Throwback Thursday! Golfing with Ghosts

(Aug 1, 2015) “It is a talent of the soul to discover the joy in pain—-thinking of moments you long for, and knowing you’ll never have them again. The beautiful ghosts of our past haunt us, and yet we still can’t decide if the pain they caused us outweighs the tender moments when they touched our soul.” ~Shannon L. Alder

golfstinks.com

golfstinks.com

I’m golfing with ghosts, or for ghosts or both this weekend. What I am doing is returning to my hometown to spend the weekend with two of my childhood friends. We’ve known each other since we were in diapers and will still know each other when we’re in diapers again. I think that’s a pretty amazing thing. If you’ve read either of my novels, two of the Golden Boys characters in them are based on these guys. In addition to my two life long friends, I will also be seeing many friends from high school at our hometown bar and at a memorial golf tournament the following day. It will be a weekend filled with the ghosts of my past.

It is a bittersweet occasion however. We are golfing in a tournament to raise money for a scholarship fund in the name of one of our high school classmates, Sara,  who passed away far too young a two years ago.  I hope that wherever she is, she can see the goings on this weekend. I hope that she is a ghost walking among us at the bar and the golf course and, like George Bailey, seeing and hearing the lasting impact she made on those around her. I also hope she can help with my golf swing like Patrick Swayze helped Demi Moore with her pottery, because I really have not been practicing. The phrase “danger to self and others” comes to mind.

Why is ghost Patrick Swayze not wearing a shirt?

Why is ghost Patrick Swayze not wearing a shirt?

If George Bailey had Clarence as his own personal angel, Sara has had Michelle, Debbie, Theresa, Cindy, Sandy, and Sally as her escorting angels for the last three years as they have kept her memory alive in the form of the scholarship that bears her name.

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I’m not sure why, but I’m sentimental. I love to visit my past and remember. That’s what I mean when I say I’m visiting ghosts this weekend. Not only the very literal ghost of a classmate, but the ghosts of my past.  It’s almost as if I can see and hear the echoes of our younger selves. When I look at someone I knew years ago I see their younger self imposed upon the middle-aged adult I’m looking at. I instantly recall conversations and hijinks from years ago.  (Yes, I’m so old that I used the word hijinks) It’s like my memory has bookmarks and I’m just turning back to a dog-eared page.

A lot of people, therapists included, will say that you shouldn’t live in the past. I agree, we shouldn’t live there, but I don’t think it’s a bad place to visit occasionally. Sometimes the past was pretty damned good and it can remind us of parts of us, good parts, that we may have forgotten amidst the mortgages, stress, and careers that have slowly, inexorably filled our present. I’m hoping however that this weekend I’ll be haunted by ghosts and, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to dog-ear a few more pages that I can re-visit in the future.

Have a great weekend! I know I will. ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Worst Ideas For Top Ten Lists

10. The Top Ten Rashes Shaped Like Presidents

9. The Ten Most Horrific Diseases You Didn’t Know About

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8. Ten Ways Your Pets Might Kill You

7. The Ten Worst Ideas for Top Ten Lists

6. Ten Ways To Tell If Your Spouse Doesn’t Love You

5. The Ten Most Painful Things That Could Happen To You

4. Ten Reasons You’ll Never Really Find Happiness

cartoon-poop

3. The Ten Most Unusual Bowel Movements Ever 

2. Ten Ways Your Children Will Disappoint You

Preview (1)

1. Ten Things Living Inside Your Body Right Now

So who wants me to actually look up and create lists for all of these? And which one would be the absolute worst for you to read? Or do you have another suggestion for the list? Have a great Tuesday everyone! ~Phil

Throwback Thursday! Are You A Vapist?

mrlongdrag.com

(July 25,2015) Yaaa! Vaping’s going to save all the smokers! No more lung cancer! Vaping isn’t addictive! You know what? Some of those beliefs are true and some are not, and some are as cloudy as the exhale of an e-cig smoker.

If “smoking” an e-cigarette, or rather an e-cig/mod type device is referred to as vaping, then a person who does it must be vapist, right?  For all future discussion on the subject, that’s what we’ll call them. What they exhale is less toxic than regular lit on fire cigarettes but is no less offensive. Think about it. If a vapist inhales and then exhales the vapor, on the way out it contains tiny, airborne droplets  of their saliva, mucus, and whatever disease they may be carrying. It’s just like spitting on someone. A little known fact is that the plague of the 1300’s that wiped out half of Europe was not, as people believe, carried by rats, but by vapists. Same thing really though.

