I’d like to wish a sincere Happy Holi to my Hindu friends and Hindi speaking friends out there! Thank you for all your views of my blog over the past several years! For the rest of you, in India Holi is a holiday celebrated much like our St. Patrick’s Day. Different meanings, but similar celebrations.
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. (If you click the THIS LINK you can watch a popular Indian TV series about the mythological story on Disney+)
So why do so many Hindi speaking people read my blog? Because of two 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!
In case you didn’t know, it’s Groundhog Day! Then again it’s felt like Groundhog Day for the last two years, hasn’t it?
Who doesn’t love this old movie? Especially since Bill Murray’s character was named Phil. And, the groundhog is also named Phil. Coincidence? I think not. This post was originally written for #ThePhilFactor on Feb. 2, 2006 and I now post it every year, over and over, just like Phil’s Groundhog Day in the movie.
The dimwitted people of Punxsatawney, Pennsylvannia have been shoving a rodent through a hole in a tree stump for almost 200 hundred years to find out if there will be 6 more weeks of winter. Hey morons, you live in the Northeast! There’s always 6 more weeks of winter! Check the calendar! It says that Spring starts on March 21st. That’s 7 weeks from now. You don’t need a rat being spooked by his shadow to figure this one out.
At this point I’m getting tired of all these wanna-be Phil’s trying to horn in on my fame. If, coincidentally, a shot were to ring out in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania today and a certain rodent were to explode in a puff of fur, I was kidding when I wrote this. No harm meant, just a joke. You’ll all be my alibi right?
I’m curious, for those of you from other countries, do you have a Groundhog Day? As always, if you enjoyed this vintage Phil Factor feel free to share it via the social media buttons below. Come back Saturday for a brand new Phil Factor. Have a great Friday! ~Phil
Every holiday season I post this list and it evolves based on readers suggestions and new movies that come out. If you have favorites that didn’t make the list please add them in the comments section and maybe you’ll influence next years list.
10. Christmas Vacation (1989) Added to the list this year by popular demand in response to last years Top Ten is Christmas Vacation, which knocked The Nightmare Before Christmas off the list. What do you think? Should a different movie have been taken off the list? Christmas Vacation fun fact: The assistant director of Christmas Vacation is the grandson of the director of It’s a Wonderful Life.
9. Scrooged: (1988) A modern re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic starring Bill Murray. I think that even Dickens would agree that this is way better than the original.
8. The Family Man (2000) Starring Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni. Most people don’t think much of Nicholas Cage, but in this movie he nails the role of an investment banker who through a Christmas miracle is shown the path not taken in his life. I like this one so much that it knocked Die Hard off the list. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it and come back here and tell me what you think.
7. The Santa Clause: This 2004 movie starring Tim Allen screamed instant classic the first time I saw it. Also, any movie that includes Judge Reinhold is a must watch.
6. Love Actually: (2003) This is the best Christmas movie there is about stodgy British people trying to get it on, but it’s a favorite with the ladies, so it made the list. Around the holidays the ladies get what the ladies want.
5. The Polar Express: (2004) Tom Hanks is a better actor as cartoon character.
4. Elf: (2003) Starring Will Farrell, this is the most quotable of all holiday movies. “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.” or “Buddy the Elf. What’s your favorite color?” What’s your favorite Elf quote? Put it in the comments
3. Miracle on 34th Street: (1947)I’ve never watched the color version and I don’t plan to. I’ve loved this one since I was a kid, especially the brilliant court scene when Santa’s lawyer wins by having the postmen deliver the letters to Santa. That was the last time the post office delivered anything on time for the holidays. Also, has anyone else noticed that the entire movie is about the lawyer guy trying to get with the little girls single mom?
2. A Christmas Story: (1983)It is right and just that TBS plays this movie for 24 hours straight every year.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life: (1946) Yes, I’m an old sentimental fool. I still love it every time when Mary is hidden in the bush and has lost her robe and George says, “Now this is a very interesting situation.” Who doesn’t wonder where the movie might have gone had his friends not pulled up in the car at that moment. Bow bow chicka chicka… Also it’s pretty cool to me that the town of Bedford Falls is based on a small town in upstate New York that I drive through all the time.
Ok, that’s my list. What do you disagree with? What movies would you put on the list? And don’t forget those Elf quotes! Have a great Sunday! ~Phil
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”
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”
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. (bow chicka bow wow!)
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.
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? ~Phil
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.
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.
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 folks: All 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 a dozen episodes a year? That’s only five 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 tasers as an impulse buy item at the checkouts. Then again, I don’t live in the south, they probably do there.
4. Frozen: I don’t even have a young Disney Princess obsessed daughter and I’m sick and tired of this stupid movie. It’s about time to Let It Go! I’m sick of the song 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.
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, butnot 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 Avengers 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
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 and they spy on children and report back to their tyrannical leader. That allegedly quaint little elf doll was invented about 25 years ago as a new, and for some toy 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.
Parents put these little toy elves on a shelf and tell their children that the Elf can’t 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 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 a 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 to be too terrified or too tired to misbehave. It’s no wonder they have a weeks vacation from school after Christmas. They probably spend that week sleeping for the first time in a month.
I had 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 this creepy little doll with the frozen scary clown smile 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 is 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?
