Monday, May 31, 2021

Pheaturing Richard Thompson


Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Today is Memorial Day... I was thinking about this... There is nothing wrong with saying to someone "Happy Memorial Day" and saying so will get you second looks from nobody. But, if you feel like “Happy Memorial Day” isn't appropriate, maybe you can try saying, “I hope you have a nice/great Memorial Day,” “Are you doing well this Memorial Day? Thanks, I'm doing great too,” or just, “Have a great day!” 

The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has reinstated Father Michael Pfleger at St. Sabina Church, amid the sexual abuse allegations made against him five months prior. They concluded that there was “insufficient reason to suspect” that the accusations were true after an independent review board investigated the story that two brothers came forward with about Pfleger had sexually abused them decades ago when they were underage. According to the Tennessee Tribune, a third man had also come forward with allegations of sexual abuse a couple of months later. Cardinal Blase Cupich explained that Pfleger would be allowed to return to the pulpit on Chicago’s South Side the weekend of June 5th, the Feast of Corpus Christi. In a letter to the St. Sabina parish, he also noted that he asked Pfleger to take the next two weeks to “prepare himself emotionally and spiritually to return” to ministry, but not everyone’s so sure that this was the right decision. Eugene Hollander, who represents the two accusers who made the child abuse claims, explained in a statement about how they are “shocked and deeply disappointed” in the church’s decision. He said in a statement, “Both of the brothers who made these allegations were extraordinarily credible. They provided detailed accounts of the sexual molestation as well as information that only these victims would be aware of. My clients not only corroborated each other, but both clients underwent polygraph examinations and passed.” Pfleger, however, is ecstatic to return to work, sticking to his truth while also noting how difficult the past few months had been for him. He said in a statement, “I am innocent of the charges made against me and continue to believe that the [archdiocese] Review Board and the Cardinal will see the truth, conclude that these uncorroborated allegations are unfounded, and restore me to the ministry at St. Sabina,” adding, “In the meantime, I know that I cannot emotionally or spiritually continue to remain isolated in an apartment waiting for this Board to do its job. While I hope and pray that the Review Board will work a little harder and more promptly to conclude their investigation, I will no longer wait in silence.” One of the accusers told Vice, “It’s a cover-up because of his popularity. They don’t see that side of him. They don’t know that side when I had bloody underwear. All they see is what’s going on with him now, what he has done since he has been at St. Sabina, the activist that he is now.” This isn’t the first time that the Catholic Church has reinstated a priest that has been accused of sexual abuse, and Vice named many more reverends who escaped punishment. Chicago priest Lawrence Sullivan was reinstated 10 days before Pfleger but was accused of sexually assaulting a woman when she was only a 17-year-old. Kentucky priest Joseph Edward Bradley was reinstated after two years when he was suspended for two reports of sexual abuse against a minor. He’s banned, however, “from entering a primary or secondary school for a period of five years,” according to a letter from the diocese. The Vatican reinstated Joseph Hart from Wyoming, even against the lack of support from the diocese. Har faced 12 sexual abuse accusations, and although diocese officials found at least six of them credible, he was only rebuked and recommended that he should not, “have any contact with minors, youth, seminarians, and vulnerable adults.” The list can go on and on, dating well back into the early 20th century. If priests are reinstated with recommendations not to return to places where children are, wouldn’t that mean that officials know that they were guilty? And what’s law enforcement’s role in investigating these potential crimes? Why are there always just “outside investigators” who review these cases? I’m sure these are questions that the victims have asked, just like I’m wondering now.

In 2018, the disgraced comedian Bill Cosby was sentenced to 3-10 years in prison for drugging and raping the Toronto woman Andrea Constand. And now, after three years have passed, Cosby has been denied parole for refusing to participate in the state-mandated “sexual predator” rehabilitation program. Doing so, Cosby says, would have been an admission of guilt. Cosby maintains his innocence despite the guilty verdict and accusations of sexual assault from 60 different women. Prior to 2014, Bill Cosby’s sexual misconduct was something of an open secret in Hollywood. In 2005, the former Temple University employee Andrea Constand reported the beloved actor to the police and went filed a civil suit against him. But it wasn’t until Hannibal Burress’s stand-up routine, which acknowledged Cosby’s suspect behavior, went viral on social media that the public became fully aware. Since 2014, 60 different women have alleged that Cosby assaulted them. Most of their accounts described being drugged by Cosby, who used quaaludes and awaking having been violated. These various incidents occurred over a span of more than 40 years and two involved 15-year-old girls. But despite the overwhelming evidence... and sheer number of accusers Cosby maintains that he is innocent… even after being found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018. Now that shameless attitude has come back to haunt him. After refusing to participate in the court-ordered therapy for sex offenders, Cosby was recently denied parole. The scandal is now trending again. In December 2015, Andrea Constand filed three felony charges of aggravated indecent assault against Cosby in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. After a mistrial and a new trial, Cosby was eventually found guilty and sentenced to 3-10 years in state prison in 2018. Cosby’s legal team appealed that decision at the state supreme court level in 2019 but the guilty verdict was upheld. He is currently held at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections SCI-Phoenix, near Philadelphia, where he is classified as a sexually violent predator. Considering the 83-year-old Cosby’s wealth, age, and resources, most expected he would likely serve the bare minimum. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Cosby spokesperson Andrew Wyatt also appeared on TV pushing for an early release for his client. However, it now looks like Cosby will be serving more of that 10-year prison sentence. After refusing to participate in the state rehabilitation program, which is mandated for sex predators, Bill Cosby’s petition for parole was denied by the Pennsylvania Parole Board. Reportedly, the decision was influenced by “the negative recommendation made by the Department of Corrections [and Cosby’s] failure to develop a parole release plan.” If Cosby does complete the treatment program, his request for parole will be reviewed again.

It’s been a while since parties were a thing. So when some dude named Adian posted about a birthday party event called “AdriansKickback” on a social media post last Wednesday, around 2,500 attendees decided to show up... including from states as far away as Michigan and Arizona. The viral announcement, whose hashtag was viewed more than 2020 million times on TikTok, was posted by @adrian.lopez517 to invite people to “pop out and celebrate my birthday." He added, “BYOE!! Repost!!” The beach party was set to kick off on Friday night, with the main event occurring on Saturday night near the fire pits of Huntington Beach in Southern California. The Hungtingbeach Police Department police were aware of the gathering, but unprepared for its magnitude. In preparation for the big night, the Huntington Beach PD reminded its Twitter followers of its large gathering beach rules, “No alcohol on the beach. No drugs on the beach. No fireworks. Beach closes at 10 p.m.” On Friday and Saturday nights, thousands of partygoers gathered in Hungingback near downtown Los Angeles. TikTok videos from the event show crowds of people dancing, running through streets, scaling lifeguard towers, scampering up lifeguard towers, and setting off fireworks. “The majority of the crowd was just focused on having a good time,” Jeryn Anderson, who was in attendance, told BuzzFeed News. “We were doing mosh pits, watching people do burnouts, dancing, and running from fireworks.” “It was lit!” he recalled fondly. Ever the buzzkills (er, I mean responsible law enforcement officials just doing their jobs), The Huntington Beach Police Department denounced the party as an unlawful assembly around 7:13 p.m and instituted an emergency curfew, reports BuzzFeed News. The overnight curfew would run from 11:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. the following morning. Before 11 p.m., there were reportedly minimal interactions with police officers. But later on, fights broke out on the beach before revelers moved to the downtown area... where downtown businesses, police vehicles, and a lifeguard tower were damaged, say police. In videos from late in the evening, police officers clas in riot helmets are seen firing less-lethal rounds and deploying some kind of chemical agent at attendees. “As the crowd size continued to grow rapidly, large groups disbursed into various locations throughout the area, throwing bottles, rocks, fireworks, and other items at officers,” Huntington Beach police said in a statement. As tension began to escalate, police called for backup from outside law enforcement agencies, with more than 150 officers “from virtually all agencies within Orange County” arriving to keep the crowd under control. On both nights, officers arrested 121 adults and 28 juveniles. Arrestees were booked for a number of offenses, including vandalism, the firing of dangerous or illegal fireworks, failure to disperse, and curfew violations. On Sunday, people were seen cleaning up the area. A local store owner, Kandie Gonzalez of Peace Sol & Succulents, said she found a lot of her inventory missing after the chaos, she tearfully told KTLA5. “These kids that ran through, no remorse,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve seen kids driving by, saying ‘so funny.’ It’s not funny guys. It’s not.” “The crowd size wasn’t the problem and the crowd wasn’t the problem,” Huntington Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Carey said in an interview with Orange County Register, “until they started throwing fireworks at officers. That’s when dynamics changed... when that started happening, we declared an unlawful assembly.” No significant injuries have been reported. 

Wedding traditions are a favorite part of many people’s nuptial celebrations... the first dance, the father-daughter dance, the throwing of the bouquet, and of course the cutting of the cake, occasionally followed by a “cake smash” in which the happy couple inexplicably smears each others’ faces with wedding cake. Well, one eager groom took the cake-smashing tradition to the absolute extreme when he responded to the small bit of cake his bride delicately brushed across his mouth by picking up their wedding cake and chucking it into his new bride’s face. The video went mega-viral on TikTok and several astonished viewers saw red flags and called for the frosting-coated couple to divorce at once. The TikTok video was actually posted by the beautiful bride Kelsey Carson, who goes by kelsboyd3 on TikTok. She and her husband Tony married in Kingston, Tennessee and the video was posted on January 8th, 2021. The beginning of the video seems to capture a typical wedding cake cutting moment with Kelsey picking up a small bit of cake and smearing it on her new husband Tony’s face. Tony’s reaction, however, comes as a shock: he quickly picks up the whole cake, yes, the entire three-tiered wedding cake, and slings it into the side of the bride’s head. The heavy cake appears to send Kelsey stumbling into nearby chairs. The always-intense emotions of people on social media instantly erupted, with some shocking commenters calling the move too aggressive and offering a slew of reactions ranging from “Ohhhhh HELLLL NO!!!! Major RED FLAG” to “Divorce on the next level” to “’RUN GIRL. Anger issues hell no” to “That’s not just aggressive but so embarrassing??? If he’s comfortable doing that in front of all her friends and fam… scary.” Kelsey Carson, for her part, seemed to find the prank funny, changing her TikTok bio to read “A CAKE never hurt anyone” as reported by the Daily Mail. At the end of the day, it’s probably not up to the Internet to judge how a couple celebrates their wedding day, but it’s pretty unlikely that this sort of aggro cake smash will become a common sight at other 2021 weddings.

