Saturday, July 31, 2021

Pheaturing Little Brother


Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Saturday. How are you? There is little doubt that things are getting messy after Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney, who in turn issued a statement that suggested the Black Widow actress was being callous. Not surprisingly, Johansson's agent has since lashed out at the greatest company to work for ever for the false accusations. Johansson's lawsuit alleged that Disney had breached her contract by making Black Widow available for digital release. In response, Disney stated that the Avengers: Endgame star's demands were "sad and distressing" as well as "callous" as it disregards the safety of the world at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not surprisingly, people have been defending Johansson. This includes her agent Bryan Lourd of Creative Arts Agency, who issued a statement about the matter. "[Disney has] shamelessly and falsely accused Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn't," Lourd said. In his statement, Lourd also pointed out that Johansson has been working for the House of Mouse for several years and doesn't deserve this kind of treatment. "Scarlett has been Disney's partner on nine movies, which have earned Disney and its shareholders billions. The company included her salary in their press statement in an attempt to weaponize her success as an artist and businesswoman, as if that were something she should be ashamed of," Lourd said. The agent added that Johansson will always get the support of the people she works with within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "Scarlett is extremely proud of the work that she and all of the actors, writers, directors, producers and the Marvel creative team have been a part of for well over a decade." The decision to give Black Widow both a theatrical and digital release was undoubtedly one that was made by Disney. After all, the Marvel team was strongly opposed to making the film available on Disney+ and had been pushing for a full theatrical release. For now, we are still waiting for more updates on Johansson's lawsuit against Disney. However, there is little doubt that both parties will be releasing more statements in the upcoming week. In the meantime, Black Widow is still screening in theaters and on Disney+. 

The Star Wars franchise's uber polarizing sequel trilogy left a bad taste in a lot of fans' mouths and if they had their way with things, they'd wish for all three films... The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker to be deleted from continuity. Now, a new rumor suggests that it could all come true as Disney is reportedly erasing the entire sequel trilogy from existence to make way for a reboot. According to a report from Express, Disney is currently toying with the idea of remaking the divisive trilogy and turn them into a series of shows exclusive to Disney+. YouTuber Doomcock claims that if plans push through, the "new" sequel trilogy will feature a reunion between Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa. He reveals, "If Disney were to remake the Sequel Trilogy, the Sequel Trilogy would be remade exclusively for Disney Plus, according to my source, with a story being spread out between eight to ten mini-series, and three seasons of full series. My source claims that, while they will only change a little of The Force Awakens to use the Leia footage, he says they will most likely add one major thing. A reunion of Han, Luke, and Leia." Doomcock added, "My sources claim that footage exists of Han, Luke, and Leia together. This footage was shot on green screen, and it is a ten-minute scene. But the idea that Abrams would have written and recorded this scene is intriguing. Was it something that was ultimately cut from The Force Awakens? Or was it some kind of flashback that was filmed for The Last Jedi or The Rise of Skywalker? If this is true, it is a massive bombshell." Personally, I don't know how to feel about this one. It's like Disney is accepting defeat and acknowledging the fact that they actually mishandled the entire sequel trilogy. I guess mad props to them for trying to correct things. Now, if this rumored project does happen, I think I'll be cool with it as long as they bring back the original actors from the last three films of the Skywalker saga. 

Michael Che woke up and "chose violence," according to Michael Che. The co-head writer of "Saturday Night Live" and co-anchor of Weekend Update took to his Instagram story on Thursday to say, "Man, I wanna make fun of Simone Biles." "I got like 3 mins of Simone Biles jokes in my head," he wrote. "As the dorky kids say, I’m choosing violence." His enthusiasm for making fun of Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast of all time who withdrew from Olympic events to focus on mental health, was treated as an invitation for trolls to share their jokes about the champion... and the abuse she suffered from convicted sex offender Larry Nassar. People proceeded to drag Che, an actual worthy target. Che, true to form, claimed to have been "hacked," but seemed rather flippant about it. The posts are very in-character for him, as Broadway actor and writer Pia Glenn explained in a thread. He then "returned" to the account to post about poop. Maybe @CheThinks should think harder. 

The "twisties" is a deceptively adorable-sounding name for a condition that can mean life or death for an athlete. When Simone Biles withdrew from the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team Competition at the Tokyo Olympics, it started an Olympic-level competition of Hot Takes that features some of the world's worst people criticizing the 24-year-old champion. "Twisties" are a mental block that a gymnast can experience that makes them lose their sense of direction while they're literally flying through the air. The stakes couldn't be higher, as a bad landing can mean injury and even paralization. Regarding the vault that caused Biles to withdraw, Deanna Hong, a producer of the docu-series "Golden: The Journey of USA's Elite Gymnasts," quoted a former elite gymnast who said that if someone other than Biles made that landing error, they would have "blown a knee, at minimum." "Another said if it had happened to her instead of Simone, 'I probably would have ended up paralyzed.'" Biles herself took to Instagram to explain the stakes, and show how she has yet to recover. She tweeted a video of her at a practice gym in Tokyo, falling flat on her back dismounting off of the uneven bars. "For anyone saying I quit, I didn't quit. My mind and body are simply not in sync, as you can see here." she wrote, explaining that she was supposed to do one and a half more twists on her way down. "I don't think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface, nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health." Biles answered fan questions, going into more detail about what it feels like and articulating the stakes. She is beginning to practice and testing whether she will be prepared to compete in individual events by "going back to basics" and performing skills on soft surfaces. She again called out the assholes who called her a "quitter" or "selfish." "I didn't have a bad performance and quit... I simply got so lost my safety was at risk as well as a team medal," she explained. Biles celebrated the "QUEENS!!!!" that stepped up and WON silver. "I also have no idea how I landed on my feet on that vault because if you look at the pictures and my eyes you can see how confused I am as to where I am in the air," she added. "Thankfully I landed safe enough but I also don't think some of you realize I was supposed to do a 2 1/2 and I only completed 1 1/2 twists before it looks like I got shot out of the air." In light of this event, a fan brought back an old clip in which Biles said, "Sometimes going into [a skill], I'm like, 'Don't bail... you'll literally die. Like, you will break something.'" Her struggles haven't stopped her from supporting her teammates and celebrating Suni Lee's all-around gold medal win. The GOAT. 

