Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Pheaturing Fab 5 Freddy

School board: It's completely safer for kids to go back to school. Teachers: So you met in person to discuss this? Teachers: LMAO. What, are you nuts? Of course not. Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Wednesday. How are you? Public school teachers in Washington, D.C. have lined up fake body bags outside the school system’s officers to protest the return to the classrooms. Debbie Truong, an education reporter for WAMU 88.5, went to Twitter to post a photo of the bags outside. Check it out...

The filled garbage bags were tied with duct tape and places outside along with signs, reading, “RIP FAVORITE TEACHER.” Mayor Muriel Bowser announced he will decide later this week if the city’s public school will partially reopen. Parents are asked to fill out a survey on the matter. As the start of the new school year approaches, there have been several arguments about issues of schools reopening around the country. Some believe the children are better off in the classroom since the death rates for children from the coronavirus are low, and the children are “unlikely” to transmit the virus to adults in their lives. That being said, others assert that the data on the transmission is still very unclear, nothing the safest thing to do is keep classrooms closed in order to protect both the teachers and the students. The Trump administration, along with President Donald Trump, has repeatedly pushed its desire for students to go back to school full time, with instruction to accommodate and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Teacher unions across the U.S. are objecting to push the return to in classroom instructions. According to the Daily Wire, there a number of the nation’s largest teacher’s unions who signed onto a “safe schools” pledge with outlines eight demands that must be met before members of the Boston Teachers Union, the Chicago Teachers Union, and other return back to work. The demands include proper virus prevention measures, PPE, additional sterilization and cleaning, and social distancing. It also calls for the removal of community and police resource officers from school buildings, a tax on Wall Street and billionaires, and the end of charter schools, voucher programs, and private education. As of today, John Hopkins University & Medicine have recorded 4,375,217 coronavirus cases in the United States with a death toll of 149,684.
One woman is breaking barriers by becoming the U.S. Navy’s first black female tactical jet pilot for the U.S. Navy. Through a new video released by the Navy, Lt. j.g. Madeline “Maddy” Swegle stated, "I don’t think the goal in my life is to necessarily be the first at anything. That was never something that I set out to do, [piloting] was just something I was interested in and I found out later. I am really honored that I get to wear the wings and get to fly planes and call myself a pilot.” Her winging ceremony is set to take place on July 31st, 2020. Swegle, who is a Virginia native, became a U.S. Navy’s tactical air (TACAIR) pilot on July 7th, completing her final undergraduate training in a T-45C Goshawk training aircraft. This paved the way for her to fly aircraft like the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter and the EA-18G Growler. Through Twitter, the Naval Air Training shared the good news, writing...

She is currently assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21. Matthew Maher, commanding officer of training, stated that in order to get to that level, one must be a top performer since these are one of the best pilots in the world trained by the best. He noted, “It takes long hours, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and a commitment to excellence day in and day out. They’re going to go out and make all of us very proud." The student naval aviator will receive her Wings of Gold during a small ceremony at Naval Air Station located in Kingsville, Texas, on July 31st. Vice Adm. DeWolfe “Bullet” Miller III, commander of the Naval Air Forces, released a statement, speaking about Swegle’s accomplishment, noting, “Lt. j.g. Swegle has proven to be a courageous trailblazer. She has joined a select group of people who earned Wings of Gold and answered the call to defend our nation from the air. The diversity of that group... with differences in background, skill, and thought... makes us a stronger fighting force.” Swegle said she had always dreamed of being a pilot since she was young after her parents would take her to see the Blue Angels, a Navy flight demonstration squadron. She noted her parents always told her she could be whatever she set her mind to. The pilot called the process of training with a higher performance aircraft at this level exhilarating, rewarding, and daunting at the same time. She noted, “[Jet piloting] is fun because it is difficult at the same time. I know that I had to work to get [the jet] to behave and it took a lot of fighting the aircraft and figuring out how it was going to perform. Looking back it’s amazing to think about where I started and I had never been on an airplane before, so it’s just one step at a time. It’s really cool to think of all of the things I’ve done now which I’d never think I’d be able to do.” Swegle is following the footsteps of Brenda Robinson. Robison is the first black female Naval aviator who earned her Wings of Gold on June 6th, 1980.
A Minnesota couple with suboptimal communication skills has been banned from Walmart stores after being filmed and confronted by shoppers for wearing Nazi flag face masks in the store. The middle-aged couple, who were spotted in a Walmart in Marshall, Minnesota, were confronted by several shoppers, including Benjamin Ruesch and Raphaela Mueller, who posted a now viral video of the couple to Facebook. Mueller, who is a native of Germany, was clear and unequivocal in her denunciation of the couple on Facebook. When confronted, the pair of genius be-Swastika’d Walmart shoppers were quick to explain that they themselves are not Nazis, but are instead warning others what this country is heading towards with its mask orders and longtime moderate politicians being nominated for president. “I’m not a Nazi. I’m trying to show you what’s going to happen in America,” Swastika Lady tells Mueller and Ruesch. “If you vote for Biden you’re gonna be in Nazi Germany. That’s what it’s going to like.” Nazi Lady’s male companion, Swastika Guy, then chimes in with roughly the level of historic literacy you would expect from a guy wearing a Swastika at Walmart, saying, “We’re living under a socialist state.” The Nazis, though called the National Socialist Party, quite famously, uh, hated socialists actually. So much so that they invaded the world’s most powerful socialist nation, slaughtering millions of their socialist citizens in the process. When confronted by Walmart employees the couple still refused to take off their masks. Local police were called the couple was issued trespass notices and banned from Walmart facilities nationwide for at least one year.
A woman who was swimming off the coast of Maine on Monday was killed in the first shark attack fatality in the state’s entire history. Authorities say that the victim, 63-year-old Julie Dimperio Holowach of New York City, was killed by a Great White Shark while swimming off the shore of Bailey Island with her 20-year-old daughter. Her daughter was uninjured in the attack. Holowach appeared to be attacked by the shark around 3:20 p.m. Kayakers were able to pull her body to shore where she was, unfortunately, pronounced dead by EMS responders. The U.S. Coast Guard also responded to the attack. At the time of the attack Holowach was wearing a wet suit and officials speculate that... though it is not clear why the attack actually did occur... the shark might have mistaken Holowach’s dark silhouette for a seal. Several seals in the area have recently been observed with bite marks, and a seal’s body was found washed up on shore in Phippsburg, Maine with a 19-inch bite wound, though experts say that is fairly normal. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries was able to determine that a Great White was the type of shark that attacked and killed Holowach by identifying a tooth fragment recovered from Holowach’s body. Not only was Holowach’d death the first fatal shark attack ever recorded in Maine, it was only the third recorded shark attack at all in the state’s history. The other two occurred in 2010 and 1837, respectively. According to the International Shark Attack File there were 64 unprovoked shark attacks in the entire world last year, and only two of those were fatal. Shark attacks are down in 2020, which experts believe is due primarily to worldwide quarantining.
This seems untrue. For one thing, I’m alive. For another, most people I know are alive. So take this information with a grain of salt... “science” basically comes out with new findings that everything will either increase or decrease your lifespan about once a month. Still, it’s worth noting. According to a paper studying the alcohol consumption and health effects of 600,000 people, those over 40 who are drinking alcohol beyond what doctors say is the weekly healthy limit cut a quarter of an hour off their lives for every extra pint of drinking beer. Maybe lay off the alcohol intake a bit, yeah? Is this true? Maybe. But who cares. The real truth is that how long you live has more to do with genetics and luck than anything else. Binge drinking alcoholic beverages and other unhealthy activity will probably affect the quality of your remaining life, though. But unless your daily alcohol use is ripping alcoholic drinks such as vodka shots like a Russian sailor or eating whole stuffed crust pizzas for lunch and dinner, chances are even these super unhealthy dietary guidelines and alcohol’s effects won’t be huge. Don’t forget, however, that excessive drinking can actually become alcohol abuse too, okay? Also, once you reach 90 there’s another study that says you should increase your moderate alcohol consumption. Whatever. These studies are all contradictory anyway. X has health benefits that are good for you. No, wait, X will cause health problems and health risks for you and Y is good for you. AHHCTSHOOO-ALLLEEEEE, it’s all about Z though X isn’t as bad as we thought (but Y will murder you in your sleep). Aside from heroin, tumors, and being stabbed, it’s unclear if anyone can unanimously agree on anything regarding what’s “moderate drinking." So, really, you should forget all of it. Besides, if all you “moderate drinkers” take fifteen minutes off your life with an extra beer or glass of wine there’s probably some bullshit way to put those fifteen minutes back onto your life. A spinach smoothie or yoga or owning a dog. Or maybe cut back on all the beer drinking next time? It’s all about balance. Your heart health matters too, and no one wants to deal with high blood pressure or liver disease. But, uh, yeah. Too much beer consumption might kill you a little if you have too much of it. Maybe moderate consumption should be redefined for all the beer drinkers in the good ol’ United States. Stay tuned... forever... for more information.
Ladies, girls, did you read the "Sweet Valley Twins" books growing up? I thought this was an odd one...

Do you watch the "Antiques Roadshow"? I think they are getting lazy with their descriptions...

Hahahaha. Did you know Donald Trump was supposed to be the villain in Star Wars? This is what it would look like...

Sugar-free gummy bears might seem like a great idea in theory. But, like so many things being sold to us in a capitalist society, there is a catch. Anyone who's ever tried (or worse, binged) on sugar-free candy knows exactly what that catch is. If you're not sure, just check out this review from an Amazon listing for a 1-lb. bag of Haribo SUGAR FREE Classic Gummi Bears.