The phrase “9/11” has a haunting tone whenever it’s heard, and when people do hear or say it, everyone knows that it refers back to the horrific events that happened on September 11th, 2001. Along with the many memorials that are still had in remembering the nation’s darkest day, monuments have also been permanently erected all over the United States in commemorative favor as a reminder of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers that killed almost 3,000 people that day. But in the midst of those who appropriately pay tribute to the tragic day, one restaurateur in Fort Worth, Texas, stunned the Internet when he started a 9/11-themed bar called Bar9Eleven. Owner Brent Johnson took it upon himself to enshrine the disaster in the form of a lounge, and although it’s been there for years, online users don’t know how to feel about it. The bar picked up traction on social media when Twitter user Jesse Tyler shared pictures of the establishment, captioned with details of his experience. His tweet shows framed photos inside the place that explain a timeline of what happened on 9/11, saying, “Drove by this bar and thought huh I wonder what that’s about. Turns out it’s about exactly what you think.” However, the framed photos recall the owner’s point of view of what that day was like for him instead of the events themselves. The responses to this viral tweet were mostly horrified that anyone would seemingly use 9/11 as a theme for their business, as Unilad reported that many argued how, “the bar is in bad taste.” Yet, according to Texas Monthly, the Tex-Mex restaurant was created because Johnson didn’t want anyone to forget the day, and he thinks that he’s doing his part to honor and help people never forget what happened. Johnson told Texas Monthly that he head a survey one September that found that “80 percent of Americans” didn’t realize when the anniversary was approaching, although admitting that he wasn’t sure about the survey’s details nor providing evidence of the truth behind this statistic. Nevertheless, the bar has been open for a significant amount of time, and in fact, Johnson remembers the day so well because coincidentally, September 11th, 2001, is also the day he opened his other successful restaurant Rio Mambo Tex Mex Y Mas. It now has four locations across North Texas. 

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

Maybe not. 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 this make-up for example...

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

Since Prince Philip passed away the Queen hasn't been herself. 

When it comes to making ignorant and delusional comments online, American Exceptionalism is undeniable. So, here's a new pheature on the Phile called...

On measurements in space...

You know what they say: you don't really know how many movies and TV shows include child actors until you decide to boycott all properties with children in them. A woman who is serious about ethical consumption has decided to stop watching any show with kids in it as a way of taking a stand against exploitation. It's commendable, but limiting... and her boyfriend is getting frustrated. The boyfriend wrote to the Phile to both explain her manifesto and how he's upset her since her boycott began. 

"My girlfriend is the type who'll really make choices in her life based on her beliefs. She became vegan, she quit a job over ethical concerns, she sold her car to get a bike, etc. She buys nearly nothing new, only secondhand or homemade. This is something I always admired about her but recently we had an argument about a new choice of hers. Which I kind of understand but also kind of find frustrating. She decided to stop watching any media with child stars or child actors in it. Including reality TV, family YouTubers or any YouTubers that have their kids in their videos, and fictional movies and TV. She said it was because that industry is too exploitative and puts kids in the public eye and under so much attention for the rest of their life and they aren't developmentally prepared to understand what they are getting into. If they even were given a choice at all. And that just like we shouldn't let a 5-year-old 'decide' to go into a factory because they want to play at being a grown up, or a 10-year-old drive because they want to be a trucker when they grow up, we shouldn't let kids 'decide' to start a career in acting. I get it, I know some of the stories coming out of Hollywood are really bad. But I felt frustrated because one of the big things we do together, especially recently when everyone had been stuck at home, is chill at home and watch TV or movies together. And you don't really realize how much media has kids in it. She drew the line at significant character roles, so if there are extras or a kid in a shot who isn't a meaningful / recurring character that's fine but if they are playing a character she gets put off immediately and doesn't want to keep watching. It was also frustrating when we wanted to host some backyard movie nights with a projector, she wasn't interested in joining for any of the stuff the group wanted to watch. When that used to be something social that we all used to do together. I got so frustrated with her that I told her she was overreacting, that it was stupid of her to put her feelings about kids who are ending up with sometimes millions of dollars over stuff like her relationship or social life. And that sometimes I and our friends just want to watch a movie and not think about how it's making might be problematic. She got upset with me for the 'stupid' comment and said that she just didn't want to see that shit anymore, I could if I wanted but all she wanted was to not watch something that disgusted her without being made to feel stupid. I feel kinda bad because she isn't telling me or my friends they have to do the same, she's just making a choice for herself. But I also feel upset because that choice for herself is affecting our friendship and social life.   Am I wrong for getting upset with my girlfriend because she wants to stop watching media with child stars?" Yes. You always admired your girlfriend's morality and humanity... until it inconvenienced you. Now you are pressuring her and trying to guilt her into going against her beliefs, because you and your friends would really rather not think about problematic things. She has taken a somewhat unusual position, but she is entitled to make that choice provided that she doesn't try to control what you watch. She seems to be a bit of an extremist to the point where it's likely you two aren't compatible. If she really wants to live a 100% ethical life, she won't be able to do much of anything anymore. Human beings existing causes damage to the planet and society, it's just inevitable. You heard it here first, folks: damage is inevitable. If you have a problem you want my advice on then email me at

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

It's wet and chilly there today by the looks of it. Okay, now for a story from...

Under the cover of the towering trees of the Ocala National Forest, a Florida married couple was able to film a series of cruel social media videos featuring hungry black bears and a pack of aggravated dogs. As the Ocala Star Banner reports, Charles Scarbrough and his wife Hannah Weiner Scarbrough were part of a group of at least seven others who lured bears using donuts, pastries, drums of dog food, and gallons of peanut butter in the national forest. Once the animals were within range, the group would sic a pack of trained dogs on the unsuspecting bears. The gruesome videos show bears being chased up trees in an attempt to escape the packs of dogs, only to be attacked if they fell to the ground. In some of the videos, the dogs appear reluctant to attack the bears, but the suspects removed their leashes, laughing and goading them on. In one instance, a member of the group shot and skinned a bear, according to prosecutors. In a press conference at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Attorney General Pam Bondi said that some of the bears were less than a week old. At least two bears were confirmed dead from the attacks, though Bondi suspects that there were more. Bondi said that the couple was using the videos to “drum up business” for their training school for hunting dogs. “It was for profit, but I believe it was for their own sick pleasure,” she said. The 11-month investigation began when social media users began to report the videos online, which were being used to advertise around the country. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission agents then set up surveillance video at a Krispy Kreme and witnessed some of the suspects taking bags of stale doughnuts from the dumpsters to use as bait. Charles Scarbrough pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering, animal baiting and fighting, unlawful use of a two-way communicating device, and unlawful taking of a black bear, the Ocala Star Banner reported. Meanwhile, his wife pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful taking of a black bear and unlawful use of a communication device. Charles faces more than two years of incarceration, but his sentencing was delayed under the terms of his plea deal, in which he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors against his co-defendants, according to the Associated Press. His wife Hannah faces five years of probation. Hannah must also pay $27,000 to cover the investigation and prosecution costs and is prohibited from training and breeding dogs.

Today's guest is an English singer, songwriter, and guitarist. His memoir Beeswing: Losing my Way and Finding my Voice, 1967-1975 is the 151st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Richard Thompson.

Me: Richard, sir, welcome to the Phile. My dad was a huge fan of yours. How are you? 

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

Me: So, what was the first song you remember hearing when you were a kid? 

Richard: Les Paul's version of Duke Ellington's "Caravan" which is one of the first jazz records my father plated for me. 

Me: Oh, wow. Different than I thought. How old were you? 

Richard: I was five. 

Me: Damn. So, what went through your head when you heard that song? 

Richard: Well, I thought it was weird. Like outer space music. Something that was on radio or TV that they produced what was weird as possible to invoke aliens. I was absolutely fascinated by Les Paul's records. At the age of five I was wide open to music impressions. 

Me: What do you think got to you about it? 

Richard: It doesn't sound like anything else. Plus it was the guitar, guitar music was appearing everywhere with the birth of rock and roll. So I hear my sisters rock and roll records coming through my bedroom wall. Plus my dad had Django Reinhardt records and Les Paul records and Lonnie Johnson records so I had all that stuff as well. So I think I was being painted into a corner in terms of which instrument I was about to pick up and it turned out to be a guitar. 

Me: My dad loved Fairport Convention, which I have only heard a little bit off. What was it like being in that band back in those days? 

Richard: We wanted to be different from other bands. I think the way we achieved that was by from the very beginning our interest in roots based music. so we loved bands like the Byrds, the Lovin' Spoonful. There wasn't really anybody else in London on the scene doing that kind of thing. It was more of a Los Angeles thing at that time in fact. I think that made us different from loads of blues bands, loads of R&B bands, and loads of soul bands that were around the London scene. Then of course all the psychedelic bands appeared... Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, and London became a wide open thing with audiences with generous and hope whatever we played. So Fairpoirt was able to piggyback onto that scene. 

Me: Is it true Jimi Hendrix was a fan of the band? 

Richard: Yeah, he used to jam with us. I don't think he was a fan of me, I think he liked the band. he used to sit in with us at this late night drinking club we used to play at. It happened a few times, he would get up and play with us. 

Me: That's great. What was he like? 

Richard: He was nice guy, a bit shy, wonderful musician. Jimi was at that time just a guy we would see around the clubs. He wasn't a legend yet. But he certainly became one. 

Me: Richard, your guitar playing style is very unique. You were like that from the get go, do you know why that is? 

