Thursday, April 30, 2020

Pheaturing Craig Ferguson

Hi there, everyone, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday... the last day of April already. This is a friendly reminder the Houston Oilers, who are no longer an NFL franchise and went out of existence 24 years ago, have won a division title more recently than the Cleveland Browns. Due to COVID-19, I will no longer allow hand shank or giving hugs. You may bow to me or give me the finger. Your choice.
Vice President Mike Pence chose not to wear a face mask Tuesday during a tour of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, an apparent violation of the world-renowned medical center’s policy requiring them. Video feeds show that Pence did not wear a mask when he met with a Mayo employee who has recovered from COVID-19 and is now donating plasma, even though everyone else in the room appeared to be wearing one. He was also maskless when he visited a lab where Mayo conducts coronavirus tests. And Pence was the only participant not to wear a mask during a roundtable discussion on Mayo’s coronavirus testing and research programs. All the other participants did, including Food and Drug Administration chief Stephen Hahn, top Mayo officials, Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn. Mayo tweeted that it had informed the vice president of its mask policy prior to his arrival. The tweet was later removed. Mayo officials did not directly respond to a request for comment on why it was removed, or at whose request. “Mayo shared the masking policy with the VP’s office,” the health care system said in its response. Pence explained his decision by stressing that he has been frequently tested for the virus. “As vice president of the United States I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus,” Pence said, adding that he is following CDC guidelines, which indicate that the mask is good for preventing the spread of the virus by those who have it. “And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible healthcare personnel, and look them in the eye and say ‘thank you.'” Pence is not the only White House official who has shown a reluctance for face masks. When President Donald Trump announced new federal guidelines recommending that Americans wear face coverings when in public, he immediately said he had no intention of following that advice himself, saying, “I’m choosing not to do it.” Pence also went without a mask a week earlier when he visited a GE Healthcare facility that makes ventilators. Some at the event in Madison, Wisconsin, wore masks and others did not. The White House said then that Pence had tested negative for the coronavirus and suggested that under the guidelines developed by the coronavirus task force there was no need for him to wear a mask.
I’m sure Luciana Lira was not expecting to take on this role as a school teacher at Hart Magnet Elementary in Stamford, Connecticut, but nevertheless, she didn’t hesitate to step up to the plate. This Connecticut elementary school teacher exceeded the standards of how teachers normally impact the lives of their students by helping the family of one of her own. Luciana received a call from Zully Flores, the mother of one of Luciana’s students named Junior. Zully was frantic, calling Luciana for help because she was going into labor, but also had tested positive for COVID-19. Zully, her husband, Marvin Escobar, and their son Junior are Guatemalan asylum seekers, which is why Zully informed Luciana that she had put down the Connecticut school teacher as their emergency contact. They did not have anyone else to turn to. Instead of worrying about how she became involved, this hero teacher immediately went into action. She called Zully’s husband, Marvin, who also informed her that he and his son, Junior, might have the coronavirus infection. He expressed his concerns about possibly infecting his newborn baby, continuing on to ask the selfless teacher if she could take care of the baby boy as a temporary guardian. Luciana barely even took a breath before even saying yes. Once Zully gave birth to her healthy new baby boy through a C-section, naming him Neysel, Zully was immediately placed on a ventilator. Thankfully, baby Neysel was completely healthy, and Luciana was able to take him home to her husband Alex. However, by this time, Marvin and Junior officially tested positive for the coronavirus. Luciana would take care of healthy baby Neysel for longer than anticipated, all while fulfilling her duties as a remote elementary school teacher. By April 18th, Zully was taken off the ventilator and was introduced to her newborn boy via Zoom two days later. On April 24th, Zully was released from the hospital and taken back home by an ambulance. Zully, along with husband Marvin and older son Junior, are still recovering at their house until they are cleared to meet the newest addition to their family. Luciana has no issue continuing to look after young Junior’s baby brother, until the family is healthy enough to see him. She has been keeping updates on her Facebook page. A round of applause to this hero teacher. You are truly one of kind,  Luciana!
Jesus, I want this man’s luck ASAP! You know how sometimes there’s that person that gets everything they want due to pure dumb luck? Well, meet “Joe B.,” the luckiest man on the planet right now! Basically, this Colorado man hit the jackpot twice after playing the same numbers for 30 years! Yes, after 30 long years his wish finally came true, but it doubled. Colorado Lottery officials confirmed Joe indeed won two 1 million dollar Powerball jackpots on March 25th and officially claimed his winning this week. The winning Powerball tickets were sold on Lake Avenue in Pueblo at two different stores, which were a mile apart. “Joe” had apparently bought a ticket in the morning, and one in the evening. So yes, without knowing what was going on, this man became insanely rich. I don’t know, something seems fishy. Either this man hired a fortune-teller or has a time machine to go back and see when his numbers would hit. I mean… to hit the jackpot on the same day? COME ON! This is insane. This has to be some sort of joke right from the government, one of those “don’t lose hope, the world is still thriving” sort of deal? No? Maybe? Still, despite the insane amount, communications director Meghan Dougherty stated the Colorado Lottery received approval to process winning tickets worth $10,000 or more at a touch-free, drive-thru claims office amid the coronavirus pandemic. So basically, this man had to make an appointment to claim his prize, or you know, wait for his money through the mail. Which I mean, doesn’t matter. This man is getting his money despite us being under lockdown. I don’t know, I’m gonna keep my eye on this Joe guy, because this seems suspicious. What’s your secret, Joe? I promise I won’t tell anyone. I guess a little bit of luck can go a long, long way.
You’re stuck at home with your wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend or roommate or whomever while coronavirus coughs the world to death. You’re bored out of your freakin’ mind. You’ve been drinking more than an Irish sailor who won the lottery, but even that is starting to get old, much to your surprise. So what do you do? How do you pass the time? Sports are gone. At this point, you’ve binged almost every show you’ve wanted to watch across every streaming service. And exercise you can take or leave. Enter the Wine Glass Challenge. Thankfully, because the challenge wasn’t invented by teenagers, you have to eat broken shards of a wine glass, put anything deep into your colon, or just generally cause yourself physical harm. The challenge is pretty simple. Put the bottom of the wine glass in your mouth, lean back carefully, and feed it to your partner. The most popular video of the challenge has come courtesy of Bridgette and Joe Miller of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. The married couple seamlessly pulls off the feat without spilling a drop! And according to Bridgette, this is nothing new for them. While TikTok may claim to be the birthplace of this challenge Bridgette says she and her husband have been doing this trick for years. Clearly. Serious props must be given to the brave, fearless souls who try this challenge with a merlot or any other red wine. You people truly fear nothing. If you happen to have a partner who is an avowed neat freak... a Felix on meth, if you will... maybe try this challenge with water. Or, better yet, just to be safe, use sparkling water, so if you fail you’ll inadvertently get a different stain out of whatever carpet you spill on.
Jesus, is that you?

According to Monica Aramayo, a resident of the city of San Salvador de Jujuy, it is! Aramayo was able to snap a camera phone picture of what she believed was the Lord Jesus Christ, shining through the dark clouds in Argentina. As expected, the holy figure had rays of sun beaming through the clouds around him. The woman claims that the perfectly timed image she took was a miracle and posted it online to “bless” others. Several social media users were quick to compare the cloudy silhouette of Jesus to the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, located less than 3,000 miles away in Brazil. Others believe the illuminated figure shows the Messiah wearing a crown with his arms outstretched, similar to other depictions of Christ. Of course, skeptics were quick to point out that there is nothing more to see other than the sun shining through, while others believe Photoshop had something to do with the image itself. But, surprisingly enough, this isn’t the first time believers claimed to see a Christ-like figure in very unusual places. In March last year, a similar image was captured in Agropoli, Italy, by Alfredo Lo Brutto during a sunset. Lo Brutto spotted the ‘Holy Figure’ close to Pompeii in the south of the country, where "Jesus" was popping out through murky clouds above the city. In April last year, Shae House from Lynchburg, Virginia, said she saw Jesus in rocks while she was walking in the woods. Could this be their imagination just wandering around, causing a religious frenzy? Or is it Jesus Christ himself trying to tell us a message? Well, honestly, who knows. But I think it’s good that people try to keep their beliefs alive any way they can. Let them live. If you think you saw the image of Jesus Christ, then good for you. If you don’t, well then, you don’t. Imagination can be a wild thing, ladies and gentlemen.
As I've been telling you, since this coronavirus thing church's have been getting creative with their signs...

It's good to wear a mask when you go out but some people are taking it a little bit too far...

Is that the cone of silence? Have you seen the new ad for the product Lysol Juul? If you haven't, I have it here...

Hahahaha. With everyone on lockdown, the cakes are finally returning to the ocean. Nature is healing, kids.

