Category Archives: pop culture

Top Ten Tuesday! The Top Ten Scariest/Creepiest TV Shows Ever

There’s nothing I enjoy more than being on the edge of my seat. I’m not talking horror or gore. I’m talking pure, can’t take your eyes off the screen, I can’t believe this is happening suspense. With the news that the early 90’s classic Twin Peaks would be returning next year with eighteen new episodes I began re-watching seasons 1 & 2 from 1990 and 1991. I also got to thinking about the best suspense TV shows I’ve watched. I’ve watched 8 of the 10 on the list and included the two others on reputation. This is a very subjective list, so if you have other suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Twilight Zone: This may be the original classic suspense show. I didn’t see it in it’s first run, but saw it later in re-runs. I fly fairly regularly for my job and I’m always tempted to yell ‘There’s a man on the wing!” If you get the reference, in the comments tell me what actor screamed it.

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The X-Files: A 90’s classic that returned to the small screen for a limited run last year. It was great in it’s time and improved as it grew in popularity. Not every episode was the perfect cocktail of suspense and disbelief, but it was often enough to make my list.

American-Gothic

American Gothic: Maybe I just like this because I have the painting on a tie. Which is more famous, the painting or the movie? Who heard of one but not the other? I didn’t see this show, but loved the title and heard others give it high praise. You win 50 points to spend in The Phil Factor gift shop if you can tell me, without looking it up, what artist did the famous painting.

LOST: Apparently I’m stuck in the 90’s. For one glorious season LOST was awesomely suspenseful and mysterious. Then the writers all seemed to lose their minds.

The Walking Dead: There’s just so many. So many zombies. Just the tiniest scratch. Any moment you could become one of them. Your group is getting picked off one by one. There could be one or one hundred around any corner. You just never know.

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American Horror Story: I haven’t watched this one. Yet. I plan to, but no one else in my family wants to see it, so I have to find some time to watch when no one is around. That’s the best time to watch scary stuff anyway, right?

In Search Of… Leonard Nimoy rest in peace.  This was a late 70’s-early 80’s show that was part documentary, part reality show where they tried to debunk paranormal phenomena. As a kid I wanted to watch but it always freaked me out.

Kingdom Hospital: Also known as Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital. This was a one season series that was based on a Danish show.  Look it up on Netflix or Hulu. Completely creepy, suspenseful and weird. I loved it.

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Stranger Things: Check this one out on Netflix. It was a new series for 2016. It’s only 8 episodes but season 2 begins on Oct. 27. This show set out to capture the aura of those cool, creepy 80’s Stephen King based movies and it succeeded brilliantly.

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Twin Peaks: As I said, I recently began re-watching the original series and it stands the test of time. It’s still awesomely creepy and weird. If you were a fan of the show and want to see a funny, hour-long spoof featuring many of the actors and actresses from the original look up the show Psych on Netflix and find the Dual Spires episode in 2010/5th season of the show. After you do that, go back and watch the entire Psych series from season 1. It’s brilliantly funny with a little suspense.

So what did I miss? What would you add to the list and what would you take away? Please give opinions and suggestions. I’d love some good, new or old shows to watch. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

Casting For ‘Time To Lie’ Movie

Some time in the near future when my novel Time To Lie gets to be made into a movie, here are who I want to play the main characters:

Tom Holland who played played Spider-Man in the recent Marvel Civil War and Spiderman: Homecoming movies and will be Spider-Man again in two more movies and would be an excellent Landon Bridges unless he’s too old when we make the movie.

Rose Leslie of Game of Thrones would make a very good Siobhan. I’m pretty sure she’d give up Game of Thrones to play Siobhan in the movie. She was also in 8 episodes of Downton Abbey. I suppose she’ll have to fake an American accent.

Ansel Elgort, best known for his co-leading role in The Fault in Our Stars, would be my choice for Landon’s friend Salami.

Ken Jeong of The Hangover is a little young for the character of Dr. Kuroda, but with a little hair and makeup, he’s got the perfect vibe to play the eccentric mentor to Landon Bridges.

