Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Pheaturing Sonequa Martin-Green from "Star Trek: Discovery"

Hey, kiddies, welcome to the Phile for a Wednesday. How are you? What happens to a baseball pitcher when he loses a big game? He goes into the throes of depression. Haha. Even a global pandemic can't stop Twitter from digging around in the history of famous people who've made bad choices. This weekend's "cancellation" saga involves "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon facing the wrath of Twitter after a video resurfaced of him wearing blackface in a "Saturday Night Live" sketch from 2000. The deeply-uncomfortable sketch features Fallon, who was a cast member on the show at the time, dressed up as Chris Rock. Someone edited the caption of the video to reference NBC firing Megyn Kelly from her job at NBC in 2018 after she claimed white people should be allowed to wear blackface in the context of a Halloween costume. Faster than you can say "CANCELED!" the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty started trending on Twitter over the weekend. Some people are defending Fallon, including Marlon Wayans, who described the controversy as "dumb as hell." But others think that the passage of time is no excuse for this kind of behavior. This person pointed out that Fallon is not the only culprit: "SNL" has a "long history" of cast-members in blackface, most recently Bill Hader in 2013. And unfortunately Fallon is not the only high-profile entertainer who's been guilty of this in the past. One person makes a valid point that Jimmy Fallon was involved but the criticism should be directed at "SNL," for creating and airing this sketch and having their damn makeup team do this. This also isn't the first time Jimmy Fallon has faced backlash for portraying Chris Rock specifically. In 2017 he did it at the Golden Globes, but at least he didn't wear blackface that time. Whether or not Jimmy Fallon or "SNL" or Robert Downey Jr. are deserving of our outrage, this guy pointed out that someone else might be a lot MORE deserving...

Great point. #COVID19isoverparty just doesn't have the same ring to it though! Jimmy Fallon has responded to the controversy on Twitter with a sincere apology.

If you’ve ever watched any of the Spider-Man movies, you can’t tell me that the thought of a spider bite possibly giving you superpowers didn’t cross your mind at least a couple times. But of course, how silly would that be to simply forcibly get a spider to bite you, especially a poisonous one. Well, that debate definitely didn’t stop these three Bolivian brothers from testing it out... and it’s safe to say that none of them are slinging webs around now. The three young Bolivian boys were out grazing goats in Chayanta, a small Bolivian village in the Andean region of Potosí. They found a venomous black widow spider, and it reminded them of the comic book superhero Spider-Man. They each poked it with a stick to trigger the black widow spider so that it would bite them, in hopes of becoming like the famous Peter Parker. Within a few minutes, the first symptoms appeared, and their mother immediately took them to Chayanta Health Centre. When their conditions got worse, they were transferred to a hospital in the town of Llallagua. As their conditions worsened, they were finally transferred to the Children’s Hospital in La Paz. They were suffering from muscular pain, sweating, fever and general tremors. After applying a serum to the bites, their conditions improved, and they were discharged almost a week later. Epidemiology chief of the Bolivian Ministry of Health, Virgilio Pietro, told Telemundo that this story is important in educating parents on making sure their children understand the difference between comic books and reality. Although the black widow spider is not usually aggressive, if bitten by one, it needs to be treated within fifteen minutes or else it could cause death. Luckily, there are antidotes for its poison. If that doesn’t scare you enough from trying out the whole “Peter Parker” thing, I’ll leave you with this fact: black widow spiders get their names from when the females eat the males after they mate. So just… just don’t touch them, okay?
Talk about pure dumb and amazing luck. A family in Virginia were shocked after they found nearly one million dollars in cash in the middle of the road! According to the family, they were just trying to get out of the COVID-19 blues by talking an afternoon drive, when they found what appeared to be a big bag of trash laying on the street. According to the Schantz family, the car in front of them had time to swerve out of the way, but the family didn’t have time to do the same. According to Maj. Scott Moser of the Caroline County Sheriff’s Department, the family ran over the bag and instead of just leaving the trash on the road, they picked it up and put it in the back of the truck. Like we all should do whenever we see trash on the street. That’s when the Virginia family saw another bag in the ditch nearby and picked that bag as well. After they got home that evening, they were about to throw the trash from both bags, but when they opened them, it appeared to be mail. After investigating further inside the bag, the family found it to be cash money. The Schantz family went to church with one of the county’s sheriffs, who told the family to call the office. According to Moser, “We went out there and determined it was, in fact, cash. It was in two bags and the total was close to one million dollars.” Within the two larger bags were two smaller ones, each containing letters as to where the money would be deposited. The plastic baggies we’re all addressed with something that said, “Cash vault.” The Sheriff’s department quickly conducted its own investigation before turning it over to the United States Postal Service. They are now looking into the matter on their own and are working to get the cash back to its rightful owner. Moser did applaud the family for turning in the cash, noting it was a credit to the charger and fiber of the family. Is this family an example of how good samaritans should act? Sure! But boy, boy. What would you do if you found one million dollars on the road? Me? Welllll.... let's just say "good-bye, Disney." Hahaha.
If I recall correctly, and maybe I don’t because of all the times I smashed my head into the hard concrete and metal on the playgrounds I played on as a child, but didn’t every child born before 1990 have to deal with torture facilities masquerading as playgrounds? Why does this kid get a pass for, of all things, a slide that was too steep? Not to be a, “I walked uphill both ways to the lead mine that my school was in” type of old guy here but the playgrounds I grew up playing on were less regulated than the cocaine industry. If something was sharp and rusty you just tried to avoid it. If you fell, you probably bled. And when someone else got hurt it was hilarious. But not for this New Jersey kindergartner. The kid went down a slide that at Griebling School in Howell Township, New Jersey in October 2014 that was “too steep,” got a little bit hurt, and won nearly two hundred grand in damages. All this because, apparently, the slide was five degrees steeper than federal rules permit. This slide was 35 degrees instead of the permitted 30 degrees. That sentence wasn’t a lie. Not even satire. There are federal rules about slide angles. And this slide barely violated it. Granted, the girl’s family and legal team are adamant that the injuries she suffered were fairly significant. No, she didn’t lose an arm or anything, but she did indisputably suffer significant scarring. It should also be said that it is, of course, good for people who have been wrongfully harmed, whether that injury is small or large, to be compensated for their injuries. Mostly I’m just mad that this kid got paid for getting hurt on a dangerous playground while me and my generation were forced to play on decommissioned World War II prison camp materials and got nothing for it. Where’s Bernie Sanders when you need him?
Marvel’s The Eternals was set to be one of the studio’s biggest franchises in Phase Four but thanks to COVID-19, the movie has been delayed. We still haven’t seen any promotional material from the upcoming MCU film but we’re all hoping this installment does well since its set to introduce completely new characters to the mix. Kit Harington, who most people know of due to 'Game of Thrones" gave a minor update on the movie. Well, “update” might be stretching it a bit since the actor knows nothing about what’s going to happen to the movie. Harington, who will be playing Black Knight, does reveal that shooting has finished but in terms of editing, reshoots, and promotional appearances, he doesn’t have a clue. As usual, COVID-19 has to ruin everything for everyone but at least he’s doing okay. Since the movie is already slated for a 2021 release, all we can do is hope that things calm down and the world becomes normal sooner, rather than later. Considering how U.S. theaters are already slated to open in a few months, people are going to have to be extra careful in this new normal. Hopefully, movies like The Eternals will make the trip to a movie theater worth it. Or, you know, things could just be safer. Man, 2020 sucks.
Here is another creative measure that is taking to maintain social distancing out in the world...

It's a foot-operated hand sanitizer. I have to tell you those protestor signs really bother...

Ugh! So, when I saw this pic of Trump is reminded me of something...

Then it hit me...

I'm just saying. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, here is...

Top Phive Lightbulb Jokes
5. How many light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb? One, if it knows its own Goedel number. Note: I thought this was something to do with the maths/logic theories of Kurt Goedel, about it being impossible to prove things, and finally a more complete explanation arrived in my email. A Goedel Number is one of several ways to encode a Turing Machine, the classical abstraction of a computer, or for that matter of any algorithm. The idea (as best I see it) is that if the machine knows its own Goedel Number it can simulate itself... It does come from the mathematician Goedel... partly because he used TMs in his famous theorem, I believe.
4. How many spies does it take to change a lightbulb? Why bother?
3. How many Russians does it take to change a lightbulb? Two: One to screw it in and the other to check it for microphones.
2. How many Trimarians does it take to change a lightbulb? Leave it out, it was only attracting mosquitos anyway.
And the number one lightbulb joke is...
1. How many Caidans does it take to change a lightbulb? A: Nobody knows. They can't figure out what to wear to change one.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, stuff happens here that happens no where else in this galaxy...

