Monday, August 14, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum Gary Gerani

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. So, there are a lot of summer trends happening this year. I decided to not dye the little hair I have charcoal but maybe I'll go out and get a coffee caviar. You don't know what that is? Well, caviar is essentially little blobs of coffee added to desserts and savory dishes and it has taken over Instagram as the next big food "thing." Coffee giant Lavetta makes it "using a syringe and small drops of the coffee. Alginate mixture is added to the diluted calcium chloride." It sounds good, right? Okay, let's get on with the news...
A bag of scum masquerading as a human being was riding the train in NYC last week when he launched into a xenophobic, racist tirade directed at a fellow passenger, who recorded the incident on her phone. "Get the fuck out my country before I murder your whole fucking nation," he says in his anti-Asian rant, directed at a 21-year-old Brooklyn woman who says she's not actually Asian (she's white). "I myself am a little bit of an anxious person and I was getting weird vibes from him," the woman told Gothamist anonymously. "He wasn't giving me a dirty look per se, but he was staring." She said she asked him politely, "can you please stop staring at me you are making me uncomfortable" and that's when his "look turned sour" and he "started asking the surrounding people if I had a right to tell him to stop staring, and said I had less of a right because I was Asian." This is when things "escalated," said the woman, who recorded the encounter and had a friend post it on Facebook. She said she hoped it would highlight anti-Asian racism. "I think they are a minority group that is being targeted as much as other groups," she said. In the video, she keeps telling the man she's white. "I'm not Chinese! I'm not Chinese!" she says. "This is my country too. I'm white." He then makes offensive comments about her "fucking Chinese eyes" and threatens to "murder your whole fucking nation, motherfucker." He also says, multiple times, "you are my property." If you see this man, please kick him in the nuts for me.

Sadly, incidents like this are not uncommon, and reports of racially-biased and xenophobic hate crimes have risen since you-know-who became president. Fuck.
In wonderful news for Prince Harry and awful news for Prince Harry fans, reports claim that Britain's favorite royal is engaged. Harry has been dating the activist (and, um, "Suits" star) Meghan Markle for just over a year. The couple has been on vacation in Botswana, and reports suggest that Harry flew Markle to a private island and proposed. Recent unconfirmed reports claim that Harry supposedly had a ring made from a piece of his mother Princess Diana's jewelry. But instead of a piece of royal swag, "The Sun" reports that the couple is "wearing Zulu betrothal bracelets." The pattern of the bracelets allegedly signifies marriage. If any royal has it in him to elope, it's Prince Harry. What would Kate Middleton think?! If he did propose, Harry would have been taking a page out of Prince William's book. William proposed to Kate Middleton in Kenya in 2010, although he claims he "didn't really plan it that far in advance." Until Queen Elizabeth gives her blessing, we won't get a confirmation out of Buckingham Palace. But a pal of Harry's couldn't resist but share the story with the U.K. press. The source also claims that Harry had the help of the Zulu king and queen to create the traditional betrothal bracelet. It's all a bit hard to believe until we see that bling. "The world is watching, so the royal red tape needs to be adhered to," said the source. "Meghan won’t be landing at Heathrow with a giant rock on her finger."
Sometimes even good people have bad ideas. So I'll try to give this clothing company the benefit of the doubt, even if they DID try to "reclaim the swastika" by putting the universal symbol on shirts against a rainbow backdrop. Reeeeeeeeeally, clothing company? Really???

Yup, really. A small clothing company called KA Designs apparently attempted to take what has become a Nazi symbol of hate ever since World War II, and "rebrand" it as a symbol of "love." Their intentions may have been pure, especially since the swastika was originally an East Asian symbol of "life," "love," and "peace" before the Nazis claimed it for their reign of terror. But given its history, can the swastika be "reclaimed"? "The swastika is coming back, together with peace, together with love, together with respect, together with Freedom," the company said in a video shared on Facebook last month. In an interview with "Dazed and Confused" magazine last Sunday, the company said, "We really like the symbol in its shape and aesthetics, and we would love to share the beauty of this symbol detached from the Hatred associated with it. This project only represents the first step of our 'master plan,' and we are excited about what the future will give us." You have to admire their optimism, I guess? But... surprise... people are not on board with the "new swastika." Even against a rainbow backdrop, it's still a swastika. And that's just not something you want on your shirt. No matter how brightly colored the rainbow or how "rebranded" the meaning, that's a no thank you, please. Since the internet backlash, the shirts have been removed from the website Teespring where they were being sold, and the company that designed them has sort of apologized, while sort of defending the design. In a statement to the "Jerusalem Post," they said, "This project was intended to be innocent and peaceful. We were sincerely trying to convey an extremely positive message. But as soon as people saw the Swastika, they became violent and aggressive. That's why we want to forgive and ask forgiveness. Thank you and sorry."
If you've ever lurked around the Mildly Penis subreddit you've probably come across the Christian Science Society Church in Dixon, Illinois, because, well, it looks mildly like a dick. Last week the Christian Science Society Church was in the "news" (if that's what you call stories about giant dick churches) once again, this time because allegedly a water main had broken right on the corner of the street, making it look like, you know...