For the role of Future Landon I would like to cast myself or Tom Cruise. We’re both about the right age and look to be Landon from the future. He was also born in the same hospital as me. I may mention that when I’m pitching the role to him and his agent. Has an author ever been cast in a movie as his own character? I let you decide. Answer the poll below:

Those are my choices. What do you think? Did you picture any of the characters differently? Time to Lie is now available on Amazon in both e-book and paperback formats. It is also now available as an audiobook on Amazon and Audible!

Have a great Saturday! ~Phil

 

Facebook People vs. Twitter People

I’m convinced that there are two types of people in this world, Facebook people and Twitter people. The two mediums of communication speak to people’s personality types.

On both “microblogging” sites you can share pictures, but it is certainly done more frequently on Facebook. Different people use each site as their way to interact socially with the world. On Facebook you can write lengthy posts while on Twitter you’re limited to 140 or, coming soon, 280 characters.

A word of advice for all you Facebookers who write posts so long that there has to be a “Preview” pane that ends with More… , if I have to turn the page to read the rest of your thoughts, I’m probably not going to. You know what it’s called when you write that much? It’s called blogging. Get a blog. Facebook is considered a microblogging site. If you write six paragraphs you’ve taken the micro out of it. And for the love of all that is holy, if you want us to read on you’ve got to make those first two or three sentences we see pretty damn snappy. It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s just that all those words can’t compete with the next post of Aunt Tilda’s kitten wearing a tiny hat.

That brings me to the length of Facebook and Twitter posts. If you prefer Facebook or blogging, you might be an oversharer. We accepted your friend request, so you know we like you. But just because you can share things about yourself doesn’t mean that you should. I think this next picture speaks to that quite well:

On Twitter, when we’re limited in what we say, people seem to gravitate towards finding their tribe of like thinkers. I follow sports people and funny people. For me, there is an elegance in Twitter that Facebook lacks. With a limit on characters, you’re challenged to communicate efficiently. It’s impressive how brilliant some are at communicating complex ideas or feelings in 140 characters.

Right now Twitter is beta testing, allowing some users to use 280 characters. For cripes sakes I hope Donald Trump isn’t one of them.

On Facebook you typically interact with family and friends from the “real world” in a comfortable fashion, often talking as you would in “normal” conversation. On Twitter you tend to have a much larger following of people who don’t know you IRL (in real life). Often on Twitter people take on anonymous identities with catchy names and mysterious avatars. That fact makes some Twitter people more brave than they would be on Facebook. Some are more brave about sharing personal info and others are more brazen in their opinions and interactions. Twitter is like a nightclub where under the guise of a fake identity you interact with strangers.

One medium is no better than the other. Each speaks to certain personality types. I wonder if future psychological diagnostic manuals will include the personality types of Facebook people and Twitter people. Or, in the future will people who walk around talking to people in person be considered the oddballs? Which type are you, Facebook or Twitter, and why?

Speaking of oddballs, why don’t you follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Have a great Saturday! ~Phil

 

TBT! Other Stuff There Should Be Nobel Prizes For

If you follow the news, you’ll know that it’s Nobel Prize season. In fact, according to the timer of the Nobel Prize website, the Nobel Prize for literature will be given out in about 90 minutes. Each day they give out a new one. I wrote this post originally in October 2014.

They’ve been handing out Nobel Prizes all week long, announcing two or three every day. This may come as a surprise to you, but I didn’t get one. It sure as hell came as a surprise to me. There’s even one for Literature! Is The Phil Factor not Literature?

wdptrs.com

wdptrs.com

All my life there’s been awesome participation trophies and ribbons that have given me the belief that I deserve an award for everything I do. Adulthood has been kind of a let-down in that regard. You probably have some Nobel Prize-worthy attributes that deserve recognition as well. The fact that you read my blog is evidence of your good taste and wisdom. When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I will use my executive powers to create several other Nobel Prizes.

