Category Archives: Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday! My Momentary Friends

I don’t think I know anyone who was at the Ariana Grande concert on Monday, but then again, I don’t know about my momentary friends, including my British blogging friends. May you all be safe and may you all be there today. When you see your momentary friends take that moment to give them a smile, a hello, or a thank you, because you just never know.

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(10/28/09) Despite how you perceive me here, I actually do have friends in the real world. Don’t laugh, I do. We all have many different kinds of friends though. We have friends from school, friends from work, friends in our neighborhoods or apartment buildings, and of course our blog friends. We also have what I like to think of as “momentary friends.” These are people who may enter our lives for only a moment every day or once a week, but in many ways are as important to us as are the friends for whom we profess love and longing.

It could be the cashier at the supermarket you always go to because she has a nice smile and makes small talk about the weather. The security guard outside your office who holds open the door as you leave each day. The girl at Supercuts who cuts your hair and asks about your plans for the weekend. The guy who says hello as he passes you on his nightly walk down your street. Or perhaps the blogger who updates almost daily with a heartwarming story or amusing anecdote. We all have about a hundred of these people in our lives and for me I enjoy their momentary friendship immensely. I think we all do. As much as family or friends whom we know by name, these people also provide us with a sense of security. Often, more than “real” family or friends our “momentary friends” are dependable. They’re always there for us with that smile and hello, or perhaps only a knowing nod. Day in and day out, sometimes for years these nameless people are part of our lives and I miss them and worry about what happened to them when they don’t show up in my daily routine.

The fun for me is providing them with names and stories. I like to imagine who they are outside of that moment in time when our paths cross. How and why did they come to be part of my life every day? The best part though is naming them.

Some of the names we give these people are flattering and some are not. No matter where any of you live, I think you’ve all met my friend, “Man with bad toupee.” Then of course in every neighborhood we all know “Woman with enormous ass who’s always bending over doing yard work.” “Girl walking dog” always seems so nice. You have no idea where she lives, but she appears around the corner every evening at the same time.

One person I hate, but would somehow miss if he/she were gone is “Yellow Saturn A-hole.” This jerk parks his/her yellow Saturn in my street every day, completely blocking off traffic on that side of the street. As infuriating as this is to me, if they moved away I’d miss the little adrenaline rush I get as I curse them while I sit behind their parked car waiting for traffic to pass so I can get by. It’s only perhaps a 10 second inconvenience about 5 times a week, but that adds up to 50 seconds per week, 3 minutes and 20 seconds per month, or 40 minutes per year. That may not seem like much, but since I plan to live in my current house for the rest of my life, over the next 36 years Yellow Saturn A-hole will have wasted the equivalent of a full day of my life.

This post is dedicated to my favorite momentary friends: Hairdresser Nikki, Indian Girl at Dunkin’ Donuts, Walking Man, Rollerblading Girl with dog, and Security Guard. Without these people and their momentary friendship my day would be incomplete. I could probably do without Yellow Saturn A-hole though. This post is also dedicated to all of you whom I would miss tremendously if I didn’t see your little face or avatar in my likes or comments section regularly.

As always, if you like what you read please hit the Facebook or Twitter share button below and I would be humbled if you considered me as your momentary friend. Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

TBT! Monk See, Monk Do

(05/29/2009) So I went to a blood lab to have my blood drawn to see if I’ve finally gotten my cholesterol level lower than my S.A.T. score. I dutifully handed the receptionist my paperwork and proceeded to the empty seat nearest the least objectionable looking person in the waiting room. The little, old lady sitting next to me knitting didn’t look like she’d be any trouble, although I swear she glanced approvingly at my ass as I sat down next to her. Just as long as she didn’t jab me with a knitting needle we’d get along fine for the next 15 minutes. And although she had a weapon, I was pretty sure I could take her in the battle for the shared arm rest.

The waiting room is nearly full and I think to myself, “This is going to be a bit of a wait.” I begin to scan the room looking for a good magazine or newspaper left behind. As my eyes roam, scanning the coat closet, the end tables, and the empty seats, I spot something a lot more interesting. Tibetan monks! I had to rub my eyes, refocus and look again to be certain I was seeing what my brain had just told me was there. Sitting across from me, swaddled in orange off-the-shoulder robes and sandals were two Tibetan monks. What?!!? I don’t exactly live in an international metropolis. I live in an average American suburb in upstate New York. Upstate. Not New York City. I’d have to drive 5 hours to get to New York City. There just are not Tibetan monks wandering around my neck of the woods very often.

The monks and I regarded each other warily. There was two of them and one of me. They didn’t appear to be armed, but with those loose robes it was impossible to tell what they might be concealing. I gave them a nod and a slight flex of my biceps as I folded my arms across my chest. If there was going to be any trouble I wanted them to know exactly what they were up against. As the phlebotomist called their names in turn, the monks each went back and returned a few minutes later with a small bandage on the inside of one arm. I was still in my seat, arms folded, maintaining my gaze. By now, I was sure that these two knew just who the alpha-dog in this waiting room was. They spoke to each other in hushed tones as they exited the waiting room. I don’t know Chinese, but I think I heard the words “Phil Factor” just before the door shut behind them. I breathed a sigh of relief as it appeared that the confrontation was over and I thought to myself, “I hope those two morons realize that after Labor Day, the sandals and off-the-shoulder look is completely out of season.”

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

TBT! My Green Heaven

This is a funny coincidental post because when I posted this 11 years ago I had moved 6 months earlier, and now, synchronicity, I’m about 6 months out from having moved again.

(5/31/06) Some of my long time blogging friends may remember that I moved about 6 months ago. I live in a nice suburban neighborhood with identical houses and identical yards as far as the eye can see. The electric and phone lines are buried underground so as not to spoil the picturesque view with ugly poles and wires. Every morning when it’s quiet and the streets are empty I look out my window to see the sun rise over “my” neighborhood. As I take in this view I feel like the king of suburbia. It’s perfect. A little too perfect. In the evening couples walk their dogs and greet each other cheerily. Joggers and roller bladers cruise the streets looking healthy and wholesome. Kids play street hockey and skateboard. If a Hollywood director wanted to cast a neighborhood to play the picture-perfect, average American neighborhood, my neighborhood would be a shoo-in for the part. There’s just one problem. Everyone else’s lawn.

As far as I can tell, every other homeowner in my neighborhood is psychotic about their lawn care. I have no idea how anyone with a full-time job can devote as much time to landscaping and grooming their lawns as the people do. The thing is, I don’t even see them doing it. It’s like they’ve got Edward Scissorhands living in their homes and he only comes out at night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no slacker. I mow my lawn often enough that if I parked my car in the yard I could still find it the next day. I once owned a pool table whose surface wasn’t as smooth as these people’s yards. And it’s not just the grass. It’s the little scenic settings they create. Little benches in a tiny grove of trees in the corner of the yard. A rustic wheelbarrow with flowers growing out of it just so. Not a tree or bush is without perfect little border blocks surrounding it. It’s like I’m living in The Stepford Neighborhood. Talk about peer pressure! I’m afraid that if I skip mowing my lawn one week they’ll form a lynch mob and storm my suburban castle with torches and pitchforks, being careful not to step on any landscaping on the way over. I refuse to cave into this peer pressure to meet their insane standards of lawn care. I do have a plan though. You knew I would didn’t you?

I’m going to buy lawn fertilizer. Lots of it. No, not for my yard you idiot! For theirs! At night while my neighbors sleep, exhausted from another day of landscaping, I’ll be out there fertilizing their lawns, causing them to grow at an astronomical rate. Their lawns will be like those Play-Doh people where you can see the hair growing right out their heads. There will be no way they can keep up! And I’ll be planting weeds everywhere, even if I have to pollinate them myself. I’ll have the best yard in the neighborhood within a week! (pause for maniacal laughter) This should work perfectly, unless Edward Scissorhands catches me.

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

TBT! Canada: Elaborate Winter Theme Park or Dangerous Adversary?

I am, at this very moment, in Canada, so for Throwback Thursday I thought I’d pull out this classic Phil Factor from October 2014.

(10/18/2014) You know how people talk about the elephant in the room when they’re referring to something that’s obvious but everyone is pretending to ignore? Canada is the elephant in North America. It’s there but we don’t really pay it much attention, unless Rob Ford goes nuts or…umm…or…uhh..well, I guess there isn’t anything else that makes us notice Canada. I’m also not sure that Rob Ford isn’t a theme park character anyway. (Rob, if you’re reading this, get well. I’m rooting for you)

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Canada has been a particularly big elephant to ignore in my life because I’ve never lived more than a 2 1/2 hour drive from their border. I live in New York, but I’m closer to Toronto than I am to New York City. That being the case I’ve always had a good view of Canada but from a safe distance. Sometimes I throw things at it. All those sunset pictures you’ve seen on my blog? That’s Canada on the other side of that lake looming ominously, maybe even leering at me.

Just like going to Disney, as soon as you cross the border into Canada you know you’re somewhere “different.” It’s kind of like where you just were but things are slightly off. As soon as you cross the border into Canada it’s snowing. It could be the middle of July and the entire country is blanketed in snow. I’m not even sure it’s real snow. I think they just produce the fake stuff for the tourists. But is there an even more sinister reason they’re trying to “snow” us?

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They also seem to be using that newfangled metric system that everyone was so jazzed up about years ago. Basically that means that all their numbers are in a different language the same way the Smurfs had their own weird little language. I have no idea how to tell time in metric either.

Speaking of different languages, the province of Quebec speaks French! I don’t think that’s an accident either. I think that Quebec is the secret headquarters of Canada. They speak French because they know that all the Americans are too lazy to learn it. They speak French right out in the open, in front of Americans! Arrogant bastards. Since we can’t understand them, they’re free to talk about their secret plan to invade America.

If it were any other country, that type of subterfuge would be worrisome, but we’ve seen their “army” so we’re not too concerned.

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Another oddity that most people don’t know is that their primary export is not maple syrup or Tim Horton’s coffee, it’s comedians. Seth Rogen, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, John Candy, Alan Thicke, Michael J. Fox, Howie Mandel, Martin Short and Justin Bieber are just a few of the thousands of comedians and comedic actors and actresses that have been sent across the border to infiltrate and warp the American culture. Seriously, if Justin Bieber isn’t evidence that the Canadians are trying to destroy America then I don’t know what is.

As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor and want to alert everyone to the looming Canadian threat then please share by hitting the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog buttons below. Canada is no laughing matter. Have a great weekend! ~Phil

Throwback Thursday? Planes Trains, & Automobiles

In honor of #UnitedAirlines attempt to ensure no one will ever fly with them again, I decided to do something different with my Throwback Thursday post this today. In the name of humor I’m combining an old post with some new stuff. Here’s some of the new stuff:

If you’re in the States this week, you’ve heard about this. #UnitedAirlines had overbooked a flight and after boarding  passengers United discovered they had sold all the seats. United unfortunately had a flight crew that they needed to get to another city to work on another flight. So they embarked on the usual auction of money and flight vouchers to try to get people to allow themselves to be bumped. It didn’t work. No one took the bait. Next United announced they would have the computer randomly choose four paying passengers that would be kicked off the flight so that United could fly their own employees somewhere.

Apparently three passengers got off the plane, but the fourth, 69 year old Dr. David Dao, from the video above refused. He said he was a doctor and he needed to get home so that he could see patients the next day. After several requests, reportedly given very politely, the United Airlines security crew physically dragged him off as he screamed like a girl who’s seen a mouse. What? Did you just gasp at me for making fun of 69 year old Dr. Dao? To add a weird but unrelated bit of information, several years ago Dr. Dao received 5 years supervised medical probation for exchanging prescription meds for sexual favors with a male patient. It’s completely unrelated, but you’re not so sympathetic now, are you? Can you say karma?

Related to the story, this is something I wrote almost 6 years ago:  So as I’m preparing to board my flight home from Richmond, the airline lackey, in a stunningly accurate impression of Charlie Brown’s teacher,  announces over the P.A. that my flight is over booked by one and they’d like to offer a $300 ticket voucher to anyone who will take a later flight. How does the airline over book by one? It’s their plane! Don’t they know how many seats it has? Or did someone just take their seat with them when they got off the plane? Do they have to have one of the flight attendants count the seats after each flight and report back to headquarters? “What? We only have 47 seats? I’d swear we had 48 when we left. Call up to the gate and tell them we’re one short. Hey, has this back row exit door been open the whole flight?”

 

Now that we’re living in a computer age (yeah, just now.) shouldn’t the airlines be able to keep track of how many seats their planes have and sell only that exact amount of tickets? Or maybe they could sell two less tickets than the number of seats just in case someone somewhere makes a mistake with their abacus during the pre-flight seat count. And why do they wait until 15 minutes before your flight leaves to discover their error? That’s when the fun begins. That’s when the game of chicken/auction begins. “Since our flight is overbooked and no one took the $300 voucher we’d like to offer a $500 ticket voucher and two nights at any Marriott hotel.” You think to yourself, “Now this is getting interesting. I might take that.” All the passengers look back and forth at each other because they know that as they clock ticks down the ante goes up. After two more minutes pass Charlie Brown’s teacher clicks the mic again and says, “As we are still overbooked by one we would like to offer a $750 ticket, two nights at a Marriott and a lifetime suppy of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat.”  We all eye each thinking, “now this is getting interesting, and really, is it possible they serve Rice-a-Roni in San Francisco restaurants?” They crowd is watching the auction shouting “Take it, take it!” “Door number 1”  “Wait for showcase number 2!”

What kind of business model is this where you can sell a service then essentially buy it back for at least 3x it’s value and then still give the customer the service albeit an hour and a half later? Have you noticed how many airlines that have gone out of business, filed for bankruptcy or merged in the last ten years? Yeah, I’m thinking that if even half the time they had an accurate seat count they could save themselves a fortune every year. It’s like they’re playing an expensive game of Native American giver.(and why did Native Americans get that unfair rep? Wasn’t it the white settlers that stole Manhattan from them for some Mardi Gras beads?).  “Um…yeah, we told you that you could have a seat, but we were lying. Will you take $1000 to get on the next flight?” I wish more businesses had this policy. “Yes, Mr. Taylor, I know we said we would sell you the Ford Focus for $17,000, but well, this is embarrassing, umm…Ford is kind of out of those right now. If you could just go away quietly and come back tomorrow we’ll give you a Cadillac Escalade with lifetime satellite radio.”

I apologize for this being a bit long. Enjoy your Thursday! ~Phil

TBT! Consensual Sex? There’s An App For That!

(04/16/16) Leave it to the mom of teenagers to take the fun out of sex. Two weeks ago an app, created by a mom of three, called Yes to Sex was newly available for  IOS and Android. “Yes to Sex” sounds like a great app doesn’t it? I thought “Yes to Sex” was the slogan for Tinder. Not that I would know of course.

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Those of you that lived in the United States in the 1980’s, as I did, will remember First Lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign that urged people to just say no to drugs. If some candidate had “Yes to Sex” as their campaign slogan this year, I’m guessing they’d be very popular. The Yes to Sex app doesn’t tell you to say yes or no, but it does allow both partners to log their consent and agreement on a safe word and using condoms. Woo! Sounds fun right?

According to the USA Today article by Marco della Cava “…partners can whip out a smartphone, fire up the app, and flash through a series of one touch agreements that culminate in a request to record a short audio confirmation that the parties agree to intercourse. A safe word is generated. Both parties agree to stop having sex if one partner says the word.” Wow, that’s hot right? I’m sorry to have sullied my family friendly blog with such smut, but it’s all in the name of public health.

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Code Butterscotch?!!? Yeah that’s a really safe word. If my partner ever says Code Butterscotch in the middle of things I’m pretty sure that would kill the mood. I’m pretty sure that would kill the mood before we even got started.

Girl: Ok honey, if we’re going to do this I think we should have a safe word. If either of us say “Code Butterscotch” we’ll stop.

Guy: Code Butterscotch? What are you, my grandmother? Who says butterscotch? Is that even a thing anymore? Forget it. I’m going to a bar.

And ladies, don’t tell me that you wouldn’t have the same reaction if a guy suggested Code Butterscotch as a safe word. If the app really wanted to generate safe words that would surely dampen the mood, why not try words like poopy diapers, crying babies, episiotomy, vasectomy or parenthood.

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There was actually an app that came out previously for sexual consent called Good2Go. Genius name right? Geez, if you’re busy getting hot and heavy, who has their phone on them? Ha! Who are we kidding? Of course we all do! And we stop to check notifications right in the middle don’t we?

I imagine the Good2Go app might be a great marital aid for married couples who are way past needing or wanting a lot of romancing to decide if they want to get jiggy with it on a Saturday night. (Of course I know nothing about that. Yes, I’m ‘get jiggy with it’ years old. Shut up. I’m bring jiggy back) You in one room, your spouse in another. You just send your spouse a notification, “Hey honey, you Good2Go?” Wow. Sexting just got a whole lot more boring didn’t it?

If you enjoy what you read at #ThePhilFactor, I have logged my consent for you to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or by re-blogging unless you hear me say Code Butterscotch. Have a great weekend! ~ Phil

Throwback Thursday! The Commute

Here’s a classic from March 16, 2006

“Another working day has ended
Only the rush hour hell to face
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
Contestants in a suicidal race”
The Police- Synchronicity

I am a commuter. I commute to and from my job each day. I’m not sure what qualifies one as a commuter. Does your drive have to be a certain distance or length of time? Why did someone bother to come up with a name for people who drive to work? Doesn’t that pretty much encompass almost everyone? You know who came up with it? I’m betting it was a bored commuter stuck in traffic on his way to work. Why not come up with name for the odd minority who walk, ride their bikes, or take a bus to work? Oh, that’s right, we already have a name for them. Losers! I’m just kidding of course.

I resent the wasted time I spend in my car and I would love a 5-minute bike ride to work with the wind blowing through my flowing locks and the bugs and car exhaust blowing through my teeth. Memo to cyclists: Having wheels does not mean you belong on the road. If there’s a sidewalk get your lycra shorts ass up on it before we hit you.

The speed limit also poses a special challenge for commuters. Well, it’s not the limit itself that is challenging. In fact I find it quite easy to surpass. That’s not much of a challenge at all. The challenge is coping with the commuters who obey the speed limit as if some deity carved it in stone on the hoods of their cars. (Don’t try to understand that last sentence. It just sounded good in my head) My philosophy is this: We only have so much time to live, and I don’t want to waste any more than I have to trapped inside a mobile tin can. I want to get where I’m going so I can enjoy what I plan to do when I get there, whether it be watching a sunset, talking to a friend, or feeling the sweet release of sending my morning coffee back out into that great big world. I fiercely resent anyone who steals precious moments of my life by impeding my ability to get where I want to go as quickly as possible. If you speed limit compulsives enjoy time in your car so much, then park it at home and sit in it. Preferably with the engine running and garden hose going from the exhaust to the driver’s side window.

The great philosopher called “They” say that you shouldn’t be so focused on your destination and “you should stop and smell the roses.” Here’s a newsflash for “they”: There are no roses by the side of I-90 heading into the city! If I stop to smell the roses a homeless person will probably run up and try to clean my windshield. Then again, if he can pry that cyclist off my bumper I’ll be glad to give him a dollar.

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil