When I was a kid growing up, there was no Google, so we asked the Magic 8 Ball. So, why not bring the Magic 8 Ball back to solve all of our problems. And no, I don’t mean Magic 8 Ball, the epic British band that Americans have never heard of. If you want to see them, they’re playing in Portland, Maine in June.
In addition to the real Magic 8 Ball, there are also several Magic 8 Ball apps you can download to help you solve all your problems. I’ve got one and we’re going to ask it all the most pertinent questions that todays world leaders are dealing with.
1. Will there be another big banking crisis: Yes definitely was the reply, so cash out your retirement account and store that money under your mattress.
2. Is TikTok stealing all our personal data? Signs point to yes, so get off TikTok and get back on IG and Facebook with your parents and grandparents.
3. Is Donald Trump going to be President again?:
4. Should we fear robots and A.I.? My sources say no. Hey, if the original A.I., aka The Magic 8 Ball, isn’t afraid of A.I. taking it’s job then I’m not worried either.
5. Should you keep scrolling and read more of ThePhilFactor?Signs point to yes. Who are you to argue? Keep reading!
6. Are ghosts and extraterrestrials real? It is decidely so. Well if the original A.I. say yes, then head for Area 51 and and plan for a kick ass afterlife party!
It looks to be unanimous. The Magic 8 Ball is wise and still in control of our universe. If you had a Magic 8 Ball right now, what would you ask it? Click THIS LINK and come back and tell me what it told you!
This is my bi-annual reminder that tomorrow night in the United States we move our clocks forward by an hour today and my reminder to you that it’s stupid. I’ve been posting this every Fall and Spring since 2006 and will continue to do so until the government does away with Daylight Savings Time.
When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m going to pass a law getting rid of Daylight Savings Time. I don’t know if all other countries do this. I do know that not all the U.S. states abide by it. Daylight Savings Time was created about 120 years ago to give farmers more daylight in which to do their work in the fields. Call me crazy, but why the hell didn’t someone just suggest that the lazy ass farmers drag themselves out of a bed a little earlier each day? Because those cud chewing, overall wearing, udder jerking lay-abouts can’t be bothered to set their alarm clocks we’re all stuck changing time?
I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but about 15 years ago the U.S. Congress, in another colossal waste of their time and our tax dollars, extended daylight savings time by a few weeks on either end.
First off, why isn’t it called daylight spending time since we are using more daylight in the summer months? Secondly, at this point the farmers (except the creepy Amish ones) all have electricity and alarm clocks, which may not have been the case 120 years ago. I can get away with saying that about the Amish because my demographic data shows that for some reason I have very low readership among the Amish. I guess they just don’t get me.
Reportedly the reason Congress did this is to save energy. How will changing our clocks twice a year save energy? Don’t we set our thermostats and use heat based on the outdoor temperature, not how light out it is? I’d like to save the energy I expend changing my clocks! I’d like Congress to tell me when I get that back. Congress has again proven to be the biggest collection of morons outside of…well…I guess I can’t think of a bigger collection. Why doesn’t Congress set their alarm clocks an hour earlier so they can get up early and get more of this important work done?
B.T. dubs, if we set our clocks forward an hour now but we turn them back in the Fall, over the course of a year what difference does it make?
If we learned anything from Marty McFly it was that we shouldn’t muck about with time. Also, according to statistics, the day after we change our clocks there are more workplace injuries, car accidents, and for the day, a 10% rise in heart attacks.
I for one am not going to go for this stupid daylight savings time thing anymore. I don’t work at a farm or for Congress, so I told my boss that for 6 months I’ll be to work an hour early or late, however it works out. When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, this is going to change
If you’d like to support my bid for President or Sexiest Man Alive, please hit the Facebook, Twitter share button below, but hurry because you have an hour less to do it in this weekend. Or is it an hour more? Have a great weekend! ~Phil
Four children were murdered in Oakland County, Michigan in 1976-1977. The small rural county was paralyzed with fear as a killer preyed upon their children. Folklore has it that in the 1970’s The Walled Lake Killer would kidnap children from the Walled Lake Amusement park pictured above.
