So last Friday I posted this picture of myself on social media. Every Friday this summer I’m posting a pick of myself in a Hawaiian shirt. I have quite a collection.
But the picture above garnered more comments and attention than my usual Hawaiian shirt pictures. I bet that some of you know why. I didn’t and was surprised why this shirt caught peoples attention. About 60% of the pineapples on the shirt are upside down. I thought that was odd, but just figured that Old Navy was getting rid of some misprint shirts cheap. I was very naïve for thinking that.
Traditionally the pineapple is a symbol of welcoming. Flags and signs like the one above can be seen all over the world indicating welcome and friendship. Apparently some people use the upside down pineapple as a symbol of being really, really friendly.
As it turns out, the upside down pineapple when displayed on your clothing or as a decoration on your house indicates that you’re a swinger! According to google, the informal definition of the word swinger is “a person who engages in group sex or the swapping of sexual partners.”
Now all those pineapple upside down cakes that my mom used to make suddenly seem very suspicious. That could explain why us kids had to go to bed when they invited the neighbors over for parties in the basement. Now I’m wondering if our basement was a secret sex dungeon. I’m also wondering if Old Navy is really a swingers cult. When does the deception end? Is my dad really my dad, or was it my next door neighbor? Now that I’ve worn the shirt, am I a swinger? Is someone swinging with me right now?!!?
When the weather turns cold I’m getting this sweatshirt
Suddenly thanks to one of my favorite fruits, my whole life is a lie. If you want to read a little more about swinger symbols so you can either encourage or avoid attention read this fun article from Men’s Health magazine. And if you are an upside down pineapple, well, you already know what to do! ; )
Something weird has been going on. Fellow bloggers, do you look at your stats as much as I do? I like to see what people searched that brought them to my blogs, and where the searchers are from. Almost once a week over the past year I found that someone has been getting to my blog through libguides.np.edu . That wasn’t a search engine that I’m familiar with, so I went to the link.
libguides.np.edu is a library search engine for National Park College in Hot Springs, Arkansas. As far as I know, I don’t know anyone from Arkansas. Is it one of you fellow bloggers? Could it be that my books are in the library at National Park College? Could it possibly be one of the friendly librarians at National Park College?
Your Friendly Librarians
Kristen, Lynn, are you fans of The Phil Factor? Or could it be a student? I don’t think it’s a student. 18 year olds are bit out of my demographic. The mystery of the consistent views from this small college is driving me crazy. If you are the National Park College visitor, please say hello in the comments section below.
What I’m secretly hoping is that someone who works at National Park College in Hot Springs, Arkansas is a huge fan of #ThePhilFactor so much so that they invite me to be a speaker at graduation or for the ceremony welcoming incoming freshman. I would give a hell of an inspiring speech. Kristin & Lynn, do you think you could help me with that? I’m a published author. You could do worse. If not, could you at least get my books in your library?
Fellow bloggers, what are some of the oddest quirky things you’ve come across in your stats? Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil
Who remembers what movie those ghosts are from? It’s one of my favorite paranormal movies. If you haven’t read Part 1 of my interview with the paranormal investigators from the Monroe County Paranormal Investigations, scroll back and read that too. These guys are interesting and funny.
Me: What was the funniest thing that ever happened during an investigation?
Rob: “The bed” is probably the funniest. So we’re investigating this house in the city. I am not a little person.
Brian: Neither am I.
Rob: Brian and I together; not little people. We’re investigating this home. We have two brand new investigators working together downstairs. We’re upstairs. I’m sitting on a bed, and I say, “Brian, come over here and look at this. You’ll see how the light is reflecting.” He sits on the bed and the bed collapses.
Brian: Not quietly! Baboom!
Rob: There’s a huge crash and between the two of us there’s 140 pounds of humanity. It lands on the floor. The two brand new investigators were downstairs and the homeowner says, “What was that?”
Brian: I was on the floor crying, laughing thinking “Oh my God. What are we gonna do?” One of the new investigators yells up the stairs “Are you ok?”
