Apparently this was a popular look in 1980’s Germany
Some of you might remember the 1983 Nena hit song 99 Red Balloons/99 Luft Ballons. Apparently the Chinese like their luft ballons enough that they sent a couple of them to the U.S. and Latin America this week. Seriously, is there anyone else on the entire world wide web that in response to Chinese spying, would bring you the armpit hair of a 1980’s German pop star? Search engines won’t know what to make of this, so thank you to the 25 people who have read this entire paragraph.
I love the German version better (except for the armpit hair)
So the Chinese are spying on us with balloons? Maybe in another decade they’ll figure out how to use airplanes and then by 2050 maybe a satellite in orbit. C’mon China, if North Korea can fire a few missiles into the ocean, certainly you can figure out something more complex than balloons, right? Here’s my theory: they sent the balloons to throw us off the track where we believe that they’re using Tik Tok to spy on us.
Or maybe it’s balloon boy from 2009. Remember that?
If you don’t recall this or you’re from another country, in 2009 his parents sent this giant spaceship type balloon into the sky above Colorado and told authorities that their 6 year old son, Falcon, was in the runaway balloon. After 90 minutes of fighter jets pursuit, the balloon landed. When Falcon was not found to be inside, some moron claimed they had seen something fall from the balloon, and a ground search ensued. Later the boy was found in a closet at home and admitted that his idiot parents told him to hide so they could do the balloon bit for publicity. They both served some jail time and had to pay some big fines. If I’m balloon boy Falcon, I’m opening a hot air balloon ride company somewhere.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping waving good bye to the balloons
Hmm…Kim Jong Un was referred to as Rocket Man for his penchant for shooting missiles into the ocean. Apparently Xi Jinping, leader of China should be 2023’s Balloon Boy/ 气球男孩
I have one more theory…
Is it possible that Xi Jinping wanted to be perceived like “the great and powerful Oz”? What leader wouldn’t want that? Oz had a balloon and he had swag!
Hey Xi Jinping, this is all in good fun. Love the balloons, and if I end up suspiciously dead, everyone that reads this blog will point the finger at you!
Have a great Saturday everybody! You got my back, right? ~Phil
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I am so sick of hearing that phrase!”? Sometimes it’s an acronym at work. Other times it’s a pop culture phenomenon. Often it’s a word or phrase that someone from another generation seems to say that makes no sense to you.
Lake Superior State University, is located in Michigan’s upper peninsula, which should really be part of Wisconsin or Canada. Each year they publish a list of the top ten words that people would like to see banished.
That is exactly the kind of hard hitting research you’ll find at a “state school.” I should know, because I went to one. Harvard is busy curing cancer, but Lake Superior State University is spending public money making lists of silly phrases. They are definitely my kind of people.
I’ll give you their list with my comments and I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.
1. GOAT: It’s an acronym for Greatest Of All Time. I get it. It makes sense, but this is the dumbest sound word for something good that I’ve ever heard. It’s also the most overused word in the English language. My question is, is there a goat GOAT? For fun, if you want to see some famous goats from movies and television click this LINK.
2. Inflection Point: It’s a fancy way to say ‘turning point’ if you want to sound pretentious and insufferable. Apparently we have reached the inflection point where people have tired of the phrase inflection point.
3. Quiet Quitting: Is there a noisy quitting? Quiet quitting is another way to say that you stopped showing up at a job you hate. It should be called “Lazy Quitting” (patent pending). If we attach a negative word like lazy to it, maybe less people will quiet quit. Nobody wants to be called lazy. In 2023 if I hear someone use the phrase “quiet quitting” I will correct them by saying “Don’t you mean ‘lazy quitting ?” Seriously, how hard is it to email your boss to say you quit?
4. Gaslighting: I actually like the word. It’s an olde timey way of saying you’re getting someone riled up. I do hate how it’s overused and attached to anything someone hears that they don’t like. I also have a funny story about actual gaslighting from my college years at a state school.