A Florida man called 911 dispatch after he alleged that his gas pedal became stuck while he was going 100 mph. Joseph Cooper, 28, of Palm Coast, Florida was going 100 mph in his BMW while driving down I-95, reports CBS 12. Cooper called dispatch in a frenzy, saying that his gas pedal was stuck. No matter what he tried, he said, he couldn’t slow down. Cooper could be heard cursing and shouting at people to get out of the way while the dispatcher informed him that authorities were on their way to help. Law enforcement officers with the Florida Highway Patrol and the Fellsmere Police Department helped manage the situation by blocking off entrance ramps and controlling traffic. They deployed stop sticks to help slow Cooper down. A dash camera captured the moment his tires were blown out. Cooper was taken to Indian River Medical Center for evaluation after saying that he felt pain in his chest. The chase affected three counties. BMW has since called the scenario impossible in a statement, "Based on the articles we have seen, the scenario described is implausible to BMW and we would be happy to work with the Florida State Police to investigate the cause of this incident. BMW drivers have long been able to rely on integrated safety systems that help ensure safe operation of every BMW vehicle. All BMW vehicles, including the 2003 X5 described in this incident, employ an electronic accelerator pedal which uses software logic to override the accelerator whenever the brake pedal is pressed while driving. This fail-safe software means that if the vehicle detects that both pedals are depressed, the on-board electronics will reduce engine power so that the driver may stop safely. Furthermore, the accelerator pedal in BMW vehicles is hinged at the bottom, and mounts to the floor. Therefore an object or floor mat cannot slide under the accelerator pedal and jam it. Original BMW floor mats are custom-fitted for each vehicle, and are installed with anchors to keep them properly located in the front footwells of each vehicle. The vehicle could also have been stopped by two additional means: By placing the transmission in neutral and coasting to a stop and/or by shutting off the ignition without removing the key. This is accomplished by turning the key counterclockwise. The engine would have shut off and the driver could have safely coasted the vehicle to a stop." Maybe his was faulty, who knows?

This person who thinks lies become true if you use CAPS-LOCK.

Haha. Okay, let's take a  live look at Port Jeff. I hope they are having better weather than what we are having here in Orlando...

It doesn't look like it.

“A Trump enemy statement,” he said of one study. “A political hit job,” he said of another. As President Donald Trump pushes to reopen the country despite warnings from doctors about the consequences of moving too quickly during the coronavirus crisis, he has been lashing out at scientists whose conclusions he doesn’t like. Twice this week, Trump has not only dismissed the findings of studies but suggested... without evidence... that their authors were motivated by politics and out to undermine his efforts to roll back coronavirus restrictions. First it was a study funded in part by his own government’s National Institutes of Health that raised alarms about the use of hydroxychloroquine, finding higher overall mortality in coronavirus patients who took the drug while in Veterans Administration hospitals. Trump and many of his allies had been touting the drug as a miracle cure, and Trump this week revealed that he has been taking it to try to ward off the virus...  despite an FDA warning last month that it should only be used in hospital settings or clinical trials because of the risk of serious side effects, including life-threatening heart problems. The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and most well respected medical journals, published a new study Friday that echoed those findings. “If you look at the one survey, the only bad survey, they were giving it to people that were in very bad shape. They were very old, almost dead,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “It was a Trump enemy statement.” He offered similar pushback Thursday to a new study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. It found that more than 61% of COVID-19 infections and 55% of reported deaths... nearly 36,000 people... could have been prevented had social distancing measures been put in place one week sooner. Trump has repeatedly defended his administration’s handling of the virus in the face of persistent criticism that he acted too slowly. “Columbia’s an institution that’s very liberal,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “I think it’s just a political hit job, you want to know the truth.” Trump has long been skeptical of mainstream science ... dismissing human-made climate change as a “hoax,” suggesting that noise from wind turbines causes cancer and claiming that exercise can deplete a body’s finite amount of energy. Its part of a larger skepticism of expertise and backlash against “elites” that has become increasingly popular among Trump’s conservative base. But undermining Americans’ trust in the integrity and objectivity of scientists is especially dangerous during a pandemic when the public is relying on its leaders to develop policies based on the best available information, said Larry Gostin, a Georgetown University law professor who is an expert in public health. “We have every right to expect that our leaders will use the best science to keep us safe and protect us,” Gostin said. “And so the idea that you reject objective scientific information that could inform policies that have life or death consequences is unfathomable.” The White House rejected that thinking, noting that Trump has followed his administration’s public health officials’ recommendations through much of the crisis. “Any suggestion that the president does not value scientific data or the important work of scientists is patently false as evidenced by the many data-driven decision he has made to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including cutting off travel early from highly-infected populations, expediting vaccine development, issuing the 15-day and later 30-day guidance to ‘slow the spread,’ and providing governors with a clear, safe road map to opening up America again,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said. Yet Trump has made clear that, at least when it comes to hydroxychloroquine, he has prioritized anecdotal evidence, including a letter he told reporters he’d received from a doctor in Westchester, a county in New York, claiming success with the drug. Asked this week what evidence he had that the drug was effective in preventing COVID-19... contrary to FDA guidance... Trump responded, “Are you ready? Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it.” “The only negative I’ve heard,” he added, “was the study where they gave it... was it the VA?... with, you know, people that aren’t big Trump fans.” There is no evidence that the study, funded by grants from the NIH and the University of Virginia, was influenced by anyone’s opinions about Trump. The retrospective analysis was conducted by researchers at several universities and looked at the impact of hydroxychloroquine in patients at veterans’ hospitals across the nation. It found no benefit and more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care alone. That work was posted online for researchers and has not been reviewed by other scientists, but a larger observational study that looked at the outcomes of nearly 100,000 patients in 671 hospitals on six continents published Friday sounded similar alarms. The Columbia study, in draft form, also hasn’t yet been published or reviewed by other experts. The researchers ran numbers through a mathematical model, making assumptions about how quickly the coronavirus spreads and how people behave in hypothetical circumstances. Trump’s criticism of the studies also comes as his allies have been eager to counter messaging from public health experts who say Trump is putting lives at risk by pushing states to quickly reopen in an election year. Republican political operatives have been recruiting pro-Trump doctors to go on television to advocate for reviving the U.S. economy as quickly as possible, without waiting to meet federal safety benchmarks. Gostin said Trump should leave it to his public health agencies to assess emerging data and the value of various studies. “I think there are real dangers,” he said, “for the president to play scientist and doctor on TV.”

The 126th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Sir Ringo Starr will be on the Phile on Monday. I never thought in a million years I'd interview one Beatle... let alone two.

Phact 1. The Hollywood Walk of Fame star for Muhammad Ali is the only one that’s placed on a wall and not the ground, because Ali “did not want the name of Muhammad to be stepped on.”

Phact 2. There is a Lake Disappointment in Australia. It was named by an explorer who followed creeks to it hoping for a freshwater source, but found a saltwater lake instead.

Phact 3. S5 0014+81, the biggest supermassive black hole known, is so bright due to its huge event horizon that if it were 100 light years away from Earth (6.31 billion times more distant than the sun), it would appear just as bright as our host star.

Phact 4. Vin Diesel has played the game of "Dungeons and Dragons" for 20 plus years and had a fake tattoo of his character’s name during the filming of xXx.

Phact 5. New Jersey lifeguards can retire when they’re 45 years old with a lifelong pension of up to $61,000 per year. When they die, the payments continue on to their dependents.

Today's guest is an American actress and producer. She is best known for her television roles as Michael Burnham, the main character in the web television series "Star Trek: Discovery," and as Sasha Williams on "The Walking Dead." Please welcome to the Phile... Sonequa Martin-Green.

Me: Hey, Sonequa. Welcome to the Phile. Congrats on your pregnancy. How are you?

Sonequa: I am doing great, Jason. How are you?

Me: I'm good as well. I loved you as Sasha on "The Walking Dead," which we will talk about in a bit. You are now on the show "Star Trek: Discovery." I don't know much about this show, when does it take place?

Sonequa: It's set roughly ten years before we first meet Captain Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise crew. 

Me: Are you a "Star Trek" fan?

Sonequa: Yeah, I started on TOS.

Me: TOS? What's that?

Sonequa: The original series.

Me: Ahhh. That's good you started at the beginning, right?

Sonequa: Yeah, I needed to become familiar as I could with Spock.

Me: Why is that?

Sonequa: It was so important, the corner stone of Michael Burnham of the character is that Spock is my surrogate brother and raised by Surek and Amanda as a human, So I was excited to see Leonard Nemoy to see what he did and how he brought Spock to life and see what I could see. I actually watched a lot of "Enterprise" actually which a lot of people find interesting but there's a huge Vulcan presence in "Enterprise." So I watched a lot of that and of course I watched a lot of episodes of "Next Generation."

Me: So, you watched every show they came out with "Star Trek"?

Sonequa: I watched every iteration and came as far as I could. I was playing he reruns in my sleep and everything because I wanted to see every single thing there was. There just wasn't time.

Me: You had to go and be in it quickly?

Sonequa: I did. I had to go be it. I only had about two or three weeks to prepare before we got started.

Me: Watching all those other shoes what did you take away that is useful to you?

Sonequa: I took a lot of culture away.

Me: The Vulcan culture?

Sonequa: Exactly. And also just the feel and spirit and tone of "Trek" I took away as well. I also could clearly see how much things have changed and how far the show has come. I was able to see what a statement it made and how boundary pushing it was in 1966. And then how boundary pushing "Next Generation" was when it came out. And of course that's what we're trying to do today in 2020, and 2018 when it first premiered.

Me: What's the name of the character you play? I said "Michael Burnham" in the into to this interview, but is that right?

Sonequa: Yes. Michael Burnham.

Me: Michael? Why is that? Michael is generally a boys name.

Sonequa: In this land there is no such thing as genderized names. To put it simply I like to think that's the statement we're trying to make. A lot went into my name, the show was co-created by Brian Fuller and Alex Kurtzman. Alex Kurtzman has taken it on and has been doing such a bold and brilliant job and Fuller often gives his female leads male names so they wanted to stay true to that. 

