Friday, May 29, 2020

Pheaturing Isabella Rossellini

Hello, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday. How are you? If you're wondering my personality is basically a mix between a needy 5-year-old child who can't control his emotions, a teenage rebel who makes poor life decisions, and an 80-year-old man who's tired and needs a nap. Anyway...
A private bank employee in Kerala, India has been arrested for murdering his wife and attempting to make it look like an accident by tossing a poisonous cobra into her bed. Only half of his plan worked, however. Uthra, the wife of Sooraj, the man in question, is dead. It appears Sooraj’s crime was an attempt, ultimately, to rid himself of his wife and take with him the handsome dowry her family provided to him when they married. The small fortune included $46,000 worth of gold as well as an undisclosed sum of cash. Sooraj attempted to take the money for good just days after the murder. According to police, this was Sooraj’s second attempt to murder his wife Uthra with a snake. A few months earlier he threw a poisonous Phillips viper in her bed. Uthra was bitten but she was rushed to the hospital and survived. After the failed murder attempt Sooraj went back to his deadly snake dealer and asked for something stronger apparently. Sooraj went back home with the cobra a while later and, this time, his horrible plan came to fruition. Sooraj watched his wife die as the snake bit her and then left the room. The wife’s mother found her unconscious and rushed her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The wife’s family, however, was suspicious. They told police as much and it didn’t take long for authorities to discover the truth. A search of Sooraj’s electronics found that he’d been searching and reading tutorials on how to handle poisonous snakes. Sooraj soon confessed to everything. Tragically, the couple had a one-year-old son together. Sooraj didn’t care. Initially, after Uthra’s death Sooraj took the child with him, however, after the arrest, the Child Welfare Committee ordered that the baby be handed over to Uthra’s family.
Bad news Bath & Body Works fans, looks like some stores near you will be officially closing. According to L Brands, the company is closing fifty of its Bath & Body Works stores across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. This according to the information that was disclosed online as part of the company’s first-quarter earnings report. The closures will take place in malls, where social distancing measures still continue to impact foot traffic. Bath & Body Works has around 1,700 locations across North America. The retailer also stated it will shut down one store in Canada. This isn’t the only store that has suffered financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hitting the retail industry hard, JCPenney, Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, and Pier 1 Imports have all filed for bankruptcy this month. However, quarterly results for our favorite scent store weren’t as bleak. Online sales grew 85 percent over last year. The company expects its sanitizer products to grow into a 300 million dollar business for 2020, up from 100 million dollars last year alone. There are only a select number of Bath & Body Works locations that are currently open because of the pandemic, according to its website. The company has not yet confirmed which Bath & Body Works stores exactly will be closing in 2020. However, the retailer is currently offering several deals online. You can currently purchase two single wick candles for only 20 dollars. Some favorite summer scents are also for sale including the Watermelon Lemonade, Sun-Drenched Linen, Mango Mai-Tai, Endless Weekend, and Strawberry Pound Cake. Customers can also get six hand soaps for only 26 dollars right now. Several scents for the season include Blue Ocean Waves, Beach Cabana, Beach Bliss, Island Papaya, and Crystal Waves. Victoria’s Secret, which is also owned by parent company L Brands, also recently announced its plan to shut down 250 locations around the United States and Canada.
Store owners with no-mask-no-service policies got a boost from the governor. New York City business owners planning to reopen before coronavirus restrictions are lifted got a warning from the mayor. Actors Rosie Perez and Chris Rock are promoting face coverings and virus testing. Store owners who require customers to wear face coverings will now be backed up by an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The promised executive order authorizing businesses to deny entry to people without face-covering comes as outbreak-related restrictions on shops are beginning to loosen, though not yet in New York City. “We’re giving the store owners the right to say, ‘If you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t come in.’” Cuomo said at his daily briefing. “That store owner has a right to protect themselves. That store owner has a right to protect the other patrons in that store.” Many stores already require people to wear masks to enter, but Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said the right of business owners to do that had not been made explicit in law. He said the order also gives local police the ability to enforce the rule. Ted Potrikus of the Retail Council of New York State said the order “gives retailers helpful authorization to say, ‘This is our policy, you can’t come in.”’ “Retailers have, for the most part, made face masks a requirement for entry,” Potrikus wrote in an email, “but, as we’ve seen on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, there are people out there who believe they can go into a store regardless of that store’s policy on masks.” Cuomo said his new order will reduce conflicts between shop owners and customers who refuse to cover their faces. Face coverings are already required in New York when people are out in public and near others. Cuomo was joined by actors Rosie Perez and Chris Rock, who will star in ads urging New Yorkers to wear face coverings and to get tested for the virus now that testing is more widely available in hard-hit areas like Brooklyn, the site of yesterday's briefing. Perez said the new order would lessen also the anxiety of going into a store. “It’s going to lessen, hopefully, the fights that are breaking out in stores when someone sees someone without a mask,” she said. Rock admitted that he doesn’t confront people he sees on the street who aren’t wearing masks. Instead, “I give them a nice side-eye.” New York recorded 74 new COVID-19 deaths for a second day in a row. There have been more than 23,700 deaths statewide since the start of the outbreak. Hospitalization rates continued to fall, with an average of 163 admissions a day. More than 3,000 people a day were being hospitalized at the peak of the pandemic. New York City businesses that try to reopen before coronavirus restrictions are lifted will face fines starting at $1,000, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. “No, businesses are not supposed to make up their own rules and jump the gun,” de Blasio said at his daily briefing on the virus. New York City is the only jurisdiction in the state that has not met Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s guidelines for the first phase of New York’s four-part reopening process, including having enough contact tracers to monitor people exposed to the virus. De Blasio said he expects the city to enter Phase 1, including construction, manufacturing, and retail with curbside pickup, during the first two weeks of June. Some merchants, including the owner of a Staten Island tanning salon, have said they planned on reopening this week. When the tanning salon owner tried to open on Thursday with the support of local politicians, police officers were on hand and issued him a summons that kept the operation closed. De Blasio said businesses that reopen before they are supposed to will be told to close, and if they ignore orders to shut their doors, fines will be issued. “I’m not into free agents,” de Blasio said. “I’m not into people deciding that they get to make the rules and they can do something everyone else can’t do.”
Corey Lewis, a black guy, found himself in some trouble for… being a black guy, pretty much. Yeah that’s it, actually. He’s black and some nosy, dumb, racist lady saw that he’s black and was like, “Whoa, I don’t like the look of this black guy. Specifically the part about how he’s black. And by ‘specifically’ I mean ‘only.'” Then the nosy, dumb, racist lady called the cops on him because, naturally, this suspicious looking (see also: black) man was likely up to no good. Lewis, who runs a youth mentoring program in Marietta, Georgia, was babysitting for a family he knows when he caught the aforementioned dumb lady’s eye. The reason he stood out to the lady, aside from the whole black thing in and of itself, was because he was a black man with two white kids. A girl and a boy, aged 10 and 6. They were leaving a Subway after having just eaten lunch there. Obviously... of course... the only the reasons that combination of people would be in a car together would be either kidnapping or human trafficking. So this valiant woman did what any hero would do: she snooped and harassed Lewis, and demanded to speak to the children, whom she 100% did not know. When Lewis declined the stranger’s request to speak to the children he was responsible for... suspicious!... the lady threatened to take down his license plate number and call the police. Then she followed him in her car. That scared the kids, by the way. Finally, the cops showed up and pulled Lewis and the kids over (this also scared the kids) to confirm that the innocent man who was doing nothing wrong or suspicious was, indeed, a normal, nice, innocent guy and not a child stealing, human trafficking, psychopath. As an aside, kudos to whoever the dispatcher was for properly conveying to the responding officers that this was probably nothing because the woman calling sounded like an idiot. Otherwise, officers responding to reports of a possible kidnapper could have been much, much worse. At this point, the police were forced to do their due diligence and call the kids’ parents, who were both pissed off and not really able to comprehend why in the fuck this was happening. Lewis caught a lot of the ordeal on Facebook Live and his story quickly went viral. Authorities are not releasing the name of the woman who called the police on Lewis, which I’m sure she is thankful for, because she probably doesn’t want to be antagonized and harassed by strangers who would be judging her based on perception and hate. Huh. Weird.
YouTuber Myka Stauffer and her husband James Stauffer announced they have decided to rehome their son Huxley, who was adopted two and a half years ago. The couple welcomed their now four-year-old boy son from China in October 2017. Through a video statement shared on their YouTube channel, James stated, “Once Huxley came home, there were a lot more special needs that we weren’t aware of, and that we were not told.” The husband continued saying it was really hard hearing from medical professionals about his diagnosis, saying they had a lot of feedback that was upsetting for the family. According to the family, the boy has autism and brain damage. He did note the family never wanted to be in the position they are now, and they have been trying to get the boy’s needs met and help him out as much as possible. Myka noted, “But there wasn’t an ounce in their body that didn’t love her son, and there wasn’t a minute that they didn’t try their hardest to help the boy anyway they could. After multiple evaluations, numerous medical professionals have felt that he needed a different fit and that his medical needs, he needed more. Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like, 500 percent.” The social media entertainers, who have four biological children (Radley, Onyx, Kova, and Jaka), stated the little boy was happy and is doing very well. His new mother has medical professional training which is fitting for the boy. The couple asked their subscribers to honor their privacy, saying that they wouldn’t be going into further details about the boy and the family. Myka was very verbal about her decision to update her fans about the adoption, especially when it came to his two-year adoption anniversary. She regularly documented the family’s journey to adopt him together, including monthly and yearly posts about the whole adoption journey itself. Several viewers of the family were quick to express their heavy outrage about Huxley being placed with another family, comparing their biological kids with the adopted boy. Others also criticized the mom for using him in monetizing content. A petition was created demanding the family remove all monetized content of the boy from YouTube. The Influencer, who has more than 162,000 followers on Instagram and over 700,000 subscribers on YouTube has several garnered partnerships with big-name companies such as TJ Maxx, Danimal yogurt, and Big Lots. After making the decision of rehoming the boy, Stauffer did reassure her audience that numerous medical professionals felt he needed a different fit, which is why the adoption agency helped place Huxley with his “forever family.”
So, when I saw this pic it reminded me of something...