It's one of those stories you see on the Internet and pray is true, but unfortunately, it's not. The part about the Church being a dick, now that is 100% true. It's just that "too good to be true" part about the water main that's, well, too good to be true. Turns out it's from a Tweet in 2013. And of course, true to Internet form, the Daily Dot points out that someone went WAY too deep in analyzing the photo and made the case that unless every single car was in the same location during the water main break as they were when Google’s satellites passed by, this was a hoax. In fairness, it's a great story and you could totally see "Fox & Friends" covering something dumb like this. Or at least falling for the fake story. So don't feel bad if you bought in when you first saw it.
It turns out if you mess with Jonah Hill, you mess with the entire Internet. A video of Hill talking to local reporters at a university in 2014 has resurfaced. It's now going viral because of one particularly dumb question a reporter asked him about his weight. At the beginning of the video, Hill appears to be discussing his recent weight loss, when the reporter asks him this, "Are you still considered the fat guy, when you go to a party or anything?" When Hill doesn't respond right away, the reporter presses on. "Are you the fat guy in Hollywood still?" Um... WHAT?! I'm not sure exactly what made the reporter think that was an okay question to ask Jonah or any human being for that matter, but here we are. That kind of question could make anyone lose their cool, but not Jonah Hill. Instead, he had this to say, "Do you have any other questions... that are smart?" The footage of the interview has resurfaced, and people on Twitter love Hill's response, but they are NOT HAPPY that that reporter had the gall to mess with their precious Jonah. Here's a life tip for everyone: don't ever ask anyone if they're considered "the fat guy."
Speaking of Jonah Hill, did you know he has a brand new movie that just came out? I have the exclusive poster here to show you...

I bet it is gonna be funny. So, you know about the whole Trump/Kim Jong Un pissing war, right? Well, if I was Trump I would watch out... Kim Jong Un is ready to fight...

So, you know the Disney movie Hercules? Well, before that movie came out some of the characters had a completely different look...

That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...

Mark Hamill is one of the most wittiest celebrities when it comes to signing autographs. Check this out...

Hahaha. Have you ever been arrested and had a mug shot taken? I haven't, but if I did I wouldn't want to be wearing a t-shirt like this woman wore...

I hate to say it but she looks kinda cute though. One thing you might not know about me is I like to do what I am told, and take things literally. Some people take that a bit too far though...

I should try that with my cell phone. Haha. So, back in the day do you know they used to be ads for drugs? Don't believe me? Check it out...

Here in Florida people try to get away with some crazy license plates like this one...

That should actually be my license plate. Haha. Do you watch "Game of Thrones"? I don't as I don't have HBO. Anyway, I didn't know the show took place on present day earth. Look at what one of the characters was wearing on last night's episode...

She looks like a Trump fan, right? It's football preseason and some football fans are like me, they also like Star Wars. Some take it a bit too far though...

Speaking of Star Wars, did you know Big Bird was supposed to be in the first movie? I wonder of Gary Gerani knows that. If you don't believe me check out this rare scene from A New Hope.

Told ya. Hahahaha. So, ladies, are you looking for a new different kinda bra to wear? How about this one?

The cool Chopstick Bra was created by lingerie-maker Triumph International Japan to promote the use of reusable chopsticks. That's right, you can enhance your cleavage and save the planet at the same time. That's stupid. Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Ways To Convince Trump That Climate Change Is Real
5. Warn him that higher, drier temperatures would make his hair a prime target for wildfires.
4. Explain that, while it may not affect him in his lifetime, it will affect Barron's children... and then explain who Barron is.
3. Tell him that it'll cause widespread animal die-offs long before Donald Jr. gets a chance to kill everything himself.
2. Put the central air in Trump Tower on "low," but tell him it's on "high."
And the number one way to convince Trump that climate change is real is...
1. Have climate-change believers donate more money to his re-election campaign than climate-change deniers.

Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, wanna sound cool around your offices water cooler? Well, I am here to help. Once again here is a pheature simply titled...

Phact 1: Serial killer Dennis Rader a.k.a. BTK asked the cops if it was safe to communicate via  floppy disk. In the "properties" section of the document, police found that the file has last been saved by someone named Dennis and the MS-Word was registered in the name of a church to which he belonged. After getting caught he couldn't believe that the cops had lied to him.
Phact 2: After scientists discovered that deep-sea dragonfish had chlorophyll in their eyes, the U.S. Pentagon began funding research for inexpensive night-vision eye drops.
Phact 3: At the end of cleaning up Chernobyl, three men were forced to travel to the top of reactor 3's chimney to hang a red flag. Due to high radiation levels, the entire operation had to be timed to last no more than 9 minutes. Their reward was a bottle of Pepsi (a luxury at the time) and a day off.
Phact 4: Chipotle uses 97,000 pounds of avocados per day and they use about 60 avocados to make a single batch of guacamole.
Phact 5: Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford were drunk in the scene where Leia and Solo arrive at Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back due to partying all night into the morning with the Rolling Stones and Eric Idle.

Are you a lazy person? I bet you are not as lazy as the person who did this...

That's pretty clever I have to admit.

It has been an ugly couple of days in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Friday night, hundreds of tiki torch-wielding white supremacists descended on the University of Virginia's campus for a rally and clashed with counter-protesters. The violence continued on Saturday, and escalated to the point where a car was driven by a white supremacist into a crowd of anti-racism protesters. One woman was killed in the car crash. Two police officers also lost their lives in a helicopter crash related to the white supremacist rally, "The Washington Post" reports. In a statement about the incident on Saturday, Donald Trump condemned violence and hatred "on many sides," but failed to explicitly condemn white supremacy. Of course, the president's failure to mention that white supremacy is bad sparked a widespread backlash. After the outrage, an unnamed White House spokesperson provided an update to Trump's remarks on Saturday. The new statement reads, "The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together." Translation: "Wait, you want us to say that the president doesn't approve of Nazis out loud? So people can hear it? Ugh, FINE." At least they updated it?

Today's guest is a Phile Alum and author of "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Three," the 64th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome back to the Phile... Gary Gerani.