I love that kids are prank their parents with food puns...

Hahahahaha. Okay, so, if I had a TARDIS I would go to and try to meet Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950s but knowing my luck she would be driving Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

Even now she drives herself frequently and almost every Sunday there’s lots of great news footage of her blasting out the front gates of her residence sending the waiting paparazzi running for their lives. She is the only person in the U.K. who is permitted to drive without a license. Mostly because they’re issued in her name, so requiring her to have a license doesn’t make much sense. Okay, so, you can be friends with someone for years, but never really know them until you're forced to live with them for a few days... Everyone's true colors come out when someone gets to look behind the curtain at how you behave in your home or someone else's home. Being a good house guest usually means being clean, respectful, and offering to be helpful with household chores such as cooking or doing the dishes. There are definitely some people who take the phrase "what's mine is yours" a little too seriously and abuse the generosity of their hosts. Then, aside from the general expectations of cleanliness or respect for the actual house, things can always get awkward with friends when discussing politics, religion, or marriage and parenting preferences. So, when a recent Phile reader emailed me for some advice on how to handle a particularly judgmental polyamorous house guest I decided to help.

"Am I wrong for telling my friend to 'keep her polyamory shit to herself' or leave my home? I know it sounds bad, but context is everything. My friend Emily is staying with my husband and I for a week. She was evicted from her apartment after an incident with her ex-boyfriend, and she had just two weeks until her new lease started and nowhere to go, so she's staying on our apartment. One of the house rules I gave her was no visitors/partners. Emily is poly, and she has 5 current partners, and when I told her none would be able to visit (as I am an asthmatic and am trying to stay safe) there was a lot of complaining. Twice she compared her experience of me not allowing a visit from her partners to homophobia, which pissed me off because I'm queer and she's straight, and that's a hell of a thing to accuse a queer person of. Well, ignored her, because I feel like it's my house, my rules. In two weeks (only 5 days left!) she can resume life as normal. Next came the 'discussions' as to why monogamy is 'morally wrong.' These happen almost every night at dinner, when my husband and I have finished a long day of work. We are at our dinner table and have to be lectured by a houseguest as to why monogamous relationships defy nature, how they're all destined to fail in a pile of cheating and jealousy, and how much more enlightened poly is. I have no problem with poly, but I just see it as a preference, not an inherently better relationship model. We ignored that behavior as well. She broke us last night however. For some reason I was feeling sweet (probably all the wine I had), and decided to pull out my wedding album (I know, dumb choice to make with Emily there, as I now see in retrospect). I was looking through pictures with her, and I pointed out that the ceremony pic is my favorite because it's just super cute and she says, 'Yeah it's cute, but it's kind of a lie to promise a lifetime to someone. It's just not realistic.' Well I blew up. I told her to 'keep your polyamory shit to yourself or find somewhere else to sleep for free.' I then went to my room, slammed the door, and cried. I haven't spoken to her since. My husband is on my side, he's been sick of the lectures from her, especially considering how often Emily texts us "SOS bad breakup, let's get drinks." I just can't take the condescension and lectures in my own home. Am I crazy? We are doing her a favor by letting her stay with us and she's even been eating the meals I cook! Am I being a rude and controlling host?"    Wow, this is a lot! She is a guest in your home, if she cannot abide by your rules and respect you then she can find another place to crash at until she can go somewhere else. You are indeed doing her a favor and she should be grateful for that instead of complaining at every turn. If you were saying how all poly relationships are bad and will all fail and are morally wrong, she would have been upset and rightfully so. So why is it okay when she does it to you? Also not wanting to be exposed to 5 other people during a pandemic isn't homophobic its responsible. Your house. Your rules. You also make it very clear WHY. Instead she decided to develop a persecution complex like a teenager. She's an adult, she can go make her various life mistakes under a different roof she didn't pay for. I'd go one step further and boot her since she has such an issue with monogamy. Friends like her you don't need. So, there you have it! This friend was definitely out of line to constantly criticize monogamy while being a guest in the home of a monogamous couple. Being a guest (especially when people are gracious enough to take you in during a pandemic) requires grace and gratitude, and telling your hosts that their marriage will fail is incredibly rude. Plus, if you have five partners something must be off if not a single one of them wants to take you in. Good luck, everyone! If you have a problem you'd like me to help with then email me at

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Alright, let's take a live look at Port Jefferson, New York, shall we? My favorite place on Earth...

Looks like a beautiful evening there. Okay, you know I live in Florida, right? Here's another story from this crazy ass state.

A 20-year-old Florida man tried to get his money’s worth, by leaving bits of cocaine on his nose for later. Unfortunately for him, things quickly went sour because he was pulled over for a traffic stop near Hillsborough County. During interrogation, two deputies from Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office noticed the passenger, 20-year-old Fabricio Jimenez, had some sort of white powdery substance on his nose. When questioned what it was, Jimenez probably told them it was the doughnut he had eaten earlier that day, but of course, they didn’t buy it. So, Jimenez’s nose was quickly swabbed, and to no surprise, the substance tested positive for powder cocaine. Obviously. The police officers also found a backpack in the car with 250 grams of marijuana and 13 Xanax pills. But wait, it doesn’t end there. Deputies also found a small bag of cocaine on Jimenez during a search, and after questioning he told police that the cocaine on him (literally on him) wasn’t his. Cue the eye rolls and the laughter! This is so dumb. I swear, these Florida residents amaze me more every single day. This kid really tried, honestly, he did. I’m gonna give him a B+ just for trying and saying the first thing that popped into his head. Unfortunately, police officers didn’t think it was that funny and were quick to arrested him on drug charges. My question here is, what happened to the driver? Where is he… did he not have any cocaine on his nose? Was he also arrested? I need some answers here, please. I am highly invested in this story now. Also, I feel like this is the stupidest way to get caught using drugs. It could have so easily been avoided, but no… he is just too lazy to wipe his nose. Florida for ya.

“Would you rather crash on a friend’s couch or the freeway?” would be a good campaign slogan against drinking and driving.

The 133rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Debbie Harry will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things Said By Teachers Or Parents About Reopening Schools During Coronavirus
5. You don't think not having school negativity impacts kids? I have three boys who are crying... real tears... because they can't go back to school this year. Crying. And I can't do shit about it except vow to dismantle the public school system.
4. Can't keep 900 baseball players safe with almost unlimited resources but sure we can protect millions of kids jammed into schools where teachers have to raise money on GoFundMe for pencils and shit.
3. New plan: Everyone advocating for fulls school reopening with no plan nor budget for proper supports and resources, must volunteer for one month of substitute teaching duty (to fill the inevitable shortage when teachers must self quarantine or are sick when exposed.) Every. One.
2. The speed we went from "teachers are under appreciated, we should pay them triple!" to "Get in the classroom and watch the children so we can get back to work, even if it kills you" is quite breathtaking.
And the number one thing said by a teacher or parent about reopening schools during coronavirus is...
1. Schools will cancel over the threat of bad warner but they expect your kids on the bus during a global pandemic.

Today's guest is an American visual artist, filmmaker, and hip hop pioneer. His documentary Grass Is Greener is available to see on Netflix. Please welcome to the Phile, the great Fab 5 Freddy!

Me: Yo! Hello, Fab, hello, sir! How are you? Welcome to the Phile.

Fab: I'm doing great, Jason. Great to be here.

Me: So, I have to mention something... when I researched you I thought it was cool that the famous jazz drummer Max Roach was your godfather. Is that right? How did that happen?

Fab: Yeah. Abbey Lincoln, who was his then wife, was my godmother back then. Max and my dad grew up together in Brooklyn and Max became a very important musician, one of the architects of the sound we know as be-bop.

Me: Did Max ever see you rap?

Fab: Yep. What happened was when I was not trying to be a rapper but when it was this cool thing developing in the streets through the 70s and early 80s Maxie came by to visit the family. I wasn't home and later when I got home my dad said, "Hey, Max was by today asking what you've been doing, what you've been up to." My dad told him, "He's working on some DJ music thing with some DJ's across the street." Max was very curious and wanted to see it. I thought, man, this is crazy, I had to do it because I couldn't chicken out but Max was so excited and it's one of the most landmark moments in my life. I thought he was just telling me all this stuff to make me feel good. I was just a young kid trying to figure it out. But he said, man, this is going to be so big. "I get what you guys are doing. You're breaking down music just to rhythms."

Me: What year was this about?

Fab: This was probably about 1980-'81 when this encounter happened. And later hip-hop would be really huge and I would be on MTV hosting this show "Yo! MTV Raps."

Me: You never know how these things are going to turn out, right?

Fab: No.

Me: Before you were a rapper what did you do?

Fab: I was a graffiti artist and formed this bridge between art and the more art established world.

Me: How hard was it to get the art establishment in New York attention?

Fab: Well, it was kinda like it wasn't so much as the art establishment really. We were trying to come in from another way like we came in through the side door if you will because my idea was to connect with these people on the new wave, the punk rock scene. There were some cool people I reached out to I was connecting with. People like in the group Blondie, people like Lionel Brian, people like Glenn O'Brien, people who were on the downtown New York scene counter-culture making things happen in a really unique way. I was like I'm a person from the graffiti world, I'm trying to make some moves into the art scene, I saw the connection between the new music developing in the streets the the graffiti. I saw an energy connection to what was going on in new wave and punk rock and they totally got it, embraced me. Then we started to collaborate and exchanged ideas and things like that. Then I met a guy named Jean-Michel Basquiat who was a painter and passed away really young. He was super well known and we were partners, close friends. We made similar moves at the same time and got love from those people and helped us make noise and THEN the art world began to check us out.

