CLEVELAND (AP) — Sixteen members of a breakaway Amish community from eastern Ohio are scheduled to be resentenced in Cleveland after a federal appellate court overturned their hate crime convictions.

The resentencing Monday afternoon is necessary because their original sentences did not distinguish between the hate crimes convictions that were overturned and other charges related to their involvement in the forced beard and hair cutting of seven members of other Amish communities and assaults on two others in 2011. Eight defendants have already served their sentences and cannot be returned to prison. Attorneys have asked a federal judge in a written motion to release the remaining eight defendants, including community leader Samuel Mullet Sr., by sentencing them to time served. Mullet has been in custody for just over three years and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in early 2013.

A jury found all 16 guilty in 2012. Mullet did not directly participate in any of the attacks, but prosecutors accused him of exercising control over members of his community and helping hide evidence.

Defense attorneys said Mullet is not likely to get into trouble again.

“This case has served to educate both the Amish and the general population about the dangers of such conduct,” his attorneys wrote. “Mullet’s only wish is to return to a peaceful Amish community and put this ordeal behind him.”

Mullet’s life would be much different today, his attorneys said. His wife of nearly 40 years died in November and several community members have left the Amish faith, including one of his co-defendants.

The community in Bergholz, which sits near the West Virginia panhandle, has been shunned by other Amish communities and hasn’t been able to find another Amish bishop willing to perform marriages and funerals, according to the defense motion.

“A stigma will forever be attached to this community,” the attorneys wrote.



John O’Hurley is the unofficial seventh most interesting man in the world. We know this because the “Seinfeld” actor cleverly surmises that little-known fact on his Twitter bio. (I always know if someone has a healthy sense of humor based on what they say about themselves in 140 characters or less via their Twitter account “bio.”)

So if John O’Hurley, 60, is the seventh, then his alter-ego — J. Peterman — can’t be far behind. There are few second-banana sitcom characters that deserve to have a spin-off series, but this is one that should have been a slam-dunk! It didn’t happen (is it ever too late?) so The Huffington Post posed that very possibility to the actor who played Elaine Benes’ (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) boss to find out if that was even close to happening.

The talented, debonair actor talked to us about his 34-year career, including his stint on Broadway and with the touring company of “Chicago;” how he ended up on the first season of DWTS; one of his favorite episodes of “Seinfeld;” his ex-wife sitting in on the panel of “To Tell The Truth,” and, well, why he almost turned down the role of a lifetime — J. Peterman (and what was the method behind the madness of that J. Peterman persona?).

I love your Twitter handle. It’s so cute that you call yourself the seventh most interesting man in the world. Who are the first six?

I don’t have six people. I figure there are only six people having a better day than I am. (Laughs)

Okay. That works.

I’m an eternal optimist.

Before I saw you in “Chicago” I actually had no idea you had such an incredible singing voice. Was there any time in your early career, maybe in your teens or your early twenties, that you wanted to be Elvis? You’re very handsome and you have a beautiful singing voice.

You’re very kind. No, I don’t think I had the rock and roll bones within me. When I was 16, I was part of the worst rock and roll band ever assembled.

What was it called?

It was called The Whiskey Rebellion. We only booked one job and it was my junior high school graduation dance.

So you never wanted to be that breakout singer early in your career?

I’m sure I wanted to be, but it just wasn’t going to happen for me. I’ll tell you a very interesting story. I grew up wanting to be an actor from the age of three, and all parts of entertainment were included in that. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, in a sense of disgust I would put my hands on my hips and I would point towards the black and white television in the corner of the room and I would say, ‘Well I am an actor so that’s what I’m going to be.’ The fact that they didn’t recognize that was obviously a source of consternation to me.

I grew up thinking of myself as an actor. I was in all the skits and the talent shows, and I would organize some of them in my early years in school. When I think I was 12 or 13-years-old I was singing one day and a friend of mine said I had the worst voice he had ever heard and it shut me up because I was afraid I was hearing something that everybody else didn’t, or they were hearing something that I didn’t, and I didn’t sing again. It really took the music program in college to get in there and drag my voice kicking and screaming from me.

That was probably someone who was just jealous of your looks and your talent.

