Monday, September 18, 2017

Pheaturing Gilson Lavis

Good evening, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? I hope you had a good Monday... better than Jennifer Lawrence anyway. Her new movie, which is pretentiously stylized as mother!, came out over the weekend and has audiences pissed and disgusted. CinemaScore, the metric that measures moviegoers' reactions to films based on exit polls, gave it a coveted F. The movie, which is being advertised as an arthouse horror extravaganza, was booed when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, but has people debating whether it is incredible or terrible. According to "Telegraph," mother! grossed a measly $7.5 million after its extensive advertising campaign, making it the lowest wide-release opening of J.Law's career. Poor J.Law. Except, not poor J.Law, she's a millionaire. But still, it must suck to be the star of this week's Worst Movie of All Time.
A group of refugees spent a recent afternoon in the last place you'd ever expect: Donald Trump's childhood home. And no, Trump did not open his doors to them. (Come on, he'd never do something like that.) Last month, the Internet discovered an Airbnb listing for the house where Donald Trump grew up in Queens, New York. The home, complete with photos, artwork, and framed magazine covers honoring the dude currently attempting to govern our country while simultaneously plugging his real estate brand, is still available on Airbnb. Reporters from both "Newsweek" and Mashable bravely spent the night there for the sake of journalism, but the latest organization to shell out cash for some time in the home where a young Donald Trump probably daydreamed about getting a spray tan someday is making the biggest statement thus far. Oxfam, a non-profit that works to end the injustices that cause poverty, rented the home and invited four refugees to gather there. Refugees are people who are forced to leave their country to avoid persecution, war, or other violence. The organization shared a blog post on its website, explaining the decision to rent the home for this purpose, and introducing us to the four refugees, who are from Syria, Somalia, and Vietnam. "Millions of families around the world have been forced to flee their homes in order to survive, creating the world’s worst displacement crisis since World War II," reads the blog post. "In this moment, what better place to show world leaders the value of a safe, welcoming home for those fleeing unthinkable situations than the childhood home of the U.S. president." Oxfam's decision to invite refugees into Trump's childhood home not only sends a message to Trump, but to leaders from around the world, many of whom happen to be currently attending the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, just across the East River from Queens. Oxfam aims to send a very clear message to all of these leaders, "refugees are welcome here." Furthermore, Oxfam explains that Trump will be deciding on how many refugees the United States will resettle in 2018 in the next few weeks, so it's an important time for Americans to reach out to their government leaders and urge them to welcome refugees. Just one week into his presidency, Trump signed an executive order issuing a travel ban that discriminated against citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries, making it clear that he does not have much compassion for foreigners. The upcoming decision doesn't only lay in Trump's tiny hands, but in the hands of many other government leaders... so telling them that you support welcoming refugees can make a huge difference. The refugees who attended the gathering are Eiman Ali, who was resettled in North Carolina from from Somalia when she was 2; Abdi Iftin, who was resettled in Maine from Somalia in 2014; Ghassan Shehadeh, who was resettled in Maryland from Syria in 2015; and Uyen Nguyen, who was resettled as a 10-year-old in California from Vietnam in 1985.
Ivanka Trump thinks people have "unrealistic expectations" about her influence over president Donald Trump, she said an interview with the "Financial Times" published on Thursday. Though she is technically an adviser to the president, Ivanka claims that there are misconceptions about how often she can actually persuade her father to change his mind. According to The Huffington Post, Ivanka reportedly organized five weeks worth of meetings to convince her dad not to pull out of the Paris climate accord, and then he went ahead and did it anyway. "Some people have created unrealistic expectations of what they expect from me," Ivanka told the "Financial Times." "That my presence in and of itself would carry so much weight with my father that he would abandon his core values and the agenda that the American people voted for when they elected him. It’s not going to happen. To those critics, shy of turning my father into a liberal, I’d be a failure to them." You're right, Ivanka. It's very unrealistic for people to think that one of the president's advisers should influence his decisions. Where'd they get a crazy idea like that?! She added that while members of the Trump administration often disagree on things, if she were to express her differing views to the public, it would "mean I'm not part of the team." Ivanka's husband Jared Kushner, who is also a Trump adviser, chimed in about his wife's working relationship with her dad. "She tries to be supportive of her father and I think that she is able to both agree and disagree with him in private and share her feedback with him honestly and respectfully," he said. "She’s worked with him for a long time... longer than anyone else in the White House." Ivanka goes on to say that rather than being judged by the actions of her father, she wants to be judged by the policy issues she's taking on herself, like gender equality in the workplace. Okay then.
Okay. Get ready to roll your eyeballs. A mom in the U.K. has gone viral after refusing to let her two-year-old daughter attend a daycare with overweight teachers. No, I'm not kidding. Writer Hilary Freeman penned an essay for "The Daily Mail" recalls meeting a nursery assistant at the daycare who she describes as "a lovely woman: kind and great with children" and happened to be overweight. You'd think that being kind and great with children would qualify someone to work in a daycare, but apparently Freeman doesn't think so. Freeman goes on to say she felt "a growing sense of unease" about leaving her daughter with this caring woman who is great with children, simply because of the woman's weight. "She was only in her 20s, but already obese... morbidly so," Freeman writes. Seems kind of harsh, right? Don't worry, this essay gets worse! Freeman says her criticisms of the daycare employee's weight come from a concern for her daughter's safety. "Would she, I wondered, have the lightning reflexes needed to save an adventurous toddler from imminent danger?" Freeman questioned. "And what sort of unhealthy habits would she teach my daughter, who would be eating her lunch and tea there each day?" Freeman reveals these worries ultimately caused her to make the decision not to send her daughter to the daycare. Have your eyes rolled back inside your head yet? Not quite? Good, because there's more! Later on in the essay, Freeman reveals that she told people that she chose the other nursery for her daughter because it was smaller and friendlier, but now she's relieved to finally get the real reason off her chest. "I knew I would be accused of discrimination, or ‘fat-shaming’, if I admitted the truth." And then she went on to defend her right to fat-shame people, and said that body-positivity is problematic. "Activists say that ‘fat is beautiful’ and being obese isn’t a problem, she writes. "Anyone who points out it’s not a good thing to be so overweight is condemned. Telling a woman she should think about losing weight for her health is, apparently, now 'anti-feminist.'" Uh, or maybe it's just not nice to call someone fat? Alas, Freeman's defense continued. "Rolls of fat are not attractive... I shouldn’t be scared to say that," she wrote. Ohhh boy.
Ugh. Oh, sorry. Let me rephrase that. UUUUUGHHHHHHH. A picture of a student from Robertsdale High School in Alabama is going viral because it depicts a young woman holding a racist sign at a school football rally. The woman on the left in the photo is smiling and holding a sign that says "Put the 'Panic' back in Hispanic." To her right is a woman holding a TRUMP banner and the school's mascot.

"Put the Panic back in Hispanic. #dontgetButthurt " wrote Harley Powell in the caption, adding "I'm honestly not gonna care if you do anyways so!! #sorryboutit."According to, an Alabama news source, the woman brought the sign to a football game between the Robertsdale Bears and the Spanish Fort Toros on Friday. The Instagram post was captured via screenshot by Robertsdale High senoir Jennifer Lopez Vazquez and uploaded to Facebook. It then went viral. "This happened yesterday at our school pep rally. They know it's Hispanic Month" wrote Lopez Vazquez "That's very disrespectful in so my ways. But it's funny to think that our school thinks it OKAY this is honestly what white trash looks like." Eddie Tyler, the superintendent of Baldwin County Public Schools, claims that the school is looking into the incident, "We are aware of a photo that appears to be taken at a Robertsdale High School football pep rally Friday September 15th that is circulating on social media containing political banners and unacceptable language," said Tyler in a statement. "School administrators, as well as my office, are following up on the matter." Powell later deleted her social media accounts, but screenshots are forever. She released this apology note, "It wasn't my intention and was not meant for it to be taken that way. I apologize for the publicity and misunderstandings that it has brought to our school." Hm, sounds like Powell is actually #sorryboutit after all. Well, I am sure that she will have a "wonderful" year at school after this mess. Applying for college is going to be fun, too! Remember, #dontgetbutthurt, Harley.
Okay, so, you heard of Big Foot, right? Well, did you know he has a brother... Gig Foot? No? Take a look.

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

Haha. So, people here in Florida sure try to get away with putting some funny things on license plates.

Someone is a Scooby fan. So, once in awhile I like to show you what someone looks like when they are reading the Phile. I think this beautiful woman loves it...