First it was Meghan Markle. Then Naomi Osaka. And now Simone Biles has been subjected to the criticism of professional troll Piers Morgan after she spoke out about her struggles with mental health. Piers Morgan decided to drag the Olympic gold medalist, who earlier this week withdrew from the women's team finals in the Tokyo Olympics because of mental health issues. There was a massive outpouring of support for 24-year-old Biles online, as most people praised her for being brave enough to speak out and to prioritize her mental health and safety. But Piers Morgan, who always seems like he needs about 20 years of therapy and a big hug from his mom and dad, is not most people. He took to social media to slam Biles and undermine her reason for withdrawing from the events.

Morgan's tasteless tweet quickly backfired as people reminded him of when he had a meltdown and walked off the set of "Good Morning Britain" after his co-host called him out for his criticism of Meghan Markle. Morgan was also dragged on-air by CNN host Brianna Keilar. I love to see the Internet come together as a force for good: serving Piers Morgan a heaping dose of his own medicine. 

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 pajamas for example...

Fellas, is it girly to have a heart in your body? If you're looking for a graphic design job, you may want to contact whoever employed the people responsible for the following design fail. They are most likely hiring.

Tipping can often be a divisive subject as many people resent the fact that 20% of the bill for restaurant or bar service is standard in the United States. Anyone who has worked in the service industry is familiar with the heart-sinking level of confusion or blind rage when you marathon it around the restaurant smiling out of your eyebrows only to find that a party left you a zero dollar tip. Being a waiter or bartender is a serious test in the strength of your faith in humanity as you stand for twelve hours panicking about table seven's missing side of ranch dressing while table twelve throws up happy hour margaritas in the bathroom and your co-worker cries about how the manager screamed at them for wearing red shoes that don't match the uniform. Still, there are some situations when a customer feels justified in their choice to not leave a tip. So, when a conflicted man decided to consult the Phile about whether or not he was wrong to stiff a rude bartender on a tip, I decided to help deem a verdict. 

"Am I wrong for not tipping a bartender on a big tab? My friends and are play bar-league softball during the summer. We are all in our mid 20s and have had this same team for about 5 years. This year we decided to sign up for a tournament about an hour from where we live. After our games were done on Saturday, we decided to go to a bar to grab some food and drinks. To make things easier for the bar, we just put everything on one tab and would figure out payment amongst ourselves with Venmo and cash. We usually rotate who puts the tab on their card and this time it was me. One of my friends, Tommy, has a stutter and a lisp. I've known him since grade school and he's a great guy and a solid infielder. But if you don't know him it can be kind of difficult to understand him sometimes and even more so when he's had a few beers or if he gets flustered about something. So our team is at the bar getting a bunch of food and drinks and someone sends Tommy up to the bar to get another round of pitchers. The rest of us were playing pool and darts and after a few minutes we hear a commotion from the bar area and see Tommy and the bartender kind of arguing. I go over with another friend to see what's going on. The bartender tells me that he's not going to serve Tommy anymore because he's clearly drunk and can't understand a word he's saying. We had been at the bar a little over an hour and none of us were wasted. Maybe a little tipsy, but nowhere near the point of being cut-off. Tommy looks really embarrassed and is trying to explain himself but is struggling to get the words out. My other friend and I try to explain to the bartender that he has a speech impediment and it's just the way he is. But the bartender isn't having it and tells us that he's not going to kick Tommy out, but if he sees Tommy drinking anything he's going to make him leave. So I tell the bartender to close my tab and that we will all just leave. Tommy and my other friend go to gather the rest of the guys and I close the tab, which at this point was almost $400 because we had 12 guys there who all got food and drinks. I pay the correct amount, but don't tip a single cent. As we are leaving the bartender calls me out on not leaving a tip and calls me an asshole. I told him that he was the one who lost out on a big tip because he was being an asshole. I told him all he had to do was listen to us and be a little understanding and he would've gotten a huge tip from us, but he decided to be a jerk to our friend. He had a few more choice words for me as I was leaving, but I just walked out. Tommy was really embarrassed and was trying to apologize to all of us and was almost near tears. We told him that none of this was his fault and that the bartender was just a jerk. I've worked in food-service before and understand that missing out on a tip on a tab like that is a big deal, but the guy was a jerk to my friend and I am not going to reward that with a tip, no matter how big the tab is." This was a case of disability discrimination, and you did the right thing. Send an email to the company's management. I would outline the behavior of their staff and how this treatment makes you not want to return to their establishment. Thank you for being a good friend. He did not deserve to be treated like that. So, there you have it! Good luck, everyone! If you have a problem you want my opinion on then email me at Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things Said About "Arthur" Getting Canceled After 25 Years
5. "Arthur" got canceled after all these years somehow its DW's fault.
4. 2025: Arthur has been canceled for years. People have forgotten how to work and play... getting along with each other is out of the question. It seemed like a simple message but without it we are lost. Society is on the brink of collapse.
3. Apparently they canceled "Arthur." The world doesn't make sense anymore. I really wanted to raise my children in a world where they got all their attitude problems from DW Reed. Peppa Pig just doesn't cut it for me. 
2. The show did get weird after Arthur went through his first divorce and then started mining bitcoin while under lockdown, so this is probably for the best. 
And the number one thing said about "Arthur" getting canceled after 25 years is...
1. So I guess we're never gonna find out who was shooting at Arthur & Co. on that outrigger in Season 5 then. Great. 

