Do you know where the grass is always greener? I do, and I’m going to tell you.
Today could have been a day like any other, but it wasn’t. I woke up, fell out of bed and dragged a comb across my head. Then I slathered some SPF 100 on my face and I looked in the mirror and said to myself, this is it. This is the day. The day that I mow my new lawn for the first time. This is the fifth house that I’ve lived in since I began The Phil Factor fifteen years ago and I anticipate that this will be the last one. Then again, I thought the same thing a year ago, so we’ll see. I like to stay one step ahead of the law.
It’s not that I love mowing the lawn. It’s just a chore like any other, but I do like my lawn to look good. What made today important was that it was to be the first mowing of the year for my new lawn. It’s spring in the northeastern United States and lawns don’t get mowed much earlier than this because of the weather. It literally snowed here yesterday, but today the sun was shining. Because of the coronavirus I may not be able to get a trim on the hair on my head, (what do you think? Should I go man-bun?) but I’ll be damned if my lawn is going to look shaggy.
At 8:30 I pulled on a pair of badass plaid cargo shorts and my favorite baseball cap. “Phil, isn’t 8:30 a little early to cut your lawn. Won’t it disturb the neighbors who might be sleeping in? you may be thinking to yourself. Yes, 8:30 is a little early to start mowing your lawn, but that’s the point. It is, as my kids would say, “a baller move.” I want everyone in the neighborhood to look out their front windows thinking, who the feck is out cutting their lawn today? And at fecking 8:30? Apparently when I’m a baller I imagine that my neighbors are Irish and they like to swear.
As I stood in my garage poised to push my lawn mower and my baller-ness out into this strange new frontier of suburbia, I paused, took a deep breath and imagined the first few guitar riffs of the ScorpionsRock You Like a Hurricane, then I reached out and hit the garage door opener as the vocals start,
It’s early morning, the sun comes out
Last night was shaking and pretty loud
My cat is purring, it scratches my skin
So what is wrong with another sin?
Then in my mind I skip the next verse and go straight to…
Here I am
Rock you like a hurricane
Here I am
Rock you like a hurricane
And with that chorus ringing in my mind I pushed my lawnmower out in to the sun and fired it up. Because I’m a baller.
Me cutting my lawn today was the equivalent to a fighter throwing the first punch. All the other suburbanites had been waiting. Of course nobody wants to cut their lawn, and if everyone else’s lawn looks a little overgrown, it’s OK if yours does too. So being new to the neighborhood, I threw down the gauntlet, because I’m a baller. I imagined that all over the neighborhood wives were suddenly saying to their husbands, “Honey, the new guy is cutting his lawn. Ours is kind of long. Why don’t you go out and cut ours today?” I don’t care that I pissed off every other guy in the neighborhood and ruined their Saturday. You know why? Because I’m a baller. I’m now the mother fecking alpha dog of this cul-de-sac. That’s right mo fo’s, because, say it with me, I’m a baller.
Two things: first, thank you to the Scorpions for my use of their song, which is also my ringtone, and secondly, when some lawn mower company steals my ‘leaving the garage with the mower scene set toRock You Like a Hurricane‘ idea, prepare to be sued for copyright infringement. You know why? Because I’m a baller, and the grass is always greener in my yard. You know what would be a total baller move by you right now? Clicking the Facebook or Twitter share button below. That would be baller A F.
Have a great Easter and a great Passover or just have a great day, because you’re a baller!~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 I just described was meant to make you cringe a little. And yes, I know that over the past year I haven’t blogged more than once a month. I’ve had a lot of real life going on in my life and I’ve discovered that for me writing is an emotional journey and if I’m distracted I’m not a good writer. 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 several other blogs, who has been blogging longer than me and is still at it. Visit her site and give her a like or comment.
I do have two blog posts planned for the next week, so maybe like Spring I am feeling rejuvenated. And of course I’m sure you want to hear my thoughts on the Coronavirus tragedy. Lastly, I want to say a sincere thank you to each and everyone of you that has visited, liked and commented on my blog for the last fifteen years. You have made my life immeasurably better. Have a great Friday!
What’s more surprising, the fact that I awoke from my hibernation to write a blog post, or that I’m going to make fun of a disease that could be the end of the human race? I say neither.
