Is Big Brother Watching or Are You Watching Big Brother?

Depending on when you were born one of these two pictures will appeal to you more.

A big sarcastic shout out to WordPress for not making it possible to put these pictures side by side in any reasonable way. Depending on when you were born the phrase Big Brother is either a good thing or a bad thing. For those of us born long enough ago to remember George Orwell’s book, this post is for you because in the internet age Big Brother is truly watching you. The following are the ten best search terms people put into Google during the last 90 days that brought them to my blog:

10. Reasons not to do the ice bucket challenge: Like everyone else on the internet I had a post about the ice bucket challenge titled The Top Ten Reasons NOT To Do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s a sad statement on our society that about 1000 times since I wrote that post someone got to my blog hoping to find a reason not to do it.

9. has phil taylor had plastic surgery? Much like the late Joan Rivers I may have had some work done. But hey, I still look pretty damn good for a 87 year old don’t I?

8. sexiest man alive 2014: From your search engine to God’s ears! I’m thinking that this just might be my year.

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7. Bradley Cooper hygiene: Brad was on track to play one of The Golden Boys in the movie adaptation of my book White Picket Prisons but because of his hygiene we couldn’t stand to have him on the set any longer. We replaced him with Justin Bieber.

6. robin williams crazy ones cancellation contributary factor: Hey, whoa nellie! Don’t pin the cancellation of Robin Williams last show on me! Now if I could somehow engineer the cancellation of Duck Dynasty I would take full credit for that.

5. phil taylor american idol 2003: No, of course I didn’t win, unless you count me and Kelly Clarkson, if you know what I mean.

4. taylor swift crazy: Did I date Taylor Swift? Did Taylor Swift write one of her breakup songs about me? Is Taylor Swift crazy? Because of a legal agreement with someone I’m not able to comment about, I can’t answer any of those questions. You can connect your own dots. Also I want one specific person who I know is reading this to remember that the restraining order says 500 feet.

3. humorous birthday cards for men bus driver: That’s right! There’s new Phil Factor themed birthday cards for men bus drivers. Check them out at your local Hallmark store!

2. time travel to save john lennon: Ok, sure, I like to dabble in a little bit of science when I’m not writing The Phil Factor. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to swap Bieber for Lennon.

1. horniestintheland.com: Someone searches that website or the phrase ‘horniest in the land’ and for some reason Google has an odd hiccup that brings them to my blog. I swear. Go try it. I promise nothing bad will happen.

If you noticed the lack of capitalization in all of the search terms, that’s not my doing. That’s exactly how they were typed in by all of you out there. As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor feel free to share by Facebook, Twitter, or reblogging. Have a great weekend! ~Phil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursdays! The Facebook Funeral

I post this with some sadness as it reminds me of the recent 1 year anniversary of a high school  classmate who passed on far too soon.

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Technology is the opiate of the asses” I thought I was clever when I wrote this back in 2006. Now I’d like to admit that I was wrong. As many of you remember, I attended my high school class reunion about six weeks ago. I had a great time reconnecting with old friends, catching up, reliving old memories, and talking about our families. One moment however jarred me emotionally a bit.

Over to the left side on a table by the wall there was a large sheet cake with a celebratory greeting to our graduating class. The cake looked delicious and full of the promise of sugary butter creme frosting. I was looking forward to getting a piece later. Then I noticed a piece of plain white paper sitting unobtrusively on the tablecloth beneath the cake. Typed upon it were eleven names. The single, simple sentence at the top of the page calmly explained that these were classmates who had passed away since high school.

A couple were friends with whom I had spent significant time with in high school and who I had looked unsuccessfully for on Facebook over the last few years. I was sad. I was sad for two reasons. First I was sad about the loss for me, the family and other friends of those that passed away. Then I was sad that I had missed their passing. Sad that I didn’t know. Sad that I couldn’t have touched base with others to share our sorrow. I was sad that I hadn’t been able to share a word of condolence with their families and to tell them of my fond memories of their loved one.

This past week another member of my graduating class passed away. Sara had a bubbly personality and a smile that lit up everything and everyone around her. A large majority of our graduating class is connected on Facebook and there has been an outpouring of both sorrow, condolences, and a sharing of stories and pictures.  People have written on her page and those of her family members to express thoughts and share memories. The best part is the pictures. Not everyone could, would, or should go to her wake, but Facebook has been filled with pictures of Sara happy and celebrating life. Pictures of Sara as we will always remember her, smiling. Chances are that those pictures on Facebook have brought many of us some smiles through the tears this week.

Earlier this week a friend from high school messaged me on Facebook to ask if I would write something on The Phil Factor related to our classmates passing. I replied that although I knew her and was friendly with her I didn’t consider myself a close friend and that I might not be the appropriate person to write sort of an online eulogy. He replied that he didn’t want me to write a eulogy, but that he wanted to hear my perspective on life and death.

I may not be a great philosopher, but here is what I learned this week: Technology may still be the opiate of the asses, but in some instances it has made the world a smaller and closer place for us all and for that, I am grateful. If I ever die, or more likely when I fake my death, I hope you all enjoy my Facebook Funeral. In fact, I may have to fake my death so some people on Facebook will stop asking me for Candy Crush lives.

As always, if you enjoy what you read on #ThePhilFactor please hit the Facebook and Twitter share buttons.

Wordless Wednesday: Wall Therapy

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Ok, this week I’m going to add words to my Wordless Wednesday. The picture above is another from my city. Several people have commented on my Wordless Wednesdays about how nice it is that my city has so much public art. I thought so too. I drive around the city a lot as part of my job. Over the last few years I noticed many remarkable murals so I decided to make them part of my Wordless Wednesdays posts.

At first I didn’t think there was any pattern or plan, but apparently I was wrong. Shocking, I know. Apparently it’s all part of an annual festival called Wall Therapy that was started in 2011 by a local physician who wanted to give back to his community. You can read about it here

Have a great Wednesday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesdays! My Ten Favorite Concerts

Although I have no musical talent of my own I am a music fan and I love going to live concerts, especially if I can get a good seat. Here are my ten favorite concerts that I’ve seen over the last 30 years.

10. The Police; This was before the internet. I walked about two miles in the snow and waited outside in the freezing cold for four hours to buy tickets. I got a little frostbite in my toes but it was worth it. They were my favorite band at the time.

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9. Yes: Unbelievably musically talented band. They were a bit past their prime when I saw them, but they played all their classics and it was still a great show.

8. Nine Inch Nails: I was an usher at this show an got to stand wherever I wanted to watch. After an intermission the lead singer came back out on stage and just destroyed everything on stage at the end of a song.

NIN

7. The Grateful Dead: It wasn’t the band that was fun to watch, it was the people in the crowd, or more specifically in the parking lot. The goings on in the parking lot before and after the show is a show in itself.

6. Sting: When I saw him he had a sign language interpreter on the side of the stage who was signing the lyrics and moving in time to the music. It was beautiful to watch.

5. 3OH3! If you don’t know them, I’m not sure how to describe their music. It’s kind of rap/hip-hop-pop alternative. Doesn’t matter. They put on a really fun show that has the whole crowd jumping from start to finish.

3OH3-feat-Katy-Perry-Starstrukk-Music-Video

4. Paramore: I just saw them in July. Hayley Williams has a brilliant stage presence. She’s neither big nor loud. She’s a small woman filled with energy who knows how to play to an audience and the cameras. Thoroughly entertaining.

3. All Time Low: They’re an alternative/pop-punk band who never gets any radio play yet sells out shows all over the world. I have no idea how people know about them. I’ve seen them four times thanks to my son’s love of their music. They’re just guys having fun playing music and making jokes.

2. Blink-182: I’ve seen these guys four times. The first was when they were a young band just making it big. My first impression was they were just trying to emulate Green Day. Now they put on a professional, slick show with lots of lights and lasers. I like shiny things.

1. Green Day: If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know of my love of Green Day whom I’ve seen five times. When I first heard their song Basketcase in 1994 I was hooked. The music struck a chord with me. Their concerts are an experience. They involve the audience as much as they can. You walk out feeling like it wasn’t their concert, but our concert.

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So what were your favorite concerts and why?

Have a great Tuesday!~ Phil

 

I Was Cross with CrossFit

I’ve always gone to a gym or done some kind of exercise to keep in shape for nighttime crime-fighting on the rooftops of the city.  I went to the gym the other day and encountered my worst nightmare. Last month, bored with my usual gym routine, I decided to try a CrossFit class. First I had to find the CrossFit class. It wasn’t in a gym. It was in the back of an old, dingy warehouse that looks like the kind of place terrorists plan things. It was filled with black and gray fitness equipment. There was loud heavy metal music and lots of grunting and sweating going on. (insert sex life joke here) The atmosphere said, “This is serious working out. You’re either going to die or be able to lift a Buick when you’re done.” The class was great, intense workouts which I loved.

Picture credit: www.lolpix.com

Picture credit: http://www.lolpix.com

I got the first month of Cross Fit for only $35 through Groupon. When the first month was done I told the owner I’d sign up for two more months. He said, “That’s great Phil. Please hand over all the money in your 401K.” Thinking that this was too pricey I decided to shop for other options to vary my workout routine.

For the last five years I’ve gone to a basic, no frills gym because it’s near my house. This week I looked at other gyms and settled on a new gym. The gym where all the pretty people go. I walked in and there was a chorus of angels and a bright light shone down on me from above. It was the neon sign above the juice bar. I felt like I had walked into a shopping mall. Bright colors, shiny new equipment. Shiny new people. Shiny, happy people.

The gym had all the other stuff I usually do, plus some classes that at least by the title on the schedule looked like they might approximate CrossFit. That’s where it got interesting and the nightmare scenario played out.

The first class I tried was called Bootcamp something. It was suitably challenging and by challenging I mean that I thought I might die by the end, which is a good thing. The challenging, not the actual dying. Avoidance of dying is why I work out. I’m trying to make my heart strong enough that it will never stop beating. Yeah, I know that’s ridiculous, but have you got any better ideas?

Also, apparently the key to being fit is incredibly loud music. At CrossFit there was heavy metal music. Here, at the pretty people gym, there was dance music blaring. I think after dark it turns into a night club. So the Bootcamp class was good. Then next I tried a “Body Works plus Abs” class. That’s when the nightmare started.

It was some kind of aerobics class. The psychotic instructor, Buffy,  wore a wireless mic and every two minutes, between shouting peppy instructions at us, she would give a “Whoop! Whoop!” At first I thought she had Tourette’s, but then each time she did it one or two people in the class would whoop back to her.

Picture credit: dailymail.co.uk

Picture credit: dailymail.co.uk

The nightmare was my attempt to get in rhythm with 15 other people who seemed to be doing the moves in time to the music. I’m not good with rhythm. It’s not my thing. Each time Buffy would start a new move I’d watch her, concentrating, trying to pick up steps of the move and the beat of the song and then jump into motion. I was terrible at it. Terrible to the point that the class held me down on the floor and put a stick in my mouth so I didn’t bite off my tongue during what they thought was a seizure. It wasn’t. I was just that bad. I’m lucky they didn’t send me to a psych ward for being a danger to myself or others. I was the equivalent of someone who doesn’t know how to swim being thrown into the ocean. I just flailed about and waited for the end.

As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor please share by Facebook, Twitter, or re-blogging. Have a great Saturday. See you at the gym!

The Phil Factor: Sexiest Man Alive? Maybe

This is my Throwback Thursday post and also kicks off my annual campaign to be named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.

Sexiest

It’s time.  If you’ve been following The Phil Factor for a while you’re well aware of my past campaigns to be elected President or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first. When I say “my past campaigns” what I mean is my annual post expressing surprise that I wasn’t selected as Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine. Click here to see last years.

I’ve decided that it’s time to be proactive rather than reactive. This year instead of just sitting back and hoping that I’ll be noticed, I’ve decided to actively campaign for Sexiest Man Alive.  I’m serious and I’m going to need your help. Here is my platform:

1. I’m a normal guy. Aren’t we all tired of magazines pushing these unrealistic expectations of what is sexy on us? It’s always rail thin models with implants and “hunky” guys (also maybe with implants) who have no real jobs so they work out all day with a personal trainer. How about if People chose a “real” man for Sexiest Man Alive? A normal guy who is sexy because he’s smart, funny, works hard, and provides for his family? Isn’t that what most women really want at the end of the day instead of an unattainable playa’? As you can see from the picture below, I don’t have a single implant, hair or otherwise!

Arnold

2. No nightlife? No problem. It’s hard for your man to be sexy for you if he’s out at the clubs or allegedly “on location” shooting his next project. You know what I think women find sexy? A man who comes home at night with flowers, helps clean up from dinner, takes the kids to the park and then sits down with a glass of wine next to you on the couch while you watch those ridiculous cooking and home improvement shows. Of course if I had a nightlife, or friends in real life who invited me out that would be different, but I don’t, so consequently, I’m sexy as hell to real women who want a real man. I’m not even sure I can find my Hammer pants anymore. Is that still a thing?

3. Intelligence. Now I know nobody is going to mistake me for Leonardo DaVinci, but I’m pretty sure I could crush Leonardo DiCaprio at Jeopardy! Most people think intelligence is sexy. Marilyn Monroe once said that the sexiest man alive was Albert Einstein. I’m not going to give you a lecture on physics, but I can hold up my end of a conversation.  Just like Spike TV has that Pros Vs. Joes show where former pro athletes take on “ordinary guys” at a variety of sports challenges, I’m willing to pit myself against any show biz pretty boy in a Jeopardy! challenge. C’mon People magazine! Set it up! Let’s make this years Sexiest Man Alive earn it by being sexy inside and out. How about me, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet vs. Channing Tatum, Bradley Cooper & Ryan Reynolds in a game of Trivial Pursuit? That would be riveting television!

BigBang

So I’ve made my case as to why I should be named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive this year, but how can I get People Magazine to find out about me? That’s where you come in. If everyone reading this does two small things I think we can change the world, or at least a magazine cover. As I’ve already done, just e-mail the link to this post to:  editor@people.com and make sure you hit the re-blog or Facebook share button below so this goes viral.

Wordless Wednesday: Sunset on Lake O

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Have a great Wednesday! ~ Phil