I would like to give thanks to the brave men and women who died a long time ago testing which plants were edible and which plants were not. And then there were those who said, “these plants are not very edible, let’s try setting them on fire and inhaling the smoke.”

Okay, let's take a live look at Port Jeff, shall we?

Still looks like a nice day there. 

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. 

The 155th and last book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Hahahaha. I'm laughing because that book came out in 2009... but there you are. David will be on the Phile in a few weeks. 

Phact 1. Women were not allowed to wear pants on the U.S. Senate floor until 1993 after Senators Barbara Mikulski and Carol Moseley Braun defiantly staged a protest by wearing pantsuits. 

Phact 2. The dog Laika, one of the first animals in space, “was found as a stray wandering the streets of Moscow. Soviet scientists chose to use Moscow stray dogs since they assumed that such animals had already learned to endure conditions of extreme cold and hunger.” 

Phact 3. Elvis Presley once asked his limo driver, “Do you own this limo or do you work for the company?” The driver responded that he works for the company. Elvis smiled at the driver and said, “Well you own it now." Limo driver was tipped the limo itself. 

Phact 4. Thomas Edison taught his second wife Morse code so that they could communicate in secret by tapping into each other’s hands when her family was around. 

Phact 5. The 7th time that park ranger Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning coincided with the 22nd time he fought off a bear with a stick. 

Today's guests are two members of the American hip hop duo Little Brother from Durham, North Carolina. Their latest album "May the Lord Watch" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Phonte and Big Pooh. 

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

Phonte: Thank you. Thank you for having us. 

Big Pooh: Thank you. I am good. 

Me: I love your guys names. You guys have been around for a while, right? When did your first album come out? 

Phonte: "The Listening" came out in 2003. 

Me: That is a long time. Big Pooh, when you hear that album or those songs now what goes through your mind? 

Big Pooh: I was a baby. I was like 21 or 22-years-old when we did that album, so when I hear it it's weird listening to myself. But it's also one of those moments where I look back and say wow, this album is one of the reasons I've been able to travel around the world and do a lot of the things that I've been able to do. 

Phonte: Like that moment in Seattle I think. 

Big Pooh: Yeah, inside the Jerk Shack. 

Me: What's that? What happened in Seattle? 

Phonte: After we played a show in Seattle last year the owner had stayed open late for us, they knew we had a show. "Yeah, you guys come back." So we came back and they were playing songs of "The Listening" and I just remember saying to Pooh, "It's crazy that these songs are the reason we're sitting in a barbecue spot right now in Seattle." I never thought that something I do in my 20s is going to continue to pay dividends and pay rewards for the rest of my life. 

Me: For a while you guys parted ways. What was did your fan base think of that? 

Big Pooh: I don't think we really took to the fans what we were thinking. 

Me: So, why did you guys part ways? 

Phonte: We got so tired of each other and thought the hell with all of this. 

Big Pooh: It's over, we'll figure it out as we go along. 

Me: Really? Is that true? 

Big Pooh: Yeah, that's all we, I say, we cared about. We didn't care about each other at the time. 

Phonte: Damn sure. 

Big Pooh: We just got tired of each other and was like listen, this ain't working out, the way we want it to work out. So it's over. 

Phonte: With us, when we decided to hang it up in 2010 we were in good shape. Like nationally, we were doing good business on the road, we were still a viable brand. We were able to make money, our show prices I think were even going up at that time. But the money didn't matter. We were just tired of it, of each other. Our relationship was not in the best place, not a good place at all. Just the constant hustle of the album, tour, album, mix-tape tour, mix-tape tour. We just burnt out and turned on each other. 

Me: Did you guys talk doing that time? 

Big Pooh: Years went by with the two of us talking after we decide to call it quits as a band. 

Me: So, what got you guys talking to each other again? 

Big Pooh: It was the death of Phife Dawg from a Tribe Called Quest in 2016 hat sort of got us talking to each other again. 

Me: Why did that death get you talking again? 

Big Pooh: That is somebody that we grew up with. Like from our generation. 