In fact, ancient soothsayer Nostradamus predicted both the disease and my blog writing resurrection when he said, “During the reign of the orange one a disease shall cull the human herd but will be cessaverunt by the oldest of bloggers. Well, he’s not the oldest, but he’s been doing it the longest. It’s Phil. I’m talking about Phil alright. What the f*ck is blogging? I have no idea. I just hear things in my head.” Shortly thereafter Nostradamus had his medication adjusted and he stopped mentioning me.
As a kid growing up, (yes I know that the ‘growing up’ part of this sentence is debatable) my way to cope with things that scared me, like scary movies and the fact that in the 1970’s there were no laws requiring parents to actually do any parenting, was to make fun of them until they go away. Buckle up buttercup, I think I’ve got a lot to say about this “Coronavirus” nonsense.
Let’s face it, if the Coronavirus can fell the mighty Tom Hanks, what hope is there for the rest of us? Well let me tell you, there’s a lot of hope and me and Tom Hanks will guide you through it. They say laughter is the best medicine, so I’m going to try to inoculate all of you. Take that any way you want ; ). Look at me using the old school emoji. How funny is that? It’s funny, but not funny enough to kill the coronavirus, so I guess me and Tom better get to work.
One of my favorite stories that’s come out of the Coronavirus mania is the story of a bright, entrepreneurial teen in the United Kingdom, who was suspended from school for the day after selling “squirts” of hand sanitizer to his friends at Dixons Unity Academy in Leeds. Suspend him? Are you kidding? He should have been awarded an MBA degree and made the president of some company!
He only made about $11.00 American and when asked what he was going to do with his profits he said he bought a bag of Doritos – and plans to buy a kebab with the rest of his cash. OK, so maybe he’s not that bright.
That picture of empty store shelves is what the toilet paper/paper towel aisle looks like in every store in America. That’s crazy. Even if you get quarantined, how much pooping do you plan to do? I don’t recall any mention of explosive diarrhea being one of the symptoms of the Coronavirus and yet everyone is stocking up on toilet paper and paper towels as if they’re made of solid gold. And my assumption is that the paper towels are gone because people are worried about what they will use when they run out of toilet paper! Let’s say, hypothetically, that I become ill with the Coronavirus and my daily poop volume were to double. I’m sure I wouldn’t need forty rolls of toilet paper on hand. Again, I ask you, how much pooping do these people think they’re going to be doing?!!?
And for cripes sake, wouldn’t it be nice to watch five minutes of news without hearing the word “coronavirus”?!!? I’m tempted to knock off a liquor store naked while wearing a Trump mask just to give the local news something else to talk about.
That’s it for me today. Thanks again for stopping by #ThePhilFactor and I truly hope you and your family are well. Have a great weekend, unless you’re spending it all pooping. ~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?
“Moving on to the big categories, it’s ladies first. Who wants to hear who the Best Actress is?” There’s a round of polite applause throughout the room. “Really, that’s it? C’mon guys! Let’s hear it for the ladies!” This elicits hoots, hollers and applause. Joaquin Phoenix starts to hug Renee Zellweger a little too enthusiastically and spills his drink down her back. In the blink of an eye Gooby is on him and as I hit the garage door remote, Joaquin is dragged out screaming, “You can’t do this to me! I’m the Joker!”
“The jokes on you Joaquin,” I reply. The garage door lowers with Joaquin on the other side pounding his tiny little fists and sobbing. Of course, having done this for the previous six years, I’m unflappable. “The nominees are Cynthia Erivo, Scarlett Johansson, Saoirse Ronan, Charlize Theron, and Renee Zellweger. Some big names there along with some lesser known ladies. The winner of the 2020 Phillie Award for Best Actress is Cynthia Erivo because she’s won a Grammy and an Emmy, and having a Phillie would round out her set!”
Pic courtesy of Hollywood Reporter
“Next up is Best Actor! Since I wasn’t nominated again, yes, writing a blog is so acting. Shut up DiCaprio! How many views did your blog get this week? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I’m acting like a writer. That’s acting! Anywho, back to the awards.”