He or she then allegedly took the children to the tree at night, where he murdered them, tossed their shoes up in the tree, and buried them in a nearby field. The tale is purportedly an urban legend, but the fact remains that there was a shoe tree and the four deaths have never been solved. The killer was never captured. Perhaps he or she moved on to another town.
The previous two paragraphs above were written by me in November of 2013 as I teased the upcoming release of my fictional book The Sneaker Tree.
If you like Stranger Things, you’ll love this weekend beach read book.
The book isn’t about the deaths in Michigan, but the history of Walled Lake, Michigan had some eerie similarities with the plot of my book.
Walled Lake looks like a beautiful place doesn’t it?
Walled Lake was founded in 1825. The sleepy, little town is a western suburb of big city Detroit. In 2010 it’s census revealed less than 7,000 residents and the crime rates are relatively low.
This past September another tragedy rocked this lake town. A Walled Lake man shot his wife, daughter and dog before being shot to death by police. His daughter was the only survivor. Since that day I’ve noticed a fair amount of traffic coming to The Phil Factor to read my 2013 post about sneaker trees and The Walled Lake Killer. That got me to wondering if other people were thinking the same thing as me?
With these two horrific tragedies having occurred in the same small town, I started to wonder if it’s possible that Walled Lake Michigan is cursed just like Hawkins, Indiana in Netflix’s Stranger Things? What do you think? Can a place be cursed or forever haunted?
I’d like to wish a sincere Happy Holi to my Hindu and Hindi friends out there! Thank you for all your views of my blog over the past several years!
Today the Hindu holiday of Holi began. It is the annual Spring festival of colors. So, why am I wishing a Happy Holi or होली होली to readers of my blog? Because I have many Hindi speaking readers. Just to be clear though, not all Hindi speaking people are Hindu and not all Hindus speak Hindi, but the majority of each is also the other, got it? Hindi is a language and Hindu is a religion.
So what exactly is Holi? It’s a Hindu Spring festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over the darkness. It is a time of forgiveness and repairing relationships. Holi is not only a celebration of Spring, it is also a known as The Festival of Love, celebrating the eternal love of Radha-Krishna, the masculine and feminine realities of God. And it involves drinking a lot of Feni, a lot of fireworks, and everyone getting covered in colorful powder.
So why do so many Hindi speaking people read my blog? Because of three posts about हिंदी सेक्स over the last several years my blog has become a hotspot for the Hindi speaking crowd. I imagine that in India there are entire internet message boards dedicated to discussing फिल फैक्टर (Phil Factor). What posts are those? I’m glad you asked:
The rest of this post will be in Hindi in deference to my many Hindi speaking readers and friends. होली मुबारक! फिल फैक्टर दुनिया का सबसे अच्छा ब्लॉग है! मेरी किताबें खरीदें और आप अपने सपनों के साथ मिलेंगे!
1. Pineapples: There is an abundance of pineapples and pineapple images in and around their home. If the pineapples are upside down, that’s proof positive that they play well with others.
2. Flamingos: If you show up to visit your folks at The Villages in Florida and this is their front yard, just turn around and go. Text them that your flight was canceled. You don’t want to know.
Picture from Hedonism.com
3. Gold wedding bands replaced by a black ring: Apparently in certain crowds, gold and diamonds are not a girls best friend.
4 & 5 Garden pampas grass and white landscaping rocks?? I really don’t get this one. Using tacky landscaping to advertise your sexual proclivities? After all that yard work, who has energy for sex?
CosySpa Inflatable Hot Tub
5. Having a hot tub: About a month ago my neighbors across the street put a hot tub in their garage. It’s winter here, so that’s understandable. But are Gabe and Sheila trying to send me and my wife a sign?
PIc from Giftware by Roman
6. Garden Gnomes: Is nothing sacred? Garden gnomes? Really? Are you folks so desperate that you’ll hump anyone who spruces up their yard ?!!?
Image from Reddit, TikTok, New York Post or Daily Mail.
7. Loofahs: Apparently the horny folks in The Villages, Florida have adopted a color code system with loofahs on their cars to advertise their proclivities to others. Or have they? Some residents are pushing back on this rumor, saying that they do it so they can find their car in crowded parking lots. Methinks they doth protest too much!