Me: Hey, Gary, welcome back to the Phile. How are you doing, sir?

Gary: Very well, thank you.

Me: Last time you were here it was Super Bowl Sunday... did you watch the game? Are you a football fan? I am a Giants fan.

Gary: I’m not really into football, although I did watch some of the game on my giant plasma screen. Baseball’s a little different. Being a kid from Brooklyn, I grew up a Mets fan… nothing like those once-in-a-while miracles. Most of my fellow Toppers were Yankees guys.

Me: I have to tell you that you are one of the most popular guests I get to interview for this blog. Do you do a lot of interviews generally?

Gary: Wow… that’s a cool compliment. Thanks! I’ve done interviews and video commentaries for various projects over the years, so I guess I’ve become pretty comfortable with public chatting.

Me: What about conventions? Ever go to conventions as a guest or just to show up and walk around? I go to conventions like the Tampa Bay Comic Con, Clermont Comic Con and MegaCon once in awhile and I kinda like it. I have been going to cons pretty much off and off since my first one in New York in ’83.

Gary: Yep, I’ve been going to conventions since the late ‘60s. Lately I’ve been doing signings for IDW and Abrams at the San Diego and New York Comic Cons.

Me: I did get to go to Star Wars Celebration this year which was pretty cool. Have you ever been to one of those?

Gary: Not yet, sorry to say. I did write a public essay about Topps’ history with Star Wars for Charles Lippincott, but I forget which convention it was intended for.

Me: Okay, so as well as the Topps Trading Cards series of books which have been pheatured on the Phile you have been writing and putting together some other books... "Top 100 Horror Movies," "Top 100 Sci-Fi Movies," "Top 100 Fantasy Movies," and recently "Top 100 Comic Book Movies." That book I will pheature in the Phile's Book club soon... anyway, how did these series of books come about?

Gary: Back in 1976 I wrote a book called "Fantastic Television," which was the first book to deal with sci-fi, fantasy and horror on TV. It was very successful, and, several years later, IDW asked me to create a brand new book division of my own, which we dubbed “Fantastic Press.” The idea was to carry over the flavor and style of my original creation into the 21st Century, with a colorful new line of trade paperbacks. I came up with the “Top 100” gimmick as a way to make these movie genre overviews more entertaining. Hopefully I succeeded!

Me: Do you pick them for the most popularity of them, or how well they did at the box office or are they your personal favorite movies?

Gary: I suppose it was sort of an arcane combination of all three factors. Ranking aside, all of the movies covered are essential entries in their genre. I’m especially fond of some of the more obscure titles.

Me: It would be hard to come up with a 100 best anything myself, so I give you 100% kudos on this, Gary. Are these series of books fun to put together?

Gary: It can drive you a little crazy at times, but mostly it’s an enjoyable task.

Me: Okay, so I am not a big horror fan at all... I think the only horror movie I ever saw in my life is Poltergeist. I do not like to be scared. Hahaha. Is Poltergeist on the list?

Gary: Ha! I don’t remember. Probably… it was a significant horror film, one that made the genre “safe” for the whole family.

Me: As the co-writer for Pumpkinhead I gather you do like horror movies, am I right?

Gary: Oh, sure.

Me: Speaking of Pumpkinhead that could be the name of the Donald Trump movie. Hahaha. How many times has anyone made that joke to to?

Gary: You’re the first, actually. But hell, it fits.

Me: Okay. What's the scariest movie you have ever seen, Gary?

Gary: Polanski’s Repulsion.

Me: By the way, the last book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club "The Fly King" by Karling Abbeygate. I say check out out... I could only read it in the day time. Do you do a lot of reading yourself or are you always writing? 

Gary: I’m doing very little fiction reading these days, sorry to say. Haven’t had the time… which is a shame.

Me: Okay, so with the top 100 sci-fi movies Star Wars had better come first, am I right? Or Empire... hahaha. What is your favorite sci-fi film?

Gary: Forbidden Planet was #1, with Five Million Years to Earth (Quatermass and the Pit), 2001 and Star Wars right up there.

Me: Is Westworld on the list? I love that movie! I was told to check out the new series on HBO but I don't have HBO so I have to wait. Have you seen it?

Gary: Nope. And I don’t think Westworld made the main line-up. That said, it is a fun movie, with Yul’s Mag7 Terminator a memorable screen villain.

Me: What about Logan's Run? That's a great movie.

Gary: No comment!

Me: Okay. Oh, back to the horror movies... Solent Green... I saw that one but I don't think it counts as horror, does it? It wasn't that scary.

Gary: It’s a legitimate science fiction movie, though, with its overpopulation theme and all. The early ‘70s were bursting with socially aware sci-fi flicks (Silent Running, Damnation Alley, No Blade Of Grass, etc.). Star Wars ’77 transformed the genre into spectacular, roller coaster fun, and the rest is history.

Me: With the fantasy movies I say Labyrinth has to be on it and I don't know if Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Bedknobs and Broomsticks counts as fantasy... I am sure they do but being on the list might be a stretch. What's your favorite fantasy movie, Gary?

Gary: Lord of the Rings. But there are many, many great fantasy films, of all different kinds and from all different countries. Donkey Skin and The Miracle of Marcelino are right up there with The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Wizard of Oz.

Me: Recently I started watching the Harry Potter movies but stopped half way through the fifth one. I take it you are in those movies. I am surprised that there are no card series for the Potter movies... maybe they are, I don't know. Hahaha.

Gary: ArtBox hired me to launch their Harry Potter trading card line a decade or so ago. It was successful, and I believe they continued on for some time. I have no idea who has the trading card license now (Rittenhouse?).