Rob: Do you know how hard it is to yell “We’re ok” while you’re laughing?
Later the whole team talked a lot about feeling evil in the air when they enter some haunted places. All four of them indicated that at one time or another they had felt something, an energy upon entering a structure or room that had made them emotionally upset or fearful.
Rob: It was an explosion of energy in that one location. It was such an emotional intense event that I didn’t sleep for a week. I slept maybe ten minutes at a stretch and every time I closed my eyes I would wake up and I would swear my hands were covered in blood and there were police cars in my driveway coming to get me. I texted Stacey and I said “I don’t know what any of this means, but there’s a rose colored heart, there’s an egg, somebody painted the word love, and there’s a motorcycle. I don’t know what any of that means.”
Stacey: So I was doing research on the case Rob is referring to. I wanted to know more and know where the person was buried. I went to the cemetery. The stone was rose colored, and there was her face.
Rob: It was an old picture and it had faded so it was just an oval egg. The guy behind her stone was a biker so he had put a Harley Davidson little thing on top of his gravestone.
Stacey: Then there was a little plaque that said “love” in white.
Brian: The only kind of advice that I’ll typically give to people, if you have activity in your home is this. Imagine, if you’re dead and don’t know, if somebody comes into their home, you’re going to be like “Hey! Hello? What are you doing here?” And they’re not hearing or responding to you, you’re going to make noise, Smack, bang bang bang, right?
What if instead, when you get home you said, “Hey, thanks for watching the house for us today”? You just acknowledge them. It is amazing how many times that when we tell people to do that, everything quiets down.”
Me: I agree with that last piece of advice. It’s what I did in my house. There’s so much more they said that I could go on a few more pages. I sincerely want to thank everyone at M.C.P.I. for enduring my questions and allowing me to accompany them on a ghost hunt two days later. If you want to hear how that went, come back Saturday morning!
May 3rd is National Paranormal Day! Yup, that’s a real thing and the perfect excuse to talk to you about ghosts. The question is, do ghosts exist? Several surveys asked this question and found that anywhere from 40-57% of people do believe in ghosts. Are you one of them?
There are also many scientists that don’t believe that ghosts exist. and here are some of their theories:
1. The Power of Suggestion: If someone tells you a place you are visiting is haunted, you’re more likely to report having seen a ghost than people who were told that the same location was being renovated. If you look at something ambiguous and want to see a ghost, you’re more likely to see what you want.
2. Magnetic fields and “infrasounds”: Science shows that applying various electromagnetic fields to someone’s brain could cause perception of haunting or a presence. Several studies have linked infrasound, which is audio frequencies that are below the level the human ear perceives sounds, to induce bizarre sensations.
3. Toxic hallucinations:Another explanation offered is the brains reaction to poisons such as carbon monoxide, pesticides, and mold.
4. Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations:These I am personally familiar with, and you might be too. Hypnagogic hallucinations occur when you are falling asleep but not in REM, or dreaming sleep yet, and hypnopompic hallucinations occur when you are waking up but not all the way out of REM sleep. Another feature of these hallucinations is sleep paralysis. This is when you perceive yourself to be awake, but really aren’t, and you are unable to move your body. Often during this state you may also see things that aren’t really there. I know this is a legit thing, so if someone tells me they saw a ghost when they were lying in bed, I’m skeptical.
5. Those orbs on ghost hunting TV shows… It’s been proven by the Paranormal Photography Investigations Center (R.I.T. Professor Andrew Davidhazy) that those are not ghosts but are just airborne dust close to the lens and caught in the light of the camera.
My thought: In the right circumstances these explanations may be a legitimate reason that some people believe they’ve seen ghosts. But what about the other times when the conditions listed above are not present?
We just reviewed the science against ghosts being real. Guess what? There are also some scientists that argue in favor of ghosts existing.