Ha! Do you ever see those homeless people with cardboard signs on the side of the road? I'm sure you do. Well, some of them are in really bad shape...

Poor people. Alright, so, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's some stuff that happens in Florida that happens no where else in the Universe. So, once again here is...

A Florida Pizza Hut manager on a pizza power trip promised to discipline employees if they didn't follow his specific, draconian instructions on how to appropriately flee life-threatening Hurricane Irma, according to "USA Today." It's the one time in modern history that public opinion has taken the side against more pizza. "Our #1 priority is the safety and security of our team," wrote the manager, before explaining why that's not true. "If evacuating, you will have a 24-hour period before storm 'grace period' to not be scheduled. You cannot evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event! Failure to show for these shifts, regardless of reason" will result in "documentation being issued." Another low light follows, again printed in all bold text just in case hurricane fear made you skim the note, "In the event of an evacuation, you MUST return within 72 hours." The reason that these rules are cruel and unfair should be obvious. Just take it from the mayor of Miami-Dade, Carlos Gimenez, who urged speedy evacuation. "If you do it later, you may be caught in a flood of traffic trying to leave the area. You may find yourself in a car during a hurricane, which is not the best place to be." Again, public opinion... in a rare occurrence putting human life above pizza... was furious at the Pizza Hut manager. The national chain has denounced the memo as "an isolated incident by an employee who showed very poor judgement." The president has not weighed in on the controversy.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. So, do you ever have deep thoughts when you are showering? I do. That's why I have a pheature called...

The biggest joke of Spongebob is that he works at a fast food place and can afford a house.

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

Top Phive Things Overheard During Sean Spicer's Emmys Appearance
5. This is even better than when Scaramucci got slimed at the Nick Kid's Choice Awards!
4. That's nothing! Stave Bannon parked my car!
3. Phew! I thought he was going to revive the argument that Kevin James wasn't born in America!
2. If you like this, just wait 'til Bill Cosby presents the Emmy for Best Actress!
And the number one thing overheard during Spicer's Emmys appearance was...
1. So THAT'S what these barf bags are for!

Flying home from France on a recent trip a man noticed a rather haggard looking mom walking into the customs area with eight children... all under age 10. Collecting their many suitcases, the nine of them entered the cramped customs area. A young customs official watched the large entourage in disbelief, ''Ma'am,'' he said, ''do all these children and this luggage belong to you?'' ''Yes, sir,'' the lady said with a sigh, ''they're all mine.'' The customs agent began his interrogation, ''Ma'am, do you have any weapons, contraband or drugs in your possession?'' "Sir," she calmly answered, "if I'd had any of those items, I would have used them by now."

This is freaking cool. Today's guest is an English drummer and portrait artist whose artwork could be seen at the Salomon Arts Gallery in Manhattan from now til October 5th. Please welcome to the Phile, the great... Gilson Lavis.

Me: Hey there, Gilson, welcome to the Phile, sir. You're one of my favorite drummers ever from one of my favorite bands. How are you?

Gilson: I'm here. How are you? Just stroke my ego. Haha.

Me: I'm okay. First of, before we talk about your artwork I have to talk about Squeeze. It's summer and just the other day I was listening to "Footprints" from the "Frank" album. I love the drumming on that song, sir. It was so different. Do you remember when you recorded that song?

Gilson: Not particularly, but I do remember playing it. What I can talk about is Glenn, who wrote much of the music as you know, used to write a very specific rhythm. A guitar oriented four by four type sort of square rhythm. Everything he brought to the band to work on had a very similar sort of feel going into it. What I tried to do with my part in the fiasco was to try and find new and hopefully interesting way of playing drum patterns that would fit in with that sort of groove. Sometimes they worked really well and sometimes they didn't. The "Footprints" rhythm is a very interesting rhythm. I remember playing it I crossed the kit and used two high-hats which I physically played. Sometimes those drum feels, the flammy type five stroke rolly things around can sound sort of lumpy. There was a song on the very first record we recorded, called "U.K. Squeeze" in America, with me as the muscle man on the front cover. Well, on that record there was a song called "The Call" which has a sort of approach to the groove. But if you get it wrong it can sound lumpy.

Me: So, you've been out of Squeeze for a long time... I interviewed John Bentley a few times who is also out of the band presently, but do you hear or see any Glenn or Chris?

Gilson: Chris is working with us at the moment with Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. We did pretty well... we played in front of quite a few thousand people and we had guest artists touring with us. All sorts of people like Solomon Burke. This summer tour our guest was Chris Difford. So, in fact now when we go on stage and do a show there's Jools on piano, me on drums and Chris Difford doing vocals and we do a couple of Squeeze songs. In fact, there's more original members of Squeeze with Julian then there is on stage with Squeeze!

Me: Do you ever get recognized for being in Squeeze in public?

Gilson: Yeah. I was on holiday with the family in Greece a few years back and we went on this sort of day trip out and this sort of traditional Greek wedding type do was going on. I was sitting out next to this American chap and we just got chatting and he asked me what I did and I said, "Oh, I'm a drummer." And he said, "Oh, really? Who do you play for?" "Jools Holland." Blank, nothing. Then I said, "I used to be the drummer in a band called Squeeze." And his eyes lit up! He said, "My God! You're a legend. Really?" It still comes as a bit of a shock. All these thousands of people in America who loves Squeeze. I'm just a working joe drummer, mate.

Me: So, the first time I remember seeing the band on a picture was the "Arbybargy" album and you were wearing a suit and standing in the middle and in my mind you were the singer. Haha. I have to show that album cover just in case no one saw it reading this...

Me: You always looked so smart wearing suits. Were you always a sharp dresser?

Gilson: Should I tell you? There's a bit of a story. My dad, god bless him, died many years ago was a truly wonderful and lovely man who I still miss to this day. He does when I was quite young. He does at 66 which was way to early. Anyway, my dad worked as a manager in a building supply merchants and he was an area manager. He used to wear a suit every day and take pride in his appearance polishing his shoes. That sort of upbringing taught me and that's really how I have been. I always had that sort of attitude. When I started playing the drums for a living I was working with all sorts of people from Dolly Parton at the Country Music Festival in England, Skeeter Davis, Tammy Wynette and others and they were all very smart looking dressy type people. I also worked in the cabaret circuit playing with cabaret artists as a pick up drummer. The list is endless, there is actually hundreds and hundreds of people that I played drums for. It was part of the gig to turn up looking smart. Well, all of a sudden I found myself in a south London new wave punk band and they were all wearing scratchy old clothes looking like they had been run over by a motorcycle. But I'm used to dressing up and going on stage and looking smart. I cleaned my teeth and polished my shoes. I never lost that, it's still with me now. There was a period because I'm a recovering alcoholic at the end of my drinking where it got are work to take care of my physical appearance. It was pretty hard work to get out of bed in the morning let alone shining shoes. I think you're in trouble as an artist or performer when the audience is looking smarter than the artist.

Me: It's cool you still play drums as well as doing your artwork. You must still love playing drums, am I right?

Gilson: I've always felt quite comfortable on stage. There was a period when I was a drunk and it was a struggle but I always felt quite at home playing. I don't seek adulation, or was hooked on the applause, or hooked on the glory and the glamour. There is some in the music business but as much as people think. But what I've always enjoyed is playing music and doing it as well as I can. Every night I try to play a bit better than I did last night. That's really the secret, if there is a secret, is the way I work.

Me: The first album by Squeeze, "U.K. Squeeze," was produced by John Cale from the Velvet Underground. That's pretty impressive for a first album to have him as a producer. Were you a fan of his or the Velvet Underground?

Gilson: No, I wasn't. I didn't know who John Cale was. I was much more of a mainstream type player working with mainstream artists. I had to learn all this stuff. It was an eye opener because after I recorded with so many other artists before Squeeze who some of them I never heard of. People like The New Seekers, country based rock type acts. When this chap John Cale turned up it was all sort of left field, wacky ideas. He was a tortured genius really. I had to learn but what a wonderful place to be because I was given a blank canvas. He truly impressed me with some of the stuff he did. When we first started to play by the time Squeeze started working as a performing band I had been a pro drummer for ten years or something. I played all sorts of music... I've played big band, I've played jazz, I've played rock, I've played country, I've played every style of music because I was a giggling drummer. If you had a checkbook I would turn up, mate. That's what I did for a living. Anyway, I joined this band called Squeeze and of course I was an accomplished drummer if you compared me to other drummer's who were in new wave bands at the time. I'm not criticizing how they played, that's not what I'm doing because there was a real essence and passion and naivety in the performance that is easy to lose. It's very hard to create that when you've been around the business for twenty years. I can't do that, I'm all a bit slick and stylish and John Cale was taken back. One day he taped my hands together with two drum sticks in each of my hand so that I would sound more crude. It didn't last but I was too slick for him.