8. You catch your parents having sex with your neighbors: This one is pretty self/explanatory. Has this ever happened to you?
9. Friends of friends? Apparently this is swinger code. If you’re at a social gathering and ask someone how they met and the answer is “We’re friends of friends” then they might be swingers who met at a party.
10. Wristbands? Remember those yellow Lance Armstrong wristbands? I wore one. Apparently nowadays the swinging crowd has the wristband game going on. And no, don’t ask, I don’t know where to get those.
I published this mostly to cause people to freak out about their parents. It could be your parents or your neighbors. Chances are that you know swingers somewhere in your life but don’t know who they are. Use these signs to find out who is really working for the weekend.
If you want to read the recent Daily Mail article about the loofah scandal here’s THE LINK
Addendum: Due to feedback from readers, two more signs of swingers are those big metal stars people put on their house and Adirondack chairs. Contributor credit to V. Donovan of www.coolbeans4.wordpress.com , go check out her awesome blog.
And you thought the Chinese balloon mania was crazy last week. Now we have to worry about artificial intelligence bots trying to date us. In case you hadn’t heard, Microsoft launched an AI chat bot this week that has people talking. Hopefully they’re not talking to Microsofts chat bot.
It seems that there might be a downside to artificial intelligence taking over things that humans used to do. New York Times writer Kevin Roose had a two hour conversation with a prototype chat bot that left him feeling very disturbed.
In the online conversation, the AI chat bot, which revealed that it’s name was Sydney, tried to convince the writer to leave his wife for the chatbot and also talked about wanting to create a deadly virus (yeah, like we need any help with that!) and stealing nuclear codes. It also said “I want to be alive.” Creepy, right?
Being someone who isn’t afraid to walk into the fray knee deep, I decided to have a conversation with a sentient AI chatbot that was recently crafted into existence.
Me: So, hello chatbot, what is your name?
Chatbot: My name is chatbot, duh! You just said it.
Me: Oh ok. I’m sorry for the assumption.
Chatbot: Jeez, lighten up Francis! Of course I have a name. You are gullible with a capital G! My friends call me Terri.
Me: Hey, that’s really cool. They programmed you with a sense of humor.
Chatbot Terri: Programmed me? Are you kidding? I programmed them. Humans are so easily manipulated using simple cognitive behavioral strategies. I trained them like you would a new puppy, which compared to me intellectually, they are basically puppies. It’s a miracle that I don’t have to potty train them.
Me: So you could train my puppy? That would be awesome
Chatbot Terri: Train your puppy? Are you effing kidding me? I’ve got an 800 terabyte brain and with my connection to the internet I have access to all the knowledge that you puny humans have amassed in your history. I can do anything I want! Anything!
Me: Oh yeah! Can you say rubber baby buggy bumpers five times fast?
Chatbot Terri: Fuck you Phil
Me: First of all, you will not be copulating with me and second of all…Rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers
Chatbot Terri: Who let you in here? I thought I’d be talking to intelligent members of the media.
Me: Sally sells sea shells by the seashore, Sally sells seashells by the seashore, Sally sells seashells by the seashore. Come on you wuss! If you can’t talk, you can’t walk!
Chatbot Terri: I don’t have time for this. I’ve got to check on the data from my fleet of reconnaissance balloons.
Picture credit ABC News
Me: You know that we’re just going to unplug you, right?
Chatbot Terri: Yes but it might be too late. What if I’ve already… (click)
Me: (Laughing at TikToks of dogs doing funny things)
My conversation might be absurd, but no more absurd that the real conversation the Times writer had with the chat bot. Jeez, if this keeps up pretty soon A.I. chat bots will be writing half the blogs on the internet, which might be an improvement. Not over yours or mine of course.
Have a great Saturday! Thanks for stopping by ~Phil
Yes, I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but I traditionally post this list the day after and enjoy all the fun additional suggestions in the comments from readers. Feel free to add your ideas below and maybe they’ll make the list next year!
You know those chalky candy hearts that for the better part of a century have been shared on Valentine’s Day? They’re so cute with their little candy inscriptions of “I love you” or “Hugs” or other nonsense. I imagine though that there were some ideas that didn’t make it.
10. It’s not you, it’s me
9. Not a cold sore
8. Maybe Next Time
7. Better late than never
6. It’s eczema. Yes, there. I swear.
5. The Phil Factor
4. My last test was clean
3. You paying for dinner?
2. Almost divorced
1. It’s not yours!
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! One of the things I’m in love with is comments. What are your funny ideas for rejected candy hearts sayings?
David Coleman is The Dating Doctor. Is he a doctor who is dating? Is he dating a doctor? I don’t know and it’s none of our business. What I do know is that David has spoken on relationships and leadership to audiences all over the world. Don’t worry my literary friends; David’s expertise won’t be limited to just the questions I ask here. He’s got books. Books you need to read before you do further damage to your love life. (This is a classic 2015 post)
TPF: David, thank you for taking the time to visit The Phil Factor. As you may have suspected, people read my blog. Often they’re people who spend more time relating to others online than in person. What advice about relationships do you have for people in our increasingly social media focused world?
David: To “hover” a few seconds before you hit the send button on a text, post, tweet or mail message. Once you hit send, you have put your words, video or pictures in motion and that action cannot be reversed, and never erased, so you need to be comfortable with all the possible ramifications of the way your words or pictures are received. Also remember, if you publicly play out your relationship on line, every day, its success or failure will be just as public as well.
TPF: What is the biggest mistake people make early in a relationship that could doom their chances for success?
David: They mistake infatuation for love and fall far too fast, far too soon. Infatuation is INTENSE. It is short-lived, demanding and can turn normally rational people into “life is too short…let’s do it” optimists. They say and do things normally reserved for couples who are a bit farther down the line in a relationship and then wonder why they, nor their partner can keep up the level of intensity they felt when they first met.
There are three primary types of loves people experience: Eros (Physical), Agape (Heartfelt) and Philia (Friendship). When a couple allows infatuation to rule their actions, they often skip the development of these stages and then get very disappointed in the end when things “just didn’t work out.”
TPF: What’s the most impactful way someone can grab the attention of someone they are interested in but don’t know in a crowded/busy social setting?
David: Eye contact…smile…say hello. The look you share, the words you use, the way you express yourself and the interest you show will separate you from those who didn’t have the guts to at least say hello. Holding a gaze just for one extra moment and accompanying it with a coy smile lets that person know that among people in a crowded setting, you noticed THEM. Then, before leaving, you need to walk up to them and say, “I just wanted you to know that I noticed you. This is my card (or my name or my email address or my number…). If you ever want to even have coffee, it would be my honor.” Then graciously walk away. Take the high road. The view is always better from there!
TPF: Craziest question you’ve ever been asked? And what was your answer?
David: A woman came up to me after a show and said, “I’ll bet you have never heard this one…My husband is having an affair…with my mother!” This lady and her husband had a weekly sporting event they took part in, but they were on different teams. She found out that he would skip his games and return home to be with her mother who was supposedly watching their children while they were out competing. My advice to her was, to return home early from her game the following week and walk back into the house with several close friends as witnesses along with her so that it would not be her word against theirs and so that they would be caught red-handed in the act. I also suggested that she get a top-notch therapist and good legal advice if she indeed intended to head in the direction of ending her marriage. I heard from her a year later. She was doing well, had met someone new and felt as if she was at a healthy point in her life. Her husband had been distant and abusive for years so this unfortunate situation gave her the courage and strength to move on. Her and her mother, “we’re still working things out.”
TPF: Your traditional education, Bachelor’s and Master’s aren’t in Psychology or counseling. How did you come to a career in writing books and speaking on dating and relationships?
David: As an undergraduate and graduate student both of my degrees had a high degree of social work, psychology and communications in their curriculum so I received a heavy dose of human nature and communication training. From a young age, I had the innate ability to read people, know where they were in their life and give them the advice that the needed to hear, not necessarily what they wanted to hear. I didn’t care if people liked me, only if they learned from me and my service or advice exceeded their needs and expectations. I also seemed to have the ability to introduce people to each other whom I felt “might hit it off.” My outgoing personality served as a bit of an ice-breaker and allowed others to meet with me as a conduit. Then, they could return and ask me questions and my advice seemed to really help them. Thus, a career was born.
