Monday, July 17, 2017

Pheaturing Emerald Portal

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Spectators at Wimbledon were treated to quite the hilarious sight when a male fan was invited to join the ladies' invitation doubles tennis match after yelling advice to Belgian Grand-Slam champ, Kim Clijsters... but not before putting on a skirt. According to The Huffington Post, the invitation doubles are a fairly relaxed event, and Clijsters began asking fans in the audience for advice on where she should serve the ball. The man, who the "Irish Independent" later identified as Chris Quinn, the captain of a tennis club near Dublin, jokingly shouted "Body serve!" from the stands. A body serve is when a player hits their ball into their opponent's body. That caught Clijsters' attention. "You said body?" she asked Quinn. Clijsters' then pointed to her opponent's spot on the court, laughed, and suggested, "Why don't you go there?" When the stadium applauded, Quinn made his way down to the court. Unfortunately, Wimbledon has a strict all-white dress code, so Quinn's Green Lantern t-shirt and blue shorts weren't going to cut it. Ever prepared, Clijsters quickly ran to her bag and pulled out an extra skirt, which she helped Quinn put on over his shorts. For those wondering, Quinn did manage to return Clijsters' serve. Take a look..

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! In a truly adorable Twitter exchange on Saturday, Quinn expressed his gratitude to Clijsters for allowing him to join the match. "Thank you for going easy on me with the serve," he wrote. "You have made me a bigger hero to my 3 daughters who worship you BTW." (Awww!) Clijsters responded, "You were awesome! Nice meeting you Chris!" AWWW!
Conservative writer and TV correspondent Ann Coulter has talked about "snowflakes" before, but it seems all it takes to set her off is a simple change in seat on an airplane. On Saturday, Coulter boarded a Delta flight from New York to Florida and sat in the "extra room seat" she had booked in advance. For an unspecified reason, Coulter was asked by flight attendants to move to a different seat. Normally, an incident like this probably wouldn't make headlines, but Coulter unleashed a Twitter rampage against the airline that started on Saturday and was STILL GOING by Sunday. She actually took a photo of the woman who got her original seat to prove that she didn't deserve it. (Apparently it should've gone to "an air marshall or tall person.") After those first dozen or so tweets, Coulter was back to her regularly scheduled programming. Oh, but she made sure to make snarky comments directed at Delta to go along with the news stories she retweeted. It seemed like the rant was over, but Ann posted yet ANOTHER joke (?) about Delta yesterday afternoon.

All in all, she posted 18 tweets mentioning Delta. My goodness.
A woman at an art show in Los Angeles accidentally fell into a pillar, setting off a domino-like chain reaction, and destroying upwards of $200,000 worth of art. This is like watching someone's worst nightmare.

The damaged pieces were by Hong Kong based artist Simon Birch, at a gallery called the 14th Factory. As Hyperallergenic points out, the art show was described by the "Los Angeles Times" as a sort of selfie heaven. They headlined their piece, "Oh, the selfies you’ll make at L.A.’s 14th Factory, where the art is so social. Our Instagram tour," and wrote that the show, made up of crowns, was a “series of wondrous, over-the-top sets for the perfect selfie." WELP. That didn't go as planned. Maybe they should have thought this through a little better, or secured the art more safely, because come on. Gloria Yu, one of the other artists in the exhibition, told Hyperallergenic, “Three sculptures were permanently damaged and others to varying degrees. The approximate cost of damage is $200,000.” True, the worth of art is subjective, but the prices are not.
Another entry into the recent chronicle of airline horror stories features an all out crime. In a post published on Medium, aptly titled "We’ve Now Reached Creeping Altitude," 30-year-old Chloe King writes that upon waking up during her flight from New York to Paris, flight attendants informed her that the man next to her had been masturbating as she was sleeping. The woman on the other side of King was asked to be moved, and the French Police were notified "to arrest the man upon landing," but nobody decided to let her know while this was all happening. "What they didn’t do was wake me up and move me to a safe place. What they didn’t do was accommodate my request... after informing me of the assault... to sit anywhere else on the plane for landing. Instead, they made me climb back over the sex offender, trapped between him and the window for the rest of the flight. I was shaking and crying and trying not to get sick." It's a common nightmare for women who go out in public that they will encounter such perverts, and worse if they're trapped next to them for hours in a metal can in the sky. When she arrived in Paris, King went to the American Airlines counter to report the crime, and weeks later, she "received back was a generic email regarding the 'disappointing service.'." King cites this incident as part of a larger theme. "Disgustingly, I know this is not breaking news: sexual assault is repeatedly forgiven and swept aside in our society. As women, we can’t accept this." She called on readers to choose other airlines who will hopefully keep you safe. Read King's full post and be very creeped out here...
Lest we forget that as First Son Donald Trump Jr. shares emails in which he immediately said "hell yeah!" to "very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump," Republicans are still trying to ram through Trumpcare. An exciting opportunity for millionaires to get tax breaks and kids with special needs to lose coverage, Senate Majority Leader Mitch Connell is pushing for a vote this week. As Senators meet the people on their journeys to sell this exciting opportunity to have limited access to healthcare, #TheResistance is active, and it lives on shirts. American University student Nicole Webb met Ted Cruz, and wore a perfect shirt for the occasion: one that says "'Repeal and go fuck yourself'-GOP," from the wildly popular podcast Pod Save America. It's possible that Cruz is illiterate, because the shade is right there for him to see.

Not sure if he looks uncomfortable or if that's just his face. At the very least he could have noticed the "go fuck yourself" portion, because it's not obscured by hair. Webb hilariously captioned it with "Wealthcare: a better way to murder #ZodiacKiller," because stripping away health insurance is a way more efficient way to get people to die than Zodiac killing, like Cruz did back in the day.
Prominent republicans have been greeted with the same shirt before.

Well, the Doctor is a woman. Yesterday, the BBC announced that Jodie Whittaker will be succeeding Peter Capaldi as the 13th Doctor, which means that when the Doctor's famous regeneration abilities kick in at the end of this year's Christmas special and transform his body, he will switch genders for the first time in the show's 54-year history. I have mixed feelings about this, I am just glad she's attractive.

Alright, if you go to the beach this summer and you are a guy, I hope you have this luck...

Did you kids see the new Microsoft ad? It's very clever...

I am glad they brought back those guys. Hahahaha. So, at D23, the Disney convention, they showed footage of the new Avengers: Infinity War movie and I have an exclusive screenshot...

It looks good, right? Haha. Hey, Joe Biden has a new summer job did you hear?

I bet he's good as a life guard. So, do you kids have a fidget spinner? Back in my day this was a fidget spinner...

I used to do that. So, yesterday I told you about Kellyanne Conway holding up two signs on TV... well, she held up two other signs as well.

Hahahaha. I also told you about Trump's Oval Office prayer photo... well, there was another photo that was taken right after that one.

Hahaha. Trump never prayed in his life...

That's a Mindphuck. Alriight, so, the last few years in the summer I have shown you different bathing suits or bikini's you might see at the beach or by the pool. Well, this summer is no different. Check it out...

Former Disney star Adrienne Bailon may not be aiming for the title of Worst Swimsuit Of All Time, but this skirted monokini meets 50s space suit bikini may just well take the prize. So, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, here in Florida things happens that happen nowhere else in the Universe. So, once again, here is the pheature I call...

In a body camera video that went viral, police pulled over a car in Orlando only to discover the driver, Aramis Ayala, was a state attorney. Returning her driver's license, the officer quickly asked Florida's first black state attorney what agency she worked for. "Thank you, your tag didn't come back, never seen that before," replied the officer. "We're good now.""What was the tag run for?" asked Ayala. "Oh, we run tags all the time," responded the officer. "Whether it's a traffic light and that sort of stuff, that's how we figure out if cars are stolen and that sort of thing. Also, the windows are really dark. I don't have a tint measure, but that's another reason for the stop."Ayala proceeded to ask the officers' for their information. It had the vague feeling of a student in the principal's office. As the video went viral, many interpreted the traffic stop as racial profiling. For her part, Ayala told Buzzfeed News that the stop was legal, but that that's not the end of it. "Since its release, the video has had more than 2 million views," she said. "To be clear, I violated no laws. The licence plate, while confidential, was and remains properly registered. The tint was in no way a violation of Florida law." She continued, "Although the traffic stop appears to be consistent with Florida law, my goal is to have a constructive and mutually respectful relationship between law enforcement and the community." "I look forward to sitting down to have an open dialogue with the Chief of Orlando Police Department regarding how this incident impacts that goal." The Orlando Police Department in turn told BuzzFeed that the stop was "routine." "In regards to the video, which was released by the Orlando Police Department last month, the officers stated the tag did not come back as registered to any vehicle. As you can see in the video, the window tint was dark, and officers would not have been able to tell who, or how many people, were in the vehicle." Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Other Phamous Juniors Donald Trump Jr. Stacks Up Against
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Has twice won the Daytona 500. Donald Trump Jr." Thanks to chauffeurs, doesn't know how to drive. Winner: Earnhardt!
4. Ken Griffey Jr.: Was called The Kid. Donald Trump Jr.: Is called "that asshole kid." Winner: Griffey!
3. Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Went toe-to-toe with Manny Pacquiao. Donald Trump Jr.: Got into a Twitter spat with Chelsea Handler. Winner: Mayweather!
2. Martin Luther King Jr.: Orated the immortal words, "I have a dream." Donald Trump Jr.: Emailed the incriminating words, "If it's what you say I love it." Winner: King!
And the number one other junior Donald Trump Jr. stacked up against is...
1. Junior Mints: Coated in a delicious layer of milk chocolate. Donald Trump Jr.: Coated in a thin sheen of rich-brat sweat and arrogance. Winner: Mints!

Haha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Alriight, I have to mention this... former guitarist for Foghat
Erik Cartwright, died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on July 9th. Erik was the lead guitarist with ‪Foghat‬ from 1980 and played on the albums "Girls to Chat & Boys to Bounce," "In the Mood for Something Rude," and "Zig Zag Walk." Foghat fans who are so inclined can donate money in his name here...

Okay, so, the other day my son and I were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together when he was little. That show is not the same as it used to be...

"There are two numbers in that phone, Bert. One os a direct line to the FBI's Major Case Contact Center. You can call them, and in less than ten minutes I'll be in handcuffs. You'll be a hero, and can probably live off the reward money for the rest of yor life. The other number starts a countdown. I won't tell you what it does, where it is, or how many will die when it runs out. The only thing you'll know for sure is that we'll be in this together. So what do you say, my ol' buddy Bert? Wanna go on one more ride together?"

George A. Romero 
February 4th, 1940 — July 16th, 2017
Now ho's a zombie?

Martin Landau
June 20th, 1928 — July 15th, 2017
Winning an Academy Award probably paled in comparison to starring in 1981s "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island."

Ah, another day, another Twitter rant from the sitting president of the United States. Donald Trump took to the inter webs again yesterday morning, and I've got to tell you, all his favorite topics are in this one. Trump started his rant with a tweet defending his son Donald Trump Jr. (who is in a bit of trouble for his emails with Russians) from the "scorn" of the "Fake News Media." And how does he defend his son? By shading Hillary Clinton, of course!

For those playing along at home, I've already covered two of his favorite topics, Fake News Media and Hillary Clinton. He took a brief moment to thank his supporters who were at the Women's U.S. Open yesterday. He claims they "far out-numbered the protesters," but you know he's not so great with crowd sizes. And then he thanked his former campaign adviser for stating that there was no Russian collusion in the 2016 election. (The 2016 election, another favorite topic!) And then it was back to FAKE NEWS! Trump accused the media of DISTORTING DEMOCRACY. Ohhhhh boy.
And then he made sure to mention an ABC/"Washington Post" poll, which had his approval rating at almost 40%. Though he says that's "not bad at this time," he of course accuses them of being inaccurate. (Polls, inaccurate media, AND the election? That's three Trump faves in one tweet!) If anyone was playing Trump-tweet Bingo, this rant must have filled your whole card. Congrats on your big win!

The 63rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum and author will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guests are the two guys that make up the band Emerald Portal, whose new EP "Trouble in Paradise" is available on Soundcloud and iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile...
Brad Rundblade and Thomas Ouziel.

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

Brad: Great!

Thomas: Doing well, thanks.

Me: You guys are based in Los Angeles, right? But both from Europe... where are you guys from?

Brad: Ya, we're both in L.A. now, but I'm from Iraklion Crete, Greece.

Thomas: Born in Paris, France.

Me: So, did you two meet overseas or in L.A.?

Thomas: We met in Los Angeles.

Me: Did you both move to California or America for the same reason?

Brad: I was forced to move as I was a military brat.

Thomas: My dad moved out to the states for work, first to Connecticut, then over to California.

Me: What was the first thing you both did when you got here?

Brad: Played in moving boxes I hope.

Thomas: My brother was born soon after we got here, so I probably was bothering him a bunch. That and playing in superhero costumes with my friends.

Me: You both are musicians and screenwriters... so, which one came first? The screenwriting or the music?

Brad: Music for me, but I fell in love with watching movies first.

Thomas: Well, I'm half Asian, so I started playing piano when I was five. So I guess I started with music as far as actually acquiring a skill. But come on, when you're a kid, movies are magic. But I would say the two have been intertwined for me, since it really just all stems from a love of storytelling.

Me: Did you both work on the same projects or separate stuff?

Brad: Here and there, mainly for the music videos and music of Emerald Portal, but it could always be more.

Thomas: Ya, it's a mix. We let it be as natural and symbiotic as possible.

Me: I take to you both have the same musical influences, am I right? What bands were you two into growing up?

Thomas: We both respect a lot of the same musicians yes. My tops vary pretty greatly... bands like Radical Face, Radiohead, Gorillaz, Muse, Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie... I could go on.

Brad: My favorite bands growing up were The Doors, The Beatles, Modest Mouse, The Strokes, Queen and an unhealthy amount of Styx.

Me: Thomas, do you ever make it back to Paris? I'm British and always talk about how the Brits and the French don't get along... you seem cool, though. Do you ever come across that at all?

Thomas: Ya, I've made it back pretty regularly since I've been growing up since my dad's half of the family is from over there. I'd say most of my cultural influence actually comes more from my French side for that reason. I have heard the same thing, but I'd be lying if I said I've ever encountered anything like that, we usually get along swimmingly.

Me: Brad, being from Greece... that's one place I always wanted to visit... did you do a lot of sightseeing there, growing up?

Brad: Sadly all the sightseeing I’ve gotten to experience from that time are of home videos since I was born there and only stayed until I was 3 or so. From what I’ve seen since then looks amazing! Luckily, I get to enjoy gyros and get a little taste of paradise.

Me: As for the screenwriting... have you guys written anything I would have seen?

Thomas: I honestly do a lot less screenwriting than I do sound design, but the industry's vast and there are so many films made a year, so I doubt it. One of the films I sound designed last year, The Good Catholic, is coming out this year; it's a supremely well-written film that won best film at the Santa Barbara Film Festival this year, so maybe that? Probably not...

Me: Okay, let's talk about the band and music... so, whose idea was it for you to form a band first?

Thomas: It was pretty organic, we realized we both made music, and just decided to get together and jam and see if we jelled.

Brad: After we played the first couple of minutes together we both felt we should work on recording some songs together. The idea of the band came later when we thought about how we wanted to be seen and heard.

Thomas: Ya, the music comes first for us. The branding came later. I know it might seem a bit foreign in this day and age, but it's definitely a huge reason we love working together so much. Storytelling is king.

Me: Do you write separately or sit in a room Nashville style and write together?

Brad: Early on we had a bunch of older songs we made separately and showed each other and worked on them in the same room and often times in our own time. It still works like that in ways with such off set schedules, but as of late we’ve been structuring and recording more together which we feel has helped our process.

Me: Okay, so, who puts the most work into this project? Haha.

Thomas: It's a good balance; it's truly a collaborative project. It doesn't work with just one of us doing the work.

Me: Which one of you came up with the band name Emerald Portal? It sounds like something that should be in a fantasy movie.

Thomas: Brad. We feel like it fits our vibe, the kind of visual and idea of our music. Each song kind of is a portal into a greater world that is our literary world.

Me: Where did the name come from?

Thomas: It was originally from a line of poetry Brad wrote.

Brad: “If not for the sounds of meadows tepid spring, my portal wouldn’t be so honest and emerald green…”

Me: When one of you came up with it did the other agree right away or was there a lot of deliberation?

Thomas: Well, originally we had a different name we were really into, but as we continued the project, somebody else snagged it and released a single under that name, so we veered into a new direction.

Brad: I presented the name to Thomas, and he had to meditate on it a bit.

Thomas: Ya, it took me a second to warm up to it, just because I had been so attached to the imagery of our first name, but Brad wrote me a letter one day with his argument for why this was the right name that really won me over and helped me see it in a whole new light. That's why this guy's so special, man, who else writes a letter anymore? The guy's a poet.

Me: I liked the video for "All the Running." First off, what is that song about?

Thomas: The song is kind of a meditation of relationships of all kinds, whether they're collaborations, friendships, romantic... All of these take two to tango, so it's that action of extending a hand to somebody hoping to connect, and the beauty of it being accepted or not. Really cherish when they accept it and don't take it for granted.

Brad: And don't get upset when they don't. It's just a part of life.

Me: That's you in the video, right, Brad? Thomas, you don't like being on the film or did you direct it?

Brad: It is, yes.

Thomas: I do direct, but surprisingly I haven't directed any of the Emerald Portal music videos. I don't mind being on camera, but it's definitely not a priority of mine. I like to have our directors really feel connected to the music they're doing and it's really up to them on what they see the video being. If they wanted me in it, cool, if not, cool. I'm more of a behind the scenes kind of guy.

Me: Who was the kid? He did a good job and looked so serious. Was he a good kid to work with? I have a pic of him here...

Thomas: Thanks! That was Brad’s son.

Brad: He was a blast to work with, but maybe he was only being so easy going on set since he was bribed with s’mores and feeding logs into the fire.

Me: Haha. Where was the video filmed? I take it was L.A. somewhere.

Brad: The exterior house scenes were shot in downtown L.A., yes. The rest of the music video features the drive up to the infamous Kern River at a small location by the water, which we’d rather not disclose...

Me: Ten-four. Haha. I have to ask you about the song "OneHundredTwenty"... OneHundredTwenty what? What is the story behind that song?

Thomas: This song was really a meditation on what a man turning 120-years-old might be experiencing... pondering what the future might bring for him, and what the past meant. It's all written in a pretty broad way to be pretty interpretive. A lot of people have had their own interpretations, but they all do gravitate towards that main theme, so that's been cool.

Me: Where did the album title "Trouble in Paradise" come from? Why is there trouble?

Brad: It was actually said in conversation one night by our friend and director of "All The Running,” Roger Liew. The name evokes a wonderful contrast; a storm coming in and everyone hoping it’ll pass with good intentions.

Thomas: It also has a kind of grandiose idea that seemed fitting both to the socio political climate of the time as well as our own personal lives at the time. Without delving too deep into it... that could take days... there's this bizarre feeling to the world right now as we try to tackle enormous world-changing issues, like where is globalization leading to, what will the effects of climate change lead to, how will we deal with the trend towards isolation and authoritarianism, how will we combat this affinity with anti-intellectualism, how will we move towards a less dogmatic society, etc.

Brad: In short, trouble's a'brewin.

Me: I thought maybe you guys were Mental As Anything fans... do you guys remember that band? They were from Australia I think... and had a hit with a song called "Trouble in Paradise."

Brad: Never heard of ‘em, but will have to check them out now that you brought ‘em up!

Thomas: Me neither. I feel bad about it because I wish it were different, but I don't get to listen to as much music as I used to these days, nor see many movies. I kind of realized I could either be spending time consuming creations, or spending time creating, and I really gravitate towards the latter.

Me: Oh, shit, the song was "Let's Go to Paradise." Never mind, I'm an idiot. I saw in your bio you guys received an award from the Orlando Film Festival... I have lived in Orlando for 30 years and only went to it once... in 1993 or '94... maybe '95. Anyway, what was the reward for and did you spend time in Orlando? What did you think of it?

Brad: We were awarded Official Selection for Best Music Video at the festival for “Structures." No time spent in Orlando unfortunately.

Me: So you didn't get to go to Disney?

Brad: No.

Thomas: I went as a kid, does that count? It was dope.

Me: Yeah, it counts. So, what do you like to do better, film stuff or music stuff?

Brad: I personally love the combination of bringing both to life. I love filming because I’m a visual person, however I love creating music because music comes from somewhere deep within whereas the eyes can’t necessarily feel vibration.

Thomas: I just love storytelling. One thing I love about music is that, like reading, there's a bit of an ethereal abstractness to it. I can give you a feeling, and a story, but how you feel it is deeply personal. I love having a definitive story in my mind, but writing the song in a way that it could be interpreted differently for everybody. A film still does that to an extent, but it's a bit less abstract in that way.

Me: You guys are now working on three different concept albums? What the hell? What is the concept and when will they be out?

Brad: Ha! Yes. We just love creating stories inside new worlds that could be explored using a musical landscape. The one that’s furthest in completion is themed in and around the ocean. Then we have a western and another more Shakespearean play typeset in the 18th century.

Me: Are you working on all three at the same time?

Brad: We try to, but the ocean keeps calling for us to complete it first.

Thomas: It's a very fun project for us, because it's like writing a feature film musical type thing but written in our musical style, not that of a typical "singing-to-the-audience" musical style. It's one hell of a puzzle piece, but just like the main character of the story, and as Brad just mentioned, the ocean just keeps calling to us. It's main theme is also deeply personal to me, and we think pretty universally relatable... how to find the balance between passion and responsibility.

Brad: Hopefully we do it right and it resonates the way we intend.

Me: When they come out will you come back to the Phile? I hope so. I hope this was fun, fellas. Go ahead and mention your website and please come back to the Phile soon. All the best. Take care.

Brad: Of course! It was fun, we really enjoyed it. Our website is and our Instagram is Emeraldportal_. There is indeed an underscore in our Instagram, don't forget it!

Thomas: Take care, guys, 'til next time!

Me: Great job.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Brad and Thomas from Emerald Portal. The Phile will be back next Sunday with singer PRIME. 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

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