Me: I lived in Long Island at the time and I was into the new wave scene and a little in the punk scene, but wish I paid a lot more attention to it even though I was a kid. That stuff is remarked as amazing now in retrospect but as you held a lot of events in those two worlds did intermingling seem unusual to you at the time?

Fab: It was because it didn't happen in New York. New York was a lot more polarized. A lot of the country is still is with the crazy political nightmare that we deal with now. Basically in New York a lot of things were polarized around racial lines, like sections of the city where different ethnic groups lived, people didn't move around in and out of those neighborhoods so particularly even on the downtown scene it wasn't like a mixed scene but when the powers that be, the people I connected with were open to these ideas, when they heard this music people just started moving. They were curious about things, those open minded creative types I was able to connect with and they got it early on. That sparked people connecting and things coming together and enjoyed being around different people. That happened in New York spurred on by the hip-hop scene and helped a lot of other things jump off. Blondie made a record called "Rapture" which mentions me.

Me: That's how I know I heard your name! "Fab 5 Freddie told me everybody's high. DJ's spinnin' are savin' my mind. Flash is fast, Flash is cool." Ha! What was it like when you heard Blondie mention you in the song? She's going to be on the Phile in a few weeks.

Fab: A lot of people when they first heard rap heard it on that record and didn't know what the hell what was going on until other pieces of the puzzle came out. They were like wait a minute, this is a whole scene.

Me: Hip-hop is just not a kind of music, right? Didn't you say rap, graffiti, DJ'ing, and break dancing are all part of it? Why do you think all those things fall under the hip-hop umbrella?

Fab: I was a little bit selfish in a way but I was kind of wanted to open a door for a lot of people. It's kind of I wanted to create for a person that was intentionally for focusing on making visual art. There was nothing positive in the press about graffiti. A lot of it was just straight vandalism, let's be honest. But we were just wild kids trying to let out this energy which is why it was this massive thing across the entire city. Every ethnic kind of background of kids did it but there were certain people that went super duper hard and it developed into something you know. I guess the idea was to create a world where that people could see what we were doing apart of a culture because it was only looked at as really negative or really with a lot of racism really motivating it. Those black and Spanish kids, they're just bad and are wrong and they vandalize so I wanted to create a look like a complete culture with a form of music and a form of dance and a form of visual art if you will and bring all these things together. In the movie Wild Style it really helped to embed the concept out there and it really caught on.

Me: Hmmm. How did the movie Wild Style help?

Fab: It was a way it represented a lot of people in New York who had very little to nothing creating this world that we could kind of entertain ourselves. A lot of other people felt the need for the same thing wherever they were to the point where we are talking right now like the most dominate kind of music in the world actually is hip-hop which is crazy to me.

Me: Why do you think that is?

Fab: Every ethnicity of kid everywhere finds a way to express themselves using these toys that we kind of shared with everybody.

Me: I have to say I love the song "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang. That beat everyone rapped over. What made that beat so great that everyone used?

Fab: Wow. That's a good question. First of all that's Chic's "Good Times" and that was the record that was a real pivotal dance and fink just an incredible record that was also a big part of what became known as disco. And it just had something to the record where the breakdown basic grove was easy to rap over which what was going on at that time. That was a point in time where a lot of hip-hop was still on the street, it's underground. This was the late 70s and like when that right record came out, the record with the right feel, DJ's would play it, kids would just want to get on the mic and the whole idea of mixing back and forth between two turntables with that steady groove going, that one particular breakdown part that became the thing.

Me: I had Nile Rodgers on the Phile a while ago and we talked about "Good Times." He told me the story of Debbie Harry talking him to what was known back then was a Hip Hop where apparently you and other acts were taking turns rhyming over the "Good Times" beat. This is what he said... "I couldn't believe it because the only song that was played was 'Good Times.' It was just over, and over, and over and over again for maybe about four hours. And I was going aren't they sick of this song by now? They were not sick of it and every MC was lined up and they had their rhyme ready for 'Good Times.' It was incredible." So, did he get it right?

Fab: Yeah, essentially he's right. I mean people loved the record but not for four hours. There were dozens of great records that DJ's would play and cut up but essentially his record was a foundation and a pivotal song at a critical time. In fact in the movie Wild Style a DJ by the name of Grand Mixer DXT is cutting this record, it was the most incredible visual look at the art of scratching at high level at that time still in the movie and that sparked so many people. He's cutting "Good Times" and a lot of acts at that level of Nile Rodgers who were super big mainstream hip-hop acts weren't feeling this new thing that were coming on. They were disrespecting us, the music, the culture. Some of it I understood because we were so radical and different. That's why intentionally I felt the energy between what the new wave and punk rock people were doing, And when I talked to them, especially the intellectuals like Chris Stein, Debbie, Glenn O'Brien, David Byrne from the Talking Heads, they all agreed and they all got it. So the way they were challenging the more established like rock and roll and the more established art world we were going at what was most established in black music if you will. Nile with opened arms he embraced it. People like George Clinton embraced it, people like James Brown embraced it. But their were a lot of other people who were like "get out of here, that's not music. What are you guys doing? You're clowns. This is a trend. This is a passing fad." How many times have I been interviewed do you think I was asked how long did I think this was going to last. Are you going to ask me that?

Me: No, because I feel like you knew. You donated your personal memorabilia to the New York Public Library. Classic hip-hop photos and videos... you wouldn't held on to that stuff if you didn't know this was going to last, right?

Fab: Well, I'll be honest with you, you are really good in the way you have sharpened this which is you're right, but I didn't realize would continue in such a strong and dominate way. We're talking forty plus years from when I first had this ideas. The thing is I was kind of raised in a household aware of history, my dad and his friends were super smart, super cool guys that would discuss things with a historical prospective and a global prospective. I didn't realize how much that had rubbed off on me until I began to make movies and do my thing. Major institutions in America is teaching this and then just in terms of wait a minute, I just realized what I had them to become more significant and what I thought it would be interesting to people. What typically happens archives, it normally happens when someone has passed on. But I'm very much obviously still in the building, I'm still here, the rest has yet to come. The idea that they will now be able to digitize my hundreds of VHS tapes, my cassette tapes. Do you know how much time it would take to take the VHS tapes and put them on digital? It's a lot of work.

Me: I'm gonna ask you the same question I asked Nile. When it's time to make the Fab 5 Freddy movie, the movie is over, the credits come on, what song is playing?

Fab: Wow. Ha ha ha. You got good questions here, Jason. What song? Hmmm. It could easily be this song I may change the beat, which at least just the music because the song had this weird thing that happened at the end of the B-side of my record, they took my voice going "ahhh" the stuff was really fresh and they ran it through a vocorder and they gave it like a robotic almost vocorder kind of sound. Then DXT screeched that sound on Herbie Hancock's "Rocket." Then hundreds of DJ's followed and hundreds of records used it as a sample, as a scratching sound. It's the most sampled record and that's my song "Change the Beat."

Me: Fab, thanks for being on the Phile. I hope this was fun.

Fab: Thanks so much. Thanks for talking to me.

Hahaha. I never got to talk about the documentary. Oh, well. That was a great interview anyway. Thanks to Fab 5 Freddy. The Phile will be back on Monday with voice actor Bob Bergen. 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

Monday, July 27, 2020

Pheaturing Phile Alum Alicia Keys

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? In case you missed it, last Monday Republican Rep. Ted Yoho approached Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of he Capitol building and called her "disgusting" and "out of her freaking mind" in response to her having made comments linking violence to poverty. Then, while he was walking away, he called her a "fucking bitch." He later gave a no-apology apology speech where he said he was sorry for the "abrubt" manner off the conversation, but he also said, "[I] cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family, and my country," and made it sound like because he had a wife and two daughters he couldn't be accused of disrespecting women. AOC responded, in a now viral speech, that made it clear she didn't accept his apology. Bread of The World, a Christian group that Yoho served as a board member for, asked him to resign. Here's their statement... "Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today released the following statement regarding Rep. Ted Yoho’s verbal attack on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Bread for the World is deeply concerned about Rep. Ted Yoho’s verbal attack on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and what we and others perceive to be his non-apology. Bread for the World is concerned that his behavior in the past few days does not reflect the values of respect and compassion that Jesus calls on us to exhibit every day and we expect from our board members. Before we determine any further action, we have reached out to his office and have sought an opportunity to speak with him about the incident." Yoho has resigned, but hasn't issued a statement. I assume he muttered "fucking bitches" on his way out though.
Getting through security at the airport is rarely an enjoyable endeavor. The line is usually long... more often than not infuriatingly so, largely because the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) doesn’t have all their lanes open even though they probably could, which would cut your wait time by half and probably allow them to do a more thorough job. But nah. Screw you and the other 800 people here to get on a plane within the next hour. Everyone slowly file into line for this one body scanner. Enjoy your flight. There’s not a lot that could make your security wait more frustrating but a security guard or airport worker pulling you aside apropos of absolutely nothing (other than their distaste for your face) and telling you that you’re ugly in a mean note on a piece of paper is probably one of those things. Talk about highest ethical standards. And that’s exactly the type of behavior that happened to technical coordinator and passenger Neal Strassner at the Greater Rochester International Airport when he was traveling for work in a June 2019 incident. AA Rochester airport security worker wrote “You Ugly” on a handwritten note and slipped it to Strassner after he passed through the metal detector. Strassner was confused and took the passing note without opening it. The worker called out to Strassner several times asking if he was going to open the note. Strassner finally did and was greeted with the airport security guard’s valuable observation. Strassner attempted to contact the airport about the incident but they didn’t do much about it. Finally, Strassner obtained security footage of the incident through a public records request through the Freedom of Information Act and took to the Internet to tell his story. According to Strassner, within two hours of posting that the airport contacted him. Funny how that works. The security guard, who worked for a local security company as a contract employee by the TSA to work at the Rochester airport, was fired shortly after. Just another fun interaction with the TSA!
Would you like to meet the plant of your nightmares? It’s not this guy…