“I guess I’ll have to acknowledge that “Leo” (I did the finger quotes when I said it) earned a nod from the Academy. As did Adam Driver, Joaquin Phoenix, Antonio Banderas, and Jonathan Pryce. Obviously Joaquin has no chance because we had to drag his sorry ass out of here earlier. Adam Driver is eliminated because, well Adam, I hate to break it to you this way, but you look better in a big plastic space helmet than you did playing an actual person in that divorce movie. So that narrows it down to Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce. Jonathan, I don’t know who you are and… well, you’re asleep in your seat right now, the winner of the Phillie for the best actor is Antonio Banderas for his unappreciated work as the dad in the Spy Kids movies!” Antonio stands up, downs a shot of whiskey, throws the shot glass at the wall and strides cockily up to the podium. to collect his trophy.
Pic courtesy of Hollywood Reporter
Here’s the big one folks. Buckle up because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. The nominees for the Snap Judgement Oscar Award for Best Picture are …(I look down at the list)”Oh for cryin’ out loud! There’s nine friggin’ pictures nominated. Seriously! There were not nine movies last year that I’d spend my money on. And DiCaprio, you were in like six of them and Phoenix was in the rest! Drumroll please!…This time DiCaprio starts the drumroll on the back of the seat in front of him occupied by Charlize Theron. Then she picks it up followed by Laura Dern and one by one, everyone in the room begins the drum roll until the chanting begins, “Phillie! Phillie! Phillie!” It’s this way every year and I smile and wait a few moments until the half assed drumroll and chants start to subside.
They’re all drunk by now and if this announcement doesn’t go the right way, this room could explode. I fumble nervously with the envelope. In the back I notice that appropriately enough, Margot Robbie is making out with Joaquin Phoenix who snuck back in past Gooby when he dozed off. Harley Quinn has again found her Joker. “Ahem…” I clear my throat to get their attention. “The Snap Judgement Oscar Award for Best Picture goes to Avengers: Endgame!” They all look at each other silently and then look back up front to me. There’s a slow build of murmuring rumbling through the room. “But since no one from that movie is here, let’s start the after party!” They all leap from their seats happily shouting and clinking classes, drowning out the protests of Scarlett Johansson who is fighting her way through the crowd towards the front.
I grab the mic for the last time, I tap it a couple times and they quiet down. “And remember, what happens in the garage,” and they all join in shouting, “stays in the garage!”
Thank you for attending my soiree and I’ll see you next year. Have a great Sunday! ~Phil
If you’re new here you may be wondering what the Snap Judgement Oscar Awards are. The Phil Factor Snap Judgement Oscar Awards, also known as The Phillies, is one of the most prestigious versions of the Oscar Awards because first of all, they’re given by me, and secondly, I host them in my garage. I haven’t seen most of the movies and I base my opinions on completely ridiculous reasons, the way you do when you pick movies to watch. So without further self-indulgent blathering, we’ll let the winners do that, let’s get on with the show!
The nominees have already finished their red carpet interviews in the driveway. Adam Driver and Antonio Banderas have already been caught by security, my friend Gooby, behind the garage shotgunning Pabst Blue Ribbons. Margot Robbie dropped her White Claw Hard Seltzer and made a run for it, only to sneak in through the back door and tried to hide in the back row with a baseball hat on. She’s fooling no one.
In my tuxedo t-shirt and ripped jeans I head for the house one last time before the ceremony. Tom Hanks is in the kitchen snorting coke off Kathy Bate’s’s bare stomach as she lays prone across my dining room table. My entrance startles them and Tom reaches for his gun, but relaxes when he sees it’s me. “C’mon you two! The show’s about to start. Get in there!” I say as I grab a tray of Totino’s Pizza Rolls out of the oven and adjust the lights. (Phew! I’m glad I got the commercial sponsors out of the way early)
Pic courtesy of Hollywood Reporter
At the podium I can feel the electric excitement bubbling over in the room. It’s palpable. “Settle down you animals, it’s time to start the show! Who wants a Phillie?”
Applause, whistles and hoots wash over me like a tidal wave. It’s obvious that the assemblage of stars much prefer my laid-back awards show to the stuffy, uptight four hour fiasco that is The Oscars. As I’m about to start the awards I hear the pop of a champagne bottle and Joe Pesci stands up spraying the crowd with bubbly as he shouts, “F*ck the Oscars!” Laughter rolls through the garage and they hold up their glasses hoping to catch a few drops of Joe’s golden shower.