Phonte: He was one of us. 

Big Pooh: Yes. That's us. He was ours. It was so crazy because I had just spoken to Phife probably like a month before he passed. We were talking about doing music together. So I think that just really hit home and as far as me it just made me realize that how there wasn't anything that was a major of a reason to why we weren't speaking. And so I just thought that it was time, it had been passed time but it was time. And I just wanted to let Phonte know how I felt as a friend and as a brother. I didn't care about making music, I just wanted my friend and my brother back. That's how his death really, really spoke to me. 

Me: Phonte, what did it feel like for you to get that phone call? P

Phonte: Man, it was refreshing. It was reassuring because I had been feeling the same way. And so when I got that text it just hit me, regardless of whatever I love you, you're still my brother and I hope you're good. I hit him right back like immediately without a thought. I love you too, man, let's get on the horn. We got on the phone and we was on the phone for about four hours. 

Me: What did you talk about? 

Phonte: Just talking about everything. Every grievance, every slight, every perceived dis, whatever it was.  

Big Pooh: We aired it all out on the table. 

Phonte: Yeah, and we were straight, and that was in 2016. Even after that we didn't start making music until we started working on the new album so a while two years went by of us just talking to each other, of us being in each others lives. Just kinda seeing and accessing where the other one was. What has his life been since I've been out of it. What is he working on now and how can I help. 

Me: That's so cool, I bet it felt good, right? 

Phonte: It definitely felt like a missing piece, that something missing in my life was back where it was supposed to be. 

Me: When did you start doing music again together? 

Big Pooh: After a couple of years talking to each other we ended up doing a surprise reunion performance together in the fall of 2018, in Durham, North Carolina. This is the first time we were on stage together as Little Brother in like a decade. 

Me: Big Pooh, how did that feel like to you? 

Big Pooh: All of the nerves were in the pre-show. The butterflies, the anxious, so many thoughts running through my head because all of that show came together in a couple of hours. It wasn't a thing that was planned and we knew weeks ahead of time. I literally got a call like at 4:30 in the afternoon and agreed and was in my car by five o'clock, driving two and a half hours to Durham from Charlotte. 

Phonte: Pooh was the MVP that day. He made it from Charlotte to Durham in record time. 

Big Pooh: Yeah. I was gone. God was on my side that day. 

Me: Did you remember the songs easily? 

Big Pooh: I listened to "The Listening" the whole drive. 

Phonte: Got to refresh. 

Big Pooh: Yeah. We had bank of songs that we performed whenever we performed so I had to go through those songs. I didn't know what we were going to do because we didn't have a set list at the time. So I just had to go through all the songs to kinda refresh and call it doing my homework so I could be prepared for whatever we did. It comes back to me, if I listened to it, but I hadn't listened to it so long because when I did solo shows I rarely did any Little Brother records. It was just one of those things, all the nerves went out the window once the music started. Once we walked out on stage and the music started it felt like 2009 al over again. 

Me: What did it feel for you, Phonte? 

Phonte: It was an awesome memory. For me it was the same way, it was nerves and then I step on stage and everything just falls into place. Being able to do Little Brother songs officially with my man again that was the most fulfilling part for me. I can do the full songs, not just my verse, we can really do Little Brother and that felt good. 

Me: You have a new album out called "May the Lord Watch." What was the hardest part of making this album? 

Big Pooh: Learning about each other again. 

Me: What do you mean? 

Big Pooh: Just everything. Learning who Phonte was as a person now. And then learning what has process was in creating. By the time we ended the first iteration of Little Brother we weren't really recording together. 

Phonte: I would do my verses at night, Pooh would do his verses during the day. That was it. 

Big Pooh: We'd see each other on stage. So with this one we actually recorded the whole album at Phonte's house in his hime studio and we loved the album. I would travel up and stay at his house for four or five days at a time and I would just move in and become part of the family. It'll be days we didn't even record, wed just sit around and talk and learn and build on each other and watch TV or listen to other music or just do different things. I also think and I told him through the process, the crazy thing is I started off excited about making this album and that was my thing but it turned into the process of making this album which comes so special to me that I'm not worried about the goal which was the album at that point. I was just involved with the album and the process of making the album and that journey. It just meant so much to me. 

Phonte: We knew because we put so much to it. Once the record was done me and Pooh both looked at each and was like yo, we got something. It was on fucking fire. We just felt confident about it because we know what we put to it. It was just one of those things, I always tell artists and stuff, once they're good with it, once they know they've given it the all, then just let it go. Once anyone says about it, if critics like it, or fans like to or don't like to or whatever, as long as they put their work in then whatever people feel about it is what they feel about it. They can't get caught up in it, the only thing they could control is the work that they do. And I could say with no hesitation or nothing that the minute that we finished that album, we put every drop of everything we had into it. I was happy. 

Me: So, Phonte, you made headlines when you criticized a New York Times article that seemed to credit Drake popularizing the whole rapping singing thing. Drake himself has credited you for being a huge influence. What pissed you off about that article? 

