seek to be equal to men lack ambition."
4. "It's as BAD as you think, and they ARE out to get you."
3. "If you don't like the news, go out and make some."
2. "I Brake For No Apparent Reason."
And the number one bumper sticker I actually saw said...
1. "When you do a good deed, get a receipt, in case heaven is like the IRS."
If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. You know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's things that happen in this state that happens no where else on the planet. That's why I have this pheature called...
A guy in... where else?... Florida, was busted for pretending to be a police officer when he pulled over a police officer who was pretending just to be a regular guy. Matthew Erris, 26, pulled over an undercover officer at a traffic stop and as luck would have it, the guy had the power to pull him right back. Next time you want to pretend to be a cop, do it at home while binge watching "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" just to be safe.
Zoom into the pic on the right. Dad has no idea what she’s about to do... give him a wedgie, climb on top of him and start dancing, who the fuck knows?! But he’s willing to let it happen if it makes her happy, so long as he gets to lie down. That’s basically parenting in a nutshell.
In case you missed it, Trump gave a two hour long "speech" at a rally in Wisconsin this past weekend. And in total Trump fashion, he used his platform to spout off some... what's the opposite of facts... oh yes, lies! The man is consistent, I'll give him that. One of the more dangerous claims Trump made during the rally was that in some hospitals, mothers meet with a doctor after giving birth, wrap the baby in a blanket, and then make a plan to "execute the baby." Um, what? Trump is talking about a situation that is horrible, but not for the reason he is claiming. He's speaking of when a mother gives birth to a baby who is most likely not going to make it, so the hospital arranges for her/the parents to spend the last moments with the child before they pass. This is awful, but is in no way a premeditated execution. Trump completely re-painting this scene to rile up his base is damaging. Okay, anyone else sobbing??? Clearly, the reality of this situation is much different and delicate than the way Trump described it. Now we just have to hope his fans will fact check him. Oof.
That's a strawberry and cheese pizza. Yum? Now for some...
Phact 1. In 1912, the Australian national rugby team played 16 games in the U.S. and Canada. It played poorly because players stayed in college frat houses and partied too much; one member said “We were never in bed. That was the trouble. I’ve never had such a time in my life.”
Phact 2. Wonder Bread received an estimated $4.3 million in ad exposure in Talladega Nights without paying a cent.
Phact 3. Titanium can osseointegrate, which means that it can fuse with bones and is one of the reasons why it is used extensively in biomedical implants.
Phile 4. While filming in Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois, the filmmakers were so concerned for the care of the Batmobile, that they told the stunt driver to take as much time as he needed to make any move. Therefore, when it came time to back the Batmobile up, they went so slow as to cause traffic jams that had to be reported on the news. Simply moving the Batmobile around Chicago took numerous police as well as caused traffic jams where ever they went.
Phile 5. An Italian brain surgeon had a heart attack in the middle of an operation. He powered through it when he realized his patient would never recover if he stopped.
I never thought this would happen... today's guest is a British Indian novelist and essayist whose book The Golden House is the 97th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Salman Rushdie!
Me: Hello, sir, welcome to the Phile. It's such an honor to have you here. This is so bloody surreal. How are you?
Salman: Hi, it's so nice to be here.
Me: Your latest book The Golden House happens just after the election of Barack Obama. Why did you chose this time to start your story?
Salman: I just thought I wanted to capture a very strange moment in American life. This last decade, moving from a time of great optimism and between the two presidential elections. When there's been so many things bubbling up in people's minds and obsessing people, all sorts of issues of identity. The novel is about someone trying to change his identity so the question of identity is right at the heart of it. Then there's all other ways of looking at identity, right now in New York if you raise the subject of identity many people will assume you're talking about gender identity. There's one character who's very conflicted about that. I was just trying to grab hold of what was in the air and try to make a story out of it.
Me: There's this character in The Golden House called the Joker, and I think he's the Joker from Batman. Does he look the same?
Salman: Yes, he has green hair, VERY white skin, red mouth.