Richard: I think I had a wide range of influences. I was also determined to be unique. I think that helps a lot. I also obviously started copying people, and you might hear on my old records I am playing a bluesy kind of scale. 

Me: What kinda music do you think Fairport Convention played? 

Richard: A lot of country music, which really was not hip at the time at all. We listened to jazz, we listened to classical music, lots and lots of different styles. As I said I think out was the Les Paul or the Django Reinhardt from my dads records made me play a little bit different from pother people. That's what I wanted to be, I wanted to be different. 

Me: How do you think wanting to be a little bit different shaped you as an artist? 

Richard: As an artist I'm supposed to be a little bit outside. I'm not on the rim of society which is a dangerous place because if I go too far out of the rim then I'll fall off the edge as many artists do. It's out on a rim where I know I can get a perspective on everything. If I'm in the middle of it then I don't really see it. 

Me: Is it lonely being on the outside? 

Richard: I think it is lonely, yeah. It can be solitary. Sometimes solitary in the sense when I'm with other people I could feel like an outsider, like a loner. Maybe I have to be like that. 

Me: What's the story where you were invited to Paul McCartney's birthday party and you didn't want to go? 

Richard: I was a bit of a snob at the time. If he asked me now I would go. I would go to his 80th if he invites me. 

Me: Were you a Beatles fan? I am sure you were. I was lucky enough to interview Paul and Ringo and Ringo will be back on the Phile soon I hope. 

Richard: We were just snobs really. I think we saw the Beatles as not really our influence. I think we saw the Beatles as an older generation. As much as we loved their records and all the technical advances we hear on a Beatles record we were more interested in a singer-songwriter like the new Leonard Cohen record. 

Me: I'm a fan of the Band fan... and you said they're an influence on you, right? 

Richard: The Band's "Music From Big Pink" was a strange watershed for Fairport Convention as I said in the book. 

Me: What do you mean? 

Richard: It sort of killed us really. It's such a good record. And if Fairpoirt was an American band we would have given up right there. 

Me: Really? Why? 

Richard: Because it's such a perfect achievement. The first few Band records managed to fuse so many American styles. Styles of root music, there's gospel in there, there's jazz in there, there's rock and roll in there, there's R&B, there's everything, country is there as well. In a sense Fairport had to look at ourselves and say we should stop being influenced by America. We should start looking at our own culture. We should start looking at the traditional music from the British isles, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and base our music much more on that. We'll still play rock and roll, we'll still play as amplified music with drums but our roots are going to be different. When we write music our roots are going to be different. Really that was the big watershed for Fairport, and for me personally I had really never gone back. I still write music in that kind of fusion of traditional and contemporary. 

Me: Fairport Convention sang songs from the 16th century, sir. Why do you think songs from hundreds of years ago had power in the 60s? 

Richard: Originally these songs would've been sung sitting around the fire at home or sitting in the pub. It was entertainment, it was almost like telling the news. There's been a local murder, so here's a song about it. There was a battle last year, let's sing a song about that. The lyrics are very powerful, we we have a song that gets handed down through old tradition which "Matty Groves" certainly was the bad verses get whittled away and we are left with a really powerful song which is really easy to sing and has a really beautiful language. If we combined that power with the power of amplified music we really got something. We got something which will really maker the audience think. Maybe make the audience dance maybe as well. So we really thought we hit on something. 

Me: Okay, so tell me a fun story about Sandy Denny, who sang with Fairpoint Convention. What was she like? 

Richard: Sandy could be moody. She could be one thing or the other. She could be angry, she could be despondent, she could be insecure and she could be funny. I have so many fond memories of Sandy just cracking up the room just making everybody fall about laughing. One of the nicest things about Fairport as a band we were basically friends and we really did a share a good sense of humour. Very British and sarcastic and very ironical sense of humour. Sandy was a master of that. 

Me: What did you think you learned from her as a musician and as a songwriter? 

Richard: As a songwriter she was hard to follow. So I didn't try to take so much from Sandy because she really was a very individual voice. Having said that I know a lot of writers were influenced by her. Kate Bush was very influenced by Sandy. It was very unique to her the way she played the piano and the way she wrote as well on the piano. She was just a wonderful individual voice and I think as the years go by I think more and more people are discovering Sandy and realising she was truly great and an absolutely phenomenal singer. I don't think I worked with a singer as good as Sandy. 

Me: Do you listen to her singing a lot? 

Richard: I listen to her frequently. It's good stuff and for me it's kind of timeless so I don't listen to a Sandy record and think that sounds like the 70s or something, I just think it sounds like it could have come from any era and I think that's another great testament to Sandy's music. 

Me: I like your Richard and Linda records you did with your ex wife. What is it writing with her about your lives good or bad? 

Richard: Well, I don't think we ever consciously wrote about our own relationship to tell you the truth. I'm sure it's in there but whatever difficulty or joys we had I'm sure it's in there somewhere. We were really writing about other things, other people, different kinds of life situations really. We made like five or six records together and I don't think any point we were consciously saying this is about the argument we had last week or anything. Our marriage is about to break-up, let's make an album documenting it. There's nothing conscious about that at all as far as I remember. 

Me: How is then to have that mischaracterized? 

Richard: It's amusing really. Nothing more than that. People speculated from the time "Shoot Out the Lights" that album people said at the time and they said ever since "this is a break-up album. How can we they can get through that?" The suffering, etc. We weren't thinking that at all. The songs were written a year or two years before we recorded them. We just wrote an album of songs and I think our attitude was if it it's a good song it doesn't matter what it's about. It's all about how the song translates to other people. How the song communicates to people. 

Me: Your children are very talented musicians themselves, Richard. Is that cool for you? Were you happy for them or were you thinking stay away from the music business? Haha. 

Richard: I think originally I would say I don't think I discouraged them but I tried to give them a realistic idea of what being a musician was. If that was what they were going to do. I tried to recommend other jobs like accountancy or work in a bank which is far more secure. That's probably my biggest concern as a parent is security. It's a very uneven lifestyle, it's like being an actor or something. They work then they don't work, there are fat times and there are lean times and they have to be flexible and have to be prepared for that. Sometimes they have to have a second job, they have to become a truck driver or something in case it all goes pear shaped. It's a very joyful thing for a parent, I feel so proud of my kids especially when they're really good and I don't have to make apologies for them because I love the work that they do. It's the family business at the end of the day. "Are you going into the family business or are you going to strike out and do something fairly different?" Some of my kids didn't take that path and some did and it's a wonderful thing. Perhaps their children will take it up as well. My grandson is a fantastic guitar player, he's better than me at this point. Stole all my licks of course but he plays them better than I do. 

Me: Haha. My dad was a great singer and guitar player but I play the kazoo. My son though is a really good guitar player. So, what was it like writing this book for you, Richard, looking back at your life? 

Richard: Interesting. In some cases harrowing. I think mostly enjoyable actually. But once I start writing more and more things pop up in my memory that I had forgotten about. So it's an interesting process to do that. Once I start it keeps on going and keeps on going. I think somewhat cathartic and somewhat awarding for me as well. And there are definitely things I did not deal with at the time and having to look at them for the purpose of writing a book was an awarding thing ultimately for me. Things I could now put away and not have to trouble over if you like anymore. It was a hard process but I'm glad I got through it. 

Me: Richard, thanks for being on the Phile. My dad would've loved the book and this interview. Thank you. 

Richard: You're welcome, Jason, it was my pleasure.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Richard for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Jeff Lynne from ELO. I have to mention this real quick... another Phile Alum has passed away. B.J. Thomas passed and I had him on the Phile in 2019. Here's the link to his interview in case you missed it... 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...

Friday, May 28, 2021

Pheaturing Howie Mandel


Hello, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday... how are you? On a Southwest Airlines flight from Sacramento to San Diego, California, a flight attendant lost her two front teeth and sustained injuries to her face when a passenger attacked her on Sunday. The story made national headlines two days ago when video footage capturing the in-flight altercation was published by local news outlet KGTV. The video was filmed by San Diego resident, Michelle Manner. The vide video shows a female passenger... who has since been identified as Vyvianna Quinonez... punching a female flight attendant over and over. “I was shocked at what was going on,” Manner told KGTV. “ I could tell that her teeth were loose when she was back in the cubby, and her face was bleeding pretty bad.” In an initial statement from Southwest Airlines, a spokesperson could not confirm whether the incident was related to mask-wearing. “Our reports indicate that a passenger physically assaulted a Flight Attendant upon landing on Flight #700 from Sacramento to San Diego Sunday morning,” Southwest spokesperson Chris Mainz told ABC 10 News San Diego. “The passenger repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions (tray table in upright position, seat belt, etc.) and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing. Law Enforcement Officials (LEOs) were requested to meet the flight upon arrival, and the passenger was taken into custody. We do not condone or tolerate verbal or physical abuse of our Flight Crews, who are responsible for the safety of our passengers.” Since the video’s release, Manner and other witnesses on the flight have been weighing in on the incident, helping piece together how the attack unfolded. As Manner told Sacramento news outlet KCRA 3, it all started when a flight attendant told passengers to put their mask on their entire face, and not just near her nose. “They ended up in a screaming match,” Manner remembered. “It ended with the flight attendant saying that she was going to go call the captain.” Susan Stidham, who was also on the flight, had a slightly different take: “Apparently what she did was stood up and took off her seat belt and the flight attendant told her to put it back on and she attacked her,” Stidham told CBS Los Angeles. Another passenger, Taro Arai, took the story from there. “…they start shoving each other and the next I saw was ‘Don’t touch me!’ They start yelling, the lady stood up and pound! She just knocked her out on the floor.” Arai told reporters. According to Arai, a man sitting near the passenger intervened. “He said, ‘You can’t do that! Don’t do that! You can’t do that,'” he remembered. “The flight attendant in the back bleeding everywhere, looking at us from the hallway. It was like a horror movie to me.” The injured flight attendant was reportedly escorted off the plane for a medical evaluation before paramedics took her to Scripps Memorial Hospital. Quinonez was arrested by Port of San Diego Harbor Police officers and is now facing a felony count of assault inflicting serious bodily injury. She is scheduled to return to San Diego for a hearing on September 30th. Lyn Montgomery, president of transport workers union TWU Local 556, told CBSLA that these kinds of incidents are a growing concern for flight attendants. “Since April 8th to May 15th alone, 477 incidents were reported on Southwest Airlines,” said Montgomery. “Nationwide, since the beginning of the year, it’s been 2,500.” She added, “I think we could probably say it has to do with the COVID-19 quarantine orders, the requirements to wear masks and also, perhaps, the civil unrest in the nation. In a letter to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, Montgomery said the flight attendants union was seeking several safeguards from the airline to protect employees from similar misconduct incidents... including increasing the number of federal air marshals on flights and request that they “get involved and take action” when crew members are in danger. According to Montgomery, the union also wants to airline to be consistent in its policies and maintaining its restricted travelers list. “No passenger should be removed from one flight only to be permitted to board the very next Southwest Airlines flight after a noncompliance incident. We ask that you take a strong stance to ensure that unruly passengers are not welcome to travel with us. Period. Full stop.” According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there have been 2,500 incidents of unruly behavior from airline passengers this year, including 1,900 cases in which passengers refused to wear comply wide the federal government’s face mask mandate.  