And then it hit me...

You see into, right? Okay, here is another creative measure that a business is taking to maintain social distancing out in the world...

That's actually creepy to me. Haha. Once again grads are being creative with their yearbook quotes...

Ha. Man, those protestor songs really bother me, like this one...

I was thinking of getting another tattoo but someone had the same idea I had...

I wanted a ruling toilet paper roll tattoo. Oh, well. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things Said By Adults About Being An Adult
5. Adulting is finally understanding why your mom was so upset with you when you didn't take the chicken out of the freezer.
4. When I was a child I thought the "adult drink" was coffee. When I became a teenager I thought the "Adult drink" was beer. As an adult I've realized the "adult drink" is in fact... water.
3. I'm an adult, and I can eat whatever I want whenever I want, and I wish someone would take this power from me.
2. I realized I was an adult when $1,000 was no longer a lot of money.
And the number one thing said by an adult about being adult is...
1. You know you're an adult when you start to pick up the ice cubes and put them in the sink instead of just kicking them under the refrigerator when they fall.

Pancake ketchup

This person who thinks Clorox wipes are unconstitutional.

Wow! Just wow! Okay, you know I live in Florida, well, some strange stuff happens in this state...

Social distancing has most definitely made me become extremely comfortable and I’m sure it has made everyone else feel the same. But sometimes, real life comes back to remind us that we still need to keep it together. And it definitely reminded this Florida mom. Ashley Foret Smith, a mom from Jacksonville, Florida, might’ve embarrassed her daughter so much, it could possibly scar her for life. In my personal opinion however, I’d be a proud parent of this embarrassing moment, considering how hilarious it is. And honestly, I’m sure Ashley’s daughter thinks it’s more hilarious than embarrassing too. Ashley Smith had just finished her shower and was walking across her master bedroom to grab clothes. Assumingly, walking naked because 1. it’s her master bedroom 2. only her significant other would probably be in the same master bedroom and 3. no one should be around any ways because of social distancing. What she didn’t realize was that her 7-year-old daughter had set up her virtual learning shop right on her bed. In the middle of the room, Ashley’s youngest daughter was lying underneath her covers with the computer sitting on the pillow. She was on a Zoom call with her first-grade class, and Ashley had no idea until she heard a child giggling and a voice goes, “Uh, oh, we should hang up. We might be in trouble.” To her horror, she had just flashed an entire first-grade class on her daughter’s Zoom call. Completely mortified, she sought advice from two teacher friends about what she should do. They then encouraged her to share her story on social media, showing how to make situations like this one more light-hearted, especially with the coronavirus pandemic forcing everyone online for virtual schooling and work calls. So Ashley made a hilarious video on Facebook, recalling the embarrassing moment. What’s even funnier, is that she’s recording the Facebook video in a towel, clearly fresh out of the shower. She told Insider, “Practicing social distancing for so long makes you feel like you are in this all alone. When in fact, every single one of us is learning this new way of life. I hope that other parents learn that it is okay to not be perfect... that we are all doing our best to balance so many things right now.” She also shared in a sequel Facebook post saying, “Also, for the record! It has been confirmed that no child actually saw anything! They were getting off the call bc they would be in trouble for being in before the teacher. The timing couldn’t have been more awkward.”

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, it's time to take a live view of Port Jeff. I wonder if that ship is back...

Its back. Wonder where it went.

I found this pic of it and the pier and a little information which I didn't know. The 350 foot pier opened in May 2002 and previously provided tie-up for tankers and barges delivering bulk petroleum to the Mobil Oil terminal, which was there when I was a kid. The pier was refurbished with a 12 foot wide decking and railings to allow recreational use such as fishing or walking out to enjoy the magnificent views of the harbor or a sunset. In addition to serving as an important recreational asset, the pier also serves as the home base of the Seawolf, the marine research vessel for Stony Brook University. So that boat is called the Seawolf. Interesting. Now we all know.

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

Ringo will be on the Phile on Monday! That's amazing!

An explorer walked into a clearing and was surprised to see a pigmy standing beside a huge dead elephant. "Did you kill that?" he asked. The pigmy answered, "Yes." "How could a little bloke like you kill something as huge as that?" "I killed it with my club." replied the pigmy. "That's amazing," said the explorer. "How big's your club?" The pigmy replied, "There's about 150 of us."