Me: Ha! He ends up becoming the 45th president of the United States. Are their parallels between Donald Trump and the Joker?
Salman: Well, in the book he's a real estate tycoon. But it really came out of a private joke of mine which is in a deck of playing cards the two weird playing cards are the trump and the joker. Those are the playing cards that don't play like the other playing cards.
Me: Why didn't you just use the name Trump in the book?
Salman: I just thought it's too boring. I thought instead of that I'll have the Joker. Also just to make the point in the same way the movies seem to be taking over by comic books it seems to be Washington might be as well. We're being ruled by super villains.
Me: Have you ever met Trump?
Salman: Yes, I met him a long time ago.
Me: So, where did you meet him?
Salman: At a Crosby, Stills and Nash and Young concert for the first time. It was about in the year 2000, at Madison Square Garden. I just accidentally had seats near him and his children. The thing that surprised me was he knew the words to all the songs. He was on his feet singing along.
Me: Ha! That's crazy. Where do you live now? New York?
Salman: Yes, in New York, for about 19 years I guess.
Me: So, was it normal to see him around? In 2004 I went to Trump Tower on a family vacation and was going down the escalator as he was going up. He was trying to shake everyone's hand as he went up and the other people went down. I wish I would have went back up and got a pic with him. Haha.
Salman: Well, not anymore because he hightailed it because nobody likes him. I would see him around and I think people in New York got used to him being around and kind of thought of him as a village idiot, and thought of him as a kind of fraud.
Me: Hahahahahaha. What did you know about him then, sir?
Salman: He was someone we knew who had a way of doing business by stiffing contractors and all his properties being horribly leveraged from debt, etc. So he wasn't a very impressive figure, I think America is finding out what New York already knew.
Me: I read that you had about 95% of the book done before the election. When Trump was elected did that change the last 5%?
Salman: No. Because strangely my book guessed right. I guessed wrong.
Me: Did you think Hillary was gonna win? I knew Trump would win myself.
Salman: Yes, I was hopeful that the other thing would happen. But the book appeared to know what was going to happen. The book insisted on this particular arc happening, so I didn't have to change very much at all.
Me: So, the book is pretty much about escaping the past. Do you think it's possible to escape the past?
Salman: Well, I think in real life, yeah, people walk down the streets in any big metropolis there's people that come from all over the world and have quite successfully made new lives for themselves and their families. I think in real life. I think in real life you can, in a novel I think you can't. I think if I tell you like on page 1 or 2 that his family is trying to escape their say past, then at some point I'm going to tell you their shady past. Otherwise that's going to be a pretty bad novel. I think in fiction the past always comes to get you.
Me: You had to go through reinvention yourself... how does reinvention resonate with you?
Salman: I don't know. I don't think I'm THAT different really. Obviously I'm not the person I would've been if I never left India, if I continued to live there. I was very young, I was just out of college when I made the decision to stay in England. I think now if you asked anybody who has known me for a long time I don't think there's that much difference with me now than when I was living in London. I think I'm more or less the same person.
Me: So, why did you write a book about someone reinventing themselves?
Salman: Because it is one of those things that is a consequence of the phenomenon of migration. The phenomenon of migration is one of huge one now that we could almost call this the "age of migration." There's more people that moved across the world in the last 100 years than ever before in the history of the human race. Migration always carries their challenges, about transformation. They'll come to a place where people don't know them and they speak a different language and they have different belief systems and the question is what do they keep what they bring with them, the baggage, and that do they let go of? Do they absorb the place they come to and what do they reject? I think it's a very profound expectancy experience. Since I've done it twice moving from India to England then from England to America it's obviously a big subject for me.
Me: Your novel is being compared to The Great Gatsby. What do you think of that?
Salman: Well, it's very flattering. I take that.
Me: I don't know anything about The Great Gatsby. What do you know about it?
Salman: The great thing about the final vision of The Great Gatsby is there is no escaping the past. Trying to go forward but are against the current. I think with the book, it seems almost embarrassing, comparing my book to The Great Gatsby, but the thing is they do try to do similarly is this question of the reinvention of the self, because Jay Gatsby is to his real name, Nero Golden is not Nero Golden's real name. They've renamed themselves and remade themselves, in the name of Gatsby for love.
Me: When you were writing your novel did you know or think it'll be compared to The Great Gatsby?
Salman: Well, I knew it was so. Of course I have a young narrator looking in on the story of the Golden family and in a way kind of spying on it to tell it to us. I think he, René, my narrator, there's a point in the novel where he thinks he's like Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, he's very different in one, very crucial in particular which is Nick Carraway is always on the edges the action. He never actually intrudes into the main story of Gatsby and Daisy and so on. Whereas René didn't want to stay on the fringes. When I was writing the book there'a a crucial moment where he crosses that boundary from being an observer to being a participant in their lives. Then he's moved up in the mess as well.
Me: There's a character in your book who is struggling with gender. Did you do any research on that?
Salman: Well, it started from two places... if you grew up in Mumbai as I did there is always has been quite a large visible transgender community, the so-called Hijra community. I've been amongst those people and I've written non-fiction stuff about them in the past so that gave me one foothold in the subject.
Me: What did you write about them?
Salman: I was writing an article which appeared in a book about AIDS in India.
Me: What did you learn from that experience that ended up in this book?
Salman: It was just very profound. Just learning how their lives were. Some of them were very confident in particular. Others were very damaged and were tormented. All of them found enormous comfort in the structure of their life in the community. They were gravely at risk because one of their main forms of work was sex work and often their clients were not willing to use condoms so AIDS was spreading quite fast. That was the reason for me being asked to go do this. Meanwhile in New York, in the time I've lived there I've known two people, one of them very closely who have transitioned. Very successfully transitioned. One in each direction and in both cases are really much happier individuals than they were before. So I've witnessed at least two cases of very successful gender reassignment. That I thought gave me a foothold, kind of a personal and emotional connection to the material and then I tried to find out as much as I could. With people I went places, t tried to read things, and tried to do a serious job.
Me: In the book a character says "God is dead and identity fills the vacuum." What does that mean?
Salman: Well, it just seems to be an obsession right now of many different kinds. Because in different parts of the world we mean different things by it. In India, for example, when people talk about identity they're really talking about religious identity. They're kind of talking about Hindu versus Muslim issues. In England with the whole Brexit thing shows us the identity issue became the dream of some nostalgic vision of a fantasy that people wanted to revert to when they're weren't any horrible foreigners around. In America, in the United States, it's very much more sound two subjects. One is race and the other is gender and so I invented this thing in the novel called The Museum of Identity where all these things can be talked about.
Me: The narrator of The Golden House is a filmmaker, and your love of film comes through in the book. You've written 13 novels, and only Midnight's Children has has been adapted for film. Do you wish this book or other books you have written become films?
Salman: One or two of them have become close. One of the things if you've ever been involved with the world of film you'll know how easy for a film not to get made. There's so many ways a film project could fall apart. Shame there as one project years ago the great film director Costa-Gavras was infested in doing a film of it and that didn't happen. Similarly there's been other things, and maybe it will. This book I had one of my friends telling me this book was cinematic. Just the way in which the story was told. People say it's very pictorial, they could imagine the movie. Keep your fingers crossed if you know anybody, get them to make me an offer.
Me: The Phile is powerful, but not THAT powerful. Hahahaha. I've got ten dollars in my wallet right now... haha. So, one last question, what's this you were in "Curb Your Enthusiasm"? How did that happen?
Salman: I know Larry David, I met him a couple of times. I talked to him about his impersonation of Bernie Saunders on "Saturday Night Live," etc. So Larry and I are closeish.
Me: I have to show a screen shot from the show.
Me: Well done. Sir, thanks for being on the Phile. Please come back again one day.
Salman: I will, Jason, thank you.
Man, that was surreal. Thanks to Salman for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Monday with Monroe Black from the band Salems Lott. 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