Man, those protestors sure have some stupid signs...

Okay, now I'm really getting worried about Trump...

Drink up, Mr. President, sir. This is March versus April...

It's Thursday, kids. You know what that means...

That's not too bad, right? Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things Said By People Venting About Their Spouse In Quarantine
5. I'm very irritated with my husband during this quarantine. It's not that I don't like being around him, in fact I enjoy it. It's those two kids he put in me that ask for snacks every three minutes that are driving me crazy.
4. At this point in our quarantine love story, I've become a much bigger threat to my husband than any virus.

3. Husband: Did I ever tell you...? Begins story I've heard no less than 63 times since we've been quarantined. Me: I'm just going to call you a ranch because you don't have a second story.
2. I love my family and all but I'd rather be quarantined with my friends. They are just more entertaining and don't question why I'm drinking at 10 a.m.
And the number one thing said by a person venting about their spouse in quarantine is...
1. Whoever said, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," has never been quarantined with my wife.

Mike Pence swings in just in time to save Barron Trump from a transgender sexual deviant.

This masked up elevator.

Okay, let's look at what is happening in Port Jeff right now...

Looks rainy like it is here and there's a car. Haha.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so you know I live in Florida, right? well, stuff happens here that might not happen anywhere else...

A professor at the University of Miami has been fired after students discovered that he had porn bookmarked on his computer during an online lecture. John Peng Zhang was teaching a business analytics class over Zoom on March 26th when a student noticed that Zhang had a bookmark that read “Busty college girl fu..." Check it out...

The bookmark, obviously for a porn site, was noticed by a student in the class who also, it just so happened, had forgotten to put his computer’s mic on mute. The student blurted out that the bookmark was there and soon everyone was taking pictures of it and posting it to their social media. The posts went viral, the most prominent of which was on TikTok and received over 800,000 views. Zhang is no longer employed with the university and several students who were in the class and posted the video feel terrible about it. They told the school’s paper, The Miami Hurricane, that they never wanted the Zhang to lose his job. This incident is sort of a toughie. Accidentally having a porn bookmark spotted on your browser should absolutely not be a fireable offense. Everybody jacks. And Zhang didn’t leave that up on purpose. He’s a professor. He’s probably terrible with technology. The poor bastard might not have even realized he had the page bookmarked. He could have accidentally done it. That said, the whole busty college girl part is a little bit sketchy, considering Zhang’s constant proximity to college girls. I doubt these well-endowed college girls were getting fu… lfilled emotionally. That really has to be the main reason he got canned. Even still, one strike and you’re out ... if this was his first strike... seems like a bit much. Life sure ain’t what it used to be in Coral Gables, am I right Nevin Shapiro, Michael Irvin’s cocaine dealer, and every strip club owner in a 20 mile radius?

A man has six children and is very proud of his achievement. He is so proud of himself, that he starts calling his wife, "Mother of Six" in spite of her objections. One night, they go to a party. The man decides that it's time to go home and wants to find out if his wife is ready to leave as well. He shouts at the top of his voice, "Shall we go home now, 'Mother of Six?'" His wife, irritated by her husband's lack of discretion, shouts right back, "Anytime you're ready, 'Father of Four.'"

Today's guest is a Scottish-American television host, comedian, author, and actor. His memoir memoir; and Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations & Observations is the 122nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Craig Ferguson!

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

Craig: I'm great, Jason. Happy to be alive.

Me: So, in your book Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations you use the word "plook." I love that word. What does it mean?

Craig: It's a Glasgow word for a zit or a spot but it's usually a pretty bad one. What one of the stories in the book is about a particularly nasty example of a plook that I had just at the wrong moment when I was preparing for my first ever serious date with a young woman when I was 13-years-old. Because I got the plook it changed my life, I never had the date and I went off on a different direction. I like to feel perhaps if I hadn't had the plook maybe I'll be happily married and stayed in Scotland.

Me: Haha. What did it look like? Did it have a hair coming out from the middle of it?

Craig: More than that, this was a three header. It was more of a collection of plooks, it was an anthology of plooks. It was the greatest hits of plooks.

Me: So, you didn't go on the date?

Craig: I rescheduled the date and during that time the young woman went off with my best friend at the time. And they actually stayed together and got married. It ends well, they got divorced later so alls well that ends well, but still. It worked out really well in the end.

Me: Ha. Well, thank god for that. So, I think it's cool you performed for Princess Diana. What did you think about her?

Craig: Um, the meeting with Diana is really about prejudice I think. My own prejudice, not hers. I've never experienced any from her. But I met her once and I was impressed by her and her life. When I was a young man I hated the class system, I'm no fan of the class system but I assumed she would be a certain type of person. Selfish, self-involved, an aristocrat. And it was my impression that she was not like that at all. I had made a decision on her what I've seen in the media and what I heard from other people and it was incorrect. Totally incorrect as it turns out. I think that's an interesting thing to study in our self in our own prejudice.

Me: What was she like when you met her?

Craig: She was charming and she was kind. If I'm honest I think she was probably a little lost. It's hard to be objective now because so much time has passed since the meeting which I think both of our lives at the time was not much. We met at a charity event, we talked a bit and I performed on stage and I made some jokes that made her laugh and that was the extent of our meeting. Since her death which is so long ago now I'm as much the victim of the legend of her as much as anyone else so it's hard to be objective about how realistic my impressions are now compared to the way they were at the time. But I think I'm honest when I say I liked her.

Me: I did too, Craig.

Craig: Yeah, she was a nice person.

Me: When she got married you weren't that happy, right?

Craig: Well, I think that was less to do about her and more to do about the system which I still find archaic and absurd. Nothing against people being Royal, they can be Royal all they want but I do question the idea of an Empire level of monarchy in a country that doesn't have an Empire anymore. It seems a little over the top to me.

Me: In the book you talked about how Billy Connolly, who is an idol of yours was knighted and had to bend the knee and you thought it was strange. Why is that?

Craig: Well, I don't condemn Billy for bending the knee to Royalty, it's up to him. But I wouldn't be comfortable doing it, it just seems like an odd system. They kneel before another person and they go, "You are now very special and indeed. Ten points to Gryffindor." I'm like I don't know, it just seems like pre enlightenment for my taste.

Me: Craig, you maybe will be asked one day to be knighted. What do you think of that?

Craig: I think you are wildly inaccurate. HA HA HA! I think there's no one in the Royal Family who is saying, "You know who really, really would be benefit if we gave him a knighthood." I don't think it's going to happen. Don't lose any sleep over me with me being asked of a knighthood.

Me: What about if Prince Harry is reading the Phile and emails you "Hello, I'm wondering if you'd like to be sir Craig?" What would you say then?

Craig: Absolutely, your Majesty and I'll be on my knees in a hurry.

Me: Hahaha. So, what made you want to start doing stand-up comedy in the first place?

Craig: Well, I don't think I really wanted to do it at all. I was talked into doing it because apparently when I was drunk I was funny and I was drunk a lot back then when I was in punk rock bands. So when the bands were playing in nightclubs and stuff they'd say, "You go up between the bands, Craig, and do jokes. Ha ha." It'll be great.

Me: Do you remember the first time?

Craig: Yes, I was at a festival of punk rock bands in London of all places. A bunch of Scottish bands were playing at the ICA in London and I was going to go up between these bands and entertain these cockney punks. I was wearing a kilt and noticed my knees were actually shaking I was so terrified. They started shouting, "He's knees are knocking! His knees are knocking!" There was a chant in the crowd. Its very difficult to do comedy with chanting anything at all. Particularly shouting out that my knees were shaking because I was so frightened of them.

Me: What made you want to get back up?

Craig: I can't quite be sure what made me want to get back up. But it's an interesting thing about stand-ups any stand-up that's any good has gone through that experience. So I think it might be a way of weeding the wheat from the chaff in finding out who the real stand-ups are. Real stands-up will get back up after a show like that. People who ate not really stand-ups, that will be their last one.

Me: Some stand-ups say that they love to bomb on stage. Do you?

Craig: I think it's true. Norm Macdonald is one of my favorite stand-ups because he does have a fearless approach to it. Yeah, I do feel like I love to bomb. There's something I used to enjoy on late night actually is something didn't work it kind of made it funnier.

Me: Do you think there's a comparison between stand-up and punk rock?

Craig: I think there probably was, I think you're right. Actually there was a certain kind of love of that. "Well, you don't like it because you're stupid." I started to realize that people didn't like it because it's not very good. There's also that.

Me: When you were hosting "The Late Late Show" you worked with Johnny Carson's producer, right?

Craig: Peter Lassally. Yeah.

Me: He chose you for the show, am I right? How was that?