After two years in office, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot announced last week that she would no longer sit down for interviews with white reporters. In an apparent attempt to call out systemic racism, Lightfoot promised that she would only speak directly with reporters of color from now on. But that bold announcement has drawn an extremely mixed reaction within the city. After Mary Ann Ahern of NBC broke the story, the mayor’s office published a two-page letter on May 19th, in which Lori Lightfoot described her disappointment with the “overwhelming whiteness” of Chicago newsrooms. As a black woman herself, Lightfoot identified her administration as one breaking with the status quo: a black, female City Treasurer, and a Hispanic City Clerk, in addition to a majority non-white City Council. But the City Hall reporters, she says, do not match that standard of diversity. The political news media in Chicago, Lightfoot writes, is “practically all white. Many of them are smart and hardworking, savvy and skilled. But mostly white, nonetheless… I hope you find this as unacceptable as I do.” (The letter also states that there are “zero women of color assigned to the City Hall beat” but WBEZ quickly refuted that claim; two of their station’s three City Hall reporters are WOC.) In response, Lightfoot said she would decline to sit down with any white journalists from now and accept one-on-one interviews strictly with people of color. Lightfoot’s decision came as a surprise to most Chicagoans. And though you might expect a smattering of support, Lightfoot was not exactly celebrated for championing journalists of color. Rather, Chicago media outlets resisted applauding the move while the National Association of Black Journalists released a definitive criticism. Coming up on the two-year anniversary of Lightfoot’s mayorship, Chicago has been vocal about demanding more from the politician. On May 20th... the day after Lightfoot released her official statement about local media... 40 different active community groups (including the Chicago Teachers Union, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, etc.) gathered in the Logan Square neighborhood to protest Lightfoot’s inadequate governing. Publicized as a “public report card,” attendees carried signs that gave Lightfoot a big, fat F for criteria such as policing, education, environment, housing, and more. Rather than argue discuss the semantics of Lightfoot’s recent call for social justice, these Chicagoans were more interested in hearing how Lightfoot will combat life-and-death issues like rising gun violence, excessive policing, and the ongoing global pandemic. Naturally, though, political reporters reacted more directly to Lightfoot’s journalistic pledge. The National Association of Black Journalists released a statement saying that while Lightfoot is shedding light on an important issue, the NABJ simply “does not support excluding any bona fide journalists from one-on-one interviews with newsmakers, even if it is for one day and in support of activism.” Lightfoot’s announcement about prioritizing brown journalists also received negative coverage in the city’s primary paper, The Chicago Tribune. But that is just the latest in Lightfoot’s ongoing feud with the long-standing publication. After a report in The Chicago Tribune condemned Lightfoot’s failure to relax parking tickets from the start of the pandemic, the mayor wrote in a series of leaked emails, “I urge members of the public, the next time the Tribune comes out with some big expose or a screaming headline... please consider the source,” Lightfoot wrote in a September 22nd email… "I have and that’s why I have canceled my digital and print subscriptions to the Trib.” It’s an unusual stance for a Democratic politician within the state of Illinois to combat the popular news source so openly. “Her behavior is much like that of our former president with his constant media feuds. Instead of worrying about the color or ethnicity of who comes calling, she should focus on the endless violence that plagues Chicago on a daily basis,” wrote one concerned citizen in a letter to the editor. The Chicago Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt, who is Latino, was actually pre-approved to conduct an interview with the mayor. But he canceled the meeting in light of Lightfoot’s announcement. He opened up about that decision on WGN, saying, “The need for diversity is real, no question about it… but the answer is not to do fewer interviews with people on the beat or to refuse people who are responsible for telling Lightfoot’s story for their publications. The reasonable thing would seem to be to do more interviews… it’s more of a stunt.” Thomas Catenacci, who writes for the ultra-conservative The Daily Caller, has reportedly moved forward with a lawsuit against Lightfoot after his interview request was denied. According to TMZ, Catenacci has asked a judge to forcefully end Lightfoot’s new policy saying that it violates his rights of Equal Protection under the law and his rights as a member of the press under the First Amendment. For context, The Daily Caller was co-founded by Fox’s Tucker Carlson in 2010. Since the controversy began last week, Tucker has slammed Lightfoot on-air, calling her “a monster” and comparing her to a Nazi “pulling the right ones out of line for punishment.” And though the litigious move... coming from such proud Republican publication... is likely a trolling tactic, the case has drawn attention to the infeasibility of Lightfoot’s plan for the City Hall press corps.

On Wednesday, nine correction workers... including seven correction officers and two correction employees... were arrested for allegedly smuggling razors, scalpels, illegal substances, cell phones, and other contraband into a New York City jail. In newly released documents from federal prosecutors with the Southern District of New York, prosecutors accused nine guards and employees of the New York City Department of Correction of smuggling contraband to prisoners in exchange for cash bribes. The nine employees currently or previously worked at the Rikers Island Jail Complex and the Manhattan Detention Complex. “These defendants were responsible for maintaining a safe and orderly environment in New York City’s jails,” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in the statement. “Instead, as alleged, they abused their positions to enrich themselves by smuggling weapons, drugs, and other dangerous contraband in return for thousands of dollars of cash bribes. This alleged activity violated the defendants’ duties, and endangered the inmates they were charged to supervise and guard.” Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett said in the statement that the charged crimes reflected “the pernicious and damaging impact of corruption.” She added, “Correction officers and staff should protect the integrity of the jails, not promote lawlessness and violence by accepting bribes in return for trafficking drugs, scalpels, razor blades, cell phones, and other contraband... all highly valued, illegal items that undermine order in the jails and compromise the safety of other correction officers and inmates.” According to the indictment, three correction officers... including 35-year-old Miguel Compress of New York, 45-year-old Temaine Pelzer of Brooklyn, and 60-year-old Brian Harrell of Pelham, NY... took more than $20,000 in cash bribes from prisoners at the Manhattan Detention Complex (colloquially known as “The Tombs”) in downtown Manhattan. In exchange, these three guards allegedly smuggled to prisoners scalpels, smokable synthetic cannabinoids (often referred to as “K2” or “Spice”), cellphones, and cigarettes between 2019 and early 2020. FBI agents also busted four guards... including 33-year-old Dariel Diaz of Reading, Pennsylvania, 25-year-old Rashawn Assanah of Queens, 33-year-old Robert Balducci of the Bronx, and 32-year-old Johnathan Garrett of Brooklyn... at the Rikers Island Jail Complex smuggling in contraband more than $25,000 in bribes in 2020 and 2021, the indictment claims. In the document, the feds also accuse a Department of Correction counselor... 41-year-old Tameka Lewis of Brooklyn... accused of taking more than $40,000 in bribes from at least in or about June 2019 up through and including in or about September 2020. To prisoners who bribed her, the counselor allegedly smuggled K2 and other contraband into the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Rikers Island. According to the indictment, Lewis accepted bribes in the form of Cash App. In addition, the indictment names a Department of Corrections exterminator... 34-year-old Jasmine Reed of Norfolk, Virginia... accused of smuggling in K2, marijuana, and other contraband in exchange for an unspecified amount in cash bribes between August 2019 and February 2020. Five employees were arrested in New York, one in Pennsylvania, and one in Virginia, according to the indictment. If convicted of charges including conspiracy, bribery, honest services wire fraud, the employees could each face a maximum of decades in prison. However, convictions in these kinds of cases usually result in prison sentences of less than a decade, reports the Associated Press. According to the NY Daily News, the bust comes weeks after a federal report criticized the NYC Department of Correction for “deeply dysfunctional” management and high rates of violent crimes. City Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann has resigned and will leave her job at the end of the month, reports the Daily News. The exact reason behind her early departure is unknown.

Many of us fall victim to getting caught up with the validation social media and the Internet can give us. People posts all kinds of wacky and crazy pictures and videos to get attention, and I truly applaud those who have never let their online presences to dictate their self-esteem. Take this idiot for example. Gaurav Sharma is a famous YouTuber in Delhi, India, who was recently arrested by Delhi police after posting a horrifying video on his YouTube channel. The video shows him tying several helium balloons to the back of his pet dog and letting it soar into the air. The 32-year-old shot the video last week in South Delhi’s Malviya Nagar and posted it to his channel that has over 4.15 million subscribers, according to the Indian Express. Many criticized the obvious animal cruelty, and he ended up taking the video down. However, he tried to explain that “all safety measures” were taken while making the video. Malviya Nagar police arrested Sharma after officials from People for Animals Society filed a complaint against him, and DCP (South) Atul Kumar Thakur explained, “We registered an FIR under sections of the Disaster Management Act and Prevention to Cruelty to Animals Act. The accused, a resident of Panchseel Vihar in Malviya Nagar, was arrested, but released later on Thursday evening, as it is a bailable offense. He told us he is a YouTuber and made the video for his channel.” Firstly, there is no superficial self-esteem you can get on the Internet that is worth putting anyone or any being in danger. I know there are hilarious videos out there of people clumsily getting hurt or pulling pranks-gone-wrong on each other, but how could you seriously feel okay sending a helpless dog up there just for the views and comments? I wish the dog would’ve urinated or pooped on this guy mid-air as payback, and that would definitely be worth seeing online.

GOP Florida Congressman Rep. Matt Gaetz stated that he plans to run for the presidency in 2024 if former President Donald Trump decides not to run again. The congressman announced in a text message to the New York Post. He wrote, “I support Donald Trump for president. I’ve directly encouraged him to run and he gives me every indication he will. It’s Trump doesn’t run, I’m sure I could defeat whatever remains of Joe Biden by 2024.” The comments come after Gaetz’s associate, Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty last week to 6 federal charges, admitting that he knowingly solicited and paid for sex from a minor. Several legal commentators stated that Greenberg taking a plea deal may be a problem for the Florida Republican, who has a close connection to his dealings. Gaetz has not been charged with any crime and has denied all the allegations. Gaetz’s involvement in presidential politics comes time for an action that will likely be determined by the outcome of the federal investigation going on into his involvement with Greenberg. According to a New York Post, several claims were made saying that Gaetz wants to run for president to help out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican. DeSantis is considered by several politicians on the list to be the Republican front-runner if Trump decides not to run in the presidential election. A source told NYP that, “Mr. DeSantis might, like someone else on the debate, stay until you can torch his opponent and lay down ground cover for him.” During an interview with Fox News’ "Mornings With Maria," former President Trump was asked by Maria Bartiromo about his plans for his presidential run to which he responded by saying, “Yes, 100 percent.” He stated, “And the polls show that everybody wants me to do it. One hundred percent I’m thinking about running, and we will, I think, be very successful." He also made similar comments to Candance Owens during an interview on the "Daily Wire Talk Show." He stated, “The answer is I’m absolutely enthused. I look forward to doing an announcement at the right time. As you know, it’s very early. But I think people are going to be very, very happy when I make a certain announcement.” 

If I had a TARDIS I would try and meet Lyndon B. Johnson but knowing my luck he'd be too busy yelling with JFK trying to stop him.

Lyndon B. Johnson was yelling at the pilots of a nearby plane to cut their engines so that John F. Kennedy could speak. Kennedy is seen trying to calm him down. This was taken during the 1960 presidential campaign in Amarillo, Texas. In the fall, Johnson campaigned intensely, conducting a memorable train ride through the South. He also pressed for a joint appearance of the Democratic candidates somewhere in Texas. They arranged the meeting at the airport in Amarillo, where campaign advance men stopped all air traffic during the brief ceremonies so that the candidates could address the crowd. But they had not counted on the Republican-leaning airline pilots, who deliberately ran the engines of their planes in order to drown out the speakers. At the close of the ruined appearance, a photographer snapped a concerned Kennedy placing his hand on Johnson’s shoulder, trying to calm his angry, gesticulating running mate. Then, just before the election, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson were jeered and jostled by a hostile crowd of right-wingers in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy made light of the noise during his speech, quipping “That is dick coming in” Richard Nixon was also campaigning in Texas that day and “They can’t stop the truth anyway. I don’t care how much that engine warms up.” 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 this toothpaste for example...

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

Normally it's an honor when someone names their child after you. But what if that someone is your recent ex, who cheated on you in order to get pregnant? A man has emailed the Phile to ask if he's in the wrong for confronting his ex about her plan to name her baby after him. He thinks it's weird; she thinks he shouldn't get a say in her baby's name. 

"We split up 2 months ago after I found out she was cheating on me. This was a few weeks before she was about to give birth to a son I thought was mine. Just thank god I found out before and was able to refuse signing anything that could’ve dragged me into being his legal dad. We did a paternity test and turns out he’s not mine. So we broke up and I moved out of our apartment. Back when we found out we were having a boy she wanted him named after me so I guess that’s what she ended up putting on the birth certificate. I didn’t have a clue, only found out because some friends have told me she’s calling her kid Jr. And her friends confirmed she still has him by my last name because they’ve told her she should change it. I called up my ex to ask why she has him named after me when he’s not my kid. My ex told me it’s his name now too and he’s not my problem anymore so I have no say in what she calls her son. So yeah I said she’s right, but I don’t see why give him a surname he doesn’t even have a familial connection to and why not give him his actual father’s name. Supposedly she doesn’t know who the biological dad is and at least this way he has a connection to someone at least. I just said that’s probably gonna fuck him up having him named after someone who’s not even his dad. My ex told me to go to hell and hung up on me. Her family was already giving me shit before for just leaving knowing damm well he’s not mine, but now her mom is giving me more for judging her parenting when she’s just trying to make the best of the situation now that her son doesn’t have a dad anymore. That I’m free to walk away but I don’t got a right to tell her what’s good or bad for her son when I’m not gonna be involved. So I’m just wondering now if I was wrong for voicing that opinion in the first place. It just seems crazy and weird to me." This is incredibly weird, and he should maybe seek legal action. If I had to guess, I’d say there’s a good chance she’s going to tell him, someday, that you are his dad and that you abandoned the two of them before he was born. It would be wise to keep that paternity test in a safe place in case he comes looking for the man he thinks is his deadbeat father someday. You may be in for a very difficult conversation someday in the future with a kid who isn’t yours but who has always been told he was. It's good you voiced your opinion because you have every right to. She completely deceived you!!! Then naming the baby after you knowing damn well he's not yours. Those actions are truly fucked up on so many levels. She is going fuck him up mentally when he finds out the truth if she keeps the last name. Her family needs to stop coddling her. Making the baby a Jr isn't going to change the fact that she doesn't know the dad. That label isn't going to magically change his paternity results. She could have given the baby her own last name. Not knowing the father isn't an excuse to do that to you. Be thankful you found out when you did and that you're out of that situation. Keep a copy of the paternity test. I don’t know what the intention of your ex is but she’s potentially setting her son up for a future of confusion. I would definitely keep a copy of the paternity test just in case. So there you have it: the mom is in the wrong for doing this. And no matter how weird your relationship with your ex is, be thankful it's not like this! If you have a problem you want my opinion on then email me at 

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

Looks nice there as usual. Now for a story from...

An 11-year-old girl was caught on video fighting off a knife-wielding sex offender who tried to kidnap her at a bus stop. The girl was waiting for the bus when the man approached her on the morning of May 18th. According to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, “Around 7:00 this morning, a white Dodge Journey pulled up to an 11-year-old girl waiting at a bus stop on Old Corry Field Road and Perdido Street. As you could see in this video.” Law enforcement decided to release surveillance footage that captured the incident. Through a statement, they also wrote, “A Hispanic male exits the vehicle reportedly armed with a knife. The suspect then grabs the little girl and a struggle ensues. She was able to fight and break free from the suspect’s grip. She is safe and with her family. If you have any information about this incident, call the ECSO at 850-436-9620 or Crime Stoppers at 850-433-STOP.” The 30-year-old sex offender from Florida was reportedly identified as Jared Paul Stanga. Police said that he is now in custody and has been charged with the attempted kidnapping of a child under 13 and aggravated assault and battery. Police stated that he has an extensive criminal past including several charges against children, suggesting his intention to commit a heinous crime. Through a press conference, Sheriff Chip Simmons stated, “I cannot help to think that this could have ended very differently. Had this 11-year-old victim not thought to fight and to fight and to just never give up, then this could have ended terribly.” According to the Washington Post, this isn’t it wasn’t the minor’s first run with Stanga. Two weeks before the incident, the man had allegedly approached her at the same bus stop and began to speak to her in Spanish. The girl quickly walked away and then reported the incident to her mom, her school principal, and teachers. For the next two weeks, the girl’s mother accompanied her to the bus stop. But Tuesday morning was the first day since the incident when her mother was not there with her. Simmons stated, “We believe that this person has either been watching her specifically or was walking around, looking for an opportunity. Either way, it’s bad. His intent [was] to get her into his car and from that point on, we have no idea what horrors would have awaited this poor little girl.” Authorities say that after the young girl’s family reported the incident to Law Enforcement Officers, around fifty officers from the sheriff’s department began intensive black work Stanga. The officers knocked on several doors, surveilled possible suspects, and stopped any white SUV that passed by. Officers eventually identified the kidnapper as the owner of the vehicle even though it appeared he had recently painted it. Simmons stated that other videos also helped identify him as well, including security footage from a grocery store after the attempted kidnapping that showed his arms covered in the blue slime that the girl was playing with. Officers arrested him at his home located in Pensacola without incident.

The 151st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Richard will be open the Phile on Monday. 

Today's guest is a Canadian comedian, television personality, screenwriter, actor, producer, director, entrepreneur, game show host, and author. He created, voiced, and starred in the FOX children's cartoon "Bobby's World," and has been a judge on NBC's "America's Got Talent" since 2010. Please welcome to the Phile... Howie Mandel!

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

Howie: I'm great, Jason, staying safe, and not touching anybody. 

Me: So, I never knew that you were in the movie Gremlins, Howie. What did you do in that movie? 

Howie: Well, I'm the voice of Gizmo. 

Me: What? How did you get that part? 

Howie: I got the part because that's actually the recording is my father dropping me off at preschool. So, it was amazing how much I had in common with the character I got cast as. I'm like Gizmo but with less hair. 

Me: Less hair and people shouldn't microwave you. 

Howie: Right. What people don't know, maybe they do, but I not only did the voice of Gizmo in Gremlins but I also did Bobby in "Bobby's World" which almost the exact same voice. And I was Skeeter in "The Muppet Babies" which is actually also the same voice. 

Me: Who was Skeeter? 

Howie: Scooter's little sister. 

Me: Oh, that's right. That's a lot of characters out of one voice, Howie. 

Howie: That's the beauty. One voice, three jobs, that's productivity there. 

Me: I have to admit I have never seen "Bobby's World." Most of the time you are our own self either on "America's Got Talent" or "Deal Or No Deal." Were you always comfortable in your own skin even when you were a kid? 

Howie: No! I'm not comfortable in my own skin. Now at this age, I'm in my mid 60s now, I'm kind of comfortable with this comfort and I'd let it be known its not new I have mental health issues and I'm really awkward and I have social anxiety and depression and OCD so I'm never comfortable. I just feel really blessed that everything I was punished for or got expelled for or gotten in trouble for its what I seem to get paid for and what was considered a problem as a child has given me a career as an adult. I feel really lucky and I cannot believe that til this day that anybody has any interest in seeking with me, spending time with me or watching anything that I do. So I'm thrilled. 

Me: Conan O'Brien's dad once told Conan that he was famous for something that should be treated. Do you feel that way? 

Howie: That's a very funny line. I love that line. But I am. It's real and it's not a joke but I hope that it inspires people who are struggling each and other day to just continue to fight and go for it. That's what I do each and every day. 

Me: When do you ever feel comfortable? 

Howie: The close I come to feeling any kind of comfortable whatsoever is at least when I'm home is on stage doing stand up. 

Me: When did you first start to do stand up? 

Howie: It was a dare by a friend at Yuk Yuk's in Toronto. 

Me: Do you like doing stand up? 

Howie: Yes. That kind of mind numbing fear that comes after the moment somebody says, "Ladies and gentlemen, Howie Mandel." Then I'm out there in front of... strangers who are waiting for me to tickle their fancy is what brings me into that moment, that "now." Anybody who suffers, or any human, we're always worried about what might happen in the future or our minds go back into "you're not going to believe what happened to me yesterday" or "last year." But if anything nothing keeps me in the moment more than trying to juggle not being humiliated in front of thousands or hundreds of strangers. That's my comfort zone. That's the only place where I don't have any lines to recite, I don't have any marks to edit, I have no editing to do, that's home. And it kind of informs everything else that I do in life. Whether I'm a game show host or voice overs, whatever I'm doing I use all the tools that stand up continues to teach me today. 

Me: So, you like being on stage as a whole? 

Howie: Any time I could get stage time I use it. Even when I'm doing concerts and casinos and theaters, if I'm staying in town over night I'd say, "Is there a comedy club nearby I could just drop in and go in without a plan and see if something hits me." 

Me: Has being on family friendly TV shows influenced your comedy at all? 

Howie: Hmmmmmmmmmm. Not my pure stand up... no. Ultimately I approach stand up the way I always did. Not because I'm doing other kinds of work such as being on family friendly television. It doesn't influence that. What does influence that is our world now. Our environment is much different than when I started in the 70s as far as political correctness in that. 

Me: So, who were your comedy stand up influences, Howie? 

Howie: My biggest inspiration in comedy once I started was Richard Pryor. I came out to L.A. and I watched Richard Pryor come on stage every night and put together the "Live at the Sunset Strip" album. He's the one that kind of informed me indirectly that my stage time is a great workshop to kind of find that line, step over that line, step back, know where that line was. 

Me: How was doing comedy back then different from doing comedy now on stage? 

Howie: It was kind of a free space where I couldn't do anything wrong. In fact when people in life and if they stepped over the line we could go, "I was joking!" "Oh, I thought you were serious." "Just joking" was a great blanket for where we could just try it out. That doesn't exist anymore. Especially with the advent that everybody has an iPhone, everybody could record me, they could repost it, they can take it out of context and I could end up losing my entire career with just one tweet, which is misconstrued or taken out of context. That kind of scares me today. By the same token I will get up on stage at the clubs late at night. That's when I like going. They've seen 85 comics and they're tired and there's eight drunk people who aren't even together and spread out all over the room. It's harder, I want it to be hard for me, I want it to be that way. The value of whatever my notoriety kind of wears off once I've been introduced and they see I have shown up and say, "Hello, I've got nothing. I want to try something new." Even bask in a couple of minutes of silence. Just game it tougher and harder for me. 

Me: I did stand up in the 90s and that's the last thing I would want. Why would you want it to be hard? 

Howie: Because if I know I could get a giggle in a room and that environment then it's something that's going to work. 

Me: Why do you think the audiences have changed? 

Howie: It's market driven. Seinfeld said it best with, "Audiences don't want those kind of jokes that we were telling in the 70s any more, they want a different kind. I'm going to go where the audience is going, the audience doesn't want those un-PC jokes, the audience doesn't want the offensive material, I'm going to give it to them." 

Me: What do you make of the fact that it could be just market driven? 

Howie: Well, this world rotates and time goes on and I'm a different person today than I was. I've been doing this over 40 years. I kind of approach out differently, I didn't know I was a comedian and somebody dated me to do it and get up on stage. I was not pursuing it. So I have faith, and that's why I said it's the most comfortable place. Without thinking about them, what serves them as the audience, that's why I feel lucky. If I can entertain myself and I think it's funny and I'm enjoying myself and I have founded that has translated into a better show for the live audience. To underline that or underscore that people seem to be interested in politics today much more than they were a couple of decades ago. If you look at "Saturday Night Live" today it's very fueled by whatever side they happen to be on... politics. I am not a political comedian. I know that's an easier, more comfortable place to go, it's a big part of the monologues of the late shows. I don't go there, I kind of serve myself which is much more than I serve the audience. I'm not going to do something that I think you're going to think is funny but what I don't think is funny. I've always, just by accident, I've always just kind served myself and I've been really lucky. That's why I feel blessed, I didn't feel that it was a career and when it became a career I didn't think it'll be a career that would serve me for any length of time. Here I am forty years later, I'm doing an interview and you're asking me questions and I got this far serving myself. Yes, I understand the world's different and I'm different but I don't do market research as far as stand up comedy is. 

Me: A lot of the stupid jokes I have on the Phile and TikTok and things I say are just to amuse myself as well. If other people laugh and enjoy it that's good. You're from Canada, right, but got your career started in L.A. I think. Why is that? 

Howie: I always resented that I had to leave home to leave a mark in the business and the living I could make in this business. I was really happy about being at Yuk Yuk's and really thrilled about being a Canadian. Really thrilled about being part of the virtual cornucopia or talent that came out of Canada. I don't think that most people realize, and I'm talking about worldwide now much Canada has sort of influenced and inspired and been part of not only the stand up comedy but him and television. Everything from Second City to "SNL," Lorne Michaels. Canadians are embedded in the international comedy and they don't know it. That's been kind of a burden in my own mind. If you see me on any interviews or whatever I celebrate the fact that I'm Canadian. Any time I get the opportunity to come back and work in Canada I want to. 

Me: That person who dared you to get up on stage at Yuk Yuk's all those years ago, are you still in touch? 

Howie: No! No. I wish I was. At that time in my life I wasn't that social and I didn't have a lot of friends and it was just somebody I was with. I was just this awkward kid who was very different and kind of outrageous and a misbehaver. 

Me: Awe. Thanks, Howie, for being on the Phile. Please come back again sometime. 

Howie: Thank you.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Howie for a fun interview. The Phile will be back on Monday with Richard Thompson. 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, May 24, 2021

Pheaturing Phile Alum Steve "Lips" Kudlow And Robb Reiner From Anvil


Hello, kids., how are you doing? Welcome to the Phile for a Monday. Following his announcement that he would challenge GOP Rep. Liz Cheney in the 2022 Republican primary back in January, U.S. House candidate Anthony Bouchard admitted that when he was 18-years-old, he had impregnated a 14-year-old girl. In a Facebook Live video to his supporters, he said, “So, bottom line, it’s a story when I was young, two teenagers, girl gets pregnant. You’ve heard those stories before. She was a little younger than me, so it’s like the Romeo and Juliet story.” The Republican party politician had announced his running a week after the U.S. Capitol, gaining popularity in challenging Cheney after she voted for former President Donald Trump‘s impeachment after the January insurrection. In an effort to be transparent, he told the Casper Star-Tribune, “I don’t want to hide anything. I don’t want people drug into this. This is just crazy over politics,” and harshly criticized the media in his 13-minute video, advocating against “dirty politics,” the media, and “the establishment swamp.” He said that he just wanted “everyone to know.” In anticipating that this story would become well known and published soon by an opposition research company, he posted the video admitting it all. He said, “This is really a message about how dirty politics is. They’ll stop at nothing, man, when you get in the lead, and when you’re somebody that can’t be controlled, you’re somebody who works for the people. They’ll come after you. That’s why good people don’t run for office.” According to the Star Tribune, after Bouchard had gotten the young girl pregnant, he married her at 19-years-old and when she was 15 years old. They were both living in Florida, which meant that the marriage was legal because people could marry at any age with a judge’s approval if the parent’s consent and pregnancy was in the picture. However, their marriage was short-lived, as the young couple got divorced three years later. “A lot of pressure. Pressure to abort a baby. I got to tell you. I wasn’t going to do it, and neither was she. And there was pressure to have her banished from their family. Just pressure. Pressure to go hide somewhere. And the only thing I could see as the right thing to do was to get married and take care of him,” Bouchard explained. But the story didn’t end there. His ex-wife committed suicide when she was 20-years-old, which Bouchard explains was from “problems in another relationship,” and that “Her dad had committed suicide.” He also admitted to the rocky relationship he has with his son, saying, “Sadly, he’s made some wrong choices in his life. He’s almost become my estranged son. Some of the things that he’s got going on his life, I certainly don’t approve of them. But I’m not going to abandon him. I still love him. Just like when he was born.” Bouchard also made sure to note that he believes Cheney is not responsible for trying to get this story out to hinder him in furthering her campaign. And Cheney’s spokesman, Jeremy Adler, said, “The Cheney campaign had no involvement in this at all.” 

An Amazon construction site in Windsor, Connecticut has been shut down after a seventh noose was discovered there, according to WTNH. The first six nooses were found last month. Now, a local chapter of the NAACP is connecting with Amazon workers at the location to address fears and concerns of racism. During a press conference with the Windsor Police Department, law enforcement revealed that on Wednesday afternoon a rope noose was found dangling in a section of the warehouse construction site with no security camera surveillance. That alone is freaky. But it turns out this was the 7th noose discovered at Amazon’s Windsor construction site. The first noose appeared during the last week of April and soon after that, local police officers found five more. However, it seems no serious action was taken then. Of this most recent incident Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel told NewsNation, “We continue to be deeply disturbed by the incidents happening at the construction site in Windsor and have ordered its shut down until necessary security measures can be put in place.” FBI Special Agent David Sundberg added that, “The New Haven Division of the FBI is lending its resources and support to the Windsor PD for this ongoing investigation. The implications of a hanging noose anywhere are unacceptable and will always generate the appropriate investigative response.” The site is shut down until further notice, but will likely reopen today. A $100,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can provide useful information about the culprit. Considering 300-500 people pass through the site each day, including many non-Amazon contractors, it’s difficult to begin determining suspects. Many of those contractors, though, come from the south: a fact not lost on the CT NAACP president Scot X. Esdaile. Esdaile said, “It’s kind of ironic that they are from Lynchburg, Virginia, and they were brought on the site, and a lot of individuals from Florida and Texas and Georgia from the south have come up here to work on this particular site.” Apparently, racism at the location is not uncommon. At the news conference, one employee shared his personal experience of racism at the site. Carlos Best, an ironworker, explained that he had to fire an individual over racist remarks. “We hear a lot of stuff on the job site but it is kept quiet, some guys just want to get a paycheck and go home. But personally, on this job here, I have seen a lot of racism. This is not the only construction site that these things occur on, and it has to stop,” Best said. The Greater Hartford NAACP, a local chapter of the Connecticut NAACP, is working with the site released an official statement about the nooses. “These forms of hate crimes have had a detrimental stain on the current state of America’s reality and for them to hit so close to home and with such consistency, shows a robust disrespect for the not only human decency but also for our ancestors who lost their lives due to the hate represented within the knots in those ropes.”  

In November 2019, a 25-year-old woman in central California woman was arrested and charged with murder after delivering a stillborn child with methamphetamine in its system. According to a news release from the Hanford Police Department, an autopsy from the Kings County Coroner’s Office revealed toxic levels of methamphetamine in the stillborn baby. Chelsea Becker, 26, “further admitted to law enforcement she used methamphetamine while she was most recently pregnant as late as three days prior to giving birth to the stillborn fetus,” the department noted. Becker was arrested several weeks after the stillbirth on a felony charge of first-degree murder. She was booked into the Kings County Jail with a bail set at $5 million, which was later reduced to $2 million. Unable to make the $2 million bail, Becker remained behind bars until this March. Becker was finally released when Kings County Superior Court Judge Robert Shane Burns granted her attorneys’ request to relocate her to a drug treatment center pending trial. Civil rights groups and reproductive rights activists have rallied behind Becker, claiming she needed treatment, not prison time. There is no evidence that drug use results in stillbirths, advocates claimed. Calling for Becker’s murder charges to be dropped, advocates warned that a conviction would keep pregnant women from seeking help and criminalize the choices women make while pregnant. “We are deeply saddened, horrified that this case has been continuing for 15 months, keeping someone incarcerated because she lost a pregnancy, which thousands of women do every year,” Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, told NBC Los Angeles. The organization is providing legal counsel for Becker. On Thursday, Judge Burns dismissed the case on the grounds that there is inadequate evidence to prove that the mother had taken methamphetamine with the knowledge or intention of terminating the pregnancy. As Becker’s lawyers argued, there is no scientific evidence linking the cause of death with methamphetamine use. “There is no medical knowledge that” the drug would have that effect, Paltrow told The New York Times. Phil Esbenshade, executive assistant district attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, disagreed. “It is the opinion of our office that sufficient evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing to hold Ms. Becker to answer for trial,” he wrote in a statement emailed to The Times. “The judge who presided over that preliminary examination, upon hearing that evidence and considering arguments from both sides, did find such sufficient evidence existed. Judge Burns, the judge who dismissed the case this morning, apparently disagrees with that finding.” Becker’s lawyers also argued that California’s homicide law should not apply to pregnant women, a position backed by California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra. In an amicus brief to an appellate court in support of Ms. Becker, Becerra maintained the court’s interpretation of the law would “subject all women who suffer a pregnancy loss to the threat of criminal investigation and possible prosecution for murder.” “Whether a stillbirth or a miscarriage was due to drug use or some other reason, there is nothing in the statute that would constrain a district attorney’s ability to investigate the most intimate aspects of the circumstances of a woman’s pregnancy and to bring murder charges against that woman who suffered a pregnancy loss,” Becerra wrote. One of Becker’s attorneys, Jacqueline Goodman, told The Times that she was happy with the results but regretted that the judge has left open the potential for pregnant women in similar circumstances to be criminalized. “I think that ruling preserves the right to prosecute a different case with different facts,” Goodman said.

The forthcoming book Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats’ Campaigns to Defeat Trump offers a glimpse at former president Barack Obama’s real opinions on former president Donald Trump. The book, written by the Atlantic staff writer Edward-Isaac Dovere, examines how exactly the Democratic Party came to defeat Donald Trump in 2020… including some juicy tidbits about how Obama went OFF on his Republican successor. Dovere’s new book is not released from Penguin Random House until next week. But a preview published in The Guardian is already generating buzz. Reportedly, the book claims Obama called Trump a “madman,” a “racist, sexist pig,” “that fucking lunatic,” and one “corrupt motherfucker.” That last insult came after Obama learned that Trump talked to foreign leaders, including Russian president Vladimir Putin, with no aides present. The excerpt included in The Guardian quotes Obama as saying, ” ‘He’s a madman… big donors looking to squeeze a reaction out of him in exchange for the big checks they were writing to his foundation… I didn’t think it would be this bad.’ Sometimes: ‘I didn’t think we’d have a racist, sexist pig.’ Depending on the outrage of the day … a passing ‘that fucking lunatic’ with a shake of his head.” Of course, Obama had many personal bones to pick Trump... even before he became the 45th president. When considering a primary run back in 2012, Trump perpetuated the (objectively racist) birther conspiracy, which alleged that Obama was not born in America. Obama also had some harsh words for the Tea Party movement which preceded... and galvanized... Trump’s “MAGA” presidency. According to Business Insider, Obama trashed the group at the Obama Foundation’s 2017 holiday party in Chicago. Some staff had questioned the former prez about whether it irked him to be labeled “anticapitalist” by Republicans... especially considering he bent over backwards to bail out big banks after entering the White House in 2008. In response, Obama “gave a long, reasoned answer” then added “As for the Tea Party, Obama said, well, they were ‘racist motherfuckers.'” Looking back, it’s hard to believe that the Tea Party was once a fringe faction of the GOP; their inflammatory, racialized rhetoric used to make for some shocking, mid-aughts headlines. Now it’s the base level POV for an entire American political party. Though, as Battle for the Soul points out, the election of Obama’s own vice president Joe Biden signals a changing of the tides. And reflects some serious strategizing on the part of Democrats.

A family in Montgomery County Pennsylvania was recently told by the Homeowners Association that they needed to take down the American flag they were hanging. Rocco and Darlene Lacertosa stated that they recently installed an American flag in the front of their home to honor their two sons, both of who are actively serving in the military. The family apparently made several arguments against the Homeowners Association after being told to take their flag down, citing that there are no written rules in this Association contract that forbid a flagpole in common areas. But despite this, the Association is still persisting and says that the row has been laid out in governing documents. Through a social media post, Darlene stated, “Very upsetting since we have two sons in the military and this flag pole was Rocco’s dad’s which he proudly flew every day until the day he died.” Darlene also stated that HOA sent a letter to the family saying they, “trust that as a homeowner at Indian Valley Meadows you recognize that keeping the entire community looking good helps to promote strong values.” A spokesperson for the Galman Group confirmed that they had requested their residents to comply with the architect’s rules and standards. The spokesperson stated, “The standards specifically permit the American flag to be flown when mounted to a house but do not permit in-ground flags in the community. The Galman Group and the Board at Indian Valley Meadows welcome its residents to display the American flag, and other appropriate flags, in accordance with the guidelines established for the benefit of the community.” This isn’t the first time a family is ordered to remove the American flag. Back in 2018 the Bryant family also pushed against their Homeowners Association over their display of the American flag. According to Jennifer Bryant, the U.S. flag was located in their yard and had the Gadsen insignia with the words “Don’t tread on me.” The family had purchased a flag from Amazon which showed a rattlesnake coiled up and ready to strike. The family said that the flag was a freedom of speech, but according to the Keene Ranch HOA, it was a violation of its flag code. 

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

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

I have no idea who those kids are. Haha. 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 bathroom doors, again...

That's the worse I have ever seen. If you're looking for a graphic design job, you may want to contact whoever employed the people responsible for this following design fail. They are most likely hiring. 

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.

Hahahaha. Get well soon. Everyone wants their parents and their in-laws to get along. But maybe not this much. A bride has emailed the Phile to ask for advice because her dad wants to sit with her fiancé's mom at their wedding. The only issue? His actual wife isn't that into the idea. The dad says that because he's paying, he should be able to sit with who he wants. The bride disagrees. She says her dad and her fiancé's mom are best friends.

