Category Archives: pop culture

Throwback Thursday! The Elf From Hell

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

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

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

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

onemomsworld.wordpress.com

onemomsworld.wordpress.com

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

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

dannyoulittlerock.com

dannyoulittlerock.com

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

Top Ten Tuesday! Ten Reasons to LOVE the Holidays!

See? I’m not a Scrooge or a Grinch. Last weeks Top Ten Reasons to HATE the Holidays was just an attention-getter. Everybody knows that haters gonna hate. But I’m a fair guy, so here’s all my reasons to love the holiday season:

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

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

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

7. Holiday Movies: Scroll back to Tuesday Dec. 8th for my list of the ten best holiday movies.

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

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

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

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

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

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1. _________________________

Red Gift

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

The Plot of Every Hallmark Christmas Movie

Yes, it’s that time of year. “Christmas?” you say. No, Christmas is just a secondary annoyance. To all the people born with a uterus it’s the most wonderful time of the year, otherwise known as Hallmark Christmas movie time! Or as Lacey Chabert, Dean Cain and Candace Cameron Bure call it, “The only time we make any money.”

Being married to one of these Hallmark movie loving people, I’ve inadvertently seen several Hallmark Christmas movies and I couldn’t help but notice that each unique Hallmark Christmas movie has the exact same plot as every other Hallmark movie. To save you time watching the actual movies, here’s how it goes:

Guy or gal who left home several years ago and is very successful at some high falutin’ job in a big city somewhere comes back to their Smalltown, USA hometown for Thanksgiving or a funeral. Oh no! Their family’s business is failing! What? They need to stay longer than they planned. Maybe until Christmas! I can’t believe it. What are the chances of that?!!?

Successful and attractive returning guy or gal runs into the sister or brother of a friend they knew in high school. He or she “was just a kid back then” but now they’re “all grown up” and they’ve really blossomed into a hunk or a hottie. At first they may not like each other but everyone else can see the obvious chemistry. Despite the fact that they annoy each other, they have to work together to save the business, ranch or whatever.

Of course it will all inevitably lead to a playful snowball fight between the two in the town square. And they both realize they like each other and they kiss.

Guess what everyone, that’s the plot of every episode of The Gilmore Girls too. You’re welcome. I’ve just saved you the trouble of watching every single Hallmark movie this year. But you know what? I know you’re going to watch them. It’s as inevitable as that moment when the returning hometown hero says that “this is where I’ve wanted to be all along” as they hug their new love and gaze at the Christmas tree.  Cue Christmas music and fade out to credits.

Have a great weekend! ~Phil

Newsflash: People Mag Cheats Phil Factor Out of Sexiest Man Alive Nod

In an obviously underhanded maneuver last week, People Magazine named Idris Melba as Sexiest Man Alive while I was away on vacation. People magazine very obviously was trying to avoid the comeuppance of years past when my annual Sexiest Man Alive post always shows up their flagship announcement by getting more comments and views.

Aside from being related to the family that invented the worst toast ever, what has Idris Melba ever really done? First of all, his name is a nightmare. Just a random assortment of letters. Once his name was used on Wheel of Fortune and it took contestants two weeks to figure it out. Also, his birth name is Idrissa. What does that even mean? Did his parents want him to be a girl? Maybe, that’s why he has a doll.

What kind of arrogant ego-maniac signs off on having a doll made of their likeness? Here’s an earlier picture of him when he was a homeless drifter in East London:

Not so sexy there is he ladies? Good for him for picking himself up and making a go of it as an “actor”. That’s fine. I have no issues with Idris Melba. He seems like a fine actor and a good guy.

The real story here is how People magazine attempted to slip this announcement into the public arena when they knew that I was away. I’m flattered that People Magazine tracks my movements so closely. Every year for thirty years they’ve announced the Sexiest Man Alive like clockwork, the second Wednesday in November. And for the past ten years on the very day of their announcement I have blogged about their poor choice and my obviously stellar qualifications. (Don’t believe me? Google The Phil Factor Sexiest Man Alive. It’s even better if you click Images) This year I plan a vacation the first week of November and BOOM!  People drops the announcement a week early. Coincidence? Obviously not. That’s OK People, do what you want. Me any my readers know who the true Sexiest Man Alive is.

Have a great Saturday! ~Phil

Alec Baldwin: Terrorist or Adorable Curmudgeon?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock (9688107v)
tvline.com

 Alec Baldwin was arrested Friday and charged with assault and harassment after allegedly striking a man in the face during a dispute over a parking spot outside his New York City home, authorities said.

Police said the actor claimed he had a family member holding the spot for him as he attempted to park his black Cadillac Escalade around 1:30 p.m. when a man driving a black Saab station wagon pulled up and took it.