Craig: It was an odd experience. I tried to be genuine by this, I think I was kind of thrilled by it to be honest. Over time I don't think he was entirely correct. Because Pete thought I would really miss doing a show every day. When I said, "I'm done, Pete, I need to go out." He said, "No, you'll really miss it. It'll be bad." I said, "I don't think so." He was wrong, I don't miss it. I'm glad I did it but I don't need to do it every day. I really don't.

Me: Most of the other talk show hosts wanted to be either Johnny Carson or David Letterman. I know I do, that's why I have this stupid little blog. Why do you think it's different for you, Craig? 

Craig: I'm sure it irritates some people, I don't mean it to but that is the truth of it. It happened and I had a great time and I'm proud of the show. I think we did a good show but it wasn't a life goal for me. No one ever believed me. That's the weird thing. People would say, "You want to take over from Dave?" "I don't know what you're talking about." The day I started that job on "The Late Late Show" people would say, "Do you think this sets you up in a line of succession?" I don't even understand that as an idea.

Me: Des it bother you that no one believed you?

Craig: I don't care. It's not my job to make them believe me. I'm not a politician.

Me: In the book you said there was a "change in the wind" in late night TV. What was the change you were feeling?

Craig: Oh, definitely because Dave was going. Because Dave was going to go there was no one protecting me. I was hidden behind Dave, Dave owned the time slot. If Dave was going to go I was no longer the punk rock step-kid of crazy Dave. I should now be exposed to the regulars of corporate America. I didn't feel that I would survive that. Also I didn't want to survive it, I didn't want to be tempted to survive it. As long as Dave was in place because Dave owned the time slot World Wide Pants, his company owned the time slot even though Dave and I didn't have any relationship really to speak of, we were certainly applicable but not close but the fact that he was there and owned the real estate in television protected me from the rigors of whatever the network would demand that I do. Look, they made me do some stuff anyway that I wasn't crazy about.

Me: Like what?

Craig: Nothing particularly odious but I had to say this for the sponsor or do that thing. It picks up that stuff. I didn't want to be pushed around like that.

Me: What do you think would happen if Dave wasn't there to protect you?

Craig: That I would end up doing a show that I didn't want to do. I would end up compromising myself. That show the way I did it, that's who I was. I didn't want to start making a show which felt like it was wrong, almost what the audience wanted. Right back to that punk rock thing, I don't want to make something that people are going to like. Come on! 

Me: Were the ratings important to you?

Craig: The numbers weren't important to me. The thing is about the corporate life which is what we sign up for if we work in a large corporation is that the numbers are important. But I'm not a corporation. The numbers are not important to me. If they're good and they like it then great, if they're bad and they don't like it then okay. But that's not what I'm doing it for, I'm doing it for not going insane I suppose. I'm doing it for an expression of myself. And if I'm honest I'm doing it for a living every night. But what I'm not doing is everything they are telling me to do. That's what I'm definitely not going to do.

Me: I remember when Britney Spears was going through some public difficulties and you talked about your own struggles with alcoholism and how you considered suicide and you said you wouldn't make a joke on Britney's expense ever again. What was your thinking back then?

Craig: I think it was just a moment of personal expression. It was really tied to what we just talked about. When I started in late night it was early, it was in the first few years I think I did that monologue. I think what happened is I found myself being drawn in making jokes about celebrities and just doing jokes that were written for me. People I didn't know, or didn't know very well. No disrespect to them, there is a place for comedy joke writers but what happened is I was expected to sell that what I thought was funny. When I came in that morning into the writers room, as was their job at the time they already assembled a bunch of jokes about Ms. Spears' weekend where she had clearly gone into some kind of manic episode. It made me very angry, I was very angry about it because it looked to me that this was a human being that was in distress and if I knew anything about comedy, perhaps I don't know much, but punching up is what comedy is but punching down is what bullies do. I felt like I was turning into a bully. I didn't want that for myself. I don't have an agenda that says other people have to do comedy the way I do it, they don't. Everyone's free to do to whatever way they want to do it. I was uncomfortable with the way I was doing it and I wanted to make a change. So that monologue that night was an expression of that. I didn't really know what I was going to do but I know what I wasn't going to do and that's really the start of it.

Me: You have done so many things in your life, Craig. Do you like doing a lot of different things? 

Craig: I think all of it just kind of rolls in. I've sometimes said yes to some things that I probably shouldn't have say yes to. If I had a career plan but I don't.

Me: So, why is the book called Riding the Elephant...?

Craig: Because I go where it goes. Look, man, you know what I'm talking about. Like the great Bill Hicks used to say, it's just a ride, man, its just a ride. So try and enjoy it. I think when I was younger I had a lot of ideas about myself who I should be and who I should be by then. I've wasted a lot of time with that shit, just be who I am. When people say I have done so many things what am I really, I don't know. I'm just lucky I guess, that's what I am.

Me: Craig, thanks for being on the Phile. I have friends of mine who are big fans of yours so this is very cool. Keep well and please come back again soon.

Craig: Thanks, Jason. You as well.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guest Craig Ferguson. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Michael Schur, who is a TV producer and writer. Spread the word, not the turd... or 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

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Pheaturing Tommy Chong

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Wednesday... how are you? Gas  is almost under a dollar, restaurants are all drive-in style, everyone has shaggy hair, welcome to the 70s.
As we continue to witness the brave fight health care workers have been putting up on the front lines against the coronavirus, we are also reminded that they are not immune to being human. Dr. Lorna Breen, an emergency room doctor who worked in the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital system, committed suicide on Sunday, April 26th. Dr. Breen was taken to the UVA Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia after Charlottesville Police Department responded to a call for medical assistance at her sister’s house where she was staying. They later stated in a news release that Dr. Breen died at the UVA Hospital by “[succumbing] to self-inflicted injuries.” Dr. Breen, the daughter of Dr. Philip Breen (a retired trauma surgeon), had expressed to her father about how the coronavirus outbreak had affected her and her colleagues. She explained specifically how the challenging front lines of the emergency department, along with most other health care institutions nationwide, have completely overextended its first responders, making this pandemic an even more challengingly difficult time. Dr. Breen had been working endlessly for weeks in United States’ pandemic epicenter, New York City, as an ER doctor, tending to coronavirus patients first hand. She then contracted COVID-19 as well, but after taking only a week and a half off to recover, she immediately went back to “the trenches” of the front line. According to Breen’s father, she couldn’t even make it through a 12-hour shift but was determined to keep helping. Eventually, a doctor friend of Breen’s told her to go home to Virginia to rest. She was admitted to the UVA Hospital for exhaustion, her mother being a doctor in the ward she was treated. A week later, Dr. Breen stayed with her mother, and then with her sister that weekend. And unfortunately, the mental devastation was too much. “She went down in the trenches and was killed by the enemy on the front line. She loved New York and wouldn’t hear about living anywhere else. She loved her coworkers and did what she could for them. I just want people to know how special she was,” Breen’s father explained. Dr. Lorna Breen was so determined to do everything she could to help COVID-19 patients at the hand of her own mental health. It’s important that we realize what those on the front lines against the coronavirus crisis are sacrificing in order to restore order again. These health care workers, first responders, police officers, and more are humans just like the people they are protecting. Their mental health is also at stake, even though we can’t always see it. If you know someone, anyone, having a difficult time with their mental health, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It’s the least we can do to honor those who have truly given everything they have to protect us.
Listen, when it comes to protecting ourselves, our loved ones, and basically anyone around us, we do what we can to make sure we stay safe. Which is why healthcare providers are making sure their voices are heard by literally stripping down naked to get their point across. Basically, healthcare workers in France and Germany are going au naturel to raise awareness about shortages of personal protective equipment as they battle COVID-19. The images first surfaced on a German website called Blanke Bedenken, which shows a group of German doctors posting in the nude using medical equipment such as anatomical skeletons and stethoscopes as a prop to “partially obscure themselves.”     I'll show you a pic...