"I grew up with my fiancé. My dad and his mom are best friends. I can't even emphasize how close, and as an adult I've noticed that not many married adults have that type of closeness with any friend. They have spend every Tuesday night together for the past 30ish years and no one else is invited. They go on trips, sometimes share a bed, talk literally every day. My dad is adamant it has never been romantic because she is ugly (she is far from ugly but he claims he doesn't like her race) I don't know what to believe. I almost believe that because my dad seems to have a huge virgin whore complex and I don't know if he could have maintained the friendship if they did hookup. Also he treats her somewhat like a sibling, intentionally pisses her off a lot, but then again I don't cuddle my adult brother, so who knows. I have a couple of issues with their friendship. Mother-in-law is disrespectful towards my mom, helps him hide his cheating, and they bad mouth my mom together. My mom hates their friendship (father-in-law is also involved but truly doesn't care, and him and mother-in-law seem to have a happy marriage) My second issue is mother-in-law is a pretty shitty mom and my dad has enabled that over the year. She would run away a lot when my husband was a kid and my dad was constantly leaving to go calm her down. They would just sit on the beach all night and talk, and he never told her to grow up and go home. I said they can't sit together at the wedding because it makes my mom uncomfortable, and because the two of them can be obnoxious together (he untied the back of her dress at a beach wedding once, so think casual sundress and the whole thing came down) my dad is furious. He said he paid for the wedding and I am not going to disrespect him. Mother-in-law says I'm bullying her because she doesn't want to be stuck sitting with father-in-law's family because they are mean. to be clear i'm not making her sit with them. My dad is pissed and we got into a fight over the phone, but my mom is really happy and my fiancé is backing me." This "friendship" is totally inappropriate and weird. I’d double check that your fiancé isn’t your brother first. You mean you mother-in-law helps your dad cheat?? I’m sorry but they’re so disrespectful to their own relationships and it’s not okay. I’d tell them so and stand your ground with them not being able to sit together. They have something weird going on and if you don't want to see that shit on your wedding day, that should be you and your fiancé's decision. and dad seems shady as hell. They are best friends (or more) but he doesn't like her race? What the fuck? I think they're best friends with benefits: They sleep in the same bed and he TOOK OFF HER DRESS?! Yeah no, they're definitely fucking. Honestly, you should give him back his money and uninvite them both. Otherwise, it's not going to be a pretty wedding. Yikes all around. Hope they figure it out! If you have a problem you want my opinion on then email me at 

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

Top Phive Things Said By Mid-Westerners
5. Old beer sign: exists Midwesterners: this is a decoration I have to have in my house. 
4. People always make fun of mid-westerners for not taking cover during a tornado when it’s literally called “tornado watch.” 
3. Hey could you help me with this thing? Absolutely no pressure though. Totally okay if you can’t. If you’d rather run me over with a car that’s cool. Are you mad at me?
2. Official statement: mayonnaise doesn’t belong on popcorn. 
And the number one thing said by a mid-westerner is...
1. Growing up in the midwest is understanding that there is a 50/50 chance you are opening leftovers instead of butter. 

Charles Grodin 
April 21st, 1935 — May 18th, 2021 

Another day, another dress code violation. But this time, instead of a school sending girls home for the crime of wearing crop tops, administrators are being accused of editing clothing onto girls' bodies to cover them up. Yikes. Action News Jax of Jacksonville, Florida, reports that parents in the St. Johns County School District are demanding an apology after photos appeared to be altered. Eighty photos appear to be edited, they say, and all of the photos are of girls. From Action News Jax, "The district said the yearbook photos must follow dress code guidelines and they deemed the 80 pictures inappropriate. Since then, the school district told Action News Jax it was a female yearbook teacher who made that decision. After constant efforts, no officials have spoken up, while the ninth-grade students are speaking out for change."  “The double standard in the yearbook is more so they looked at our body and thought just a little bit of skin showing is sexual,” ninth-grade student Riley O’Keefe told Action News Jax. “They looked at the boys, for the swim team photos and other sports photos and thought that was fine, and that’s really upsetting and uncomfortable.” The school is offering to refund yearbook money, according to Action News Jax. So how egregious were these alleged dress code violations? 

Most people on Twitter don't find the photos inappropriate at all. Some would argue the shoddy editing is much more offensive. The edits are what really ruins the photos. And the fact that a bunch of adults apparently made the decision and carried out the edits... gross. 

The 151st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

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

The Seawolf is not by the dock. And it's in the 60s today... kinda chilly. 

Me: Hey, guys, welcome to the Phile, and Steve, welcome back to the Phile. 

Steve: It's good to be back. 

Me: Robb, it's been almost 15 years since the documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil came out. How did that film change your life? 

Robb: It changed every way you can imagine. We don't have enough time to tell you everything. 

Me: Haha. Okay, give me a highlight. 

Robb: Well, in the last few years before COVID we did about 400 shows. 

Me: How many were you playing before that film? 

Steve: Twenty-five or thirty. 

Robb: Yeah, 25 or 30. 

Me: What were the venues like? 

Steve: Half empty small venues. 

Robb: Well, yes and no. There's a lot of folklore to that. Depends. Certain markets we always did well. 

Me: In the the film it shows you're playing small, half empty vocals, am I right? 

Robb: Well, the film focused on that, yeah. 

Steve: It tried to show some of the horrible situations. 

Robb: I think that had more of a sympathetic effect on humans. 

Steve: People want to see the negative and they wanted to focus in on that. 

Me: You have a new album out called "Legal At Last." How much did the documentary enable you to do more albums, Steve? 

Steve: We're in an incredible role here. Since the movie came out we've been doing nothing but touring and writing and releasing records. Not that we hadn't been doing that before but it's much more thicker, wilder and bigger and great. 

Me: Could you have imagined that when you were making the film that you guys would be making music still? 

Steve: I knew. When my ship came in, when the director sat me down at his uncle's place 17 years ago pretty much he said, "I'm going to make a movie about you." It was one of Steven Spielberg's guys my boat just came in. My attitude and the way I look at life gives me a chance and I'm going to go for it. When that guy give me that chance I knew my boat came in. 

Me: How did Anvil's fans like the film? 

Robb: Well, with the fans a lot of the fans didn't need a movie to tell them about the band. 

Steve: Particularly the fans in Europe have always backed the bank and that's why when we went and did the movie we were already 12 albums had been released at that point. 

Robb: With the movie we made a lot of new fans. They're the new pounders. 

Me: I told Steve the last time he was here in 2013 I discovered the band when you were on the Conan show... here's a pic. 

Me: And I loved the movie. Robb, you were working on catering and I think Steve you were working in construction. I take it you guys are not going that now. 

Robb: We haven't done that in 14 years. The band is our shitty day job. 

Me: Looking back why did you want to tell the truth as struggling artists? 

Steve: Because it is the truth. 

Robb: Yeah, and everybody should know the truth. What's wrong with that? 

Me: There's nothing wrong with it and it certainly helps with the film but that's hard to do, right? 

Steve: That's our biggest mistake, most bands would never think of doing. Whenever anybody made videos or movies of them doing with their band they want to show the best possible light and it's all a big facade and a lie and it never goes anywhere. So why don't they tell the truth and let people know what it's really like? Like I said at the top of the interview people love the negative. So we show them that and now we give them something to bite down on. There you go. 

Me: It makes a good film, right? I understand why you did it. 

Robb: It also was going wrong in real life. It wasn't made up. 

Me: Did you think the Anvil fans you already had wouldn't like to see that part of your lives though? 

Steve: Listen, we love what we do. 

Robb: We don't look at it as a struggle. It's a challenge, we find solutions and we keep moving forward, and we believe in ourselves. 

Me: What did you two learn about your relationship with each other while working on that film? 

Steve: I don't think it was a question of learning anything. I think off anything to see it in an objective sort of way is we both have the same goals. As long as the goals stay the same it doesn't matter about the approach. And ultimately that's if we ever going to argue it's about the approach. No, we should do it that way. No, we should do it this way. We both want the same result so ultimately we are in agreeance. 

Me: In the movie you guys have a really big argument. What was that like? 

Steve: The director was rubbing his hands, "I've waited two years...!" That was two years into filming. 

Me: Does that stuff still happen? 

Robb: He stopped smoking a few years ago so he's been a little edgy. It took the director two years to get that. It's not like a fight like that all the time. 

Steve: There's just moments. 

Robb: Yeah, there's moments where we get angry but we come and do. We're humans. 

Me: I might've asked this question when Steve was here before but do you have to be a metal fan to like this documentary? 

Robb: No. The documentary taps into something that goes beyond making music, beyond the kind of music we're making, beyond a group of musicians trying to make a comeback. It's a human spirit story. 

Me: Tell me about that. 

Robb: It is what it is. It's about not giving up. 

Steve: On the things that we love. People ask us "why didn't we quit?" Why would we quit something we love? I can understand quitting something we hate to do but why would we quit something that we love? I don't comprehend that philosophy. I just don't get it. 

Steve: We take on challenges and we overcome them. 

Me: In the movie you took about your sacrifice your life for the music. What is that? 

Robb: Yeah, we sacrifice our lives for the music but it all worked out for us. We got lucky. 

Me: What kept you going? 

Steve: I never really had doubts. And to be really be perfectly honest, I've always been successful. Unsuccessful would mean I never recorded music and never sold anything and it ended after the first album. This is a band that is 18 albums in. I knew that, and I knew I would be doing this for my entire life. It's really what we envision what success is. For me what success is is writing a bunch of songs, getting them recorded and getting them to my fans. Ultimately I've been doing that the way I want to, how I want to, when I want to, who I want to do it with for over 40 years! That's not being unsuccessful, that's a hundred percent successful. 

Me: What about you, Robb, what keeps you going? 

Robb: Just self belief in the band and ourselves. We're extremely talented musicians. We don't just walk away from that. We're pretty prolific artists and we've always been doing what we want which is the best thing. 

Me: So, now you're a lot more successful and famous how does it feel? 

Robb: The struggle continues. We want to reach more people, we want bigger audiences. 

Me: So, what's next for Anvil? 

Steve: More. Another day, another gig, another record. 

Robb: We want to maintain our health, hopefully that will continue, that's the most important thing. And we have a set goal that we have to make minimum 20 albums. 

Me: How long have you two been friends? 

Robb: We've even friends since school. We made a pact when we were 14-years-old that we were going to rock together for ever. 

Me: A lot of bands make really great music and break up, but you guys are still making music together. Why do you think that is? 

Robb: Well, that's them. 

Me: But why is that so important to you? 

Steve: It's not a matter of being important. We took a lot of that for granted. 

Robb: We own what we do. We own it. Nobody sounds like us. Us two together create this Anvil thing. Nobody has been able to decode it. 

Me: Thanks for being on the Phile, guys. 

Robb: No problem. 

Steve: Thanks for having us.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner. The Phile will be back on Friday with Howie Mandel, one of my favorite celebrities ever. 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...