Me: Okay, let's talk about the latest book to be pheatured in the book club... "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Three" which came out last summer (even thug back in February I didn't realize it was out) but I wanted to pheature all three of your Star Wars books in this series. I love this book and I have to say somewhere I still have the whole collection of this card series. It was the first series I completed I think. When you were writing this book was it as much fun as writing the first two?

Gary: To be honest, probably not. Writing the first book was a blast, because I jumped head-first into the memory pool. The world really did change in 1977, and we were at the heart of all that excitement. Star Wars was always an exciting proposition, but by the time the third film came along, a lot of us were awfully tired!

Me: What about when you were originally putting these cards together back in the early 80s... was it pretty much the same as it was when you started out?

Gary: Like I said, Star Wars started off as a world-changer… by the time Jedi was released, we were already living in a changed world, so the impact wasn’t quite as striking. Still, we found things to be inspired about.

Me: How did you make this series different from the other series of cards, Gary? The stickers were different, right? 

Gary: We were a well-oiled machine by the time Return of the Jedi came along. Maybe just a little too slick for our own good. The stickers were a bit different, and kind of cool. It wound up being a nice, commercial card product.

Me: Back when this movie came out the whole Vader being Luke's dad was revealed... so you must of found out before you saw the movie. Did that ruin to for you?

Gary: Actually, I found out the same time everyone else did… at the movie’s premiere! George Lucas and company really managed to keep it a secret… the script I had read, which I had based the card set on, made no mention of it. Quite a surprise, right?!

Me: Yeah, that's cool. What is your favorite card in the series, Gary?

Gary: It’s got to be the notorious "Threepio having an erection" shot, the most famous trading card I ever edited. Read all about it in the Star Wars ’77 Abrams book.

Me: Yeah, we talked about it the first time you were here on the Phile. Back then did you ever think they would make any more Star Wars movies?

Gary: Yeah… we at Topps were told to expect sequels by our contacts at Fox and Lucasfilm. That first movie seemed clearly designed for follow-ups.

Me: Did the marketing for cards change since you started doing them? I think the Star Wars cards were the hottest property that Topps had, am I right?

Gary: It’s fair to say that Star Wars is Topps’ most successful tie-in property, if you don’t count Baseball. "Charlies Angels" tied with Star Wars for multiple series during this late ‘70s period, by the way… five series each.

Me: Hey, did you work on the Superman: The Movie cards and "The Mork and Mindy" cards? I had those as well. Any plans on those books?

Gary: Yes, yes, and who knows? Abrams has done many of these Topps tie-in books, although they seem to be slowing down now. We shall see...

Me: Okay, so, as well as writing and putting together some really cool books you are a screen writer. Last time you were here you mentioned you were writing a screenplay with a Hollywood legend in the lead. Can you say what that movie is now and who that legend is?

Gary: It’s John Travolta, and the movie’s a racing drama called Trading Paint, which has finally been officially announced for filming in ’17. 

Me: Wow! That's cool! Is it a comedy? It's a NASCAR movie?

Gary: It’s about the dirt track racing scene, small town stuff. Like Pumpkinhead, we have a city-country culture clash (our heroine is an outsider) and an emotional father-and-son family drama, in addition to all those screeching tires and roaring engines. No Stan Winston monsters this time, however!

Me: Did you know Travolta beforehand, Gary?

Gary: My writing partner knew him, in Florida. I’ve been doing on-and-off screenwriting work in Hollywood for years, mostly for projects that never got made.

Me: When the movie was being written did you have Travolta in mind of the part?

Gary: Absolutely! It was written specifically for him.

Me: You know... I think Foghat's "Slow Ride" should be in the movie... wink wink. Whatcha think? By the way, my dad was Lonesome Dave, lead singer in Foghat.

Gary: Wow. Impressive! Kinda fits, too...

Me: Gary, can you come back when this movie comes out?

Gary: Sure, of course.

Me: I have you back and pheature the "Top 100 Comic Book Movies" book soon.

Gary: That’ll be MY pleasure, Jason!

Me: So, you're always working... any new projects coming out, Gary?

Gary: Let’s see… trading cards, books, movie scripts… and a documentary! I’m producing one right now about a great TV composer, Billy Goldenberg, who did all of Steven Spielberg’s early TV work (including the score for Duel). Should be finished sometime in 2018. What can I say… I like to keep busy!

Me: That's cool. Take care, and I will have you back on the Phile soon.

Gary: Looking forward to it, my friend.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Gary Gerani for another great interview. The Phile will be back on Thursday with Phile Alum and singer Lio Nicol. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pheaturing Nik Kershaw

Hey, kids, welcome to the phire and phury of the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? Real quick before we start I have to mention that this summer there's a lot of crazy trends. Spring was all about unicorns, but summer is all about charcoal. Colorists have been dying their clients' hair a deep gray shade... the result is smoky, sultry and isn't inspired by a Starbucks drink. It's not entirely black, and it's not quite silver and it has a hint of blue. Maryland-based colorist Maayan Birnstein says, “The balance between blue and gray is key.” And to make the color look its best, “The hair needs to have no orange remaining in it,” she adds. Maybe I'll die what little hair I have charcoal... what do you think? Today in horrifying news about the current state of America, white supremacists held a torch-lit rally at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on Friday night. If muttering to yourself, "What year is it?" I would like to assure you that it is, in fact, 2017. Buzzfeed News reports that several hundred white nationalists marched onto the University of Virginia's campus, chanting things like "Jews will not replace us," "End immigration," and "White lives matter." They eventually started fighting with counter-protesters on the university's campus, and the two groups were separated by police. From the photos, you could see that the white nationalists are all carrying tiki torches and seem to have agreed beforehand to wear coordinating polo shirts and khakis. UVA's president Teresa A. Sullivan and Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer both condemned the rally. Sullivan called it "disturbing and unacceptable," while Singer called it a "cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance." Though there's nothing really funny about seeing something reminiscent of a KKK rally in 2017, all we can really do to cope is take a minute to laugh at the way these dummies executed it. One image from the rally in particular has been spreading as a meme on Twitter. You can't help but enjoy how mercilessly they're getting roasted.

It's like looking at 300 without CGI. I think one of the guys is yelling, "Where is the clitoris?" It's like open mic night at the Whitesplain Improv. Laughter will get us through these trying times. Be nice to each other, okay?
Samantha Heaton was working an ordinary shift at the Buffalo Wild Wings on August 5th, when something kind of out of the ordinary happened (and not in a good way), reports the "Rock River Times." The server (who happens to be gay) was denied a tip by a family of five because they felt that her rainbow equality tattoo meant she didn't "love Jesus." We know this because instead of leaving a tip on their bill of $60.55, they left a condescending note, reading, “Can’t tip someone who doesn’t love Jesus. Bad tatoo (sic).” Heaton told the "River Rock Times," “I went above and beyond for this couple, and for them to leave that (note) kind of hurt." Heaton's coworker took a picture of the receipt and the tattoo and posted it on Facebook, writing, "I would just like to say that being gay does NOT MEAN you don't believe in God or Jesus. And people who are 'religious' should not disrespect or act in such ways to other people. p.s., they spelled tattoo wrong." It's not like Heaton said anything about Jesus, by the way. It's not like she introduced herself to the table by saying, "Hi, I'm Samantha, I'll be your server today and I hate Jesus." In fact, Heaton is a Christian, and those people tend to like Jesus a whole bunch. In her interview with the "River Rock Times," Heaton made a very powerful statement, "I do believe in Jesus and God. I myself am a Christian. And, as a Christian, thou shall not judge. No matter how someone looks, you should love them for what’s in their heart and how they treat you... not for what is on the outside.... What if one day their kids grow up and want to be with the same sex, are they going to disown them? Throw them on the street?” Heaton added that the parents were teaching their children very un-Christlike behavior. “The kids are going to be under the impression that it will be okay to discriminate against anybody,” Heaton said. Heaton got a lot of support on Facebook, where people wrote messages of love and acceptance. The story is going viral, which is what Heaton and the coworker who posted the pic were hoping would happen. They're hoping to get the message to more people that anyone who belongs to or supports the LGBTQ community is not anti-Christian. Speaking to the "Rock River Times," Heaton said, “Someone asked me the other day if I would go back in time and get the same tattoo and I said, ‘No I would get it bigger." Right on!
Even as season one of "President Trump" makes headline after headline, one short-lived character on the real-life reality show has stood out more than most: Anthony Scaramucci, the White House communications director-to-be who lost his job in only 10 days. The bombastic mini-Trump was fired after giving a truly nasty interview to "The New Yorker"'s Ryan Lizza, in which, among other horrifying statements, he said, "I'm not Steve Bannon, I'm not trying to suck my own cock." "Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac." "Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.'" Wow! No wonder The Mooch claimed that he "made a mistake in trusting a reporter." Meanwhile, Lizza has repeatedly asserted that the interview was on the record. Scaramucci is now claiming that the writer didn't get his permission to record the interview. According to CBS News, "a phone call in Washington, D.C... can be recorded without the other party's consent." Then, on Twitter Wednesday night, Scaramucci compared Lizza to a reporter inextricable with the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Linda Tripp. Tripp clandestinely recorded conversations with Lewinsky regarding her relationship with President Clinton. But if the reporter who talked to Scaramucci is "the Linda Tripp of 2017," then who's Scaramucci? But as the jokes got crasser and crasser, and the tweet got more and more viral, Lewinsky saw it. LEWINSKY SAW IT.

It's hard to read that far into an emoji, but we'll just assume that Lewinsky doesn't favor the comparison. This is why we have Twitter.
Walmart fucked up, big time. And not just by selling guns and underpaying their workers. But by selling guns, underpaying their workers AND this horrendously bad sign placement spotted at one of their stores by a Twitter user named Anthony...

Mind. Phuck. Oh wow, that is bad. Really, really bad. As you can see, someone placed a back-to-school sign that reads "OWN THE SCHOOL YEAR LIKE A HERO" above a rack full of guns. We don't yet know if this was the work of a prankster with a twisted sense of humor, or an extremely distracted/stoned/asleep store clerk. But the tweet went viral, and, to their credit, Walmart responded quickly on Twitter with an apology. They are sorry! Soooooo sorry! But then Walmart, who just claimed to have "removed the sign" themselves, switched up their story by saying there was "no such sign posted." Ummmm. Okay. Also, someone named Jordan shared the same disturbing photo and it, too, went viral. Walmart apologized to him, too... they are SOOOOOOO sorry.
Think before you tweet, people. Or you, too, could become an ignorance-fueled meme. Recently, a Canadian reporter named Michael Kane saw some Muslim women come out of a lingerie store in Toronto, Ontario. So he minded his own business and kept walking. JK, that's not what he did. Apparently this man couldn't wrap his confused brain around the idea of women in traditional Muslim garb buying underwear, so he decided to share about it on Twitter. A website that is public. He wrote, "I'm just a reporter: saw two modestly-dressed women with religious headgear come out of Victoria's Secret store in the Eaton Centre." The tweet has since been deleted, but the Internet never forgets. Someone screen grabbed the tweet before he took it down, shared it, and trolled him for tweeting about such a mundane occurrence. Just to be perfectly clear: Muslim women wear underwear, not that it's anyone's business. One good thing has emerged from all this. Meet your newest meme: "I'm just a reporter." The Internet: turning bigotry into comedy since around 1991 or whenever Al Gore invented it.
It's Sunday... I shouldn't be doing this blog thing, I should be listening to this record...

On second thought... nah. Ever go to Goodwill? I only been there once but I think I wanna go again of they sell this there...

I'd buy that. So, I think Mark Hamill is one of the most wittiest autograph signers in the world. Take a look at this trading card he signed...

Hahahaha. Kids give the sweetest gifts sometimes... even though it might not like it. Check this out...

Ummm. There are no words. So, most people know about me is that I like following rules... but I don't think I follow rules as much as this dude...

Moron. I was in the book store the other day and I saw a children's book that I am not that sure is suitable for a kid...

I bet it's a good book though. Football preseason has started! I'm so happy even though the Steelers beat the Cowboys. Anyway, some football fans are like me... they're also Star Wars fans... like this guy...

Speaking of football... here's the first pic of Jay Cutler in a Dolphins uniform...

Hahaha. That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...

So, back to school has started and kids are already being smart asses... like this kid who did this...

Hahahaha. That's something I would of done. One of my favorite things in life is cleavage... hahaha. But some cleavage someone might call in appropriate. For example in September of 2010, singer Katy Perry stopped by "Sesame Street" to perform a duet of her hit song, "Hot 'N' Cold," with Elmo. In the video Katy and Elmo sang and danced in typical Sesame fashion, but it wasn't Katy's singing skills that ended up drawing the ire of outraged fans, it was her outfit. Perry, who is well known for having a gorgeous d├ęcolletage, was wearing a tiny bustier that barely contained her bountiful bosoms, and many parents who saw the online preview of the clip were scandalized that she would dress in such revealing clothing while appearing on a children's show. The producers of "Sesame Street" yielded to the public outcry and decided not to air the clip on the show. Thanks to the power of the Internet though, you can still see it online. Here's a screenshot...

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

Top Phive Things Trump Did On His Vacation
5. Wrote sweeping, uniformed tweets from a different toilet than usual.
4. Reconnected with what's-her-name and the kid.
3. Decided which beaches Chris Christie should close for when Trump wanted to hit the shore.
2. Worked on his spray tan.
And the number one thing Trump did on his vacation was...
1. Enjoyed some of his last, sweet days of freedom.

That's a terrible Mindphuck. If you spot it though let me know. So, few weeks ago on the Discovery Channel it was Shark Week. The last few years I have invited a very funny shark onto the Phile to tell jokes to compete with Shark Week. This year, I totally forgot... well, I invited him back and he is here. So, please once again welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Feargal, welcome back to the Phile. How has your summer been? Anything new?

Feargal: Just GREAT. I was gonna just show up but hated to turn up outta the blue sea uninvited.

Me: You could of. So, any jokes for us today?

Feargal: Yeah. What was the sharks favorite Orson Welles movie?

Me: Hmmm. I don't know.

Feargal: Citizen Kane-i-kokala.

Me: I don't think that's a real movie, Feargal. Try again.

Feargal: What does a snowshark give you?

Me: I don't know... I never heard of a snowshark. What?

Feargal: Frost bites.

Me: Haha. Okay, do you have one more?

Feargal: Sure. Whats the Great White Sharks favorite candy?

Me: I have no idea... what?

Feargal: The Jaw-Breaker!

Me: Ha! Thanks, Feargal. See you back here next year.

Feargal: So, I'm fin-ished?

Me: For now, yeah.

Feargal: Okay, back to the once I go. Bye.

Me: Feargal the Shark, everybody!

So, are you planning on going on a date real soon or wanna sound smart at work tomorrow? well, I am here to help. Once again here is a pheature with just the...

Phact 1: To be a London black cab driver, one is expected to know over 25,000 roads and 50,000 points of interest and pass a test called The Knowledge. To pass the exam, applicants usually need twelve appearances and 34 months of preparation. (My cousin Pete is a London black cab driver.)
Phact 2: During the 1950s, the Canadian government forced the Inuit into settlements. An elderly Eskimo wanted to escape government settlement. His family took away all of his tools to force him into the settlement. He made a knife out of his own feces and frozen spit, killed a dog with it and used its ribs and organs to make a sled, tied it to other dogs and rode off.
Phact 3: During the process of becoming a butterfly, the entire caterpillar will break down into a liquid.
Phact 4: Many personal checks written by Marlon Brando were often never cashed as his signature was usually worth more than the amount on the check.
Phact 5: In 1997 when McDonald's cut the price of the Big mac by 75% if bought with fries and a drink, the sales actually dropped because consumers were confused.

Are you a lazy person? If so, I bet you're not as lazy as this guy...

Ever have deep thoughts in the shower? I do. So, once again here is a pheature called...

Unless life also hands you sugar and water, your lemonade is going to suck.

Glen Campbell 
April 22nd, 1936 — August 8th, 2017
He released his last album just 2 months ago. It was titled "Adios." So, yeah. There you go.

Don Baylor 
June 28th, 1949 — August 7th, 2017
That's what you get for crowding the plate.

The 64th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum and author Gary Gerani will be the guest on the Phile tomorrow.

A cousin is the child of one your parent's siblings who you've got to admit was looking pretty hot at Christmas.

