Thursday, July 22, 2021

Pheaturing Ricky Gervais


Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you doing? In case you're in the mood to remember you're not rich today, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos just got back from a ten minute joy ride to space. Normal people go to Disney World's spinning teacup ride when they need a reminder that it's a small world, but billionaires can apparently fully fund little space missions for themselves that launch them off the planet Earth and back. In an objectively phallic spacecraft Bezos, his brother Mark, 82-year-old aviation pilot Mary "Wally" Funk, and teen physics student, Oliver Daeman, embarked on their trip to view Earth as a tiny blue marble at 9:12 a.m. on July 20th. We can only assume Bezos provided his guests with an in-flight snack spread of freshly printed hundred dollar bills and diamond-encrusted golden nuggets of caviar-infused champagne to chomp on while cackling into the stars. The Billionaire Bezos space jaunt is remarkable as Mary Funk (now the oldest person to go to space) endured rigorous astronaut training in the sixties only to be denied along with her fellow female peers. At 18-years-old, Daeman is now the youngest person to enter space after he won the 28 million dollar seat by bidding for it at an auction. Say what you will about Gen Z, but they're not just dancing on TikTok and complaining about Millennials being "Cheugy," some of them are hitching a first class ride out of Earth. 

Jeff Bezos spent 10 minutes in a spaceship Tuesday and he's really excited about it. So excited, in fact, that he spoke honestly about the fact that Amazon customers and employees "paid for" the flight. The billionaire made the statement on camera at a press conference after the flight, and those around him laughed at what he said. Bezos doesn't have the best track record for granting rights to its workers or even just letting them use the bathroom during shifts. So the statement rubbed a lot of people who weren't at the press conference the wrong way. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in early...

Mostly, people can't believe he actually said this out loud. And pointed to his union-busting past as a reason why he was able to fund this trip. 

Tom Brady, the football player everyone knows even if they don't know football players, visited the White House with his fellow Tampa Bay Buccaneers to celebrate their Super Bowl win. Brady once golfed with Trump, and has long been the former president's man crush. For decades, Trump venerated Brady as the ultimate male specimen, trying to set him up with his daughter Ivanka so they would breed a "power dynasty." Trump described Brady as one of his "great friends" and was reportedly very angry when Brady skipped the White House visit after his win with the New England Patriots in 2017... so angry that he screamed at the team's owner, Robert Kraft. Trump is likely to be even angrier when he sees that Brady finally made it to the White House, and made jokes at his expense. The quarterback mocked Trump's election lie, joking that "40% of the people still don't think we won." Thank goodness that Kansas City Chiefs fans didn't launch an insurrection. Brady also riffed on Trump's nickname for Biden, "Sleepy Joe," joking that he was called "Sleepy Tom." Brady: “We had a game in Chicago where I forgot what down it was. I lost track of one down in 21 years of playing and they started calling me Sleepy Tom. Why would they do that to me?” Liberals and other anti-Trumpers rejoiced at this moment that likely became the worst moment in Donald Trump's life: worse than his two impeachments, hospital stay, and Eric's birth combined. It’s only a matter of time before Trump turns on Brady. That’ll be another rare clash in which I’ll be rooting for Brady.

Megyn Kelly is in the eye of an Internet storm once again after taking a shot at the tennis player Naomi Osaka on Twitter. The confrontation started when Conservative commentator Clay Travis accused Osaka of not being genuine about her mental health problems (referencing her decision to drop out of the French Open). Kelly was quick to add to the accusations by bringing up recent magazines that came out featuring Osaka. It wasn't long before Osaka responded by pointing out that all of her magazine covers were shot a year ago, long before she opened to the public up about her mental health. She wrote, "Seeing as you're a journalist I would've assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would've found out I shot all my covers last year. Instead your first reaction is to top on here and spew negativity, do better Megan." Shortly after that, Osaka blocked Kelly on Twitter. Staying true to her brand, Kelly didn't let the exchange go, and instead decided to double down after being blocked. Kelly's follow-up tweet prompted a back-and-forth with Czech American former tennis player Martina Navratilova, who came to Osaka's defense. Unsurprisingly, Kelly's stream of tweets inspired a lot of responses from the general public. Some people were straight-up roasting her for spending so much time picking fights on Twitter. While others pointed out the hypocrisy of her not calling out her Conservative colleagues for blocking people while claiming Osaka isn't "tough" for the same behavior. Others focused more on the racial dynamics of Kelly obsessively targeting Osaka. At the time of writing this, no one from Osaka's camp has further engaged with Kelly, so hopefully her harassment campaign comes to an end. 

I think we can all agree that if there's one actor synonymous with the Star Wars franchise, it has got to be Mark Hamill. The Hollywood legend has been part of the Star Wars universe since its inception in the 1970s and even after Luke Skywalker died in The Last Jedi, Hamill has made appearances in other projects under the Lucasfilm banner. But did you know that he's been pulling double duty since the sequel trilogy started? Apparently, Hamill has been doing "secret" voice cameos since 2015 most fans aren't aware of. Mark revealed the jaw-dropping bit when a fan pointed out on Twitter that he voiced the droid EV-9D9 in "The Mandalorian." According to Hamill himself, he's done secret voice cameos for all Star Wars films that have come out in the Disney era so far... from the sequel trilogy, Rogue One, and Solo. You truly learn something new every day. As for Mark's future in the franchise, while it's evident that the Mandoverse has plans of revisiting Luke Skywalker's story in upcoming seasons of "The Mandalorian" and potentially, his own solo spinoff show, Lucasfilm will most likely cast a new actor to play the Jedi Master but doesn't mean there's no way for Hamill to get involved. Now that we know that he's been secretly lending his voice in various Star Wars projects, I expect Disney to continue the tradition in future projects. I'd also be down with him returning as a Force ghost in a future Star Wars trilogy set years after the Skywalker saga. I think that would be great.

So, if you didn't see Bezo's rocket launch, here it is...

Hahaha. Hey, future kids, this is Jeff Bezos...

You heard of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, right? But have you heard of Dwayne "The Loch" Johnson? No? Look...

Hahahahaha. So, ever watch that "Antiques Roadshow" TV show? You never know what they're gonna have on there...

Hahahahaha. Any stroll through a store would have you believe that "pink is for girls" and "blue is for boys" are the associated gender roles are the very backbone of our society. Products from nail clippers to hand lotion are assigned genders when last time I checked, inanimate objects don't have gender identities. Like these acne patches for some reason...

Because only girls like stars. Different families have different ways of showing affection. And sometimes, this can cause friction in relationships. A woman recently emailed the Phile to ask for advice after feeling like her boyfriend and his sister might be a little too close, because of the way he hugs her. The plot twist: she's going through a really hard time. So is this girlfriend right to be concerned, or is her boyfriend just a really good brother? The woman explains the crappy circumstances surrounding her boyfriend's sister...

"My boyfriend's sister had her first kid quite young at 21. Her daughter is now 5 and has developed a cancerous brain tumor. Her fiancĂ© and the baby daddy un-fiancĂ©d her ( I don't know the proper term because I don't think break up works here). It's obviously all been really hard on her so my boyfriends been comforting her but I don't like that he cuddles her. So how does he cuddle her? Like she'll hug him he will put his arm around her and stroke her back or something and she'll just cry into his chest. I'm not jealous because he cuddles a lot with me as well but I just think it's weird. I understand that it is his sister and she is going through a hard time, but I still thought it was weird and felt a little uncomfortable. So I went and talked to him about it and said it made me uncomfortable. He said that's my sister and I'm just trying to help her. I said that it still makes me uncomfortable. He asked me what I want him to do. I said just don't cuddle her give her support in other ways. He said that it was a good way of giving support and it helped her and that I need to calm down so I said fine and left it at that. At first, I thought he was being stubborn but now that I've thought about it more I think he may be right and I probably should calm down and try to help him instead of bothering him like this." Some people need physical comfort. That’s his sister and she’s going through something unimaginable. Imagine crying about your child's brain tumor on your brother's shoulder and having him push you away and pat your head. I thought they were gonna be spooning or something based on your subject title, but that just sounds like a good hug. He sounds like a good brother to be honest. It'd be one thing if they were in their underwear and spooning or some shit. They aren't. Your boyfriend is hugging her and stroking her hair/back. That's normal. So there you have it. If your sibling's child is diagnosed with a brain tumor, it's okay to hug them and rub their back. In case anyone was wondering. If you have a problem you'd like my opinion on then email me at Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Things Said About Jeff Bezos' Ten Minute Space Trip
5. Jeff Bezos spent $5.5 billion and more than twenty years so that he can briefly travel to space. MacKenzie Scott gave away $8 billion in less than a year to change other people’s lives forever. 
4. How many Amazon workers are going to have to pee in a bottle today? How many are going to have to go to a second job to put food on the table? But hey, at least Jeff Bezos is almost going into space. LOL.
3. Jeff Bezos rocket looking like a giant dildo was perfect. 
2. Just to properly frame it, Jeff Bezos used your money and money that should’ve gone to build schools and roads and public housing and provide healthcare and support small businesses to blast himself into “near space” and enjoy days of uncritical media fawning. 
And the number one thing said about Bezos' ten minute space trip was...
1. If you had to pay a tax to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere we would never see Jeff Bezos again. 

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Hey, it's Thursday, you know what that means...

Yuck! Okay, let's take a live look at Port Jefferson, shall we?

Looks like a nice day. 

The 154th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Sharon will be on the Phile next Friday. I know I said on Monday but nope... on Friday next week. 

Phact 1. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Between 5% and 20% of people who suffer from the disease eventually die from it. 

Phact 2. There’s a man who turned his dead cat into a drone; then did the same to an ostrich, a shark, a rat, and more. 

Phact 3. Cabin in the Woods was supposed to have a Left 4 Dead level based on the movie sets, but was canceled. In spite of this, Boomer appears in the movie. 

Phact 4. In Kazakhstan, there is a town where people suddenly started falling asleep for 5 days or longer. 

Phact 5. Dolphins give each other names and will answer to it even when called by dolphins they don’t know.

I'm so excited about this... today's guest is an English actor, comedian, director, producer and writer. He is best known for co-creating, co-writing and acting in the British television mockumentary sitcom "The Office." Currently, Gervais is credited as the creator, executive producer, director, and writer for the Netflix comedy series "After Life," where he plays the lead role of Tony Johnson. Please welcome to the Phile... Ricky Gervais!

Me: Ricky, welcome to the Phile! I'm a huge fan and so excited you are here. How are you?

Ricky: I'm doing good. I'm glad to be here. The 1918 pandemic must've been awful. 

Me: I love your live videos you've dome during the pandemic. What do you like doing about them? 

Ricky: Well, it started off as a bit of a joke. I thought it would be fun to connect with fans on Twitter. I did it live and I pretended I was Winston Churchill during the war. It soon generated into the worst entertainment in the world. I don't know why people tune in. I asked once, "why are you watching this?" It's awful, but it gets many hits because it's TV. They're just seeing a fat drunk bloke complains about how awful this thing is that he's doing. It's very weird. It's very meta. 

Me: It's you and it's funny. I love "After Life," sir. Tell the readers what it's about. 

Ricky: It's dark comedy-drama follows newspaper journalist Tony, whose life is upended after his wife dies from cancer. 

Me: So, not the most happiest of stories, it seems like an unlikely show. When you first started making it and coming up with the premise were you confident in it? 

Ricky: I think everything I've done is an unlikely show. If I just sent the script off of "The Office" saying I'm a nobody, I'm going to play the lead character, he says unfunny things that no one laughs at, he looks at the camera... that doesn't jump off the page. You have to see it. "Derek"! Imagine me describing "Derek" to people. I play a guy who shuffles around in an old people's home. People go "really"? You're going to try and sell this? The thing unlikely about it it's the most dramatic I've gone which is always dangerous for a comedian I think. But more that because it was a comedy, and it still is, I still call it a sit-com I was worried could people properly be laughing at something and then crying and then laughing again? That's the only thing, that was the tricky but, how could I do that and not make it like two completely different shows? The answer is I just make it realistic. I just do it naturalistically because that's life. You're laughing and then you get a terrible email. People are smarter than we think, we keep second guessing people. We do it as broadcasters and creators and studios. We say can people take this and we water it down in case and that's ludicrous. 

Me: Why do you think that is, Ricky? 

Ricky: If we think can they take that sort of language, can they take that about death? Yes! Because they're going through that in real life. Real life is worse. So we sort of create our own real life heroes and villains in fiction as role playing for the soul. People enjoy it, they go through all these things and they actually laugh and they actually cry and in the end they feel better because in the end no one really got hurt. It's almost an inoculation to real life. I think I go really head first into taboo subjects because I think no harm can from discussing them. I face these things head on and if we can laugh at the face of adversity we're bullet proof. 

Me: With me it's a touchy subject as both of my parents passed away from cancer. How does this show compare to other shows that talk about grief? 

Ricky: Often the media wants us to perceive grief as this one color, they are very, very sad, and they are very, very sad all the time, but there's a beauty and a resilience in the sadness. But often they ignore that and they are sad and it doesn't go away and it hurts all the time. Sometimes they laugh and joke about the saddest thing about death and their friend who had died. Sometimes they find themselves laughing. 

Me: So, how did you get it so right, how people actually experience grief? 

Ricky: Firstly I think a lot of aspects of of nature aren't treated of the complexity they deserve. I think it's not just through grief, they do it with villains with a twirly mustache, they have no redeeming features, they never do anything nice, they're always in the wrong. The truth is that bad people do good things and good people do bad things and we don't know which is which. Bad people sometimes keep it to themselves. Good people go out of their way to be honest. So all aspects of humanity is very, very complex and sometimes they are not treated like that in fiction because again they want to water it down. They don't want people to be confused by who's the villain and who's not like in real life. 

Me: Do you think they also think that if you're going through grief you shouldn't laugh? 

Ricky: Exactly. And sometimes we got to get on with stuff. Like now, it's fine to be in touch with our emotions, it's fine to stay we are depressed and get help. It's fine to talk about it. We've made it as a society that is more caring and we get it out in the open and it's good to talk. 

Me: Do you think people are different now than when we were growing up? 

Ricky: When I was growing up I didn't know a grown man who would say, "I'm depressed." I wonder how many times when we saw working class men, labourers like my dad just get drunk and go to bed? How many of those were depressed? But couldn't say it or didn't know it. 

Me: So, how does your character Tony handle his wife's death? 

Ricky: It's really hard and Tony is really confused, he doesn't know what to do. He's angry, he's sad and he doesn't get to say that much. So it's great when he talks to Penelope Wilton's character Anne. It's about the comfort of strangers and he feels can say what's true in it. There's a scene in episode 4 of the second season where he breaks down and says, "I'm broken, I lost all of me when Lisa died, all the good stuff." Its really sad and the most poignant thing he says is, "People think I'm getting better, getting on with it, because I'm snarky sometimes. I think that's the real me, and this is not, but it's not, this is me all the time. I remember what it's like to eb normal so I do an impression of that." He's so conflicted, he doesn't know how to act. He's going throng the seven stages of grief and we started off, we hit the ground running with Season 1 where he was going through shock, anger, denial, and now he's going through negotiation, he's saying if Im not going to kill myself... why? What's in it for me? What is there to stay around for? It asks the big question, both the series asks the big question, if you lose everything is it still worth living? That's the central theme, it's like a study, it's like a cheque list for what's worth living for really. 

Me: I like the old lady who can't stop swearing. What's the deal with that? Hahah. 

Ricky: There's a scene where this old lady turns a 100, you've seen it a lot in the paper, when they say what's your secret on living a long life they say just have a cup a tea a day. I thought just once I want to say don't, because it's awful. And she does this... she hates being alive, she's in pain all the time. And when you add to that the actress who plays that is an absolute national treasure in England, she's like our Betty White, Annette Crosbie, for her to be saying so many c-bombs in the first episode... Ha ha ha ha ha. 

Me: That's funny, Ricky, you do write and create good characters. I wrote two novel's and I enjoyed writing characters as well. 

Ricky: Yeah, I'm with her. I love people who are honest. Again I love that brutal honesty. I do like it that we get old people's rights. My mum was always pretty honest to me but she'd say to me things like, "Rick, you're getting fat." And I'll go, "Cheers." And I'd laugh. I've got older brothers and sisters, they're eleven years older than me, twelve years older than me, fourteen years older than me and I remember when I was thirteen I said, "Mum, why are my brothers and sisters much older than me?" And she went, "You were a mistake." Right? Honesty is funny, honesty is funny. 

Me: You have put leading women in characters who work in old age old people's homes before. Why is that? 

Ricky: I've always seen women as sort of leaders really. I was the fourth child of an immigrant labourer from Canada. My dad was from London, Ontario, he volunteered for the war, came over, met my mum, got her pregnant and I came along like in 1961. We had no one, we was a labourer all his life, worked on building sites and odd jobs until he was seventy. My mum was a homemaker and again had odd jobs but men worked hard, women worked miracles. 

Me: I agree, my mom was amazing, but why do you say that? 

Ricky: Because when my dad finished work his time was his own. My mum carried on, she never stopped, she couldn't stop. She had kept everything together, she could do anything. She would plant vegetables so we wouldn't go hungry, she would make clothes, she would sew, knit, wallpaper. She would do everything and she gave me everything I needed. Except money. I learned from that that the best things were free. Learning, it was free, Nature, free. Friends, they were free. Healthcare, it was free. I always thought of women they did everything, they were lionesses. They were protectors, they were nurturers, teachers, they were everything. Most of the women in my family worked with some sort of care. My mum fostered, my sister teachers learning disabled kids, my sister-in-law, two of her kids, two of my nieces work in care homes, so I always had that around me growing up. That's why I knew about "Derek." The best thing that came out of the pandemic is we saw the true heroes were nurses and care workers, and I hope people never forget that. 

Me: I haven't seen "Derek," but I heard good things about that show. I was a big fan of "The Office" and "Extras" though. How do you compare all your characters? 

Ricky: I always thought there was pathos in this stuff, is I usually played the absolute buffoon. Even David Brent was a buffon. Even that I the end, I wanted people to realise that David Brent was a bit wounded actually and needed a hug. He's been sold this bad bill. His big error was he mistook popularity with respect, he thought if I could be popular I could be respected. He was insecure and he just wanted to be loved. So really David Brent did have a heart, he just didn't know how to do it. That was about fame, how people just think how they could take a shortcut to feeling happy. Everything I've done is about humanity, and everything I've done is about being happy. Everything I've done is existential to some extent about... am I leading a good life? Am I doing it right? Am I getting the most out of it? And all the problems we have, all the fears, all the time we waste worrying about that. I'm an optimist and basically people are good. There's a saying, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners. If we treat a dog badly with cruelty, it'll be nasty, because it's in fear. I think it's the same with people. I think we make villains, we create villains. I think basically we're good. we built our whole civilization on empathy. Around the camp fire, caring about people, worrying about our tribe, telling stories, all these things haven't changed, all this technology has moved so much faster with the evolution but its still the same as we were two hundred thousand years ago, when we were scrambling around. We've got the same brain. You bring back a hunter gatherer, shave him, put a suit on and he could be a computer programmer. We're the same. 

Me: I disagree, people will comment not so nice things, I mean, look at Trump... the Internet as well brings out the worse in people. So, what changed? 

Ricky: I think people started to get rewarded in my life time. There's a line in "After Life" when Tony says, "When did it start that people would rather be famous for being shit rather than not be famous at all?" The answer is when we all started to be rewarded for it. Reality TV, clickbait, now you've got trolls who get their own shows because they said something really nasty and they're invited on the show because people will tune in. It's crazy and social media just amplified this narcism. Given the chance, even the cavemen that I talked about, they'd put their hand on the cave wall and blow around it going I was here. Everyone os going "I was here." Now we've got the Internet which is like reading every toilet wall in the world at once and everyone is just shouting out the window. The problem is there is no difference now between fame and infamy. Bad behaviour is rewarded the same as good behaviour. So kids grow up thinking why do I want to be a doctor when I can just take my clothes off? 

Me: I have to say that I love what you say about animals and dogs online, you live animals, right? 

Ricky: I think dogs are amazing, in fact all animals are unconditionally perfect and beautiful. But one relationship with the dog is something special. They guard us, they guide us, they smell cancer. We should be giving awards to dogs every year. Not actors. They get paid for doing their jobs. We should be giving medals to dogs and nurses and that that's what should change if anything. 

Me: Ricky, thanks so much for being on the Phile. 

Ricky: Cheers. My pleasure.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Ricky Gervais for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Friday with Sharon Stone. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. 

Give me some rope, tie me to dream, give me the hope to run out of steam, somebody said it could be here. We could be roped up, tied up, dead in a year. I can't count the reasons I should stay. One by one they all just fade away...

Monday, July 19, 2021

Pheaturing Speech


Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Chrissy Teigen has officially not tweeted in over a month (unless she has a secret private account, which we honestly wouldn't rule out). And she's sick of it! Chrissy's last few tweets were responses to the controversy that surrounded her in early June. Courtney Stodden exposed Chrissy's alleged tweets and DMs, and this led Chrissy to issue several public apologies... although Courtney claimed Chrissy never reached out to apologize one-on-one. Chrissy lost several high-profile business deals due to the controversy, and hasn't been active on Twitter since. Chrissy has, however, been using Instagram. She took to the photo-sharing app to post a photo of her legs along with a lengthy caption about how much she misses interacting with people, presumably via Twitter since, again, she is still using Instagram. She wrote in the caption about how she's been stuck in her "depressed head" and lamenting her current inclusion in the "canceled club." Which apparently means the "people who are voluntarily not tweeting but still using other platforms" club. Courtney Stodden...  whose statements about Chrissy's past treatment of them led in part to her "cancaellation"... weighed in with a TikTok in which they advised Chrissy to "just be nice." Teigen has chosen to limit who can comment on the post. Some of her famous(-ish) fans voiced their support. But a few more critical fans snuck in to give their two cents. One Instagram user pointed out that Chrissy herself has sharpened the ol' pitchfork in the past. And many people are finding it hard to scrounge up any sympathy for the multimillionaire. And a few fans brought up her seemingly lavish recent trip to Italy, which she posted about on Instagram. This rubbed a few fans the wrong way. It also remains unclear why Chrissy feels "canceled" when she is still... you know... doing stuff. So, yeah. Some people don't feel bad.

In-laws are notoriously not always the easiest people to deal with. They tend to come with all the demands of aging parents, but without the built-in affection you tend to have for someone you're related to by blood. But if you think your in-laws are difficult, they probably aren't as bad as the mother-in-law of the person who had to post a Craigslist ad to hire her a wedding date. If you live near Hudson Valley, New York, are free in August, are between 40 and 60 years old and good at dealing with narcissists, I may have just the job for you!

The job's list of qualifications include being a "conversationalist" and "de-escalator" who is also a good dancer, with "experience in dealing with narcissists a plus." In return, the wedding date will receive not only $1,000 but also a list of conversation topics, their own hotel room, food, and travel expenses covered. Apparently the pay and benefits make this not an unappealing offer. So if you're interested, you might want to apply soon before the position gets filled! 

Megan Fox set the record straight about her recent interaction with former president Donald Trump during a recent appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." The actress recently received backlash after the Internet heard that she allegedly called Trump "a legend" after sitting by him at a recent UFC match in Las Vegas. While speaking on the show, Fox gave more context to her original quote. She said, "I was in a row with Bieber, and Trump was also in my row. He had, like, 30 Secret Service with him. He was a legend. That arena was very supportive of Trump when he came in. I was like, I don't know how I feel about it, because if someone is a target, then I'm like, I could be harmed because I'm adjacent to where he is. So I was worried about my own safety, that's all I was caring about. But yeah, I've never seen anything like that before. It was crazy." Fox was careful to set the record straight on "Kimmel" after receiving a mix of accolades from Trump supporters and criticism from liberals after the match. On Wednesday night, she also posted an Instagram story claiming she never called Trump a legend, but rather that she noted he was a legend in that arena of the UFC fight. Do you get a feeling I'm being lazy with the monologues? Hahaha.

England's soccer football team might have lost the Euro Cup, but the country is still showing the world what they excel at: racism. Lads posted horrifically racist posts about Team England players Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who are black, when they missed the penalty kicks that helped lock in Italy's win. Prince William, President of the Football Association, took to Twitter to tell blokes to stop it, signing the personal plea "W." He was met with a chorus of tweeters telling him to take a hard look at the racist abuse he enabled and perpetuated himself: the abuse the drove his brother Prince Harry and sister-in-law Meghan Markle to the other side of the world. Italian fans joke that their triumph over England was revenge for how England treated Meghan. Mamma mia!

Speaking of famous sons who are only where they are because of who their father is, Donald Trump Jr. The whatever-his-job-is spoke at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, and one of his jokes went over so poorly that you could see him fully die inside. The "please clap" moment came when the Large Adult Son delivered the poorly conceived and demonstrably false joke, "Texas had always lead the charge, 'til about a couple of months ago, and then Austin kind of took charge... Texas was still leading the charge... you're still like top 25... we gotta work on that stuff because most people have lost their minds... right?" All in all, his presence was likely well-received because conservatives will cheer for anything and anyone named Trump, but the minutes he was flapping in the wind were pleasing to anti-Trumpers. To quote Olivia Rodrigo, "god, it's brutal out here." 

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

Ummm... maybe not. Keeping up with the youngins and their lingo is tough. Kids these days like to use "emoji," which use small pictures to communicate how they're feeling... kind of like hyroglyphics. When using emoji, it's easy to confuse laugh-crying for just regular-crying, and these boomers and old folks made the unfortunate mistake of using the wrong face at the wrongest possible times. 

Schadenfreude? Any stroll through a store would have you believe that "pink is for girls" and "blue is for boys" are the associated gender roles are the very backbone of our society. Products from nail clippers to hand lotion are assigned genders when last time I checked, inanimate objects don't have gender identities. Like these signs for example...  

Language is weird and complicated and often makes no sense. Like why are grapefruits and grapes two completely different fruits?! So it makes sense why so many children make up completely new names for things. Sometimes these names are extremely literal. Other times they're completely and utterly random. Either way, the linguistic anarchy of children is never not hilarious, as any parent can attest to. 

Okay, wanna laugh?

When the man first noticed that his penis was growing longer, he was delighted. But several weeks and several inches later, he became concerned and went to see a urologist. While his wife waited outside, the physician examined him and explained that, thought rare his condition could be corrected by minor surgery. The patient's wife anxiously rushed up to the doctor after the examination and was told of the diagnosis and the need for surgery. "How long will he be on crutches?" she asked. "Crutches???" the doctor asked. "Well, yes," the woman said "You are going to lengthen his legs, aren't you?" 

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Now from the home officer in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things Said By Married People Today
5. My wife just pulled me into the other room and I thought she wanted to have a serious talk but she just wanted to give me M&M’s without the kids seeing. 
4. My wife and I are sitting on the couch watching TV and I hear a text, realizing I left my phone in the kitchen, I get up, go to the kitchen to check it... and its a text from my wife: "Please bring the chips on your way back."
3. I ran out of deodorant so I used my wife's Secret antiperspirant. Now not only do I smell like lavender, but I also loaded the dishwasher correctly for the first time ever. 
2. My wife got in her gym clothes, delivered an angry five-minute rant about how much she loves bread, then started cry-laughing at an unintelligible joke she mumbled between hysterical sobs. I have never been so scared in my life. 
And the number one thing said by a married person today was...
1. What’s my marital advice for new wives? Always screenshot proof that you texted your husband about any upcoming plans you guys have. Just trust me on this. You’ll use the shit out of those. 

The 154th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Sharon will be on the Phile next Monday... a week from today. Okay, let's take a live look at Port Jeff, shall we?

Looks like an okay day there. 

Today's guest is an American rapper and musician. He is a member of the progressive hip hop group Arrested Development and has released a number of solo albums. His documentary 16 Bars is available on Amazon Prime and Apple TV as well as some other places and also on DVD. Please welcome to the Phile... Speech.

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

Speech: What's up, man? What's up? I'm doing great, I'm doing really good. 

Me: So, you have a documentary called 16 Bars. What is it about? Not bars that you drink at, right? 

Speech: No, man. The film takes viewers into a music workshop I led for inmates in Richmond, Virginia. 

Me: Oh, I was way off. When you first walked into the jail and met the inmates what was the first thing that struck you? 

Speech: Well, just how many smart, deep thinking, intellectual people there are inside that jail. I get these images of what is going to be inside of a jail or prison and I walk in, at least what I see on television, is all the real hard rock guys and they're just sort of grunting and waiting for me to make my wrong move. That's the type of imagery we get when we watch things about jail. When I walked in I saw this deep humanity and yeah, people that have done some hard things. 

Me: So, have some of these people done some hard things? 

Speech: Yeah, some of them have done some hard things and many people, most people actually, that were in for non-violent crimes. So it was a surprise. 

Me: What did you want to accomplish with your music workshop? 

Speech: Well, the truth is from my research and my understanding there is a shortage of workshops and that there's not a lot of music programs. In fact I saw this jail on television doing a daddy/daughters dance on CNN. When I saw the particular sheriff of this jail had a vision to have such a humane in the way of dealing with incarceration and what he would call "the residents" as opposed to the inmates I was moved to reach out to this particular jail to see if we could do some things. That's when I found they had a rarity which was a studio inside of this jail. It happens in other places but is so rare, and what I was looking for is someone with a vision to maybe have me come in and teach music or record music with these residents or inmates. 

Me: What were you hoping to accomplish to make music with the residents? 

Speech: For me the whole issue of incarceration and the injustices of it have been on my heart for decades now. When I saw this documentary I mentioned on CNN it let me know that maybe this was meant to be, I do music, I'm an activist through music and my activism is really striving to reach people through the lyrics, through the music, through the arts. So I figured if I could get it there it might be able to number 1) raise the voices of the men that are in these jails and prisons and number 2) with music allow people to become more are of the issues that are surrounding them and also maybe become activists in their own right, maybe just help out in certain ways and transition back into society. Maybe help out with how they are going to vote when it's time for elections and so forth. That's what I wanted to do is raise awareness. 

Me: You have a guy named Teddy Kane in the movie, Speech. Who is he? 

Speech: He was out of jail by the time we started filming but we still had a chance to make music together. He's the Tupac of his era. 

Me: What was it about him that blew you away? 

Speech: He blows me away every time I listen to Teddy and not just because of his lyrics, but his life. He's able to capture in music and in lyric most gritty and reality based lyrics about those who are raised in poverty, those who are raised around the drug game, those that are raised around really intense violence. Teddy himself, and he doesn't really share this in the film, was literally wrapped in plastic in and ready to be disposed of in his own life. Hit with an axe at the top of his head, split his head wide open. When we witness somebody whose been through these type of horrific things, things that we see in movies, things that we see in fiction but they've been through it in real life, the lyrics are bound to be poetic, they're bound to be filled with a certain grittiness and realness that definitely is like the Tupac of this era. I want more people to hear who Teddy Kane is. And this movie allows for that. No one know who is behind bars, and this film helps bring those voices to the light. 

Me: So, who else sticks out in the film for you, Speech? 

Speech: God, Garland Carr who is an amazing vocalist as well. He sings country, and that's also in this film. 

Me: So, why is the film called 16 Bars

Speech: I named it 16 Bars because that's a very common amount of bars for people to spit in hip-hop, and I'm from the hip-hop world. But the truth is this is mostly about men being able to express themselves behind bars, through the music, through the arts. You'd be surprised about the amount of talent in the movie and the movie shares that. Even some that aren't highly showcased in the film you ate able to see little breaks of how talented these men are and it's just outstanding. 

Me: I do like Garland's singing. When he picked up the guitar and started to sing did you see something change in him? 

Speech: He did, I did. I think both of us changed. First of all I was impressed by his level of talent and how much he cares about the song he wants to put out there. And yet, because he had a life of crime, which was truly because of drug addiction, he really got to work on his career. He never got to work as a person who said I'm going to put records out. He never put anything out. Again that goes to this misdirection of people who are addicted to drugs, sent to prison as a way to "solve the problem" and in reality we are just putting away people who have a lot a lot of talent. So that's that the thing I learned about him. 

Me: Okay, so what do you think he saw? 

Speech: I think what he saw was a man from the music industry a man that has had a huge success yet I wanted to come in there and record him. One of the things you'll find in this film it's not about me, I'm the guy that takes you into this journey. I really wanted the focus to be on these men. That's what you're going to hear a lot of, yeah, I'm the producer off the music but that's it. I really want the men to shine the most. 

Me: Did you notice any common threads from the guys you met in there? 

Speech: Yeah, one of the common threads was that many of the people that were in there was because of drug addiction like I just said. Also non-violent crimes. We have the disparities of how many black people that have been arrested and put into this system and how many people of other races. That was something that was glaring. That's one of the things I really recognize, many of them don't really need to be there. They really needed to be in treatment and if they would have gotten that treatment they probably would not have went on some of the routes they have went, some of the minor non-violent crimes that they did. Some of them weren't minor so I don't want to belittle some things that were done. But at the same time the drug addiction was one of the biggest common themes and I think as a society we need to start dealing with that as an illness across the board, people from all different races. 

Me: Okay, my sister Leila was a big fan of the Arrested Development album "3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of..." The first hit from that album was "Tennessee." Why that state and what is the story behind that song? 

Speech: "Tennessee" was our first single that we ever released as Arrested Development. It came out in 1991, the very last part of 1991. The song is about the two deaths of my grandmother who I spent all my summers with in Tennessee and my whole family went down to Tennessee to celebrate her life, including my brother. And we all left there with a sense of purpose and that same week my brother Terry would also die. He died of an asthma attack. So the last place I saw my grandmother and my brother was Tennessee. So the song says "take me to another place, take me to another land, make me forget all that hurts me and help me understand your plan" is basically a prayer after some deep loss. And a lot of reflection after that so it starts off as just a prayer and then it goes into a reflection of the journeys we all take in life. For me it guided me to Tennessee which is a place that I lost, two very important people to me. 

Me: In the film you perform that song to the inmates in the jail. What were you feeling in that moment where you did that? 

Speech: For me here I am that's coming in, I'm not incarcerated, I could leave there any time I want. I am not one of them, but I'm coming in and I'm asking these men to open up their lives to me. I'm asking them to be vulnerable with me. I'm saying I want to write songs and for those guys to spill their hearts out to me. So my home for singing that song was to let them know I was going to do the same thing for them. So even though I'm not in the same predicament as them, I'm going to come in and open my heart to them, as a song they probably know and they know it. Out of all the songs it wasn't just a braggadocios song, it wasn't just a song spitting bars, it was a song about my life story. So it was in a sense bringing them a peace offering, saying I'm looking for a lot from you but let me give you a lot from me too. 

Me: At the time when Arrested Development came out did you feel a contrast with the other hip-hop bands and artists or was that a label out on you? 

Speech: The label that people put on us was alternative hip-hop. I always didn't like that label, I hated it. 

Me: Why is that? 

Speech: I've been a fan of hip-hop way before Arrested Development took off. To me hip-hop has always been this diverse force for the people, so I didn't like that title. At the same time I did understand coming in that Arrested Development brought a different energy to the rap community. That was intentional, that's what we wanted ti try and accomplish and we did accomplish that. I think the beautiful thing about that time in the late 80s and early 90s was that diversity was deeply celebrated in the music indistry and in hip-hop. So I'm grateful we were able to come out in such a fertile time where diversity was where we can ride the wave of and be ourselves, be unique. 

Me: What do you think of hip-hop today? 

Speech: Well, I think of hip-hop a few things. One is I think it has lost that balance that I was just speaking of. The diversity of the music is what makes it the voice of the people. But when you only have a small sector of the population who is being emphasized and put out there then really you have music that's talking about strip clubs or gun play, gun violence and materialism and stuff like that. That's a very small sector of the population and when they start doing that and make that the main majority of what we are going to hear in hip-hop then it becomes propaganda. That's no longer the voice of the people, thats the voice of some other agenda and that's sad. You'll see a while generation being raised not even knowing that hip-hop music has so much more potential from a message stand point and the diversity of a message stand point. 

Me: So, what's the big difference between hip-hop today and when you guys started out? 

Speech: The difference with the early 90s and late 80s was we were not average, I would hate to say it that my group was average, but there were numerous groups that spoke messages of different types whereas Public Enemy and on the opposite side 2 Live Crew which was talking about strip clubs or whether it be Arrested Development or A Tribe Called Quest there was a lot of different expressions of the same type of genre. 

Me: So, back to the film, what's the takeaway for you in helping them to play music and helping them to move forward? 

Speech: Music has a way of overcoming some of the obstacles politics face. So music is able to overcome the walls of politics, somebody's on the Right or somebody is leaning Left in politics music has a way of cutting through all of that. That's why to me hearing these men in context of music and the arts, been in the context of the film which is what this is, 16 Bars, is a film. I think it allows people to let down their walls and their differences of political opinion for enough time to hear the messages of these men and women that are locked behind bars. 

Me: That's cool. Speech, thanks so much for being on the Phile. 

Speech: It was a pleasure. I loved it. Stay safe. 

Me: You too.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Speech for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Thursday with Ricky Gervais. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Give me some rope, tie me to dream, give me the hope to run out of steam, somebody said it could be here. We could be roped up, tied up, dead in a year. I can't count the reasons I should stay. One by one they all just fade away...

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Pheaturing Dave Bidini And Dave Clark From Rheostatics


Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Saturday. How are you? New drafts for Emojis have been unveiled in honor of World Emoji Day, but two images designed to represent pregnant men and pregnant non-binary people sparked mixed reactions across Twitter. While approval of the final versions of the new emoji drafts won't be completed until September, iPhone users could see the pregnant man along with the release of "melting face," some coral, a disco ball and "person in crown." Check them out...

To some genuinely confused people, the pregnant man and pregnant non-binary person are meant to represent transgender men and other members of the LGBTQ community as many men can and have given birth. To people who fully understand how a man could get pregnant, but are choosing to use your disdain for a little emoji to fuel hate, perhaps ask yourself why emoji representation is your chosen hill to die on. 

The pandemic left many of us locked indoors for months on end, only stepping out for necessities like food, jobs, and walks for air. For many people, the lack of outside socializing changed their "getting ready" game altogether. After all, if you're not leaving the house all day, why bother coiffing your hair and putting on a whole outfit? Who needs pants or tinted moisturizer when you have the glorious abyss of not being perceived? Well, the actress Helen Mirren has a different take on it all. During a recent interview with People, Mirren shared that she stayed photo-ready all through lockdown, even though she was largely confined to her home. Mirren shared that during the height of lockdown, she still wore makeup daily, and it definitely wasn't for her husband. "Every day, I put on makeup. I didn't do it for [husband] Taylor because Taylor never notices. He asks if I've got makeup on or not and doesn't really care, but he certainly doesn't notice." She went on to joke that her husband Taylor would often notice the effort of makeup without making the connection it was makeup. "He'll sometimes say in a rather puzzled way, 'Oh, you look really nice. You just associate the fact that I look nice with the fact I've just spent an hour doing my makeup!” She went on to explain that continuing to put on makeup every day, despite having nowhere to go, was a source of joy and normalcy for her. "I would put my makeup on every day and get dressed every day because I enjoy it. I appreciate the craft of couture. I'm a girl, I love, love dressing up,” she added. “And then I'm perfectly happy to give it all away at the end of the night and go back to my scruffy, Bohemian outfits." After over a year indoors, Mirren said she loved returning to the red carpet for the recent F9 premiere. "Having spent a year and a half sort of behind closed doors, I've forgotten what this was like. It was such fun," she said. 

Admitting you've done wrong in the past is an essential part of growing and becoming a better person, but that doesn't mean it's not difficult. Fessing up to your past mistakes can be a massively humbling experience, particularly when you're a public figure with a lot of eyes on you. But where there's potential to feel mortified, there's also the opportunity to feel catharsis and inspire others to reflect on themselves. The pastor of 20 years Bryce Brewer did just this in a recent Facebook post, where he admitted he's helped propagate a toxic culture around young girl's bodies. In his post, he wrote about how forcing young girls to adhere to strict dress codes and wear one-pieces in order to stay "modest" he made their bodies a target of shame, instead of putting the emphasis on boys (and really everyone) to not automatically sexualize women and girls. He set forth a string of apologies to the women and girls in his churches, and expressed empathy for how difficult it must have been for them to hear men discuss the immorality of their bodies. He ended his post by stating that he's still a fan of the rule that private parts should be safely concealed, but stomachs, cleavage, legs, and shoulders shouldn't be subject to scrutiny and shame. He also apologized for not teaching the boys how to avert their gaze and act in more responsible and respectful ways. He ended his post by encouraging girls to wear whatever makes them happy, and implored male youth pastors to change the culture moving forward. It wasn't long before Brewer's post went viral, garnering lots of comments grateful for his honesty. Hopefully this helps inspire more church leaders to reflect and change their tune when it comes to how young girls are treated. 

Not all heroes wear capes, some wear delivery uniforms. A recent TikTok went viral after a woman left a note asking an Amazon delivery driver to kill a gigantic spider outside her door, and he actually went for it. When Gwen Sanchez realized the huge spider living outside her door wasn't going to leave on its own accord, she took a gamble and politely asked the delivery driver if he could do the job. In her video taken through the doorbell cam, the Internet got a taste for just how big the spider was as it scuttled across the door. Luckily for Sanchez, her delivery driver didn't hesitate to finish off the spider for her. In the video, he can be seen surveying the entryway before taking off his show to kill the eight-legged creature. Sanchez captioned the viral video by asking viewers to help her find the delivery driver so she could thank him (hopefully with a tip). People were quick to comment with accolades for the delivery driver. "TOOK OFF THE WHOLE SHOE. A real one," one commenter wrote. "He puts the ‘prime’ in Amazon Prime," another commenter wrote. "Hero’s live amongst us," another person surmised. While many praised the driver, others were distracted by the sheer size of the spider. "WHERE DO YOU LIVE WITH SPIDERS THAT SIZE. I NEED TO AVOID EVER GOING THERE," one person wrote. "That was not a spider. That was a demon from the underworld and I would have burned the whole house down," one person quipped. Major cheers to that brave Amazon delivery driver, hopefully he receives karmic rewards for his good deed. 

Robert Downey Jr. is the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there's no doubt about it but following the actor's final appearance in the franchise in Avengers: Endgame, it seems like RDJ no longer wants anything to do with the world of Marvel as he ushers in the next chapter in his storied Hollywood career. Currently, Downey has ventured into the world of producing via his Netflix series "Sweet Tooth." He is also set to make his acting return in an upcoming HBO Max show. The entire Marvel fandom was left heartbroken earlier this month after learning that RDJ unfollowed his Avengers castmates on Instagram. The Iron Man actor is obviously trying to distance himself from the Marvel spotlight especially now that he's taking on other projects outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe bubble. According to reports, Downey's manager might have been the one responsible for the now-controversial unfollow spree but that still hasn't been confirmed. Apparently, RDJ is no longer following his co-stars on Twitter as well and the reason behind it continues to baffle a lot of people. It's worth noting though that Robert's follow list on both Twitter and Instagram has been reduced to zero, meaning he's not following any account on his social media platforms. Fans have been bombarding Downey's social media accounts demanding an explanation from the MCU patriarch but I don't think he'll ever address the issue not unless he feels the need to finally speak up about it. I'm pretty sure he's still in contact with some of his Marvel buddies, especially the original six Avengers and him unfollowing them on social media shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Okay, so, it's a hot summer, right? You might want to get this to help cool you down...

Fifteen minutes if fun! Hahaha. You heard of the Rock, right? Well, have you heard of Dwayne "The Croc" Johnson? No? Here he is...

Hahahahahahahahaha. Any stroll through a store would have you believe that "pink is for girls" and "blue is for boys" are the associated gender roles are the very backbone of our society. Products from nail clippers to hand lotion are assigned genders when last time I checked, inanimate objects don't have gender identities. Like these toys for example...

If you're looking for a graphic design job, you may want to contact whoever employed the people responsible for the following design fail. They are most likely hiring.

We don't get to pick who our siblings marry, and sometimes this can be truly treacherous. Watching a family member you love deal with a spouse you find irritating or straight-up awful can be painful and exhausting, particularly when you know your sibling doesn't wanna hear it from you. It can be difficult finding ways to honor your values and honesty without making your family member's relationship harder. One teen emailed the Phile if she was wrong for calling out her brother-in-law, despite her sister's disapproval. 

"Am I wrong for calling my sister's husband useless? My sister called me saying that her work had an emergency and she needs to get there ASAP and needed me to watch her kids because 'no one else can.' I rushed over there just to find her husband locked in his game room playing video games. I asked her why she called me over if he was home and she said he didn’t want to 'babysit' because it was his only day off. Sister left, and I started hanging with the kids. I was changing the baby’s diaper and the other kids wanted a snack, I told them to go ask their dad to make them a snack since the baby had a blow out and it was going to take me awhile to clean him up. Well, their dad sent them back upstairs and told them to ask me again. After cleaning the baby up I made the kids a snack and their dad came out to eat and told me not to let the kids interrupt him on his day off. (By the way, he works part-time from home, 6 days a week). I kind of snapped at him and told him it was MY day off too and that he’s a useless fucking father and husband if his wife has to rely on her teenage sister rather than her own husband. He started telling me I was disrespectful and didn’t understand how hard parenting is, and I told him he clearly doesn’t understand how hard it is either since he considers parenting his own children 'babysitting.' He ended up kicking me out and apparently my sister was forced to come home because he told her she needed to figure it out since I’m her sister. I feel like I may be wrong because my sister is mad at me, her husband is mad at me, my mom is mad at me for causing drama, but my dad thinks it’s funny and agrees with me. I definitely didn’t need to call him names but I just hate this guy so much. We have argued about things in the past as well so we already don’t have a great relationship. My sister is saying I need to apologize to him and he is threatening to never let me into the kids' lives if I keep disrespecting him. I think you were right and your sister needs a reality check about the marriage. Hold up. Your sister had to leave work because her husband kicked you out… even though he was literally right there for the kids. Her husband is utterly useless and she needs a reality check. Me, personally, if I showed up just to find out the husband was there but didn’t want to “babysit” his kids I would have turned right back around. That’s not an emergency, that’s enabling. Try not to be too mad at your mom or sister. They’re locked in the trap that many women find themselves in... trying to make untenable circumstances work. Hopefully, your sister will divorce him. Deep down she has to know you’re right, but is too busy trying to keep everything together. People like him are the reasons men have such a bad name when it comes to parenting. He was right there in the house and he was just gaming. That is so infuriating to read that he considers watching his kids to be considered babysitting. Your sister sucks too. She decided to burden you with unnecessary babysitting duties. She didn't stand up for you when you did her family a favor. You snapped only after her partner rudely barked orders at you. You were completely right in what you said and he kicked you out. People might make the case that she's being abused but it honestly sounds like she's just crappy. If she was at all sorry for how you were treated and wasn't trying to use her children as a bargaining chip, I might feel differently. Stick with your dad on this one. They’ll want you back in their lives when they need free babysitting again. I wouldn’t apologize, it only reinforces the belief that he did nothing wrong and is able to get away with being an absent father. Why your sister puts up with that is beyond me. Don’t give her a reason to believe what she is tolerating is normal as who know what he says at home. When you are a parent, you are on duty 24/7. You don’t get days off. The real question at hand is whether or not her sister will come around (and be able to safely leave that man). If you have a problem you want my opinion email me at 

On Constitutional amendments...

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

Top Phive Things Said About The New Emojis
5. I just saw the pregnant man emoji and can’t stop thinking about how technology was a mistake. 
4. They've created this new emoji to indicate a "pregnant man," but I'm just gonna use it whenever I eat too much. 
3. The pregnant man emoji will be used .0001% of the time to describe a “pregnant trans man’ and 99.9999% by straight dudes talking about the huge burrito they just ate.
2. Trans men exist, you willfully ignorantg assholes. We can and do get pregnant sometimes. 
And the number one thing said about the new emojis is...
1. Imaging fearing for your grandchildren's future because of a pregnant man emoji and not because of climate change. 

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

Looks like a nice day there today and the ferry is just leaving. 

The 154th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Sharon will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks. 

Today's guests are two members of the Canadian indie rock band Rheostatics whose latest album "Here Come the Wolves" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Dave Bidini and Dave Clark from Rheostatics. 

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

Dave B.: Thank you. It's great to be here. 

Dave C.: Thank you, Mr. Peverett. I'm dandy. 

Me: Nice. I'm glad. So, Mr. Clark, what made you guys get back together and record this album after all these years? 

Dave B.: Do you want to answer it? 

Me: What? 

Dave C.: No, I got it. These lovely cats who I'm playing with our bestie Don Kerr on the drums. Donny got some great gigs. They pay way better, right, Don? These guys called me up and called me up and actually it was Dave B., also known as Dave Bidini also known as Bidini also known as Dutch Casino he called me up and said, "Hey, do you want to come up and play a show?" And I just came out of heart surgery and I went "yep." 

Me: You came out of heart surgery and you wanted to play? I had minor heart surgery, putting a loop monitor in a few years ago and that's the last thing I would do is play a concert... if I did concerts. 

Dave C.: Yeah, I was recovering and they trusted I would not fall over on the drum set and we got together and it was like a good ole cup of coffee. It's always like like. Over the years when I found a chance to step in for a song or two that chemistry just doesn't go away and there's certain people I have that in my life and there's certain people I'm not going to. Despite the odds of these things happening history has stuck over the years since for me since I was 14. 

Me: Is that when you first met each other? 

Dave B.: Yeah, I first met Dave when he was 14 and I was 17 and that was the Long Haul days. We played together for like so long and then took a little break. Basically we were waiting for Dave to have heart surgery before we asked to him to come back in the band. It happens. 

Me: Dave C., that's a reason to keep living, am I right? 

Dave C.: Well, I'm breathing. 

Me: What was it like when you guys got back together? 

Dave B.: It was great. We played with Don Kerr and Michael Wojewoda played drums with us over the course of time and this year is 40 years since our first show at the Edge in 1980. 

Me: You guys were teenagers then, right? 

Dave B.: Yeah, totally. 

Me: Were you older enough to play in venues? 

Dave B.: No, we needed special permits. We would apply to the Liquor Control Board in Ontario and they would give us a slip so we could go and play in licenced venues and stuff. 

Dave C.: Dave's dad Fred was our official guardian. He had to come to the gigs so we could be near booze and music. 

Me: Did you feel any pressure from getting back together from the fans? 

Dave B.: No, not really. We're devoted to our fan base because the first few times we toured Canada we wouldn't have survived those tours if it wasn't for the fans. It's true. And I think maybe their devoted to us for that reason possibly. And so we feel a great bond and that is sort of one of the great things about playing again, people do get excited. So that's great. 

Me: The title track is called "Here Comes the Wolves" and is said to be a protest song. What does a protest song mean to you? 

Dave B.: Let's just call it a political song. I think they come in a lot of different forms. The drums beat is inspired by A Tribe Called Red, I saw them in Stockholm, Sweden. Me and Dave spent a good session just crafting that drum part making it sound powerful and elemental and true. 

Me: So, who are the wolves? 

Dave B.: You know, the metaphor of wolves in our lives. Some wolves are more ethereal than others, some are political forces. Some are wolves that we oppose upon ourselves. There are emotional wolves. It's just a reminder that there are wolves everywhere and try to do our best to keep them at bay, to be who we are. 

Me: How did this wolf thing come to mind? It's actually really smart. 

Dave B.: We were floating the idea around of getting some people together to talk about Hamilton music. I was reaching out to folk singers and finding out some people are having hard time with their health, a person is not around and she wolves were circling in arms about thinking about our creative mortality. 

Me: I have no idea what that means. That sounds very deep, am I right? 

Dave B.: We get a little bit older and move on with our musical lives. We do have to fight, especially in Canada too, as a strange independent and we have to keep running and keep working to continue to do the thing that we love. There's always wolves around us to tempting us to bring us to other places to compromise and move to places we are not comfortable. We have to be true to ourselves but I think the older we get the more we have to fight to make sure our vote is resonate in the times. And we live in a society and a culture that tried to surpress unique individual voices and alternative and stranger approaches to art and part of our job as Canadian musicians right from the beginning is to kind of crack that apart and blow that up so there is room for wild voices, there is room for new voices, there is a room for voices and musicians that do it little bit differently. So that's a celebration partly in that song, of that ideology. 

Me: That's cool, and I think I get it. Dave C., what do you think? 

Dave C.: I think he nailed it. That's a good thing you got it right. Dave, the script I sent you to read you copied it impeccably. 

Me: So, what's the deal with the song "Goodbye Sister Butterfly"?

Dave B.: It was inspired by a dream. 

Me: My first novel was inspired by a dream. What was the dream about? 

Dave B.: Well, Kevin Hearn who plays with us as well, who you have interviewed, who is a wonderful musician, he and Gord Downie had this text, well friendship. But they were texting each other I think it was Gord would call Kevin "Flapjack" and Kevin would call Gord "Snowman." I had a dream that Gord came to me and told me to call him "Sister Butterfly." So after Gord passed away I wanted to write something that sort of honoured him and Gord loved the Bee Gees so I thought I would try to write a song like the Bee Gees. But the song doesn't sort of sound like the Bee Gees. There's a part of it that's sort of disco-fied but that song is about Gord. 

Me: I had Dan Ackroyd on the Phile a while ago and he talked highly of Gord Downie. Did any of you play with Gord? 

Dave C.: I played in his solo band Country Of Miracles. 

Me: What did you think of incorporating Gord in this new album? 

Dave C.: I felt it was straight from the heart of the matter. It made complete sense when Dave told me what the subject of what that song is about. I kind of feel that the friendship that we all had with Gord, the guys when they toured after I left with the Hip and myself it was so funny. The guys toured as the Rheostatics with the Hip and I played in his band and toured with him all over the joint. That thread coming through is really, really beautiful for me. To be frank I have a difficult time talking about Gord without crying. So I'm not going to talk about him anymore. 

Me: Dave, you're welcome to cry. I cry when I think of my dad sometimes. You have a song on the album, the first song actually called "Vancouver." Why that place? 

Dave B.: We travel so much with the music and can't help be impacted by it. We write about where we go and this is a place we go to most. 

Dave C.: We have friends waiting everywhere in Canada. It's magical. 

Dave B.: There's always a new place to go in Canada, that's one of the exceptional things about that country. In our life time we would never know it because it's so vast. But one of the good things about being a musician is being able to get to those places that people who don't travel a lot there's always a festival and a town that we never heard of before. There's always somebody who is putting on a concert in their back yard. There's always new places to go. I've always said if I could find a musician in whatever town in the world that I happen to be in then I'm going to be okay. For the most part we take care of each other, we try to. 

Dave C.: Yeah, its really fun because we definitely get a high speed passport where the freaks are and I mean that in the most positive way. You maybe eating chili with someone playing the accordion and the kazoo at four in the morning who is feeling you about the book that they're writing about Dachshunds. That's really fun. 

Dave B.: I'd buy that book. 

Dave C.: I don't mean to be too pushy but I want to say on behalf of the band thanks to everybody whose ever thought about the band, bought anything of ours, come to a show, played a song, showed their good will to us in any sort of way and no small part thanks to the Peverett Phile who is doing this interview. Thank you. 

Me: Thanks. So, did you think 40 years ago that you would still be doing this? 

Dave C.: Yep. I knew I wanted to be three things when I was 6-years-old. I wanted to be Bobby Orr, Prime Minister and a drummer. I played hockey until I got into a fight as a teenager and realized music was way more fun and easier. I'm a politically engaged person, I do not have the hair line to be a Prime Minister. 

Dave B.: Your hair line is pretty good. And you can still be Prime Minister. 

Dave C.: I'm working at it. 

Dave B.: Save it for your 60s. The job may be open one day. 

Dave C.: Listen, I wanted to do this until I dropped dead. I lucked out and living the dream because the kindness of the people around me and the luck of the universe. 

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, guys. 

Dave B.: Thank you. 

Dave C.: Definitely. You rock, Jason.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to the two Dave's for a cool and fun interview. The Phile will be back on Monday with Speech. Spread the word not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Give me some rope, tie me to dream, give me the hope to run out of steam, somebody said it could be here. We could be roped up, tied up, dead in a year. I can't count the reasons I should stay. One by one they all just fade away...