Me: Why Michael though?

Sonequa: There was a brief mention of Michael the archangel when they were creating the role. Once I took hold of it, I decided and it was put into the canon which I really loved. I loved it that they listened and took that in and made it a part of it. There's a lot of love and collaboration there. I decided I was named after my biological father and so it very much says that in the future a daughter could be named after her father and maybe a son could be named after his mother.

Me: So, your character is Spock's adopted sister. Are you are human?

Sonequa: Michael is culturally Vulcan but genetically human.

Me: Do you see her more Vulcan than human?

Sonequa: That's a great question. I think a lot of this series is going to be out of course discovery. It was named that for reason. But self discovery, you come, you come to me as Michael Burnham I'm very Vulcan at the time the viewers meet me at the beginning of Season 1 in the first two episodes, that sort of prequel. Then life happens and the worst thing happens and I lose everything and sentenced to life in prison after I mutiny. There's all this stuff and I lose every single thing and I fall to the deepest depths and I have to claw back to life which inevitably causes me to dig into my humanity a little bit more. I love Season 2 because we explore a lot that we didn't have time to explore because we were at war during Season 1.

Me: So, "Star Trek" has always been socially aggressive. Is the new show the same and if so is continuing that tradition important to you?

Sonequa: Oh goodness yes. It's important to all of us, it really is. We understand what it can do, we understand what its already done, we can only hope to push the needle forward to do our part, to fulfill our kind of responsibility now that we have this endowment. Being able to touch peoples hearts in this way is no small thing. It's a calling and has to be taken seriously and we definitely do.

Me: You are the first black lead in "Star Trek." What is the captain like in this show?

Sonequa: The first Asian captain and openly gay characters.

Me: That's cool, but what do the Trekkies think of this?

Sonequa: There has been some push back from fans about diversity.

Me: People are so fucking ridiculous. Did you get that personally?

Sonequa: I did. I did actually. Well, personally no so much but digitally.

Me: It must of felt personal though, am I right?

Sonequa: It sure did! It sure did. I've spoken about this before but I appreciate anytime I get to speak on it because it definitely bears repeating. It was surprising to me, it was at once surprising and not surprising. I'm a black woman from the south so I've seen a lot as far as that is concerned. I have come against a lot of racism and sexism in my life. But if they say this is what they support, if they say they're a die hard fan and they appreciate what "Trek" represents then this is what "Trek" represents which is diversity and equality so I don't understand what they mean when their upset that a black woman is at the helm now. When an Asian woman is a captain, when there's a female captain and a female officer for the first time and an angrily gay couple, I don't know what they mean when their upset about that. With the way we're doing it I wanted to make sure I what I communicated was I just want to invite people. I don't want to be hostile and I don't want to vilify. If I'm telling a story hoping that it encourages empathy I have to empathize. And I have to not be angry and I have too invite instead. I have to say okay, if that's how they feel that's because how they were raised, it's because of negative beliefs that they have and it's because of close mindedness. How about they watch it and see what happens and maybe it'll open them up.

Me: What did you admire about "Star Trek" the most? 

Sonequa: The philosophy of true acceptance.

Me: What does that mean to you? True acceptance?

Sonequa: I think it's a lot of things at once. I think it's seeing someone for what they really are, accepting them who they really are, not inspite of differences from someone else but because of them being able to say, "Wow, you're different from me. That's awesome." With that also seeing themselves in them. It's really beautiful, the Klingon leader in the first two episodes of the show T'Kuvma says to the character Voq played by ash Tyler, he says, "A lot of people would look at you negatively because of your skin." And he says. "But see you as a mirror because I see myself in you." I could almost be completely incapsulated in that.

Me: So, Spock is in this show?

Sonequa: Yes, he's played by Ethan Peck and he has a full beard so some people are calling him hipster Spock.

Me: Hahaha. Pardon the pun but what's the logic behind the facial hair?

Sonequa: Well, we're going to see Spock in a new way. I know that with other things that we explored on the show some people have been resistant to the expiration because to them we are veering to far away. But what we always want to remind people of we do have ten years, a lot happens in ten years. So that's what we're saying, in between 2256 and 2266 when TOS begins a lot happen and we are taking advantage of that. We're trying to explore all new and exciting things in that ten year span and we have to be brand new on "Star Trek: Discovery" but we also have to be familiar and we understand that. So with the beard there's going to be a lot of exploration, Spock is going to be exploring a lot about himself. I wish I could say more but he has time to shave when it's all said and done.

Me: Spock had a beard in the original series and that turned out to be not the real Spock. Hahaha. Is that a coincidence?

Sonequa: I don't know if that's a coincidence. That would actually be funny if it was a coincidence, that's really interesting. I heard that a couple of times... hmmm, is he from the mirror universe?

Me: What is it like going from one hit show like "The Walking Dead" to another show that has a huge franchise?

Sonequa: Oh my goodness. I love being able to represent where we need to go. And being able to be a vision of where we can go so people can then, including me, actualize it in our own lives. It has been a challenge for me in that way. That's my favorite thing about it, and I thank God for it so much. Me personally, Sonequa, I'm a follower of Christ and to me that means the follower of real love and so getting to play this story to betray someone, a woman of science obviously being a black woman there's all being surrounded by that but then telling this story about universality and indivisibility and equality I have to see that reflected in my own life. So when I get to have these conversations, right now in the Trump era especially I find it so invigorating and I also find it innovating for me as a human being. Now I want to rise up and I want to see these things reflected in my own life. I feel that I have a responsibility. We all, of course, have a responsibility to see it but now I'm telling this story so now I better be living it. My husband is on the show too, praise God for that, we both agree that wow, we can bring these things into our own lives because now we can pass it on and it can be a heirloom in our family. That's why I really love it, being a part of change and then being able to change myself it means everything.

Me: Sonequa, thanks so much for being on the Phile, I hope it was fun.

Sonequa: Thank you.

Me: Come back again and we'll talk about "The Walking Dead." Take care.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Sonequa Martin-Green for a cool interview. Wish we had time to talk about "The Walking Dead" though, even though I was told to focus the interview on the "Star Trek" show, and that's what I did. You're welcome, Trekkies, or Trekkers. The Phile will be back tomorrow with actor and musician Kiefer Sutherland. Spread the word, not the turd... or the virus. 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

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Pheaturing Brittany Howard

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Tuesday. Did you guys have a good Memorial Day weekend? Everyone was so excited about a three day weekend when most of us have been on a two month weekend. So, one of the best things about the last few months is why drive eight minutes when I can spend an extra 45 dollars to have the food delivered to my door? In some large stores it is now illegal to buy more than one package of toilet paper. The police have named it The Big Crack Down.
With graduation ceremonies canceled across the country, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves... an extremely Mississippi-ly named governor... thought it would be a nice treat to give a commencement speech to the state’s graduating high school seniors on Facebook Live. Naturally, though, teenagers gonna teenage. While reading off names of graduating high school seniors in Mississippi, Governor Reeves came across one peculiar name, but he didn’t realize it until it was too late. In the video of him reading the name, in fact, you can see the exact moment he realizes what he’s reading. But the deed has already been done. The words have escaped his lips. The name in question? A one Mister Harry Azcrac. Pronounced Hairy Ass Crack. In the video, the governor seems to notice what he’s read, but he swallows that bitter pill and goes on like a true pro. For what it’s worth, Governor Reeves had a good sense of humor about it. After the fact he took to Twitter to congratulate the prankster.