This is really cool! Today's guest is an English singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He has two recent great albums out... "No Frills" and "Ei8ht." His 62 weeks on the U.K. singles chart through 1984 and 1985 beat all other solo artists. Please welcome to the Phile... the fantastic Nik Kershaw. My sister would be jealous. Hahaha.

Me: Nik!!!! Holy shit, you're alive! How are you? It is so cool to have you here on the Phile.

Nik: Thanks... yeah, I'm alive. Hahaha.

Me: You're from England I know, but what part, Nik?

Nik: Bristol, but grew up in Ipswich.

Me: Your parents were musical, so is that why you decided to write songs, Nik? Did you write your own songs? 

Nik: Kinda. I was about thirteen or fourteen... I remember being full of teenage angst.

Me: Do you remember the first song you wrote?

Nik: Yeah, "when is my life gonna start, I'm getting sick of the introduction" was the first line in the first song I ever wrote. My mum found it and got extremely worried. I used to write stories when I was young, writing about gnomes and England queens and fairies. In fact, I dug some out of my mum's attic a few years ago. When I started to get into music I just picked up the guitar... it was the obvious progression really. Although I did very little of it, I did this one thing and then there was this massive gap.

Me: Did you ever join a band?

Nik: Yeah, when I was seventeen. That's when I started writing in ernest really.

Me: So you play guitar? Was that the main instrument you were using?

Nik: Yeah, mainly guitar. At the time I was annoying my first attempt learning how to play on my dad's old acoustic guitar, trying to bash out three chords.

Me: Who were your influences growing up, Nik?

Nik: When I went through my prog stage I was into Genesis and Gentle Giant and that sort of thing. My parents had a some classical records, they loved the classical music. My mum was a singer and my dad was a flautist. They also had "The Battle of New Orleans" by Lonnie Donegan. That was the one song I tried to sit down and learn. And a really weird song called "Come Outside" by Wendy Richard the actress. The flip side was "He Taught Me To Yodel." Anthony Newley... really weird stuff in the early 60s. And they had a Simon and Garfunkel album which I guess must've sunk in and something must of remained in my head somewhere. I always loved Simon and Garfunkel.

Me: Did you listen to a lot of radio growing up?

Nik: Yes. I was in respect. I used to record "Pick of the Pops" on a Sunday evening on an old mono reel to reel tape. That was the only radio I remember actually. I used to play it back throughout the week. It was the only was I was exposed to the new music. You didn't go to school to have someone play you a song on their iPod. Before that it started with my a parents' very small and bizarre record collection. They had a radiogram... those of a certain age don't know what a radiogram is. It's a radio basically but you plug a turntable into it and just use the radio as an amplifier.

Me: Did you play live back then? I bet you got a lot of positives feedback music wise...

Nik: We had so few gigs I didn't a whole lot of feedback. The only feedback I got was from my band members. I was just happy to be out of the house playing music somewhere. I was listening too everybody, not just me. I was very hungry to find out how things worked. I dismantled songs from other people, like Ritchie Blackmore guitar solos. I tried to figure out why did that sound so good and I'd try to figure out what chord progression happened. You know, things like that.

Me: What kind of gigs did you do then?

Nik: Mostly functions or jazz fusion gigs in pubs.

Me: And you never recorded with this band?

Nik: We did have an attempt to record a few original songs at the time. The keyboard player was the main writer and he had a record deal under his own name and we were his backing band. I got to write a couple of songs and one of those was a version of "Human Racing." And "Wide Boy" I wrote at that time as well.

Me: Speaking of "Wide Boy," my dad was the lead singer in Foghat and they had a song called "Wide Boy," but that was about a sort of Del Trotter person. So, who is your "Wide Boy" about?

Nik: I don't know who it as about, I don't know who the wide boy was. I guess it's having a go at pop stars really. It wasn't my intention of being a pop star, I was just in band playing fusion music. It's an ironic thing as it's just a pop song. I need to check out your dads "Wide Boy" song, Jason.

Me: Sure. It's on the "Girls To Chat, Boys to Bounce" album, and was a single. Here's what the single cover sleeve like...

Me: It's a lot different that your sleeve cover...

Me: Hahaha. I love the song "I Won's Let the Sun Go Down On Me." Why not? Hahaha. Do you remember what that song was about?

Nik: Oddly, that is one song I do remember where it started. I was living in a crummy little farmers cottage in Essex... a really damp, cold, horrible place it was. And I remember sitting on the bedroom floor with an acoustic guitar strumming the chords and singing over it. It's one of the few songs that happened like that. At the time I didn't have access to recording facilities, all I and at that time was a little tape recorder and some paper and stuff like that. So I made a tape playing the song, not in its entirely, but the chorus. And then I dictated to myself what was gong to happen. Because the songwriting wasn't just words and the music, it was the keyboards parts and the bass parts. So I made a tape explaining to myself what the parts were. Unbelievably that tape turned up on YouTube somewhere and I have no idea where it came from. Someone sent me a link and I was gobsmacked when I heard it. I tried to get to the bottom of it but I still have no idea how that tape still exists.

Me: There's a line in that song that could be describing Trump... "Old men in stripy trousers rule the world with plastic smiles." You weren't being political when you wrote that though, right?

Nik: Kinda, yeah. It all sounds very young and naive to me the whole thing. I sort of jumped on to some of the big themes and sang about them. It was an assumption about me that I was gonna make a difference to anybody. Back then it was a massive thing, we forget now, but back then in 1982/83 there was a real shadow over the world. The cold war was still on and that was always in our mind, the whole nuclear holocaust thing was right in the front there. The CND was still marching so that was a thing to have a go at.