Today's guest is an Italian-American actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model. Please welcome to the Phile... Isabella Rossellini.

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

Isabella: I'm wonderful, Jason, thank you.

Me: So, you have a one woman show called Link Link Circus and in the show it's just you and a little dog, am I right?

Isabella: Yes, it's my little dog Pan.

Me: Is Pan your real dog?

Isabella: No. Pan was a rescue a few years ago from a pound in North Carolina. She was trained by a gentleman named Bill Berloni who trains dogs for the theatre. I tried to do it with my own dog but my own dog was too responsive to the audience. If the audience said "what a beautiful doggy" he would leap out and go say hi. So I had to get a dog who stands on stage and concentrates on me, so I have little Pan who is very small. She's about 14 pounds. 

Me: So Pan is trained for the stage?

Isabella: Yes, she's trained. We rescued her a few years ago and she was training for about six months. She became my dog.

Me: Now she became your dog? So, she is your dog?

Isabella: Yes, she is now my dog.

Me: The show is called Link Link Circus. Where does the name come from?

Isabella: So, "link link" comes from the fact that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution linked us to the animals, links say we are animals too. We have an ancestor in common with the apes.

Me: So, what is the show about?

Isabella: Animals and their ability to think, feel and prove that he has become more and more evident that, yes indeed we are linked. So as Darwin used to say about cognition and intelligence the difference is not of kind but of degree. Of course we all recognize that we are all more cognitive than a dog or cat. But we do have something i common with them too.

Me: In the show you have to be in Darwin's and Aristotle's heads, right? What is that like?

Isabella: So, first of all I have to say all of my shows are comical. So, I do transform myself to Darwin and Aristotle and medieval monks and Skinner and Descartes. All these people who discussed basic questions that I also had when I was a little girl. Can animals think and feel? Lastly in the last tenyears or so I went back to university to study animal behavior and conservation. The science is really very recent, it started maybe 30 or 40 years ago. It has become more clear that we are linked with animals.

Me: How so?

Isabella: For example, the physical continuity is very recognized. You know the same bones that form a hand are the exact same bones that form a wing of bird. They're the exact same bones form of a flipper of a whale. So we know there's a physical continuity, something links that are similar. Similar and different. But when it cokes to cognition we think we're the only ones capable of thinking and feeling. Probably we are able to do it more so, we are very cognitive. But probably animals to different degrees probably can too. This is where I studied at the university and this is what my show is addressing. But always in a comical way, always my work is comical.

Me: I love it that you mentioned Descartes.

Isabelle: Why is that? Why? 

Me: Because you're putting Descartes before the horse! Hahahahaha.

Isabella: Ha ha ha ha ha. That's good.

Me: Thank you very much, you could have that one. Why is it important to share the show in a comical way opposed to something like a TEDTalk?

Isabella: Well, with my career, I'm an actress. But I'm old. I'm 67-years-old. I also worked a lot as a model. when I work as an actress and modeling... modeling forget it. I stopped modeling 20 years ago, and acting I could still do some acting but there's less work for old women so that gave me time. It's a little sad but I always liked animals, let me go back to university. So I went back to university and studied what I wanted to always study since I was a child. Then when I started to write things it always turned out to be comical. I think I wanted to be comical, and some is in my nature. In my nature I cannot control it, I like to laugh. So when I write I spend a lot of time alone. When I stay at home and think of jokes I can stay alone and write more willingly. But also there are so many amazing documentaries by "National Geographic" or David Attenborough about animals and I couldn't think I could compete. One of the things they didn't capture, animals make me laugh. There's something absurd about being similar and different. And this is what I wanted to capture.

Me: I had David Attenborough on the Phile a while ago. You said you wanted to study animals since you were a kid, Isabella. were you one of those crazy kids who wanted to bring frogs home in shoe boxes?

Isabella: Exactly. I brought frogs, snails, bugs, dogs, stray dogs, stray cats. Everything I brought home and I always liked animals since I was a little girl. I was just born with it as I was born with brown eyes and brown hair. It's a part of me, I don't know where it comes from. My parents let me do it. My parents always made sure I had a dog I could have cats. They didn't belittle my love for animals.

Me: I was gonna ask you about that. Your parents were famous people. Your mom was Ingrid Bergman and your dad was film director Roberto Rossellini. They were cool about you bringing home grasshoppers and bugs?

Isabella: Yes, they did, they loved animals a lot. My mom Ingrid Bergman was an actress. She worked in Hollywood, she did famous films like Casablanca or Notorious. She always had more than one dog. Three or four dogs, Most of the time we lived in the country or outskirts of the city so we always had gardens so the dogs could run around. That's why we could have four dogs. And my father too loved animals. But on top of it, I grew up in Italy and in Italy the countryside is quite close to the city. It isn't like in New York where the countryside seems to be so foreign and children have never seen a children and are surprised when someone says an egg comes from a chicken. Really the city is very small, and right outside it not suburbia and was countryside. Rome where I grew is becoming a bigger city like New York. But the countryside I grew up in is very close. So knowing something about farming, about animals, and now I have my own farm.

Me: Where do you live now?

Isabella: I live 60 miles from New York City in Patchogue, Long Island. I have a farm with many chickens, turkeys, bees, vegetables, etc.

Me: Patchogue! I know where that is. I grew up in Port Jefferson! Ever been there?

Isabella: Of course, many of times. It's a beautiful village with great seafood restaurants. And the band Foghat used to have a recording studio there, Jason. I bet you never knew that.

Me: Ummmmmmmmmmm. Yep, I sure did. Ahem. How many chickens do you have? Forty? 

Isabella: Oh, I have more than forty. I have about a hundred chickens. There's different breed of chickens. It's very interesting, I don't think a lot of people realize there's a lot of farm animals who are endangered.

Me: What? Are chickens endangered?

Isabella: Chickens are not endangered. Different breeds of chickens are endangered because industrial farming favors certain breeds so we eat one type of chicken. On my farm I have mostly endangered breeds of chicken, endangered breeds of turkeys.

Me: How do you remember all the chickens names?

Isabella: I don't remember all my chickens names. Chickens to my surprise have very distinct personalities. So sometimes I recognize a few of them, some of them have names but not all of them. The one who has an extreme personality, the one that is very, very shy and I'm never able to catch, I call her Speedy. Then there's one who has a very strange hair do and when I call her she comes and sits on my lap. She doesn't like to be touched by sometimes she sits there for 20 minutes and I call her Annie Warhol because she just has some funny white turf of hair. Feathers on top of her head. Then there's one I call Red because she's reddish in color and she's very curious. I could tell she's always looking at me and as soon as I leave my car she goes and inspects the car. If I enter a barn as soon as I leave the barn she goes into the barn to see if I touched anything.

Me: Most farmers don't make or get close to the animals for obvious reasons. Why are you different? 

Isabella: I think it makes it easier to separate emotionally from animals and say they're stupid, like chickens are stupid. Then they could eat them more easily. I think a lot of the separation from reality of animals, their emotion or personalities is to help ourselves and not gave feelings because of course its much harder to eat them. Although I'm not a vegetarian and I eat chickens, I cannot was my own chickens.

Me: Really? I am not surprised really.

Isabella: I eat the neighbors ones. The other farmers chickens. I'm told that's pretty common, I'm told I'm not the only one. I was told years ago as I'm an actress and a model I'm too urban. It'll take me years to get used to it. But I'm told a lot of other farmers have a hard time eating their own animals. Although I'm not a vegetarian.