According to the website, which is in German but was translated to English, the organizers stated, “We are your [doctors]. To be able to treat you safely, we need protective gear. When we run out of the little we have, we look like this. We are all vulnerable. Medical practices need more support from politics.” Can you blame them? Heck, I would do that too if I was a doctor whose life was at risk every day. It’s truly a brilliant idea if you ask me. You know people love anything to do with nudity, so what better than using their bodies to get what they need. Nudity plus doctors? Pfft, you’re set, take whatever you want! In France, several dentists launched a very similar project as they posed with the hashtag #dentisteapoli, which translates to naked dentist, as they alerted the community about their unsafe work conditions in light of the partial lifting of lockdowns. Dentists were forced by the government to stop working and give up their masks and protective equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaving several worried about the PPE storage when they are allowed to work again on May 11th. Luckily, the French health ministry listened and promised to provide them with 150,000 masks for the 42,000 dentists in France. As far as for Germans, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health stated about 133 million protective masks have been distributed amid the coronavirus crisis. The county received a heavy shipment of 10 million face masks from China and is expected to get 15 million more. Seems to me like these healthcare providers might need more than those numbers. But hey, if the government wants another protest involving naked doctors, I’m sure they’ll get one. Free the…well, you know.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has gone on record saying that Democrats will push for a nationwide vote-by-mail provision in the next coronavirus relief package Congress puts out. “In this next bill, we will be supporting vote by mail in a very important way... we think it’s a health issue at this point,” Pelosi told MSNBC. The vote-by-mail provision is largely being touted as an effort to combat any coronavirus related public health issues that may pop up before the 2020 Presidential Election that make it difficult for voting to be done in person. No doubt, however, many vote-by-mail proponents also see it as a way to increase voter turnout and make elections easier for voters to participate in from here forward. President Donald Trump has already come out against vote-by-mail, tweeting, “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.” So what’s the deal? Is vote-by-mail a Democrat ploy to encourage immigrants to murder postal workers, steal ballots, and get a transexual communist elected? Or does opposition to vote-by-mail make you a vote-suppressing neo-fascist white supremacist who’ll be at the head of the line to apply for a job manning a guard tower at the concentration camps Trump plans on building for [insert protected group(s)] after he wins the title ‘President for Life’ in 2020? Mostly neither? It’s really just a way to make our democracy more democratic... unless you hate freedom because you’re a libtard/boomer/commie/nazi. Vote-by-mail should be a thing in the United States. For starters, most voters support it according to the Pew Research Center. Broad support for allowing voting by mail, automatic voting registration; mixed support for other proposals Even a majority of Republicans support vote by mail, either somewhat or strongly so. Also, the majority of people who live in states that already have widespread vote-by-mail... including the majority of Republicans in those states... favor vote-by-mail. Adults in states with higher rates of mail-in voting in 2018 more supportive of vote-by-mail expansion There are, however, are several valid concerns that only the most desperately in need of our uniquely terrible, modern version of moral validation by way of publicly demonstrating "socially correct" political groupthink would dismiss out of hand. Most of those concerns essentially boil down to the security of the election and voter fraud. After all, if Russia can get whoever they want elected into the White House by posting your uncle’s idea of dank memes to Facebook then messing with an American election must not be that hard. So we should probably take extra to care to make sure everything is secure. For vote-by-mail to work, ballot harvesting... the collecting and submitting of mail-in voter ballots by volunteers or workers, including volunteers directly affiliated with and organized by political groups... has to be illegal. The only people who should be collecting vote-by-mail ballots should be postal workers or some sort of specific, government-appointed election worker or volunteer. No third parties or even well-meaning day-of volunteers allowed. I don’t trust MAGA Randy or Eat the Rich Ethan to be any more honest about volunteer-collecting strangers’ ballots than you do, or should. The other security questions about tampering are, generally, well above my pay grade but suffice it to say that stuff should be worked out, re-worked out, and then triple checked by a legion of OCD bureaucrats and analysts before we institute any vote-by-mail measures. Security is the most important thing here. Yes, there is a strong argument to be made that denying vote-by-mail for no good reason unnecessarily hampers Americans’ abilities to exercise their right to vote and their freedom of expression. But if an election’s security and legitimacy becomes compromised because we rushed to institute vote-by-mail and left ourselves exposed to foreign or domestic meddling, or some other flaws in a new system we didn’t work hard enough to ensure worked properly, then we all will have lost those rights and the argument becomes moot. We also lose our precious freedom of expression if, you know, the country literally isn’t able to hold a legitimate election because we’re all locked down again. The claim that vote-by-mail disproportionately favors Democrats over Republicans also probably isn’t true. Still, that argument... whether it’s legit, half true, or a total load... is one is going to be a real sticking point for a lot of people. Here’s why it shouldn’t be... As already mentioned, it’s probably not true. Also, by far the biggest advantage Democrats could gain from mail-in voting would be a massive increase in youth turnout. Can we really ever count on that happening? Instead of overestimating how much vote-by-mail might help Democrats what we should be doing is not underestimating just how lazy the collective youth vote truly is. Just ask Bernie Sanders. Until the youth vote proves it can consistently turn out it’s pretty insane, at this point in our electoral history, to assume that it ever will.
Stories like this one often remind us to really and truly be grateful for everything in our lives and to not take absolutely anything for granted. The fight against the coronavirus claimed yet another life, but this 32-year-old Connecticut father made sure his family knows how much he loves them in a heartbreaking letter he left on his phone before he died. Jonathan Coelho, a state employee for the State of Connecticut, began having breathing issues on March 26th. His wife, Katie Coelho, had explained that they had already started self-isolating a week before problems began because their son Braedyn has cerebral palsy. The Coelho family was already following the stay-at-home order because 2-year-old Braedyn’s medical complexities put him at high risk for contracting the coronavirus. However, Katie explained on her Facebook page that Jonathan was getting worse and took him to the hospital in Danbury, Connecticut. She updated on social media when he was intubated, placed on a ventilator, and sedated on March 31st, and further updated when he needed dialysis for kidney failure on April 12th. By April 18th, the Connecticut father’s condition was starting to improve, even though his kidneys were still not working. His wife Katie remained hopeful that he was going to get better. Then, suddenly on April 22nd, Jonathan went into cardiac arrest and died alone after a 28-day battle with COVID-19. Unfortunately, the healthcare workers couldn’t give a definitive reason why. And as Katie got his things back, she went through her husband’s phone, finding a goodbye letter written to her and their young children. get your tissues ready... “I love you guys with all my heart and you’ve given me the best life I could have ever asked for. I am so lucky it makes me so proud to be your husband and the father to Braedyn and Penny. Katie you are the most beautiful caring nurturing person I’ve ever met… you are truly one of a kind… make sure you live life with happiness and that same passion that made me fall in love with you. Seeing you be the best mom to the kids is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced. Let Braedyn now he’s my best bud and I’m proud to be his father and for all the amazing things he’s done and continues to do. Let Penelope know she’s a princess and can have whatever she wants in life. I’m so lucky… ” Penelope is the Coelho’s 10-month-old baby girl. Along with Braedyn’s health challenges, Katie is anxious about their future without Jonathan. In his obituary, Jonathan is remembered by his kind and loving personality, as well as his love for the New England Patriots. His family has a GoFundMe page set up to help alleviate the upcoming challenges and expenses. The coronavirus pandemic is not to be joked around with, and it’s important to always keep stories like these in mind. Make sure to do your absolute best to appreciate your loved ones as much as possible. Give someone a phone call today.
Man, oh, man! Some of us are getting really comfortable working from home during this coronavirus pandemic. Let’s face it, if you’re lucky enough to work from home (shout out to essential workers for going out there and making our world better) you know Zoom work video calls are the best calls. Why? Well, you don’t have to dress up. I mean, I’m sure you in the comfort of your own home and want to be comfortable during this pandemic. Which is why this reporter thought he could do the same. But, what he didn’t count on was the TV stand being a little bit too short. ABC Reporter Will Reeve was doing a live interview for "Good Morning America" about pharmacies using drones to deliver prescriptions to people in a Florida retirement village. During a live shot to his home from the studio, he stated, “What is an innovative, high-tech way to get people their medicine quickly while promoting social distancing? Drones!” Now, at the start of his interview with host Amy Robach, Reeve is seen, you know, looking well dressed and ready to conquer the world. The graphics at the bottom of the screen are shown, covering up his bottom half just perfectly. But, after his piece finished, it was just a big ol’ wide shot of Reeve onscreen, with just a small banner at the bottom. That’s when things, well, look a little more revealing in the camera angle. As Reeve continues to talk about the “final leg of the precision journeys'” viewers were met with a glimpse of his own leg. Ladies, check it out...

Yup, basically this man didn’t have any pants on, and well, the world got to see that. He was so late to his own interview that he only bothered to dress his top part of the body. That’s when he continued to talk and decided to move his bare leg up, for all of us to see. Just a regular Tuesday morning, if only there was a camera operator to let him know. What made this whole thing better is when the screen returned to a two-shot of GMA anchors and Reeve, Robach made quite an interesting face, holding in her laughter. Because well, it was a mortifying but honest and simple mistake. I don’t blame this man, he was in his own home, I get it. We all walk around in our underwear here and there. But you know, pretty risky if you ask me! You know you’re going live on TV and decide not to wear pants? Bold, bold, move indeed! The ABC News Reporter eventually did respond on social media saying he was actually wearing workout clothes underneath his suit jacket. You know, because you still have to stay active despite the lockdown and he is used to those post-"GMA" workouts. Through Twitter, he stated, When WFH goes wrong (or, your self-framed live shot goes too wide). Hope everyone got a much-needed laugh.” Yup, a good sport indeed. Well, you win some you lose some. I hope you learned your lesson, Reeve.
Church's are getting very creative with the coronavirus happening...