Picture courtesy of Higgypop.com
In an article published in Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Dr. Gary Schwartz of the University of Arizona concluded that it was possible to measure the presence of spirit by an increase in photons in an otherwise black box when a spirit appeared inside the box. Dr. Schwartz has written several books on his experiments on multiple paranormal subjects. You can find his book here on Amazon. Dr. Schwartz isn’t the only one doing photons and laser grids to prove the existence of ghosts. If you click this link you can find hundreds of other similar articles.
Two days ago I went to a presentation by some local paranormal experts and tonight I’m going on a ghost hunt with them. If I come back alive tonight, I’ll give you my perspective in a couple posts near and on National Paranormal Day!
In 2022 it has been disconcerting to see so many people, possibly more famous and probably wealthier than me, pass away and I’m realizing it’s possible I may not be able to avoid death. Don’t get me wrong, I still have no plans to die, but as I get older I like to hedge my bets a little. Hell, if Steve Jobs FitBit didn’t help him avoid death, what chance do I have? That’s right all you FitBit nuts, the Grim Reaper is coming for you no matter how many steps you take today.
That’s my favorite Grim Reaper. He’s from a cartoon my kids watched. I thought he was particularly funny because he had a Jamaican accent. That’s the first item on my After-Life To Do List: If I’m going to allow myself to be escorted to the other realm it’s got to be him, that Jamaican Grim Reaper. It’s impossible to stay mad at anyone with a Jamaican accent. C’mon man. It will be alright. Let me show you around. Being dead ain’t no big ting… If it’s not him, I’m not going.
Prior to my death, and possibly as soon as this week, I’m going to choose my house to haunt. Who says that you have to haunt your own house? What’s to stop me from haunting the Big Brother house? There’s always people home, so I’d never be bored. I could participate by doing ghosty kind of stuff. How great would Big Brother be if the ten dolts were locked up in a haunted house for three months? And how about if the ghost gets to choose who leaves the house each week by making some mysterious sign, like a mark on a chalkboard or something? I’m totally going to pitch this idea to the producers. I’m putting it in my will just in case I don’t get the contract signed before I pass.
List of people to haunt: I’m making this list and including in my will that invites be sent out to my funeral. Only the date of the funeral will have to be filled in. I’m pre-signing the invites now with the phrase “See YOU soon!” How creepy would it be to get one of those? Also, at my funeral I want every one there to stand up and read their favorite Phil Factor aloud.
Choose My After-Life Occupation: If I have eternity ahead of me, I don’t want to retire yet. Sitting around playing checkers with the old guys at McDonald’s in the afterlife sounds boring. In the after-life I’m going to be a real estate agent helping the recently deceased find the home of their dreams to haunt.
Me: This lovely colonial on a cul-de-sac has five of the living, four bedrooms and two and a half baths..
Recently Deceased: What about pets? I hate pets. Dogs always barking at me. Cats getting spooked when I’m trying to stand quietly in the corner watching TV. They can see us you know.
Me: So are pets a deal breaker for you?
Recently deceased: What about Jennifer Lopez? I’d love to haunt Jennifer Lopez.
Me: Oh, I’m sorry. Her house just went off the market last month. How about Justin Bieber?
Recently Deceased: Ugh. No thanks.
Phil found his time as a ghost comedian to be both odd and confusing.
After-Life Hobbies: I never want to be all work and no play, so I’m going to be an amateur stand-up comedian in my spare time. Spare time? I’m dead. All my time is spare! See? I’m writing jokes for the after-life already. Man, I am gonna brighten that place up.
Blogging: Yup, I’m going to continue. I’ve been doing this blog for 17 years. Why should I let death stop me? I’ve pre-written an extra post a week for the last ten years and scheduled them to be released on a regular schedule after my transition to the after-life, Heck, I could be dead already and you wouldn’t know! Why else would I be writing about death?
So, as you can see, there’s lots to do in the after-life, and I don’t want to show up unprepared. What do you want to do after you die? Speaking of ghosts, tonight I’ll be interviewing some local ghostbusters. What do you think I should ask them?