Me: I read some other interviews with you and one interviewer said something like that he is surprised that an an icon of cosmopolitan sophistication end up acting out bed bugs sex in your "Green Porno" series. Why do you think this is so surprising to people?

Isabella: I don't know. I was surprised to a little bit. Sometimes I think they think as I worked as a model, I worked with a cosmetic company for many years. I was surprised when people feel that I belong to this the world of beauty I shouldn't have any other interest. Of course I enjoyed modeling, I love photography, I love also fashion and I always use cream and cosmetics. But that doesn't mean it's the only thing I want to do. There are other things I want to do too. Sometimes I heard "she's model and worked with cosmetics companies she's not allowed to have any scientific interests. Or farming interests or whatever."

Me: Do you always have a sense of fun?

Isabella: Yes, I don't know if there was any explicit sense of fun in modeling. Models are always very serious or posing in strange fashion.

Me: I remember when you were on the Letterman show years and years ago, Isabella, and Letterman used to say "you are the most beautiful woman in the world." How did that feel for you at the time? 

Isabella: I think it was flattering. I never really did think he was serious. He didn't do a survey. He would say Isabella Rossellini who stars in Blue Velvet or Joy. He would still say the names of the films I would do. It seems a little bit absurd but kind.

Me: How do you think Hollywood has changed since you started as an actress?

Isabella: Well, I don't really know about Hollywood. I grew up in Europe, I was born in Rome and I was raised between Paris and Rome.

Me: What about the film industry as a whole. There's this whole MeToo movement now, what do you think of that?

Isabella: I have to say although actors and actresses they are celebrities so they might get a lot of attention. But I think the problem of abuse is in every field. Nurses, even farmers. I received in my Instagram women who work in farms say they were abused... sexually abused or commented they were heavy. So I think it exists everywhere. It could be that Hollywood stars get more attention because they're famous but I don't think it's phenomenal it happens in Hollywood.

Me: Why is it important to have a laugh in such a rich life?

Isabella: I don't know. I just like to laugh. It's a part of my personality. I share my farm with another farmer and someone asked her what kind of person is this Isabella and she said, "She's joyful." I took that as a wonderful compliment. I do think I was born with a sort of enjoyment ness. I think my enjoyment ness comes from curiosity. I think I found when the cosmetics company fired me or I didn't work anymore in films I could have been depressed. I was a little bit depressed, it wasn't fun. Instead if as they say waiting by the phone to have somebody call me the world has so many wonderful things, what else is out there I could do. Then when I went back to university and went to do my own work as a writer as a filmmaker I was happy to not to work as a model or an actress I wouldn't have time to study thoroughly or creamy own work and write it. So I think the curiosity I have is what gives me joy. Because if there's a disappointment there I don't dwell in it, I think what else is there I could do interesting.

Me: Isabella, thank you so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon. Stay well.

Isabella: Thank you so much for having me.

Me: Say hello to the chickens for me.

Isabella: I will. Caw caw caw they would say. Bye bye.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Isabella for an interesting interview. And she knew Foghat had a studio in Port Jeff! That's crazy! Shit like that makes this stupid blog worthwhile. The Phile will be back Monday with the one and only Ringo Starr. Spread the word, not the turd... or virus. Don't let snakes or alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Pheaturing Kiefer Sutherland

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you doing? Today I'm going to start off with something serious. The U.S. surpassed a jarring milestone yesterday in the coronavirus pandemic: 100,000 deaths. That number is the best estimate and most assuredly an undercount. But it represents the stark reality that more Americans have died from the virus than from the Vietnam and Korea wars combined. “It is a grim milestone,” said Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington. “It’s a striking reminder of how dangerous this virus can be.” Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 5.6 million people and killed over 350,000, with the U.S. having the most confirmed cases and deaths by far, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Europe has recorded about 170,000 deaths, while the U.S. reached more than 100,000 in less than four months. The true death toll from the virus, which emerged in China late last year and was first reported in the U.S. in January, is widely believed to be significantly higher, with experts saying many victims died of COVID-19 without ever being tested for it. At the end March, the United States eclipsed China with 3,500 deaths. Now, the U.S. has not only the highest death total, but the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world, making up more than 30% of the global total. Early on, President Donald Trump downplayed the severity of the coronavirus and called it no worse than the common flu. He previously predicted the country wouldn’t reach this death toll. As early as March, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, was warning that COVID-19 could claim more than 100,000 lives in the U.S. “I think we’ll be substantially under that number,” Trump said on April 10th. Ten days later, he said, “We’re going toward 50 or 60,000 people.” Ten days after that, “We’re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000.” Critics have said deaths spiked because Trump was slow to respond, but he has contended on Twitter that it could have been 20 times higher without his actions. He has urged states to reopen their economies after months of stay-at-home restrictions. The virus exacted an especially vicious toll on Trump’s hometown of New York City and its surrounding suburbs, killing more than 21,000. At the peak, hundreds of people were dying per day in New York City, and hospitals, ambulances and first responders were inundated with patients. The densely packed New York metropolitan area, consisting of about 20 million people across a region that encompasses the city’s northern suburbs, Long Island and northern New Jersey, has been the hardest-hit corner of the country, accounting for at least one-third of the nation’s deaths. There is no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, though several emergency treatments are being used after showing some promise in preliminary testing. Worldwide, about a dozen vaccine candidates are starting to be tested or getting close to it. Health officials have said studies of a potential vaccine might be done by late this year or early next year. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. Among the 100,000 deaths was 74-year-old Michael Ganci, a resident of Newington, Connecticut, who died March 21st. He was a public school teacher, a grandfather and father of four, and a 4th-degree belt Sensei in Kyokushin karate. Ganci, who had a compromised immune system, died at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford three days after showing symptoms. His family was not allowed to be with him and tried to text and talk with him on his cellphone during his final days. His wife of 48 years also tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to grieve alone. For their daughter, 45-year-old Joanna Ganci of Beverly, Massachusetts, the milestone and other statistics are important to understand the scope of the virus. “But at the same time, I think the danger of counting, the danger of statistics, is that it just minimizes the human element,” she said. “And I think, again, we see that our country is in the throes of this kind of moment of just that the numbers don’t seem to mean anything anyway to many. It’s like, what number is going to make an impact for people who haven’t been touched by it?” “For people whose lives haven’t been threatened or where the virus hasn’t been as rampant through a community, I just think numbers or not, it’s still so abstract to so many people,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 200,000, 100,000 or 10. It doesn’t mean anything until you’re personally affected by it.” From January 1st through the end of April, the U.S. saw at least 66,000 more overall deaths than in similar periods for previous years, an increase of around 7%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The coronavirus was reported as a cause in about half the excess deaths, but experts also believe the virus was likely a factor in many others. Coroners caution that deaths from other causes are likely up, too, including those from drug overdoses and among people who delayed treatment for problems like heart attacks. It’s not even clear when the coronavirus first appeared in the United States. Initially, it was believed the first death from the virus in the U.S. was on February 29th in Kirkland, Washington, a Seattle suburb. But by mid-April, it was determined that two people with the coronavirus died in California as much as three weeks earlier. Because it can take one or two weeks between the time people get infected and when they get sick enough to die, it now appears the virus was circulating in California in late January, if not earlier. Comparing countries is tricky, given varying levels of testing and the fact that some coronavirus deaths can be missed. According to figures tracked by Johns Hopkins University, the death rate per 100,000 people is lower in the U.S. than Italy, France and Spain but higher than Germany, China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. “The experience of other countries shows that death at that scale was preventable,” Michaud said. “To some extent the United States suffers from having a slow start and inconsistent approach. We might have seen a different trajectory if different policies were put into place earlier and more forcefully.” Countries with low death rates suppressed the virus “through lots of testing, contact tracing and policies to support isolation and quarantine of people at risk,” Michaud said. Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP, a global health center at Columbia University, called the U.S. death rate shocking. “It reflects the fact that we have neglected basic fundamentals for health,” El-Sadr said. “We have neglected public health and we have failed to secure access to quality health services to all Americans.” “So, now we are in this shameful situation,” El-Sadr said. “It is the most vulnerable people in our midst, the elderly, the poor, members of racial/ethnic minority groups who are the ones disproportionately getting sick and dying.”
If nothing gets you hungrier than the smell of afterbirth on a hot afternoon then get your stomach up to Minnesota because Excelsior, Minnesota restaurant The Suburban serves a burger that has their customers up to their ankles in mung. That’s due to the fact that The Suburban purports to serve a burger that will send whatever is inside of pregnant ladies flyin’ right out. They call this gynecological gastropub fare “The Labor Inducer." They should’ve named it “The Water Breaker” but that’s just me. That makes it sound like some sort of legendary sword from "Game of Thrones" or something. That is kind of graphic for food, though. At least they didn’t call it “The Dilator." This mountain of flavor and Pitocin features an Angus beef patty, honey-cured bacon, peach caramelized onions, spicy mustard and Cajun remoulade on a pretzel bun. The spicy mustard and Cajun remoulade, in particular, are what many believe greases the cervical wheel, so to speak. It has long been believed that spicy foods can help induce labor, and vinegar is another food item some people believe gets the baby off its ass. So how many women have The Labor Inducer sent into labor so far? Two. That may not sound like a lot but show me another burger’s labor stats. You can’t. Nobody can tell me how many inches of water the Big Mac has broken. And until anyone can The Labor Inducer is the champ. Hear it from The Suburban, "Story time! As many know, back in April one of our owners, Kelsey, went into labor eight days early with our little Sam just a mere hours after trying our burger for the @tcburgerbattle, thus creating the name The Labor Inducer. Well, just last week Zac and Katy Engler came in and let us know that in a last ditch effort on her due date, Katy tried the burger and what do you know? She went into labor with beautiful Elise at midnight that night! Sam and Elise are hopefully the first of many more 'Suburban Tots' when we add the burger to our permanent menu (coming soon)!" Pregnant women in eastern Minnesota agree. They’ve been flocking to The Suburban in hopes that their now-famous burger will mercifully end their third trimester and turn their internal burden into a bundle of joy. This probably isn’t the most ideal way to get your restaurant famous... presumably it’s more preferable to be known for your fresh food than fresh placenta... but hey, it’s still pretty good press. Now The Suburban just has to make sure their bathrooms are clean. Like, super clean. A sterile environment, really. I want to see what this burger looks like, don't you?