But it’s not great either. Soon to be Virginia Tech freshman Alex Childress, 17, was working his summer landscaping job in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area when he came across what he thought was a large weed. Childress then grabbed some trimmers and chopped the plant down. When he did, part of it brushed across his face. Thinking nothing of it, Childress picked up the plant and hauled it away. Then his face melted off. Sort of. Later that day, Alex’s father Jason returned home from his other son’s baseball game to find Alex’s face practically raw with severe skin agitation. From “When I got home I walked inside and Alex, he was like, ‘I got really bad sunburn,'” Jason Childress said in a phone interview. “And Alex doesn’t burn. He tans. “The top layer of skin on the left side of his face basically was gone and appeared to be like a really bad burn that had already peeled,” Childress added as he described his son’s condition. It turns out that the plant Alex Childress chopped down wasn’t any weed, but rather some weird, totally unnecessary demon shrub called Giant Hogweed. From simply brushing up against it Childress’ face suffered second and third degree burns. Somehow this was relatively fortunate for Childress, as Giant Hogweed sap can cause much worse, including permanent blindness. Alex’s family took him to the Spotsylvania Medical Center, where he was then transferred to VCU’s burn unit. Childress was discharged after receiving intensive care. His recovery, however, wasn't be fun. He will have to limit his exposure to sunlight and wear high SPF sunscreen in order not to make the burns worse. That’s pretty much it. It’s a big green plant with little white flowers. If you do touch it, however, be sure to wash the affected area with soap and water thoroughly before allowing that skin to be exposed to sunlight for any length of time. But what is Giant Hogweed, besides the actual version of “The Devil’s Lettuce”? It’s a big dumb plant with phototoxic sap. According to Wikipedia, Heracleum mantegazzianum, or Giant Hogweed plant... which is also known as cartwheel-flower, giant cow parsnip, hogsbane, or giant cow parsley and not, somehow, as “The Burning Bush”... is a phototoxic plant and considered a noxious weed in the United States that, for unknown but presumably very stupid reasons, became a common ornamental plant in Britain in the 19th Century. Though it is native to the Caucasus Mountains in central Asia, hogweed has spread to Europe, Canada, and North America, and is considered an invasive plant. And it will melt your skin off.
A Montana man who was charged with more than 60 counts of child sex abuse has now received a deferred one-year sentence after green to a plea deal. According to authorities, 51-year-old William Edward Miller Jr. of Great Falls was arrested back in February 2019, after a 14-year-old girl accused him of raping her at her home a year prior. The girl alleged that Mueller allowed an 11-year-old boy to rape her while he watched in a separate and counter. In August 2014, state prosecutors filed 64 counts of sexual abuse of children against Miller, after investigators found images of child pornography and bestiality on his phone and his laptop. The Great Falls Tribune reported that police received a search warrant on his home after the sex offender allegedly began calling people from jail, asking them to destroy his phone. After his arrest, Miller Accepted a plea deal that involved prosecutors to drop the majority of the charges filed against him. He pleaded guilty to one count of felony sexual abuse of children and one count of misdemeanor unsworn falsification to authorities. Cascade County District Judge Elizabeth Best, sentenced Mueller to six months in the Cascade County detention center for the misdemeanor. He received credit for the 384 days of time he served. As far as a felony charge, Miller was slapped with the one-year deferred sentence and was ordered to complete sex offender treatment in the community. Under a deferred sentence, the child sex abuse charge could be wiped away from Miller’s record if he does not commit a crime over the next year. The felony count for which the man pleaded guilty in connection to a photograph of the 17-year old Shiloh Young. The woman, who is now nineteen, has been married to Mueller for 3 months and testified that she took the photo herself two years ago to help her overcome all her body issues. According to the Tribune, Young told the judge, “William is a kind, compassionate, and pathetic man. Never has he manipulated or controlled me. I ask that we be free of this charge. I feel you have suffered enough and I’m not a victim of my husband." Now, I don’t know what the whole situation with that marriage, but I need someone to evaluate that 19-year-old because in what mentality does this woman stay with the sex offender who initially had 64 counts of child abuse and sex crimes? Also, how in the world did they get married in the first place? This is sick, so sick, I’ve said it once and I’ve always said it again, our justice system is so broken.
Wear this belt out in public and I’m sure you’ll break some necks.

Who needs fancy leather belts when Dick Belts exist? This gag gift is ridiculous, but it’s hilarious. The Dick Belt doubles as a bottle opener, so it’s not entirely useless. Please don’t make this your church belt. It’s the perfect belt for bachelor parties, birthdays, or just any kind of night of debauchery. If you’re just dying to get fired, then maybe wear this belt to work. Otherwise, I think every best man needs to get this for their engaged friend. It’s the perfect belt for your last hurrah as a single man! You can find the Dick Belt on Amazon for only 25 dollars. The customer review is a mess! Joe left a five-star rating and said, “Wore this to work and had tons of laughs.” Umm... Joe, you either have really laid back co-workers or went to work that day to pick up your last check. Add this hilarious belt to your Amazon wishlist today. Once the holidays roll around, you’ll have funny gift ideas for white elephant parties. It’s not a gift you want to give to dad or grandpa, so save this for your friend with a dirty mind and a dark sense of humor. Boners will always be funny! Okay, taking your significant other’s belt off to see the goods is usually an exciting experience, but ladies, this Dick Belt might be more enticing to look at. I mean, the belt is basically a third leg. It seriously hangs down the model’s entire thigh. The product measures at 60 inches! You can’t pick from different waist sizes, but this one size fits all belt has an adjustable buckle. Don’t forget the belt buckle is a bottle opener. Grooms, get this belt for your groomsmen and watch them awkwardly open their beers with the one and only, Dick Belt.
Okay, speaking of Amazon and reviews... Sugar-free gummy bears might seem like a great idea in theory. But, like so many things being sold to us in a capitalist society, there is a catch. Anyone who's ever tried (or worse, binged) on sugar-free candy knows exactly what that catch is. If you're not sure, just check out the reviews on an Amazon listing for a 1-lb. bag of Haribo SUGAR FREE Classic Gummi Bears. While some people are clearly roasting the product, and others seem to be sharing their (very, very) real experiences, these reviews get 5-stars for hilarity... and extreme honesty. Like this one...

Do you kids like Hot Pockets? There's a new kind that just came out...

Ummmm... nope. Instead of doing this blog thing I should be listening to this album...

No, maybe not, the cover is making me gag. Well, not only does Ivanka like Goya beans, she also likes Heinz's spotted dick from England. I bet she does. Hahahahaha.

I never knew her father was in anime until I saw this...

Ummmm... no comment. So, ever see those panhandlers with their cardboard signs? Some of them are very clever...

Hahaha. Yesterday I went swimming and got sunburnt, but not as bad as this guy...

Ouch! So, if I had a TARDIS I would probably end up at the Siege of Sarajevo and see this sad scene...

A father’s hands presses against the window of a bus carrying his tearful son and wife to safety during the Siege of Sarajevo. The Siege of Sarajevo was the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. After being initially besieged by the forces of the Yugoslav People’s Army, Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was besieged by the Army of Republika Srpska from April 5th, 1992 to February  29th, 1996 (1,425 days) during the Bosnian War. The siege lasted three times longer than the Siege of Stalingrad and a year longer than the Siege of Leningrad. A total of 13,952 people were killed during the siege, including 5,434 civilians. Roman Catholic Croat and Muslim-led government forces fought together against Bosnia’s Eastern Orthodox Serbs early in the war which started after Bosnia seceded from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. All sides in Bosnia’s war stand accused of “ethnic cleansing.” Thousands of Muslims and Croats were also killed in Serb-run concentration camps. A peace accord was signed on December 14th, 1995, with NATO to keep the peace. The conflict left about 250,000 dead and 2.5 million refugees. Well, on that depressing note do you know what's funny? Kids using puns to prank their parents...

Hahahahahahahaha. You know I live in Florida, right? Here's a crazy story from this state...