There’s two things I’m not sure if I believe in, ghosts and death. Well, I’m sure I don’t believe in my own death, and if by chance it does happen, I plan to overcome it by becoming a ghost. I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself What a weirdo! Hey, relax on the judgement there. I’m contractually bound to comeback after death, if I have one, a death that is.
Contractually bound? Yup. Nothing I can do about it now. It was many years ago in college. One night myself and two friends were drinking some adult beverages. You know how when you’re young, like 20 or so and you think you’re really deep thinkers even though you’re really idiots who don’t know anything? We had imbibed a few beverages and got to talking about death and the afterlife.
We all were curious to know if there really was life after death, so right then and there we Googled and then re-enacted a centuries old Druid ceremony complete with a circle of salt, candles under a full moon and signing a pact with our own blood, which was flowing easily because of the alcohol we had been drinking. Ok, no we didn’t. I had you going there for a second, didn’t I?
There was also no Google when I was in college, but we did make a promise to each other that whoever died first would come back and haunt the other two so we would know that there’s life after death.
I don’t know where those two college friends are now and don’t even remember ones last name. Hopefully, because of our vow, some sort of afterlife mojo will help us find each other and keep our promise. As far as I know, none of us has ever shown up to haunt the others. With May 3rd being National Paranormal Day I got to thinking of this and what else I might do if I were to be a ghost.
I know this may be hard for you to believe, but in my life I’ve been a bit of a practical joker at times. I’m pretty sure that if I ever come back as a ghost I’m not going to take off my shirt and help anyone with pottery. Jeez, what a waste of an afterlife. I’ll probably be what we all know as a poltergeist. I’ll move a lot of peoples car keys just before they have to leave for work.
During live televised events I’ll show up invisibly and give the President or the Pope a wet willie. I’ll be on the field at all my favorite live sporting events, helping out a little to ensure my favorite teams win.
You know that feeling you get when you feel like someone’s behind you but you turn around and no one’s there? That’ll be me. Who knows? Ghost Phil may even zip into the internet and follow the connection to your computer and cause embarrassing typos when you’re posting pictures.
So do you believe in life after death? Do you think there are real ghosts? Have you ever had an experience with what you think was a ghost? What would you do if you were a ghost?
Have a great Thursday, and yes, I do think we should celebrate National Paranormal Day by pulling out the Halloween decorations! ~Phil
Yes, on this very day, at this exact time, on April 3rd in 2005, I put my writing legs up in the stirrups, leaned back and gave birth to The Phil Factor. Yes, the image was meant to make you cringe a little. If my blog was a person it would be starting to curse at it’s parents and experimenting with alcohol while failing geometry. There’s not many blogs in the world that have been active as long or longer than mine, and I’m proud of that. Earlier this year I surpassed 2000 posts where I have talked as if someone is listening.
My Blogger sidebar before I moved it over to WordPress. I love that at the bottom it shows 2005.
Yes, I know that over the past two years, I haven’t blogged as often as I used to. I’ve had a lot of real life going on in my life and I’ve discovered that for me writing is something I do a lot of when I’m happy and not as much when I’m stressed. I’m starting to feel a bit more settled as all the changes in my life have become the norm for me. So, as I traditionally do, I will copy and paste my very first blog post so that if you missed it, you can enjoy it as if you’re watching a re-run from an old show.
What Up Dawg? Is it just me or is everyone sick of Randy Jackson’s act on American Idol? How many times can we hear, “What up dawg?” Or his other favorite, “It was a little pitchy in spots,” or “It was just ahh ight for me.” The dude is like one of those action figures where you squeeze him and he has three pre-programmed phrases he rotates through. Nearly as bad is Paula Abdul. Has anyone else noticed that this season she seems drunk every week? She loves everyone this season and seems to find an excuse to physically grab Simon Cowell every week. Considering her recent charge of leaving the scene of an accident after she clipped another car on the freeway, how ironic is it that her big 1988 hit song, Straight Up, included the line “caught in a hit and run”?