Police said the men were arguing and pushed each other before Baldwin, 60, got more aggressive. The driver of the station wagon told police Baldwin hit him with his hand, but wasn’t sure if it was a punch or a slap. The driver, 49, was taken to a hospital with jaw pain and redness in the neck area, police said.  All type in italics is from The Chicago Tribune.

Gasp! A celebrity attacking a commoner! How dare he! If we replace the name Alec Baldwin with Justin Bieber, we’d all be outraged and call for him to do jail time. And it does seem like the kind of thing that the Biebs would do, doesn’t it?

In my mind, because it’s Alec Baldwin, it’s OK. And because it’s New York City it’s OK. In New York City a slap in the face is how people greet each other. Arrested over a parking dispute? Ridiculous. Why am I so willing to take Alec Baldwin’s side on this? This is why:

Before Alec Baldwin did a Trump impression he was an obnoxious ass with several instances of public boorishness on his record. Now, since his Emmy winning Trump impersonation I consider him a national treasure, an adorable curmudgeon if you will.

First of all, what’s a 49 year old doing getting in a fight with a 60 year old? And more embarrassingly, losing. Secondly, a guy in a Saab fighting with a guy in an Escalade? If one of these wasn’t Alec Baldwin, wouldn’t we all just say “Let the rich S.O.B.’s fight it out. They both probably deserve a good slap in the face.” ?

When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m going to pass two laws. 1) Alec Baldwin will be required to do President Phil impersonations, and 2) There should a statue of Alec Baldwin, as Donald Trump, erected at the site of the disputed parking spot so that he has dibs on it forever.

 “I wanted to be president of the United States. I really did. The older I get, the less preposterous the idea seems.” ~Alec Baldwin. Sorry Alec, you’ll have to get in line behind me, but I promise you can be my Vice-President. What’s your opinion? Take the poll below:

Please share this post to and fro. I’d love to see the poll go viral. Have a great weekend everybody! ~Phil

TBT! The Phil Factor: Sexiest Man Alive? Maybe.

This is my Throwback Thursday post and also kicks off my annual campaign to be named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.

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It’s time.  If you’ve been following The Phil Factor for a while you’re well aware of my past campaigns to be elected President or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first. When I say “my past campaigns” what I mean is my annual post expressing surprise that I wasn’t selected as Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine. Click HERE to see last years.

I’ve decided that it’s time to be proactive rather than reactive. This year instead of just sitting back and hoping that I’ll be noticed, I’ve decided to actively campaign for Sexiest Man Alive.  I’m serious and I’m going to need your help. Here is my platform:

1. I’m a normal guy. Aren’t we all tired of magazines pushing these unrealistic expectations of what is sexy on us? It’s always rail thin models with implants and “hunky” guys (also maybe with implants) who have no real jobs so they work out all day with a personal trainer. How about if People chose a “real” man for Sexiest Man Alive? A normal guy who is sexy because he’s smart, funny, works hard, and provides for his family? Isn’t that what most women really want at the end of the day instead of an unattainable playa’? As you can see from the picture below, I don’t have a single implant, hair or otherwise!

Arnold

2. No nightlife? No problem. It’s hard for your man to be sexy for you if he’s out at the clubs or allegedly “on location” shooting his next project. You know what I think women find sexy? A man who comes home at night with flowers, helps clean up from dinner, takes the kids to the park and then sits down with a glass of wine next to you on the couch while you watch those ridiculous cooking and home improvement shows. Of course if I had a nightlife, or friends in real life who invited me out that would be different, but I don’t, so consequently, I’m sexy as hell to real women who want a real man. I’m not even sure I can find my Hammer pants anymore. Is that still a thing?

3. Intelligence. Now I know nobody is going to mistake me for Leonardo DaVinci, but I’m pretty sure I could crush Leonardo DiCaprio at Jeopardy! Most people think intelligence is sexy. Marilyn Monroe once said that the sexiest man alive was Albert Einstein. I’m not going to give you a lecture on physics, but I can hold up my end of a conversation.  Just like Spike TV has that Pros Vs. Joes show where former pro athletes take on “ordinary guys” at a variety of sports challenges, I’m willing to pit myself against any show biz pretty boy in a Jeopardy! challenge. C’mon People magazine! Set it up! Let’s make this years Sexiest Man Alive earn it by being sexy inside and out. How about me, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet vs. Channing Tatum, Bradley Cooper & Ryan Reynolds in a game of Trivial Pursuit? That would be riveting television!

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So I’ve made my case as to why I should be named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive this year, but how can I get People Magazine to find out about me? That’s where you come in. If everyone reading this does two small things I think we can change the world, or at least a magazine cover. As I’ve already done, just e-mail the link to this post to:  editor@people.com and make sure you hit the re-blog or Facebook share button below so this goes viral.

Top Ten Tuesday! The Top Ten Scariest TV Shows

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. There’s two 8 episode seasons out already. Season 3 will be out next summer.  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