“Alright, let’s get this party started!” I shout into the mic. Here are our nominees for Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Margot Robbie, and Kathy Bates! Scarlett, despite being a 2016 Snap Judgement Oscar winner you’re out, as is Laura Dern and Kathy Bates. Why? Your names are easy to spell and pronounce. Florence Pugh and Margot Robbie, however, have overcome the life long adversity of having to constantly correct people about the spelling or pronunciation of their names. And the winner is…(I improvise my own drumroll on the podium with my hands)… MarGot Robbie! And by the way, it’s Philip with one L, not two. Get it right next time Scarlett!”
Pic courtesy of Hollywood Reporter
“Moving on, let’s get to Best Supporting Actor. This year the category has a star studded lineup of outstanding actors. Tom Hanks, Al Pacino, Brad Pitt, Joe Pesci, and Anthony Hopkins. Brad, I’m sorry, but you’re ruled out because you can’t make up your mind on Jen. What the f*ck is wrong with you? She’s America’s sweetheart for cripes sake!” Brad laughs and gives me the finger. “Tom Hanks, you’re out because I’m still waiting for the Bosom Buddies movie. Al Pacino? Puh-leeze! you lost me when you pulled the “Hoo hah!” nonsense in that movie twenty years ago. That brings us to Anthony Hopkins and Joe Pesci. The winner is…Anthony Hopkins because his real given name is Philip (with one L) Anthony Hopkins! Got to give props to Philip Hopkins. Yes, it’s true. Go look it up.”
This is always one of my longer posts, but I don’t want this to be as long as the actual Oscars ceremony. Come back tomorrow morning for Part 2 which will include Best Actor, Best Actress as well as Best Picture. Have a great Saturday! ~Philip
Because the National Football League has yet to issue a cease and desist order to me and because it’s funny I’m re-posting this classic that I wrote last year.
I’m not saying that The Phil Factor is The Official Blog of The#SuperBowl, and I’m not saying it’s not. What I am saying is that I want to get a cease and desist letter from the National Football League’s lawyers.
For those of you not from the States, or from the U.S. but you just don’t care, this weekend is the championship game of the National Football League, otherwise known as the #SuperBowl. I’m hashtagging those words, linking to their site, and making a point of using the phrase ‘Super Bowl’ because the NFL (No Phil League) literally tries to sue anyone who uses the phrase “Super Bowl” without paying them millions of dollars to do so. (I’m putting the words Super Bowl in bold print on the off chance that they’ll be more noticeable when someone from the NFL is looking at the internet.) Some networks even prohibit their announcers from saying Super Bowl out of fear of being sued by the NFL. Comedian Steven Colbert has taken to calling it the Superb Owl.
I call bullshit. I don’t care who you are or what entity you’ve created, no one gets to own words. When I’m elected President, or #SuperBowl MVP (Most Valuable Phil), whichever comes first, I’m going to pass a law stating “No people or corporations can own words.” It’s a stupid idea that someone can own the right to the words #SuperBowl. I’m pretty sure that the words super and bowl were around long before American football. In fact, on Downton Abbey last week Mr. Carson was bringing soup to the Earl and Countess in this big, ornate dish and the Earl said, “Why Mr. Carson! That is the most super bowl I have ever laid my eyes upon!” Downton Abbey happened a hundred years ago, so there’s your proof that someone else used the phrase first.
What if I really do own a super bowl? You know, one of those cool ones with a picture at the bottom that you can’t see until you’ve eaten every drop. That is truly a super bowl. Or what about the people who invented the Perfect Bacon Bowl? That has got to be the superest of bowls. If there were a vote I’m pretty sure that the Bacon Bowl beats out football as the best kind of bowl. I’m also pretty sure that the Bacon Bowl people aren’t going to sue me for mentioning their product. In fact, they might even send me a free Bacon Bowl maker for mentioning it (hint, hint). Click on the video below. The song is a hilariously awesome and may sound more than a little like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
I’m also sure that the folks in the legal marijuana states of Washington and Colorado think their bowls are pretty Super too. Is the NFL going to sue anyone there who says to their smoking buddy “Man, this is one super bowl“?
I’m not afraid to say any word I want. And by the way National Football League, what in the hell makes you so arrogant to think that you have to police the world to make sure no one uses your phrase? I would like to hereby announce that I am legally forbidding anyone from referring to themselves as the official anything of #ThePhilFactor unless I declare it. There you go National Football League. I dare you to declare your #SuperBowl is The Official Super Bowl of The Phil Factor. You know what though? I’m not going to sue you if you do. They’re only words. If you think my blog is so awesome that you want to affiliate yourself with it, great, but it’s going to cost you. In fact, nevermind. The title is already taken. I’m officially declaring that the Perfect Bacon Bowl is The Official Super Bowl of The Phil Factor. And if the Perfect Bacon Bowl people wanted to buy advertising space in my sidebar I’m not opposed to that.