Phonte: The main thing I want to stress I did not, or do not have any problem with Drake at all. Me and him had done records together, we had some conversations about that years ago. So I have no issue with him at all. I can't say that enough. My problem is with journalists and people who try to rewrite history while the people who made it is still sitting here. It's not about me, for them to say that Drake normalized rap and singing, we are going to just say hell with Bone Thugs, hell with Nelly, hell with Andre, Cee Lo, Devin the Dude. It's very indicative of art and the way media is consumed now, where we live in this era where whoever does with the most toys wins. They say history is written by the winners and just because something maybe the biggest thing doesn't mean it was the first one to do it. And they are not about to play in my face on my phone. I'm sorry, get out of here, bro. 

Big Pooh: I don't like people playing on my phone. 

Phonte: Just get out of here, come on, bro. Next they're going to tell me that Eminem was the greatest rapper to ever lived. That's the next thing, it's very kinda click-bait. I was like no, dude. 

Me: Ha. So, is this reunion a one off thing? 

Big Pooh: We don't know. 

Phonte: I don't know. But I'm for sure there's going to be more music, I've got some ideas that I want to get him on and vice versa. In terms of an album I think again that it' a beautiful thing we can choose if we wanted to do it. If we choose to end it right here I don't think anyone would be mad or if another year from now or two years or whatever if we decide we have something worthy to say and we want to offer that to our fans I think they'd appreciate that as well. 

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

Big Pooh: Thanks very much for having us.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Little Brother for a cool interview. The Phile will be back on Monday with Tim Minchin. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Get vaccinated!

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, July 30, 2021

Pheaturing Sharon Stone


Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday. How are you doing? It's a sad week for Team U.S.A., as beloved American gymnast Simone Biles has withdrawn from the women's gymnastics team final on day four of the Tokyo Olympics. The four-time Olympic gold medalist and fan favorite reportedly appeared "shaky" on the vault and landed with a big correction, prompting "gasps" from the crowd. She then left the arena to be attended to by the trainer. In an official statement, USA Gymnastics said, "Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions. Thinking of you, Simone!" Twenty-four-year-old Biles told reporters she is "proud" of her team, who went on to win a silver medal in the final (Russia took the gold, and bronze went to England). She later told reporters she made the decision to focus on her "mental health," saying, "Whenever you get in a high stress situation, you kind of freak out. I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being... We have to protect our body and our mind. It just sucks when you're fighting with your own head." Celebrities and fans are taking to Twitter to express their support for Simone. Many people are praising her for prioritizing her mental health, something that is notoriously challenging for anyone, let alone Olympic athletes, to do. Roseanna Arquette reminded people that Biles is likely still coping with trauma. Meanwhile, Simone focused on supporting her teammates, offering them words of encouragement as they continued on to compete without her. Spoken like a true champion. 

Ben Stiller probably wishes he simply did the Blue Steel and kept his mouth shut. The actor/writer/director/son of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara chimed into a conversation about nepotism in Hollywood with the hot take that there isn't. Deadline reported on an upcoming short film that reads like a nepotism Avengers: it stars Sean Penn's son, was written by Stephen King's son, and is being directed by Steven Spielberg's daughter. Founder of The Blacklist Franklin Leonard joked, "Hollywood's a meritocracy, right?" Ben Stiller took umbrage, calling it a cheap shot. Leonard explained that he does wish them the best, but it's important to acknowledge the privilege the scions have in a notriously difficult industry to break into. Stiller then stuck his foot firmly into his mouth when his fingers typed out that Hollywood is "ultimately a meritorcracy." While Stiller has had a fruitful career in his own right, there's no denying the fact that having parents who are comedy legends opened doors. The doors fling open for the well-connected while people from margianilized communities can spend decades just approaching to knock. After being confronted with the facts, Stiller responded to criticism and said that he wasn't thinking about diversity... which is often part of the problem. Scholar Alexandro José Gradilla criticized Stiller as being "too literal and dishonest." While children of celebrities are not automatically given jobs, "they know how the industry works and where the industry plays. They know the official and hidden rules. Talented outsiders don’t. They have to catch a random break." Stiller replied, admitting that he might have been "too literal," and agreeing Hollywood needs more "inclusion and access and diversity." I think everybody learned something here: that diversity in Hollywood is lacking, and that insisting Hollywood is a meritocracy to assert that you're talented rather than just privileged is not a good look. 

There are few subjects more polarizing on the Internet than people's hygiene and bathing routines. Seriously, if you want to piss off Twitter, just tweet about how you don't wash your legs and you'll be cancelled faster than the first season of a "Friends" spin-off. Recently, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher created a huge stir on Twitter when they revealed their somewhat traditional choice to bathe themselves and their kids very infrequently.  Stars: just like us! Only much dirtier, apparently. During their appearance on an episode of Dax Shepard's "Armchair Expert" podcast, Kunis shared that they only wash "vitals" every day. "I didn't have hot water growing up as a child so I didn't shower very much anyway," said Kunis, who has apparently continued the tradition of infrequent bathing with her and Kutcher's two sons, Wyatt, 6, and Dimitri, 4. "If you can see the dirt on them, clean them," said Kutcher. "Otherwise, there's no point." Kutcher revealed he washes his "armpits and my crotch daily and nothing else ever," and will sometimes "throw some water on my face after a workout to get all the salts out." While Kunis said she washes her face twice a day. 