The staff of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida showed up to work one morning and found themselves dealing with the sort of work mess that would have anyone saying, “Is it Friday yet?” Or, “I can’t deal with this until I have my coffee.” Of course, when you work at an alligator farm that mess isn’t proverbial, like having fifty extra emails in your inbox. When you work at an alligator farm that mess is finding blood and clothes in one of the exhibits. What the alligator farm workers did not find, thankfully, were any leftovers, because no one was eaten. Bitten? Oh yeah. But eaten? They probably should have been, but no. The Florida man responsible for breaking into the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and falling into a crocodile pit was found a little ways away, naked except for his boxers, and bleeding from bites on his foot. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm released security footage of the man who fell into the pit. He appears to be not sober, but that’s just a (really good) guess. The man is seen stumbling around the park before falling into the water. When the workers arrived they found a pair of shorts and rubber Crocs sandals floating in the crocodile exhibit. They assumed it was a prank at first. You know, “Ha! Crocs and crocs!” But all the blood they saw right after that tipped the workers off that the situation might be slightly more serious. When the police were called they informed the alligator farm that they probably already had the perpetrator in custody, as they’d recently arrested a mostly naked man who was complaining about being bitten by an alligator. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm noted that none of the crocodiles in the exhibit were harmed, because of course they weren’t. The only way this guy could’ve hurt the crocodiles is if they choked on him while feasting. Or if he was so high that the crocs, in turn, got high from eating him and bumped into the walls of their exhibit too hard.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, let's take a live look at Port Jefferson, shall we?

Looks like a beautiful morning there.

When you drink alcohol you are just borrowing happiness from tomorrow.

At a recent convention of biological scientists, one researcher remarked to another, "Did you know that we have switched from rats to lawyers for experiments in our lab?" "Really?" replied the other researcher. "Why the switch?" "There were a number of reasons," the first researcher explained."First, our lab assistants don't become so attached to them. Second, lawyers breed much quicker, making them far more plentiful. Third, animal rights groups have no objection to their torture and fourth, there are some things even a rat won't do."

Phact 1. Hydrogen bombs usually do not contain hydrogen because it is difficult to store. They instead use lithium that is split into hydrogen by an atomic bomb. It worked so well that the first bomb went off with three times the expected yield, set the world record, and it still holds the U.S.  record for yield.

Phact 2. In 2013, Google sent an employee to long abandoned coal mining facility Hashima Island, Japan, with a Street View backpack in order to capture its condition. This allows users of Google Maps to virtually tour the areas of the island which are currently deemed too dangerous to traverse.

Phact 3. Morocco was the first country to recognize the U.S. as an independent country and during the Revolutionary War, the Sultan of Morocco promised safe passage from Barbary Pirates for all merchant American ships traveling across the Atlantic.

Phact 4. Suicide candidates in 18th-century Denmark were afraid to take their own lives because they believed it would send them to hell. Instead, they resorted to killing other people to receive the death penalty and repented before execution, believing that doing so would send them to heaven.

Phact 5. The hacker group Anonymous once sent thousands of all-black faxes to the Church of Scientology to deplete all of their ink cartridges.

Olivia de Havilland 
July 1st, 1916 — July 26th, 2020
Do you know how many ways there are for deadpoolers to spell this name wrong? Well, I do. SO glad she's dead. Kidding!

Peter Green
October 29th, 1946 —July 25th 2020
Just remember, if it wasn't for Peter Green, Stevie Nicks would be working at a Wendy's.

Regis Philbin 
August 25th, 1931 — July 24th, 2020
Final answer?

Today's guest is is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actress and philanthropist, Phile Alum and author of More Myself: A Journey, the 132nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome back to the Phile... Alicia Keys.

Me: Hey, Alicia, welcome back to the Phile. I was honored to get you on here once and didn't think you'd be back for some reason so I'm glad you are. How are you?

Alicia: That was beautiful, thank you, Jason. Great to be back.

Me: Your memoir More Myself: A Journey is the 132nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club...

Alicia: Nice, but it's a journey, not a memoir.

Me: Oh, okay. In the book you tell the story about your first major photo shoot and what happened. Can you tell me here what happened?

Alicia: Yes, it was kind of strange. It was my very, very first photo shoot, it was a big one and everyone was very excited of it. I was still a teenager and getting noticed by all the right people, and the shoot marked a turning point in my career. When I'm trying to get your music heard and myself out there, it's rare that I get big opportunities, and this one was awesome. So everybody was really excited. We get in there and try to figure everything out, it was my first one. I never did a big shoot like this before so I didn't know what to do and what to expect. So as you can imagine it was brand new how everything was. At some point he kind of asked the team to leave and they figured since he was a pretty big photographer that he just wanted some privacy and wanted to focus. When everybody leaves... he didn't put his hands on me and violated me physically but I think he definitely had an idea of what he wanted to get as a picture.

Me: What kinda picture did he want?

Alicia: He wanted it to be risqué and he wanted it to be something I probably wouldn't normally be comfortable with for sure. Everybody who was with me in that room definitely wouldn't be comfortable.

Me: So, what did this asshole say to you?

Alicia: It was like, "Can you just kind of lift this a little bit? Can you pull this down a little bit? Can you open this a little bit?" I'm 19 and I'm like, "Um, this doesn't feel right."

Me: Once the shoot was over how did you feel?

Alicia: I talked myself in and out of everything and finally when it was all said and done when the photos came out I was so devastated, I despised them. I did not like the way I looked, I looked in a way I definitely didn't want to represent myself. I felt I was taken advantage of and manipulated. But I think that happened to me quite early and everything because I needed to know very early that I had to trust my instincts in life and I think it changed my trajectory in a lot of ways because I knew that I'd just never want to be in that position.

Me: When you wrote the book and you thought back to that story and other stories in your early career how did you feel?

Alicia: It's nice to visit those bright stories early in my career.

Me: I am not sure I mentioned this last time you were here, I'm sure I did, but I love the song "Fallin'." What can you say about that song?

Alicia: It didn't do as well when it first came out. It didn't get the airplay that I was hoping for, the DJs didn't know what to do with my music. And then I was on the Oprah Winfrey show 19 years ago.

Me: That's cool. When you were on that show what did you think and feel?

Alicia: Oh, my God, I remember like it was clear as day. It was the most unbelievable moment ever. 

Me: When "Fallin'" became a hit how was your life?

Alicia: We all believed in "Fallin'" so much and we knew that it was a special song. Anybody that heard it really loved it. It was the first time I was introduced to the world of marketing and radio and all these kind of nuances that happened that makes things sometimes not as straightforward as I hoped it would be. It was true, it had an older soulful sound to it and at the time I was 18 or 19 and had those cornrows and was from Harlem. And at the same time the people heard the song they thought I was a 40-year-old soul singer. They did not know what to do with it, where to put it. Throughout my career a lot of my songs never fit the mold, they always just lived on their own which I am proud of, it's the part of what makes me stand out but it doesn't make it easy to market. And it doesn't make it easy to get a spot on the radio so we definitely had to get creative.

Me: So, the Oprah Winfrey show was a big deal, right? That was a stupid question.

Alicia: No, it wasn't a stout question. That was one of the moments where Clive and the team got creative.

Me: So, what was it like meeting Oprah?

Alicia: I remember walking onto that set to see Miss Oprah Winfrey for my first time ever... obviously prior to that I'd only seen her on television... and it was the craziest, most surreal moment of my life. I was terrified. I was completely nervous. My hands were shaking the whole time I was playing.

Me: I watched that performance and you didn't look nervous...

Alicia: This was the big shot. And for her to embrace me in that way, and she's been a mentor to me ever since that day, it was a big, big, big beginning. And I'll never, ever forget it.

Me: For those that don't know, tell them who Clive was... or is...

Alicia: Clive is Clive Davis the legendary record producer and executive.

Me: When did you recognize you were going to become a household name out of that performance? 

Alicia: I definitely didn't have a clue about that. I didn't ever imagine that would happen but it really did. It was strange flying home after that performance.

Me: Did you get recognized?

Alicia: Yeah, anybody from a 14-year-old kid to a 30-year-old young woman to a 70-year-old older man, Everybody said, "I saw you on the Oprah show and I could not believe how." Especially then, the Oprah show was massive, the amount of people that watched it were so diverse, I couldn't believe it. It was crazy literally like in that moment. I realized I couldn't just do my normal thing. It was a new world.

Me: I didn't realize, or maybe I did, just forgot that you covered Princes's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" Was it hard to get permission to cover it? Yours is a great version by the way.

Alicia: I fell in love with that song, I'm a massive Prince fan. I was drawn to this song because it was just him on piano and stomping his foot. It was so raw and so genuine, I just couldn't believe this song. As we were creating the first album I wanted to put it on there and obviously being brand new I didn't know I had to call the songwriter and get clearance to use another persons song. So here I am at 17-years-old trying to figure out how to call Prince. How do I call Prince? Like who calls Prince? Nobody calls Prince. But somehow we organized with the other team and we set up a moment where we can have a phone call with him. I called this number and I'm terrified. What do I say to somebody? I know they put me on the phone because it'd be harder for him to say no to me. I know that's why they put me on the phone. So my heart was beating out of my chest and the phone is ringing, somebody picks up the phone and its not him. I'm like, "Hello? Can I spread to Prince?" They're like, "Hold on." And another person gets on the phone and I ask the same question and they're like, "Hold on." Another person gets on the phone and they transfer a last time and I could tell it was Prince. He was like, "Hello?" I'm trying to be cool and I say hello and tell him how much I appreciate his artistry and how amazing he is and how much I love this song and if anybody knows Prince he does not clear his songs. That's not what he does, he doesn't want a gang of people singing his songs. He will not clear them, he's notorious for it.

Me: He let Art of Noise and Tom Jones cover "Kiss."

Alicia: Yeah, but most people get a no, so I was expecting a no and I tell him and he says, "You right your own music, right?" I said, "Yeah, I'm producing it." He says, "I'm seeing what you're doing, I love it what you're doing." And he says to me, "Why don't you come and play it for me at Paisley Park?" I'm like me? So, he invites me to Paisley Park, which is his very special please where he invites all his precious fans. He has this amazing location and studio and live performance space, something I've never seen before at that time. I come and I perform for him and eventually he did obviously grant me the rights to cover "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"

Me: I like the way you stand your ground, Alicia. When you were writing the book did you think about that at all?

Alicia: It's really difficult, it really is if you think about it. The whole music industry and entertainment industry can often be based on things that are quite superficial and not even real. A lot of times I find myself not meeting a persona or emulating an expectation that people have of me as opposed to actually being who I am. So many times I go to a photoshoot and I'm wearing thousand and thousands worth of dresses and jewelry and shoes and clothes, I can't afford those things. There's no way on planet Earth I'll have those things. But in the image I'm projecting I'm wearing all these things and I'm looking all these ways and I think a lot of times that does become quite difficult to manage It's often times it's not really real and so it's easy to lose myself. Prior to success I had people liking my work and I just did what I love. Doing what I think and what I'm feeling and experimenting and trying and once people start to like what I've done I feel obligated for them to like it again. Then I start to think how can I make them like this as opposed to what I like. And I think all of this altogether becomes quite confusing and definitely easy for me to lose myself in. That's what I talk about in the book, I think it happens to all of us no matter of we're artists or bankers or assistants or whatever we might be, oftentimes I think we accommodate other people's opinion of us and making sure we are in some way likable. A lot of times I think that takes away the knowledge of ourselves because we're just so bust wanting to please. So I've definitely gone through and found my way through and regards of talking in my book about myself it really is "how do you find your authentic self? And what is that? Who is that?" And for different people that happens in different ways.

Me: You recently released a song called "Perfect Way to Die," which sounds like a James Bond movie. What is that song about?

Alicia: It's a highly emotional song I originally wrote in honor of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland, all of whom died by race-based or institutional violence. The song is about a mother who mourns her son after losing him to a shooting, and I performed it live for the first time at this year's BET Awards.

Me: Since then there's been other black shootings that are all over the news, Alicia, and protests everywhere. Months and months later, this song is still relevant, right?

Alicia: It's been really quite something, the way that things have gone. Even with us all experiencing COVID and recognizing how we are all so intricately connected and how we all are experiencing a similar thing at the same time. My song "Underdog" really ended up being a soundtrack to that in such a powerful way that I of course hopes the song resonates but I don't really realize how it's going to do of why it's going to do it or when it's going to do it, I never know these details. So "Underdog" really did that at that time. And as time kept progressing I think more of us being more still and having the opportunity to look more clearly at what's happening in front of us in the world as opposed of running so quickly and being distracted and also being able to see the equities of so many levels so clearly and so painfully there's just no turning away from it and no hiding from it. I think there is a surge of collective consciousness. So this song "Perfect Way to Die" I actually wrote it with an incredible writer named Sebastian Cole and we wrote it based of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland, a lot of the same situation that has been happening over and over again. It's horrible with the police brutality and violence and racism is crazy.

Me: Did you think this song would come out at this time?

Alicia: I never thought this song would come out at this time but I knew it would come out at some time. I knew it was such a powerful song and we're seeing everything progressing now it just seemed so right to share this song and put it to the vehicle just for our emotions of what we're feeling and what we're seeing and to put words to the pain we are feeling and the discomfort and also the confusion and frustration and hopefully continue for all of us to pay attention of what's happening and to make sure we keep speaking up until until George and Ahmaud and Breonna and Tony and Trayvon and Sandra and Mike Brown and everybody who has died at the hands of police brutality and racism gets their justice.

Me: Does it feel different now, Alicia?

Alicia: It's a lot of the same in a lot of ways which is hard but I do feel that is different than its ever been before. I think people are more open than they've ever been before. I think we are less afraid to even face the truth, those hard truths that we are all having to face. Every single last one of us. Even being accountable for our behavior, behavior of our families, behavior of even the way we are talking to our children. The thoughts we're having, the things we are saying, really being much more conscious by awakened and everything. Although it's not a new scenario I think because we haven't been able to turn away or be so busy that we get distracted, and think "that's just them over there." That's a horrible reaction, I think we do it as humanity sometimes. It just really brought us together. And I think it's propelling us to move forward together and to grow. And in that way I really am feeling encouraged.

Me: Cool. Thanks, Alicia, for being on the Phihe. Please come back again.

Alicia: Thank you, you too, stay safe during this pandemic.

Me: Thank you. You as well.

Alicia: I wish you all the best.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Alicia Keys for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Wednesday with legendary rapper Fab Five Freddy. Spread the word, not the turd of 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

Friday, July 24, 2020

Pheaturing Alex Lacamoire

Hi there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday. In the past few weeks, the Trump administration has placed massive pressure on governors to open schools up in the fall for in-person learning. While everything from elementary schools to college campuses closed down for distance learning in the spring, the White House is pushing for schools to reopen as part of a wider plan to "revive" the economy and return to life as normal, this is all despite a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. In reaction to this push to return to full classroom learning, some teachers have been writing their wills as a morbid precaution. In a more humane world, this in itself would be enough to give our government pause about the next steps, but alas... that is not the state we're currently in. In response to the rapidly approaching fall school dates, the cultural analyst Melissa Hillman wrote a thread predicting exactly what will happen if schools open across the country. First off, Hillman predicts every teacher with the ability to retire will make that call at the very last minute, causing a shortage of teachers. Any issues with understaffing and underfunding will be manipulated into blame toward teacher unions and the teachers themselves, Hillman wrote. Due to the strict schedule of a school day, Hillman wrote that it's unlikely that classrooms will be properly sterilized between students... particularly without enough PPE and cleaning supplies. Again, Hillman wrote that any teacher with the ability to quit will quit, they're already underpaid and under appreciated... so the imminent risk of death is beyond a tipping point. Hillman also predicted that at least one teacher will go into the ICU from every school that opens, and that will cause a widespread call for quarantine... with no previous planning for distance learning. This immediate lockdown will saddle working parents with no child care, and give teachers in the impossible task of creating digital learning in less than 24 hours. Ultimately, Hillman wrote, this will result in the deaths of parents, teachers, and children, There will be children who will lose one or both parents, and grow up with life-long complications from the virus (on top of the psychological trauma). There will be protests, walk-outs, and eventually... the pandemonium will result in more under-prepared distance learning. And all of this can still be avoided. The reason schools are even being pushed to reopen is to revive the economy, and Hillman wrote that the reversal back to online education is not a question of if... but when, and it all depends on when the deaths start. The victim-blaming, Hillman wrote, will be rampant and will teachers and families for mass death, instead of the very government that forced them into this position. While yes, we all miss the experience of being in a room together, Hillman wrote that teaching in a socially distant classroom will be much harder and more emotionally taxing than teaching via Zoom. A lot of people jumped onto Hillman's thread to echo her thoughts and share how they are dealing with the possibility of schools reopening. A lot of teachers confirmed Hillman's prediction that they'll quit their jobs if it comes to that. People also pointed out that if we wanted to open schools in safer ways, there are precautions and methods, the U.S. just hasn't set itself up for those. It's sad that this thread even exists, but there is still time for teachers and parents to band together and stand up against demands that their children and livelihood be put at risk.
When you think the nightmare has ended in the Catholic church, more details have come to light surrounding the sexual abuse allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Not only was the former Newark archbishop and cardinal “defrocked and cast out of the ministry” for sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians over the decades, but a new lawsuit has come forward detailing how he was sexually abusing teenagers at his New Jersey beach house in Sea Girt in an alleged sex ring too. Another victim, only known as Doe 14, was raised in Newark, New Jersey. By the time he was a teenager, Doe 14, an active church participant and student at St. Francis Xavier in Newark and Essex Catholic in East Orange in the Archdiocese of Newark, was allegedly groomed in a sex ring that the former Cardinal McCarrick was involved with. The lawsuit explained that other priests brought victims to McCarrick to be paired with adult clerics, where he “assigned sleeping arrangements, choosing his victims from the boys, seminarians and clerics present at the beach house.” In a virtual press conference, Jeff Anderson and other attorneys representing the now 53-year-old Doe 14 explained the details of how the sexual abuse played out over decades, which not only involved McCarrick, but also other clergy members, along with at least seven kids. They also called out how the Catholic church “cloaked” the “open and obvious” criminal sexual assault. The court papers also explained that Doe 14 was also filing suit against “the Diocese of Metuchen, where McCarrick served as bishop, the Archdiocese of Newark, where he was the archbishop, and the schools, high schools and parish schools Doe 14 had attended while growing up in New Jersey.” Other sexual abuse charges from other seminarian victims of McCarrick stemmed from his beach house as well. Doe 14 also called out other priests who were at the beach house and sexually abusing the victims there. He named Gerald Ruane, Michael Walters, John Laferrera, Brother Andrew Thomas Hewitt, and Anthony Nardino. Ruane and Hewitt have already passed away and the others have been removed from the ministry. Nardino specifically was accused of molesting Doe 14 when he was only 11-years-old. These lawsuits are key under the new law that allows victims more time “to sue their alleged abusers and the institutions that protected them,” in which James Grein came forward in 2019 that he had also been abused by McCarrick. McCarrick allegedly continued to abuse him for 20 years, even after Grein disclosed the abuse during a Vatican visit to Pope John Paul II. More victims who were sexually abused by McCarrick came forward to corroborate about the beach house sex ring in Sea Girt. Two cases resulted in secret $80,000 settlements, one including a former priest who became a lawyer. The lawyer mentioned how McCarrick “would invite young seminarians and priests to the house in Sea Girt, where they would be expected to share a bed with McCarrick.” As more legitimate allegations came forward, McCarrick was eventually forced to resign from his position and removed from the ministry. He was laicized, which is considered one of the harshest punishments by the church.
An Ohio man who was out on parole has now been thrown back in jail and is awaiting new felony charges after a picture circulated on social media, showing him posing with his knee to the neck of a crying two-year-old boy. Alongside the picture, there was a message referring to the Black Lives Matter Movement. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office first became aware of the photo circulating on Facebook, which appears to be a direct reference to a former Minnesota cop, Derek Chauvin, who murdered George Floyd by pressing his knee on his neck for 9 minutes. The death of George Floyd quickly sparked several months of protests across the United States. The photo shows a man, who was identified as a 20-year-old Isaiah Jackson, with his knee on the child’s neck, who is only wearing a diaper. A second person is seen holding a child’s hands behind his back. A black banner across a photograph read: "BLM now mf.” Police officers were able to determine the location where the incident took place and made contact with both the child and the mother, as well as a male subject who was seen using the image. According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the relationship between Jackson and the child’s mother is still unknown. Jackson, who is a Parole Authority holder from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, was quickly taken into custody and still remains incarcerated in Clark County Jail. He is now waiting for the county prosecutor office “to provide a determination on the scope of the breadth of the felony charges that will be supported by the office for presentation in court.” According to the Sheriff’s Office, the child was taken to a local hospital for further examination and was luckily found to have no injuries related to the incident. The Sheriff’s Office stated that the mother, who has not been identified, told deputies that she was not aware of the photo until she was informed by other parties that the Sheriff’s Office was on the way to her home to begin the investigation of the incident. The investigation is still ongoing. Relating to the photo, an Atlanta area high school special education teacher is currently under fire for commenting beneath the photo once it’s made its way to Facebook further encouraging the volume against the toddler. According to WGCL-TV, Brian Papin, a Cedar Grove High School interrelated teacher, wrote “Again! Your [sic] doing it wrong! One knee on the center of the back one [sic] the neck and lean into it until death! You saw the video! Get it right or stop fucking around!” DeKalb County School District released a statement on Facebook saying they were aware of the disturbing social media post associated with a district teacher. They are currently investigating the situation and they’re committed to the safety of the children, noting there is no place for racism in their District.
New Mexico authorities are investigating a deadly shooting at an auto shop after a man who refused to wear a mask allegedly tried to run over the shop owner’s son and crashed into a vehicle before driving off. An incident report written by Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies say as they were searching for the man, they received a call from the shop owner saying the man had returned and that his son had shot someone. Deputies found two men on the ground. One didn’t have a pulse. Albuquerque police have taken over the investigation. Police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos declined to release more details about Tuesday afternoon’s shooting, saying detectives were interviewing additional people. “The investigation is still in its preliminary stage,” he said Thursday. The initial incident report indicated the man had stopped at the auto shop and asked for air for his tire, the Albuquerque Journal reported. The owner said he told the man that he could help him but that he needed to have a mask on and the man became “extremely irate.” The state’s mandate that everyone must wear face coverings in public has been in effect since May 16th. Operators of essential businesses must require customers to wear masks, and violators are subject to a fine. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in a tweet Thursday reiterated the call for wearing masks as state health officials urged people to stay at home.
New York City officials will no longer be able to use the terms “ illegal immigrant” and “alien” to refer to undocumented immigrants. The NYC Council voted yesterday to ban the “dehumanizing and offensive” words in local laws, documents, and rules. According to speaker Corey Johnson, the term that officials will be using going forward will be “non-citizen” Ahead of the vote, council member Francisco Moya stated, “These words are outdated and loaded words used to dehumanize the people they describe. It’s time to retire them. Words matter. The language we choose to use has power and consequences.” Last year, the city’s Commission of Human Rights issued a guidance making it illegal to use the terms “ illegals” or “ illegal alien” with intent to humiliate, harass, or intent to demean a person. The guidance also made it illegal to discriminate or harass against someone for their use of “another language or their limited English proficiency, and threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a person based on discriminatory motive.”
Do you kids like The Princess Bride movie? Not me. I do not like that movie at all. Anyway, if you watched it recently you might notice they made a few changes to the film.

Told you. Haha. I'm glad to see kids are using puns to prank their parents. Like this milk gone bad...

Hahahaha. Did you see Ivanka Trump's latest ad? No? I have it here...

The bottom text says, "Since you're not getting much real dicks in quarantine." Hey. It's her ad, not mine. Do you kids like the movie A League of Their Own? I saw it when it came out and it was okay. I do not remember Donald Trump being in the film though.

There's no crying in baseball. If I had a TARDIS I would go to the see the 1951 Boston Marathon.

Nine-ear-old Shigeki Tanaka was a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima and went on to win the marathon. The crowd was silent as he crossed the finishing line. The war had only just ended and anti-Japanese sentiment was huge. He was running in "tabi" or split-toe shoes made by the Kobe footwear company called Onitsuka, named after its founder and which is best known today as Asics. So, today's guest, Alex Lacamoire worked on Hamilton. I have not seen it yet, and don't think Lin-Manuel Miranda looks nothing like the real Hamilton, until I saw this painting of Hamilton that was painted when he was president...

Guess I was wrong. Hahahahahahaha. It looks like no one wants onions during the pandemic...

I don't like things that make me cry myself. Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things Said By People Who Saw Hamilton
5. The Hamilton lyric "your perfume smells like your daddy's got money" is the one stuck in my head today. I fear that like many of my thoughts tweeting it is the only way to exercise it.
4. I'm running for President - Kanye after watching Hamilton for the 12th time.
3. Anyway, if you watched Hamilton and see the man literally cheat on his wife, fail his allies, send his own son to his death, have an emotional affair with his sister-in-law, be a dick to everyone around him and think it glorifies the Founding Fathers, not sure what to tell you.
2. Just watched Hamilton with my dad and Burr shoots Hamilton and he goes, "Wow, I didn't expect that." Sorry what?
And the number one thing said by someone who saw Hamilton...
1. Eliza Hamilton was pregnant with her sixth child when her husband published the "Reynolds Pamphlet," let that sink in.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, here's a nice story from...

A homeless man in Tallahassee, Florida applied for a job at McDonald’s and was told he could work there so long as he was able to clean up and shave his beard. The homeless man, named Phil, quickly set about to clean himself and procure a razor, not only to shave his beard but to keep himself cleanly shaven. Phil scraped together some money and bought himself an electric razor, secondhand. The razor, it turned out, was broken. Nonetheless, outside the McDonald’s he was told he could work at, Phil stood and attempted to shave his beard... with a broken razor, no shaving cream, and no mirror ... determined to get the job. At that same time, Tallahassee Police Officer Tony Carlson happened to be at the McDonald’s. He’d met Phil before, and the two were familiar with each other. Phil looked over and asked Officer Carlson if he knew how to fix a razor. According to Officer Carlson, for whatever reason, instead of shrugging and saying no, he became interested and walked over to Phil. While Officer Carlson was tightening a loose screw on the razor Phil explained what he was doing and why he had the razor. Seeing that this guy was trying to better himself, Officer Carlson told Phil he’d help him shave so he could get the job. So that’s exactly what he did. Officer Carlson tells the story himself in this video posted to the Tallahassee Police Department’s Facebook page. Thanks to the helping hand from Officer Carlson, a clean-shaven and confident Phil went into McDonald’s and got the job. Though, as Officer Carlson tells it, what he did was no big deal. Rather, that sort of thing happens all the time and it was just pure coincidence that this particular instance was caught on film. Either way, keep it up officer.

The 132nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum Alicia Keys will be on the Phile on Monday. Okay, let's take a live look at Port Jeff, shall we?

Looks like a nice evening there. Now for some...

Phact 1. In 1943, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles merged into one team known as the “Steagles” because of depleted rosters during World War 2.

Phact 2. In 1968, over 6,000 sheep suddenly died near the Skull Valley Indian Reservation in Utah. It was later revealed that this was due to nerve agent testing by the U.S. Army.

Phact 3. There is a charity gaming marathon where gamers complete games as fast as possible. People watching “Awesome Games Done Quick” on a live stream donated over $4.5M in the last 2 year alone. All donation go to charities like Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Phact 4. YouTube is blocked in China.

Phact 5. George Washington’s best spy was codenamed ‘Culper Jr.’. He was identified as Robert Townsend nearly 150 years after the war because a Long Island historian named Morton Pennypacker recognized his handwriting from some business receipts and matched it to intelligence correspondence.

Today's guest is an American musician, arranger, conductor, musical director, music copyist, and orchestrator who has worked on many shows both on and off Broadway. He is the recipient of multiple Tony and Grammy Awards for his work on shows such as In the HeightsHamilton, and Dear Evan Hansen. Please welcome to the Phile... Alex Lacamoire.

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

Alex: Hello, thank you for having me.

Me: Okay, before we get to Hamilton, which I have not seen... but everyone I practically know has. My sister and her family are obsessed. Anyway, What is the earliest memory you have falling in love with music?

Alex: Oh, wow, that is a great question. Legend has it when I was 2-years-old I would sit in front of a speaker for our home stereo system and I would stare into that speaker, transfixed by the sound coming from within. Before I knew how to read words or read letters I apparently could tell you which record I wanted to listen to just by the color and the logo on the cover and label of a 45. I would say to my mom, "I want to hear 'Hotel California'" or whatever then they'd pick up a record thinking it was it and I'd say, "No, it's not that one, it's this one. It's over here." I knew what it looked like before it was put on a turn table. So I guess I always had an association with music and visuals and sound and what have you. This was before I could even form memories. Those are the earliest memories.

Me: Did sitting by the speakers hurt your hearing? I have been around loud music all my life pretty much and my hearing is going.

Alex: Yeah, right around the same time I was falling in love with music a doctor told me I would need hearing aids.

Me: Man, how did you react to that diagnosis when you were just a little kid?

Alex: I don't think I properly processed it. I think I was too young to really understand.

Me: How old were you when that happened?

Alex: I think I was about 4-years-old when that happened.

Me: So, what do you remember about it?

Alex: I remember getting an exam and then being mold in my ears so they can get the size right, etc, etc. I think I did have a sense that this was not something that everybody had to use. I did have a sense that this was "clinical," I don't know if this is the right word. That feeling of going to the doctors office, that sterile environment where it's just me and some stranger doing exams and grading me on something. So I did sense that was something not normal about it.

Me: I interviewed Huey Lewis recently and he talked about his hearing loss. How did you you deal with yours?

Alex: As time went on I learned how to deal with it and accept it. Not to say at times it still stings a little bit. I still deal with that and in my life it's something I'll always carry with me but it's something I just learned to adapt to, if you will.

Me: I think it gave you a super power in a way about your career. Haha. Do you agree?

Alex: Perhaps. What I tell people is because I don't hear sounds, ambient noises as people's "normal hearing," I'm able to tune things out a lot more easily. I'm much more able yo focus on the thing that is right in front of me. I really have excellent tunnel vision when it comes to working on stuff. There will be times I'll be in my office starring at a computer screen, working on some music and my wife will be standing right next to me, just outside my peripheral vision for a good minute or two before I even notice she's there. I just get lost in what I am doing. Because of that I am able to zero in on what's in front of me and just really obsess about it and get down deep into it. So, I guess I suppose I have achieved some hyper-aware of music and sound because of my dreams.

Me: How would you describe your music, Alex?

Alex: By feel, by physicality, it's super percussive you hear with the Hamilton stuff. I think it's a body thing, more than an ears thing.

Me: So, it's the rhythm of the music that you feel?

Alex: Yeah, music is a very physical experience for me. If you ever see me play the piano my body tends to move a lot. My body moves, my hand movie. Even when I'm listening there are times I exclaim if I hear something I like I'm like "woo!" Or "whoa!" I bend backwards a little bit when something hits me a certain way. There are certain reactions that I can't really control.

Me: When did you start with musical theater, Alex?

Alex: I worked on Wicked and Avenue Q. That's where I formed this relationship with an up and comer named Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Me: So, what do you love about theater?

Alex: One of the thing I love about theater is about the process of creating and developing a show. It morphs and it changes.

Me: Give me an example that sticks out. Alex: The song "Blackout" from In the Heights I think of the many incarnations the intro went through. There was a version I remember when instead of this gradual build of them it was just everybody coming in at once going "whaaaaaaa!!!!" All the lines coming in at once because we wanted to symbolize what it felt after you you're in a club and the pier goes out, what would that be like? Then eventually we stumbled upon this stylistic idea that it may take a second, the power goes out and it takes a send of "what just happened? Oh, the power went out." In that there's a little gradual acceptance of dealing with it, etc, etc. And I remember it being important to me that we understand that there's been a blackout and actually physically say the word or hear it, and Lin came up with the idea of using that line first. "Oye, que paso? Vino el apagon, ay dios!" I love that it's in Spanish and I love how that one voice happens and the other people sing "Oh, my gosh" or "Oh, no." Whatever it is. It starts to pile on and we get this big quilt of different ideas to try to symbolize the mayhem that might be ensuing from all these people in a club. That's a long answer to your question, but that's what comes to mind about the work that goes into it and not getting it perfect the first time. And having to develop it and having to throw out ideas and come up with new ones and throwing them on people and seeing what comes out of it.

Me: In the Heights is gonna be a movie, right? It's a Spanish musical?

Alex: It draws on Lin's Puerto Rican heritage, yeah. I also grew up in a Latin-American family, a Cuban family.

Me: How helpful was that in the process of creating In the Heights?

Alex: For this particular show I can't over stress how fortunate I feel about that, how I grew up. Even the fact that I'm Cuban-American and Lin is Puerto Rican, and has Mexican heritage as well, we were able to just instantly bond just based on that. The fact that we were two Latin kids who are enjoying theater and trying to create something new. We just had a similar thing to draw from. Whether it was our language, whether it was our salsa music we were exposed to growing up. It's that thing where you meet someone for the first time and you feel that you've known them. Just instantly when I first met Lin I knew it was something we could bond over. I am confident that our relationship blossomed because we just had that instinctive base that was in our DNA that we didn't have to talk about. It certainly was just there, we we were just able to throw in Spanglish in our conversations and just make jokes about it. I just love how effortless that was and how great it was for me to be in New York City and be in musical theater and find someone who literally spoke my language. I would encounter friends like that every now and then, most of the people I knew growing up in Miami tried to make it to New York, but I didn't have a circle of Latino friends that who just really bond with and talk about our craft in that way. So it was a real blessing.

Me: So, I first heard about Hamilton was on "CBS Sunday Morning" in 2017 I think, or 2106, and I thought Hamilton wasn't Spanish or from Puerto Rico. What the hell? Then before I knew it everyone was into it... when Lin-Mianda first approached you with the idea and pitched it to you what did you think?

Alex: When he brought it in I recognized the verbal dexterity of it, and was like wow, this is really cool, about the craft of it. But at the same time I remember squinting my eyes and being like "is this serious? Is this tongue in cheek?" Because it seemed so outlandish, right? Like I didn't think to myself I'm going to marry American history with pop and condense a biography if you will into this four minute single. It wasn't until I heard the song "My Shot" a year later, there was something about that that I personally was able to see the drama of it more clearly right away. That's nothing to say the composition is better or stronger than the other but that's something to say something about "My Shot" once I heard that and once I saw history being personified in action and in chants and in passion of words and an idea. Meaning to be expressed and what would it take to get there and manifest it, I saw it and I felt it, and I was like oh, wow, American history is cool. I didn't love American history when I was in high school, I wasn't particularly good at it. But all of a sudden when these people looked like human beings, the way that Lin-Manuel was painting them, the way they were speaking a language that felt vizual and in a way that I can just relate all of a sudden something that would have been in black and white all of a sudden went to color for me.

Me: I asked my sister Lucy to describe "My Shot" in one sentence and she said, "I don't think I can so that!" So, what did you do for that song?

Alex: Arranged it, composed it, music directed it.

Me: How do you even start to arrange that many instruments and voices all together to tell a story? 

Alex: The first thing I want to say, Lucy is a genius. That means a lot. All I hear when I hear that song are Lin-Manuel's words and composition. The good news is that Lin-Manuel's demo was so well flushed out and so clear to me what it needed to sound like. The tempo is there and I see it all and I hear it all. It's not that I don't get ideas along the way, that I don't develop it as it goes, but I'm able to hear the drums are going to do this, the bass is going to hold the notes, and the guitar is going to start playing eight notes underneath it. I can't explain why that happens or why that is but I think a lot of it has to do with the groundwork that Lin-Manuel lays out. I heard people talk about the art and talk about inalterability of something and the sense of we hear something and that feels correct, complete and whole and whatever that is. I feel that when I hear Lin's songs and when at times the songs are still in progress, developing it as it goes, I see that the idea is always string enough for me I get a glow of it and be able to dive in and I hear what's around it.

Me: The movie Hamilton is now on Disney+. What do you think about it?

Alex: So, the finished product is so beautiful and I give massive credit to Tom Kail, our director. And I give massive credit to Jonah Moran our editor. It's a big daunting task to have at least seven cameras of material for the show. We have to decide which angle we're going to be looking at. Which moment are we going to decide to feature because we are trying to give one particular vantage point of the story. How do we choose? How are we able yo do that? That to me is my problem, because that could go anywhere, right? We could have a different editor behind the wheel and the finished project would be totally different. So it's very personal in that way and we have to try to figure out how to give the clearest rendition of the story as possible with these angles and these colors and these looks. I supposed that goes with arranging and orchestrating as well, right? On one hand when I'm listening to the cast album all we have to deal with is the audible experience, we have to make that as good as possible. The listener wold put on their headphones or listen through their speakers and make their own visual of what they think it looks like but here we are tasked with making this film, and we see the costumes, see the set, see the choreography, see the lighting, and we have to decide what it all needs to be and give that to an audience. So that is a herculean task I think and I'm extremely proud of what the product is and I think people enjoy watching it and feel like they're getting the experience of the totality of the show.

Me: Now it's on TV who needs to go see it live, right? What do you say about people that will think that?

Alex: To really experience Hamilton I think, the way it was intended, one needs to be sitting in the theater and feeling what that is, and I really long for the day that after the shutdown people are able to attend theater once more and enjoy the communal experience inside the theater and watching an actor with your very eyes walk the tightrope and perform that song without a net, but I think this movie would be the next best thing for people to have that live experience in their homes.

Me: I will try to watch it, or listen to it. Thanks for being on the Phile, Alex. Take care.

Alex: I hope you do. Thank you.

He said my sister Lucy is a genius. I bet she'll like that. She said the same thing about Alex. Anyway, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Alex Lacamoire for a cool interview. The Phile will be back on Monday with Phile Alum Alicia Keys. 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