As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor, which is the #SuperBowl of blogs, please share by hitting the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog button below. Have a great #SuperBowl weekend! ~Phil
We may be going to different Super Bowl parties this weekend, but a lot of the people at our parties will be eerily similar and equally irritating. Read on and see if you can identify these folks at your party this Sunday. If you can’t, you’re probably one of them.
The Gambler: He may know when to hold’em but he doesn’t know when to fold’em or when to shut up. This guy always wants you to know the “over/under” and how much he’s got riding on the game. And he spends most of the game fuming and stomping around every time an officials “b.s.” call threatens to upset the point spread he wants. He usually has a “prop bet” on the coin toss too. Unfortunately if the game doesn’t go his way The Gambler turns into The Belligerent Drunk. That is unless the black lab covers the spread in his bet on The Puppy Bowl.
The Referee: This tool has to explain every official ruling on the field as if he’s calculating a quadratic equation. He’ll usually say something like: “Well that was an illegal formation because the half-caff flanker position moved from a three point stance to a two point stance without waiting for a pause in the snap count while the rigamarole motion was ad infinitum. Now normally the refs would let that go but because of the down and distance and clock situation they were forced to call it.” Yeah thanks coach, I can’t imagine why you don’t win your fantasy football league every year.
The Commercial Lover: I hate to stereotype, but this is usually a woman. We all know her. She has no clue about what teams are in the game and often thinks that one teams “costumes are pretty.” She usually says, “Oh I love the Super Bowl because of the commercials. I heard this year that Doritos and Coca Cola combined for a commercial where The Pope break dances with a 3-D video of Michael Jackson. Oh wait, wait, wait, QUIET EVERYBODY, I think this is it. SHHHHH…I want to see this one. Did you see that? That was so funny! Oh my god! BEST Super Bowl commercial EVER!” Usually I’m secretly rooting for the drunk, belligerent gambler to spill his beer on her.
Team Jersey Guy: This guy arrives at the party first and only brings a bag of chips. He grabs a beer and immediately plants his un-athletic physique in the recliner directly across from the television an hour before kick off and won’t leave that seat until the game is over. If you’re the homeowner you might as well just haul that chair out to the curb after the game. You won’t want to keep it. He doesn’t even get up to get another beer. “Oh, hey, if you’re going out to the kitchen could you grab me a brewski?” Once he’s settled in he’s almost as bad as The Gambler. Team Jersey Guy is also the pleasant guy who tries to wave your children out of the way if they walk in front of the t.v. during the game and you swear his head will explode if one of the kids even mentions switching the channel to The Puppy Bowl.
Contributions From the Peanut Gallery: Because I got several great suggestions in the comments when I posted this last year, I’m going to add them here and credit their contributors.
The Phone Clutcher: Every party has a pooper– and he or she is usually that person whose gaze is on his or her smart phone, more often than it is upon the TV screen. They get noticeably antsy when told to put their phones down, and often can be found in dusty corners hugging the only thing they care about in the room. Why they go to these parties, I have never figured out. This spot on contribution came for Ally of The Spectacled Bean. Go visit her blog. She’s always interesting.
The Grazers: The grazers are the guys who don’t talk or interact with the rest. They just keep filling their plate and wandering around the house with no reason to be there other than the food. This great one is from John Howell of Fiction Favorites. Go visit John, he’s always got some great writing going on.
The Hater: The person who comes for the “party” and doesn’t care about the game, and proceeds to complain about the game the whole time. They’re always trying to get someone to play cards with them or something. This one is from Dr. Meg Sorick who still believes the Steelers got gypped. Her blog deserves a visit because she writes better than she dresses.
If you have any other suggestions for Super Bowl party people please add them in the comments. This list will evolve every year based on your suggestions. Even my friends from other countries can play! Feel free to add suggestions from your experience at football parties of your own.
This year be sure to look for The Phil Factor commercial during the halftime show. If you miss that, feel free to share this to other social media using the buttons below. Have a great weekend! ~ 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.