You can call it what you will but it underscores what I always feel about as you mature with your sense of who you are, is that passion can be destroyed.

That’s a great observation, because it is very hard for anyone to pick themselves up after a crushing putdown from someone.

Especially about something as tenuous as singing, because no one ever hears their real voice. The first time I heard my voice on a tape recorder when I was a little kid, I just … I said, ‘That can’t be my voice.’ You hear a different voice than what you’re actually projecting. You have the perfect audio system inside of your body to resonate everything, but that is not what’s bouncing off the walls and people are hearing. You have to become friends with that voice that you actually use from the other

I read that you’ve done over a thousand performances in “Chicago.” I’m not an actress, but I can’t imagine doing eight shows a week, traveling from city to city. Does that ever get old or do you get recharged in every city?

More to the latter. I really enjoy touring for the good and for the bad. It gives me an opening night and a closing night every week, and for an actor that’s a lot of fun. It’s kind of a short-term gratification, because you get this quick opening and then you get the sadness of the closing night and having to pack up and move on.

I’m going to switch gears just a moment. I saw in an interview you gave that you almost turned down the part of J. Peterman on “Seinfeld” because you said the script just didn’t read funny.

I [almost] turned it down because I had my own series cancelled the day before they called me to read for the part. It was called “A Whole New Ballgame”on ABC. I had already gotten a call from Larry David’s casting office to come over the next day because they had this role that they wanted me to chew up and spit out called J. Peterman.

Originally I said no because I was licking my wounds after having my series cancelled and I didn’t want to go guest star on somebody else’s. The next morning my manager called me up and said just go blow it out of your system and have fun with it. So when I got over to “Seinfeld,” they didn’t have the full script assembled. All they had was about half of it, and then they had a copy of the J. Peterman monologue which they gave me to read. They said they just wanted the character to sound the way a catalog is written, as though these long Hemingway adventure stories are just tripping off of his tongue.

What I meant about it didn’t read funny is when we did the table read for the first episode there were no jokes in it, and I said, ‘This is not funny.’ I [thought], ‘This is the number one show on television? They just cancelled my series and this is the number one show on television?’ I was kind of scratching my head. I didn’t realize that “Seinfeld” doesn’t read funny, it plays funny. It involves the performances of the cast to take something like that and make it funny. Most of it is just simply observational. It takes the comedic abilities of the cast to make it funny in terms of moment-to-moment comic experience.

Writers can write a script with a character on paper, but it takes the actor to make that character come to life. When you saw that character — J. Peterman — on the page, what was your inspiration for him?

When they gave me the catalog and the script and these long kind of ridiculous monologues, it struck me as a little bit of a forties radio drama combined with a little bit of a bad Charles Kuralt. That was kind of the genesis of the character. He was this kind of poetic adventurer and a legend in his own mind. Over the arch of the character for the four seasons that I was there, the character to the writers just became more and more absurd and they had more fun with him. He became more of kind of a corporate Mr. Magoo. Everything he said just came out with a sense of lunacy to it.

We all get in a bad mood every now and then, so when your wife gets in a bad mood do you ever bring out the J. Peterman voice to make her laugh?

My wife is never in a bad mood. Believe it or not, we’ve been married for ten years as of last August and we have never had to raise our voices to each other. She is the most balanced, happy individual I’ve ever met in my life.

Your portrayal of J. Peterman is brilliant. There are not many sitcoms that deserve a spin-off but there should have been a spin-off of J. Peterman. Was that ever close to happening?

There was a lot of discussion about the spin-offs, but Jerry and the gang and Larry [David] were very adamant about the fact that most spin-offs kind of cheapen the product, the syndication product that they had.

Why did you leave the show?

The show ended.

OK, that’s embarrassing. I knew that. (Laughs)

I was there at the last episode.

That’s right. You were there ’95 through ’98 when it ended. That was a good reason to leave. I think I watched every episode but my brain has obviously been on hiatus since 1998.

(Laughs) Listen, I would have still shown up out of force of habit. I remember Jerry calling the day that the series ended and that was the day I was signing the papers on my brand new house, my first house in L.A. I was thinking to myself: They’ll never find his body. (Laughs) I remember being in the parking lot on one of the electronic appliance stores in L.A. when I got the news that they were canceling the show and I had just bought a refrigerator.

What’s your personal favorite “Seinfeld” episode that you were in?

There were many shows that had great Peterman monologues in them and those were favorites of mine just for those moments because the monologues were the most fun. I would say my favorite episode is the Frogger episode where George had the top score on the Frogger video game and was trying to preserve it, even though the pizza place it was in would have to move it across the street. That was the same episode that they had the wedding cake episode where Elaine stole a priceless piece of wedding cake from my refrigerator and tried to replace it with a two dollar slice of Entenmann’s. She received her punishment gastrointestinal.

That was a great episode! You were on the very first “Dancing with the Stars” show in 2005. How did you get that gig and are you surprised it’s been on the air for 10 years?

I’ll answer the last part first. I’m not surprised because the first time the people from ABC took me out to lunch and said we really want you to be on this dance show — this is how difficult it was for them to assemble a cast [back then]. They took me out to lunch to try to talk me into being on the show. At the end of lunch, I said, ‘Sure, I’ll be glad to host it.’ They said, ‘No, we want you to do it.’ I said, ‘No, I’d like to host it.’ They said, ‘No, we have a host. We want you to be in it.’ They showed me the tapes. It was “Come Dance with Me” in London, the British series and I thought it had all the elements of a hit to me. It’s live, it’s costumes, it’s dancing as well, and it had the celebrity factor. Also at the time I said, ‘I’m almost 50-years-old and I don’t know how to ballroom dance.’ So I said yes.

Kelly Monaco won but then you won the dance off. That’s the only time they had a dance off, which I thought worked well at that time. Did you feel vindicated after you won the dance off?

I had a lot of fun with the whole thing. I felt vindicated because we raised an incredible amount of money for charity that week. In addition to our salaries, they kicked in $150,000 apiece for our charities. I put mine towards my charity, which was Golfers Against Cancer.

I loved you on “Family Feud” and “To Tell the Truth.” “To Tell the Truth” was a great classic show from way back when and your version was on for a couple of years (2000-2002).

Of all the jobs I’ve ever had in entertainment, that was my favorite.

Bryan Cranston ( “Breaking Bad”) and Eva LaRue (“CSI: Miami”) were part of your guest panel, right?

I had Eva on occasionally. Yes. I had Bryan on. Meshach Taylor was the first seat, Paula Poundstone was the second seat. Those were permanent. Then the third and fourth seats rotated.

I didn’t know until I did the research on you that Eva was your ex-wife. I think it’s wonderful that you put your ex-wife on that show!

Yeah, Eva and I are still good friends. Love never dissipates. It just changes shape, that’s all.

That’s so sweet! Do you have a “Family Feud” favorite moment?

Yes. Two guys came up for the face off and the question was ‘Name a classic film that begins with the letter C.’ You’d say Casablanca or Citizen Kane, and they were all up there on the board. One guy hits the buzzer, looks me in the eye and says, Seabiscuit.

What’s on your career bucket list now?

I just finished a six-week stint on Broadway with the show. I’ll finish up the tour in March. I’m sure there will be another tour next year and, God willing, I’ll probably be part of that as well. Bryan Cranston and I have a new series that we are circling the wagons on right now. It’s a comedy. I’ll be starring in it and Bryan will be producing. We’re getting that ready to film. I have a new game show that is in development right now. I have a movie in Greece that I’m filming this spring. I’ve got a bunch of offers to do things this summer, and that’s the bucket right now.

Follow John O’Hurley on Twitter: @ImJohnOHurley

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

BERLIN (AP) — More than 6,000 people have died in eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict almost a year ago that has led to a “merciless devastation of civilian lives and infrastructure,” the U.N. human rights office said Monday.

Hundreds of civilians and military personnel have been killed in recent weeks alone after an upswing in fighting particularly near Donetsk airport and in the Debaltseve area, the Geneva-based body said in a report covering the period from December to February. The strategic railroad town of Debaltseve was captured from Ukrainian government forces last month by pro-Russian separatists. While Russia denies its troops are fighting in Ukraine, the U.N. cited “credible reports (that) indicate a continuing flow of heavy weaponry and foreign fighters” from Russia.

