Category Archives: Christmas

Wordless Wednesday! Happy Holidays!

Disturbing? Yes. If you’ve got any funny comments feel free to share them. The picture is courtesy of the one and only Gooby who is a real person and a character in my first two novels. Have a great Wednesday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Best Holiday Specials

Two years ago a network aired “It’s Your 50th Christmas Charlie Brown!” To be sure, the Peanuts Christmas special is a classic here in the States. What I’d like to see someone create is a special with all the Peanuts characters as 50 year olds. How weird would that be? Here are my choices for the Ten Best Holiday Specials of All Time. The Star Wars Holiday Special was mentioned in the comments a few times last year, but didn’t make the Top Ten only because I haven’t seen it. If you’re curious, it is on YouTube.  If you disagree with the list or have other choices please put them in the comments.

10. Rudolph’s Shiny New Year: This piece of crap has been played every year since 1976. I think I accidentally watched it once as a child and vowed to never watch it again. Thus far…mission accomplished. Rudolph should have been made into venison before this was made.

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9. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Sure the idea of toast and popcorn sounds great, in theory. This is a good special but pales in comparison to The Peanut’s Halloween and Christmas specials.

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8. Frosty the Snowman: The best part of this special is the song. The acting is putrid and the plot is barely plausible. When this is on I’m rooting for a green Christmas.

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7. Little Drummer Boy: This is where the list starts to get good. Good song, good plot, great claymation and I think there are some talking animals. Plus, it all takes place in a desert where Frosty would never survive.

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6. Santa Clause is Comin’ To Town: Oh man! When I was a kid and the Winter Warlock first appeared I was terrified. I believe the phrase “chillin’ like a villain” was coined for him. Also a young Santa hooks up with a serious hottie of a wife.

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5. The Rugrats Chanukah Special: Technically it was an episode of the series, but all these years later I still remember it for actually explaining the meaning of Hanukkah to me better than any person ever had. It was entertaining and informative, just like The Phil Factor.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas: Hey, I know you all love this one, but if The Peanuts get on the list twice they don’t get #1. The ice skating scene, the dancing scene, and Snoopy making the animal noises were all great. Lucy still should have punched Charlie Brown for bringing back that wretched tree.

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3. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: Romance, bromance, career conflict, monsters, The Island of Misfit Toys. This special had it all. Remember how scary it was when Yukon Cornelius rescued Rudolph and his family from Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster?

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2. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas: Great song and great villian with a story of redemption. Who doesn’t love it when his heart grows and breaks the frame? My favorite scene is when his dog, Max, happily hops on the front of the sleigh expecting a ride.

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1. The Year Without a Santa Clause: This special didn’t need a Santa Claus. If you’ve got the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser in a sing off you win. I just wish one of them had done a mic drop. Hands down the best songs ever in a holiday special of any kind. Here’s the video of both songs. (please pardon the commercial at the start). Enjoy!

Happy Holidays of every kind to everyone! If you disagree with my list please add your suggestions in the comments. If you enjoy #ThePhilFactor please share by hitting the Facebook, Twitter or re-blog sharing buttons below. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! Ten Reasons To Love The Holidays!

In an effort to offset my Grinchiness from last weeks ‘Top Ten Reasons To Hate The Holidays” I present you with the opposite.

forums.hexus.net

forums.hexus.net

10. Ridiculous Holiday Light Displays: That’s not my house but I wish it was. I love people that take the decorating and lights waaaay too far. I wish we could do it all year long. If there’s a neighborhood that decorates all year long, let me know. I’ll move there.

9. Getting presents: Well duh! Free stuff that we didn’t know we needed or wanted? Yes please! Notice that the presents are only 9th on my list? That’s because I’m not superficial and materialistic.

wpid-img_20141208_191336.jpg8. Nutcrackers: I buy my nuts pre-cracked but I love these guys anyway for no good reason.  As much as I love them I’d also love Stephen King, or maybe me, to write a Christmas horror story where nutcrackers come to life and terrorize people like Chuckie. Imagine how creepy they’s be if you added sharp teeth! (Yes, that herd of nutcrackers is at my house staring at me right now)

7. Holiday Movies: Stay tunes for my list of the ten best holiday movies next Tuesday.

6. Time off from work: Let’s be honest, how many of us love our job so much that we’d do it even if we didn’t get paid? Bueller? Bueller? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I’m taking the week off between Christmas and New Years. Don’t worry, I’ll still keep blogging because I’d do that even if they didn’t pay me.

GrinchCindyPic5. Holiday Specials: Scroll back to Dec 1st for my top ten holiday specials. The Grinch is a total badass but he’s not number 1 on that list.

4. Awkward Family Holiday PhotosI don’t care if they’re real or fake, they’re funny. I hope someday to create my own that becomes a meme on the internet.

3. Sometimes jerks try a little harder not to be: Including me. I don’t think I’m a jerk, but it’s nice that me and most other people try a little harder to be cordial, except at the mall.

2. My holiday tie collection: Yes, this is one you should love too. This year I own enough holiday themed ties that I can wear a different one every work day from Thanksgiving until Christmas. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ve probably seen them.

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Red GiftNumber 1 is left blank for you. What is it that you love about the holidays above all else? Put in the comments what you love most about Hanukkah or Christmas. Have a great Tuesday!~Phil

Was It Really A Wonderful Life? 10 Things George Bailey Should Have Done Differently

I wonder if Kanye is on to something? Is it possible that the quintessential, iconic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life could have, should have been better? I say yes, and here are ten things George would have done if he were a morally questionable protagonist.

10. George should have punched Sam Wainwright: The first time that dolt popped up and said “Hee haw!” George should have punched him in the throat. Then he should have done it every other time until Sam learned to shut the hell up.

9. Violet: ‘Nuff said.

8. Mr. Gower: George could have been a wealthy young man had he chosen to blackmail Pharmacist Gower over almost killing that kid by putting the wrong meds in the bottle. Especially after Mr. Gower hit him on his bad ear. A little hush money never hurt anybody.

"If you don't stop saying stupid stuff I'll throw you out of this bar myself"

“If you don’t stop saying stupid stuff I’ll throw you out of this bar myself”

7. George should have punched Clarence the Angel: If that were my guardian angel, I might choose not to go to Heaven if I have to hang out with him for all eternity.

6. George should have thrown a rock at the neighbor who told him to shut up and kiss Mary.

"I'm going to throw a rock at him"

“I’m going to throw a rock at him”

5. George should have been arrested by the town cop first for throwing the rock at the neighbor (see #6) and for vandalizing the house.

4. George shouldn’t have given Mary the robe back when she was in the hydrangea bush.

3. George should have pulled his brothers fiance’ aside and told her that his brother Harry is a big cheater and he would leave her, just like he did his other wives. Then heartbroken Harry takes over the Building & Loan and George goes to college.

2. He should have taken that job  that Potter offered him! Adjusted for inflation, that was the equivalent of a six figure salary nowadays. Btw, if you weren’t aware, the actor that played Mr. Potter is Drew Barrymore’s great uncle.

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1. Throw Billy under the bus: No, not literally. But when Uncle Billy lost that $8000 I would have ratted him out to the police in about two seconds.

So , what do you think? How about a modern re-make with a realistic George Bailey? The guy was miserable almost constantly until they had a nice party and bailed him out at the end. What happens after that party? Clarence gets his friggin’ wings but George is stuck going back to the life he was already so miserable in. Would other changes would you make to It’s a Wonderful Life?

Have a great weekend! ~ Phil

TBT! The Elf From Hell

This isn’t really a throwback because it’s timely and relevant every year and I intend to keep posting it until all the demented parents stop waging psychological warfare on their young children.

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(12/22/2012) Most of you are familiar with the Elf on the Shelf right?  In the Elf on the Shelf tradition these poorly dressed little plastic elves are mischievous minions of the red suited overlord who spy on the every move of children and report back to their tyrannical leader. That allegedly quaint little elf doll was invented about 15 years ago as a new, and for some toy making company, moneymaking tradition. Fortunately for my kids I wasn’t aware of The Elf on the Shelf when they were young enough to believe in it.

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Parents put these little Elves on a shelf and the children are told that the Elf cannot be touched or it will lose it’s Christmas  magic. The elf allegedly flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa every night. Man kids are gullible! In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, “What a bunch of maroons!” The nightly flight is how parents explain that the Elf is in a different spot when the kids wake up each morning.

Of course this crazy little ruse makes kids behave in the weeks leading up to Christmas! They’re terrified! Are you kidding me? Even now if you told me a Chuckie doll was going to sit on my shelf and stare at me while I slept, or that it might be moving around my house at night? I would never go to sleep again. The kids have got to be too terrified or too tired to misbehave. No wonder they have a weeks vacation from school after Christmas. They probably spend that week sleeping for the first time in a month.

onemomsworld.wordpress.com

onemomsworld.wordpress.com

I have a friend who says that after her kids are asleep she will pose the Elf somewhere to make it appear as if the Elf had gotten into mischief overnight, such as putting him next to a tipped over jar of something, or maybe on a desk next to some torn up papers. So her kids wake up imagining that this creepy little doll with the frozen scary clown smile is moving about the house in the dark destroying things. How much longer before someone imagines the doll picking up a knife? What if in some home where they’re torturing their kids with the Elf on the Shelf, just by coincidence, their elderly dog or cat were to pass away during the night? What do you suppose those kids are going to think for the rest of their lives?

This tradition sounds like psychological warfare against children. How long before we see kids who have grown up with this tradition seeking counseling for PTED, Post-Traumatic Elf Disorder?

dannyoulittlerock.com

dannyoulittlerock.com

Happy Holidays to you and your families. If you really want something mysterious and far less traumatic to just appear somewhere this holiday season you could give my book, Time To Lie,  available in paperback, e-book, and Audible. Give the gift of reading this holiday season and have a great Thursday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! Ten Reasons To HATE The Holidays

You’re a mean one Mister Grinch. You really are a heel. You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel, Mister Grinch. You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel.

Yup, that’s me; King of sarcasm and hater of all things jolly. I’m not saying that there aren’t things to love about the holidays. There are plenty, but c’mon everybody, if we’re truly being honest with ourselves, there are a lot of things to hate about the holidays. Here’s my top ten, and in the spirit of a gift that keeps on giving, I’m hoping I’ll mention one or two things you haven’t noticed before and from this day forward you won’t be able to not notice them.

10. Candy canes: They’re sticky. That’s pretty much it. I like the minty flavor, but I can get that in a York Peppermint Patty without my lips, tongue and hands covered in a gross, viscous substance. And they make too many! Has anyone ever eaten all the candy canes they purchase each year? There must be landfills just overflowing with candy canes. If we could make fossil fuel out of leftover candy canes the world would be a better place.

9. The Nog Shortage: All holiday season everything is nog this and nog that. It’s hard to find a beverage that doesn’t offer a nog flavored option. (kind of like the Fall pumpkin influx) But, if you like nog you’re screwed about 8 weeks later. Apparently nog is such a rare and valuable commodity that it can only be offered for a limited time. I’m going to get rich by drilling a nog well in my backyard and then selling my nog at outrageous prices. I will also have a Nog Blog.

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8.  Holiday movies set in southern California: I hate them because the people in them always look so happy to go outside and hang lights on their palm trees. Jerks. They’re just flaunting their warm weather and lack of snow. If you want a holiday movie to make me happy, how about one where a bunch of So-Cal people are stranded in an avalanche in the Himalayas and they have to eat each other to survive.

iStockphoto.com/KonArt

iStockphoto.com/KonArt

7. More traffic: This one’s pretty obvious, but for cripes sake you idiots! Haven’t you heard of the internet? I don’t care how much I love someone, nobody is worth going to the mall for from now until mid-January.