Me: I read once that when the first album was being made the band didn't get along, no one got along with Cale and he wanted to market the band as 5 gay guy's. Is that right?

Gilson: No, that was just us being silly, being naked from the waste up. That was just something that sort of grew. I don't think there was any thought of homosexual or homophobic going on there. What he did was really vital to Squeeze because when we started that album Glenn and Chris's songs were remarkable but they were love songs. They were songs about moon in June, sunshine, surfing songs and copying their take on pop records that came out before. But obviously they had this sort of funny, quirky edge to it that was Chris and Glenn. But what John Cale did was tell Chris to stop writing love songs and start writing about other things. That's when the key was turned in the lock and unlocked Chris's imagination. That's when he started to write in the way we all know which is real picturesque story telling. The way he took one second and turn it into a three minute song or he could take a life time of sixty years and turn it into a three minute song.

Me: With Chris and Glenn doing the songwriting, were you allowed and able to contribute anything or did they have full control?

Gilson: In the early days in the first five years of Squeeze rift up to "East Side Story" I had a strong roll in the band. I helped arrange a lot of the songs. I was the key arranger because I had so much experience working with different artists. Glenn would write the songs, bring them in and I would sort of suggest a lot of arrangements and stuff. But gradually as time went on and Chris and Glenn got more strident about their compositions in the way they wanted them my input was less and less required. By the end of my time with Squeeze I was still left and arrange my own drum parts... no one told me what to play. My influence on the rest of the band wasn't so dominate really.

Me: What is your favorite Squeeze song that you worked on and is proud of?

Gilson: Well, most of them mostly but one of my favorites I did arrange was "Pulling Muscles From a Shell." And then there was "Cool For Cats" with the drum break that was unusual for a new wave song. It wasn't like a drum solo, it was like a new wave version of take five.

Me: What was the dynamic of the band before you left? Why did you leave Squeeze?

Gilson: I think over time Glenn got more controlling. If you read anything or looked into Squeeze's history you see he admitted, or at least owed up to the fact he got quite controlling and dominate about how he wanted things and how he wanted the band to sound and whatnot. I think Chris, being the lyricist along with Glenn made it naturally not a split, but a separation that became Chris and Glenn and the set of the musicians. But of course what happened was it was inevitable sooner or later they sort of got rid of us one by one. Harry was the first to go, then Julian left, then they broke up the band completely which was disappointing. That was just on the verge when we were breaking in America when we were headlining Madison Square Garden. Surprisingly we did all that without a hit record. We did all that with live shows and college radio play. There was no hit record and we still managed to get to Madison Square Garden. I wasn't very well at the time, that's when I stopped drinking actually. I can understand why they had enough of me. I've had enough of me by then as well.

Me: The band broke up twice, or a few times. Haha. When you were let go the first time what did you end up doing? Playing with other people? And how did you get back with them after that? 

Gilson: No, I was driving a mini cab around London. I got a call from Glenn who asked if I wanted to do a show, and I did the show which went well and that was it and we started up with Squeeze again.

Me: "Play" was the last Squeeze record you played on... did you leave on your own this time? 

Gilson: No, I was kicked out again. I have been sacked twice by that band. It was because I started drinking again. I've been sober for ten years and that marriage got broken and I was washed up on the rocks and in a pretty bad way and I didn't and picked up a drink which was a crazy thing to do. This was after ten years of not drinking. We did an American tour and I was drinking through that. When we got back from that tour they had band meeting and sacked me. I was sacked twice, and both times I was a drunk which is a hard pill to swallow. When you're on the floor they come and give you a good kicking. So I retired. That plan was after that second time I felt like I've blown it completely and once again I was penniless, no money so I moved up to Lincolnshire and bought a derelict cottage which had no floors and no roof. I was going to renovate this cottage and give a few drum lessons. After a couple of months of doing this I thought, well, I'm feeling sorry for myself, Julian called and said, "Hello, Gilson, do you want to come do a show?" I didn't want to and said, "I can't do this, mate. I retired, I'm finished." He was determined so I in the end I agreed and went down to London and played this one off show as a duo with piano and drums, doing this boogie woogie stuff, then he booked another show and another show. I stopped drinking again now so I was sober again, then a bass player turned up, then a guitarist turned up and it gradually grew into a twenty-two piece rhythm and blues orchestra that played stadiums. I never did retire. I've been a lucky bunny, mate, I had three careers and I'm still going.

Me: Alright, enough about music. Hahaha. We have to talk to you about your artwork which I have been showing on the Phile. They are so good. How did you get into this?

Gilson: Thank you. Well, when I was at school way, way back. I left school when I was 15-years-old to be a drummer. I was always able to draw, and sketch. It was one of those things that I was able to do. I was the kid in the class that could draw a pair of tits and make it sexy. It was either going to be art or music, well, I thought music was the way forward for me. Certainly I'll get more pull with the girls. It never did work out with the girls actually. So, I got into music and didn't follow up with art. I didn't pick up a pen or paint brush for decades. About nine years ago I was out in Budapest having all my teeth fixed. Living my life I had, having a few years being a drunk... its very rare seeing a drunk with a nice set of teeth. So, when I was out there I rented this flat off the Internet that looked quite nice and I was out there for a week and when I got there it was appalling, a real dreadful shit hole. No heating, no hot water and it was in a rundown part Budapest. I don't drink and I was stuck in this miserable flat for a week with nothing to do but feel sorry for myself. But what I did have with me was a bit of paper and a pen and what I did was I did a sketch of our tour manager and a sketch of my wife. I thought it looked alright so when I came back I put them both in a frame for the hell of it and I gave it to the tour manager and he was absolutely thrilled to bits. He was so excited and I think I enjoyed that sort of approach of having someone slapping you on the back and saying that's fantastic. What I did was on the next tour I sketched the whole band, their wives and their dogs. I sketched everybody and I couldn't stop. Then I got bored with sketching and thought I'll try a bit of painting so I transferred my sketching to painting. It went from strength to strength. I had about five exhibitions now in London and around the country. I've just opened in New York which I'm thrilled to bits about at Salomon's Gallery.

Me: Are you selling some of these sketches?

Gilson: Yeah, I was. When we have a break in January, February and March we don't do much touring which is our quiet time. So, what I do for the hell of it, I sit in my armchair and I do a sketch and I think I don't want this, it's a lovely sketch but I can't keep sticking them around the bedroom. I don't really want to start selling them for loads of money because it has only taken me a couple of hours. Haha. So, I was sticking them on my Facebook page and charging a minimum I could charge without just giving them away. The thing is I could give them away but that would feed an insertional beast. Everybody would want one then. I had to out some sort of price on it so I put a hundred pounds on each one and every time I did one it just sold and flew out.

Me: That's cool. I want one. So, back to music and Squeeze. Have you heard their latest album "Cradle from the Grave"? Do you think you or Jools will ever play with Squeeze again?

Gilson: Well, for a start Julian wouldn't be interested in something like that. Why would he? He's a music icon in England, he's musical royalty now. He has his own TV show thats been running twenty years, he's been rewarded an MBE... he'll be a sir soon, I shall think. He's done incredibly well for himself. He doesn't need it and I doubt he wants it either. Probably if someone waved a big check in front of him he would think about it. I go where Julian goes, so I wouldn't be doing it unless Jools did it. I'm sort of tied to Jools who is my boss, although I'm sort of self-employed. I don't think Chris and Glenn would be interested in doing it as to them it might seem like a backwards step really. I don't know, I'm speaking for people who I have no right no speak for.

Me: John Bentley said you two have a chin wag once in awhile, and you played with Chris on tour but what about Glenn, do you ever see him?

Gilson: I never see Glenn really. I've only seen him once a couple of times in the last ten or fifteen years. Our paths don't cross. I couldn't tell you how I am with Glenn, I have no idea really. I know our relationship was quite strained when I was with Squeeze because his desire to have things the way he says it should be. Whose to say he is wrong? It's all water under the bridge now, Jason, so who cares?

Me: Okay, good point. I have to mention Graham Parker, one of my all-time favorite singers and musical idols, and Alum of the Phile. You played on his "Real Macaw" album. How did you get to play on that album and work with him?

Gilson: I don't know. I just got a call to come and play with Graham and it was a great thing actually. Unfortunately although I was playing pretty well and solid at the time I think I was suffering a bit from the effects from working with Glenn. Glenn for quite a long period at the end of Squeeze he was sort of anti of any drum fills or any complicated on the kit or anything that wasn't just basic background backbeat. He was going through this phase of not wanting anything... flowery. I was very intimating by that and it was quite musically castrating. I think I took that into the album with Graham which was unfortunate because I think I could of done something a lot more but I was still a bit intimating and I was painted into an emotional box and I allowed myself. You see, it's not all Glenn, it's a two way streak. He pushed me that way and I retreated. If I was healthier I might've stood my ground a bit more but I didn't. Having said that, those songs are really solid and really groove and I'm quite proud of that album. I did play well on it, to just particularly imaginative.

Me: You didn't tour with him, right?

Gilson: No, I never toured with him.

Me: I did not know this until recently but you worked with Amy Winehouse. Am I right?

Gilson: Yeah, I did work with Amy in the beginning of her career. We were at rehearsals and we were all set up on the soundstage and Amy tuned up and ran this song with us and everybody, part from the musicians of course, everybody in the studio stopped. No cameras moved, no lights moved, no men moved... they just stood transfixed by this performance of this lady. I only seen that happen a couple of times like when Amy opened her voice and sang like that.

Me: Cool. So, I have to ask, do you have a favorite memory that sticks out over everything you have done, whether it's art stuff, playing with Jools, Squeeze, or anything?

Gilson: Yeah, there's three things. One of them is walking out in stage at Madison Square Garden and seeing that high crowd and people holding up a banner with "Gilson" on it. I couldn't believe that, I thought how did I get here, I don't know. That's one of them, a real find memory even though I wasn't particularly well at the time. But my god, I was playing well in those days. I might've been a drunk, but I was playing well. Anyway, another was being the drummer for the Millennium celebration at the Millennium Dome which got shown around to billions of people and I performed with endless people all night long. Playing in front of Her Majesty the Queen... just the pinnacle of anyone's career. The only drummer on stage in front of those hundred, and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people. And the other was for Jools' TV show "Later With Jools" and I was asked to come in and play in band and sit in with Smokey Robinson. I sat there and the band was this... it was Smokey Robinson on vocals, myself on drums, Jools on piano, Dave from the Rhythm and Blues Orchestra on bass and Eric Clapton on guitar. I remember sitting there playing and thinking, "my god, how did I get here?" We did a couple of real classic Smokey tracks and I was like thank you, god. 

Me: Well, Gilson, sir, it was such an honor to have you here on the Phile. I have one last question, I interviewed John Bentley recently and I asked him what is the one question I should ask you and he said to ask you when are you gonna pay him back his fiver? Hahaha.

Gilson: I gave him a painting I did of him instead. Haha.

Me: Alright, well, thanks so much for being here, plug your website and good luck at the gallery in New York, and please come back soon.

Gilson: It was an honor, Jason.

Me: Great job, take care, sir.

There you go, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Gilson for a great interview. The Phile will be back Wednesday from Gainesville with singer Nick Heyward. 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, September 17, 2017

Pheaturing Dena Blizzard

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday... how are you doing? You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you just know you've forgotten something crucial, but can't place your finger on it?!  Well, the feeling isn't limited to us bumbling individuals. Apparently, gigantic camera companies can also forget crucial information, in this case... the existence of half the population. According to "The New York Times" the latest photo-shoot for Nikon's D850 campaign featured 32 photographers testing out the new camera, none of which were women. Yikes. This picture is so serious and masculine it could be a high-end cologne ad.

Unsurprisingly, Nikon quickly released a statement expressing their appreciation of female photographers. Allegedly, they asked female photographers and no one showed up. But how many?! When 32 men show up and 0 women roll through, it's reasonable to assume a frat's worth of bespectacled men were asked compared to a small handful of women. People on Twitter were not convinced by the apology. Especially since Nikon doesn't have a great track record with gender diversity. In past statements, Nikon's president Kazuo Ushida has made it clear he doubts women's fluency with cameras. To be fair, it's really hard to work a camera when you're busy birthing demon spawn because Planned Parenthood clinics are shutting down and Satan won't stop booty-calling you. Needless to say, the erasure of women disappointed female photographers hard at work in the field . It's like a visual slap in the face. It also bodes badly for young girls looking for representation. Again, it's pretty reasonable to expect at LEAST 1-2 women in a group of 32 photographers. It's not like they gathered 5 guys with no women. That would be statistically a lot more understandable (but still flaming bullshit). The optics of this definitely make Nikon look biased towards the menfolk. More specifically, the photo itself makes them look biased towards men who collect cigars and carry Moleskins (aka photographers). On the bright side, at least there wasn't just one woman at that shoot. I can only imagine how many times she would've been interrupted.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was the only woman amongst a group of 10 men, including Donald Trump, at a White House dinner Wednesday evening. As you're probably already predicting, yes, the men made sure to talk over Pelosi. However, being the badass that she is, she shut them the hell down and commanded the room. As reported by "The Washington Post," when Pelosi was trying to make an important point at the dinner, the dudes started interrupting her all over the damn place. At one point, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asked, “What exactly does the president get out of this deal?” As Pelosi, the only woman at the table of 11, tried to make her point... that the president gets the cooperation of the Democrats, which he will likely need on a host of issues... the men in the room began talking over her and one another. Instead of acquiescing, Pelosi reportedly interrupted them with the perfect one-liner, “Do the women get to talk around here?” And it gets better... "The Washington Post" then wrote, "There was, at last, silence, and she was not interrupted again." The point of the dinner was to discuss Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama era program that protects minors who were brought to the U.S. as undocumented immigrants from deportation. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced they would be ending DACA, a decision that was widely panned by Trump's critics (including Obama). While at the dinner, Trump came to an agreement regarding the protection of young undocumented immigrants with Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, who was also in attendance. According to "The Washington Post," those who were protected by DACA will be allowed to stay in the U.S. in exchange for a border security package, which is supposedly separate from Trump's border wall. (Can you even believe the wall is still a thing?) News of Pelosi's sick burn spread 'round the Internet, and many expressed their admiration. Here's hoping Pelosi gets invited to a few more important dinners.
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is in hot water after jokingly suggesting he would poison the president. Hahahahahaha? Last week, TMZ asked Bourdain the question, "If Trump and Kim Jong-un were going to have a bit of a summit to try and mend relations and they wanted you to cater, what would you serve?" His answer? “Hemlock," deadpanned Bourdain. In case you are not up on your biennial herbaceous flowering plants, Hemlock is a deadly poisonous plant. How very Agatha Christie of you, Anthony! Of course, conservative Twitter was furious. Dunno what that has to do with the whole "poisoning Trump" thing, but Bourdain is known to eat some really weird things on his CNN food and travel show, "Parts Unknown." At one point, yes, he did actually eat warthog's rectum while visiting Namibia. But that's besides the point... Fox News late contacted Bourdain about his comments, and the chef told them that he meant to say "kale." But this is hardly the first time Bourdain has shown his disdain for Trump, and has been tweeting about the reality show star president since 2012. Additionally, Bourdain told Eater that he would never eat at a Trump restaurant or share a meal with the president because he has "utter contempt for him, utter and complete contempt.” But still, you would think that Bourdain would be a little more careful with his words seeing that both Kathy Griffin and Reza Aslan were fired from CNN for their anti-Trump sentiments. Gee, CNN sure does a lot to protect Trump for being a fake liberal news network! So far, CNN has not made a statement on Bourdain's comments, and the president has yet to tweet mean things about Anthony Bourdain. 2017 is so weird.
This has to be one of the worst "it seemed like a good idea at the time" failures in recent memory. Like, remember when Walmart stacked boxes of soda to look like the Twin Towers on 9/11? These are the kinds of ideas that should not even make it to the planning stage, let alone come to fruition. Take a look at this condom wrapper that was posted on Reddit.