5. Moving forward… Ugh, moving forward I could do with hearing less managers use the phrase “moving forward.” Isn’t moving forward scootching your chair closer so you can hear someone better? Now it’s the world’s catch phrase for “in the future…”. What? Is the word future no good anymore?
6. Amazing- Ok Lake Inferior State University, how can you rule out the word “amazing”? Do any of you reading this think that ‘amazing’ is used too much? Look, over the last three years the world has kind of sucked a lot. We could use more amazing in our lives, couldn’t we? Our baseline for life has been lowered so much that any tiny metaphorical ray of sunshine should be considered amazing and we should all grab that tiny straw of hope. You know, if everyone who reads this comments below that The Phil Factor is amazing, I wouldn’t complain at all.
7. Does that make sense? This doesn’t seem like a new phrase, but it’s now used by middle managers everywhere so they can try to seem invested in their employees thoughts and opinions. It’s really a trick. No one wants to say no to the question “does this make sense?” If you’re the only one that says no, you’re immediately the dummy in your Zoom meeting. So, managers the world over get away with time wasting activity because no one will say no.
8. Irregardless: Kudos Pond Scum State College! This isn’t a real word and it means the same thing as “regardless.” I think it’s a millenial word. Aren’t the millenials the root of everything that’s wrong in the world right now?
It’s like someone made a meme about what I’m doing right now.
9. Absolutely: I’ll use it in a sentence: “I think that this state college is absolutely lazy when they throw in these normal words as overused.”
10. It is what it is: Lake Superior State College is what it is. A state college that’s reusing words from their 2008 list. No, I don’t have their lists memorized; they copped to reusing this one. I agree that it’s a dumb phrase expressing nothing but the limited vocabulary of the speaker.
Suggestions from me for next years list:
Millenial: I so hate this word. It’s a lame way to encapsulate an entire generation of people and it’s used in a demeaning way. Regardless of it’s meaning, it’s used as a catch-all for everything wrong with society.
Boomer: Also a dumb way to stereotype. Both millenial and boomer are ways to express an age bias. Like any other stereotyping words, it’s not creative or accurately descriptive.
I’m going to send these two suggestions to Lake Superior State, and if you’d like to take a shot at contributing to their list you can go to: lssu.edu/banishedwords.
If you do send one in, let me know in the comments so I can highlight you in this post next year.
Is New Year’s Eve the worst holiday ever? Or am I the biggest New Year’s Eve Grinch in the world? I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever had a great New Year’s Eve. Do any of you feel that way?
By the way, is New Year’s Eve the holiday or is it New Year’s Day? Or is it a two day holiday? If we can’t define it, obviously it isn’t a great holiday.
If I go to a New Year’s Eve party, this will be the one. So, Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson, send that chopper to my house tomorrow and I’ll be there by midnight. Imagine if it was actually a party with Miley, Pete, and other assorted celebrities of their ilk rather than a tv show? That would be a fun party. So, if there’s an afterparty, that’s where I want to be, surrounded by ilk. I’m going nowhere for New Year’s Eve, but for some reason, the universe nudged me to buy a New Year’s Eve tie this year. If that’s not a sign that Miley and Pete are sending a limo to fetch me, then I don’t know what is.
My New Year’s Eve tie
If the universe’s plan to get me to that party is going to work I think I need all of you to tweet, IG, Facebook, and TikTok this blog post until it reaches Pete and Miley. Hit those little buttons at the bottom of this. Speaking of Pete Davidson and Miley Cyrus, who thinks that we’re going to hear about them dating any day now. If that’s not a celebrity couple made in heaven, I don’t know who is.
Pic from Fodors.com
In many Spanish speaking countries like Mexico and Brazil, the color of the underwear you wear on New Year’s Day is believed to determine what kind of year you’ll have. Tradition is that red brings love and yellow leads to wealth and success. White predicts peace and harmony, while green portends well-being and nature. Yikes! What kind of year will you have if your undies have skid marks? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious. I didn’t want to think of that either, but I know you were all thinking it too. So this year I’ll I’ll wear red and my new tie. That’s it. Just those two things.
So help me out here. In the comments, I’d love to know how you feel about New Year’s Eve 2023 and what are your best and worst New Year’s Eve stories from the past. C’mon, don’t just click “like”!
I came across this old post of mine yesterday and found it so ridiculous that I thought it warranted a read for those of you who missed it the first time.
If you’re goin’ through hell keep on going Don’t slow down if you’re scared don’t show it You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there ~Rodney Atkins
I haven’t been to hell, but I’ve been to France once, for just eight hours. It was Paris. I can’t really elaborate more. We were given a job to do, we did it and got out before they knew we had been there.
It’s a good thing I got out in time. I’m not saying that I went to France to smuggle Nutella out of the country, but I’m not saying I didn’t either. Like I said, it was good that I got out because on Friday a French supermarket chain, Intermarche, put Nutella on sale. Awesome, right? Who doesn’t love Nutella? Apparently, those of us who think we love Nutella don’t love Nutella the way the French love Nutella. They love it so much that it hurts. Their love of Nutella doesn’t hurt themselves, but occasionally, if it’s on sale, their love of Nutella hurts other people. (See how all the Nutella’s are hyperlinked? Each one is linked to the Nutella website for a different country)
Apparently the French went full on Black Friday over a Nutella sale. Police had to break up fights in one supermarket. One customer had a black eye, one woman had her hair pulled, another was hit in the head with a box and another customer had a bloody hand. And it wasn’t just one supermarket. This occurred all over the country.
France, which is infamously not good at fighting wars, seems to have found their passion. If I need to hire a team of mercenaries to fight terrorists, I’m hiring a bunch of French people and telling them that the terrorists have all the Nutella.
Here’s a new ad slogan: Nutella! Because you can’t punch someone without just cause!
Here is my list of things for which I would go ‘French Nutella beserker’ for:
Cheez-Its: This is my drug of choice. If at some time it’s discovered that the chemical responsible for Cheez-Its orange color is poisonous and they’re being taken off store shelves, I drop what I’m doing, empty my bank account and immediately drive the nearest store to buy all the Cheez-Its.”Cheez-Its! The official snack cracker of The Phil Factor!” I like the sound of that. Cheez-It people get at me.
Girl Scout cookies! These sweet treats are incredibly satisfying and because they’re sweet they balance out the salty from my Cheez-Its. I can switch back and forth between the two for a balanced diet. As always, I’m open to sponsorship opportunities. Girl Scouts get at me! Kidding. Not the actual Girl Scouts, but maybe their cute moms. Kidding! I’m married. Just bring me the cookies. Those are more attractive to me than women at this point in my life.
So, what things do you like so much that you’d go “French Nutella berserker” about? Put yours in the comments! Have a great Sunday! ~Phil
This is my favorite post to write each year. Partly because I get to use that picture above and partly because I’m mostly serious but no one believes me. I’ve had a lifetime of undisciplined, untrained, unintentional psychic experiences that have led me to know that I see the future. Some of what I predict here is a dead serious look at what I see in the future and some of it is silly for silly’s sake. Of course, sometimes my silly predictions have come true. <– click for the 2016 Courtney Kardashian prediction that I nailed)
Who Will Pete Davidson be dating? A shorter list might be who Pete Davidson isn’t dating. Right now, rumors have him dating Australian actress Emily Ratajkowski (Gone Girl, We Are Your Friends), but lets be honest, is Pete ever going to settle down? No he is not. Will his dalliance with Emily lead to marriage? No, it will lead to 53 year old Mariah Carey. Yes, that’s my prediction. 29 year old Pete and Mariah. Book it. And when that ends could it be Britney…? Also, based on his relationship spree over the past few years Pete Davidson will be named 2023’s Sexiest Man Alive.
Picture property of NPR
Will Life on Earth End? No, but it will seem precarious at one point during the first half of the year. The war in Ukraine is at the center of that. And don’t forget about Kim Jong Un of North Korea. He’s going to make some noise in 2023.
Picture Harper’s Bazaar and Getty Images
How Long Will King Chuck Reign? We all know I love my Royals. After Phil Factor favorite Queen Liz crossed the rainbow bridge, Prince Charles ascended to the throne. Sadly his reign will be short. He will be done in by Covid during 2023 and Prince William will become King. Having heard of the accuracy of my predictions, King Will will hire me as a full time advisor to the throne. Also, Prince Harry, after his separation with Meghan, will begin a relationship with Canadian singer Avril Lavigne.
picture property of iStock
Will everything be expensive forever? Nobody is going to make it rain, and the world economy will seem bleak in the first three months of 2023, but March through May will show some positive signs of potential growth. In the second half of 2023 a long, slow recovery will begin. It won’t get back to where it was before the recession, but it will be better and moving in the right direction.
Australian Archeologists Discover 4th Hemsworth Brother! In an Australian desert, archeologists will unearth what they believe to be the fourth devastatingly handsome Hemsworth brother. He will have fallen asleep and became covered in drifting sand when found. Apparently he got lost on a walkabout looking for the beach. People Magazine has already named him Sexiest Man Alive for 2023.
I hope you enjoyed my look ahead. Obviously that last one is fanciful, unless I buried a male model in the Australian desert. I’m not saying I did, but if it happens, those aren’t my fingerprints.
If you have any questions you’d like me to answer psychically, please put them in the comments and I will reply. Keep in mind that I cannot do a personal reading or answer specific personal questions of people I haven’t met. Best wishes to you and yours in the new year!
The paragraph below is from my “End of The World” post that I wrote in 2009 and scheduled to go live on my blog the day after the world was supposed to end in 2012.
“See? I told you so! I wrote this post on Oct. 13, 2009 and dated it to be released to the blog on Dec. 22, 2012, the day after the Mayan calendar ended and the world was supposed to end. If you’re reading this post, apparently that didn’t happen. So suck on that you Mayan calendar nutjobs.”
As always, Psychic Phil got this one right. Stay tuned for my 2023 psychic predictions coming up on Tuesday December 26th! If there is anything that you’d like a psychic prediction about, put your question in the comments.
If I didn’t get your favorite on the list, in the comments tell me what I’ve been missing! And no, this years Mariah Carey special is not on the list. When I was growing up, watching the holiday specials was well.. special. They were only on once a year and weren’t available on streaming services. If you’re from another country, I’d like to make this an international list. Please leave me the name or link to your favorite holiday specials.
Seven years ago a network aired “It’s Your 50th Christmas Charlie Brown!” To be sure, the Peanuts Christmas special is a classic here in the States. What I’d like to see someone create is a special with all the Peanuts characters as 50 year olds. How weird would that be? Below are my choices for the Ten Best Holiday Specials of All Time. The Star Wars Holiday Special was mentioned in the comments a few times last year, but didn’t make the Top Ten only because I haven’t seen it. If you’re curious, it is on YouTube. If you disagree with the list or have other choices please put them in the comments.
10. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Sure the idea of toast and popcorn sounds great, in theory. This is a good special but pales in comparison to The Peanut’s Halloween and Christmas specials.
9. Frosty the Snowman: The best part of this special is the song. The acting is putrid and the plot is barely plausible. When this is on I’m rooting for a green Christmas.
8. Little Drummer Boy: This is where the list starts to get good. Good song, good plot, great claymation and I think there are some talking animals. Plus, it all takes place in a desert where Frosty would never survive.
6. Santa Clause is Comin’ To Town: Oh man! When I was a kid and the Winter Warlock first appeared I was terrified. I believe the phrase “chillin’ like a villain” was coined for him. Also a young Santa hooks up with a serious hottie of a wife.
5. It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!
This is a tough one to beat, but it’s hard to dethrone Christmas and Hanukkah.
5. The Rugrats Chanukah Special: Technically it was an episode of the series, but all these years later I still remember it for actually explaining the meaning of Hanukkah to me better than any person ever had. It was entertaining and informative, just like The Phil Factor.
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas: Hey, I know you all love this one, but if The Peanuts get on the list twice they don’t get #1. The ice skating scene, the dancing scene, and Snoopy making the animal noises were all great. Lucy still should have punched Charlie Brown for bringing back that wretched tree.
3. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: Romance, bromance, career conflict, monsters, The Island of Misfit Toys. This special had it all. Remember how scary it was when Yukon Cornelius rescued Rudolph and his family from Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster?
2. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas: Great song and great villian with a story of redemption. Who doesn’t love it when his heart grows and breaks the frame? My favorite scene is when his dog, Max, happily hops on the front of the sleigh expecting a ride.
1. The Year Without a Santa Clause: This special didn’t need a Santa Claus. If you’ve got the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser in a sing off you win. I just wish one of them had done a mic drop. Hands down the best songs ever in a holiday special of any kind. Here’s the video of both songs. (please pardon the commercial at the start). Enjoy!
So which ones of those would you rank higher? Did I miss your favorite? Please tell me in the comments! Have a great day! ~Phil
Not everybody celebrates the holidays just like you do. One of the ten traditions in the list is made up by me. See if you can guess which one is the fake and put your guess in the comments.
Ten Weird Holiday Traditions From Around the World
10. South Africa: In South Africa deep fried caterpillars are the traditional holiday meal. Who knows why? Maybe they believe that eating caterpillars symbolically will make their life turn into a butterfly or some such nonsense. Or maybe caterpillars are just really tasty. Who are we kidding? Anything deep fried IS really tasty.
9. Norway: Maybe my blogging friend Maja Asgautsen from Norway can tell me if this is accurate. According to what I read in the internet, in Norway it’s traditional not to do any cleaning on Christmas Eve and all brooms are put away. Sounds like Norwegian Christmas Eve happens at my house several days every week.
8. Caracas, Venezuela: Residents of this one town, Caracas, go to Christmas Eve mass on roller skates.
7. Germany: In Germany they hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and the first child to find it gets a small gift. I would bet that in German bars around the holidays “Hey gorgeous, how would you like to play hide the pickle?” is an overused, and probably unsuccessful pick up line.
6. Ukraine: In the Ukraine, instead of tinsel and lights they decorate their Christmas trees with fake spider webs and spiders. Apparently they watch The Nightmare Before Christmas a little too often.
5. China: In China families bring their pets, dogs, cats, and birds to a special mass on Christmas Eve to have them blessed. In Chinese culture it is believed that animals are more susceptible to demonic possession and the ceremony is thought to “cleanse” them for the coming year. That is why most households have a “lucky cat” statue to ward off evil spirits.
4. Estonia: Families go to the sauna together. I’m cool with going to the sauna, but with my family? Ugh.
3. Great Britain: Tradition dictates that each member of the family must stir the Christmas pudding in a clockwise direction and make a wish. Reportedly 90% of wishes are “I wish is wasn’t cold and rainy.”
2. Guatemala: They sweep out their houses on Christmas Eve, with brooms they borrowed from the Norwegians, creating a pile of dirt in front of their home. Then they burn an effigy of the devil on top. Geez, Guatemala, lighten up, it’s Christmas! It’s supposed to be fun.
1. Greece: In a twisted version of Elf on the Shelf, the Greeks tell their children that the Kallikantzaroi, a race of evil goblins that live underground, come to the surface to wreak havoc during the twelve days of Christmas. Nice, parenting by terror. What’s more traditional than that?
Well, one of those ten is a completely fake. Which one do you think it is? Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil
I wonder if Kanye (Ye) is on to something? Is it possible that the quintessential, iconic American Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, could have, should have been better? I say yes, and here are ten things George would have done if he were a morally questionable protagonist.
10. George should have punched Sam Wainwright: The first time that dolt popped up and said “Hee haw!” George should have punched him in the throat. Then he should have done it every other time until Sam learned to shut the hell up.
9. Violet: ‘Nuff said.
8. Mr. Gower: George could have been a wealthy young man had he chosen to blackmail Pharmacist Gower over almost killing that kid by putting the wrong meds in the bottle. Especially after Mr. Gower hit him on his bad ear. A little hush money never hurt anybody.
“If you don’t stop saying stupid stuff I’ll throw you out of this bar myself”
7. George should have left Clarence the Angel in the river: If that were my guardian angel, I might choose not to go to Heaven if I have to hang out with him for all eternity.
6. George should have thrown a rock at the neighbor who told him to shut up and kiss Mary.
“I’m going to throw a rock at him”
5. George should have been arrested by the town cop first for throwing the rock at the neighbor (see #6) and for vandalizing the house.
4. George shouldn’t have given Mary the robe back when she was in the hydrangea bush. (bow chicka bow wow!)
3. George should have pulled his brothers fiance’ aside and told her that his brother Harry is a big cheater and he would leave her, just like he did his other wives. Then heartbroken Harry takes over the Building & Loan and George goes to college.
2. He should have taken that job that Potter offered him! Adjusted for inflation, that was the equivalent of a six figure salary nowadays. Btw, if you weren’t aware, the actor that played Mr. Potter is Drew Barrymore’s great uncle.
1. Throw Billy under the bus: No, not literally. But when Uncle Billy lost that $8000 I would have ratted him out to the police in about two seconds.
So , what do you think? How about a modern re-make with a realistic George Bailey? The guy was miserable almost constantly until they had a nice party and bailed him out at the end. What happens after that party? Clarence gets his friggin’ wings but George is stuck going back to the life he was already so miserable in. Would other changes would you make to It’s a Wonderful Life? ~Phil
Every holiday season I post this list and it evolves based on readers suggestions and new movies that come out. If you have favorites that didn’t make the list please add them in the comments section and maybe you’ll influence next years list.
10. Christmas Vacation (1989) Added to the list this year by popular demand in response to last years Top Ten is Christmas Vacation, which knocked The Nightmare Before Christmas off the list. What do you think? Should a different movie have been taken off the list? Christmas Vacation fun fact: The assistant director of Christmas Vacation is the grandson of the director of It’s a Wonderful Life.
9. Scrooged: (1988) A modern re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic starring Bill Murray. I think that even Dickens would agree that this is way better than the original.
8. The Family Man (2000) Starring Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni. Most people don’t think much of Nicholas Cage, but in this movie he nails the role of an investment banker who through a Christmas miracle is shown the path not taken in his life. I like this one so much that it knocked Die Hard off the list. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it and come back here and tell me what you think.
7. The Santa Clause: This 2004 movie starring Tim Allen screamed instant classic the first time I saw it. Also, any movie that includes Judge Reinhold is a must watch.
6. Love Actually: (2003) This is the best Christmas movie there is about stodgy British people trying to get it on, but it’s a favorite with the ladies, so it made the list. Around the holidays the ladies get what the ladies want.
5. The Polar Express: (2004) Tom Hanks is a better actor as cartoon character.
4. Elf: (2003) Starring Will Farrell, this is the most quotable of all holiday movies. “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.” or “Buddy the Elf. What’s your favorite color?” What’s your favorite Elf quote? Put it in the comments
3. Miracle on 34th Street: (1947)I’ve never watched the color version and I don’t plan to. I’ve loved this one since I was a kid, especially the brilliant court scene when Santa’s lawyer wins by having the postmen deliver the letters to Santa. That was the last time the post office delivered anything on time for the holidays. Also, has anyone else noticed that the entire movie is about the lawyer guy trying to get with the little girls single mom?
2. A Christmas Story: (1983)It is right and just that TBS plays this movie for 24 hours straight every year.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life: (1946) Yes, I’m an old sentimental fool. I still love it every time when Mary is hidden in the bush and has lost her robe and George says, “Now this is a very interesting situation.” Who doesn’t wonder where the movie might have gone had his friends not pulled up in the car at that moment. Bow bow chicka chicka… Also it’s pretty cool to me that the town of Bedford Falls is based on a small town in upstate New York that I drive through all the time.
Ok, that’s my list. What do you disagree with? What movies would you put on the list? And don’t forget those Elf quotes! Have a great Sunday! ~Phil
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.