Yum! That's violently American.
MSNBC reporter Cal Perry was in the midst of a live report from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on the program "MSNBC Live" with host Katie Tur about the crowds gathering at the lake full of people who were seemingly unconcerned with social distancing and wearing masks while the state celebrated Memorial Day weekend during the coronavirus pandemic. A legitimate concern and story, to be sure. Perry, who was wearing a mask himself during the report, was providing grim and astonished commentary to Tur about how he’d seen almost no one wearing masks around the popular Midwestern vacation spot despite the fact that COVID-19 was still ravaging the United States. Suddenly, though, the tables were turned on the intrepid reporter braving the mask averse, unwashed, science-less, Walmart shopping hordes he assumed he was covering in the most wonderfully ironic of ways. Naturally, all of it was caught on video. While Perry was filming his segment one Wisconsinite, appropriately clothed in a well-worn Packers jersey, was circling the reporter and his crew, silently filming them with his phone. The man was not wearing a mask and, after a few seconds of his filming the production, Perry became annoyed and instructed his cameraman to turn and film the man as a shameful example of one of these lake-goers out in public without a mask on. Perry says to Tur as the camera turns, “You can see, here, nobody’s wearing ’em.” The man immediately replies, on the live broadcast, “Including your cameraman.” He then added, “Half your crew’s not wearing them.” Perry, who’d just been dunked on harder than a French Olympian, quickly blurted, “Yeah, including the cameraman, there ya go.” Resigned to the fact that had been as horribly owned as a Fast and Furious loving teenager’s Honda Civic, Perry then sends it back to Tur, who is only able to muster a half-hearted, “Striking images” upon witnessing her coworker’s soul get ripped out through his anus. I should note that I am pro mask. These people out at Lake Geneva and other spots over Memorial Day weekend are dumb and bordering on homicidally negligent for neglecting to social distance and wear masks. Oe hundred thousand people and counting are dead from coronavirus and that is with all the efforts we’ve taken to social distance and slow the spread. Imagine what would have happened if we’d been behaving like the people at Lake Geneva this weekend the entire time. The death toll would be tragic and horrifying beyond anything all but the oldest of us have witnessed in our lifetimes. That still doesn’t mean Cal Perry wasn’t being a hypocritical ass. He was. This journalist was, for all intents and purposes, just straight-up lying. He got what he deserved. I would take everything you see Cal Perry of MSNBC report with a big grain of salt for a while. All news reports are worth a fact check but his are especially for the time being. There’s also a chance Perry just didn’t give enough of a shit to bother to do a good job. The man has covered war zones for most of his career and was CNN’s bureau chief in Baghdad, Iraq from 2005 to 2007. Perry thinking that it was beneath him to report live from Cheese Beach, Fatconsin to do a story, literally, on the mouth breathing of mouth breathers (all his hypothetical words here, of course) is fairly plausible. I’m glad Perry and MSNBC got shredded not only because they were caught lying here but also because I couldn’t help but pick up on some not-so-subtle elitism while watching this story. It was as if they were saying, “Look at these red state bumpkins treat coronavirus like it’s a hoax. Just stunning delusion here. How have they come to this? Maybe they never had a chance. Look at them. Look at where we are, after all.” This exchange between Tur and Perry... “Are they not worried about their personal safety?” “I haven’t met anybody who is.”... is just absurd. Yeah, you’re right Cal, none of these walking curds even understands they’re alive, actually. Most of them definitely aren’t weighing risks and making a choice (even if it’s not a good choice). They’re all just waddling around wondering when they’ll get to eat their next sausage, totally unaware of what germs are. That’s all my personal reading of it, obviously. Maybe it’s bullshit, but that’s what I saw. And, granted, plenty of conservative and liberal news networks have shamed New Yorkers, among others, for their own lack of social distancing and good pandemic practices. Still, this particular observation of bad coronavirus actors felt a bit more “other’d” than what I’ve (personally) seen from reports out of New York, California, etc. It wouldn’t surprise me if many a conservative and independent Wisconsin voter felt the same way. That should help Joe Biden win the state, amiright MSNBC? If the political left were a paraplegic it would still find a way to shoot itself in the foot. But really, don’t be like Cal Perry, his crew, the guy filming, or pretty much anyone else who was out at Lake Geneva over Memorial Day weekend. Wear a mask and stay socially distant. It’s okay to start dipping your toes back in the water, but it’s not time to dive in yet. We aren’t out of the woods.
Head up Americans, you might want to double-check your mail before you throw it away. Instead of direct deposit or a paper check, four million people will find their stimulus payment arrives in the form of a prepaid debit card. Yes, say goodbye to direct deposit and hello to credit cards. The IRS had set a deadline of May 13th to enter direct deposit information in case you hadn’t already received your stimulus payment. Those who didn’t set up their direct deposit will find their stimulus payment arrive in the front of a prepaid debit card from MetaBank. The IRS stated the Visa logo will appear on the front of the card and the back of the card has MetaBank printed on it. It also includes information explaining that the card is an Economic Impact Payment Card with specific instructions on how to activate it. Unlike checks, the card will not come from the Treasury Department instead they will come in a plain envelope directly from MetaBank itself. This way, you can use a card to withdraw cash or use it as a debit card to pay rent or make purchases. According to the Internal Revenue Service, you’re also able to shop online. That being said, there is a catch. Just like a traditional debit card which is linked to your checking account, this one may have several fees associated with it depending on how exactly you use it. Out of network ATMs carry a two dollar fee each time other than the first time you use one. Basically, the fee is on top of whatever the out-of-network ATM charges you itself. Fortunately for you, the cards carry a list of free in-network ATMs on it, you can also find a list on the website. So, think of this as an easy way to avoid this unnecessary fee. There is also a five dollar fee for taking the Visa debit card to the bank and withdrawing money more than one time. To avoid this, you can withdraw your entire balance at one time if need be, or transfer funds into your own bank account, which is free. Experts do you recommend having the app accessible on your phone, or visit the website if you have any questions. These tools will not only break down those pesky fees for you but will also allow you to check your card balance so you know how much stimulus money you have left in your card. And in case you were worried about security measures, once you call the toll-free number to activate your card, experts will then ask you for personal information you will only know. Once the card is activated, your privacy is protected. For those wondering if the government can track what you buy, the answer is, luckily no. If you lose your card, no worries, you can always call the customer service line at 1-800-240-8100. The stimulus payment checks come after the federal government began sending one direct payment of $1,200 for adults who are making up to $75,000 a year as part of the $2.2 billion CARES Act which was approved by Congress to offer financial help during the coronavirus pandemic. The IRS stated it has issued more than 140 million Economic Impact Payments which are worth more than $239 billion.  is it?
So, full disclaimer, I had a lot of emails yesterday asking me why I didn't mention the video of a fatal arrest that showed a police officer kneeling on a man’s neck on yesterday's entry. First of let me say that don't get your news from me. This is really not a news blog... but a pop culture blog. Yes, I tell serious stories with no personal remarks but most of the time I tell stupid stories that I do comment on, as the burger that helps women with labor that I told just now. And I only tell five stories in my monologue. Anyway, I was going to tell the story of Joe Biden calling Trump "falsely masculine" for refusing to wear a mask in public but instead I will talk about the police officer kneeling on a man's neck, and save the Joe Biden story for tomorrow. Here we go... Four Minneapolis police officers are under investigation following a fatal encounter between police and an unarmed 46-year-old black man who was pinned down by the neck. According to Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, the four officers are now “former employees” and have been terminated. The video, which has gained several social media views, shows a man, George Floyd, verbally groaning and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” to the white police officer. Several are relating the incident to that of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being arrested in New York City back in 2014. The encounter between the officers and Floyd occurred when police were called to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South to report a man attempting to use forged documents at Cup Foods. That’s when officers found Floyd in a car at the scene and appeared to be intoxicated. Law enforcement officers quickly ordered the man to get out of the car. According to a police spokesman, John Elder, when Floyd got out of the vehicle he physically resisted officers. He noted, “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and officers noticed that the man was going into medical distress.” Minutes after his arrest, an ambulance took Floyd to Hennepin Healthcare where he, unfortunately, died due to his injuries. After his death, the viral 9-minute video shows a white officer pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck near his squad car. While lying down on the road, Floyd is repeatedly saying he can breathe as one by bystander tells a white officer, “He’s not even resisting arrest right now, bro. You’re fucking stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?” Five minutes later, Floyd stops moving and appears to be unconscious. The crowd is then heard begging the Minneapolis officers to check for Floyd’s pulse but the officer does not lift his knee until medical personnel arrives. The FBI stated it will investigate the Minneapolis incident, which took place Monday, May 25th. According to Minnesota police, the 46-year-old, who was a security guard at a restaurant, died after a “medical incident” occurred in a police interaction. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey conducted the press conference saying Floyd’s death was “completely and utterly messed up.” Through a tweet Former Vice President Joe Biden also reacted to the death, saying the man deserved better and Floyd’s family deserves justice. Minnesota is now calling for the officers involved to be held accountable for their actions. Rep. Ilhan Omar who represents Indianapolis, called the Department of Justice to investigate the incident immediately. Through a statement, she stated, “it is sickening to watch as black man be killed while helplessly begging for help.” Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and Governor Tim Walz also reacted to the video, calling it disturbing and demanded justice. Officials from the FBI Minneapolis division released a statement, stating the “investigation will focus on whether the Minneapolis Police Department officers involved willfully deprived the individual of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” There. That's the story.
So, the other day I saw this pic of Trump and it reminded me of something...