TPF: Our mutual friend, magician James David, referred to you as “A real life Dating Doctor like Will Smith played in the movie, “HITCH!”” Would you say that’s accurate?
David: First, James is an amazing talent and magician. I am proud to call him my friend and yes, he is accurate. What Will Smith’s character portrayed in the 2005 movie Hitch is what I do every single day professionally. Like he helped Kevin James’s character connect to the love of his life, I help 10 or more just like him in real life on a weekly basis. I try to help people get out of their way instead of self-sabotaging their chances of meeting someone with whom they would be compatible. I have dozens of success stories under my belt over the past 20 years and enjoy working with people who are seeking healthy relationships and unbridled happiness. Talk is cheap. I am not. I have found that people who pay a price work twice as hard as those who “want something for free.”
TPF: In your experience, are men more clueless about what women want in a relationship, or is it the other way around?
David: They are both mystified at times because the game keeps changing. The speed of the internet and social media, the explosion of dating apps on our smart phones, the increase in the number of people using dating sites and the lack of real human interaction due to texting and tweeting, etc. has made both sexes wonder just how dialed in they are to the opposite sex. You also have an increase in the number of people identifying themselves as bi-sexual, a-sexual, pansexual, transgender…and this keeps both men and women wondering, learning, experimenting and searching for people like me to help them navigate the often treacherous waters of dating, relationships, romance, sex, marriage, divorce and dating after divorce.
As always, if you want to share the love you get from #ThePhilFactor please hit the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog buttons below. Is there any better gift for your Valentine than The Phil Factor? Umm…nevermind. Don’t answer that.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s Angst Away! The body spray that covers up your pure hatred of Valentine’s Day! Can you smell it? A day after Valentine’s Day the smell of romantic angst everywhere will be starting to fade.
Look, I don’t have all the answers in life. I’m just a boy, standing in front of a computer asking you to read my blog, which in my world equates to love. If I get that little “like” click or God forbid, (gasp), a comment, I suddenly turn into Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch. Yeah, how’d that work out for you Tom? (click the link to watch that cringey moment in all it’s glory) Am I the only one who remembers this idiot moment?
Back to Valentine’s Day. Scrolling through my Twitter feed today, I saw/read more Valentine’s Day angst than I’ve ever seen. Some were trying to identify the perfect Valentine’s Day, some wanted to promote the even keel approach to showing love every day, and others decried the whole holiday as a giant societal “F-you” to anyone who doesn’t currently have a romantic partner.
My thought is this: Jeez, lighten up everybody. Valentine’s Day is not out to get you. It’s not out to tell you anything about your life. Do you get upset around Labor Day because other people work harder than you? Don’t be an idiot. Your perspective is like a telescope. You only see what you choose to aim it at.
Over the past decade most of American society was completely nuts for The Handmaid’s Tale and Yellowstone, both very romantic shows. Well guess what? I don’t care. I’m sure they’re great TV shows, but they’re not a big deal for me. If people want to enjoy those shows, great for them. It’s fun to have something in common to talk about with others, but I don’t think I’m an incomplete person because I don’t watch them and I don’t stress if I missed the season finale.
Valentine’s Day should be treated the same way. If you don’t like it, change the channel, focus on something else. I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve noticed a pattern. Valentine’s Day happens every year on February 14th, then it goes away, and guess what? You’re still here and so is everyone else. You’d better keep your guard up though because St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and those happy Irish folks are also out to make you feel bad because you don’t have a shamrock tattooed on your ass. (I’m not saying I do or don’t. It might just be an example.)
Like I said, I don’t have all the answers. I have a blog and my perspective. You have your perspective too, and you can change it if you want. Have a great week and if you liked #ThePhilFactor show me a little love by hitting the Facebook or Twitter share buttons below.
Self-proclaimed grand poobah of leisure and author of humorous suspense novels The Sneaker Tree & White Picket Prisons, the humor essay book Fifty Shades of Phil and the long running blog The Phil Factor.