...SAID NO ONE EVER

…SAID NO ONE EVER

Am I being too harsh on vapists here? Sure, maybe, but I don’t see a huge difference between smoking and vaping. Vapists say e-cigs are safer than smoking. Great, more vapists will live longer. There goes the Darwinism/natural selection effect of regular cigarettes.

Yes, you don’t get the toxins from the combustion of burning something, but guess what? Vaping is essentially freebasing nicotine. Freebasing first became popular in the 1980’s when cocaine addicts, probably out of their minds on cocaine, wanted to find a faster way to get the cocaine to their brain. Yaaa! Now smokers can get the addictive substance absorbed faster, meaning that e-cigs are more addicting! One of the vaping articles I read said, “…when you take a hit…” Take a hit? That’s a drug term isn’t it?

weheartit.com

weheartit.com

Seriously smokers, do you really think this whole vaping thing is a health trend? With cigarettes being practically taxed through the roof and outlawed anywhere but in your own basement, the traditional cigarette market is being killed off, so someone, probably a recovering cocaine addict who still smoked, invented vaping. Now smokers are being vaped out of their money just as effectively. It’s uber-addicting and once you get started you keep coming back for more.

Lastly, I’d like to make fun of a type. A type? Yes, a type of vapist. Ponytail guy who vapes. Ugh. Ponytail guy is the worst isn’t he? Even if he’s not a vapist, ponytail guy is making some sort of statement with that hair, and it’s never good is it? Then you throw in vaping and ponytail guy trying to convince you that it’s cool, healthier than smoking and a fun hobby and well, who wants to be around that? That’s almost as annoying as the home brew guys who make their own beer and trap you at a party or bar and spend an hour telling you about different kinds of beer.

I’m sure that this post is going to make some people mad and I’m also sure there are some wonderful people who are vapists, (I think the Pope is a vapist) but it’s not my thing, and so I make fun of it. If you are a vapist, have one in your life, or just like sharing sarcasm far and wide feel free to share #ThePhilFactor by hitting the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog button below. Have a great weekend! ~Phil

 

Has Anyone Seen My Mojo?

If you know who this is, you’re my new best friend

Missing: My writing mojo

Age: 13 years

Height: 12pt.

Hair: It can be hairy, but it hasn’t been lately.

Missing since: May 19, 2018

I’m not calling this writer’s block. I can write. Look! I’m doing it now. I personally think saying that you have writer’s block is stupid. You can write anything anytime. I’m doing it right now. Or is it write now?

What most people refer to as writer’s block should more accurately be referred to as writer’s malaise. Doesn’t have as good of a ring to it does it? That’s what I’ve been feeling for almost two months now. I can write, but there’s nothing I write that I enjoy. And my writing doesn’t have the zing that I like. You know that feeling when you’re writing and it’s fun and when  you’re done you can see your personality smeared all over the page? I’m missing that. That’s my mojo. If you see it, please send to thephilfactor.com.

Throwback Thursday! The Man With The Scorpion Tattoo

(July 2, 2011) No, this is not a male version of the popular novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This is much better than that. It’s my blog where I make fun of stuff. I’m pretty sure nobody had very many laughs reading that dragon tattoo book. The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo also is not a fictional character. The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo is a guy I see at my Starbuck’s almost every morning. To be fair, it’s not really my Starbucks. I am neither owner nor manager, but The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo still shows up there regularly regardless of my lack of affiliation with the place.

The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo is bald. Not old man, male pattern baldness bald, but “I shaved my head so I can look like a bad ass bald.”  The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo also has a giant scorpion tattooed on his bald head. A scorpion tattoo that is much larger than any real scorpion. The tattoo stretches from the top of his head, wrapping around the back and down to the top of the neck. Each morning I wonder, what exactly is he trying to tell the world about himself?

Evil. I think having a giant scorpion tattooed on a menacing bald head kind of screams evil. My shamrock tattoo says I’m Irish. His scorpion tattoo says evil. In fact after observing The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo daily for awhile now, I’m pretty sure he is actually Satan. Yup, the real one. Apparently, just like you and me, Satan stops for his Starbucks fix on his way to work every day. Coffee black of course. None of those frou frou girly drinks with whipped cream.  He keeps to himself and goes about his business quietly while at Starbucks, but just the same, I’m pretty sure he’s Satan. He makes small talk with the baristas so as not to arouse any suspicion. He tips, but never too much or too little. He always sits alone at the table by the window.