Then it hit me...

Similar, right? Here is another creative measure that a business is taking to maintain social distancing out in the world.

A liquor sald bar. Haha. Man, those protestors are so annoying with their signs...

UGGGHHHH!!! I can just pull my hair out. So, again graduates are becoming pretty witty with their yearbook quotes.

Hahaha. You know, if I had a TARDIS I would probably end up in a factory of some sort where two teen girls are helping to assemble submachine guns during the siege of Leningrad in 1943.

Their names are Nina Nikolaeva and Valya Volkova, and this particular weapon is the PPD-40, which is a copy of the excellent German Bergmann MP 28 and the drum magazine is a copy from the excellent Finnish KP/-31 Suomi. Over half a million civilians died in that siege. There were reports of cannibalism after all the rats, cats, dogs, birds and mice were eaten. Hey, it's Thursday! You know what that means...

Yikes. That's gross I think. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things Said By Mothers About Their Kids During Quarantine This Week
5. Do you have any idea how hard it is to eat my secret stash of potato chips in a house with five kids who never leave?
4. This morning I found some peanut butter in the jelly jar so let's just say the next family meeting is going to be tense.
3. I wish someone had told me this parenting law: the more excited I am about an activity with my kids, the less they will care about it.
2. My friend told me she puts on a fake smile when she's sad and it makes her feel better so I just tried doing that too and now my kids are scared of me.
And the number one thing said by a mother about their kids during quarantine this week is...
1. I got up early to read my new book before anyone else woke up and let me tell you it was the nicest seven minutes ever.

There should be confetti in tires so that when there is a blowout it’s still kind of an okay day.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. You know I live in Florida by now... there's stuff that happens in this state that happens no where else.