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 books, Time To Lie and the sequel The Last Locked Door, available in paperback, e-book, and Audible. Give the gift of reading this holiday season and have a great weekend! ~Phil
Not everybody celebrates the holidays just like you do. One of the ten traditions in the list is made up by me. See if you can guess which one is the fake and put your guess in the comments.
Ten Weird Holiday Traditions From Around the World
10. South Africa: In South Africa deep fried caterpillars are the traditional holiday meal. Who knows why? Maybe they believe that eating caterpillars symbolically will make their life turn into a butterfly or some such nonsense. Or maybe caterpillars are just really tasty. Who are we kidding? Anything deep fried IS really tasty.
9. Norway: Maybe my blogging friend Maja Asgautsen from Norway can tell me if this is accurate. According to what I read in the internet, in Norway it’s traditional not to do any cleaning on Christmas Eve and all brooms are put away. Sounds like Norwegian Christmas Eve happens at my house several days every week.
8. Caracas, Venezuela: Residents of this one town, Caracas, go to Christmas Eve mass on roller skates.
7. Germany: In Germany they hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and the first child to find it gets a small gift. I would bet that in German bars around the holidays “Hey gorgeous, how would you like to play hide the pickle?” is an overused, and probably unsuccessful pick up line.
6. Ukraine: In the Ukraine, instead of tinsel and lights they decorate their Christmas trees with fake spider webs and spiders. Apparently they watch The Nightmare Before Christmas a little too often.
5. China: In China families bring their pets, dogs, cats, and birds to a special mass on Christmas Eve to have them blessed. In Chinese culture it is believed that animals are more susceptible to demonic possession and the ceremony is thought to “cleanse” them for the coming year. That is why most households have a “lucky cat” statue to ward off evil spirits.
4. Estonia: Families go to the sauna together. I’m cool with going to the sauna, but with my family? Ugh.
3. Great Britain: Tradition dictates that each member of the family must stir the Christmas pudding in a clockwise direction and make a wish. Reportedly 90% of wishes are “I wish is wasn’t cold and rainy.”
2. Guatemala: They sweep out their houses on Christmas Eve, with brooms they borrowed from the Norwegians, creating a pile of dirt in front of their home. Then they burn an effigy of the devil on top. Geez, Guatemala, lighten up, it’s Christmas! It’s supposed to be fun.
1. Greece: In a twisted version of Elf on the Shelf, the Greeks tell their children that the Kallikantzaroi, a race of evil goblins that live underground, come to the surface to wreak havoc during the twelve days of Christmas. Nice, parenting by terror. What’s more traditional than that?
Well, one of those ten is a completely fake. Which one do you think it is? Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil
Thanksgiving! It’s that holiday where we are supposed to appreciate family and ponder our thankfulness about stuff. Yes, that’s right, stuff. I know it and you know it; we all say the same damn thing every year at the dinner table when it’s our turn to say what we’re thankful for. And those things are good, valid things like having family together and having a roof over our heads. But who has a good laugh over those things? Am I right?
I propose that we start a new tradition. How about if we talk about the fun, ridiculous things that we’re thankful for? The world is far too serious on a daily basis lately. Let’s lighten up. It’s the holidays and we need to smile. How about I start first? I’ll tell you what some of the unusual things I’m thankful are, and then, if you’ve read this far, in the comments put one unusual thing you are thankful for.
The Internet: I’m thankful for the internet. Without it, I wouldn’t be writing words that people all over the world read. Growing up I had to make jokes and say things to people in person. Now, according to my blog stats, someone in Nepal can (and did) look up the Top Ten Amish Sex Positions anytime they want and I don’t have to walk all the way over to Nepal to make those jokes. That’s the beauty of the internet. Go on, click that link. You know you want to. (And it is sooo worth it)
Cable television and streaming services: Yes, maybe I’m forty years late on expressing gratitude for cable television, but it’s about time somebody did. When I was a kid, before cable television, there were four “over the air” television stations. Four!!! And one of them was PBS for cripes sake! Seriously, is PBS the weirdest channel? You watch it until you’re about four years old and then you outgrow the kid shows and then don’t tune in again until you’re 70. It’s either Elmo or documentaries about World War I. And until cable television existed, those four channels went of the air at 2:00 a.m.! The national anthem would play over a video of the flag and then it went to static until 6:00 a.m. Thank you technology Gods for inventing 24 hours a day television!
Keurig Coffee Makers: Yes, I know you coffee purists decry Keurig as garbage coffee. I know it’s not the best and it’s not the worst, but it is the fastest. I love my coffee and I love it even more when I can have it in twenty seconds. If the inventor of the Keurig Coffee maker ever dies, I would like to speak at his funeral. (Ironically, in THIS ARTICLE he later expressed regret for inventing it.)
There you go. Those are my top three unusual things that I’m thankful for. What about you? What’s one unconventional thing that you’re thankful for? Please add it in the comments.
Lastly, I hope you’re reading this through the internet with a cup of Keurig made coffee warming your hand. Whether you’re from the States or not, I’m thankful for you reading my blog. You’ve made my day and I hope you have a thankful day wherever you are. ~Phil
If I didn’t get your favorite on the list, in the comments tell me what I’ve been missing!
Six 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? Below 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. 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.
9. 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.
8. 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.
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.
5. It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!
This is a tough one to beat, but it’s hard to dethrone Christmas and Hanukkah.
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.
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?
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.
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!
So which ones of those would you rank higher? Did I miss your favorite? Please tell me in the comments! Have a great day! ~Phil
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?
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.