6. Lazy Hollywood folksAll our regular shows go on hiatus and show re-runs for 8 weeks. Seriously? You people make billions off these shows and you only make 22 episodes a year? That’s only five and a half months of work! When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m going to pass a law stating that every television program is required to produce a holiday special and one other original episode during the months of December and January.

5.  Lines in every store ALL the time: Yes, this one’s pretty obvious. It’s just a good thing no one sells handguns as an impulse buy item at the checkouts. Then again, I don’t live in the south, they probably do there.

4. FrozenI don’t even have a young Disney Princess obsessed daughter and I’m sick and tired of this stupid movie. I’m sick of the songs and the pictures everywhere. I’ve never seen it and I don’t know what it’s about, but enough already! It’s just another Disney movie where the parents are dead right? I challenge Disney to make some movies where they don’t kill parents as a cheap emotional hook at the beginning.

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3.  Commercials: I’ve never walked out to my driveway or garage to find a car with a bow on it. I’ve seen some version of this commercial since I was a kid, completely setting me up with unrealistic expectations.  Look, Bill Gates, I know you and your wife donate millions to charitable causes, just once could you skip a few mosquito nets and vaccines and have a Lexus delivered to my driveway?

2. Religious differences: It’s hard to believe, but not every religion has their most important, most exciting holiday in December. When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m passing a law stating that all religions have to have their biggest holiday at the same time so we can easily sort out the school schedules, sales, and work vacations, Makes sense doesn’t it? And just to show that I’m not Christianity-centric, let’s do it in July in the northern hemisphere and December in the southern hemisphere. That way no one has to deal with snow when traveling to see the relatives, unless you’re stupid enough to live where there’s always snow.

1. Santa Claus: And you thought they’re milking the Batman and Spider-Man characters for all their worth? St. Nick hasn’t changed in centuries! Jeez, get that guy a cape and some superpowers. How awesome would that be if he had a nemesis that was out trying to stop him from delivering presents. God has the devil, Batman has the Joker, why can’t Santa have a nemesis?

Please put your holiday pet peeves in the comments. As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor don’t be a Grinch and share it by hitting the Facebook, Twitter, or reblog button below. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

The Burden of a Christmas Birthday

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“This is your birthday? I bet your birthday gets forgotten a lot.”  Over the course of my life I’ve probably heard that question more often than I’ve heard, “What’s your name?’ There’s a lot of famous birthdays this week. Sir Isaac Newton, Jesus, Jimmy Buffett, and me. The other guys had the good luck of having their birthdays on Christmas. Me? Nope. I missed it by two days. My birthday is today.

The others guys, who may have had their birthdays frequently forgotten in lieu of the Christmas holiday, seem to have overcompensated as adults for the birthday attention they missed out on as kids. Now they’re getting all the attention they could ever want, except Ike Newton. We’re kind of over the whole gravity thing by now.

Poor Jesus, his birthday was always on Christmas. I wonder how Jesus’s birthday went when he was a kid…

Jesus: “Mom, Dad, can we go to Chaim E. Cheese for my birthday?”

Joseph: “Sorry son, we can’t. Not since you pulled that “walking on top of the ball pit” stunt. Now everyone knows who you are. We have to go to church. Thanks a lot.” 

Mary: Joseph, don’t be sarcastic. Jesus, go get ready. Take a bath. And take a real bath this time. No walking around on top!

Jesus: “Aww…man! Why do we always have to go to church on my birthday? We’re Jewish. Shouldn’t we just be lighting candles or playing dreidel?” A petulant Jesus then stomps off to his room. Sits quietly and makes a Ho-Ho multiply until he can build his own birthday cake. Pets his dog and accidentally cures it’s leprosy.

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Unlike, Jesus, Ike Newton or Jimmy Buffett, I missed out on having my birthday overlooked and as a result, I grew up without the attention seeking drive to achieve greatness. Instead of having a Pulitzer Prize and twenty best sellers that I’ve sold the movie rights to, I’ve got a few amusing short novels and this blog. I may not have achieved greatness yet, but some days when I get a few laughs and comments on my blog, you guys make feel like I have. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Have a great Friday! ~Phil