The Nobel Prize for Growing Up: When I see celebrities and professional athletes who have fame, fortune and teams of people managing their “brand” and they still screw up and do stupid things that get them arrested, it drives me crazy. I believe there should be a Nobel Prize for growing up successfully when you don’t have all the advantages in the world. You know who has already earned a lifetime ban from this award? Justin Bieber.

The Nobel Prize for Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: Ok, admittedly I’m only including this so I get a Nobel Prize. I think it is a vastly under-appreciated skill to grill it just right so the bread isn’t burned or under-done and soggy and has the perfect crispness. That is my gift. You know who has already earned a lifetime ban from this award? Justin Bieber

The Nobel Prize for Social Media: I am terrible at Facebook and Twitter.  I don’t know what to say. Every time I go to write a status or tweet I think to myself, “Why would anyone care if I said this?” Even I am bored with my own Facebook. Yet there are people who effortlessly post on and off all day without giving it a thought and are usually charming and funny. Guess who’s not eligible for this award? Yeah, Bieber and all the Kardashians.

The Nobel Prize for Best Co-Worker: There are probably millions of people that deserve this award. Everywhere you work there’s always that person who spontaneously brings in coffee and donuts every Monday. They always remember birthdays and circulate a card. If someone has a death in their family this co-worker has already sent flowers and included a card with everyones name, and later will say, “Oh, don’t worry about it. Just give me a couple bucks whenever.” They are the social glue of the office. Without them the office milieu wouldn’t be as tolerable every day.

The Nobel Prize for Doing a Job Nobody Else Wants: Whether it be working at a fast food restaurant, a teacher of middle school kids, or cleaning out septic tanks, there are millions of people doing jobs you couldn’t pay most of us enough to do. Yet people are doing them cheerfully without getting paid nearly what they should be.

The Do-It-Yourself Nobel Prize: Like I said, we all have unique, special things that we do every day that are under-appreciated. What should your Nobel Prize be for? Put your answer in the comments.

As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor feel free to share by Facebook, Twitter or re-blogging. Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

Music Monday! The Foo Fighters Rick Roll Their Audience

In August in Tokyo the Fo0 Fighters and Rick Astley ‘Rick Rolled’ the crowd in the best way possible. ( I apologize for the language)

Have a great Monday and buy my book because Rick Astley and The Foo Fighters like it. I might be lying, but I might not. ~Phil

Crime Fighting Robots Prevent The Apocalypse

Daily Express

Some guy named David Meade predicted that the end of the world would begin today. Some other guy named Phil Taylor (Me) predicted in this blog post from January 1st that the world would not end this year. Looks like we’ve got a showdown. Go ahead, read the blog post. Also, note  in that blog post I predicted Princess Kate would get pregnant again. Obviously my track record as a psychic is pretty good. David Meade’s, not so much. So who are you going to believe?

By profession, David Meade is a research scientist, holding a master’s degree in statistics, his background in research and experimental design has enabled him to develop a unique and powerful approach to Pinewood Derby racing. He also enjoys model rocketry and astronomy.” Basically, he’s a professional nerd and an amateur astronomer. I have no problems with professional nerds. They make all the important stuff happen. Amateur nerds however do not impress me. David Meade, you sir are an amateur nerd.

In 2006 David Meade wrote a book about cheating at Cub Scout crap. In 2006 I was writing this blog. If you’re racing a Pinewood Derby car at a Cub Scout meeting, call David Meade. If you want predictions about the future, call me.

The crux of David Meade’s prediction is that Planet X, an alleged mysterious planet that NASA denies exists, will crash into the Earth today. Also Dave says there will be a sign in the skies over Jerusalem today. Well, what is it Davey boy? Are we getting a sign, or will a planet crash into us and wipe out the Earth? Make up your mind!

Here’s what really happened: David Meade previously predicted that Planet X would crash into the Earth today. As today drew nearer David Meade heard about the crime fighting robots. What?!!? Crime fighting robots? Yes, crime fighting robots.