“This has sustained and enhanced the capacity of armed groups of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ and ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ to resist Government armed forces and to launch new offensives in some areas, including around the Donetsk airport, Mariupol and Debaltseve,” it said.

U.N. rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein said many civilians stay in embattled areas “because they fear for their lives if they try to move.”

“Many others stay to protect children, other family members, or their property,” while some are forced to stay or unable to leave, he said.

The report cited “credible allegations of arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearances, committed mostly by the armed groups but in some instances also by the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies.” It noted video footage appeared to support allegations of summary executions by the rebels.

The displacement of 1 million people has also increased the risk for women from sex traffickers, the report found.

Zeid called on all sides to comply with a recent accord signed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, that foresees the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line.


Frank Jordans can be reached at

An NYPD detective was killed on his way to work Friday in a wrong-way crash — and in a tragic twist of fate, his wife was stuck in the ensuing traffic jam as she tried to take the couple’s daughter to school.

Paul Duncan, 46, was driving south on Sprain Brook Parkway near Greenburgh, New York at about 3:50 a.m. when the crash occurred, according to NBC News. A Honda Civic headed the wrong way crashed head-on into Duncan’s SUV, sending it over a guard rail and into a snowbank. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The wrong-way driver, 20-year-old Efren Moreano, allegedly had marijuana in the car at the time and police believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, according to the New York Daily News. Moreano was taken to a nearby hospital and placed in a medically induced coma.

Duncan’s wife, Rechelle Duncan, told reporters that she drove by the scene of the accident shortly before 7 a.m. Friday. She said it took her two hours to get to the city, where she was trying to get her 13-year-old daughter to school. She didn’t realize until later that the traffic was caused by an accident that claimed her husband’s life.

“I don’t even know how that’s possible,” she told NBC through tears. “He was thoughtful, he was disciplined. He made really good dinners. He was funny, a sharp dresser, a really good dad.”

paul duncan

Paul Duncan

Rechelle Duncan was very composed in her interviews after the crash. She said she wanted to stay strong for her daughter.

The detective was a 17-year veteran with the Internal Affairs Bureau’s narcotics team who planned to retire this year, according to the New York Post. His funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday.

Police took Moreano’s blood sample at the hospital and will test it to determine whether alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Whether you are thinking about signing up for your first 5K or are gearing up for a full marathon, the first two steps in your training are the same.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s state TV says government forces backed by allied Shiite and Sunni fighters have begun a large-scale military operation to recapture Saddam Hussein’s hometown from the Islamic State extremist group.

Al-Iraqiya television said Monday that the forces were attacking the city of Tikrit, backed by artillery and airstrikes by Iraqi fighter jets. It said the militants were dislodged from some areas outside the city, but gave no details. Hours ahead of the operation, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on Sunni tribal fighters to abandon the extremist group, promising them a pardon.

Tikrit, some 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, fell into the hands of the Islamic State group last summer along with the country’s second-largest city of Mosul and other areas in Sunni heartland.

Recently, I sat down to interview The Vaselines, a Scottish indie band of immense cult appeal.

The story of The Vaselines differs greatly from the classic example of a band’s steady rise to fame. Originally formed in 1986, the band, initially only comprised of Scotland natives Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee, could at the time, be thought of more as a fun experiment conducted by two young musicians than a band tenaciously seeking fame. The band’s superbly crafted songs embodied a carefree spirit, and appealed to listeners of pop rock as well as punk rock.

One such fan of theirs was Kurt Cobain, the late front man for Nirvana. By the time The Vaselines’ first album had been released in 1989, they had broken up. However, with the rise of Nirvana’s career, it was Cobain who implored them to regroup, asking them if they would support Nirvana during their stay in Scotland on their 1991 European tour.

The supplemental recognition brought on by Nirvana came and went, though. McKee and Kelly soon went back to their lives, as well as other musical projects.

Although they remained friendly, the band endured an extensive break. Then, in 2008, they reunited and decided to continue touring on and off, releasing two albums since their reunification: 2010’s Sex with an X and 2014’s V for Vaselines.

Their repertoire can be thought of as fun and reckless, lacquered in youthful ambitions and served with brash, boisterous bursts of instrumentation.

This piece is the first in a two-part series, and it is a pattern that I intend to emulate in my future blog posts. For every act that I blog about, I will post a transcription of our interview first, followed by a show review. Such a review will be posted shortly after this blog.

On Thurs., Jan. 22, I had the chance to sit down with the original odd couple of indie rock. Here is what transpired:


How’s the tour been?

EK: Great.

FM: Yeah, pretty good.

EK: It’s been fun. We’re really enjoying it. Sometimes you get daunted when you see two weeks of shows ahead of you and the shadow is kind of intense, but We’ve got one day off, 14 days. So you get into that and you think: ‘What am I getting into?’ but then you get on tour, and –

FM: You get into the rhythm of it and you don’t have to think about anything else for two weeks. You don’t even know what’s going on in the world after a while.

I was wondering: which songs of yours are your favorites to play live?

EK: I like the new ones because they’re fresher. The older ones, we’ve only been playing them for the last six years. Frances last night zoned out during one of the old songs and started singing when we shouldn’t be singing. [Frances laughs] Sometimes you can do that, but basically it was a laid-back song.

FM: My mind wandered a little bit.

EK: So the new ones keep you focused, because you’re still getting them rather than just kind of concentrating on lyrics.

Seeing as now that you’re writing new songs as The Vaselines, how have your songwriting routines changed?

EK: A bit.

FM: We’re more structured about it. When we wrote Dum Dum, some of those songs just materialized from the time we spent together as a couple.

EK: Yeah, it’s more formal. Frances comes to the house, we send each other things beforehand, and we get time to sit down and write lyrics.

FM: We were much more prepared for both Sex With An X and the new album. We knew what we wanted, and we had also our solo projects, so we were much more experienced in the studio.

EK: Twenty years ago, we didn’t really know what we were doing. It was a brand new experience for us as we were learning how to write songs. It was totally intuitive and what came out was just an outpouring.

How often do you two write songs?

EK: We only write when we know we’re going to make a record.

FM: Well, you write…

EK: I’ve got ideas inside but I don’t finish things often. For The Vaselines, when I’m writing I just play guitar every couple of days and I’ll put things aside and record them. We put things away, and when we decided to this record, it was like: ‘What have we got?’ We only sit down and write Vaselines songs and finish them if we know we’re going to go into the studio and make a record. We don’t have tons of songs.

FM: We bring ideas to the table. I was talking to someone about albums and how musicians keep putting out records, and it does seem like a machine, you know. Bands — they record a record and then they tour the record, then they record another record — it’s just too much.

Yeah, it seems kind of inorganic.

FM: Yeah, and as a musician, as a songwriter, you need time to write the songs. Otherwise, you’re just turning things out. That’s the way we’d like to be.

EK: You need to live some life to get experiences to be inspired by things. You can’t just like get in this hamster wheel.

FM: In the words of Jeffrey Lewis, you get the blowjob and then you write the song after.

The music of The Vaselines is ripe with religious elements. There are referential lyrics in many of your songs, and the music video for Sex With an X has you two in religious garb. What are your attitudes towards religion in general? I get the feeling you’re poking fun at it.

FM: I think we have a healthy disregard for it.

EK: A healthy respect and disregard. I think if people want to believe in something, that’s fine. I think we went through a Catholic upbringing, and we came out the other side of it not really believing in it, so we kind of started to poke fun at ourselves, making fun of the way we were brought up, and not really taking a pass at anyone else.

FM: Well, I think it’s making fun of a culture reference, and it’s something that we know, and so it’s our healthy disregard for it.

EK: It’s kind of shaped in your formative years. You’re getting all of this religion, so it’s kind of something we write about. It’s quite an experience and I experienced a lot of it. I mean, I was an altar boy for about five years, and I was there every week, twice a week, and it’s something that’s still there — you can’t escape it.

FM: Funnily enough, someone asked me at the Chicago show last night: ‘Were you really a nun?’ ‘Was that real?’ (laughs)

EK: We like to dress up like actors. We like to dress up and show off. We thought: ‘What could we dress up as?’ So we dressed up as a priest and a nun.

Speaking of dressing up, I also liked your video for Crazy Lady.

FM: (Laughs)

I didn’t see the ending coming!

EK: Yeah!

FM: I watched it with my kids and my wee girl got really upset. And my son said: ‘How did you get to all of those places?’ Because we filmed it in one day. ‘How did you get to Moscow and Vienna?’

EK: Because it makes no sense at all. It’s really short — it’s like two-and-a-half minutes long and you think: ‘That doesn’t make any sense… I have to watch it again.’

One thing I liked was when it showed you two traveling to different cities, the map has some outdated countries. I saw Austria-Hungary on the map.

FM: Uh-huh!

EK: And also, one of the cities we go to is Venice, but that was a mistake. It was supposed to be Vienna. We had to speak with the director and we had a lot of ideas, and then he went away and wrote the script, and none of us noticed that it said Venice. We thought: ‘Venice, great!’ but it’s supposed to be Vienna.

FM: We had really good fun doing it. We had different directions for those two videos, but I think we like to have our sense of humor come across in our videos because that’s who we are.

So the Nirvana connection is well known, and I feel like you two get that a lot, so I’m just going to ask one simple question about that: I’d like each of you to tell me what your favorite memory of that band is.

EK: I think for me, it was actually getting to sing with him at the Reading Festival. I got onstage with him and I sang a song. I’d never been to a festival before, and I wound up there just by chance. I played a show with Hole and Mudhoney the night before, and I was supposed to come home in the van, but I ended up onstage. It was such an amazing experience. That’s my personal favorite. Beat that (Kelly leans over to McKee and mockingly points at her, laughing)!

FM: Well, I maybe can! They came to Edinburgh and asked if we’d support them. We had split up by then, but we went to Edinburgh and I didn’t know who they were, or anything about them, but as the evening progressed, we all got pretty drunk, and as we were all leaving, I got a nice kiss from Kurt Cobain. Beat that (McKee turns to Kelly and points back at him. Kelly mockingly exclaims aloud as if his story has been beaten.)!

On the cheek?

FM: I couldn’t possibly comment… Of course it was on the cheek! The bum cheek (laughs). Only there on the first night.

So after the tour, what’s next for The Vaselines? Do you have any immediate plans?

FM: Dumfries (laughs).

EK: We fly from LA to Scotland, and then we drive next morning to Dumfries, and then we drive straight back and go to sleep for a week. And then we have nothing after that. There’s talk of maybe Japan, but nothing’s even penciled in. What’s the next step? Is there a next step? Is this it? We can work with that, it’s just that we don’t really know what’s happening until it happens.

That seems to be kind of your style, though. You kind of just do it when you want to do it.

EK: Yeah.

FM: Yes. Yeah — we don’t answer to the man.

EK: Yeah — we are the man.

FM: There’s no man.

EK: When we were touring the last record, there was a year gap where we kind of had to say: ‘What — is this it? Are we not going to take any offers for shows, or are we going to not record anymore, or…’ And then we said: ‘Well, let’s just see what we can do. Let’s see if we can write another record,’ and here we are. We’ll have that meeting at some point and we’ll decide what’s going to happen.

This question’s just for you, Eugene. I read in an interview somewhere that said you were interested in writing a musical-

FM: Well, that’s on the cards. We wanted to do: ‘The Vaselines, the Musical [here, she says: “I like to call it”] The Next Stage [it’s ambiguous whether she’s continuing the title or if the musical is the “next stage” of their careers.].

So you think that’s a possible future?

EK: I mean — it’s just fun to talk about it. The reason I say that is because I wrote three songs for different theater shows and it was just good to see actors singing your song in a big production, and I just thought: ‘Great, I would love to write more and let people do all of the work’ (laughs). You just sit there as a writer with a cigar (imitates smoking a fat cigar) and be like ‘Oh, yes…’ (he says this with a heaving exhale). We’ve had an idea for something for years and had never really got right to doing it, so… but it’s kind of just pie in the sky right now.

FM: With tap dancing and everything.

EK: A Vaselines musical would be great, though. We’d have to get a story together and-

FM: We have a story!

It could be about The Vaselines!

FM: Of course it could! We could just turn all of our songs into musical numbers.

You said before, too, that you want your lyrics to be universal, so they’re up for interpretation.

FM: Exactly

If either of you weren’t musicians, what do you think you’d be doing now?

FM: Well, I’m not always a musician.

EK: Frances has got a life (laughs).

FM: (Laughs) I’ve got a life, thank god.

EK: I don’t know. I’ve often thought about that. If Nirvana hadn’t existed and hadn’t recorded those songs, where would my life be? The things I was doing at the time, I was doing graphic design and I was interested in music, so still probably music.

FM: I think acting. Maybe not in the same theater company, but I think we were both aspiring actors at one point.

EK: Yeah, just in youth theater, and drama workshops, and improv.

FM: I was really bad at remembering lines actually.

EK: Yeah, I noticed that last night, actually during one of the songs.

FM: (laughs)

Well, as far as questions I’ve prepared, that’s pretty much all of them.

FM: You didn’t ask the most biting question of all that I get asked every night: ‘Are you guys on tour?’

[Sarcastically] Yeah are you on tour? Wait — you guys are on tour, right?

FM: (laughs)

EK: It’s funny you say that. I couldn’t believe people actually asked that.

OK, what’s the worst question you’ve ever been asked?

FM: ‘Are you guys ever coming back?’

EK: We’re here, and we probably won’t come back for years, and they ask us: ‘When are you coming back?’ We’re here now!

FM: I know! Just be in the moment!

EK: One night only. We’ll never come back here again.

FM: Except I’m not that rude (laughs).

EK: People shout out for solo songs, and it’s just like — ‘We can’t do it…’ Today is for The Vaselines; we’re doing Vaselines songs.


Shortly after the interview, I attempted to take a photo of the band. I soon realized that the camera, which was lent to me, had not been charged and did not have any charging chord with it in the case.

However, Eugene was kind enough to let me use his iPhone to take their photo. Admittedly, the photo is not optimal — it’s slightly blurry, and it did not adequately capture the lighting of the room we were in.

Despite this blunder of mine, there is a silver lining. I did, after all, get to use his iPhone to take his photo.

Frances and Eugene have had their picture taken many times over, but how many fans have taken their photo using one of their cameras? I think that qualifies as the cherry-on-top for this interview.


So much has been written about the stress of weeknight dinners. So much, and yet: when it’s 5:00 and you have no idea what’s for dinner, who cares what brilliance has been written? Who knows what wonderful recipes are out there? What if you forgot to go shopping, and there’s no chance in the world that you’re running out for rock shrimp or sea bass? Or even broccoli?

That’s when the freezer comes in. Food writers are prone to singing the praises of the pantry, but your life can be so much easier if you pay attention to keeping a well-stocked freezer, too. And, like pantry items, we’re talking about shelf life, or frozen life. So, stock up in the frozen food section baby, because dinner is coming every night.

I’ve teamed up with the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association to bring you five great weeknight dinners that are anything but BO-ring. In fact, this week’s worth of dinners is like having a little tiny United Nations in your freezer, as you hop around the globe for culinary inspiration.

Elsa and Anna have spoken; frozen is the new black.

1. Pizza with Turkey Sausage, Artichoke Hearts, and Pesto


Let’s start in Italy. Making your own pizza from start to finish is a time consuming process, but when you start with a frozen pizza and add your own toppings, (also frozen!) it becomes incredibly easy to make a customized dinner. This has lots of vegetables and additional protein from the turkey sausage built right in, so it’s a complete one-dish meal.

2. Hot Corn Queso Dip


And now: a hint of Mexico. Every once in a while you need a dinner that is just plain fun, and this is it. Make a big honking salad to go along with this delicious dip, and pass the chips. If for nothing else, this is the reason you need to keep a bag of frozen corn in your freezer.

3. One Pot Cod, Cabbage, and Edamame


Whiplash yourself to Asia. This light dish is really delicate, but also very satisfying. If the queso was a reason to have corn in your freezer, this is the reason to keep shelled, frozen edamame around. Don’t forget that frozen cod makes an easy, delicious protein as well!

4. Salmon and Sweet Pea Salad


This healthy salad is not only made from frozen ingredients, but is pretty easy on the eyes as well! It’s kind of Mediterranean in nature, punched up with capers. While you cook the frozen salmon, mix the simple dressing. You’ll have a perfect chilled or room temperature meal for lunch or dinner. There are lots of excellent frozen bread options as well, and a warm roll would round things out perfectly.

5. Garlicky Shrimp with Broccoli and Meyer Lemon


We end in ….I don’t know, California I think, because of the Meyer lemons (you could use any old lemon, and this will be delicious). I am bereft without a bag of sizable, frozen shrimp. They defrost in a snap, and since essentially all shrimp are frozen when harvested, we all buy and use shrimp from the freezer (even if you don’t know it.) The quality of this dish is perfect, and using frozen broccoli as well means that you can just reach into the freezer for all of the main ingredients.

Real Food. Frozen. Inspiring consumers to discover the frozen food section for every meal occasion, from quick, convenient dishes to culinary-inspired recipes. Find more at

Over lunch last week I was talking about a recent in-house corporate workshop I had done on personal branding online. As I looked up from my chicken salad, I could see the surprise on my friend’s face. He didn’t get it. He’s not entirely convinced that there is a need for paying attention to how he shows up digitally. He equates it with wasting time. Plus he found it surprising that any company would want to help their employees improve their digital selves.

I explained that smart companies get it. They understand that online profiles are for much more than simply looking for your next job. Smart companies understand those profiles are a reflection of their staff and an indirect reflection of the company. They see that a work force that understands how to use social networking to their advantage can also serve as brand ambassadors for the company.

My friend’s reaction is not uncommon. And let’s face it – not all companies are smart. Even as the importance of having a good digital profile is more readily accepted and recognized there is still a lot of mystery surrounding it. With that come many misconceptions. I offer six of what I see as the most common.

Personal Branding Online Is Not As Important As Personal Branding In Person. I will never argue the value of human to human interaction. But your personal brand online has become as important as the offline version. It is increasingly the first impression one has of you. If you’re not giving thought to how you show up online, you may never get the chance to strut your stuff in person.

No one is ever going to Google me. Somewhere along the line Google became a verb. We Google restaurant locations, vacation destinations and questions we want answered. Long ago we stopped buying anything we have not done an investigate online search for. Yet less than half of us claim to be aware we – as in people – are being searched and only 6% have set up any sort of alert to let us know when our name is being mentioned somewhere in cyberspace.

It’s all about LinkedIn. When I lead my Your Digital You workshops, I always tell people that if they are nowhere else online and they want to stay marketable – they need to at least have a presence on LinkedIn. But LinkedIn alone is not all that makes up your digital footprint. The awful truth is that everything you do online is being tracked. Everything. And it will be searchable. According to Jobvite 93% of recruiters will review a candidates social profile before making a hiring decision and they are not just limiting themselves to LinkedIn.

It’s only important when you are looking for a job. This is one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make. I see it time and time again where people wait until they are unemployed to get that profile up. They got so comfortable in their current jobs that they forgot to pay any attention to networking outside of their company. They fail to understand that social networks are not just a place to share pictures of cats – but a place to learn, to connect with like minded people and keep up with their industry. And if they so desire a place to increase influence and demonstrate expertise.

Twitter is useless. The perception on the outside is that Twitter is nothing more than people sharing what they had for breakfast. What they don’t get that is that Twitter is also a research tool that carries a lot of influence. You can follow people you want to know more about and companies you want to connect with. You can share your expertise. And if you listen – and yes – social networking is as much about listening as it is about talking – you have the opportunity to learn.

There is no place in my online brand for being human. In a world in which it is so easy to connect globally, we are all lonelier than ever. We search for points of engagement. Adding a little slice of who you are as a person is what differentiates you from the noise. I am not suggesting sharing pictures of you dancing on a bar stool – unless that happens to be what you do for a living – but I am suggesting your profile sounds like and looks like you and gives me something beyond a list of job skills. A lot of jargon or what David Meerman Scott calls gobbledygook – those paragraphs you need to read three times to understand – is not a sign of a human. Include something in your profile that lets us know you are a living, breathing person – one whose brand is clear and we want to know better.

Joanne Tombrakos is the Founder and Chief Storyteller at Joanne Tombrakos International, a marketing consultancy specializing in demystifying digital for business and life through practical tools, education and simple advice. An Indie Author, Adjunct @NYU, and Speaker she blogs at

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