And I say, hey! It is not a wonderful kind of day, as it has just been announced that the iconic cartoon and meme machine Arthur has been canceled at PBS. For a quarter of a century, Arthur has been teaching kids how to spell A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K, and DW has helped sassy kids with attitudes feel seen. The show provided libraries with their unofficial theme song, and a meme for every emotion. Millinnennials are mourning the loss of their beloved Elwood City, crying into their ice cream at the Sugar Bowl and getting angry like Jekyll Jekyll Hyde Jekyll Hyde Hyde Jekyll. 

Over the last decade, Scarlett Johansson has become a pillar of the Avengers being the only woman in the team and she’s not backing down in real life as she files a lawsuit against the giants she had been working with for the past years, Marvel and Disney, for the Disney+ release of her most recent film, Black Widow, citing that such would be a breach of contract. Johansson has been synonymous with the character Black Widow that when you see her face, you know it is her as that is one of the roles that she really had authority on. However, despite her tenure in the beloved franchise, she is suing Disney and Marvel according to the Wall Street Journal. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court as Johansson claims that releasing Black Widow on Disney+ is a breach of contract on the part of the studio. Johansson, as feisty as her character in the MCU, is on her way to battle against giants, Marvel and Disney. As quoted from the suit, “Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel.” The breach of contract arises, in part, from the stipulation that the salary that Johansson would receive would be contingent on the success of the film at the box office. Recently, it was shown that having the movie released on the streaming platform at the same time as in theaters, has hindered the film to be a box office hit, that according to The Hollywood Reporter, Black Widow ranks way below other Marvel Cinematic Universe releases of Disney. 

Okay, so you heard of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, right? But have you heard of Dwayne "The Smock" Johnson? No? Look at this...

If I had as TARDIS I would probably end up in Londonderry, Northern Ireland after an explosion in the city center in 1972 and witness local children taunting a British soldier as he stands guard...

They tell me if I go to Walmart I'd see some odd sights... I didn't believe it until I saw this...

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 mugs for example...

Ahhh the two genders, Lady and The. Weddings can bring out a person's true colors, whether they're the bride or the groom or even just a casual acquaintance. And one guy is learning the hard way that his girlfriend and his family don't see eye to eye on the issue of family photos. The man emailed the Phile to ask for advice after he and his girlfriend hit an impasse. His family doesn't want the girlfriend in family photos, and she feels insulted by their decision. The man explains the situation...

"I come from a BIG but close family. Just as an example: my grandmother has 15 siblings and she and grandpa had 12 children themselves. We have like 8 weddings a year within the family. More then a decade ago my family made a rule: significant other’s can only be in family photos when the relationship has lasted a year. This rule came to be after to many family photos were “ruined” by exes being on there. Yes my family is dramatic like that. And of course after a year things can still go wrong and photos can still be “ruined” but at least it is less likely. I have been dating my girlfriend for about 6 months and we are in a serious relationship. One of my cousins is getting married soon and she is invited as well. When I told her about the rule she found it absolutely ridiculous and was insulted for our relationship. I told her we can still get a nice photo together and with my parents and siblings but that she couldn’t be in the big family photo. She was still pissed and said that she wouldn’t come if I didn’t demand she be in the family photo. The thing is that I generally believe in the rule, not because I doubt my relationship but because I’ve seen that in general it works. Am I wrong for not demanding she be in the family photo like she says? Is the rule ridiculous?" She's ridiculous for thinking she should be part of a family wedding photo after dating you 6 months. Take her up on her offer to skip the event. Looks like your relationship isn't going to make it to that magic one year mark. Your girlfriend has picked a weird hill to die on. Particularly since this is a cousin's wedding. Does she really think the bride wants her cousin's girlfriend in a family pic? At that point, might as well just take an aerial picture of the whole wedding. You can only fit so many people in one picture. So there you have it. The girlfriend is in the wrong. Family means family only, sorry! If they're even still together... If you have a problem and want my opinion then email me at 

On paid leave...

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

Top Phive Things Said About Simone Biles Withdrawing From The Olympic Women’s Team Final 
5. Simone deserves rest, thanks for her exception service, and us to leave her the fuck in peace. 
4. I can't imagine the pressure Simone has been feeling. Sending her SO much love. It's easy to forget she's still human. WE LOVE YOU. 
3. In my eyes, Simone Biles already won. She’s a class act and she’s still the greatest gymnast in history. Our Champion. 
2. Simone Biles is the greatest of all time. 
And the number one thing said about Biles withdrawing from the Olympic women's team final is...
1. Sending a stream of love and prayers to Simone Biles. May she has whatever she needs most right now in abundance. 

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

Looks like a nice day. 

Phact 1. Tim Duncan was training to become a member of the 1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic Swim Team until Hurricane Hugo destroyed the only pool he could train in. His mortal fear of sharks kept him from using the ocean temporarily. So to keep in shape, he began playing basketball. 

Phact 2. The Hudson Bay in Canada was formed during the last ice age when the weight of glaciers on the continent pushed the crust below sea level. Now that the ice is gone, the bay is currently in the process of rebounding outwards. 

Phact 3. Guinea pigs are members of the cavy family, just like the capybara and wild cavies. 

Phact 4. NASA will text you whenever the International Space Station passes overhead. 

Phact 5. Kenya burned $172 million worth of illegal rhino horn and elephant tusk to demonstrate against poaching in that area. 