That’s how I introduced myself to the blogging world and I was rewarded with ZERO comments or likes. Also, I’d like to give a shout out to my longtime blogging friend Jennifer of Not Quite Perfect , and a few other blogs, who has been blogging longer than me and is still at it. Visit her site and give her a like or comment.
Lastly and most importantly I’d like to say thank you to all of my blogging friends who have made this the wonderful, welcoming blogging community that it is. I have appreciated every read, like or comment over the past seventeen years. Without you, I probably wouldn’t have lasted a year.
Cheers to all of you and I hope we can share a glass of champagne some day. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil
Many of you are familiar with my previous Snap Judgement Oscar Awards where I give out my own Oscar Awards to the movies, actors, and actresses that I think really deserve the awards. I’m still going to do that, but this year, I’m adding a twist. I’m going to use my psychic talents. After telling you who I think really deserves the award based on my own idiotic reasoning, I will use my psychic powers to predict who I think the Academy will give their awards to. I’m only going to choose three in each category just to shorten this up. Without further adieu…
Top 3 Best Supporting Actress Nominees: Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog; Judi Dench, Belfast; Ariana DeBose, West Side Story. The winner of my Snap Judgement Oscar Award is Kirsten Dunst for her work in the 2002 movie Spider-Man. She never got the credit she deserves for being the first to play Spider-Man’s girlfriend, Mary Jane Watson. Honestly, Tobey Maguire dragged that film down and Kirsten Dunst’s Oscar chances with it. My psychic prediction for the 2022 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose in West Side Story.
Top 3 Best Supporting Actor Nominees: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog; J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos; Troy Kotsur, Coda. The Phil Factor choice for this years Snap Judgement Best Supporting Actor Award goes to J.K. Simmons for his role as J. Jonah Jameson in the 2002 epic Spider-Man. If not for Tobey Maguire, he would have gotten that 2002 Oscar. In my world, if J.K. Simmons wants an Oscar, J.K. Simmons gets an Oscar. My psychic prediction for who the Academy will choose as Best Supporting Actor: Troy Kotsur for Coda.
Top 3 Best Actress Nominees: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye; Kristen Stewart, Spencer; Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos. Although Jessica Chastain has made the transition from women’s soccer to acting, she won’t be the choice for Best Actress. My personal choice for The Phil Factor Snap Judgement Oscar Award for Best Actress is Kristen Stewart because she was smart enough to break up with Robert Pattinson, the worst Batman ever. Unfortunately for Kristen, my big psychic noggin says that the Best Actress Oscar goes to Nicole Kidman for her work overcoming the dead weight that was Tobey Maguire Val Kilmer in Batman Forever in 1995. It may not be Spider-Man, but it’s close enough.
Top 3 Best Actor Nominees: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog; Will Smith, King Richard; Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick…Boom!. Woo! This category is loaded this year. The Snap Judgement Oscar Award es to Andrew Garfield for his role in Spider-Man: No Way Home in which he shined despite the presence of Oscar killer Tobey Maguire. Despite my Spider-Man love, my psychic prediction for Best Actor is Will Smith for King Richard and because we all still remember when Fresh Prince Will and Carlton did that dope dance number to Apache by the Sugarhill Gang.
This combination of photos shows promotional art for the films nominated for an Oscar for best picture, (Focus Features/Apple TV+, Netflix, Janus Films & Sideshow, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Searchlight Pictures, Netflix, 20th Century Films via AP)
Top 3 Best Picture Nominees (I have seen none of these movies):
The Power of the Dog: A Western based on a 1967 novel by Thomas Savage with the same title. It’s got a great cast and won a bunch of awards, but a Western?!!? I’m falling asleep just writing this paragraph about it.
Belfast: A movie about a boy growing up during a sort of civil war in Northern Ireland in 1969. If they could have made this about a boy growing up in war torn Ukraine, they’d have that Oscar in the bag already.