What does it look like it says? Did you get the donut was supposed to represent the words "do not," because I sure didn't. I thought it simply read, "Go Further Without Consent." YIKES. Maybe condom wrappers aren't the place for cutesy visual puns? According to Perez Hilton, the condoms were made by a company called Say It With a Condom. They design "consent condoms" which are meant to "start a conversation about how to ask for consent before engaging in any sexual activity." A conversation was definitely started, but most of it stemmed from complete confusion. Why did this condom seem to be promoting rape? Many of the commenters on Reddit and Twitter didn't make the connection either, or even if they did, couldn't help but point out how terrible it was. The condoms have been removed from Say It With a Condom's online store. The company's founder and CEO, Benjamin Sherman, told "Us Weekly" that they "didn't receive any negative feedback" from the donut wrapper. He explained, "We went through our normal checks and balances with this design. Whenever we create a new campaign we send it out to universities and domestic violence shelters for feedback and we didn't receive any negative feedback. If we're not given the green light, we redesign or just choose a different tagline." Yeeeahhhh, might want to change that normal design routine, add in a step or two, some more "checks and balances," because wow, no.
There are endless ways to deal with a tragedy the scale of Hurricane Irma. Some people silently donate to reputable foundations. Others volunteer and lend their time to help victims. Still others, create art and bolster the stories of those affected. All of these are great options. Unfortunately, there are lots of people who don't quite grasp the sensitivity needed to address other people's pain. To this point, a report from "Teen Vogue" revealed a makeup artist created a Hurricane Irma look. Unsurprisingly, she received a storm of backlash for the hurricane-inspired look on Twitter. The makeup artist Kali Harlow posted a side-by-side of her eyeshadow creation and a satellite image of the storm. Her caption read, "Remember in the eye of the storm, God remains in control."

Umm. People were quick to point out that modeling you makeup after a storm that's taken the lives of (at least) 67 people is a bad look. Also, saying God is in control is a lot easier when you're not one of the victims of tragedy. One guy suggested it'd be better to focus on addressing climate change, instead of posting Hurricane-inspired makeup looks with prayer captions. Some people on Twitter were gracious with their critique. While others couldn't comprehend why Harlow was surprised about the backlash. The concept of God being in control of a deadly storm really rubbed people the wrong way. There were a handful of people who appreciate the gesture. Luckily, given the widespread critique, it seems doubtful this will inspire any online makeup trends.
Hey, it's Sunday... instead of doing this blog thing I should be listening to this album...

Nah, maybe not. So, now football season has started there's a new football TV show about to make a debut...

Hahahaha. That joke is so old but still so funny. Do you like your neighbors? I barely no mine, which is a good thing I guess. But some people have problems with their neighbors and get notes like this...

Hahaha. You know, one thing about the Internet is you can look at porn easily. That's great except for I rather you read the Phile. But then I thought what if you can do both... but then I thought what about if you are at work and you get caught looking at porn. So, kids, I came up with a solution.

Ha! You're welcome, everybody. So, you know I love football and Star Wars, right? Well, some people might like both of those just a little bit more than I do...

Here in Florida people try to get away with some very creative license plates...

I can think of a number of women who might match that plate. Haha. Hey, ever been really embarrassed? I bet you weren't as embarrassed at this person who tweeted this...

Hahahahahaha. It actually took me three times reading it before I understood. Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Startling Similarities Between Trump's Alliance With Democrats And The Indians' Winning Streak
5. Would've seemed utterly impossible just a few weeks ago.
4. Is distraction from a heinous racist legacy.
3. Is a rare bright spot for historic losers.
2. Is resulting in lots of new fans every day.
And the number one similarity between Trump's alliance with the Democrats and the Indians' winning streak is...
1. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can't fucking believe it's happening.

Ha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, there's this guy who contacted me and said he was fired from his job and wanted to come onto the Phile and see if anyone would hire him. So, please welcome to the Phile for the first time...

Me: Hello, Dindo, welcome to the Phile. So, you had a job and was fired?

Dindo: Yeah.

Me: Okay, so, what kinda job did you have?

Dindo: I was a welder.

Me: A welder? You don't look like a welder. Okay, so, how did you get fired?

Dindo: I blew a million bucks.

Me: I don't understand, Dindo. How did you blow a million bucks when you were welding?

Dindo: When I was welding I screwed up a $65,000 door and may or may not have blown a hole in a $1,000,000 plus missile launching platform.

Me: Oh. Ummm. Okay. So, I see why you were fired.

Dindo: Yeah. So, if anyone wants to hire a welder I am your guy.

Me: Alright. Well, good luck, Dindo. Dindo Nuffin, everybody.

Are you a lazy person? If so, I bet you are not as lazy as the person who came up with this idea...

Hahaha. That's pretty clever. And now for some sad news...

Harry Dean Stanton 
July 14th, 1926 — September 15th, 2017
Fire Corpse with Me

Pete Domenici
May 7th, 1932 — September 13th, 2017
He voted to impeach Clinton because of his "lewd conduct," and then got a 24-year-old staffer pregnant and didn't admit it until 12 years later. Lewd indeed.

The 36th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Gilson Lavis and this is one of his pieces...

Gilson will be the guest on the Phile tomorrow.

A man appears before St. Peter at the Gates of Heaven. "Have you done anything of particular merit?" St. Peter asks. The man did not hesitate to say, "Absolutely, on a trip near Reno I met a group of bikers who were threatening a lady. I told them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. I walked up to the biggest, meanest looking biker and kicked his bike over before punching him in the face and kicking him hard in the shin. I yelled, 'Now back off or I'll beat the tar out of all of you!'" St. Peter was impressed. "When did this happen?" "A couple of minutes ago."

Today's guest is a comedian who has a stage show called "One Funny Mother," and a weekly YouTube series called "Tipsy Tuesday." Please welcome to the Phile... Dena Blizzard.

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

Dena: I’m tired. Like every other mom in America.

Me: I love your name... it's a great stage name, but it's not a stage name, is it?

Dena: It’s my married name. Everyone think it’s fake.

Me: You're from New Jersey... do you still live there? Have you lived there all your life?

Dena: Born and raised Jersey girl. Still here. They won’t let me leave.

Me: Okay, so, I first discovered you or found out about you when I saw your Target back-to-school video which went viral. That was very funny. For people that haven't seen it tell the readers what you are doing in it. Did you plan to do it beforehand or was it a spur of the moment bit?

Dena: I have three kids and my youngest struggles with comprehension and has some learning disabilities. I was so tired of listening the people complain about the school supplies. If there is someone willing to help me educate my daughter… I love them. None of it was planned... other than the fact that I was doing it.

Me: I know a lot of teachers who I am sure would love the video and appreciate what you are saying in the video. Have you been getting a good response from it?

Dena: Wonderful responses. I am the “spirit animal” of about one million woman around the world. 

Me: I try not to read comments but some people are fucking stupid... taking the video way too seriously, I talked about that on this blog about that last week. Anyway, did you get more good feed back or bad feedback?

Dena: The vast majority was good but there were definitely people who said I shouldn’t have kids if I don’t want them around me. Frankly, every good mom I know is exhausted and could use some time away.

Me: Your sister is a teacher, right? What did she think of the video?

Dena: She is a teacher. She loved it. That made me happy.

Me: Dena, you have been making funny videos for awhile and is becoming a YouTube sensation. When did you first start to make videos?

Dena: We started making videos about 8 years ago. I taught myself to edit (with some help from friends and tutorials along the way). We seemed to have learned some things through the years. The best lesson is to just be yourself.

Me: Didn't your husband tell you to get into comedy, Dena?

Dena: My husband bought me a comedy class for my 30th birthday… I took the class, I was probably horrible, but I loved it.

Me: You do stand-up as well, right? So, what came first, stand-up or the videos?

Dena: Stand-up was first. I think you need to learn what’s funny first… with a live audience. Then, when you’re making your videos you can start to hear where people (hopefully) would be laughing. 

Me: Your "Chardonny Go" video became a big hit and Kathy Lee even talked about it. I have a feeling that was a fun idea you came up with, and had fun making. How did you come up with that idea?

Dena: "Pok√©mon Go" came out and I had no idea what it was. I figured there is no way I’d run around the neighborhood unless I was going to find a glass of wine… and "Chardonnay Go" was born.

Me: This is a board game now, am I right? What the hell?! You're a genius. I have so many questions about this alone... did you come up with the game idea?

Dena: I came up with the idea. The video was such a phenomenon. I figured if women loved wine that much, why save all that energy for just one video, let’s make it something women came enjoy year round. There is no running in the game. Just lots of laughter.

Me: How did you go and get it made and did you do a lot of designing for it?

Dena: I researched Cards Against Humanity and found out who their manufacturers rep was. We are working with them. I designed the game on my own. I really wanted the game to come in a wine bottle box. That’s my favorite part of the game.

Me: How do you play it? I take it it is a drinking game.

Dena: We don’t call it a drinking game because you don’t have to drink to play it. We call it "The Board Game for Wine Lovers, Moms and Other Shameless People." You can drink whatever you want. The game is set at a vineyard with players trying to get to the tasting room. There are a series of challenges and funny things that happen along the way. You can be put into Time Out or become the Wine Bitch. It’s very exciting!

Me: Haha. How long did it take for it to be a concept to a real thing you can buy and where can you buy it?