Today's guest is is an American actress, producer, and former fashion model and author of the 154th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club, The Beauty of Living Twice. Please welcome to the Phile... Sharon Stone.

Me: Hey, Sharon, welcome to the Phile. How are you? You're such an icon.

Sharon: LOL. Thanks, when I think of icon I think of a statue of Jesus, not me. But thank you. 

Me: In the book, you write, "when I'm not busy being Sharon Stone, I'm rather shy." And it made me wonder, what does "being Sharon Stone" mean? 

Sharon: Well, my friends laugh when we're hanging out and then I have to go to something, and I run upstairs, I slap on the makeup, I put on the outfit, and then I come down transformed. They always go, "Oh look, she turned into Sharon Stone!" And they laugh. It's like, I go in the phone booth and swirl around and turn into Sharon Stone. I get all dressed up, I put on this stuff and then I come down in this new sort of aura. 

Me: Do you feel like your friends do? 

Sharon: Yeah, in fact, I have like a little section of my closet that has the Sharon Stone clothes in it. 

Me: I'll say the book is mainly about the other parts of your closet, not that one part of your closet. Am I right?

Sharon: Right. Obviously, there's a million different ways you can do a memoir. You can write about a million different things. And it just seemed to me that before I wrote about a million other things, I should know who's writing it. I should really explore myself and be clear about who I am. So many people in my life have told the story of who I am and decided who I am for me and told so many things that had nothing to do with me and more to do with the characters I've played. I thought a real profound investigation would be in order. It just was really helpful for me to take back my own identity and to get clear about my own identity.

Me: What's something you got clear on about your own self that maybe you didn't know beforehand? 

Sharon: I think the best thing that happened is that I really understand that I do me and you do you. And, you don't do me, so stop it. And I don't do you, so stay over there. And I'm much calmer about it than I was right at the beginning. Even when I started interviewing about the book, I was really argumentative about that. I took a couple weeks off, and I got very calm about it. When people tell me in an interview, they will say, "You are like this," or "Your childhood was like that," or "You are this kind of person." I let them finish their sentence or their paragraph or their thought. And then I can say, "No, that's not correct. This is how it was." I don't have to panic respond, or jump all over them or get upset. I can just let them live it out for themselves. And then I can say what's true for me.  

Me: Sharon, where are you from?

Sharon: I was born in was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Me: My son lives in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. I don't know anything about Meadville. What can you tell me about it?

Sharon: It's a very small town in western Pennsylvania. Our house was in Meadville, but the city line was just on the other side of our house. I went to school in the even smaller town called Saegertown. It was really tiny. One traffic light. Kids drove their tractors to school and it was a pretty tiny little farming community. 

Me: What was your life like there? 

Sharon: In many ways, idyllic. We had a big farmhouse with a beautiful stream in the ravine next to our house and acres of land that my mother planted fruits and vegetables in and canned them for our food. My dad worked in a factory and hunted and fished and we froze what he got, and that was the protein that we ate, the majority of it. I would come home from school and there'd be a deer hanging from my swing in the tree and maybe a turkey clipped on the clothesline with its wings all spread out... or a big bucket of fish on the doorstep when my dad and my brothers came back from fishing. Very, very rural.

Me: Was it easy for you growing up there?

Sharon: Well, I wasn't just that kid that kind of rolled through it and wanted to stay there. Because in that town, most people got married right out of high school, had a bunch of kids and worked in the sort of jobs that were there. That wasn't really ever, to me, how I had hoped that things would end up. 

Me: Didn't you go to college when you were like 15-years-old? 

Sharon: Yes, Jason, I went to college when I was really young and that was also really complicated for everybody. Neither of my parents had finished high school. Neither of my parents had parents that they lived with when they were small. My mother was given away because she lived in such horrible, impoverished, violent circumstances. She was given away when she was nine to be a housekeeper and laundress live-in for a family. That was her childhood. It was just not good. 

Me: The book is dedicate to your mom, right?

Sharon: One of the things that I got from writing the book is, I guess, looking at the different ways people can express love. And if love doesn't come to you, from your mother, in a way that seems very traditional, it can be very confusing. I went through the stages of trying to figure out how my mother expressed love to me. 

Me: Why dedicate the book to her?

Sharon: When I was writing the book, I remember saying to her, "You know, mom, you never let me lean on you." And she said, "That's right. I taught you to stand on your own two Goddamn feet." And I remember a couple of my friends were here, and they looked at me like, "Wow." Then as I grew to understand my mother, and I grew to understand the complexities of her life, I grew to understand that was love. She gave me the most loving, the most protective, the most concerned parent, concerned mother to another woman, thing that she could give me. But when I was young, I didn't understand it. But of course, when I was 15, at college, it was a great gift. When I was 19 modelling in New York and in Milan, it was a fabulous gift. 

Me: So, how did all of that prepare you for Hollywood? 

Sharon: I think that I really learned a lot about how to be in a room with people who might not have had my best interests at heart. When I was in Hollywood, I would go to these events or parties or things that I was expected to attend. I would carry a drink around and just pour them in the plants and pretend that I was in the party spirit. But I was not drinking and not getting loaded. I was acting like I was getting loaded so that I could stand on my own two feet.   