I have good news... in Dallas, Texas today where the city's cowboys have returned for the first time since 1805. The Earth is healing, kids.

It's good to wear gloves and masks when you go out but some people are taking it a bit too far...

The sign says "if you can smell my fart we're not far apart enough." Haha. Once in a while I like to look up "Foghat" on Twitter and see what people are saying. Here's a tweet I saw recently...

That's not true, is it? I have to try it. Okay, this is March versus April...

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

Top Phive Things Said By People With Cabin Fever
5. I don't understand why staying home is so hard. Hundred and five million of you managed it on Election Day in 2016.
4. Never thought I'd see protests for the right to get infected and drown to death in your own lung fluid on order to own the Libs.
3. Me before quarantine, watching Castaway: Really? He's best friends with a ball? My during quarantine: Look at you go, Roomba, you crazy son of a bitch.
2. Who called it Quarantine Baking and not Existential Bread?
And the number one thing said by someone with cabin fever is...
1. This has what dating reduced me to in quarantine... playing "Animal Crossing."

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Hahahaha.

This self-contradicting sign.

Okay, it's time to check on Port Jeff...

Nothing going on. Sit back while I tell you about Trump...

During times of war and strife, national leaders often aim to unite a broken country and, in the process, broaden their appeal beyond their most loyal supporters. Not President Donald Trump. Confronting a pandemic that has upended his presidency and threatened his reelection prospects, Trump has focused almost exclusively on tending to his base. While the coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 54,000 Americans, eliminated more than 20 million jobs and dashed the routines of daily life for nearly everyone, Trump has leveled attacks on Democrats. He’s blamed former President Barack Obama’s team for his own administration’s failures, picked fights with reporters and thrown rhetorical bombs meant to thrill his hardcore supporters. During a particularly rough stretch last week, Trump pledged to bar foreigners from entering the country. The executive order Trump ultimately signed was less severe than he suggested, but it still gave him a chance to highlight action on an issue that’s central to his political brand. Four years after Trump captured the White House by perfectly threading narrow victories in critical battleground states, he is betting that a relentless focus on his base will yield a repeat performance. It’s a risky strategy because Trump’s standing in some of those states shows signs of weakening. And there’s little evidence to suggest he has significantly broadened his appeal in other places to offset those vulnerabilities. The pandemic hasn’t changed that. “It drives me crazy, frankly, because part of being the president is to rise above, to ignore certain things,” said Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, whose lukewarm approval ratings soared after his handling of the September 11th attacks. “And I think at a time like this he should leave a lot of the gauntlets on the ground and rise above. But that’s not him.” Fleischer said that, while the virus puts limits on the president’s ability to travel and the political environment is far more polarized today than it was in the early 2000s, Trump’s White House could be appealing to the country as a whole with events honoring doctors, nurses and front-line workers that “send helpful, meaningful signals that we are one nation and we can play a meaningful part.” Other modern presidents have looked to transcend partisan boundaries at a time of crisis or tragedy, including Bill Clinton in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, Ronald Reagan after the Challenger space shuttle explosion and Lyndon Johnson after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. “I’m surprised the administration isn’t doing this as well,” Fleischer said. Other Republicans, however, believe Trump is playing it right. Stephen Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist, believes 2020 is a “base election” year and thinks Trump can broaden his support because of a “new nationalism” born in the wake of a pandemic that began in China. He predicted Americans would rally around their president during a period of crisis. “Trump is a wartime president,” Bannon said. Trump’s approval rating has remained remarkably steady over the course of his presidency, with about 42% of poll respondents saying they approve of the job he’s doing as president, according to a new the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s even as many question the veracity of his statements and believe he is not listening to health experts enough during the crisis. But the coronavirus has threatened to rewrite the Electoral College map, and Trump’s campaign has become concerned about losing support in several key swing states, particularly Florida and Wisconsin. Some advisers have all but written off Michigan, which Trump captured in 2016 by fewer than 11,000 votes. He is now locked in a feud with the state’s Democratic governor. In former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump faces a presumptive Democratic nominee whose promises of across-the-aisle outreach and pragmatic, experienced-based management may play well in several battlegrounds states. That includes Arizona, which has a vast suburban population uneasy with the constant Trump drama, tweets and base plays. “People are going to look for stability,” said Doug Cole, a veteran Republican operative in Arizona who worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. “Biden can capitalize on that.” Trump campaign officials who requested anonymity to describe campaign strategy stressed that the election is still six months away, an eternity in politics. They noted polls can be wrong or change, especially if the pandemic wanes or the economy rebounds. And they said the campaign believes that voters will credit Trump for the strong economy before the pandemic hit, even as they have expressed worry that he could be pushing to open things too quickly and that any resulting deaths will not be forgiven by voters in November. But there are warning signs. Several Republicans who mimicked Trump’s 2016 strategy by focusing on immigration failed to win congressional or governors’ races. “Whatever impact it has in boosting turnout among core supporters, it boosts the backlash vote even more,” said Frank Sharry, the executive director of the liberal immigration advocacy group America’s Voice. He noted the 2017 Virginia’s governor’s race, in which GOP nominee Ed Gillespie tried to feather candidate Ralph Northam with ads on immigration. The strategy backfired, as it did in many 2018 midterm races. Jason Miller, communications director for Trump’s 2016 campaign, countered that last week’s immigration executive order may appeal to the base. But he said it was also aimed at helping African- Americans, Hispanics, women and immigrants already in the U.S. legally who typically hold lower-wage jobs at a higher percentage than those in what is typically viewed as the president’s base. Trump’s campaign has been trying to chip away at Democrats’ advantage with those demographic groups, even as advocates counter that minority immigrants will suffer by being prevented from having their parents and other family members join them in the country. Miller also defended the president’s refusal to put petty political riffs aside at a time of national crisis, arguing that some fights are worth picking and that Trump will be judged, not on his daily briefings, but on how the country eventually recovers from the crisis. “He is bringing the country together with determinative action and results,” he said.

The 122nd book you be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Craig will be on the Phile tomorrow.

Today's guest is an actor, writer, director, musician, cannabis rights activist and comedian. He is known for his marijuana-themed Cheech & Chong comedy albums and movies with Cheech Marin. Please welcome to the Phile... Tommy Chong.

Me: Hey, Tommy, welcome to the Phile. It's great to have you here. How are you?

Tommy: Thank you, Jason. I'm doing good.

Me: Where are you from, sir?

Tommy: Originally from Edmonton, Alberta in Canada but I became a naturalized United States citizen in the late 1980s.

Me: Oh, cool. I did not know you were Canadian. I remember hearing about Cheech & Chong when I was a kid growing up on Long Island. I even had a button advertising Next Movie that my dad gave me. I have no idea where I got it. I still have it. I knew back then that you guys did drugs and had it out in my head that was bad. When did you smoke pot? Do you remember?

Tommy: I was in a jazz club. Well, it was the only club in Calgary at the time, it was called the Flat Five. I became a regular and one night this bass player named Raymond Young came up to me, he'd just gotten back from L.A. and he handed me a Lenny Bruce record which I never heard before and a joint... a marijuana cigarette, I put the joint in my pocket immediately and Raymond, he lit up his own and that was the first time I ever smoked marijuana. It changed my life.

Me: I first smoked pot in the 90s... I'm not gonna say where and when.. Haha. It didn't change my life though, how did it change yours?

Tommy: I think the next day I went and quit school because I was doing the typical "I don't know what to do with my life so I might as well go to school." Soon as I smoked that joint I realized I just wanted to play the blues and play music and I couldn't do that while I was in school.

Me: I didn't know you were in a band. Did you have any records out?

Tommy: I sure did. I had a hit record called "Does Your Mama Know About Me."

Me: What was the name of that band?

Tommy: Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers. Here's a picture of us...

Me: I like the title of that song, sir. Did you write to or someone else? T

Tommy: I wrote a poem, I'm a poet, I write poetry. Tom Baird the arranger, he saw my book of poetry and he picked that one out and said "let me put this to music" and he did and wow... it changed my life.

Me: Did you guys play with anybody big or who I would know back then?

Tommy: Oh, yeah. Actually Jimi Hendrix wanted to sit in. We were playing in England playing in a little club called the Speakeasy and Hendrix showed up. The place was empty until he showed up. He had about 300 people behind him like a pied piper. He walked up to the stage and said, "His there, Tommy." He was talking right to me and I was in shock and he said, "Mind if I sit in?" I said, "No, not at all." So I took off my guitar and gave it to him but he said he plays left handed guitar. He said, "No, I'll play bass." And so he took the bass and he played bass, right handed bass. Jimi's from the old rock and roll rhythm and blues so he knew our band. We were like a big underground hit with the R&B community.