A Port St. Lucie, Florida woman was arrested after police said she organized a fistfight between her 15-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old girl because the two were arguing over unwanted text messages being sent from the latter to the former. For her role as the Don King of Florida teenage girl fights, Heather Salerno, 52, was hit with charges of child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and disorderly conduct. Salerno explained to police that there was tension between her daughter and a classmate who had been sending her unwanted text messages. Police attempted to intervene by leaving a message for the other girl to stop with the texts. Officers checked in later to see if the situation had resolved itself but Salerno willingly told officers that their intervention did not work so she had to take matters into her own hands... by setting up a fight between her daughter and the other girl at Sportsman’s Park. Salerno even showed them a video of the fight, because in Florida this is basically the same thing as showing off pictures of your new baby. Officers said Salerno was seen on the video witnessing and encouraging the fight between the two girls. You have to wonder if, at any point, it crossed this lady’s mind that setting up a fight between two teenagers is weird, right? The only way its even only kind of a little weird but understandable is if both of the teenagers are, like, boxers or something and a gym owner sets it up because they see them beefing. Even then, it’s bizarre. Does no one in Florida know how to block a phone number? Filming the fight seems like a little much. What if her daughter lost? What lesson is learned at that point? Life sucks and you can’t do anything about people bothering you and if you try you’ll be both embarrassed and put in physical pain for your efforts?

This person who thinks sick people should come to a rally to support people's right to get sick.

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

A few people out walking, but not much. Wait! That boat that's normally next to the dock is gone! I wonder if it was there yesterday. Let's look at yesterday's live screen shot...

Nope. But it was there on Friday I think... let me see...

Yeah, it's there. Maybe it left with the ferry. Hahaha. Man, you guys must think I'm bored. Nope. Port Jeff is my favorite place in the world and I am fascinated by it. Stay tuned tomorrow... will the boat be there or not? Haha. Moving on...

President Donald Trump yesterday threatened social media companies with new regulation or even shuttering after Twitter added fact checks to two of his tweets. The president can’t unilaterally regulate or close the companies, which would require action by Congress or the Federal Communications Commission. But that didn’t stop Trump from angrily issuing strong warnings. Claiming tech giants “silence conservative voices,” Trump tweeted early yesterday, “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.” Later he tweeted without elaboration, “Big Action to follow.” He repeated his unsubstantiated claim... which sparked his latest showdown with Silicon Valley... that expanding mail-in voting “would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots.”

There was no immediate reaction from Twitter or other social media companies to the president’s threats. Trump and his campaign had lashed out Tuesday after Twitter added a warning phrase to two Trump tweets that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and predicted that “mail boxes will be robbed,” among other things. Under the tweets, there is now a link reading “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” that guides users to a Twitter “moments” page with fact checks and news stories about Trump’s unsubstantiated claims. Trump replied on Twitter, accusing the platform of “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election” and insisting that “as president, I will not allow this to happen.” His 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said Twitter’s “clear political bias” had led the campaign to pull “all our advertising from Twitter months ago.” Twitter has banned all political advertising since last November. Trump did not explain his threat Wednesday, and the call to expand regulation appeared to fly in the face of long-held conservative principles on deregulation. But some Trump allies, who have alleged bias on the part of tech companies, have questioned whether platforms like Twitter and Facebook should continue to enjoy liability protections as “platforms” under federal law... or be treated more like publishers, which can face lawsuits over content. The protections have been credited with allowing the unfettered growth of the Internet for more than two decades, but now some Trump allies are advocating that social media companies face more scrutiny. “Big tech gets a huge handout from the federal government,” Republican Sen. Josh Hawley told Fox News. “They get this special immunity, this special immunity from suits and from liability that’s worth billions of dollars to them every year. Why are they getting subsidized by federal taxpayers to censor conservatives, to censor people critical of China.”

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

Ringo will be on the Phile on Monday. That's really exciting, right?

Phact 1. The heart symbol was first used to denote love in the 1250s. Prior to that, it represented foliage.

Phact 2. There’s a hamburger joint in Tokyo called Whoopi Goldburger.

Phact 3. Japan has a popular TV show called “My First Errand” where little kids are sent to do minor tasks for the family on their own while a camera crew secretly follows them.

Phact 4. Matthias Buchinger was born without arms or lower legs and was a famous magician, illustrator, and master engraver, and had 14 children by 8 wives with up to 70 mistresses.

Phact 5. Apollo 12 commander Pete Conrad’s first word upon setting foot on the moon was “Whoopee!” in order to win a 500 dollar bet with an Italian journalist that NASA didn’t script astronaut declarations.

Today's guest is a British born Canadian actor, producer, and director. He is best known for his starring role as Jack Bauer in the Fox drama series "24." His second album "Reckless & Me" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Kiefer Sutherland!

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

Kiefer: Thank you, Jason, nice to be here. Thank you for having me.

Me: I love your album "Reckless & Me" and I love the song "Something to Love." What's that song about?

Kiefer: "Something to Love" is a real plea to people. I have so many friends who have been less fortunate than I have and I've also seen people from afar. They worked all their lives to the bone to take care of their families and their friends and they get to the end of it and realize they didn't do anything for themselves. I just think it's just a plea to get people to do something for themselves that they love every once in a while. Balance it out?

Me: Country music is a great storytelling medium. How do you approach country? Is it a storytelling form to you?

Kiefer: Absolutely. I was trying to find the common denominator about what I love about making records as a musician and what I love about acting... and it's storytelling. When I get together with a group of actors, the director and a cinematographer, and we all try and figure out what we think is the best way to tell a story, that's the most exciting part. When I come up with a new song and you approach the people and the musicians that I'm playing with and figure out the best way to arrange this or get this story across... that's an incredibly exciting thing. Whether it's working on a set or on stage, or working with other musicians, or sitting in a bar with friends telling stories, it's something that has been a passion of mine and something I deeply, deeply enjoy.

Me: For some reason I thought your record would be a rock record, not a country western record. What country singers or writers do you like?

Kiefer: Chris Stapleton certainly now I think is an incredible writer, I know "Tennessee Whiskey" was the big break out song with him, but "The Difference Between Whiskey and You" is really my favorite song on that record. I just think he's a beautiful, beautiful writer. Then there's the old guard... Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, all of them in the late 60s and early 70s got away from Nashville and they started telling these beautifully honest songs about themselves and in some cases not very flattering. What was so special about those songs if I was going through a tough time in the my life or I had made some mistakes I could put those songs on and realize I'm not alone and I was grateful for that because God knows I made a few.

Me: Are their any lyrics that stick out to you from those songs?

Kiefer: Yeah, "See him wasted on the sidewalk in his jacket and his jeans, wearin' yesterday's misfortunes like a smile" or Merle Haggard's "Each night I leave the bar room when it's over, not feeling any pain at closing time, but tonight your memory found me much too sober, couldn't drink enough to keep you off my mind." They're such extraordinary lyrics.

Me: Is songwriting easy for you, Kiefer?

Kiefer: What's fascinating to me, and I really have discovered this as I started writing really in a very serious way over ten years ago, was some of those songs sounded so simple. When I try to get a song to be that simple it's incredibly hard. I have deeper respect for those artists.

Me: People might not expect this side of you. Does that make you a little bit nervous when you walk on stage?