Me: Okay, I have to talk about Basic Instinct... here's a photo of you in that movie...

Me: I wish I can show a different pic from that scene. Haha. What was it like being in that movie, Sharon?

Sharon: I talk a little bit in the book about the toll that inhabiting that role took on me. It was controversial at the time. I mean, it isn't now. But at the time, it was so controversial to do something like that. And of course, I was terrified. 

Me: Why were you terrified?

Sharon: I was terrified going to work with this giant star Michael Douglas, and playing such a controversial role. I was playing a serial killer and I took it very, very seriously. I watched a lot of film of serial killers and why they did what they did. I read a lot of research to try to understand what happens to the mind. I was trying to understand a person who breaks to the point where serial killing doesn't have a big impact on them. It's like having a sandwich. It's something they do. It's their biggest thing, but it's still not big enough for them. It's not huge. Everything else has a certain kind of flatness to it.

Me: I remember going to the movies with my parents and seeing that movie. Anyway, what does that do to you to be that person for so long? 

Sharon: I had nightmares. I walked in my sleep. I woke up dressed in my car a couple times, like fully dressed sitting behind the wheel of my car. I never before or since have been walking in my sleep. Once I woke up and I thought my arm was cracking open like the desert and I called the poison control line. I don't even think I was really awake. I think that my mind was having trouble. While I was acting and while I was at work, I felt like I had a real handle on the character. But when I would go to sleep, my subconscious would take over and it was not okay with my behavior during the day. 

Me: How did your life change after the film came out?

Sharon: It's Friday and I'm me. Tuesday, I'm the Beatles. People are climbing all over my car. I try to walk down the street and suddenly 30 people that were shopping are running, chasing me. I'm running and locking myself in stores and the people are like, "Wait, don't lock the door," and I'm like, "Oh, I'll buy something. Please help me." Suddenly I'm in this weird chase. I didn't get paid to do Basic Instinct. I made a little bit of money. Michael made $14 million and has points. I made not enough money to buy my dress to go to the Oscars the next year. I was in this weird limbo where I was suddenly famous, but didn't have any money. 

Me: So, you couldn't afford private security or anything like that?

Sharon: I didn't have what I needed. We went to Cannes and the movie just was insanity. I got back to the hotel and all of my belongings had been stolen except the clothes on my back. My contact lenses, my film out of my camera, my toothbrush... everything was gone. 

Me: What do you mean "gone"?

Sharon: My room was just rifled through and we had to get me out of the hotel, but I didn't have the security to do it. The bodyguards got all the kitchen staff and all the busboys to come up and they created this big circle that I and my two girlfriends were inside of and then they try to take me through the lobby. There were so many people, hundreds of people, pulling at us and going berserk. So this was our introduction, "Hello, you're famous." We had no idea. 

Me: Didn't anybody give you advice?

Sharon: Yeah, after that, veteran actors and veteran famous people just start giving me advice about how to navigate this thing. 

Me: What's the best or what's a piece of advice that you got from someone that sticks with you? 

Sharon:  I think the nicest thing that happened was I asked my chiropractor, "Do you know someone that is really famous that could talk to me and help me because I'm just terrorized? And I don't know what to do?" He's like, "Yeah, I do. And I'm gonna have them call you today." I was working at a job, I think at maybe Warner Bros, and I got a text. Well, I don't even think there were texts, but I got some kind of message from Shirley MacLaine. And she said, "When you're done working, come out to my house and have dinner." And I'm like, "Oh, it's going to be late, late at night. It's gonna be 11 or midnight." She's like, "No problem."

Me: I wanted to get Shirley MacLaine on the Phile but I'm running out of time. Haha. So, did you go see her?

Sharon: Yeah, I drove out to Malibu, and we had dinner on trays sitting on the floor in front of her fireplace. I've never been so happy in my life to have someone understand that I needed to be on the floor. I needed that feeling of being grounded. I needed someone who understood that I needed to sit on the floor, and be in my bare feet, and just have someone talk to me like a human being. Here's this woman, who was the only woman who was part of the Rat Pack, and she told me all about what happened to her, what it was like and how it went. It wasn't like she gave me specific advice, per se. She just told me, this is what happens, this is how it goes. 

Me: That's cool. What do you want people to understand about you, having read this book? 

Sharon: No matter what you see in the public eye and no matter how hard that is for you to cope with, that's not my whole life. Red carpet stuff is so infinitesimal next to what your job is. When you go to work, you're outside in the freezing cold, you're outside in the boiling heat, you're outside in the middle of the night where it's just awful. You're eating off paper plates out of a steam tray. That's your real life. That's how really acting and making film or television is; you're in some crappy location, eating awful food at three in the morning. It's awful, and you're only doing it because this is the thing you love to do. Sometimes you're just like, "I can't believe I have to do this. I hate every second that I'm here." That's the way that it is sometimes. And sometimes it's just fantastic. And that's the way any great job is.

Me: That's true. Sharon, thanks for being on the Phile. Take care and I hope this was fun.

Sharon: It was, thanks Jason. 

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Sharon Stone for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with hip hop duo Little Brother. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Get vaccinated!

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...

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Pheaturing Ricky Gervais


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looks like a nice day. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: Why do you think that is, Ricky? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ricky: Cheers. My pleasure.

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

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