Me: Nice. So, do you remember how you and Cheech first met?

Tommy: No. He was up in Vancouver dodging the draft. He was a landed immigrant actually. He kind of cracked me up actually because he thought some brother must've wrote that song, but it was a Chinese brother, or half-Chinese brother.

Me: How did you two first start to work together?

Tommy: We started off in an improvisational group. It was a troop and there were topless dancers. My brother actually who ran the club, he fired us. We had changed the crowd from a bunch of drunk bikers who threw money at the girls to very sedate theater crowd who would count their change when they ordered their little half a glass of wine. My brother said, "Okay, the show's over, that's it." Everybody else spilt except Cheech. Cheech was the only one standing there looking at me saying, "Well, what are we gonna do?" So Cheech and I formed a band because that's what I always envisioned myself doing which is more music. And Cheech is a singer so we put a band together. But our first gig we just did comedy, we never got around to playing music. When I realized that Cheech and I could be funny, just the two of us then I said "wow." I knew instinctively that we had something. And then when we got a record contract Cheech and I didn't even talk about doing records. It was just that Lou Adler at heard us, heard about us, went to see us and so he called us into his office and he said, "Well, what do you want to do?" And I said, "Well, we want to do a comedy record. Give us some money and a little tape recorder."

Me: I have to show this pic of you both...

Me: So, what was the first skit or piece you ever recorded?

Tommy: When we took that little tape recorder it was the only time we ever rehearsed. We went into a little backroom at the A&M lot and the bit was Cheech was supposed to be a drug dealer and was gonna knock on the door and he was going to come in and we were gonna do this skit. So he went outside and the door locked for inside so he was out in the hot courtyard and he knocked on the door. I said, "Who is it?" He said, "It's me, man, let me in." I was staring at the tape recorder to see if I recorded it but there was no one talking so the needle wasn't moving so I stared at it a long time. And then Cheech knocked again and I saw the needle move, but I also heard the impatience in Cheech's voice. So I wanted to see how long I can keep him out there. So I kept saying, "Who is it?" Finally he said, "It's me Dave." He's making all this stuff up. I said, "Dave?" And I could hear in his voice he said, "Yeah, Dave, man. Now let me in." And when I said, "Dave's not here" oh he blew it. "I'm Dave, man!" Oh, man.

Me: Hahah. What happened when you opened the door finally?

Tommy: When I opened the door he was ready to hit me. He was mad. I said, "Listen, listen, listen." So we played it back over and over and over again and we laughed until we were crying. And we recorded it that night and that's the record that's out now. But the original was much funnier.

Me: So, when did you know that you two were gonna work so well together?

Tommy: That was our ammo from then on, it was a "marriage" made in heaven in a comedy album. 

Me: Do people confuse you with the Tommy Chong you play in movies?

Tommy: Our crowd is not the sharpest knives in the drawers. It's not confusing, that's who they think I am. I don't let them down too much. I love that character and I never change, Cheech has done other characters in other movies, he's a real actor. 

Me: Yeah, he was on "Lost." So, you're not an actor?

Tommy: No, I'm not. I'm just a stoner from Calgary.

Me: So, you're happy that you stayed who you are?

Tommy: Yeah, if it works don't fix it.

Me: I never saw any of the Cheech and Chong movies to be honest. Stoner comedies or whatever they called are not that funny to me but do you think Up In Smoke made pot more acceptable and mainstream back in 1978?

Tommy: Yeah, it did. We took all the drama and the fear out of it. And we made a point of making sure that one of the guys was from a rich family. I wanted to show the gap between the two characters. Here's a guy that lives at home still with his parents and he's a drummer but his whole aim in life is to get high on pot. Then he meets a lowrider and his whole aim is to pick up girls.

Me: So, when you and Cheech perform together now how is it different from back then?

Tommy: Cheech and I started our career by being young guys playing old guys, and now we're old guys playing young guys.

Me: Okay, so I have to ask you what do you think of the legalization of pot?

Tommy: They think pot is alcohol, all the ones that don't know what they're doing, the people in charge. The good news is that it's keeping the underground market alive so that's the really good news.

Me: Do you see the legalization of pot keeping the underground drug dealers going?

Tommy: Well, the restrictions, the stupid restrictions. They're closing down these pot shops because they have to have a license. So, what are these pot shops going to do? Go out of business because it's legal now? They were making a ton of money when it was illegal.

Me: There's a lot of people that went to jail selling or smoking pot, Tommy, and a lot of them aren't white, am I right?

Tommy: Yeah, it's a racist law, it's always been. It was medicine right up until Heart and the boys and Du Pont and all that wanted to get rid of hemp because hemp was big competitor. You couldn't get any products better than hemp products. So Du Poet wanted to get their plastics and all that shit in there and look how that worked out. The whole world is a like a university and racism is one of the main classes everyone has to keep taking until they get to right.

Me: Now that weed is legalized do you think stoner comedies and stoner records will have the same impact?

Tommy: No. Absolutely not. It changes. But if you look at the comedy scene itself the ones that were funny years ago they're not viable anymore. The young kids don't understand. I played a Lenny Bruce recored for my son and he didn't like it, he said take it off. He could not relate to it. Comedy has to be of the times and our time has come and gone. Like I said we were going guys playing old guys now we're old guys playing young guys but you're absolutely right, it's like bellbottoms and long hair, that as a thing of the past and that's the attitude towards pot is going to be.

Me: Good point. Tommy, sir, thanks for being on the Phile. Tell Cheech he needs to come on the Phile as well. All the best. Stay well.

Tommy: Thank you, Jason.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Tommy Chong for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Craig Ferguson. Spread the word, not the turd... or 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, April 28, 2020

Pheaturing Angela Lansbury

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Tuesday. How are you? Every time I finish a roll of toilet paper it feels like a petal flailing off the enchanted rose in Beauty and the Beast. So, until further notice, the days of the week are now called Thisday, Thatday, Otherday, Someday, Yesterday, Today, and Nextday. The air is so fill of sanitizer that I'm not even getting dirty thoughts these days.
Let's start off with some good news... The three missing children from Roanoke County, Virginia, believed to be in “extreme danger,” were safely found. Six-year-old Cameron, 6-year-old Emma, and 21-month-old Colin Allison were all found near Florence, South Carolina, with their mother, 35-year-old, Ruby Marie Allison. Ruby Marie Allison, the mother of Emma and Colin, is married to 34-year-old John Allison, who fathers all three children. On Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020, John turned himself into the Roanoke County Police. He is currently being held in the Roanoke County-Salem Jail on three counts of felony abduction. Ruby was taken into custody and is currently waiting to be extradited to Virginia. According to authorities, the parents kidnapped the children after the Roanoke County Social Services Office attempted to remove the three children from John and Ruby’s care. Police stated the father refused to turn over access over his children to Child Protective Services. Luckily, the children are now safe with the South Carolina authorities and will be handed over to Roanoke County Social Services to determine the next steps.
The most soulless non-dark web site on the information superhighway is reporting that married couples are sending all kinds of dick pics and sexts to people who aren’t their husbands and wives during the coronavirus shutdown. Ashley Madison... whose tagline is, “Life is short. Have an affair.” ... has added 17,000 new members a day during the coronavirus pandemic. And, now that these people can’t meet up to take a dump on their vows and possibly each other if that’s something someone’s partner wasn’t willing to do, they’ve taken their affairs virtual. More and more people are having cybersex, virtual sex, video sex... you name it, according to Ashley Madison. “We’ve spoken to members, and they’re saying they’re using the site as a release valve for the tension that’s built up at home during the pandemic,” said Ashley Madison chief strategy officer Paul Keable in an interview with Venture Beat. “They’re looking to have needs met that aren’t being met at home.” Having a virtual affair while you’re locked inside your house with your husband or wife sounds miserable. How do you even have cybersex with your spouse in the house? You have to basically get them so drunk they pass out and then still go lock yourself in the most insulated room in the house and flick or stroke as fast as you can just in case they wake up. I guess you could have an understanding with your affair partner that if you get caught they have to act like a cam girl/cam boy. You know, start talking to an audience that isn’t there so it doesn’t seem like the cheater is the only one on the stream. But they’d be terrible at it. “Okay guys, what should I do now? Um, uh, touch myself again?” It really can’t be comforting for Ashley Madison users to know that Ashley Madison is constantly putting out press releases that are like, “eyyyyy check out how many people are cheating on each other this month isn’t that wild!” I guess this is still better than getting your sex jollies from hanging virtual dong on a high school science class.
A New Jersey high school teacher made what was clearly a bad day roughly a trillion times worse after she wished slow painful death on a group of teenagers from her school who were ignoring coronavirus social distancing by playing football in a closed park. Whatever the teacher version of the Hippocratic oath is, what she did there is probably the opposite of that. Nicole Griggs, who has been teaching at Steinert High School in Hamilton Township, New Jersey for the last fifteen years, was out walking her dog in a classic quarantine outfit... a filthy old grey sweatsuit... when she came across the students and, understandably, had a tough time holding her tongue about their flippant behavior. While it’s reasonable for someone to become upset at other people for not following (or completely ignoring) proper COVID-19 social distancing measures, there are still limits to that reaction. And Mrs. Griggs soared across that line sitting atop a speeding rocket like Slim Pickens. At first, Griggs was simply yelling at the kids to leave, telling them that things would go on this way if people like them didn’t listen to the authorities about taking proper precautions, and even warned them that they would get arrested if they didn’t go home. She was almost trying to help. But then things took a turn. Griggs became more and more frustrated and started shouting at one of the kids for filming her. Then, completely fed up, Griggs fired off a real zinger. I’m just trying to save your ass and save your life. But die, okay? I hope both of you get the coronavirus. I hope both of you die a long, painful death. The video was uploaded first to Snapchat and then to TikTok, with the caption, “Y’all Mrs Griggs is losing her damn mind how if is she a teacher #coronavirus.” The school district has said it’s investigating the incident.
A 48-year-old Wisconsin man is the victim of a flesh-eating bacteria that forced him to have all of his limbs amputated. According to medical experts, Greg Manteufel, of West Bend, Wisconsin, went to the emergency room in February 2019 after he thought he contracted the flu. Yet, after several tests, medical experts revealed that Manteufel had contracted an infection from a bacteria identified as Capnocytophaga Canimorsus, found in dog saliva. The bacteria usually causes severe infections in people with weakened immune systems and is spread through bites or close contact with infected dogs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated patients infected with the bacteria may have blisters around the bite wound, swelling, redness, fever, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and muscle, and joint pain. Symptoms typically appear within three to five days but can take up to two weeks. If untreated, severe infections can be fatal within 72 hours of when symptoms appear. His wife, Dawn Manteufel spoke with Fox 6 about his symptoms, stating that the disease hit him with vengeance, bruising him all over. The disease had made it look as if someone had beat him up with a baseball bat, which had shocked both of them. Her husband has a history of good health and spent his life around dogs, which is why it caught them off guard. Yet, the infection in his blood triggered a severe response in his body. Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price stated this was a very rare case. Over 99 percent of people who have dogs will never have this issue. Yet, be aware that sometimes these friendly animals, who love to lick their owners’ faces, can and do carry a long list of bacteria that can severely impact human health. The disease can cause a very bad sepsis infection, but usually in people who are immunocompromised and usually follows a dog bite. The infection caused Manteufel’s blood pressure to drop, which is why the circulation to his limbs decreased, causing them to turn black. Within a week, doctors had to amputate his legs and had to undergo surgery to remove a portion of his hands, as well as half of his forearms. The couple had created a GoFundMe page to cover medical expenses. “Furthermore, all areas of Greg’s body and tissue was affected by the bacteria and the sepsis, the [doctors] say his nose will need extensive repairs, which means he will need plastic surgery to rebuild a new healthy nose. Greg is going to need several more surgeries, lots of time and his family by his side to get [through] this life-changing event.” Being as positive as they can, Dawn stated they’d rather focus on what her husband has left, than what was taken away. If you would like to donate to Manteufel medical care, you can do so through the families GoFundMe page. If you suspect you or someone you know has Capnocytophaga, you should consult a medical professional for antibiotic (which is how the virus is treated if caught on time) to stop it from spreading. “For some reason, I survived,” Greg Manteufel told Fox 6 in an update on his recovery progress since he had lost all of his limbs to the flesh-eating bacteria, Capnocytophaga Canimorsus. This specific bacteria is found in dog or cat saliva. However, his positive and determined attitude is encouragingly refreshing for his situation, even inspiring his family. Recently, Greg has been doing his best to get stronger and better using more advanced prosthetic limbs, taking part in a Harvard Medical School study about his case. He is constantly trying to improve in any way he can to help improve the study for future cases. And he’s doing it all fearlessly with his dog, Ellie, by his side. “A lot of people don’t even make it,” he says. “I happened to make it. Now, I’m trying to make the best of the situation.” His GoFundMe page is still running, even after beating its goal of $145,000, and you can donate! It’s really important to note the difference between the specific symptoms of Capnocytophaga infections, coronavirus symptoms, and actual flu-like symptoms. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms also being closely similar to flu-like symptoms, it will be important to consider all risk factors in making sure the right intensive care is given. We can all use a little more awareness during this pandemic in striving to be healthy people.
Governor Greg Abbott has announced Texas restaurants, retail stores, malls, and movie theaters will be allowed to re-open on May 1st, 2020. According to Abbott, he will let the state’s stay-at-home order expire at the end of the month. Restrictions will be applied, and locations will only be allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity. Libraries and museums will also be allowed to open at a 25 capacity, but hands-on exhibits must remain closed. The governor’s executive order supersedes local orders which stated those businesses must remain closed. The new guidelines are the biggest to date thus far in order to restart the Texas economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Abbott also stated non-contact sport and activities, such as golf courses, will also be allowed to resume operating at a reduced capacity. Saying that, he noted the reopenings are optional, and Texas businesses are allowed to stay closed if they wish. Through a live news conference, the governor called the openings “Phase 1”, stating, “it’s time to set a new course.” Gov. Abbott is holding off on reopening certain businesses for now, including hair salons, barber shops, gyms, and bars, hoping those businesses can open no later than mid-may as part of “Phase 2.” These openings should come to effect on May 18th, 2020, as state officials need two weeks of data to absolutely ensure there was not a spike in cases. He noted, “Just as we united as one state to slow COVID-19, we must also come together to begin rebuilding the lives and the livelihoods of our fellow Texans." Just last week, Abbott reopened state parks and allowed doctors to perform nonessential surgeries. Retailers were allowed to start selling items for curbside pickup on Friday. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Tribune, as of yesterday, there are 25,297 confirmed coronavirus cases in 205 counties and 663 deaths in the state. The top four counties include Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, and Travis. According to DSHS, there have been more than 290,517 tests done in Texas. Do you think Texas should reopen despite the number of active cases? I don't and I dread Florida opening.
Hey, did you see Biden;s new slogan?

Haha. The makers of Lysol have come out with a new product...

I wonder what stores will sell it. Since the coronavirus happened churches have been putting up some very clever signs.

Speaking of signs, those protestors sure have some idiotic ones...

Ugh! Good news, in Chicago the bean's babies have finally returned after not being seen for over 100 years. The earth is healing.

Hey, did you see who was named the head of the COVID-19 response team?

Hahaha. That's so stupid... that's as stupid as..

I wonder how many readers will get that. This is March versus April...

Man, I hope Ms. Lansbury doesn't get mad about that. Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive New Books About The Quarantine
5. Sisterhood Of The Can't Be Bothered To Put On Pants
4. 50 Shades Of Grey Sweatpants
3. A Series Of Unfortunate Haircuts
2. The Handwasher's Tale
And the number one new book about the quarantine is...
1. Charlotte's Web Meeting

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, let's see if that police car is still there in Port Jeff...

Nope. It's not there and nothing is going on.

These party hosts about to get arrested.

Okay, so, you wanna laugh?

An elderly couple were killed in an accident and found themselves being given a tour of heaven by Saint Peter. "Here is your oceanside condo, over there are the tennis courts, swimming pool, and two golf courses. If you need any refreshments, just stop by any of the many bars located throughout the area." "Heck, Gloria," the old man hissed when Saint Peter walked off, "we could have been here ten years ago if you hadn't heard about all that stupid oat bran, wheat germ, and low-fat diets!"

The 122nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Craig will be on the Phile on Thursday.

This is so cool, I think. Today's guest is a British-American actress who has appeared in theatre, television, and film roles. Her career has spanned almost eight decades, much of it in the United States. Please welcome to the Phile, the one and only... Angela Lansbury.

Me: Hello, Angela, welcome to the Phile. I'm so excited to have you here. How are you?

Angela: It's a pleasure. 

Me: Thirty-six years ago "Murder, She Wrote" was premiered on TV. How did you get the part of Jessica Fletcher in "Murder, She Wrote"?

Angela: When I was offered the part, Norman Lear, the legendary sitcom producer most famously of "All In the Family" and "The Jeffersons" wanted me for another show.

Me: So, why did you pick the drama over the sitcom? Is that what happened?

Angela: Simply because I felt I wanted to play a character that possibly could endure itself to an audience that I never really faced before. This is something new to me, I was coming from the theatre and I felt this woman could be of interest to the general public. I think I was right actually because we did do the show for 12 years. we never lost our audience and we haven't today, not even today.

Me: Why do you think people still watch the show today?

Angela: People remember it and I'm delighted that they do.

Me: I have to say I never watched an episode of the show, but my mom loved it. I was more into "The A-Team" and "Magnum P.I." back then I have to say. Young people seem to like Jessica Fletcher, right? Why is that?

Angela: It seems so. She's a comforting character in interesting situations and certainly over the years she grew and became quite interesting and quite glamorous at times which was kind of nice as she started off in a very low heeled show type person. So suddenly she became a little bit glam so that was fun, and the audience liked it.

Me: So, the BBC said that if Cabot Cove was a real place it would be the murder capitol of the world. What do you think of that?

Angela: There you go.

Me: What do you think of the theory that Jessica Fletcher was the one that committed all the murders?

Angela: Oh, I haven't heard that one. That's new on me. We don't really know who was behind that mask, do we?

Me: Did you ever get bored playing Jessica all those years?

Angela: No, as an actress who has played a lot of interesting roles in my career up to that point she was pretty straight forward compared to playing the Queen in Hamlet and all kind of interesting things all over the world. So going back and settling down once in my career was something new to me. I just threw myself into "Murder, She Wrote." I just thought this is wonderful, I had grandchildren coming up right left and centre and I lived in California for the first time and it was a wonderful experience for me.

Me: Your grandfather was George Lansbury, who was a British politician and social reformer who led the Labour Party. What did you think of that?

Angela: I am so proud to be his granddaughter, What a wonderful experience it was knowing him in my youth. He was the leader of the Labour Party in Great Britain in the 1930s and just being a part of his family was one of the great plusses of my life.

Me: What do you think of his speeches and what he believed in politically?

Angela: Well, I went as a child and heard him in places like the Albert Hall in Britain, an enormous place just filled with people, thousands of people listening and watching and I realised what an amazing character he was. Now I do. At the time I was enormously impressed with his ability to quiet down an enormous audience and have them listen to every word he said. And every word he said had a real meaning and I recognised that as a child I think. I was enormously impressed by it and felt it. I was thrilled to be part of his family.

Me: Where in England are you from, Angela?

Angela: Regent's Park, Central London.

Me: When and how did you first come to America?

Angela: A ship took me from England to North America during World War ll. We started off from Liverpool and I believe Liverpool was bombed after we left. We just got out in time. This was a boat filled with youngsters who were sent to Canada to sit out the war and I was one of them with my twin brothers, Edgar and Bruce. It was an event for us, it was exciting, it was pretty freighting too, we had Destroyers around us but we were trying to get away from the U-boats who at that time who were just knocking out any piece of ship that crossed the ocean at that time from Britain. But we made it and that was a marvelous thing. We landed in Canada.

Me: What do you remember about seeing Canada for the first time?

Angela: Well, we weren't there very long. We almost immediately got on a train and went down to New York City. I didn't have the experience of being in Canada at that time. I did later when I was about 16 I went to Canada for the first time with a job and I went to work in a sort of nightclub. Thank goodness I was able to make enough money to lie and buy some clothes and finally went back to New York where I went to drama school for a while.

Me: What is one of the songs you performed when you started singing?

Angela: The Noel Coward song "I Went to a Marvelous Party." I had about four songs that I sang and at that time many of the RAF from Britain were training in Canada to fight the Battle of Britain and I remember so many of them coming to the Samovar Club and being delighted to seeing an English girl up there singing away and I had great audience thank God, which I wouldn't of had if it hadn't been for them.

Me: How did you end up in California?

Angela: I forget the name of the group my mother was with but some very well known British performers were on this train that went across Canada playing and doing their thing across the country and ending up the other end what would be the last stop in Vancouver. That's where she ended up and from Vancouver she decided as she was that far west that she would make a trip down to California and to Los Angeles. And so she did and at that time she called me in New York, I was there with my brothers and suggested I should come out to California and we could possibly make careers for ourselves there. She was a damn good actress herself and she thought I might be able to make a break of it in Hollywood and so I did which was a whole world away as far as I was concerned.

Me: What did you think about California?

Angela: It was all about the movies and was very exciting and very glamorous at the thought of going to Hollywood.

Me: What was the first movie you were in there? 

Angela: Gaslight, playing the little tart Nancy.

Me: What was that like being in that movie for you?

Angela: Elizabeth Taylor and I used to take the bus to MGM Studios in those days because she was just a little tiny sweetheart of a girl and I was just making my way. And that's how it was. I was put under contract at MGM, and she was already under contract at MGM of course. I stayed there for 7 odd years and I left MGM and went to the theatre.

Me: Why did you leave MGM and Hollywood?

Angela: They used me as a sort of utility actress and I had to pay my way as it were. I was under contract at the studio which was pretty wonderful in those days to have that income, whether I worked or not. But I hated some of the parts that I was forced to play. I didn't have any say on what I would, but I pulled myself out of a couple but mainly I did what I was told because it was important quite frankly. We just needed to work. I stayed out for about 7 years and I did about anything they asked me to do, which was a total waste of time but that was okay. That's life.

Me: What was the first Broadway show you were in?

Angela: Mame, with the great Beatrice Arthur. What a wonderful time we had together, my goodness. Bless her heart, we were great friends, dear dear friends. I loved being with her, she was a real pro, a terrific woman and a great comedian.

Me: Did you fit in with that role?

Angela: Not really but it was an opportunity for me certainly to become a glamorous woman rather than a less glamorous woman I played at the beginning of my career certainly in the theatre. But Mame was a huge breakthrough, that was the beginning of a wonderful Broadway career.

Me: I knew you first from Bedknobs & Broomsticks. What do you remember from that?

Angela: Well, it was a great breakthrough for me. It was something that appealed to the younger generations. I'm very, very thankful that I did it. I loved doing it, I loved the idea of doing it, and I loved working for Disney. I'm a character actress, I don't really want to play myself. I'm not interested in playing myself, I'm far more interested in playing women other than Angela Lansbury because it's a bit boring.. So Bedknobs & Broomsticks was really fun. I had great time doing it and it turned out to be enormously successful film. Even today a lot of kids love to watch it.

Me: And I think more kids today known you as Mrs. Potts from Beauty & the Beast. What do you remember about that?

Angela: Well, Mrs. Potts is something else again. She's a cartoon character but very much someone I understood and felt very comfortable playing as a character.

Me: You understood her?

Angela: Well, I knew what they wanted to hear from this little person. I think you have to creep into the imagination of children to sell them on a character who is a teapot. How else am I going to do it unless I make her as human as possible, with her little guy who is her son. I think that's part of the fun of playing these characters. I do it all the time, even to this day. I play certain characters, you hear my voice and may not realise it's me, but it is me.

Me: You're older than 90-years-old, and we touched on only a few of very successful parts of your long career. You must love acting as you keep doing it, am I right?

Angela: Oh, I think so. Defintely. I have to keep your hand in. I can't assume that I can just stop. I have to keep doing otherwise I do learn how to do various things that I do using other voices and doing voice-overs. I don't make movies anymore, but that's okay. My voice is not my fortune, but certainly, my voice is the thing I've been able to keep going and even though I'm 94, I don't feel anything like that. I am what I eat, that's what I tell myself. For me that's very strong tea.

Me: I think you might be the oldest guest I ever had on the Phile. How do you keep so fit and look so good, Angela? You don't look like you're 94.

Angela: I watch what I was and these days at my age I sit down a lot, which is a very bad idea. If I didn't live on a hill I'd walk more. But not walking as much as I used to I put on quite a bit of weight and I'm pretty pissed about that.

Me: Hahahaha. Are you still singing?

Angela: Yes, I still sing. I never lost my voice which is interesting because I'd think over the years I was going to lose it but I don't lose it. As long as I use it I don't lose it. That's a good one.

Me: So, I'm gonna ask you a question I don't think anybody ever asked you about... have you heard of the song "Murder She Wrote" by Chaka Demus & Pliers?

Angela: No, what are they, a group?

Me: They're sort of legends in reggae music apparently.

Angela: Oh, reggae, I'm thrilled to be part of reggae, of course.

Me: That's funny. Angela, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Take care, and please come back again. Stay safe.

Angela: Not at all, I enjoyed talking to you, loved your questions and appreciate your interest. Thank you very much.

Well, there you go, not the most exciting interview but I'm glad she was on the Phile. Thanks to Angela Lansbury. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Tommy Chong. 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