CODA: If you’re not familiar, CODA stands for Children Of Deaf Adults. This film is about a young girl trying to balance her desire to help her family’s struggling fishing business while pursuing her dream of going to college for singing. Yes, singing, not signing.
My Snap Judgement Oscar Award for Best Picture goes to…Licorice Pizza, another Best Picture nominee that is a sentimental, coming of age comedy/drama. I’m a sucker for coming of age comedies because, let’s face it, don’t we all identify with those movies?
About 5 years ago I had my first experience with a psychic medium. If she was any good she’d be called a psychic large. Am I right? A winery near me had a psychic medium doing tarot card readings every weekend. For $25 you’d get a glass of wine and your reading. Below are my cards. Truth be told, if she really is psychic she’d know that the flower print table cloth is a terrible background for people who want to take pictures of their cards.
I’ll tell you my mind set approaching this. I believe that psychic phenomena does exist, however, I am skeptical of those who claim to have psychic abilities. I take a “prove it to me” approach. I went into the reading determined not to give the psychic any information that would lead her into general statements that I would then interpret through my point of view and believe she was psychic.
As soon as my psychic, Maren, dealt the cards I shouted “Blackjack!” which she didn’t even laugh at. Interestingly, just now as I typed “dealt” I accidentally added an “h” on the end of it, making it dealth which is only a letter away from death.
Yes, I did get the death card. I didn’t panic because first of all, I’m Phil, and secondly, in writing a good novel your main character can be faced with three types of death: physical, romantic, or occupational. Think about novels you’ve read and you’ll see one or more of those themes in all of them. For me the psychic surmised that the death card was related to a work situation. She was right. I hadn’t lost my job, but had recently found out I wouldn’t be getting a highly coveted promotion. That’s one in favor of the psychic.
To start the reading, I was asked to choose an identity card. She explained the traits of each and asked me to choose the one that I felt reflected my personality the best. I wanted to choose the Knight of Swords but was told that I was too old to be a Knight, so I had to be a King. Obviously she wasn’t taking mental age into account. Of the Kings I chose the King of Wands. Maren laid this down and flipped over a card that completely covered my identity card. Her eyes got big and she looked up at me. The card was the High Priestess card. “Are you psychic?” she said. “You’re either psychic or very intuitive.”
I didn’t admit if I was psychic and allowed her to continue. She had laid out the cards in the Celtic Cross formation. I was pleasantly surprised that she was spot on accurate on a bunch of things and happily the final card of my reading was the Three of Cups card seen below, which indicates a happy ending that apparently has nothing to do with a massage.
As far as the last card being the celebration of some accomplishment, you’d think if her goal was to make her customers happy she would give that card to everyone.
I went with my wife and two friends who also had readings and none received similar interpretations in their readings. In our discussion after we discovered that everyone’s readings were different and everyone felt she was surprisingly accurate, even the two of us that went in as skeptics. My verdict: I think Maren really did have some psychic abilities.
At the end she handed me her business card which said “Maren’s Messages. ” I was disappointed it didn’t say “Maren’s Massages.” A massage and a psychic reading in one? How awesome would that be?
I know this isn’t as funny as most Phil Factors, but here’s my idea: If I’m psychic or intuitive, in addition to the fact that I have a Master’s in Psychology, I imagine that I’d be pretty good at this process. What if, as a party entertainer I did humor infused psychic Tarot card readings? “What? The Death card! Ummm….no I don’t take credit. You’ll have to pay cash. Right now.” Or maybe, if someone gets The Three of Wands “Oh sorry. Your co-workers like you….the way Ukrainians like Putin.” I’m pretty sure if I studied the cards and put some thought into it I could come up with a bunch of smart ass lines. What do you think? Should I go into the psychic party entertainment business? Also, would anyone be interested in me interviewing a psychic (besides me) for a Phil Factor post?
As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor I’d love it if you’d share it by the Facebook or Twitter buttons below. Also psychic readings are now available on The Phil Factor for $25. Have a great Thursday, and stay tuned for my psychic predictions for the Oscars on Saturday! ~Phil
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.