Yes, a California company makes crime fighting robots. A world with bad ass crime fighting robots is a world I want to live in. So David Meade heard about the crime fighting robots, and realizing that they would detect the threat of Planet X and use their robot crime fighting skills to defeat the rogue planet, he changed his prediction to just a sign in the sky that heralds a seven year period of the world going into the crapper. (Some say that period began in January)  

See? I didn’t take the obvious route and use R.E.M.’s End of the World. I pulled out the Rick Springfield that the world forgot. That’s how you know you can trust me instead of David Meade. Well, trust me and the crime fighting robots. We’ve got your back. Again.

Also in other news that proves we have a future. In a recording studio somewhere, an accomplished voice actor who has done over 400 books is reading my book Time To Lie into a microphone so you can listen to it on your commute. Would he be doing that if the world is going to end?

Thank you to my friend Casey for warning me about our not so imminent demise. Have a great Saturday and make plans for the future! ~Phil

Throwback Thursday! Dirty Dancing with The Stars

I wrote this last year when I was particularly pleased with the choice of contestants.

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(09/17/16) To be honest, I’ve never watched an episode, but then again, when has having only half-assed knowledge of anything stopped me from making fun of it? I was first going to write one of my Pop Culture Commando posts where I hit on several trending pop culture topics, but…

usmagazine.com

usmagazine.com

But then protesters stormed the DWTS stage during a taping to protest the participation of Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, who is more famous for drunkenly vandalizing a gas station bathroom and lying about it than he is for anything else. As much as I’d like to mock Ryan Lochte some more, I have to say, really protesters? Ryan Lochte? This is what your life has come to? You’re apparently OK with racism, terrorism, Trump and Hillary, Brexit, and human trafficking, but Ryan Lochte lying about kicking in a mini-mart bathroom door has put you over the edge? 

bismarcktribune.com

bismarcktribune.com

Like I said, I was just going to hit on several pop culture topics today, but then I read the cast list for this seasons DWTS and my jaw dropped. Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) and Vanilla Ice! Are you kidding me? That is kitschy television gold right there! And Ryan Lochte? And about a dozen people I may never had heard of, including Laurie Hernandez who “burst onto the Senior Elite gymnastics scene in 2016…”  First of all, I had no idea there was a Senior Elite gymnastics scene! I’m imagining a scene like the opening of Fame where the group of kids are dancing in the street, except it’s old ladies with walkers slowly trying to do a somersault on the ground without breaking a hip. What does Senior Elite gymnastics scene even mean? Was she best at Jazzercise at her local gym? Before Laurie Hernandez finds me and kicks my ass, I will say that she is definitely not a geriatric and is attractive enough to distract me from my Maureen McCormick love for the few minutes she’s on the screen. Here’s a picture of Laurie:

She does not look very senior does she?

She does not look very senior does she?

Marcia, Marcia Marcia! That’s obviously what DWTS is all about this year. I don’t know how many of you in other countries are aware of The Brady Bunch, but when I was just a lad too young to know manly things, I did know that Marcia Brady was smokin’ hot. Had things turned out differently and the show had hired me instead of Robbie Rist to play Cousin Oliver, Marcia and I might be married right now. And, if I were to be into dudes my man-crush would be Vanilla Ice. And DWTS has put him in the cast too!

Picture credit: sodahead.com

Here is where I’d like to add some Phil to DWTS: What if DWTS wasn’t a show about celebs pairing up with professional dance instructors to compete? What if it was celebs pairing up with each other with no professional instruction at all? How hilarious would it be to see these idiots stumble and fumble through a waltz like the rest of us drunk at a wedding reception? Even better would be to get the celebs drunk before they dance! Obviously, the pinnacle of the show this year would be if Vanilla Ice sprains an ankle and they tab a certain humor blogger as his replacement to dance with Maureen. I would SO do the Dirty Dancing scene where she jumps and I hold her over my head.

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Go ahead, picture that but with me and Marcia Brady…Nobody puts Philly in a corner.

Have a great Thursday everyone! ~Phil