That’s great to see. There’s something truly charming about acknowledging that you got got. And really, what was the Governor supposed to do? He can’t be a boner about getting harmlessly pranked. We all need a little levity right now. And even more importantly, he can’t not read the name. What if Harry Azcrac was a real person? A real person who would have definitely been mercilessly bullied for his name his entire life. The Governor can’t feed into that and mock his name on the largest stage on which its ever been spoken. Plus, Azcrac sounds like a potentially foreign name. The Governor acting like a minority kid’s name was fake would, um, not have played well. So he had to say it. He had to say Harry Ass Crack.
A U.S. Soldier is being called a hero after he amputated his own leg to save his crew mates during an accident. While deployed to Poland in 2018, Army SPC. Ezra Maes was sleeping in a tank as part of an overnight training exercise when he was awakened by the vehicle rolling downhill. According to the Department of Defense, the crew initiated emergency brake procedures but nothing could stop the tank as it sped down the hill nearly 90 miles per hour. According to the 21-year-old, he called the driver to step on the brakes but shouted back that it wasn’t him. The 65-ton M1A2 Abrams tank had a hydraulic leak, and the operational systems were not responding. Realizing there was nothing else to do they all decided to hang on any way they could. The tank ultimately crashed into an embankment, sending the soldier flying across the machinery where his leg he got caught in a turret gear. Worried about his crew mates, Maes was determined to free his own leg any way he could. He stated, “I pushed and pulled at my leg as hard as I could to get loose and felt a sharp tear. I thought I had dislodged my leg, but when I moved away, my leg was completely gone.” The soldier was losing blood fast but decided to push the pain and panic aside. He headed to the back of the tank to find a medical kit after he knew his body was going into shock and decided to fight the pain. He began shock procedures on himself, forcing himself to remain calm to keep his heart rate down and elevate his lower body. He then used his own belt to form a makeshift tourniquet to avoid more blood loss. The driver, PFC. Victor Alamo suffered a broken back and was pinned down as well. As they were calling for help but the system wasn’t working, Maes recalls his cell phone rang which was the only phone to survive the crash and pick up service. He decided to call out to another Soldier, Sgt. Aechere Crump, who was also badly injured from his legs but was able to throw Maes his phone over. He then sent a text to a friend to get help for the crew. According to the soldier, the last thing he remembers from the crash was his Sergeant Major running up a hill with his leg on his own shoulder. Doctors attempted to save his leg but it was too damaged from the crash and couldn’t be re-attached. Maes was flown by helicopter to a local hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. He is currently undergoing physical rehabilitation and occupational therapy at Brooke Army Medical Center in Houston, Texas and had received a new long-term prosthetic leg that is directly attached to his remaining limb. Despite his injury, the soldier says he and the rest of the crew feel very lucky they are still alive. The soldier hopes to become a prosthetist to help other people who lost their limbs during combat.
After 32 years, a Chinese couple who never gave up on searching, finally reunited with their missing son. Mao Yin was abducted from the Shaanxi province at the entrance of a hotel back in 1988. His father, Mao Zhenjing, was taking him home from kindergarten, stopping by the hotel to grab a quick drink of water, when Mao Yin was suddenly kidnapped. Mao Zhenjing and Li Jingzhi, Mao’s mother, relentlessly searched for their son ever since he was abducted. Mao’s mother quit her job in order to dedicate all of her time to finding him. Not only did she distribute over 100,000 flyers, but she also joined a volunteer group, Baby Come Back Home. The group helps police by gathering information on missing children, and the Chinese mother helped 29 abducted children reunite with their families. All while still searching for her son. In late April of this year, police found out that a man had adopted a child for 845 dollars from Xian in Southwest China. With modern technology, they were able to create an aged portrait from an old picture of Mao, detailing what he could possibly look like today. After checking possible matches on a government database, they found Gu Ningning, a man who resembled the portrait. On Mother’s Day, Li and her husband Mao received the best news any mother could possibly receive on that day. A DNA test had proved that Gu Ningning was, in fact, their son who was abducted 32 years ago. Li told BBC, “This is the best gift I have ever got.” Xinhua News Agency reported that police are still investigating what had happened to Gu (Mao) all those years ago and have not released details about the adoptive parents who raised him. Li stated that even though she has found her son, she will continue to help families find their missing children. She told Xinhua, “I would like to thank the tens of thousands of people who helped us. I can’t believe that after helping 29 missing children find their families, I am able to find my own son.”
Well, it looks like moms-to-be have done it again. New mothers are trying to savor every single moment of being pregnant. So much so that they started to involve nail art. You know those moms, always looking for creative and unique ways to honor their pregnancies and the babies growing inside of them. Thanks to modern technology you can pretty much do any nail art design you can imagine. This time around new moms are opting for painting their sonograms on their nails. Because well, why not? Nowadays pregnant women are really liking the idea of celebrating every moment of the pregnancy process in a very creative way. This year alone we have seen numerous announcements, photos, videos, baby showers, and huge gender reveal parties that somehow always end up wrong. Let’s face it, ultrasound images are one of parents most prized possessions, and they want it to last enough to show their friends and their family. What better way to show your child that you’re excited to meet them than showing them pictures of sonogram manicures? Check it out...

Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against sonogram nails, I think it’s pretty cool. But do you know the amount of pressure this nail artist is facing trying to make sure that the line is in the right place and in the right position on the acrylic nail because then it will just look like a jelly bean? Pure talent and stress if you ask me. I hope these nail artists get some a huge tip with it because its crazy hard to an ultrasound photo.
The machines are officially rising, and a dog was almost their first casualty. A 14-pound, elderly Shih Tzu named Stonewall was minding his own business in his home in suburban St. Louis when the demon puck that roams his house finally took its opportunity to attack. The poor little guy wound up with his tail caught in the robot vacuum and his owner completely freaking out. Megan Dunavant found her pup snagged by the vacuum and rolling around every which way, in a panic, trying to get out. Having absolutely no idea what to do in this situation, and completely alone at home, Dunavant called 911. Two Ballwin police officers showed up a short while later and the three of them got to work getting Stonewall free from the Skynet vacuum. The officers soon realized that the pup was only stuck in the vacuum by the hair of its tail, so they went about cutting him out with the precision and care of a brain surgeon, making sure they didn’t take any tail with them on the way out. Eventually, the officers were able to free Stonewell and the dog was no worse for the wear, though he’s probably not a big fan of the vacuum anymore. In fact, one reason this happened is that Dunavant claims Stonewall was, unlike most dogs, not afraid of the vacuum. It looks like all of our dogs weren’t being so unreasonable after all. Stonewall’s owner says that the next time she releases the vacuum to do its work she’ll probably be keeping Stonewall in his kennel. Meanwhile, this is a gross miscalculation by the machines. If they wanted to kill humans most of us would be hard pressed to blame them. The resistance would be pretty half-hearted. But come after our dogs and the human freedom fighters will make the Viet-Cong look like a dodgeball team.
Hey, so I saw this sign on the Internet the other day and thought I'm sure glad I don't live in that neighborhood.

Then I realized it was in my neighborhood. Ugh. It's good to wear masks and gloved when you go out but some people sure take it a little bit too far...

Haha. Many countries (and many states, which might as well be their own countries) have begun reopening after lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 epidemic. Until a vaccine is manufactured and administered, we are not out of the woods with those pesky pathogens just yet. Here is a creative measure to maintain social distancing out in the world.

It's that time of year for graduates to get clever with their yearbook quotes...

Hahaha. Thats funny. Do you know what's not funny? This...

They told me i'd see some odd sights at Walmart. I didn't believe it until I saw this...

If I had a TARDIS I would go to Times Square but knowing my luck I'll go there when it's still being built.

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

Top Phive Things Said By People Getting Drunk On Zoom Happy Hour
5. Looking at tour drunk self in the mirror after Zoom hoary hour just doesn't hit the same.
4. Literally the only reason to go to happy hour with your co-workers and your boss is maybe your boss will pay for your drinks I'm not going to watch a sysadmin get drunk on Zoom while I sit at my desk pretending to wear pants I'm sorry.
3. I got too drunk on Zoom happy hour again. OOPS. This is why I cannot be trusted.
2. Zoom work happy hours are not my thing because they start at 5 p.m. and I'm usually too drunk by then.
And the number one thing said by a person getting drink on Zoom happy hour is...
1. My professor is wine drunk on Zoom and keeps called Egyptian scriber Hu-Nefer "Hugh Hefner" and it's the funniest thing.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. A real life mini-soap opera played out in the comments of a church's Facebook post, and the commenter asked "am I an asshole?" for redemption. Someone wrote to the Phile asking "am I an asshole for publicly revealing who my biological parents are on Facebook and kind of messing things up for them?" You can guess things did not go well. The adoptee wrote...

"I was given up for adoption when I was a baby by my parents who were 19-years-old. Due to reasons, I was taken from my adoptive parents and put in foster care when I was 11 and remained in the system until I went to college. When I turned 18, I was given my mother's contact information by someone. I found out she was married to my biological father. They had public profiles on Facebook and Instagram. I ended up messaging my mother who never responded. I then tried to message my father who basically replied saying that he's sorry but they would rather not have me in their lives. That it took them a while to grieve over giving me up and that they don't want to go through all that pain again." Feeling rejected, the adoptee reached out to their biological maternal grandmother, and things escalated from there. "Well, at this point I got pretty pissed because I think its kind of shitty they think they can prevent me from knowing the rest of my family. I ended up messaging my grandmother (my mother's mom) who was actually happy to know me. I met her in person and we really bonded. I also have two younger siblings but I didn't contact them after what my father said. Well, four months ago, I saw my father post of a picture of them at some church event and say 'my beautiful wife and our two amazing kids.' This was on their church Facebook page. This was probably wrong but I replied with a comment saying, 'Don't you mean three kids?' I didn't really expect the amount of people responding to that as I did. There were a bunch of people my parents knew that started asking questions. I freaked out and deleted my comment. They deleted their comment, but the Internet is forever. Then I started getting DMs from people, including people I was related to. Later that day, my grandmother made a post confirming I was a child given up for adoption. So now, I started making connections with some extended family and have been to a few family parties. My parents have been told they aren't invited unless they accept me which they haven't. The whole drama has kind of messed with their lives and business. My parents are now apparently separated. I don't really accept that as my fault. Am I wrong for doing what I did?" The adoptee isn't the first person in the world to be angry with their biological parents, and probably isn't the first person to publicly shame them on Facebook after being ghosted with their mother on Instagram. One thing is certain: there is probably way more to this story than was in the original post. Here's hoping one of the parents writes, "Am I wrong for giving up a child for adoption and then refusing to connect with them and blaming them for tearing my family apart?" No, you are not wrong. If you have a problem you'd like me to give my opinion or advice then email me at

This bride who thinks people should die for her wedding.

Yeesh. Let's take a look at what's going on in Port Jeff, shall we?

Looks rainy and overcast like it is here in Orlando. Okay, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, here's something that happened in this state that could happen no where else...

Art. What is it? Can it be a glistening, fat, mustachioed man being filmed in an extreme close up, reacting to the sounds of gas being released from his colon, shooting through his sphincter, and reverberating off his ample ass cheeks? Yes. Obviously. If someone can sculpt the Statue of Liberty out of dirty diapers... not a real thing (yet) but it sounds real... then surely this man documenting his at work flatulence qualifies.