Kiefer: Well, no. It's been one of the most mind-blowing experiences for me because, I would have to say, I consider myself at times to be a little cynical, so I was grateful that anyone would show up. And I certainly understand, five years ago when we started touring, that people were coming because they were a fan of "24" or Lost Boys, and that was great. Thanks so much for two hours of their time letting us turn them onto the music. But I also felt that people were coming to see a NASCAR race and they wanted to see a crash... and I was wrong about that. Very quickly, I realized that the people who were coming out wanted me to be good, they wanted me to do well. And I was so taken aback by the generosity of that. That in itself has been one of the most incredibly rewarding experiences that I've ever had.

Me: There's one thing I didn't know about you, and I wonder of many people do, is that you spent some time on the rodeo circuit. You did team roping, is that right?

Kiefer: Yeah, I did almost 10 years on the USTRC circuit in the U.S.

Me: What is team roping? I've never been to a rodeo.

Kiefer: I did team roping and calf roping, but team roping was really my main event. All of the events that take place at a rodeo are things that someone would actually do on a ranch. So team ropers... there are two... one takes the horns with the rope and the other takes the back feet. It's a way of immobilizing a cow so that you can deliver medicine, for instance. The ranch that I had in central coast California the soil was very, very heavy with copper. So I would give my cattle vitamin supplements to augment that. It's a really crucial element of being able to handle the cattle and take care of them.

Me: It can get a bit wild out there. You know you can get seriously hurt, right?

Kiefer: Well, it can. I've seen guys rope a cow and the horse will start moving out sooner than they want and thy find themselves spread out between a 600 pound cow and a 1200 pound horse. I watched a lot of guys lose their fingers, they get the rope caught between their hand and the saddle horn. Yeah, we have to keep our wits about us but it's also one of the most exhilarating things from start to finish, you're catching that cow, both of us, within six seconds, and there's a lot of adrenaline and it's very exciting.

Me: I think you're fucking crazy. Hahaha. What was it like when you first went to a rodeo?

Kiefer: I remember the first rodeo I ever went to I backed into the gate in San Antonio, Texas and they were checking me a lot.

Me: You were famous by then, right?

Kiefer: Oh, yeah, I had 11 number one films at that point.

Me: So, how did you do then?

Kiefer: They teased me a lot but the first roping we actually placed. So very quickly they went from teasing me to saying if John's not available and I need another partner. I loved it, I loved going from rodeo to rodeo, it was very much like touring but with horses.

Me: Your dad and mom were famous, so was it nice to be somewhere where you can just be you? 

Kiefer: Well, yeah. And in all fairness, people have been so generous with me my whole life. I've always felt like that. And I honestly have and I felt people would take me on my merits and my merits alone for better or worse. There was something so organic about dealing with the horses and the cattle and knowing that was a skill if I had I could go work on a farm. There was always need for that, I'd always was able to find job so I was very proud of that.

Me: So, where are you from originally, Kiefer?

Kiefer: I was born in Paddington, London but I grew up in Canada. I'm actually Canadian.

Me: I did not realize that. I heard your grandfather was kinda famous as well. What did he do? 

Kiefer: My grandfather, Tommy Douglas, father of Medicare, spent a lot of his formative years in Winnipeg before making a name for himself as a politician.

Me: When and if you go to Winnipeg do you feel any of that history?

Kiefer: In Winnipeg, on some level. Certainly, everything that my grandfather did from working as a printer to get himself through school... that all took place there. Where I really feel it, on a very specific level, is anytime that I'm in Saskatchewan. My mother was born and raised in Weyburn and all of the stories and the excitement from my grandfather winning that first election to really aggressively attacking the platform that he campaigned on... which was healthcare, paved roads, indoor plumbing, schools... what they managed to accomplish in such a short amount of time is kind of mind-boggling. And it wasn't just my grandfather, he was leading it, but there were great people who were working with him, too.

Me: Wow. Do you find that inspiring? You played U.S. President Thomas Kirkman on the series "Designated Survivor."

Kiefer: For me, I find it so inspiring because I do believe very strongly that there are public servants out there who are really looking after the interests of their constituents. I think, unfortunately, they get overlooked by some of the other politicians who are really looking after themselves. But I am very proud to be a part of a family that had someone who did so much for so many other people.

Me: What do you think of politics now in Canada or the U.S.?

Kiefer: Well, Premier Doug Ford was using my grandfather's name in a way that I didn't feel was right. I put out this tweet about it...

Me: What made you want to speak out about it?

Kiefer: I'm glad you asked that. I'll try to be really clear. My grandfather's legacy is incredibly important to me and my family. The tweet was not meant to be political. Look, Premier Ford was elected and a lot of people share his views. And that's fine. That's democracy. What I took exception to, is comparing Premier Ford's policies and saying that my grandfather would approve of them, when in fact, it's quite the opposite. Ford's policies have sacrificed public service and public services, I think, in a very egregious way, and I just, I couldn't think of anybody more diametrically different, politically and ideologically, than my grandfather. So I didn't want some young person who might not know very much about my grandfather to just accept that at face value. So that's what I said it and I got to say what I wanted to say.

Me: Did it take off? Meaning did it work?

Kiefer: Yeah, I should probably learn a little more about social media. There was a more delicate way to do it. He hasn't made a comparison since then and I respect that and grateful for that.

Me: Your grandfather sounds so important, Kiefer. What was he like as a grandfather?

Kiefer: He was amazing. We would get up in the morning and pretend to go into the woods and cut down some trees for firewood, but instead, we'd sneak off and he'd teach me how to drive in a gravel parking lot somewhere. So there was a sneaky part to him... he was a little bit of a devil. He literally did, he taught me how to drive a car when I was 15-years-old. Then there were other times where, you know, I have a twin sister named Rachel, and we would get to spend six weeks with my grandpa and grandma, and we would always get there right before the House of Commons closed for the break. We would sit up in the bleachers and watch the debates. It was just exciting to be a part of it. Even when I was having difficulty in school he always encouraged me that I was going to find my way and not work and not to panic and not to beat myself up. I was really grateful for that. He was such an incredibly generous, kind person. There was a real tenderness to him that I think people might not know. Even in the debates, even though he handled them with incredible humour he was an advocate and advocates have to be strong, but there was a very gentle side to him as well.

Me: That was kinda my point earlier, do you ever think about your grandfather when you acted as the U.S. President in "Designated Survivor"?

Kiefer: Well, I used his glasses. The glasses that Tom Kirkman wears are the same glasses that my grandfather had.

Me: The same ones?

Kiefer: Not the exact same ones, but the same look. What's interesting, obviously, we made a television show, and we created dynamic circumstances to challenge the character, but a lot of it is rooted in reality. When I think of the things that my grandfather had to fight for and fight against, healthcare alone let alone all the other things he did, those must have felt like insurmountable challenges. And yet, he and the group of people that he worked with didn't seem to be daunted by them. They just kind of went forward one day at a time and it's amazing what you can accomplish when you work one day at a time what could be accomplished.

Me: Kiefer, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again so we can talk about your movies and TV shows.

Kiefer: Jason, thanks so much for taking the time and it was an absolute pleasure for me.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. I did not expect the interview to turn out like it did but I'm glad. Thanks to Kiefer Sutherland for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with actress Isabella Rossellini. Spread the word, not the turd... or virus. Don't let snakes or alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Mask it or casket.

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