Friday, February 26, 2021

Pheaturing Gillian Anderson From "The Crown"


Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday. How are you? Mr. Potato Head has gone through a lot of changes over the years. When the children’s toy was first distributed by Hasbro in 1952, it was just a collection of separate plastic parts for kids to stick inside of real potatoes! After parental complaints of rotting vegetables, the plastic potato was introduced in 1964. And now, Potato Head... minus the Mr.... can add gender fluidity to its list of modern updates. The toy giant Hasbro announced that Mr. Potato Head, and his wife Mrs. Potato Head, will be rebranded as a single gender-neutral “Potato Head” toy line. The Mr. Potato Head is more than just a plastic toy. In 1949, the Brooklyn toymaker George Lerner revolutionized the art of children’s play by inventing a toy that kids could design themselves. What began as a bundled set of plastic body parts attached to pins grew into the massively successful franchise we know today. In 1951, the Hasbro company... then called Hassenfeld Brothers... bought the rights to Lerner’s product for just $7,000 (plus 5% royalties). At the time, the parts were being distributed as cereal box prizes. But it didn’t take long for Hasbro to create a new, and highly strategic, business model. Long before the advent of games like Monopoly and Scrabble, Mr. Potato Head put Hasbro on the map. The company marketed Mr. Potato Head directly to children, as opposed to their parents, through eye-catching TV advertisements that ran throughout the early 1950s: a genius play. The sales of Mr. Potato Head were an unparalleled success. In 1953, Mr. Potato Head’s family was added: Mrs. Potato Head, and their children, Yam and Spud. In 1995, Disney’s Toy Story reintroduced the Potato Head family to a new generation of kids who then tinkered with the trinkets imagining the celebrity voices of Don Rickles and Estelle Harris. And now, a new era has dawned in the great American story of the Potato Heads. Hasbro announced that the toy will be rebranded as a single gender-neutral “Potato Head” toy line. Ali Mierzejewski, editor in chief of The Toy Insider, told the Associated Press: “It’s a potato. But kids like to see themselves in the toys they are playing with.” Hasbro is not the first toy company to expand marketing to include more diverse options. Mattel has actively pushed against Barbie’s “blonde image” in recent years, adding new dolls with a range of skin tones, body shapes, in addition to a gender-neutral line in 2019. Thomas the Tank Engine, another Mattel toy line, had added more girl characters. Even American Girl Doll now sells boy dolls! The LGBTQ non-profit GLAAD applauded the move by Hasbro, saying, “Hasbro is helping kids to simply see toys as toys, which encourages them to be their authentic selves outside of the pressures of traditional gender norms.” The move by Hasbro might, on its surface, seem reductive to the long-established Mr. Potato Head identity. But in essence, the decision by Hasbro honors George Lerner’s original intent: for children to become the architects of their own toy’s look and destiny. Mr. Potato Head has long been considered a “boy toy” with his romantic partner Mrs. Potato Head being marketed to the girls. But in 2021, that idea seems heteronormative at best, and old-fashioned at worst, for the evolving Potato Head brand. Now kids can enjoy their plastic spuds in a non-binary domestic partnership. Who knows? Maybe the Potato Heads will enter into a polyamorous relationship with the nearest Barbie. The extent of this modern family will depend entirely on the imagination of your child. Who’s excited? 

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, everything went online, including work and school. As one would expect, crazy online mishaps have started to occur more regularly because Zoom calls are now so normal in our society. And for Marc Schack, this mishap might cost him his career. Schack is a teacher’s aide for special education students in Maryland at Shady Grove Middle School in Gaithersburg. He had thought an online lesson with 8th graders had ended last Wednesday and proceeded to have some alone time to “take care of himself.” But while he was masturbating, he had no idea that the virtual call lesson was still going. He told Bethesda Magazine that he was unaware the call hadn’t ended. He said, “I thought I was logged out when class was over. I had no clue that Zoom was still on. Why would I do that? That’s my job. I had no clue that Zoom was on. I mean, that’s just crazy behavior.” The 13-second clip was later posted on social media, showing Schack looking at his screen, then standing up, walking just a few steps away, and beginning to pleasure himself. His name appears on the screen as the host of the Zoom call, and seconds later, another name appeared, replacing him as moderator. Schack has been working for Montgomery County Public Schools for 21 years and also runs a business called Pirate Magic, where he portrays a character named “Captain Silly Bones” throwing “pirate parties” for youngsters. He has since been placed on administrative leave, but district officials also added that they had, “misplaced his background check file.” Schack insists the situation was, “just a mistake,” adding, “I’m only human,” adding, “I’m not a pervert or anything like that, you know. You gotta believe me on that... I thought I was in the privacy of my own home. I had no clue.” Nevertheless, district spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala did tell the New York Post that an ongoing investigation for a “staffer” for “inappropriate behavior that was sexual in nature,” saying, “Per our procedures, we do not release the names of staff members that are under investigation. Local authorities were informed and are investigating as well.” Look, masturbation is a natural part of life, okay? We’re all adults here. But, seriously, make sure you double, actually-triple, check who’s around before you dive into your “alone time.” And even if you’re planning some self-love, why even risk being near your work computer or your office? I really want to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, but I can’t really do that when he should’ve been more careful anyways.

Georgia’s new Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has openly supported baseless, far-right conspiracy theories including Pizzagate, QAnon, so-called “Jewish space lasers,” and false flag school shootings. Following the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Greene staunchly defends Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Then a video of Rep. Greene verbally harassing a survivor of the deadly Parkland school shooting surfaced. Due to Greene’s history of incendiary commentary, the House voted to remove the Freshman congresswoman from all committee roles on February 4th, 2021. And now, she’s back in the news. This time for antagonizing her colleague, Rep. Marie Newman of Illinois, by hanging a sign that reads, “There are two genders: male & female. Trust the science.” Check this shit out...

The Equality Act, a bill that proposes prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, is currently on the House floor. Illinois U.S. Rep. Marie Newman is a vocal supporter of the legislation, and herself has a transgender daughter. While passionately advocating for the bill on Capitol Hill, Rep. Newman shared with Congress, “The right time to pass this act was decades ago. The second best time is right now. I’m voting yes on the Equality Act for Evie Newman, my daughter and the strongest, bravest person I know.” Since Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has called The Equality Act “disgusting,” “immoral,” “evil,” Rep. Marie Newman decided to hang a transgender pride flag in front of her own office... her which is right across the hall from Rep. Greene’s. Newman’s pointed display of the flag... which features blue, pink, and white stripes... honors the LGBTQ community was shared on social media. And boy, did it get Greene going. On February 24th, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted a video of herself hanging up a printed sign that reads “There are two genders: male & female. Trust the science.” The caption of the tweet says, “Our neighbor, @RepMarieNewman, wants to pass the so-called ‘Equality’ Act to destroy women’s rights and religious freedoms. Thought we’d put up ours so she can look at it every time she opens her door,” followed by emojis of a winking smile and the American flag... a direct mockery of Rep. Marie Newman’s own tweet roughly five hours prior. Thanks to the feud between these lawmakers from Illinois and Georgia, the impending results have gained national attention. Although President Joe Biden has said that passing the Equality Act is a top priority, according to CNN, it still will face serious challenges should it move on to the Senate.

It’s been two months since Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was accused of sexual harassment by his former aide, Lindsey Boylan. But now, Boylan has decided to elaborate more about what happened, detailing his mistreatment of her, which includes kissing her after a meeting. She posted the full story on Medium on Wednesday, but Cuomo and his other aides have not hesitated to deny her allegations. Boylan’s lengthy explanation of what she alleges happened, mentions a “crude comment” she claims Cuomo made about playing strip poker during an October 2017 flight on his government plane. She wrote, “He was seated facing me, so close our knees almost touched. His press aide was to my right and a state trooper behind us. ‘That’s exactly what I was thinking,’ I responded sarcastically and awkwardly. I tried to play it cool. But in that moment, I realized just how acquiescent I had become.” However, four other people from Cuomo’s office who were on that flight, John Maggiore, Howard Zemsky, Dani Lever, and Abbey Fashouer Collins, denied the existence of that conversation in a statement to People Magazine that said, “We were on each of these October flights and this conversation did not happen,” and the governor’s office provided proof that all of Boylan was never alone with Cuomo during Cuomo’s flights in 2017. Boylan had decided to tell the full length of her story after she said another former staffer told her “that she, too, had been the subject of the Governor’s workplace harassment,” she added, “Her story mirrored my own. Seeing his name floated as a potential candidate for U.S. Attorney General... the highest law enforcement official in the land... set me off.” Boylan continued illustrating how Cuomo made her uncomfortable by detailing how his crude behavior around women included talking about their weight or ridiculing their romantic partners, how he “would go out of his way to touch [her] on [her] lower back, arms, and legs,” and when he allegedly kissed her on the lips when she left a meeting. She also wrote about when her boss, “informed [her] that the Governor had a ‘crush’ on [her],” after she and Cuomo met in January 2016. In her post, there are screenshots of emails and text messages. Boylan articulated much more in her post, not shying away from any details. And as much as Cuomo and his office denies the accusations, Boylan’s story has resurfaced in the midst of the mess that is going on with the NYC governor’s office and how they’ve been handling the coronavirus pandemic and distributing COVID-19 vaccines to New Yorkers.

Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot four times and her to French Bulldogs, Gustav and Koji, were stolen on Wednesday night in West Hollywood. According to a close source to the singer, she is now offering $500,000 to anyone who has her dogs, no questions asked. If anyone has information, or has the dogs, you can email in order to retrieve the reward. The Los Angeles Police Department, LAPD, stated that the man was shot during a robbery before 10 p.m. and was later transported to the hospital in stable condition. The gunman then took the two bulldogs from the victim, used a semi-automatic handgun, and fled the scene in a white vehicle. Video of the scene showed a man on the ground who was still clinging to one dog, which was Miss Asia. The injured man appeared to be alert and was talking to officers before he was transported to a nearby hospital. Lady Gaga’s bodyguard was later seen picking up the dog from the station. Asia, Gustav, and Koji According to CNN, the investigation is still ongoing. Luckily, the source added that the singer’s dog walker is recovering well. Police stated the investigation is still ongoing and there are still searching for the shooter. French Bulldogs are very small and are known for their large bat-like ears. They are the fourth most popular dog breed in the U.S. according to the American Kennel Club. Back in 2018, the Oscar winner, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, posted several photos of her dogs in Chia Pet costumes for Halloween. She recently made headlines for performing her national anthem on inauguration day. The actress is currently overseas in Rome, Italy filming for her upcoming murder drama, Gucci

Do you know what makes me laugh? When people reenact photos from their past, just like this woman did...

Hahaha. Have you seen that painting of Ted Cruz? It made me laugh... 

There are so many good shows on Disney+ now if you don't know. Check out this new show... 

Psssst. That's not a real show. Do you remember the Sally and Sam books? I don't, but I wish I had this one...

Hahahaha. If I had a TARDIS I would go back in time to see how they tested football helmets.

Ouch! Throughout 2020, plenty of people finding themselves in self-isolation took an opportunity to start new hobbies or learn a new craft. However, there was one craft taken up by an individual that caused tension in a relationship. One Phile reader is a 26-year-old male who did not approve of his 24-year-old girlfriend’s new interest and confronted her about it. It did not go well. He emailed me and asked...

"Am I wrong for telling my girlfriend that she’s not a witch? I think my girlfriend got bored during the lockdowns last year and has gained an obsession with witchcraft. She keeps saying that she’s a witch and she has filled our house with herbs, candles, crystals, rune sets and weird trinkets. At first I didn’t care because I thought it’d be a temporary thing but I was very wrong. She gets up at 3 in the morning just to do rituals and spells or whatever it is witches do. My girlfriend burns so much incense that it gives me a headache and makes our house smell strange, I hate it. She also tries to make me drink random herbal teas that taste like shit. I really was trying to be supportive but it’s starting to frustrate me. A few hours ago, I came home from work and as soon as she saw me she told me that she senses ‘bad energy’ and started SPRAYING some mist thing?? on and around me. So I may have snapped and told her that she was acting crazy and she needs to let this witch thing go because she’s not a real fucking witch. My girlfriend was offended and told me I wasn’t a supportive boyfriend that I was acting disrespectful towards her beliefs and now she’s refusing to talk to me until I apologize… am I wrong? Starting to wonder if I should have just kept my mouth shut." No, you are not wrong. She crossed a line when she started to spray you directly which is the same as being sprayed with ‘holy water.’ If the two of you can’t come to an understanding and mutual acceptance of each other, you’re headed for a break-up. I encourage you to engage in a heart-to-heart discussion and set some boundaries if you want to remain in a relationship with someone who is passionate about her "awakening." If you have a problem you want my advice on then email me at Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things Said By People Who Don't Miss Their Exes
5. My ex left a ziploc bag of banana Laffy Taffy on my door step with a note that says "I know you always said I didn't listen to you but I still remember your favorite Laffy Taffy flavor." My favorite Laffy Taffy flavor is strawberry. 
4. I used to hate it so much when my ex would text me constantly but as it turns out I actually do like talking to someone 24/7, I just really don't like him.
3. I have a soft spot for dogs that's probably why I stayed so long with my ex. 
2. My ex is legit wearing a whole outfit purchased by me in his "engagement photos"... I have to laugh. 
And the number one thing said by someone who doesn't miss their ex is...
1. Being an ex is not a flex. The fact that you HAD me and you lost me is embarrassing. 

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

Oh, man, looks like the snow is pretty much melted. It looks like a nice day there though. Okay, now for some sad news...

Lawrence Ferlinghetti 
March 24th, 1919 — February 23rd, 2021 
There once was a guy named Larry whose poetry game was hairy. Lived many years, faced all his fears,  and was only just recently buried. 

In Stuart Little, the Little family walked into an orphanage, looked at ever child there, and decided on a rodent.

The 146th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Pete will be on the Phile on Wednesday. 

I am so excited about this! Today's guest is an American actress. Her credits include the roles of FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in the series "The X-Files," ill-fated socialite Lily Bart in Terence Davies' film The House of Mirth (2000), DSU Stella Gibson in the BBC crime drama television series "The Fall," sex therapist Jean Milburn in the Netflix comedy-drama "Sex Education," and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the fourth season of Netflix drama series "The Crown." Among other honors, she has won a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.  Please welcome to the Phile, someone I had a crush on in the 90s... Gillian Anderson!

Me: Hey, Gillian, welcome to the fan. I was a huge "The X-Files" fan so it's so cool to have you here on the Phile. How are you? 

Gillian: I'm good. How are you doing? 

Me: I'm doing great. So, I haven't seen "The Crown," but I was told I'd love it by so many people. With the last season you guys finished filming right before COVID hit, right? 

Gillian: Yeah, I think we had two weeks to go which we didn't get but two weeks ins't so bad. 

Me: Did it feel like a bit rushed then when you were finishing up the series? 

Gillian: I think so. But for production they were meant to go to the Pyrenees to shoot some stuff and they didn't get to do that. Then it was moved to Scotland to Ben Nevis, then they shut everything down. Then it was determined they weren't going to get those scenes at all. 

Me: What do you think the biggest loss of filming was then? 

Gillian: We didn't have a day taking shots for the posters and things like that. But you know, c'est la vie. 

Me: True. I cannot believe you played Thatcher in the show. I know a lot about her from living in England in the 80s and stuff. What did you know about her? 

Gillian: She was revered by some people and she was absolutely despised by other people. 

Me: Yup. So, how did you feel about taking this on? 

Gillian: Well, I think as an actor ones always looking for complex characters. So taking on a character that is notoriously divisive feels like rich material. It wasn't so much that aspect of it didn't concern me. And also because this isn't a biopic of Thatcher, we are seeing he Prime Minister through the prism of the crown. So it's very narrow slices of her journey through this particular 11 year period when she's office, so that somehow makes it a little bit more like it's a written character rather than a hundred percent full-fledged first draft of history. 

Me: Do you think you showed Thatcher in a different light than people remember her to be? 

Gillian: There was a wonderful BBC six part documentary that came out luckily for me right around the time I was doing the bulk of my research. And that too felt like the first time I had seen and many people I think had seen such a multi-facatcted view of her. There was a lot of behind the scenes stuff. It felt like there was more humanity to the all serious lecturing and hectoring woman that we I think we remember so clearly. I guess then in reading the scripts and seeing how the intricacies that Peter Morgan, the writer and show runner of "The Crown" was painting it made sense and it didn't feel completely left field to enter the stories through say Thatcher's mother or through the home keeper of the flat above Number 10 for instance, where she and Dennis would've lived through her time in office. So it's a very rounded much I wouldn't say sympathetic view. But it definitely has a humanity there that we're not used to. 

Me: I have to show a pic of you as Thatcher... 

Me: You look so good as her. So, what did you notice about how she spoke and lived that you wanted to play? 

Gillian: Well, she had a very specific cadence and recognizable voice. It's an easy voice to parody. It's easy to go to extremes with it and I think it was important for Peter that there still remains an element of me in there somewhere. That it didn't feel like it was a prodict portrayal. So that was one of the goals, to find something that was also grounded a little bit in my voice. She had a very specific way of walking, she had a very specific way of talking, leading with her chin with her head tilted and a way of gesturing and holding her hands because if a condition she had which affected some of the fingers on her hands. So all of these things is what I learned as I dig into her life story. And are easy enough to notice and use as material when watching the videos and stuff. There's plenty of juicy stuff out there. 

Me: Okay, so, I was told not to ask you anything about "The X-Files," but I am going to ask when you look back to the 90s when you started that show what do you think? 

Gillian: The very beginning when I started to do press for "The X-Files" I remember being so confused and I'd be asked the same questions over and over again. It's like my brain would just shut down. 

Me: What do you mean shut down? Why? 

Gillian: I don't know whether it was stress or just the focus being on me or what. I constantly had to say to the simplest questions the interviewers would ask, "Do you believe in extraterritorials or wherever?" and I'd say, "Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, would you ask me that question again?" I'd literally lose my way constantly. So I feel it's only really in the last decade maybe, or maybe in five years, I feel I've got better at interviews even though I've done millions and millions and millions of them. 

Me: Could you possibly thought that show would still have the following now as it did 27 years ago? I was all about "The X-Files," having a poster of you and David on my bedroom wall, the toys, the books, shirts, everything. Can you believe after all this time it's still popular? 

Gillian: I don't know, I'm still constantly surprised by it. There's new fans popping up all the time, There's still young viewers out there who are able to find it somewhere. I don't know where they get to find it anymore. The audiences are still very passionate about it and certainly the fans I had since back then have even incredibly loyal to me through the years as well and have continued to voluntarily followed my career and show up at theater events that I do. They'll show up at different play that I'll do and in the audiences of talk shows. 

Me: Is that a good thing? 

Gillian: Yeah, it is! It's fun to see familiar faces that's out there. I try not to be judgmental about any of that stuff. Whatever floats their boat. 

Me: Do you see a connection with Dana Scully and Margaret Thatcher? 

Gillian: I have a tendency to play very strong and independent strident female characters that are kind of forces to be reckoned with in their own rights and so whether it's Thatcher or whoever it is the common denominator is that it's me that's playing them. I think it's certainly my strong will comes through and potentially is related to why people come to me to cast me in these characters to begin with. So I think Scully would have been much more aware of her actions and how they relate to other women in her universe than potentially Margaret Thatcher was for instance. 

Me: Does playing Margaret Thatcher give you more empathy for who she was as a person? 

Gillian: I'm not sure if empathy is the right word. I would probably say an understanding for the woman that she became. She was a self made woman. She grew up in a very frugal household and her father was an alderman and she helped. He was a grocer and she was a grocer's daughter and she helped in the shop. They were incredibly religious, it was a Methodist household and so when we understand all of that it's easier to understand where she's come from and how she got to the world that she created for herself. I think it's just understanding, it's not necessarily compassion, it's not necessarily empathy. I think I could understand how she became who she became and yet disagree with a lot of the things that she might've done. And yet at the same time be impressed by how brave, or her work ethic, or the fact that she was woman of stature at that particular time. So yeah, she's complicated. I think it's important that the series embraces all of her complexities. 

Me: Cool. I know my grandparents hated her. Haha. Gillian, thanks for being on the Phile. This was so cool. 

Gillian: Thank you.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Gillian for a cool interview. The Phile will be back on Monday with Michael Nesmith. Yay, yeah, we're the Monkees! Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you. bye. Kiss you brain!

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, February 22, 2021

Pheaturing Thurston Moore


Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Who knew that taking care of business could result in betting bitten in the butt by a bear? And when I mean taking care of business, I mean, reeealllyyyy taking care of business. Shannon Stevens, her brother Erik Stevens, and his girlfriend had taken snowmobiles into the wilderness in southeast Alaska to stay at his yurt in Chilkat Lake, 20 miles northwest of Haines. Shannon had gone to use the outhouse, when suddenly, Erik heard Shannon screaming. Erik ran out to the outhouse, located 150 feet away, to find Shannon tending to her posterior wound. At first, they thought she had gotten bitten by something small. The Alaska woman told the Associated Press, “I got out there and sat down on the toilet and immediately something bit my butt right as I sat down. I jumped up and I screamed when it happened.” But when Erik put his headlamp towards the toilet to see what it was, he came face to face with a bear. That’s right. A bear. He said, “I opened the toilet seat and there’s just a bear face just right there at the level of the toilet seat, just looking right back up through the hole, right at me.” After safely getting inside, they gave first aid to Shannon and decided the bite wasn’t that serious. Shannon said, “It was bleeding, but it wasn’t super bad,” and also explained how they found bear tracks all over the area. However, the bear had clearly left the area. They assumed the bear got into the outhouse through an opening at the bottom of the back door. Carl Koch, a management biologist at Alaska Department of Fish and Game Wildlife, believes that by the tracks, the bear was a black bear, and a nearby neighbor sent him a picture of a black bear on her property a couple of days later. She had yelled at it, but it didn’t react. He says, “It is also possible a bear couldn’t put on enough fat when they go in the den, that they might be out and about more often or earlier.” Koch also believes that Shannon’s wound was from the bear scratching her with a paw rather than it biting her. Nevertheless, the location of the bear was definitely a first for him. He said, “As far as getting swatted on the butt when you’re sitting down in winter, she could be the only person on Earth that this has ever happened to, for all I know.” Erik and Shannon both said that they will be carrying bear spray with them at all times when going into the backcountry. She said, “I’m just going to be better about looking inside the toilet before sitting down, for sure.”

Flyin’ Ted, Fled Ted, Cancun Cruz… whatever you want to call him, the Texas senator is getting grilled on social media for jetting off from Houston to Cancun, Mexico while his dear Lone Star State suffers massive power outages following a deadly winter storm. Memes circulating on social media quickly connected Cruz’s selfish decision to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s so-called “Beachgate” debacle back in 2017. For those of you who don’t remember, “Beachgate” (not to be confused with the governor’s prior scandal, “Bridgegate“) refers to when Chris Christie closed off New Jersey’s Island Beach State Park due to a government shutdown… and then hung out on it over Fourth of July weekend! Americans saw the aerial photos to prove it. “I didn’t get any sun today,” Chris Christie famous told reporters at a news conference later that day… his spokesman later said that was true because Christie was wearing a baseball hat. When locals derided Christie as a hypocrite, the GOP politician remained defensive saying that sticking to his original trip plans simply meant he was “keeping his word.” Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Chris Christie both made a bid for the White House back in 2016 but were handily slaughtered by opponent Donald Trump during the Republican primary. And now they’ve got a bully in common once again: getting trolled online over inappropriately timed family vacations. Gotta love a family man. As Ted Cruz put it so eloquently in his initial public apology, spending the week at the Cancun Ritz Carlton was just being a “good dad.” Frankly, I’m excited to see what new memes the next week brings. Some of these Internet mockings have been eerily accurate. Many feature screenshots from a 1993 Simpsons episode entitled “Marge in Chains," when Mayor Quimby secretly spends time in the Bahamas while Springfield is dealing with a dangerous pandemic. Yes, that is literally the plot. But the photoshopped pics which show Ted Cruz pulling his suitcase up to a joyful Chris Christie at Island Beach State Park feel just as apt. Check it out...

Chris Christie did not seek gubernatorial re-election following Beachgate, and he left office in 2018. How Texans will remember Cruz’s current scandal remains unseen. But surely we’ll find out when the humiliated Cruz inevitably seeks another term in the senate.

More than 26,000 people have signed a petition protesting Cadbury’s Creme Egg advert, which features two men kissing. The petition creator claimed that the adverts sexualized content was very offensive to Christians, and that the casting of two men was a way of evading criticism by “hiding under cover of LGBT rights.” Hosted by CitizenGo, the petition is calling for the advert to be removed. The description reads, “By choosing to feature a same-sex couple, Cadbury’s are clearly hoping to cause controversy and escape criticism, by claiming that any objections must be rooted in ‘homophobia,' but members of the LGBT community have also expressed their dislike of this campaign.” It continues, “Cadbury’s are well aware of the religious significance of Easter. Therefore, they are trying to cause gratuitous offence to members of the Christian community during the most important feast in their calendar.” Despite the criticism, several other people praised Cadbury’s advert for its LGBT representation and inclusivity when it was released last month. Despite the petition’s author’s claim that the protest was created in concern about sexual content rather than anti-LGBTQ sentiment, several called out those behind the petition for homophobia. As expected, social media went crazy and criticized the petition, calling those who signed it homophobic. In an effort to take down the petition, a counter-petition has been published on which is urging Cadbury not to remove the petition and to amplify it. So far it has 3,000 signatures. The petitions creator Simon Harris stated that he wanted to have a very Cadbury to “go big” and broadcast the advert on giant screens in Piccadilly Circus or put it on the side of every bus in Britain. A spokesperson for a category said that they were proud of the advert and its message of inclusion. The spokesperson noted, “Cadbury has always been a progressive brand that spreads a message of inclusion, whether it is through its products or brand campaigns. We are proud of our Golden Jubilee advert which celebrates the many ways that everyone can enjoy a Cadbury Creme Egg. To illustrate this and showcase the joy our products bring, a clip of a real-life couple sharing a Cadbury Creme Egg was included in the advert.”

Five months after he reported “hitting a deer with his car,” South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg avoided felony charges after it was found that he had actually run over and killed a pedestrian. If found guilty, he would only face a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine on each charge. According to Hyde County Deputy State’s Attorney Emily Sovell, “there simply wasn’t the evidence to support felony charges of vehicular homicide or manslaughter,” and she also pointed out that Ravnsborg wasn’t intoxicated, since his toxicology report showed no alcohol in his system. The blood sample had been taken 15 hours after the crash. The crash investigators concluded that Ravnsborg was not on his phone upon impact, and that he probably walked by 55-year-old Joseph Boever’s body because it was a “very dark night” with no lighting along the road. They also believe that even with a cellphone flashlight, he and the sheriff who was at the scene could not have seen the body. Ravnsborg said, “I appreciate, more than ever, that the presumption of innocence placed within our legal system continues to work,” but Boever’s family expressed their frustration and disappointment at the outcome of this case. They will now pursue legal action. The victim’s cousin, Nick Nemec said, “I was afraid the charge would be something on the order of crossing the white line. And that’s exactly what the charge was.”  

Gina Carano may no longer be a part of "The Mandalorian" but it looks like she's not yet done with Disney and Lucasfilm. The Deadpool star has fired shots at the studios, claiming that she knows about other stars who were "bullied" and that she isn't the only victim by the company. Carano sat down for an interview on "The Ben Shapiro Show" where points out how Disney and Lucasfilm have bullied its employees. “I’ve been through so much, and I’ve seen so much now, clearly, of the bullying that’s been taking place, and I saw it before,” Carano said. “I’m not the only one that’s ever been bullied by this company, and I know that so deeply.” Carano added that she actually knows about an incident that could expose Disney and Lucasfilm. However, she was quick to point out that she is staying quiet so her friend doesn't lose their job. “I could share a story which would turn things around in the media but I can’t because it would sell out a friend… Everyone is afraid of losing their job,” Carano said. This isn't exactly a surprise considering that Disney has fired people before due to their social media posts. James Gunn was famously removed from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after his past tweets were brought up. Although Gunn was eventually reinstated in the project, other people like Carano might not be so lucky. On the other hand, Carano doesn't seem interested in begging for her job back in the Star Wars series. She had already made it clear that she is declaring war on the company that fired her and will never back down with her political stance. 

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

One thing that makes me laugh is when people reenact pictures they took when they were younger, like this one...

Hahaha. Here's the last image before the Mars Rover went offline...

Hahaha. So, on the last blog entry I interviewed Bill Nighy who was in the movie Love Actually. Well, did you know I was originally supposed to play Billy Mack but I got spaced by Bill. Don't believe me? Check this out...

Hahahahaha. So, did you see the new Muppets show in Disney+? Check it out...

Good luck finding it. Here's another dumb thing that happened in 2021 so far...

Sir, you need to see an optician. Ask any professional artist or creative person of any kind, and they’ll tell you that the pressure to do their work for free is constant, and the lack of understanding when they decline is deeply annoying. For a professional glass blower, this age-old problem turned into a major conflict with their boyfriend after he asked them to make a piece of glass for free as a gift. So, they took their situation to the Phile for some perspective. 

"Bf wants ME to gift MY work to HIS client. I blow glass for a living. My boyfriend is an electrician (and makes twice what I make). He came home today after working at a new customer’s house and said the couple was so nice that he wants to ‘do something nice for them’ and asked me for a piece of glass to give them, but he doesn’t want to pay me for it. This has happened before... he wants to do something nice for someone… by having ME give them something. I’ve tried explaining why this is problematic and offensive, but he just doesn’t get it and gets extremely pissed off that I won’t give him something. He won’t even agree to pay half what I would normally charge. Am I wrong?" Maybe I’m being petty, but I would return the favor so he can really understand what you mean. Tell him that x person is so kind and you want to do something nice for them, and you know they need an electrician so you were hoping to offer up his help free of charge. I wonder how happy he would be to oblige. No need for hypotheticals or any of the other convoluted plots others are cooking up to prove the boyfriend wouldn’t do the same. He already has it in his power to do something nice for the nice couple. He can give them a discount, or go the extra mile he wouldn’t for a surly client. Involving you at all proves his stinginess. Make sure the time needed is equivalent to how long it takes to make one of your art pieces. So he understand the volume in which he has asked of you. The moral of the story is, if you wouldn’t ask someone with a “normal” profession to work for free, you shouldn’t ask artists to do so either. Okay, so, in the last entry I told you about the guy that infuriated his girlfriend by giving her a bidet for Valentine’s Day. I asked him to let me know if she liked it and to follow up with the story and he did. He said, "My girlfriend just texted me and said she used the bidet this morning and loves it! Still loving you judgments though. Thanks for your comments, Jason. I get it... I was wrong, wrong day, I’m a dumbass, but hey, if I’m going to be wrong, at least I’m a clean one. My girlfriend and I are both loving reading the Phile still, she loves the gift and has since apologized for freaking out and making a snap judgement on her gift." Good news! If you have a problem you want my advice with then email me at

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

It's not snowing but there's still snow on the ground. Okay, here's a story from...

Problems have arisen in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida, after Walmart explained that they will still honor appointments made, despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Seniors First” vaccination plan. Florida had stated that vaccines would be available in 119 Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations throughout the state, prioritizing those who are 65 years old and older, along with long-term care facility residents and staff and healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients. However, according to Walmart’s scheduling website, Florida residents deemed to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 by hospital providers were allowed to register. According to CDC guidelines, eligibility includes cancer, chronic kidney disease, obesity, and heart conditions. And DeSantis had explained that only hospital providers were the ones who could vaccinate those extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus. A Walmart spokesperson had told CNN that Walmart will honor the vaccination appointments, despite the error, and that the error came from creating their scheduling program from a default from the Department of Health website, adding, “Walmart is working to align our scheduling system with the specific populations the state has asked us to vaccinate under the federal retail pharmacy partnership. We are honoring all appointments that have been made to-date in all categories listed in the Executive Order.” They were, apparently, unaware of how many Floridians registered for coronavirus vaccine appointments. Under the Biden administration, the federal government would roll out one million allocations of the vaccine to retailers, going to 6,500 stores as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The vaccine doses are separate from the ones the federal government plans to send to each state, though they will still fall under each state’s eligibility guidelines. According to the National Association of Drug Stores, the goal is to administer 100 million doses within 30 days, but of course, retailers such as Sam’s Club pharmacies, Publix, Harveys, and more will need enough of the first and second doses to do so. Steven Anderson, the NACDS president, and CEO, says, “Ultimately NACDS member pharmacies can meet and exceed the 100 million vaccinations in a month threshold, yet it’s important to understand that the supply of vaccines remains the rate-limiting factor in the vaccination effort.” For more information on whether you should be hitting up your local Walmart or Sam’s Club store, you can check out or

If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, call the National Drug Helpline at 1-844-289-0879. 

The 146th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Pete Townshend will be the guest on the Phile next week.

Today's guest is an American musician best known as a member of Sonic Youth. He has also participated in many solo and group collaborations outside Sonic Youth, as well as running the Ecstatic Peace! record label. He was ranked 34th in Rolling Stone's 2004 edition of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." His latest solo record "By the Fire" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Thurston Moore.

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

Thurston: Thank you, Phile. 

Me: So, I saw this pic of you and you are holding one of my worst albums of all time... and I love Lou Reed. 

Me: Tell the readers what the album is. 

Thurston: It's "Metal Machine Music," Lou's album from 1975. It was an infamous record in its day, it has no traditional songs on it. It's an hour of guitar feedback and noise. A lot of people hated it when it came out. Rolling Stone compared it to the "tubular groaning of a galactic refrigerator." 

Me: You look so happy in the photo. Were you happy to listen to "Metal Machine Music" as a teen? 

Thurston: Ha ha ha. I was actually. It's a completely radical record. I had one friend in the town I was living in in western Connecticut who was aware of things like the music of Lou Reed and Velvet Underground and all the music that would be sort of like that, like Captain Beefheart, the Stooges, or MC5, these the of things which nobody else in my school was listening to. They were listening to the Allman Brothers Band and Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer maybe. We kind of bonded over liking this kind of subversive music on the margins of the rock scene. That record I remember it coming out and buying it immediately because it was the new Lou Reed record and that's what it was. 

Me: If you listened to it now what would you think? 

Thurston: It's funny listening to it now because it actually sounds rather slightly quaint. It's not the kind of ballistic wall of noise that we hear on a Merzbow record or something. It actually has these multi- malodorous threads running through it. I always enjoy it when it comes on. 

Me: So, why was the photo taken? 

Thurston: My friend took the photo of me as a bit of a joke because we were taken photos of each other and I was, "Pretending I'm listening to this record and it's the snappy poppy record of the day." 

Me: Is there a certain album or song that you really liked as a kid? 

Thurston: My big brother came home with the "Louie, Louie" 45 when I was a kid in the 60s. That song really awakened something inside of me. But the B-side of "Louie, Louie" made a big impression. 

Me: What was the B-aide? 

Thurston: It was "The Haunted Castle" by the Kingsmen. 

Me: What made that song so special to you? 

Thurston: I think it was because it had more of a dark flavor to it. It had these two chords A, B back and forth thing and it had a bit of a mysterioso vibe And "Louie, Louie" was this kind of snarling rock and roll primal to the core. When I first heard that it was the first real sort of American rock and roll record that I heard. Everything before that was just fun and games British invasion stuff maybe. "Louie, Louie" came out in '63 or '64. 

Me: When your brother brought the record home what did he think of it? 

Thurston: He told me his friends wrote this record. I was young enough to think well, it's entirely possible. What isn't? I can just believe anything in the world at that time. He would just play it and stick his head out of the door and mouth along to the lyrics. The thing that mad eye sort of question it all was I wasn't sure he was mouthing the CORRECT lyrics but who knew what the correct lyrics were because it was such a mealy-mouthed vocal delivery. It could be anything. 

Me: Does your music owe debt to "Metal Machine Music" Lou Reed or "Haunted Castle" by the Kingsmen? 

Thurston: Both equally and "Louie, Louie." I'm completely always and all through Sonic Youth it was always reverential. I wanted it to be distinctly to my own voice, that's what it's all about. But I never wanted to sort of hide that information, or that influence or that inspiration or that intrigue from music that I was so tuned on by. Still to this day... It's a little bit difficult because there's only so much room in my life to have all these documents such as records and books and magazines that pertain to music and art that I love. 

Me: So, you have been known to record some long songs in you time, but this is ridiculous... your release "Spirit Counsel" has very long songs. What the hell?

Thurston: Yeah, "8 Spring Street" is the shortest track on the album, being about twenty minutes. Both the other songs on "Spirit Counsel" are about an hour long. 

Me: No offense but that's bloody ridiculous. What kind of focus do you have to make this kind of music? 

Thurston: I'm still editing. Actually the pieces on the CD box I sort to have to think on the terms of editing because otherwise it would go on forever. I say that slightly fallaciously but when I'm writing I'm thinking of a bit of a book, a novel of a story and how things move through chapters and how they reference previous situations that happen. Then also the structure of song writing or pop song writing or more sort of contemporary to classical composing and what those structures are and how they could relate to each other or they can be completely anew. So as far as time goes I sort of abandoned the idea of appealing to any sort of standard of presentation as far of time. I realized I just need to have it happen as it happens and be true to itself. Be an hour or be a minute. 

Me: How can you have a single with the tracks being so long? 

Thurston: Well, "8 Spring Street" was the single. Hahahaha. 

Me: Haha. I heard Foghat do a 14 minute of "Slow Ride" on stage once. Anyway, when you play a track that is so, so long do you have to focus the whole time or are you looking at the clock? 

Thurston: It's funny, when we're playing the music live, and the fact the first piece is an hour long, that's pretty much how long we have on stage usually so we primally play that one piece and I try to think about it and I talk to the musicians about it that it has to be considered to be sort of pieces within the piece. It is a set of songs within this one piece. Usually bands have a set of songs that sort of sound the very referential to each other. The Ramones, every song is a variation on a very specific theme on his the Ramones wrote music. So, a Ramones concert for me is one long symphonic piece by the Ramones. So I think of it that way and I approach it that way so I don't feel I'm stuck in a mirasma of repetition. 

Me: Do you feel some kind of bliss while you are doing this? 

Thurston: Yeah. I definitely want it to have some kind of emotional content that deals with the meaning of spirituality that I certainly do think is in this world of ours that I feel personally. So I want to sort of have that be in the music without having to work on it so much. It has to really be there originally and naturally. So when I'm composing and writing I sort of find out where the music opens that up. 

Me: How do you feel? Do you feel drained after a performance like this? 

Thurston: I keep myself at an even keel. I have felt drained during performances where everything is just moving in a way that's just like I'm really hitting all these spots. I can walk off stage feeling very emotional. But I tend to sort of realize what's going on and just kind of keep in place of it. That's a little hard to answer. I felt myself feeling emotional listening to music. I find myself getting very emotional with expression in art. Especially film, when I'm watching a film the slights emotionally thing will happen between two people in a film or something. I find myself really holding back this kind of tears or something. I think this is silly, she just picked up a dog off the street and kissed it. I'm like oh my God, it's breaking my heart. 

Me: I know how you feel. I do that even with commercials. Fucking Publix commercials. 

Thurston: Maybe we're not alone here. 

Me: I have to tell you that I saw Sonic Youth open for Neil Young and Crazy Horse in the early 90s I think it was. I have to admit I didn't get it. But Sonic Youth and you have a huge following, so how does it feel when somebody tells you after a show how much they loved it? 

Thurston: I love it. That's a conversation I love to have. I'm just an eel who loves to buy records and go see bands and I actually have been since I could actually do it. Since I was 17 or 19 years old and running to CGBG's to see bands was the greatest thing in the world. 

Me: What was one of the first bands you ever saw in concert? 

Thurston: It was a band from Toronto called the Poles who had a female singer and a single called "CN Tower" which was about the CN Tower. Then there was this band called B-Girls which was super cool. They were this all girl band also from Toronto. 

Me: So, when you started playing music yourself did you want to be famous? 

Thurston: My dream was if I could start a band and play the Crash and Burn Club and open up for the Dead Boys. 

Me: Did you want to date a B-Girl or a Pole member? Haha. 

Thurston: I was a little bit younger so I wasn't old enough to date a B-Girl. Ha ha. 

Me: Is there any concert you saw that maybe changed your life a little bit? 

Thurston: Well, certainly seeing Patti Smith very early on and how she was just on stage and addressing the audience so intimately. People would yell and she would just answer. It could be positive or it could be cutting she was just there, she was live and in the moment and playing really good rock and roll music and just dancing and just looking amazing. So all those concerts were great. But they were so celebrated and so many people were in agreement the audience was how great was it. To see something where it felt this was so away from the popularity world. Those gigs are interesting, I realize I've seen something in a basement with 14 other people of like some trio or some duo playing something. That is the greatest thing in the world. I want to be that, I just want to do that. If I could just be in a basement playing for 14 people doing that I'll be the happiest person in the world, I don't need to be playing in the Patti Smith group in front of an enduring audience. I can go either way and I give it an equal value, and I still feel that way. 

Me: Thurston, I know you have to go. Thanks for being on the Phile. This was pretty cool. 

Thurston: Thank you. It's been a pleasure.  

That about does it fo this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Thurston for a pretty cool interview. The Phile will be back on Friday with Gillian Anderson. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Kiss your brain.

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...

Friday, February 19, 2021

Pheaturing Bill Nighy


Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday. How are you? PETA is already on top of this one, as the trailer for Walt Disney’s new live-action movie, Cruella, dropped on Wednesday. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are concerned because Disney’s live-action version of 101 Dalmatians in 1996 led to an increase in people adopting Dalmatian puppies, but only to be ditched at shelters when the puppies got older. This is because the breed is known to be incredibly strong-willed and difficult to train. PETA’s senior vice president Lisa Lange said in a statement, “No character spotlights the cruelty of wearing fur or skinning dogs better than Cruella, but PETA’s praise will be on paws until Disney takes steps to stop a repeat of 1996, when animal shelters were flooded with Dalmatians reportedly bought and discarded by 101 Dalmatians fans who weren’t prepared for the puppies to grow up. The devil is in the details, and Cruella must remind viewers that animals are individuals... not accessories... and to adopt them.” Disney has yet to respond to PETA’s statement about the black and white pooches. Emma Stone plays the infamous Disney villain, Cruella de Vil, in the live-action remake, and for those of you who grew up with the animation, you know that she is no Cinderella. The movie is to be a prequel to 101 Dalmatians, telling the story of Cruella de Vil as a fashion designer in London, before she became the ultimate puppy stealing villain, and the character was originally played by Glenn Close in 101 Dalmatians. The movie will also feature famous actors and actresses, including Emma Thompson, Emily Beecham, Dev Patel, and more. I understand PETA’s concern for the sake of all the puppies out there who deserve to be loved consistently forever, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for it. Some say that Cruella de Vil has become Disney’s Joker, and for that reason, is exactly why I’m particularly interested to see how this movie turns out. If you find yourself wanting a Dalmatian, make sure you’re in it for the long run. 

Maybe 2021 isn’t so bad after all. Looks like NASA is here to save the year after its Perseverance rover officially landed on Mars after its 292.5 million-mile journey from Earth. According to NASA, the Rover sent back its first images of the site immediately after it landed. The Rover has been on a nearly 300 million-mile journey since it left the solar system more than six months ago. Safe to say that humanity’s love with Mars is an enduring one, full of wonder about the possibility if there was life on the mysterious planet. The historic mission will be able to search for evidence that could give us those answers. According to CNN, “Perseverance is full of firsts. The search for signs of ancient life on Mars. The first helicopter flew on another planet. The first recordings of sound on the red planet.” NASA stated that the most sophisticated Rover today has a very packed agenda for the next few years. It is set to explore Jezero Crater, which is a side of an ancient lake that existed 3.9 billion years ago, and will search for microfossils in the rocks and soil. Follow-up missions will then return samples of the set that was collected by Perseverance to Earth by the 2030s. Along with the Perseverance is an experiment to fly a helicopter, which is called Ingenuity, another planet for the very first time. Once the Rover has landed on Mars, you can follow its journey using an interactive map. Any raw image that is sent back by the Rober this week and going forward will also be available to the public on NASA’s website. Nasa’s Perseverance Mars Rover is the 9th landing on Mars and the agency’s 5 Rover. In order to land, NASA stated that it has to go through the infamous Seven Minutes of Terror. The one-way time that it takes for a radio signal to travel from Earth to Mars is around 11 minutes, meaning the 7 minutes it takes for the spacecraft to land on Mars occurs without any intervention or help from the NASA team on Earth. This specific Rover is set to be the heaviest NASA has ever attempted to land, which weighs in at over a metric ton. The spacecraft hit the top of the Martian atmosphere moving at a fast 12,000 miles per hour and had a slow down to 1.7 miles per 7 minutes later when it landed softly on the surface. The spacecraft’s heat shield injured heating of 2,370 degrees Fahrenheit. This mission is the riskiest one yet as it is in an epic quest to bring back Martian rocks that will answer whether past life did exist on Mars. Ground controllers at the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) located in Pasadena California cheered after receiving confirmation from a live stream. That the six-wheeled Perseverance sky crane had indeed touchdown on the red planet. As soon as the Rover landed, flight control Swati Mohan announced, “Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars.” The Rover landing marks the third visit to Mars in just over a week. Two space crafts from China and the United Arab Emirates swung into orbit around Mars on successive days last week. All three missions were lifted off in July to take advantage of the close alignment of Mars and Earth. NASA set up the team with the European Space Agency in order to bring the rocks home, the Perseverance’s Mission alone is set to cost nearly $3 billion. According to David Parker, the European Space Agency’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, “It’s really the most extraordinary, mind-bogglingly complicated and will-be history-making exploration campaign.” 

Senator Ted Cruz has been taken down by the Internet after it was found that he was traveling to Cancun, Mexico, despite the power outages that have been taking place across the entire state of Texas, causing many to go into survival mode without proper preparations. Apparently, he was only planning to fly them down and then return to Texas the next afternoon, but many are doubtful of how actually true that statement is. On social media, especially Twitter, pictures of the Texas Republican senator at an airport and on an airplane Thursday morning have been circulating. Releasing a statement immediately by Thursday afternoon, Cruz said, “With school canceled for the rest of the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.” However, with the insane winter storm that hit America’s south and mid-sections, and Houston and Austin areas suffering the worst of it, many Texans didn’t really want to hear about the senator trying to be a “good dad” while his home state was in the condition it’s still currently in. Cruz also claimed that he and his staff are in “constant communication with state and local leaders” in trying to understand how to manage the state-regulated power grid to help those in desperate need. Keith Edwards, former senior digital advisor to Senator Jon Ossoff’s campaign, claimed his own confirmation of the rumor, tweeting...

According to CNN, the pictures are from a 4:45 p.m. United Airlines flight from Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston to Cabo. And while many are arguing when the pictures were from, millions of people are still having to suffer blackouts from the winter weather. Cruz also mentioned in his statement that this is an “infuriating week” since the “greatest state in the greatest country in the world has been without power.” He said, “We have food lines, gas lines, and people sleeping at the neighbors’ houses. Our homes are freezing and our lights are out. Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too. We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warn. My team and I will continue using all our resources to keep Texans informed and safe.” Meanwhile, Beto O’Rourke, the politician representing the Texas Democratic Party who lost the 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate to Cruz, has been incredibly busy. According to his Twitter, he has been helping hundreds of thousands of people get connected to help through phone lines, using his platform to encourage others to do the same. Politics will continue to be dividing, especially after the presidential election between former President Donald Trump and new President Joe Biden. However, regardless of who’s in the White House, now couldn’t be a more important time to show as much love, grace, mercy, and kindness to all around. Many people still really need help, and while this blizzard strikes Texas and surrounding areas, we’re also still at the mercy of the pandemic. So, it really doesn’t matter if this was a Democrat, Republican, or whatever-party politician. No one wants to see your family vacation trending worldwide on the Internet while people are losing their lives. 

What in the world is going on in Ecuador? Can’t you see that the entire world is basically crumbling down and now you just want to make it worse? Let me just say that robbing someone in pure light in front of a freaking live camera is insane. Not only that, but it’s insanely reckless because someone out there will probably recognize you. However, after looking at this video, I’m not surprised about the situation, it kind of seems that this happens all the time. Don’t quote me on this. I do not know if this happens on a regular basis in Ecuador, but it just gives me this little vibe. Why do I think that? Well throughout this whole situation, there’s just a random civilian moving along out of the frame as if nothing is going on and there is not a man holding two people at gunpoint. Let me explain the whole situation to you before you give your two cents. Basically, a TV reporter and his cameraman were robbed while on live TV. Luckily for us, the incident was captured, showing the shocking moment that the armed robber pointed a handgun straight at them. Sports reporter Diego Ordinola decided to share the video of the bizarre live broadcast robbery as the DirecTV Sports TV crew was filming outside the Estadio Monumental football stadium located in Tarqui, Guayaquil. The Ecuadorian gunman is seen getting closer to the reporter, as he is heard saying “Telephone!” swiping away the microphone that the reporter was using. The suspect is shown wearing a shirt and a cap while wearing a face mask, because well, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. The man then raises his weapon to the camera operator before grabbing a phone from someone right to the shot. Probably hoping that someone can recognize this evil man, the DirecTV Sports cameraman decided to roll throughout the robbery, following him after a pause, filming him driving away on the back of a motorbike. Ordinola took to Twitter to comment about the situation, tweeting, “We can’t even work in peace.” He noted that the police had promised to find the criminals involved in the situation. As expected, the post went insanely viral and several people flooded them with good wishes. And of course, Twitter being Twitter, several decided to take pictures of the motorbike used for the escape, in order to get the license plates and try to identify the man responsible for the attack. It is still isn’t clear if there have been any arrests or any known suspects, but I have to say, if it’s on social media, then someone for sure will be arrested. If there is anyone I trust to solve a crime, it’s Twitter. 

As the winter storm caused extreme power outages all across America’s south and mid-section, more than four million people found themselves struggling to survive in extremely low temperatures without power, heat, and clean water. And on Tuesday, two Texans in the Houston area who were doing just that were found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning, after using their car to generate heat. According to the Houston Police Department, the Houston Fire Department had found the two when responding to a welfare check called at a condo in the 8300 block of La Roche. They found two adults and two children suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning in a running car with the garage door closed. They were able to get two other family members, an adult male, and a 7-year-old boy, in critical condition to the hospital, but the adult female and an 8-year-old girl were found dead. Their names have not been released. The department said in a statement, “Initial indications are that car was running in the attached garage to create heat as the power is out. Cars, grills, and generators should not be used in or near a building.” According to, the Galveston and southwest Houston areas were hit the hardest by the blackouts. And at least 25 people have died from weather-related causes since the weekend, with cases of carbon monoxide poisoning increasing. And according to the Houston Chronicle, Harris County reported 300 plus cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, with many being children. According to the CDC, carbon monoxide is, “an odorless, colorless gas, which can cause sudden illness and death, is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned,” and warned that carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are “flu-like.” So how do you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning while staying warm, if you’re powering through this debacle? Well, the CDC explained that firstly, if you start to experience these “flu-like” symptoms, leave your home and call 911 immediately. But until then, “Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window. Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open. Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented. Don’t heat your house with a gas oven. Don’t use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. Use an extension cord that is more than 20 feet long to keep the generator at a safe distance.” They should really teach more about these things in school. And even if they did, and I can’t remember because it was so long ago, maybe there should be a mandatory school curriculum that focuses primarily on survival situations. Texas was most definitely not prepared for these power outages. With the pandemic and now this, catastrophic events are incredibly more likely now than we could have ever predicted. It wouldn’t hurt to know what to do in certain situations, even if they never happen in your lifetime. You could also help someone else.  

Did you see the Cara Dune LEGO mini fig directions? No? Check this out...

I was in the book shop recently and I noticed some children's books are not the same as they used to be...

Yeesh. Do you know what makes me smile? When families reenact pictures from their childhood. Like this one...

Awe. So, if I had a TARDIS I would go to ty and meet Hillary Clinton but knowing my luck she'd just be playing on a Game Boy. 

They told me I would see some weird sites in Walmart, and I didn't believe it until I saw this...

Here's another stupid thing that happened in 2021...

Geology class. It’s that time of the year, when romance is in the air and people struggle to justify why they’re single. Not everyone has to deal with that, but it doesn’t mean things are any easier when you’re deciding on a gift for your significant other. A Phile reader encountered this exact issue when he chose his gifts for his girlfriend. Now he's trying to find out if he was wrong to get her the gift. 

"Am I wrong for getting my girlfriend a bidet? Hey everyone, I’ll try to keep this short. My mom got me a bidet for Christmas and it changed my life. I love it. I honestly can not say enough wonderful things about having a bidet. So for Valentine’s Day I got my girl the typical flowers and chocolate, a necklace, and... a bidet. I honestly thought it was a good idea, I legitimately thought she’d love it, my mom also got my sister one and she loves hers. I got my girlfriend a really good one, set it up for her and everything. She was fucking PISSED when she saw I got it for her. She said that I was insinuating that she was dirty, and that I was passively aggressively telling her she needed to clean herself better. My girlfriend is a meticulously clean person. I’ve never had any complaints about how she grooms herself, she always smells great and is waxed and clean everywhere, I honestly just wanted to share the joy my bidet brought me with her. Was this a bad judgment call? Am I wrong here?” Now you are free to judge him. Who would think of a plumbing gift for Valentine’s Day? The lightest you were wrong, but only because you didn’t stop and think about it for a second. You got her an ass cleaner for the what is considered the most romantic day of the year. You assumed that you liking something meant your girlfriend would automatically like it as much. This gift is way too specific to get for someone without discussing beforehand, never mind going ahead and installing it in their home before they’d okay’d it. She kinda sucks for jumping to getting all offended (rather than just calling you out for an inappropriate gift), but, I mean, who knows how any of us would react if someone secretly installed a bidet in our home. I mean, you were trying to do a nice thing and give your girlfriend a practical gift you thought could benefit her, but you have to see how it would look to her to just give her that unprompted. Just apologize profusely, explain to her that it’s nothing to do with being clean, you just really love yours and it changed your life and wanted to share that with her but she doesn’t have to use it if she doesn’t want it. Using a bidet may even become an inside joke. But if you’re unsure about the gift for your spouse for Valentine’s Day, maybe fall back on the basics, and consider the plumbing gift for a less special occasion. Please, sir, email me back and let me know if she used it and likes it. On Monday's entry I will share what she thinks. If you have a problem email me at 

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

Top Phive Things People Are Giving Up Or Not Giving Up For Lent In 2021
5. Just heard the devastating news that Rick Astley's given me up for Lent. He said he never would.
4. I gave up Lent last year for Lent and now I don't know what to do today. 
3. Lent in a lockdown? No thank you. My vices are the only thing keeping me sane right now. 
2. I'm not giving up anything for Lent. I've had to give up working, socializing, eating out, earning, and all my hobbies. If that doesn't satisfy Jesus then I'd say he's being picky. 
And the number one thing people are giving up for Lent in 2021 is...
1. Forgive me, I'm a Jew. Is Lent the one where a rabbit lays eggs in your front yard or the one where the guy with the white beard breaks into your houses? 

Rush Limbaugh 
January 12th, 1951 — February 17th, 2021 
Michael J. Fox is probably laughing his ASS off right now.

Hey, you know what they say, you have to shoot your shot whenever you can. Which is exactly what this man did, and boy, was it hilarious. A defendant fighting a burglary charge decided to do his best to woo a female judge during a bond court appearance. LOL. My man, I admire you. Defendant Demetrius Lewis appeared before Broward County Judge Tabitha Blackmon in Fort Lauderdale, Florida through a Zoom hearing. So, seconds into stepping in front of a camera for his virtual meeting he decided to lay on some devious moves. Lewis is heard saying. “Judge, you [are] so gorgeous, so gorgeous, I just had to tell you. You’re gorgeous.” The judge, taken aback and probably thinking “what the heck, you’re going to jail,” thanked Mr. Lewis for his comments before responding, “Flattery will get you everywhere, but maybe not here.” As she should, because well, she’s a professional. As far as his crime, well he is facing a charge of attempted burglary of an occupied dwelling. He is currently being held on a $5,000 bond. Prosecutors stated that Lewis had tried to break into a home while three children and their mother were inside at that time. They stated that the mother watched what was going on from a doorbell camera and a neighbor intervened. Police also added that the Florida man had been released from prison back in 2019 after serving a nearly 4-year sentence for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. So, was this burglary suspect just trying to get a lower sentence, or did he actually really like the judge and wanted to compliment her? Who knows, I’ll leave that for you to decide. But this is pretty funny, I bet that judge went straight home and told her husband about it. I would have laughed during the virtual court hearing if this had happened to me though. She kept a straight face and was very straightforward with him, a queen! I really do have to give her props for this one. 

Okay, the 146th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Pete Townshend will be on the Phile in a few weeks. Very cool, right? Okay, let's take a live look at Port Jeff, shall we?

Oh, boy, it's snowing there again right now. Brrrrr.

Today's guest is an English actor known for his work in film, theatre and television. He became widely known for his performance as Billy Mack in Love Actually. Other notable roles in cinema include his portrayal of Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, and Viktor in the Underworld film series. He is also known for his roles in the films Shaun of the Dead, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Hot FuzzHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Sometimes Always Never. Please welcome to the Phile... Bill Nighy.

Me: Hello, sir, welcome to the Phile. I have to say you were one of my dad's favorite actors, and one of mine as well. How are you? 

Bill: My pleasure, Jason. 

Me: So, how do you pronounce your last name? I think I've been pronouncing it wrong for ever. 

Bill: Like Nye, like Bill Nye the Science Guy. 

Me: Ewe. I don't like that guy. Do you get that a lot? People not knowing how to pronounce your name?

Bill: I do a bit. My daughters school friends were disappointed I turned out to be the wrong Bill Nye. 

Me: Well, you're a better one anyway. Did you ever meet the asshole Bill Nye? 

Bill: I did meet the "real" Bill Nye in a restaurant in New York on one occasion, we had our photograph taken. The two Nye's did meet at one point. Why did you say he was an "asshole"? 

Me: Well, it's a long story but simply put I was working a press event at Disney World, it was the 25th anniversary press event, and a women and child who was about 7 wanted his autograph. Nye was there doing radio interviews, going from one radio station table to another. In between he was standing there in his full Bill Nye outfit of bow toe and lab coat with the Guest Relations Cast Member. I went up to them and said, "Mr. Nye, this young man is a big fan of yours and wants to be a scientist because of you. Would you be able to sign his autograph book?" The child held up his autograph book like Oliver Twist asking for more food in his bowl. Bye looked down at the child and said, "I'm not signing autographs." I said, "Just one quick signature, sir, real quick." Nye again said, "I said I'm not signing autographs." And he tried to get away. I said, "You don't have to write 'Bill Nye the Science Guy.' Just write 'Bill Nye,' that's 6 letters. "I will not sign an autograph." And he and the Guest Relations person walked off. The kid looked kinda sad but not as sad and deflated as his mom. I said to the child, "It's okay, he's not a real a dentist anyway. No scientist goes around calling themselves 'the science guy.'" There's that's my Bill Nye story, sir. I'm glad he took a pic with you though. 

Bill: I guess the little boy was de-nyed. 

Me: Haha! That's great! I have to remember that when I tell the story again. There was another situation which I won't get into now. So, you were the main star in a movie called Sometimes Always Never. You do you play in the movie, Bill? 

Bill: I played a dad named Alan whose been estranged from his son for years. A game of Scrabble was involved. 

Me: Bill, where are you from in England? 

Bill: Caterham, Surrey. 

Me: Caterham! That's where my cousins live! Anyway, so, in the movie you talk about Marmite, which I love on toast. Anyway, you said in the movie that Canada has banned Marmite. Is the true? 

Bill: The writer of Sometimes Almost Never, Frank Cottrell-Boyce had habit for when he ran out of things for me to say in the movie he would Google me on red carpets and take stuff that I said in real life. I was in Canada and I had discovered Canada had in fact banned Marmite because it had a secret ingredient. Apparently someone asked Marmite what the secret ingredient was and they said, "We can't tell you, it's secret." So they couldn't important it anymore. I seemed to be the only person who knew that story, but anyway it ended up in the movie. 

Me: Glad I don't live in Canada then. So, do you like Marmite? 

Bill: Yeah, I was raised with it. Marmite's become an adjective now. People say Bob Dylan's singing is a Marmite thing. Meaning half the world loves it and half the world can't bare it. It's become a word that describes that phenomenon. Does America have Marmite? 

Me: Yeah, it's called Cheez Whiz. Hahahaha. Is it true you got caught smuggling Marmite? 

Bill: Yeah, I've been busted at Heathrow a couple of times. 

Me: So, what happened? 

Bill: The first time I was trying to impress somebody and took a too large jar of Marmite. I was trying to get it into India actually. The guy said when he took it out, "You can't have that." And I said, "Well, come on, man, it's Marmite." He said I just cannot have it and I said, "Well, can I take some out of it and put it into something smaller?" And he said, "There's no decanting Marmite on this side of security." And I said, "Can I see that in writing?" They were all laughing but they still took my Marmite. The groovy thing was the young man who was seeing me through the airport was so distressed he went off and he found me 32 of the tiny little Marmites they put in all the cafes. That saw me through the gig. 

Me: It was a happy ending anyway. So, how is Scrabble involved in the movie? 

Bill: Alan is a Scrabble loving dad. His son has been missing for years after bit of a family bust up during a Scrabble game. Alan thinks his son is still alive, and he's desperate to find him. 

Me: I love Scrabble and miss playing it with my parents and grandparents. Are you a Scrabble fan? 

Bill: No, I knew nothing. Well, I used to play occasionally win Boxing Day but I was no great Scrabble shakes until I did the movie and now obviously I know a great deal about it. It's a whole new world from the Scrabble that I remember when I was a child. 

Me: When you're playing a role like this what do you need to prep the character? 

Bill: Good scripts are rare and they're hard to find and Frank Cottrell-Boyce is a major writer and when they came through the door I knew I was in good shape. The quality of the dialogue and the quality of the script was very high. 

Me: It's a funny movie with a sad quality, am I right? 

Bill: Yeah, it has a sad quality and it is amusing but it was something unexpected. I was pleased to be in it.  

Me: What was it like for you when you first became an actor? 

Bill: Well, I used to hitchhike everywhere. When the days was young and I was young I could hitchhike everywhere and everybody did. It would save me the rail fare when I wasn't making much money so I just put my thumb out on the M1 or any of the freeways. People would say, "Where are you going?" And I would say, "I'm going to Liverpool." Or I'm going to Newcastle or wherever I was going where my next job was and they'd say "what do you do?" And I could never bring myself to say the words "I'm an actor." 

Me: What? Why not? 

Bill: Because I didn't feel like an actor. I didn't know anybody who was an actor. There weren't any actors around our way. Times were different then. There weren't so many people attempting to be actors and I didn't feel to have that conversation so I lied. I'd say I was a stage painter or I was a stage electrician, or anything other than acting because I didn't feel like I could front that conversation. 

Me: When did that stop and you started feeling like a real actor? 

Bill: It took a really long time for me to feel like a real actor. I don't remember, everything was quite a long time ago now. It was probably into my 30s, given then I was acting for a decade it was a long time before I felt that I could confidently identify as an actor. 

Me: I first knew about you from the 1998 movie Still Crazy where you played rocker Ray Simms, but most people know you from the 2003 film Love Actually where you played aging rocker Billy Mack. I have to show the post for Still Crazy, as people should see that movie.

Me: What goes through your mind when you think about those movies now? 

Bill: I build my life not seeing or not seeing any of my work. I'm quite happy with the relationship other people seem to have with them. But my relationship had always been unsteady. Kids used to run after me in the street shouting the line "don't buy drugs, become a rock star and they give you them for free." I once came through from Canada to the United States through immigration about 4:30 morning once, in the big immigration hall. I was the only person there and the scariest guy called me towards his immigration booth and as I was walking towards him he said, "Hey, kids, don't buy drugs. Become a rock star and we'll give you them for free, am I right or am I right?" And when he said "drugs" I was like no, no, I don't have any... 

Me: All you have his Marmite. Is that what you said? Hahaha.

Bill: Yeah, exactly, Don't take my Marmite. I also smuggle Yorkshire tea just for the record so as I'm becoming clear here. 

Me: I never saw Love Actually but I'm pretty sure that changed everything for you over night, am I right? 

Bill: Yeah, it did. I knew if I did a half decent job on it because it was a Richard Curtis movie, it was big deal, how previous movies had been fabulously successful, I knew it would change the air and it did, it changed the way I go to work. It meant I never had to audition anymore. Ask any actor what that means, that's like all my Christmases in one. It changed everything about my career. It was a beautiful thing. 

Me: Do you think you appreciated it differently because it happened later in your career? 

Bill: Well, I can only speculate but yes, you're probably right. I think it was a good time for it to happen to me. If you told me it was going to happen when I was scuffling or struggling when I was in my twenties when I didn't ave any money I would've arranged to be more cheerful during that period. I thought it was a good time for that to happen to me. I think it would've been okay if I was younger but it was timely I feel. 

Me: You have done some big budget films like Pirates of the Caribbean but is it still a draw to do a small low-budget independent film like Sometimes Always Never

Bill: Well, the smaller side of it simply has to deal with the trailer, the car, the canteen and the time. The great luxury is if they have a lot of money they have lots of time. Apart from that the gig is pretty much the same. I'm drawn to anything that's any good. And as I said, they're quite rare good scripts. I don't mind whose making it, where they're making it, as long and the quality is high and they have something to offer.  

Me: What's your definition of good? 

Bill: Well, mine has to do with the writing specifically to do with the language really, because that's my relationship with it. I'm going to gave to speak this stuff. Very few people could write like people talk. They wrote like people talk in movies, which is a different thing. Which can work, it's a convention where we're perfectly happy with. We watch a lot of movies where people say shit they only say in films. 

Me: Aaron Sorkin films are like that way, right? 

Bill: I don't know. But there's a level of quality and I got a nose for it. It's a serious film where it's written by grown-ups for grown-ups and it's not going to be a nuisance in the world and manipulative. It's not cynical and broadly speaking help.

Me: Does it matter what genre it is? 

Bill: It does not matter what genre it is. I don't mind if it's a family film or a kids film, as long as the quality is high. 

Me: Why don't you watch any of your films? 

Bill: Well, it's pretty simple. I watched myself once rob a bank on "Softly, Softly" for the people who are old enough in England will remember it. It was a crime show, and the first time I was ever on TV. No one told me not to watch it and I walked around Liverpool all night long feeling that I've been humiliated on national television and I better find an alternative career. It was a really deeply uncomfortable experience. So I just made a point of never, ever doing that again. It's not the way I look although I'm not crazy about it. It's not the way I sound although I'm not crazy about that either but it's the acting I can't take. It's too much information for me. It's not for me, it's for other people. I know all the compromises, I know all the little bit of cowardice. I know the default thing I do when I cannot pull something off and I think "did I do that again?" I know too much and I have a really beautiful relationship with my work which is other people watch it and it seems to go down okay. And they ask me back, that's all I need to know. It's unnatural to sit there and watch it although some people are happy to do it, I respect that and I admire that but I'm not one of them. 

Me: Is being on set and doing the work the thing that brings you joy? 

Bill: I don't know about joy either. People assume. There's three things that people say about everybody's job. There's probably three things they say about your job, three things they say about biochemists, three things they say about veterinarian surgeons. The three things they say about actors are, the first thing they say usually when we're out of work is "well, at least that you're doing something that you love." The idea that there is this myth that actors must love it, I don't know where it came from. It's certainly not really anybody's experience, but it's really just become the thing that people understand, or at least imagine what they understand about the job. 

Me: What are the other two? 

Bill: That we are gregarious in some way and we like being on stage. We are exhibitionists. I don't know any actor that are any good that are an exhibitionists. Most of them hide in dark corners until they're called upon. We're all outgoing and sexually incontinent. We are all sexually incontinent but apart from that none of that is true. 

Me: Why did you want to be an actor? 

Bill: In my case I have a respectful reason and that's I didn't want to be anything else. I flunked school, I had no qualifications, I had no connection, I had no money, I didn't have any ideas much apart from I wanted to write the great English novel which I apparently couldn't sit still enough to do or even try and somebody suggested I go to drama school and they wrote he letter and I got in and it was better than working in a shop or in a supermarket. I figured I'd be a student, no one in my family had ever been a student so that was kind of glamorous straight off the bat. Mind you I spent the 80 points they used to give me per term I spent that in the bar in the first two weeks. It wasn't particularly glamorous but it was an alternative. I didn't want to go to the same place every day for the next 25 years and I didn't want to know what I was going to be making in the next 25 years. It is like agreeing to be a professional gambler, and I persisted because my pride prevented me from ever saying "I gave that up and do something else now." I never wanted to have that conversation with somebody where they say, "You're still acting?" And me saying, "Well, no, I don't do that now. I do that other thing." Because I was just too proud to do that. And indeed I did get jobs because those days it was easier, I could paint the set, I could drive the van, I could work behind the bar, and they'd give me a couple of lines. This kind of gigs aren't available anymore because the success of the government in England have starved potential theaters and the opportunities no longer arrive. 

Me: Bill, it was great to have you on the Phile. You're a great actor and I hope you'll come back on the Phile again one day before its over.

Bill: Thank you.

That about does it fo this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Bill Nighy for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Monday with Thurston Moore. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Kiss you brain.

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...