Dena: From concept to game boards in hand will be one year. Feels like forever to me though. You can buy (pre-order before October) the game at

Me: Your kids must be very proud of you, am I right? Your husband as well.

Dena: I don’t know. They would never admit it. I think it’s nice to show that you can follow your dreams. Whatever crazy, drunk dreams they may be. I’m proud of that part.

Me: What do they think of your comedy? What are their ages?

Dena: A son, 17 and two girls 15 and 13. I don’t think they think anything of it. I hope when they get older and have kids they will really relate to it.

Me: On Tuesday's on YouTube you have a series called "Tipsy Tuesday." Haha. That's a great title... what kinda show is it and do you really get tipsy?

Dena: It’s my weekly, Facebook live show from my living room. It’s where I drink wine and talk about nonsense for an hour a week. You won’t learn anything… you won’t be a better person. It’s just a lot of fun. The rules are… you must be in jammies, no bra and a drink in hand.

Me: Nice! I take it you like wine... you are drinking in the Target video. Hahaha. What is your favorite wine? White I think. Do you drink beer as well?

Dena: No beer. I’m gluten free. I love wine. Any wine… I love Cabs and Merlot… and of course, Chardonnay.

Me: How did you get the idea for the "Tipsy Tuesday" videos? Is it hard to come up with material weekly?

Dena: I basically drink and talk about my week. I’m pretty sure it’s horribly boring. But by Tuesday night I’ve had it. I’m sure there is something nice to hearing a drunk lady in her living room talking about her crappy life too. That would make me feel better.

Me: You also host an Off-Broadway one woman show called "One Funny Mother." Did you write this show yourself, Dena?

Dena: I did write it. It’s the culmination of the first 8 years of my stand up and how hard it was to go from being single with no kids, to married with three kids. I found it difficult and hysterical at the same time.

Me: How long did it take you to write and the first time you performed it were you nervous?

Dena: Our first performance was in 2008 at a local theater in Jersey. I had no idea if people would show up. I needed 600 people to show up just to pay the bills. My husband stood by the door and counted everyone. Six hundred and ten people showed up. We had enough to cover our bills and buy pizza... that was a big night.

Me: Do you stick to the script or do you ever go off script?

Dena: There is a script but there is a part of the show where I do talk to the audience.

Me: I am sure women love the show, but what do the men think?

Dena: Men LOVE it. I think it’s kind of nice to hear another woman talk about how crazy she is. It feels very universal. I think I might be saving some marriages.

Me: Did you grow up performing, Dena? Did you ever think you'll be doing comedy?

Dena: I’ve playing classical piano since I was a kid. I have a degree in Biology and a Master’s in Gerontology… so… no. It was just meant to be. I’m a big believer in following my gut and apparently my gut says, do comedy, drink in your living room and make a dirty board game.

Me: Okay, so, you work on the Anderson Cooper show... I bet that's fun. How did you first get that gig?

Dena: I love Anderson. We had a great relationship and I learned so much from him. I got the gig through working on some other shows as a warm up.

Me: I saw a video of you sitting next to him rubbing his head and his expression was funny... he had no idea you were gonna do that, right? I have to show a screen shot...

Dena: Anderson had no idea I was ever going to do anything, but he was always such a good sport. I’m a fan.

Me: Anderson is one of my favorite people on TV... remember when he was on "The Mole"? Anyway, I have zero gayder and was surprised when he came out as gay. Working with him were you surprised?

Dena: I can’t believe you didn’t know. Come on...

Me: It's true. Haha. Phile readers know I am a huge fan of the 60s "Batman" TV show and I saw the video of you and Lee Meriweather... that was a funny clip getting her to sign the box with the Catwoman doll in. She didn't know what to think of that, right?

Dena: Lee Meriweather is one of my best friends. I love her! She is always up for my schnanigans. Everyone should get to meet her in their lifetime. What an amazing lady!!!

Me: So, what is next for you? Any plans for more videos?

Dena: As long as there is wine and annoying children… there are always videos to be made.

Me: You need to bring your family to Orlando... a video of you at Disney would be great. Have you ever been to Disney?

Dena: We’ve only been on one family vacation… and it was to DISNEY!! Let me know when you get some tickets!!! We need another vac a!!

Me: Deal. Okay, tell the readers where they can see your videos, Dena. Thanks for coming onto the Phile. Keep it up, and I hope to have you back here again soon. I hope this was fun.

Dena: This was great. thanks for reaching out.

That about does it or this entry of the Phile. Thnaks to Dena for a great interview. I will have her back here soon. The Phile will be back tomorrow with artist and drummer Gilson Lavis. 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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum John Bentley From Gone Dead Train

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Wednesday. How're you doing? Floridians, how did you fare in the hurricane? Did you find enough horrifying hurricane damage to adequately update your Instagram? You know what? Forty weeks from now is 6/17/18... Irma babies. Haha.  Anyway, I was lucky, a few shingles came off my apartment's roof and a few trees fell down.
At Apple's live event yesterday, the media giant announced the all-new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, as everyone was expecting. There was nothing too dramatically different about the new gadget... which is why Apple fans were relieved when the iPhone X suddenly dropped. The iPhone X, pronounced the "iPhone 10," has the edge-to-edge screen that has been rumored about. Yup... the entire front of the phone is a screen. There's no home button on the iPhone X. Instead, users swipe up from the bottom to go from an app to the home screen. To light up the lock screen, simply tap it. To unlock the phone, you'll have to use Apple's newest technology: Face ID, which uses something Apple calls the "TrueDepth camera system." Every time you look at your iPhone X, a variety of lenses take "mathematical models" of your face to unlock your phone. Good luck with your new phone if you have an evil twin. Apple ensures users that the technology works no matter the climate. Putting on glasses, changing your hairstyle, or growing a beard will not affect it, and holding up a picture of your face will not fool it. Your eyes must be open for the technology to work. However, when a new Apple employee took the stage to demonstrate the feature... it didn't quite work. After a few failed attempts, he was prompted to type his passcode. Oops. The phone will come with a cool feature for emoji lovers called Animoji... using a Snapchat lens-like technology, people can control an emoji by speaking and moving their faces, thus turning a tiny emoji into a video. And Apple is introducing another feature that's been a long time coming: wireless charging. The new technology, called AirPower, is a tiny platform you can simply place your iPhone and other Apple products on to charge. APPLE Apple also claims the phone is its most sustainable yet–it's all made of glass and "surgical-grade stainless steel," it's "highly recyclable," and it's water and dust resistant. The iPhone X costs $999, and will hit stores November 3rd.
Hillary Clinton just DGAF anymore. Since losing the presidential election to Donald Trump in 2016, Hillary Clinton has been mostly laying low, running around the woods, and working on her memoir, "What Happened." But now that said memoir has finally been released, Clinton is back in the spotlight to promote her book, and is giving her first interviews since her stunning loss. One of her first stops was to Refinery 29, where Clinton was asked if Trump's daughter Ivanka should be held responsible for her father’s actions. Clinton did not hold back, "Everyone associated with him... they’re either on board with that, or they’re not. And if they’re not, they need to be speaking out or leaving. But if they remain silent and just give lip service to contrary points of views, then they are part of his agenda and should be judged and held accountable for that." It looks like the former democratic nominee kept things purposely vague... referencing all of Trump's team rather than just the first daughter... but it is pretty obvious that Hillary Clinton has some strong feelings about Ivanka's complicit nature and phony feminism. Perhaps Clinton was fueled to give such a scathing answer since earlier this month Ivanka Trump supported ending an Obama-era rule on gender gap wage data collection... a surprising move given her previous stance on equal pay. Guess the "Women Who Work" author is cool if women work for less than men. Hillary Clinton's book went on sale yesterday, and according to The Huffington Post, the former secretary of state does not hold back while talking about Bernie Sanders, former FBI Director James Comey and even former Vice President, Joe Biden. Sorry Regina George, but your burn book has got nothin' on Hillary's. Maybe the silver lining to not being president is you can pretty much put everyone on blast and say whatever the hell you want. Not that being president has ever stopped Trump from doing any of that.
Ted Cruz brought the whole country together on 9/11 when his Twitter account straight-up liked a hardcore porno, a complicated narrative featuring a stepmother walking in on her stepdaughter getting pounded like he did in the primaries.

She's reacting to the honor. His team quickly went on Cruz Control, and the senator said that the "like" was a result of a rogue staffer." Why yes, the problem is with his staff. "It was a staffing issue," itself an evocative sexual term a la Tobias Funke. "And it was inadvertent, it was a mistake. It was not a deliberate act. We're dealing with internally, but it was a mistake. It was not malicious." NBC News Frank Thorp V reporter was on the scene on Capitol Hill, and with this load off his chest, Cruz even made a funny joke.

If Ted Cruz really were a savvy politician, he'd admit to jerking it, thereby rebranding himself as a human man with human urges, rather than a craven hypocrite trying to ban dildos. He should be relived that he only got caught for masturbating and not for Zodiac killing.
Miss Texas, Margana Wood, may not have won the Miss America Pageant Sunday night (the title went to Miss North Dakota Cara Mund), but she did win over the hearts of a lot of the audience based on her answer during the Q&A segment. Wood was asked if she thought of the way that President Donald Trump handled the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The exact question was, "Last month a demonstration of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KK in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent and a counter-protester was killed. The president said there was shared blame with 'very fine people on both sides.' Were there? Tell me yes or no and explain." Wood's answer, which earned her cheers from the crowd, was, "I think that the white supremacist issue, it was very obvious, that it was a terrorist attack. And I think that President Donald Trump should’ve made a statement earlier addressing the fact, and in making sure all Americans feel safe in this country. That is the number one issue right now." As Miss Texas, Wood's platform, "You Belong," took on bullying and support inclusion for all. In an interview with Houston's "Out Smart" magazine, Wood said that she's working towards creating a "judgment-free generation." She explained, "‘You Belong’ empowers communities to foster a judgment-free attitude where people respect differences and value kindness... a place where everyone feels like they belong and are accepted.”
Dena Blizzard is a mom-of-three, comedian and Target shopper, with some very strong feelings about back-to-school shopping. In a video that went massively viral on Facebook, Blizzard goes to Target where she is buying back-to-school supplies, and she goes IN on parents who complain about having to do just that. "I've been noticing lately, when people are doing their back to school shopping, everybody's complaining," she says, while tossing items in her cart. "And my thing is... Listen. It's the end of August. I will give you anything to take my kids. I'll get you a yellow binder or get you a red binder." In fact, Blizzard loves teachers so much she'll get them more than just different colored binders. "You want some luggage? You going somewhere?" she says, throwing luggage in her cart. "Want Spring Break, teacher? I'm gonna get you some luggage." Dena Blizzard makes some very good, and very funny, points. Her video clearly struck a chord with parents: it's been viewed a staggering 18 million times since she posted it on Friday. In the comments section, she dedicated the video to hardworking teachers like her sister, Nicole, who she tagged, writing, "I’m gonna get you some pencils." I thought the video was really, really funny, so I contacted Dena and invited her to be on the Phile. So, she'll be next Sunday's guest.
So, are you thinking or cheating right now on your loved one? You might wanna think twice after seeing this...

Damn! I have never been arrested, but if I was I don't think I'd be wearing this t-shirt...

Haha. She's cute. Ha! Just kidding. I wouldn't wear that t-shirt anyway, it's a girls shirt. One thing about me is I like to follow the rules, but some people take it just a little bit too far...

That's very clever actually. You know I love Star Wars and football, right? Well, some people have me beat...

So, because of Irma they have new "Welcome to Florida" signs...

Haha. So, as well as the new iPhone Apple has another new project coming out...

I think this one is for North Korea only... or France. So, did yo see Ted Cruz's new campaign poster?

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

Top Phive Ways Where The $1,000 Goes On Your New iPhone
5. Fifty dollars goes to reinforcing the window bars and door licks at the Chinese sweatshops where it's made.
4. Two hundred dollars goes to salaries of the design team that changed its background screen's default color from "blueberry" to "denim."
3. One hundred dollars goes to the screen glass, that when dropped on the kitsch floor, will shatter into 100 pieces instead of the usual 200.
2. Three hundred dollars goes to purchase of startups that would otherwise sue Apple for patent infringement on this phone.
And the number one way where the $1,000 goes to on your new iPhone is...
1. Three hundred and fifty dollars goes to research and development for the iPhone 9... coming soon!!!

So, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, Hurricane Irma just went through Florida and you know something happened that happened no where else in the Universe. So, here once again is...

It was Mr. Rogers who said that during times of disaster, his mother's comforting words pop into his mind, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." Well, it is certainly hard to miss this helper. Meet the chainsaw-wielding nun, Sister Margaret Ann.

Sister Margaret Ann, the principal of Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School in Miami, was helping residents by clearing fallen trees after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc all over Florida. "The road was blocked, we couldn't get through," Sister Margaret Ann told CNN. "And I saw somebody spin in the mud and almost go into a wall, going off the road. So, there was a need, I had the means... so I wanted to help out." PREACH! An off duty Miami-Dade police officer eventually stumbled upon Sister Margaret Ann doing, well, God's work, and snapped a few pictures and a video for the police department's Facebook page. Soon Sister Margaret Ann was making international headlines, and the Internet quickly fell in love with the nun. Hopefully Sister Margaret Ann's kindness will inspire others to get into the habit of helping out as well. GET IT???? Okay, I think I've officially run out of puns now. In other news, Nun with a Chainsaw would be a great name for a heavy metal band. Hey, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff in a pheature called...

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

Jeff: Always good to be back on the Phile! To be honest, I'm a little bummed. One of my books, "Paranormal Contact Vol. 3" was up from an award, but I lost. But Peverett Phile Alumn Jeremy Croston did win, so a shout out to him on that.

Me: Congrats to Jeremy. He is house was pretty much damaged from Irma I understand. So, were you watching about Irma this weekend, Jeff?

Jeff: Of course I was keeping up with Irma. I lived in Orlando for 13 years so I know a lot of people, you especially that still live there so I wanted to make sure that everyone was okay after the storm was over. So far it seems everyone is, so that's good.

Me: Okay, let's talk about football... did you see Kasey Redfern, the Lions punter was too scared to punt the football and getting leveled by a defender? Needless to say, it was the wrong decision. Redfern was carted to the locker room soon after.

Jeff: Yes, I did see about the Lions Punter. Pretty much the only position that is safe is water boy. But even then you never know if you'll be called on to be a linebacker. Wait, this isn't an Adam Sandler movie.

Me: Haha. Do you have any NFL news from the first week?

Jeff: A few injuries have occurred in week 1, including the Patriots 2nd leading receiver Danny Amendola and Chiefs Safety Eric Berry. I never thought I would say this, the Patriots are in last place in their division and the Jags are in first place in theirs. So that's kind of shocking. Adrian Peterson played his former team and had a career low in number of snaps out on the field, so he wasn't in a good mood about that either.

Me: I'm happy about the Patriots. Haha. Hey, did you see the Browns new logo? I think Disney is still taking over...

Me: Blood on the saddle... hahahaha. I actually love it.

Jeff: That... I don't even know how to respond to that picture right there.

Me: Hahahaha. Alright, so, how did we both do with the first weeks picks?

Jeff: We both picked one correct game and lost a game. However due to the Steelers beating the Browns (BARELY!) and the Giants forgetting to show up against Dallas on Sunday Night Football, I have a one point lead over you 3-2.

Me: Well said about the Giants losing to the Cowboys. It's true I'm sad to say...

Jeff: That was just a pathetic attempt at football was what that was.

Me: Alright, let's do this week's picks for week 2... I say Seahawks by 8 and Jags by 2. What do you say?

Jeff: My picks for week two are Baltimore by 5 and Cardinals by 7.

Me: Okay, I will see you back here on the 20th when I'm in Gainesville. That's a good day to have you back, right?

Jeff: Sounds good to me. I will see you when you are on location. Have a good one, everybody.

Me: Have a good week, Jeff, and I will see you then.

This morning, Donald Trump applied another round of tan to his face... not the eyes... and shot off a few tweets about tax reform and hurricanes. The two subjects are not obviously related, but that didn't stop Trump from tying them together with zero explanation.

Those were his first two of the morning, before the Commander in Chief added them up to make one beautiful, baffling tweet. Tax cuts + Hurricanes = today's confusing message from the POTUS. "With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before," wrote Trump, before turning cheerleader. "Go Congress, go!" Although it doesn't justify the connection, Trump did make a similar statement on Saturday that helps illuminate his thinking. "To create prosperity at home," said Trump at Camp David, "[my cabinet and I will] be discussing our plan for dramatic tax cuts and tax reform. And I think now with what's happened with the hurricane, I'm gonna ask for a speed-up." In Trump's mind, tax reform means a more prosperous America. How prosperity helps ward off hurricanes is anyone's guess. And the idea that presumed tax cuts for the wealthy means increased prosperity for Americans is highly debatable. But at least it helps connect the very scattered dots. To most observers, Trump's comments are GOP self-parody. I look forward to a rational, well-reasoned explanation from the president later in the week.

It's 6:04 p.m., 91°F and Kelly accidentally brought up sex toys on live TV. It was awkward. Live TV is risky enough as it is, but throw an unpredictable game live Never Have I Ever into the mix, and you never know what's going to happen. Kelly found that out the hard way when she guest co-hosted the "Today Show"'s fourth hour alongside Hoda Kotb. Kelly and Kotb were joined by Ellie Kemper, Savannah Guthrie, Sheinelle Jones, and Jenna Bush Hager for a special mom edition of the classic party game. The questions were all related to parenting, such as, "Never have I ever pretended to be sleeping so my partner would take care of the kids." But there was one question that Kelly got a little hung up on. At one point during the game, Kotb asked the panel if they had ever "'misplaced' a noisy toy." She was of course referring to children's toys, but Clarkson thought she meant a different kind of, ahem, play thing. She breaks down into a fit of embarrassed giggles before managing to get out, "I thought you meant a different kind of toy." That's when the entire panel erupts into giggles. (How could you not?) Kelly may be embarrassed, but honestly, I'm not judging. Let he among us who has never had a game of Never Have I Ever go off the rails cast the first stone.

The 36th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Gilson Lavis and this is one of his pieces...

Gilson will be a guest on the Phile next Monday.

Today's guest is a Phile Alum who was a bass player for the band Squeeze and now is the bass player and co-songwriter for the band Gone Dead Train whose new album "Special Feeling" is available on CDBaby. Please welcome back to the Phile, the always entertaining... John Bentley.

Me: Hey, John, welcome back to the Phile, sir. How have you been?

John: Life has its ups and downs... I try and keep busy. I have a radio show on Radio Scarborough now. Don't shoot the DJ I have just signed a recording contract with 3m’s. I am appearing in a stage musical in Hull called "Which is the Story of Mick Ronson," and on that bombshell… 

Me: Nice! Congrats to your daughter Bebe who graduated with first class honors at university. You must be a very proud dad, am I right? 

John: She’s a clever girl. I don't know where she gets it from? My wife left school when she was 15, and I was expelled! 

Me: Haha. Which university did she graduate from? 

John: The University of Life... well, Brighton actually. 

Me: Okay, I have to ask you this question and get to outta the way... last time you were here in 2015 it was before Squeeze's "Cradle to the Grave" CD came out... and now it's released and Lucy Shaw is playing bass on it and is in the band... I have to ask, did you get a copy of the CD? What did you think? 

John: Yes, I have a copy of the album… In actual fact I play on six tracks on the album including the title track which was used as the theme tune for the BBC 2 sitcom starring Peter Kay. Lucy Shaw’s credentials are exemplary… she's a classically trained musician, and regularly plays double bass with the London Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra… I am proud to be included on a record along side a virtuoso player, (but unfortunately they couldn’t get one ha! ha!). Her electric bass style is not too dissimilar to mine, so there is a certain flow to the bass on the album. I doubt anyone can differentiate who plays on what track? I know I can't! 

Me: Does a part of you wish you were still in the band? You're doing well with Gone Dead Train so I think you're pretty happy, am I right? 

John: Yes, there is a part of me which misses playing with Squeeze… my left knee! Like a lot of groups these days, the band leaders think it's a good idea to mix up the line-up of the band occasionally... I can’t say that I agree with them... I think its confusing for the fans and the musicians play their instruments with a certain amount of trepidation and insecurity. It's your turn next! Gone Dead Train are under-rated. They’ve got some excellent tracks. I collaborate in the writing, and get the opportunity to sing all the vocal harmonies on their records. Which is nice! 

Me: Next Monday I am gonna be interviewing Gilson Lavis, original Squeeze drummer, about his artwork and I am sure I'll ask him Squeeze related questions. First of, do you keep in touch with Gil? Have you seen his artwork? 

John: Gil and I have a chin wag now and again. He’s done a drawing of me which I’d love to share, but it was a private commission (must’ve cost the guy a fortune!) and so sadly I am not permitted to publish it… oooooo get her! 

Me: He plays in Jools Hollands big band... would you ever wanna play in that band? 

John: No... I’m not big enough! And besides... I’m too busy with Duke Ellington. In actual fact I have played in Jools’s band once before along with Chris Difford. I couldn’t help pointing out that there were more original members of Squeeze playing that night than were actually playing in Squeeze! 

Me: That's great. Is there a certain question I should ask him, John? 

John: Ask him when he’s going to pay me back that fiver he owes me! 

Me: Do you have a crazy Gilson story? I like to think the band back then got along really well. 

John: Yes, I have several crazy Gilson stories... and some Jools Holland one’s too... but I think it would be better for all concerned to keep them under wraps for now. 

Me: Fair enough. I love this picture of the band from the 70s… 

Me: That was taken back when "Argy Bargy" came out I am guessing. Back then before I saw any videos and my dad played Squeeze in the car or at home I thought Gilson was the lead singer as he was in the middle of the pics I saw back then. Do you remember when that pic was taken? I love Glenn's look... he looks almost fed up. Haha.

John: September 16th 1979 at 3:46 p.m.! Re Glenn: he probably was fed up... I used to share a room with him on tour back then, and he was a very angry young man. He was really pissed off that we were touring outside of the U.K. while "Cool for Cats" and "Up the Junction" were riding high in the U.K. charts. I can understand that he would have preferred to have been at home in the U.K. at that time. It didn’t bother me though... I was having a ball watching him throw TV sets out the window! 

Me: Okay, let's talk about Gone Dead Train. A few months ago I had Tony Smith here again and since then the band has released a new album called "Special Feeling." How did that album get it's name?

John: Well, Tony put all the names of the tracks into a hat. The hat got stolen. But the thief left a slip of paper, and on it was written… you make me puke!

Me: Sorry. You co-wrote a lot of the songs with Tony, John... do you like to co-write or write by yourself?

John: I like to do lots of things by myself (!?!) Writing songs is one of them. Collaborations can bring more surprises though.

Me: He's in France and you're in England, so how does that work out?

John: C’est formidable! Well, these days songwriters can send computer files over the Internet to "virtually" collaborate. It's not ideal but it can work sometimes.

Me: Does he write the lyrics and the music and you do as well?

John: Yes, that’s absolutely right, Jason. I especially like Tony lyrics... but I sometimes come up with a line here and there. Tony also makes very strong contributions to the music/melody and arrangements.

Me: Gone Dead Train has released a bunch of singles with an attractive couple for the artwork. I recognize those people... they're from a TV show, right?

John: Ha! Ha! that's a perfect reaction, Jason! It is actually Tony, his wife Michelle and Pedro the dog. Michelle is the one in curlers on the settee by the way! The artwork was designed by their son Alex Forge. Your assumption that the couple are from a TV show is probably what Alex was trying to accomplish with this very clever, creative and surreal image.

Me: I love the song and the artwork for "Good Times." I have to show it here...

Me: Were you guys thinking about political figures when that song was written?

John: No, I was thinking about what I was going to have for my dinner!

Me: In England, what do you think of Trump, John? I bet you're glad he's not your president, right? Haha.

John: Who’s Trump? No matter who you vote for the government always wins. No decent and honest person in this world would ever even consider becoming a politician. Sadly the only people who enter politics are megalomaniacs who’s ego’s are totally out of control.

Me: What's your favorite topic to write about?

John: Addiction.

Me: I love your solo material, John. Do you think you'll be releasing a solo album again?

John: I am going to be recording an album with my band the Buzniks this month at 3m’s studio in France. Sounds groovy, non? And on that bombshell… 

Me: Cool. Is Gone Dead Train writing any music right now?

John: No, they’re too busy doing their washing! Sorry, Jason... that was uncalled for! I suspect that Gone Dead Train have always got tunes and ideas floating round. "I got a head full of ideas that’re driving me insane."

Me: Who are your influences music wise? I hear a lot of different influences in Gone Dead Train's music... country, rock, reggae... do you have a favorite genre?

John: I am open to all musical styles. Apart from Neil Diamond! I listen to a lot more music now than ever before. Doing a 2 hour radio show radio requires a lot of listening and research.

Me: John, thanks so much for being back on the Phile. Please come back again soon. Mention your website, or Gone Dead Train's... take care, and keep writing and releasing great music!!

John: It’s always a great pressure … er, I mean pleasure, Jason.,, coming soon...

Me: Great job. Take care.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and John Bentley. The Phile will be back on Sunday with comedian Dena Blizzard. 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