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I suppose it’s possible right? I mean, Satan has a job to do every day doesn’t he? If he didn’t show up for work each day encouraging evil, imagine all the police officers, military, and jail staff that would be out of work. Without evil our economy suffers. So like the rest of us, Satans day begins when his alarm goes off. Because he’s evil, he hits snooze. Twice. Then I imagine Satan walking his dog clad in pajama pants and a Motley Crue reunion tour t-shirt. Obviously, he doesn’t pick up the poop in a little bag because of his inherent evil nature. Unlike me,  Satan never bothers to iron his shirt for work either. Before leaving for work he grabs his bagged lunch, grumbling over the low carb kick his wife is on, and gives Mrs. Satan a little kiss and let’s her know if he’ll be home late because there’s a need for a little extra unrest in the middle east. Then he hops in the Satan mobile (you would think a red car, but he thinks that’s too flashy and goes with black. Tinted windows of course. Maybe a Mustang.) Then he stops at Starbuck’s to have his coffee and go over his schedule, all the while making a mental note that when he gets some extra time he’ll have to perpetrate some evil on that guy in the suit who stares at him every morning.

Remember the 1995 Joan Osborne song, “What if God Were One of Us?”  If God could be one of us, so could Satan. And if Satan had a name, I imagine it wouldn’t be any of those fancy biblical names like Beezlebub or Lucifer. Seriously, how much of a give away would that be? He’d be constantantly hounded by fans and papparazzi. No, I’m pretty sure that if Satan has a name it’s something like Ed. And yes Ms. Osborne, I would call him Ed to his face. I wonder if Ed has a blog…If he does, I’m pretty sure he gets more reads than I got last week because his friends go back to their Facebook page and click on the “Share” button. C’mon people, we can’t let evil win!

Top Ten Tuesday! The Top Ten Perks of Being A Zombie

Since we all will eventually be zombies I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that it’s not all bad. In fact there are quite a few perks to being undead.

10. Zombies never pay insurance premiums: No health, no dental, no auto or home. Who isn’t frustrated by all the money you spend on insurance that you never get back? Zombies, that’s who!

9. Cardio! With all that constant, aimless wandering around zombies are in great shape.

8. Your wardrobe never goes out of style! Just wear the same outfit forever, kind of like our parents.

7. No tan lines! That’s hot, right?

6. Dating is easy: Zombie chicks don’t care if you have six pack abs. In fact, they don’t care if you have abs at all!

5. Zombies don’t worry about pageviews: I’ve never once seen a zombie blogger check his phone 10x during the day to see how many people read his blog. Zombies don’t give a crap if you read their blog. They’re cool like that.

4. When You’re Dead, Weight Loss is Easy! Got a few extra pounds? Just offer it to your friend as an appetizer. How many points is an arm worth Weight Watchers?

3. All the unprotected sex you want! Do I need to elaborate on this one?

2. No technology worries: Zombies never worry about a wi-fi signal or their phone battery.

Picture credit: www.weheartit.com

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

1. The night life is phenomenal! Every night, all night raves. And now that Michael Jackson is dead he can dance with the zombies forever! What? Too soon?

Feel free to share by the Facebook, Twitter or reblog buttons below. Have a great Tuesday everyone!  ~Phil

Canada Has a Day?

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends out there. For those of you wondering, Canada Day is a celebration of the founding of Tim Hortons. Or it might also be a celebration of the enactment of the Canadian constitution which united the three colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Canada into a single entity still owned by Britain.

As an American, I feel like I have to point out that it seem’s like Canada is trying to steal our thunder by placing their holiday just before ours. And they weren’t even declaring independence. They are just celebrating that someone erased and drew some new lines on the map. They we’re still the British empires b#@ch. And they were happy about it. Or should I say aboot it?

Now our celebration, Independence Day, is a reason to celebrate. WE broke away from the British Empire to form our own country. That’s something to be proud of. Canada, I think you were just creating a holiday so you get an extra day off in the summer. But, through blogging, I have virtually met many Canadians and they could not be nicer. As a Canada Day gift to my to Canadian friends, and everyone else, the following links are to my favorite Canada posts over the last 13 years of #ThePhilFactor:

Oh Canada!  May 1, 2006

Oh Canada! I’m Lovin’ It  January 9, 2007

Beware The Canadian Twitter Invasion May 11, 2013

Canada: Elaborate Winter Them Park of Dangerous Adversary? Oct. 18, 2014

Canada’s Secret Foot Fetish June 24, 2017

So there you have it. All of those an ode to my love of Canada. Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends and as it is with St. Patrick’s Day, we are all a little Canadian today, aren’t we? Think of all the great things Canada has given us: Justin Bieber, Alex Trebek, and hockey in Las Vegas. Have a great Sunday!  ~Phil