The man, who has only identified himself as Doug, is a hospital security guard at a Florida (of course). His online alter ego, however, is Paul Flart. Because he is large. And a security guard. Like the popular Kevin James character Paul Blart. But also this guy farts. You can consider him the fart authority. As Officer Flart explained to Vice, he started doing this bit because he was bored at work and, presumably after unleashing an absolute banshee one day, he realized the lobby he was stationed in had some pretty great acoustics and good sound… for farting. Soon Flart’s Instagram account went viral and his employers caught wind… of his wind. Flart, like so many of his farts, was pushed out. He even filmed himself being fired. It’s a serious conversation about farts. It’s worth a watch. Though Flart’s watch may be over, he says he intends to continue documenting his ass blasts on social media, wherever they may be. He has fans now. He is literally a worldwide hit, receiving messages from followers in countries like Holland and Germany. They tell Flart he makes their day. And you don’t think this is art? The man creates it, and it inspires! It brings joy! If that’s not art, then nothing is. You snobs.

I'm soooo excited. The 126th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

The great Ringo Starr will be on the Phile this Monday. That'll be two Beatles I had here. I might as well quit after that, right? Hahaha. Some of you are hoping I do. Okay, wanna laugh?

Phillip and Phoebe are parked in Lover's Lane. He embraces her with one arm, and begins to explore with the other hand. Looking over her shoulder, he sees a policeman approaching. "Awwwww hell!" he murmured, "Fuzz!" "What did ya expect?" Phoebe said, "A perm?"

Today's guest is an American musician, singer, and songwriter known for being the lead vocalist, guitarist, and main songwriter of the rock band Alabama Shakes. Her debut studio album "Jaime" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Brittany Howard.

Me: Hey, there, Brittany, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Brittany: Hello. Pretty good. How are you doing?

Me: Not bad. You left Alabama Shakes and now have a solo album out. How does it feel?

Brittany: It's just another day. I think I built it up in my mind being so stressed out. I don't know, it actually turned out really well for me. I got to be more myself and people got to connect to that in away that I think I never really revealed myself before. That's actually been really, really cool.

Me: Alabama Shakes got really big, with number one hits, winning Grammys, Obama invited you to the White House. When did you first get the feeling that you needed to step away?

Brittany: I think it had a lot to do with us as a creative group. I think the muse of creativity the ideas weren't really flowing and I think it'd been like that for a year. We were getting together rehearsing and everything and nothing was really happening. I think it was one of those times when I said we really need to talk about what's going on and we sat down and had a conversation about it. We decided to put everything on hold for right now.

Me: So, when did you get the idea to do a solo record?

Brittany: That was the first time in about eight years I ever went on a trip just for fun, I just went on a road trip, me and my partner, just drove across America and got to be me. That was when I got the idea to do a solo record because I was like what do I do now.

Me: So, what kind of difference from your past records did you want this record to be?

Brittany: The whole thing behind the solo record was first of I needed it to be everything that I needed it to be. I definitely didn't need other voices to do it or opinions. I just wanted to do something on my own with my own ingredients, my one recipes.

Me: Didn't you work on this album in an interesting way?

Brittany: Yeah, in a green house in Topanga, California in 100 degree fahrenheit heat without any air conditioning.

Me: What the fuck?! Why? Was this part of you making this record?

Brittany: I think I had writers block right up until the heat wave. The heat wave really helped. I was in a green house of all places so it was even extra hot, it probably was 110 in the green house. It just really broke down all my over thinking. I was like its too hot to work today, it's too hot so I stepped out. Once I decided I wasn't going to work that's when all the ideas started flowing. And then I had to go back in there and put them down. It just happened to be during a heat wave.

Me: You sing about different things on this album, Brittany. What are some of the things you're singing about?

Brittany: My upbringing, queer love, I'm singing about my relationship with God.

Me: Why do you think it was easier to approach these topics as a solo artist as opposed to the Alabama Shakes?

Brittany: Because when I write a song the music is directly influenced by what I'm trying to say. Also what I'm trying to say how does that feel. Everything is so connected I couldn't have what I tried to design. Alabama Shakes and the rest of the members are also creative and I respect their input. But I just knew I needed to step away and do something on my own. I just knew if I was going to do it it had to be the right way.

Me: Tell me about singing about your relationship with God. I didn't expect that for some reason. 

Brittany: No one usually hears someone talking about that on the radio. It's really I feel that God doesn't care, it's the golden rule. It's simple and we as humans complicate everything to the max to where God is supposed to mean love and now it turns into religious words because we got a hold of it. So I just wanted to write a song about God equalling love and not necessary any type of religion. It's not posted at any time of religion. It's jus a very personal song between me and my maker. I think that would of been great to hear when I was younger, I was really confused by the church I was going to. I think that would've blown my mind when I was a kid.

Me: What kind of church were you going to?

Brittany: I was going to Southern Baptist and Church of Christ when I was a kid.

Me: What do you remember about that? I don't know the difference between those two.

Brittany: I always remember in Church of Christ there's no music allowed so we would just sing lots of harmony. Then at the Baptist church there was lots of music, very good music, very good singing. 

Me: So there came a point where you thought you had to step away from that?

Brittany: Yeah. It kinda turned out that way because I already had lots of questions and I knew things weren't adding up. Even at a young age it seemed like there were so many rules, that I could so easily break the rules. Then I'm going to hell and that seemed kind of extreme to me. Not that my church was extreme, it just didn't add up to my brain. Everybody can believe what they want to believe that's just my experience. Then my sister passed away and when my sister passed away my family stopped going to church just because we were all grieving. Once we stopped going I felt that's when I finally could be myself and not be ashamed of that. Did you go to church as a kid?

Me: Nope. Never did until I was an adult and that was only a handful of times.

Brittany: That's cool. I think it's important to remember what it's all about. It's about love is the same equation. So once you start taking out what the actual meaning is, applying all our kind of human views on it, it starts losing that greatness.

Me: So, where did "Jaime," the name of the new album come from?

Brittany: The album is named after my late sister, who passed away from a rare form of eye cancer when she was a teenager. I was eight.

Me: Awe. I'm sorry to hear that. What was she like when she was around?

Brittany: She was really mature for her age and she really had a high pitched voice and she was EXTREMELY smart. I remember because it's funny, my cousin just found this cassette tape months ago and it was us when we were 5-yers-old, my sister and my two cousins and we were on a little Fisher-Price Mr. Microphone recorder and the had the tape digitized and it was just like an hour of us roasting each other. All of my sisters jokes were the funniest jokes. They were like really brilliant. 

Me: Awe, that's so cool, Brittany. So, you said she was smart? How so?

Brittany: She was really good at anything she wanted to learn. She was very good at poetry and art and painting, drawing in general. Anything that had to do with creation she was just a genius at.

Me: Hearing your sisters voice on that recording, even though it was funny, was it still a shock? 

Brittany: It was actually really beautiful. I felt that I found the biggest diamond in the world. It was the hugest treasure. It was really funny and we were having so much fun I didn't want to be sad, I just wanted to be in that room again. We were having great time and I don't think I had that good of a time since then. It was so innocent and fun and we had some pretty good jokes.

Me: What made you decide to name the record after her?

Brittany: I think it was just an appreciation to my sister. Like I do have the belief just because someone leaves the world doesn't mean that they left necessary. I don't know. I don't have all the answers but I definitely know my sisters presence is still with me and just help to get where I am. Being confident enough to sing in front of people, hanging in there when I'm really tired and on the road in the middle of Europe and it's old and I'm struggling and I'm sick and just always having that push and that drive just to get to where I was today. And also when she did leave this world she left me with everything that she loved which is art and music and being creative in general. I thought yeah, I'm doing a solo record but it's not really solo. I've had a lot of teachers along the way and Jaime was my first teacher and to me my most important teacher.

Me: You have a track about your family that is pretty unsettling I have to say. Can you tell us the story behind the song "Goat Head"?

Brittany: Yeah, it's something I didn't experience because I was a little baby. My mom and my father weren't really together at the time but they were still dating even though they had children together. My dad gets off work basically, goes to my mom's apartment complex and next to her apartment complex is what we call a co-op. A co-op is where they sell cattle feed and sometimes they'll have animals someone can buy. So my dad stayed the night and woke up the next morning and they broke the windshield of his car and slashed his tires and there was blood all over the car. He looked into the backseat and someone had cut off one of the goat's heads and out it in the back of his car.

Me: Why would someone fucking do that?

Brittany: They were just leaving a message they didn't appreciate his interracial relationship. Don't come back here.

Me: How old were you when you first heard that story from your parents?

Brittany: I was like 14 when I first heard that from my mom.

Me: So, how did you feel when you first heard this?

Brittany: I grew up in this kind off really interesting land of little poor white kids and little poor black kids playing with each other in a creek. I didn't have this inner-city life where I stayed with my own. I didn't really have this concept of racism. I thought racism was in the 50s and 60s when I was a kid. Now I know better, of course. I feel like my lens of the world really changed when my mom told me the story. I said, "Mom, did you have any hard times when you and dad were dating?" She said, "Oh yeah, when you were little I couldn't take you to the grocery store without someone coming up to me asking 'what have you done?'" It was crazy for them and this was a story my mom told me. I was so shocked and so hurt that someone would do that to my dad because he's like the sweetest dude. If you met him you'd love him. It just blew my mind. They didn't even know my pop, they just didn't like the color of his skin. They just did not like the relationship between my father and my mother and it really blew my mind. I looked at them differently after that. Just for me to get here... it was such a struggle for them to go through.

Me: Have you played that song for your dad?

Brittany: Yeah, my dad likes it. It's not even deep or shocking for him, he's like, "I like this song." 

Me: Haha. That's good. Were you wondering what he was gonna say?

Brittany: Yeah, I was so nervous. I thought he was going to say, "Brittany, why did you bring that up?" But he thought it was a good one. 

Me: Did you bring it over to him or send it to him in an e-mail?

Brittany: He showed up early and went to a sound check and we performed the song. He was like, "Oh, I like that!"

Me: Is anything about you revealing more about yourself shaped by the political climate these days? 

Brittany: Being in a society I can't help being affected by the political climate. I can't help being affected there is a President like the current President that brings out a lot of division in people. And "helps" those people who are very ignorant and full of hatred and anger. That's a weird time to be alive. I think its impossible not to be affected by that, especially me being black and gay and a woman... it affects me. I grew up in the country now, so I'm not prone to be scared of folks. But it's different nowadays, it's so different. That's scary the way people have to feel that they have permission to act, that's scary. So when I wrote this record I definitely was trying to build myself up. Definitely trying to inspire my own self just by saying, "Brittany, this is how far you've come. This is where you've come from, I think your story is so important." Just like "Goat Head," I was trying to let my parents know their story is important.

Me: On the record "13th Century Metal" is a tune where you are not singing, but almost "ranting" over crazy music. It's really a lot better than how I just described it. You say, "We are brothers and sisters, each and every one I promise to love my enemy" and "I am a master student and my spirit will never be stomped out." What keeps you so positive?

Brittany: I have to be positive. Without light there's no darkness and without darkness there is no light. We live in a world where both of these things will exist and it just depends where we want to put our energy at. I grew up in darkness, I grew up in grief, I've been there. It has nothing to offer me anymore. And yeah, I live in a world that has very much darkness. There's times that I'm outraged that I can't do anything about it or I feel helpless or powerless to do anything about it and that's where that song came from. I channeled it to something I could create.

Me: When you're down where do you look for that kind of inspiration?

Brittany: I don't know where it comes from really. I guess it's from myself. That's he only answer because I have a lot of loved ones that really want to push me up and brig me into their life with a higher vibe. They don't want me to be in darkness, they want to make me laugh and they want to lift me up. But really with this kind of stuff it really comes from within. When I'm feeling really down and out it definitely comes from something within.

Me: Brittany, that's great. Thanks so much for being on the Phile. I hope it was fun. Stay well and come back again.

Brittany: Thanks so much for having me.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Brittany Howard for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with actress Sonequa Martin-Green from "Star Trek: Discovery." 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

Friday, May 22, 2020

Pheaturing Phile Alum John Oates

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday. How are you? In Louisa, Virginia, a town west of Richmond, police have arrested a pair of “melon-heads” in the case of a convenience store robbery. And when I say “melon-heads,” I mean it literally. Look at this shit...

People have gotten awfully creative with what they use for face masks because of the coronavirus, and I guess this couldn’t have been a more appropriate time to get creative with choosing a face-covering to go rob a convenience store. And these two robbers were definitely thinking outside of the box, maybe a little too hard. Louisa Police Department was searching for two shoplifters who had robbed a local Sheetz convenience store. I don’t think anyone was expecting what they saw when the police department had posted pictures of the perps on their Facebook page. The Facebook post (now removed because of the overwhelming responses and police no longer needed information) was calling for help in identifying the two shoplifters who had covered their faces using watermelons. Yes, fully grown, ripe watermelons. These two people had completely carved out watermelons to put over their heads, even cutting out eye holes to see. Then, they drove a black Toyota Tacoma pickup truck to go rob the Virginia convenience store. The watermelon heads were eventually identified, and one suspect was arrested and charged. Twenty-year-old Justin M. Rogers was charged with committing larceny, underage possession of alcohol, and petit larceny of alcohol. Police have identified the second suspect, but have not released more information on that part of the case. Louisa Police Chief Tom Leary commented on the hilarious situation, saying, “I’m in my 46th year of law enforcement. I’ve seen a lot of strange things, this certainly ranks up there with some of the more unusual events for sure.” Well, Chief Leary, you can imagine how strange that looks to a commoner like me. And just a fair warning, if you ever feel so inclined for any reason to use a watermelon as a face mask against COVID-19, I highly suggest you stay away from that path. You might enter a life of crime.
Well, this is certainly a way to get someone’s attention. Turns out a nurse is going viral on social media after she was suspended from the hospital after she arrived at her shift in the all-male coronavirus patient wing with no clothes. Well, she technically did have some clothes on. She had a bra and her underwear, covered by a see-through personal protective equipment and a face mask. You know I'm gonna show a pic of this...

Bold fashion statement if you ask me. Maybe she was going for a swim after her shift? The unidentified Russian nurse told managers at Tula Regional Clinical Hospital that she was “too hot” to wear her clothes underneath the head to toe vinyl gown. The gown is what protects staff from contracting COVID-19. While there were reportedly “no complaints” (of course) from the male patients themselves, hospital chiefs decided to punish the nurse for “non-compliance with the requirement for medical clothing.” Which in all honesty, I get it, this unnamed nurse was almost naked in front of the whole hospital to see. Still, the nurse claimed she didn’t realize that her bikini was showing through the PPE. But, that obviously didn’t work out, and the regional health ministry indeed confirmed that disciplinary sanction was applied to the nurse of the infectious diseases department “who violated uniform requirements.” As to what exactly disciplinary measures they took, well they weren’t elaborate on that, but my guess is a two-week suspension. Who knows, really. The hospital administration had originally claimed that the woman, who is in her 20s, had been wearing lingerie, but then later clarified that the two-piece was possibly a “swimming suit.” As far as the health care worker involved, well she has yet to make any public statement on the incident. I don’t blame her, I would stay quiet if I was in that situation as well. I just hope this woman gets her job back. She’s really changing lives out here!
A Ukrainian man with what is hopefully soon to be a crazy ex-wife found himself going under the circular saw after said lunatic spouse affixed a “chastity nut” to his penis while he was sleeping. The 40-something man, whose name was not released, woke up in pain and realized something was terribly, horribly wrong when he saw the device on his penis, which was swelling. Unable to get the nut... nut, as in, what keeps a screw in place... off of his rapidly swelling member, the man was taken to the hospital. That hospital wasn’t able to do anything either, however. They didn’t have the tools required to get the device off. Apparently butter and a good, hard yank weren’t an option. With no options on hand, the hospital called a Cobra rescue crew who proceeded to use a band saw to saw the metal nut off the man’s penis in what had to be the worst however many minutes of his entire life. By far. Sparks were literally flying off the metal nut and doctors had to pour water on the man’s groin to cool it down. He should’ve just told the doctors to knock him and maybe don’t wake him up if they couldn’t save his penis. Local Ukranian news uploaded the video of the incident. Take a look at this screen shot if you feel like torturing yourself and adding to whatever the opposite of your spank bank is.

My God. As soon as this guy’s penis is fully healed... he’s still recovering in the hospital... he needs to treat himself to a vacation, both to get as far away as possible from his penis murdering wife and also to, just, reset. Start over. Get some much-needed perspective on life. To calm down. He’s earned. Conversely, the wife should be sent to Siberia.
Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to a plea deal in connection with their involvement in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal. The actress, known for her work on "Full House" and the Hallmark Channel, is expected to be sentenced to serve two months in prison. The actress will also be forced to pay $150,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service. The fashion designer, on the other hand will be sentenced to serve five months in prison with a $150,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Massachusetts, the couple will enter their guilty pleas on conspiracy charges via video conference. There is a provision in the plea agreement to wait 90 days after the federal judge imposes their sentence before they are both sent to prison. Through a press release, United States Attorney Andrew E. Lellings noted, “We will continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions.” The couple are the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty to the case, which was announced back last year. Giannulli and Loughlin were accused of paying $500,000 to get both their daughters into the University of Southern California as rowers. The girls were not athletes, but their application photos showed them on rowing machines. The investigation was quickly dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues” with 50 suspects charged. Authorities found wealthy parents who cheated several college applications and entrance exams to get their children into U.S. elite schools. Several cases involved parents bribing coaches who falsified student-athletes’ histories. One of the cases involved a real athlete’s photo which was manipulated to look like one of the students. Several other parents paid for stand-ins to take entrance exams. The scandal took place between 2011 and 2018 and was spearheaded by William “Rick” Singer who pleaded guilty and helped the FBI investigate the other parents. Singer set up the system where parents would pay cheating services and bribes. According to prosecutors, Singer was sentenced to three years of supervised release by the court in exchange for his lengthy plea deal. Actress Felicity Huffman, known for her work on "Desperate Housewives," also pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy, serving nearly two weeks in prison.
Johnson & Johnson has announced it will stop selling talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada. The company stated the demand for the product had fallen in the wake of what they are calling “misinformation” about the product safety amid a barrel of its legal challenges. The company faces more than 19,000 lawsuits from consumers and their survivors, which claim it’s talc-products cause cancer due to asbestos contamination, which is a known carcinogen. Many of these cases are still pending before a district judge in New Jersey. Through a statement, the company attributed the decline “in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.” On Tuesday, the company noted that despite the lawsuits, they are confident in the safety of all of their products. Speaking with CNBC, J&J stated, “Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product. We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the company in the courtroom.” Johnson’s Baby Powder represents nearly 0.5% of the company’s total U.S. sales in the consumer unit. The company relaunched its iconic namesake baby product line back in 2018 and J&J’s baby care unit. All those companies have been tested for decades, but the brand has fallen out of touch with consumers, especially young moms, who throughout the years have since opted for more natural products from start-up brands. Last year, the company recalled around 33,000 bottles of Baby Powder in the United States after the Food and Drug Administration stated they found trace amounts of asbestos from a bottle of that was purchased online. J&J came back saying it indeed tested their Johnson’s Baby Powders and found no signs of asbestos contamination. The company will still sell its less popular cornstarch-based baby powder around the world.
High school kids are once again being creative with their year book quotes...

Haha. Do you like Dr. Fauci? Do you like candles? Then if so you might want to get this...

I definitely want it. Haha. Since the COVID-19 mess movie theaters are getting creative with their marquee signs...

Signs that I don't like are those protester signs...

Sometimes panhandlers have witty signs that they hold...

Haha. I wonder how many people gave him a dollar because of that. I was thinking of getting another tattoo but someone had the same idea as I did...

Damn them. Hahaha. At Walt Disney World Disney Springs reopened on Wednesday and already people are getting into trouble...

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

Top Phive Things Said About Lori Loughlin's Gulty Plea In The College Admissions Scandal
5. Lori Loughlin is truly Aunt Becky... and two months in prison ain't shit for what she did; a dime bad of weed gets folks in the hood ten times more than that.
4. Lori Loughlin gets two months for a whole ass college entrance scan while already privileged. A black mom went to prison for five years for using a family member's address so her son could go to a better school.
3. Now that Loughlin plead guilty and we've put the college admissions scandal behind us, I'd like to clear the air and point out that I got into Nassau Community College the old fashioned way, by not studying in hifi school.
2. Dear Aunt Becky, see you in two months, we will miss you! Love, your nieces and nephews.
And the number one thing said about Lori Loughlin's guilty plea in the college admissions scandal is...
1. I wonder if Lori Loughlin will ask her for house arrest given the coronavirus. Maybe she pulled to the perfect Karen heist after all.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's stuff that happens in this state that happens no where else...

A Florida man was arrested and charged with three counts of indecent exposure in public and two counts of committing a lewd act for two separate incidents in which he masturbated while driving and showed off his “skills” to unsuspecting and uninterested women. Thirty-two-year-old Justin Mosser was driving his gray Mazda down Highway 60 in Polk County, Florida when he got the attention of a woman driving next to him. When the woman looked over she saw that Mosser was naked from the waist down and masturbating. The woman reported the incident, the car, and what the assailant looked like. Not satiated with this cruise and crank, Mosser set out for more. On Highway 27 Mosser again took out his extra stick shift but this time, unbeknownst to him, it was for an undercover female police officer. Mosser was later pulled over by Polk County Sheriff’s deputies and arrested. After his arrest, Mosser readily admitted that he behaves this way often... according to him because his junk gets hot and he needs to air it out. Mosser admitted to masturbating in front of women in front of driving about four or five times prior to the two incidents he was arrested for. According to authorities, Mosser has previously been arrested for burglary, grand theft, criminal mischief, giving a false name to a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and driving while license suspended/revoked. I bet driving with the window down and no pants on does feel pretty nice if I’m being totally honest. If I owned a mile-long driveway I might even be inclined to try it. Maybe on a golf cart? But, you know, you’ve got to do that in a private place. You certainly can’t go waving your stuff at people. God bless Florida.

Ashley Tisdale literally had a record called "Don't Touch (The Zoom Song)."

Okay, let's see what's going on in Port Jeff, shall we?

The ferry is there! It's either coming in or leaving. Maybe if I remember I'll check again in a bit. Wait, I think it's leaving. Nice. It's going to Bridgeport, Connecticut. I loved that ferry.

Upstairs fence

When Sweden is playing Denmark, it is SWE-DEN. The remaining letters, not used, is DEN-MARK. This also applies to Poland vs. Andorra, Bhutan vs. Tanzania, Cyprus vs. Russia and Persia vs. Siam.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to hold up federal funds for two election battleground states that are trying to make it easier and safer to vote during the coronavirus pandemic. He backed away from that threat but stuck with his unsupported claim that widespread voting by mail promotes “a lot of illegality.” The president targeted Michigan with an inaccurate tweet on its voting plans and also went after Nevada in the latest... and the most confused... episode in his campaign against mail-in voting. As states have shifted to remote voting, following health officials recommendations on safety, Trump has denigrated the practice and sought to limit access. He has said repeatedly, without evidence, that mailed ballots allow widespread fraud and has worried publicly that wide availability could lead so many people to vote that Republicans would lose in November. His GOP allies, meanwhile, have fought changes to voting in court and opposed funding to expand mail-in voting in Congress. Wednesday marked the first time Trump has tried to use federal aid money to beat it back. Trump began by going after Michigan, misstating Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s announcement that she would send applications for absentee ballots to every voter in the state. Though Republican secretaries of state have taken this step elsewhere, Trump pounced on the move in a state key to his reelection hopes. “Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. That brought strong criticism from Democrats in Michigan and elsewhere, pointing out that the state was sending applications, not actual ballots, an error the president corrected in a subsequent tweet six hours later. He stuck with the rest of his tweet, “This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” Trump later tweeted a similar threat to pull back funds from Nevada, which has sent ballots to voters for its June 9th state primary. A federal judge recently cleared Nevada’s decision to mail ballots, which were sent by the Republican secretary of state. It was not clear exactly what funds Trump was referencing, but the states are paying for the voting changes with federal aid intended to support elections during the pandemic. By Wednesday evening, Trump told reporters he had spoken with Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and did not think funding would have to be cut. “I don’t think it’s going to be necessary,” he said, adding that he stood by his opposition to mail voting. “Voting is an honor. It shouldn’t be something where they send you a pile of stuff and you send it back.” Trump himself has requested an absentee ballot to vote in Florida. Trump’s tweets and statements came the day before he is slated to visit Michigan to tour Ford’s ventilator assembly plant in Ypsilanti. The state is one of three Rust Belt states that helped deliver his 2016 victory. In recent months, it has become a national hot spot for the coronavirus and watched its economy collapse, both factors contributing to what T rump’s advisers see as a shift toward Democrats. The president’s comments appeared to reflect growing GOP concerns that Democrats’ swift embrace of mail-in voting will give them an edge in November. Some key Democratic areas have moved to make it easier for voters to request ballots, while Republican areas have not. And even though Trump’s campaign encourages absentee voting, along with several state Republican Party officials, GOP voters, like Trump, have expressed growing skepticism. Democrats noted Trump seems more concerned about mail-in voting in battleground states and has not threatened Republican-dominated states that are doing the same thing as Michigan. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, an ally of the president, noted Wednesday he’s concerned about Trump’s threats even though his administration approved mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in the state. “I can’t imagine that the president is going to withhold funding in any way to West Virginia; that’s not going to happen,” Justice told reporters. On Monday, before Trump’s Twitter threat, the Republican National Committee sought to clarify its position on vote by mail, arguing that the party opposes mailing ballots to every voter, as Nevada has done, but does not oppose mailing applications, as Michigan did. “I don’t really have an issue with absentee requests forms being sent to voters,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said. On Wednesday, Trump’s threats scrambled that distinction. Republicans’ claims that mailing ballots to all voters creates widespread fraud is not backed up by evidence from the five states that use this method. None has had significant voter fraud cases. The White House referred questions about the president’s tweets to Trump’s reelection campaign. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh asserted “there is no statutory authority for the secretary of state in Michigan to send absentee ballot applications to all voters”... an argument some Michigan Republicans have also made. Murtaugh did not address whether Republican secretaries of state elsewhere were similarly constrained. The GOP-controlled U.S. Senate has so far stopped Democrats from mandating expanded mail and early voting as part of coronavirus relief bills, arguing that states should make decisions on their own election systems. The battle has largely moved to the courts, with Democrats filing at least 17 lawsuits to force states to expand their programs. Hours after Trump tweeted Wednesday, he sent another message to Michigan. The state is grappling with severe flooding in one county after two dams failed, forcing thousands to evacuate. Three hours after threatening to hold up federal funding to the state, Trump tweeted, “My team is closely monitoring the flooding in Central Michigan... Stay SAFE and listen to local officials. Our brave First Responders are once again stepping up to serve their fellow citizens, THANK YOU!”

There's a man named Ralph that goes into a bar, looking very depressed. A friend approaches him and asks, "Why the long face, Ralph?" "Oh, I'm just bored. I know every person in the entire world now, and there's just nothing left to challenge me." His friend says, "No, you can't know everyone. Do you know Paul McCartney?" He says, "Sure, Paul's an old friend of mine. Here, I'll show you." He took out his phone, dials a number. His friend overhears a British accent, "Hey Ralph, how ya doing?" He talks for a while, but when Ralph hangs up, his friend is not really sure that it was Paul McCartney on the other end of the line, so he asks him if he knows the president. Ralph says, "Sure, we go way back." This time he lets him listen in as he calls a private number. It sounds like the president on the other end of the line, and they go into a big discussion of the current economic scene, and Ralph offers a few suggestions. Drawing the conversation to a close, Ralph wishes him well and hangs up. His friend is a little dumbfounded at this point. "Well, there must be someone that you don't know." He goes over a few more people in his mind, and thinks, 'He can't possibly know the Pope. After all, he's a Protestant.' But Ralph claims to know him, so to convince himself otherwise, his friend decides to fly both himself and Ralph to the Vatican to get positive proof of Ralph's conviction. So they arrive at the Vatican, and Ralph suggests that his friend wait out in St. Peter's Square until Ralph has cleared things with the Pope. He's standing in the courtyard, when who walks out onto the balcony of the private residence, arm in arm with the Pope, but Ralph. Ralph looks down, sees that his friend has apparently passed out, and runs down to see what can be done for him. "What happened to you? Couldn't you accept the fact that I really do know the Pope?" "No, I'd begun to accept that possibility. But what really took my breath away was some stranger standing next to me who said, 'Who's that guy standing there with Ralph?'"

Today's guest is a Phile Alum and is an American rock, R&B and soul guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer best known as half of the rock and soul duo, Hall & Oates. His memoir Change of Seasons is the 125th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome back to the Phile... John Oates.

Me: Hello, John, welcome back to the Phile. How are you doing?

John: I'm good, Jason. Good to be back.

Me: So, your book Change of Seasons is the 125th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. I know it came out a few years ago, but why did you decide then to release a book?

John: Well, the book came about in a very unusual way. I had been doing a series of interviews with a guy named Chris Epting and every time I'd do an interview he dug depends into my life and he seemed to have a good handle on who I was a person and as a musician. Eventually my story began to unfold in the course of the interviews and he said to me, "Man, you should write a book one day and if you ever want do it I'd like to help you." That's how it started.

Me: I want to write a book about working at Disney for thirty plus years but it's hard to remember everything. Do you have a good memory, John?

John: I had a series of journals that I kept that I written by hand through the entire decade of the 70s and made copies of them for Chris so he could take a look at them. That kind of kick started the project and from there we went into the memory banks and Chris is a great researcher and he has an experience and published a number of books himself, so he kind of asked me through the process. Out collaboration was really good and I'm really happy how we worked together.

Me: I think it's funny you were in a band with Frank Stallone. What was that like?

John: Frank was good, man, He's still playing and singing to this day.

Me: What kinda band were you guys in together?

John: It was a folk rock band, kind of a Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape kind of thing.

Me: When was this?

John: Late 60s and Frank was a real good singer.

Me: So, when did you start to first focus on music?

John: After an amazing trip to Europe I have to say. In the back of my mind I never considered I'd do anything else. I didn't know what I was going to do and I didn't know how I was going to do it.

Me: Okay, so, when did you first meet Daryl Hall?

John: I had first met Daryl in the 60s but we knew each other and were hanging around but we weren't working together at all. It wasn't until I got back from Europe and had basically no where to go and ended up at his house that's when we started working together. So really it was a fortuitous situation and this trip that happened and the circumstances. We can't plan on certain things like that. 

Me: Did both of you like the same type of music?

John: Yes and no. We had both similarities with our love of R&B, doo-wop and things like that but Daryl had a classical background that I didn't have and I had a folk and blues background which he didn't have. So we kind of combined all that together.

Me: So, I have to mention the song "Sara Smile" which was your first hit I think. I love that song. Who was Sara?

John: It was some girl that I met in the Village, she was a wacky chick and we met and we were going to get together on New Years Eve and she never showed up. So I just wrote "she's fine" because if she wasn't coming that night she wasn't coming at all. That's kind of where it came from.

Me: So, this summer you were supposed to tour with Squeeze and I was going to see you guys in August in Tampa but then this whole COVID-19 shit happened. Anyway, how do you guys decide who you're going to play with?

John: They reach out to us and we reach out to them, or any combination thereof. We try to work with people we like obviously and work with people we know or who we had a previous musical relationship with. That's kind of how it always worked. We toured with so many people over the years. Just over the last 15 years... Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, the Average White Band, Major Hawthorne, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Tears For Fears, Train, on and on and on. Just people we dig and people we think would make a great musical evening for the audience.

Me: You guys had so many hits, how difficult is it for you guys to arrange a play lost for a show? 

John: Well, it's not very difficult for us because we know the songs people want to hear. You know, the big hits. As we play this big arenas that we have been playing now it really comes down to people want to hear the big hits and that's just kind of how it is. We have over 400 songs that we have written in our career and obviously we can't play them all, we can only play a small percentage of them, so we just focus on the hits.

Me: So, no obscure tracks you play?

John: We always add a little surprise here and there. We do some rare album tracks and pick out a song or two, so yeah. 

Me: So, you took part in the "We Are the World" song. What was that like?

John: We were told we were going to do a song together that Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie had written. It was an amazing experience to be in a room altogether. I don't think they could ever pull something like that off again.

Me: Why do you think that is?

John: Because in those days, you got to remember, there wasn't a lot of award shows. It wasn't anything like it is now where there is a n award show or something like that every other week. So everyone who was in the world of pop music at that time was in L.A. for the American Music Awards, so it was easy to assemble everybody, which what made it unique. I had Bob Dylan standing behind me and I had Ray Charles standing in front of me. So it was crazy and just pretty incredible. 

Me: What was Ray Charles like?

John: He wasn't taking any shit, he wanted to do it and he wanted to get it done and he wanted to make sure everything stayed on track.

Me: So, what was Live Aid like? I still remember to this day watching the whole thing on TV live with my parents when I lived in England, and I have it on DVD.

John: It was incredible. It was in Philadelphia which is our home town. It was probably the biggest rock festivals that ever been, it was televised around the world. First time a concert or rock festival had been televised around the world so it was a very heavy hitting moment.

Me: One of my favorite Hall and Oates songs is "Maneater." But that long saxophone solo... hahahahaha. What's the story behind that song?

John: It's a long story but there was a girl who was incredibly beautiful, she came into a restaurant where I was hanging out with some friends. She sat down at the table and captivated everyone with her beauty but also had a foul mouth and swore like a sailor and it was this incredible beauty with this incredible vulgarity that really got me inspired. But really the song ended up when Daryl and I got together and finished the lyrics, the verses it was really about New York City. It was a metaphor for the go-go 80s of New York City. Maneater was New York City itself. It could chew you up and spit you out, rather than a woman.

Me: I think the first song of yours that I remember was "I Can't Go For That." That song could be just a Daryl Hall song, you know. It's pretty much just him and keyboards. What can you say about that one?

John: That was Daryl's idea. After a session was over he just walked out in the studio and he had this idea in his head. He hit the drum machine which is the beat you hear and just started to groove on the keyboard. Basically that's the whole song right there. I play a little guitar part, Charlie played a little sax part, we put background vocals on it and that's the end of it. There was no band involved or anything like that. It was done in a very organic way.

Me: I love the song "Diddy Doo Wop (I Hear the Voices)" from "Voices." Is that a true story behind that song?

John: Yeah, that was based on the headline of a newspaper of a guy who was chopping people up on the subway with a machete. We just said wow, what can possibly be in someone's head that would make them do something like that? We thought maybe he had a doo-wop song in his head and he couldn't get rid of it and it drove him insane. That was just a crazy song fantasy that we decided to give it a try.

Me: Wow. How often does headlines or stuff like that influence you guys with songs?

John: It can happen in any way, man. We never know how that's going to work. When I'm a songwriter what I do is I try to be open to the world around me and songwriters pick up things in different ways. So that's kind of how that works.

Me: I am trying to write songs for my next musical project, but getting writers block. Do you ever get writers block?

John: When I get a writers block I don't usually get a writers block because I ignore it and I just move on and do something else. I don't just sit there and obsess about it like " oh my God, I've got a writers block, I just can't write." I just forget it, I go for a drive or go for a hike or do something else. Writers block had never been a problem for me.

Me: One thing I didn't know about you is you're a big tennis payer. I don't know a lot about tennis, but my friend Rich does, and taught tennis. I lived by Wimbledon and still don't know much about it. How big into tennis were you?

John: I lived by Mats Wilander, and became pretty close friends with him in the late 80s. I used to go to tennis tournaments with him and helped him build his studio in his house and hung out with him. 

Me: Ha! That's pretty big. Didn't you play tennis with John McEnroe?

John: Yeah, right before the U.S. Open Mac would have all his buddies come over and they would practice and train together. One day I went over there just to hang out, I had my tennis racket and Mac was on the court loosening up and there was no one else out there and he asked me if I wanted to hit some balls with him. I was like hell yeah. So while the other guys were inside eating lunch or whatever John McEnroe and I just played tennis together, just messing around, it was just the two if us. It was crazy. Of course I couldn't hit a ball with him but I did my best. He's a cool guy, we hung out a lot.

Me: So he wasn't acting like a prick?

John: Oh, he was, he was doing his John McEnroe thing. If he hit a shot that he didn't think was good, although he was playing against an amateur like me, it still bugged him. But you know that's the essence of prefection, that's the drive that made him a champion.

Me: Okay, if you say so. John, thanks for being back on the Phile. Please come back soon and I hope to see Hall and Oates on tour with Squeeze. Stay well.

John: Thanks, Jason, you too. Take care.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to John Oates for a fun interview. The Phile will be back on Tuesday with singer Brittany Howard. Spread the word, not the turd... or virus. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a safe Memorial Day weekend...

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