Me: Okay, so, your song "The Riddle." You were once on "Saturday Superstore" in England, which was a kids show and you said something like you were gonna say what the riddle was. I never did find out. So, what was the riddle? How much thought went into it? Help me, Nik!

Nik: LOL. That song was written very quickly. I wrote the music and I had only two weeks to write "The Riddle" album apart from "Wide Boy" which was written already. That was the last one to go because the producer came over to the house and listened to the tracks and couldn't hear a single so literally the last day of those two weeks I out the tune together for "The Riddle." As far as the lyrics... I didn't have a clue what it was about, so I made up a load of nonsense. I was fully intended to write it, mind you, but it never got rewritten.

Me: Wot? Nooo!!! In the 80s you became such a big pop star heartthrob... I think my sister Lucy had a poster of you on her bedroom wall. You played Live Aid and that kind of stuff. Do you think being an 80s heartthrob overshadowed your music in someways?

Nik: Yeah, it was kind of frustrating... more bewildering really because that wasn't part of the gig that I was prepared for. You have to look at tees kind of things philosophically. Have people not thought of me like that they might've not bought the records. You don't know who's buying the records and you don't know why they are buying them. Success teaches you nothing, it's only when failure is coming along I started to anaylse stuff and figure out why did that work and why didn't that work. I think a part of it was I was the in the right place and had the right face in the right time. I have to admit that, because I did have kind of two distinct people listening to the music. There were eight-year-old girls and a bunch of musos listening to the music as well and nothing in between. It was sort of bizarre. You'd turn up at gigs and got screamed at for two hours, and at the back of the hall there were these grown men looking rather shapish...the musos that turned up looking to see what was going on. But that was only in England, and maybe Germany.

Me: How was the American audiences?

Nik: Slightly different... more mixed.

Me: You have written songs for other artists as well which I didn't know. Is that something you set out to do?

Nik: Not really. Occasionally I get an email or a phone call from a manager of an artist who asks do I fancy doing something? I don't go looking for it anymore because it involves too many meetings and talking to A&R men. I don't really think I am in the business anymore which is kind of a relief to an extent. I did it for about nine years in between '89 and '98 and that's kind of all I did. You don't know how much politics is involved in writing and making records, it just got really frustrating really. Too many pairs of hands on the same thing you never really got to chance to express yourself. There was always somebody's else's idea of your idea really. Anyway, it got all watered down and dilated and made generic.

Me: I never knew you wrote the hit Chesney Hawkes song "The One and Only." Man, that song is so fucking catchy. What came first on that song? The chorus?

Nik: I think so. It's a very significant song for me obviously but it didn't seem so when I was writing it. It was just another song I was writing. When I finished it I stuck it on the shelf and it sat there for a couple of years. It really didn't leap out at me for being that significant. But it wasn't until I went to look for another deal I went to Warner/Chappell and I left them a demo tape and that was one of the tracks on it. Chesney's dad walked into the Warner's office the next day and picked up the demo tape... they didn't sign me and we hand;t had a discussion about signing me. They played him the demos and "One and Only" was one of those and he said, "yeah, I'll have that one." It's just weird the way songs become significant, they become popular, they become part of peoples lives.

Me: You also did some work with Elton John over the years... I didn't know you played on "Nikita." Is Elton someone who would change your song as he records it?

Nik: I was completely gobsmacked when he called me up in about '93 0r '94... I can't remember exactly when it was but I knew I wasn't recording anymore. I got a phone call from him and he asked me have I got any songs. I thought to myself you're Elton John, what are you asking me for? But he just wanted to do a duet and he didn't have a song in his mind and he asked me if I'd fancy writing one. Again I was in a big hurry as he wanted to have something by the weekend. I think it was like a Tuesday when he phoned me. I wrote two songs and threw them over to him and fortunately he liked one of them. He just totally trusted me, and I couldn't believe it. I thought we were gonna just have a little fiddle with this and fiddle with that and then nothing. He let me produce it, we booked the studio, he came in, I directed his vocal, he took direction beautifully, it was really easy. It was astonishing.

Me: Nice. Okay, let's talk about your last album "Ei8ht" which came out years ago. Did you reach a point where you wrote a bunch of new songs and thought it was time to put them out?

Nik: No, this time, apart from one song, I didn't have anything but thought it was about time I had a record out. So I really did go sit down in the studio and thought today is the first day of my new album. I don't remember particularly productive day but I decided that day I was going to make another record. It was hard work, I was just trying to get myself in the zone. Trying to get my head into the space of new ideas.

Me: Were you happy with the album?

Nik: It's just a bunch of songs! There's no concept.

Me: Hahahaha. Way to sell the album, Nik.

Nik: I don't have to sell it, it came out in 2012.

Me: Where did the title come from?

Nik: It was my eight studio album. I don't consider "No Frills" an album really as most of it was acoustic covers of my old songs.

Me: Well, I love the "No Frills" acoustic album the best. That was so good. How did you come up with that one, Nik? Do you know when you recorded your records what kinda album they were gonna be?

Nik: I don't think I'm gonna make a folk album, I'm gonna make a rock album, I'm gonna make a pop album, or a synth based album... there was none of that. I just make an album.

Me: Well, I like all your music but acoustically the best. Nik, thanks so much for being here on the Phile. It's just a big thrill. Go ahead and mention your website and anything you want. Good luck, and I hope you will release more music soon.

Nik: Thanks, Jason, 'bye.

That about does it for this entry. Thanks to Nik for a pretty good interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum and author Gary Gernai. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker