What Would Your Groundhog Day Be Like?

Spoiler alert, in case you didn’t know, TODAY is Groundhog Day. Who doesn’t love this movie? Especially since Bill Murray’s character was named Phil. Coincidence? I think not. Also, here’s another spoiler alert, today, February 2nd, 2021, I added a new question at the end of this post that I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts on.

This post was originally written for #ThePhilFactor on Feb. 2, 2006 and I now post it every year, over and over, just like Phil’s Groundhog Day in the movie.

(Feb. 2, 2006) Last week I waxed philosophic about the idiocy known as The Dr. Phil Show. This week, and today in particular it’s Punxsutawney Phil. Groundhog Day the movie: Good idea. Groundhog Day the tradition: Stupid idea. The dimwitted people of Punxsatawney, Pennsylvannia have been shoving a rodent through a hole in a tree stump for almost 200 hundred years to find out if there will be 6 more weeks of winter. Hey morons, you live in the Northeast! There’s always 6 more weeks of winter! Check the calendar! It says that Spring starts on March 21st. That’s 7 weeks from now. You don’t need a rat being spooked by his shadow to figure this one out. At this point I’m getting tired of all these wanna-be Phil’s trying to horn in on my fame. If, coincidentally, a shot were to ring out in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania today and a certain rodent were to explode in a puff of fur, I was kidding when I wrote this. No harm meant, just a joke. You’ll all be my alibi right?

Here’s the big question: If you could have one day of your life to do over and over, what day would that be and why? As always, if you enjoyed this vintage Phil Factor feel free to share it via the social media buttons below. Have a great day!  ~Phil

Good Morning! How Are You?

Seriously, good morning, happy Sunday and how are you doing? I’m trying something new. I just wanted to check in with everyone. No story or humorous opinion piece today. Let’s just check in with each other as people.

I know the pandemic is wearing thin on everyone’s patience, but in some ways I think it has also unified the world. I know that I get readers from all over the world, but often our experiences and perspectives are somewhat different because we live in different areas of the world. Different televisions shows, different music, different political climates, different daily news. We truly can’t really understand someone else’s perspective. But…the pandemic is one thing we all have in common. Everyone has experienced an impact on their lives because of the pandemic, and for most of us, it hasn’t been good. In the comments I’d like to hear how you’re holding up. Obviously I’ll tell you in my writing here, but why don’t we all read and reply to each other in the comments. Let’s offer emotional support and maybe even suggestions about how ways we’ve found to cope.

Oddly, due to a quirky situation with my job last January I had to start working from home two months before the rest of you started quarantining. Ironically, just two days before the first cases of Covid were found in a community just north of New York City, I had passed through that area while doing my job.

In May of last year I had to have my 83 year old father admitted to a memory care residence and haven’t been able to really visit him in person because of Covid. We had regular window visits until both winter and Covid hit his residence. I’m feeling some guilt that I can’t do more with him. He’s confused and frustrated about why he can’t go home, and I can’t even take him out to dinner or for a visit at my house.

My wife is not only a medical provider but she is also in active treatment for cancer, which impacts her immune system. I’m relieved however because this past week she received her second dose of the Covid vaccine. For the first nine months of the virus though it was a worry. And in the summer my son, who lives on the other side of the country had a serious ankle injury requiring surgery and I traveled to see him twice to help him out with medical appointments etc.

If you haven’t traveled during the pandemic, it’s definitely different. In the airports most of the stores and restaurants were closed or limited. None of the flights I took provided us with a real meal, only snacks. I didn’t really have any worries about increased exposure to the virus while traveling.  Everyone wore masks and the fight attendants provided us with disinfectant wipes. On only one flight were we packed in every seat like normal flights.

As if the impact of the virus wasn’t enough, in the United States, we couldn’t just do the pandemic, we had to add in seismic political upheaval. Hopefully everyone is tired of that and just decides to stay home.

So now, I’ve just started a new job, which is a very good thing, but I am expected to travel when there are customers that are willing to have me visit. I’m not worried about that or catching the virus. Honestly, I do worry a little, but only a little. I have irrational confidence in my immune system, but I do have to be realistic. I’m on the wrong side of 50 and naturally my immune system probably isn’t as strong as it was in my youth. I mask up everywhere I go and instead of the colorful and entertaining ties I used to wear, I’m going to try to find colorful and entertaining masks. My first memory association with the pandemic is the Netflix series Tiger King. How great was that? And how long ago does that seem now?

So that’s my pandemic story. What’s yours? And how are you holding up? Is there anything me or the blogging community can do to help? One thing I know that helps everyone’s spirits when we’re stressed is interaction with each other in the comments section on our blogs. Let’s try to do that a little more. As bloggers we are a unique community, so let’s pull together and look out for each other. Have a great Sunday! ~Phil

I Look Great in My Genes

After sending my spit to 23andMe in early December I waited with great anticipation to see what insights I could glean from my genetic analysis. Would I actually be Pat Sajak‘s nephew as I might have once claimed in an effort to impress girls? Or even worse yet, related to one of you? Would I have a genetic marker for a terrible disease? Would my ancestry come from countries I hadn’t anticipated? Or would I learn a bunch of obscure, weird stuff that no one really needs to know?

The answer is of course that I learned a bunch of really weird stuff.

Yes,  I learned the mundane things like 99.6% of my ancestry is from the British Isles. I’m Irish, English and Scottish. No surprises there. But there was one tiny surprise. Apparently my great, great, great grandmother must have gotten jiggy with someone during her spring break in Finland back in 1820. 0.3% of my DNA is of Finnish ancestry. Who knows, maybe I’m heir to the throne.

Now let’s get to the weird stuff! 

-My genes show that if I eat asparagus, I’m likely to be able to notice that my urine smells bad later.  Oddly, I’ve never been an asparagus eater anyway.

-I’m less likely than average to have a bunion! Check. No bunions yet! I think I may pursue a career as a foot model! 

-I have slightly higher odds of disliking cilantro. I don’t even know what cilantro tastes like. 

-My muscle composition is common in elite power athletes. Quite obviously I have used my superior muscles for blogging. I typed this whole thing in two minutes and eighteen seconds. 

-I’m likely to have “wet earwax”. Oddly, I really don’t ever have earwax, but if I did, I wouldn’t want it to be wet. Eeew!

-I’m less likely to have a fear of heights. This checks out. I’m typing this from my treehouse

-I’m likely to be bitten less frequently by mosquitos. I’ve never once had malaria

-I’m less likely to have stretch marks! That’s true. I have three kids but the skin on my stomach is as pristine as porcelain. 

-I’m likely to wake up at 7:32 a.m. They are way off on this one. 

-My big toe is likely longer than my second toe. That’s true. Like I said, foot modeling career here I come! 

Yes, those were all insights that I gained from my genetic analysis. There were others that were less interesting, like maybe a slightly higher likelihood of eventually coming down with certain diseases as I age, which is the case with everyone. I didn’t find any shockers or any new family members (Sorry Pat Sajak). But as I said, look for my feet in national ads soon. Maybe I’ll be a foot double for some actor with hideous feet! The possibilities are endless! My gene analysis has opened up a world of opportunity !

My Psychic Predictions for 2021

That’s me in the crystal ball. I’m not the lady

Five years ago when I started my psychic predictions posts, it was just for fun. Then a funny thing happened, I got some right. Startlingly, unerringly, spot on right. So I did it again the following year, and a year later I got some more exactly right. Let’s not get crazy. I’m not getting everything I predict exactly right. But I’m getting enough right that it’s possible I’ve got a little bit of psychic stuff in my big ‘ol noggin. So, back by popular demand, here are my predictions for the year of 2021!

Somebody else made this meme, but for 2020, it’s pretty spot on

Prediction #1: My first prediction is going to be an easy one that anyone could make, but I’ll back it up later with specifics. My prediction is that 2021 will be a better year not just in the United States, but for the whole world.

Prediction #2: First off, I’d like to put everyone at ease. A lot of psychics like to predict the end of the world all the time. Not me, I’m a glass half-full kind of soothsayer. Feel free to plan ahead. The world is not going to end in 2021. It already did in 2020. What are the chances it happens two years in a row? One in ten tops. I guarantee it.

I made my first world saving prediction in 2009 when everyone said the world was going to end in 2012 because that’s when the Mayan calendars ended. I was right then and I’ll be right now. Get your vaccinations and plan those vacations because you’ll be reading my 2022 predictions this time next year. Unless you don’t wear a mask in Florida Then all bets are off.

Who else will get voted off the island in 2021?

Famous Deaths in 2021: This obviously is not my favorite part of the post to write, but it is also one of the most talked about sections of my predictions every year.  Sadly, when I was writing my initial draft of this post three days ago I had a feeling and penciled in Gilligan’s Island cast member Dawn Wells . Sadly, the 82 year old who played the wholesome but sexy MaryAnn on the beloved late 60’s sitcom was unable to fight off Covid long enough so that I wouldn’t have to revise this section of my post. Oddly, the only surviving Gilligan’s Island cast member is Tina Louise, who reputedly was Dawn Wells rival on and off the set. Coincidentally, she also has not offered an alibi for where she was at the time of Ms. Wells demise. Coincidence? I think not! The autopsy and subsequent investigation will tell the tale.

Let’s get right down to it. Great Britain will be rocked by not one but two royal deaths! Don’t worry, it’s not going to be the Queen Mum. Let’s not kid ourselves, Queen Elizabeth is an alien and is never going to die, but sadly her son Prince Charles will take the eternal dirt nap without having had his turn on the throne. I’m not sure how or why, but things are not going to work out for Prince Chuck in 2021. Also the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, will join Charles in crossing the rainbow bridge. Oddly, like Tina Louise, I will not have an alibi. Prince Philip has soiled the good name of the one L Philips one too many times. (Addendum April 16: Told you so! )

Predictions #3: Former President Donald Trump will be besieged with lawsuits within seconds of Joe Biden’s inauguration. As he has become accustomed to lately, he will lose all the lawsuits, and will be sent to prison. On the order of the Supreme Court (go ahead, click that. They have a website) Donald Trump will be sentenced to serve his life long term in the same cell as Joe Exotic, the Tiger King from our first and best pandemic binge watch. (If you haven’t watched it, you should. It’s that train wreck you can’t look away from)

In a surprising turn of events, Joe Exotic’s legal team pleads with the court to release their client on the grounds that his incarceration was certainly deserved, but to be held in captivity with Donald Trump for eternity constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” and violates several statutes of the 1954 Geneva Accords. After several days of debate the United States Supreme Court comes to the decision that not only will Joe Exotic and Donald Trump serve out the rest of their lives in the same 6 foot by 9 foot cell, but it will be filmed and turned into what will become the most popular reality show of all time. If only Carol Baskin could feed these two to her lions…that would be a fitting season finale.

That’s it folks. I opened my third eye and peered into the universe and I got Trump and Joe Exotic. If that doesn’t make you happy for 2021, then I don’t know what will. Have a Happy New Year, not just tonight but for the next 365 days.  Thanks for reading! ~Phil

23 and Me (And maybe YOU!)

That’s right, I’ve thrown my genetic matter into the pool and who knows who I might be related to? It could be you! How great would that be? Me and you hanging out for Christmas next year! Maybe we’ll take a family vacation together this summer! You could be my long lost brother or sister. Or maybe you’re my mom or dad. The possibilities are endless.

I ponied up the $99 to learn about my genetics. It’s not that I’m looking for more relatives. I already have a lot of those. My father had eight siblings, so I’d need a stadium to put all my cousins in one place. My interest is more in what my genes can tell me about myself medically. Admittedly, despite my best efforts and my insistence on never ever acting my age, I do keep getting older every year. In fact, I’m going to do it again on Wednesday. So, my goal is to learn about the genetic markers that might tip me off about possible future illnesses that could try to kill me.

But, if I find out I’m related to one of you, I will announce it HERE on my blog. How weird would it be if that’s how you find out that you’re the heir to The Phil Factor fortune? My wife did one of these ancestry tests a few years ago and now has two more brothers that she never knew about. It turns out that I’m one of them, which has really put a damper on our love life. Sometimes you never really know your parents, do you?

If you want to see if you and I are swimming naked in the same gene pool, send your fecal sample to 23andMe. Just kidding. You only need to send some spit. That’s it. A little spit is the key to the blueprint for all of mankind! If I get my results before Friday, I’ll be sending you a Christmas card. See you at the next Phil Factor Family Reunion!

Have a great Sunday! ~Phil

The Riveting Plot of Every Hallmark Movie

Hi everybody! Remember me? Yes, I know I’ve posted very infrequently over the past two years, but guess what? I’m back baby doll! (The first person that can tell me what TV show that last line came from,  I will happily send you either a paperback or Kindle copy of one of my books. If you can name the episode I’ll send you two! Ahem, Mrs. Phil you are not eligible for this promotion).

I’m planning on being back at least once a week. I couldn’t let one of the oldest blogs in the world just fade away. Although I am back, this post is a holiday classic that deserves to see the light of day at this time of year. But wait, there’s more! I’ve updated it a little. In the first rendition of this post I made a sexist comment implying that only women enjoy the Hallmark Christmas movies. I have since been enlightened by some of the previous comments on this post and the fact that Hallmark stepped up their game this year and added an LGBTQ friendly holiday romantic movie. Kudos to Hallmark for their move towards inclusion.

Yes, it’s that time of year. “Christmas?” you say. No, Christmas is just a secondary annoyance. To all the people born with at least one romantic bone in their body and a high tolerance for mediocre acting, 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 from having to watch 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, town  or whatever. There’s always something that needs saving.

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 Sunday and thanks for sharing this post anywhere on social media! ~Phil

Happy Diwali! or दीपावली की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं !

In the “States” and many other countries we may be excited about Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah and other holidays, but we’re overlooking a big holiday that just occurred yesterday. Because of the continued popularity of my post Real Sexting Conversations to Read in Hindi? I thought I would branch out my humorous holiday coverage to include the Hindu holiday of Diwali, which started yesterday. Before we go any further, Hindi is the language that is spoken by most, or is it moist, people in India? Let’s face it, everyone in India is probably moist all the time. It’s more overpopulated than Miami during Spring break and the average winter temp in India is 107 degrees Fahrenheit (42 C). Ok, Hindi is a language and Hindu is a religion. You can speak Hindi without being Hindu and vice-versa, but most people who speak Hindi happen to be Hindu.

I figured that because so many Hindi people also visit my site for dating advice, like I gave in my post How Ron Burgundy Will Save Hindi Sex , that I would continue to court their growing influence in the blogosphere by writing about one of their biggest holidays. For the rest of you, here is some info to help you understand why this is such a big holiday: Diwali, or Deepavali, as it is sometimes called, (look, I know there are a lot of people in India, but why can’t you all agree on one name for the holiday? The rest of us have Christmas period. We don’t call it anything else.) is the Festival of Lights. It’s a celebration of light over darkness, or good over evil. Good over evil? Awesome. Who isn’t down with that, right? It’s like having a Batman holiday. It’s also an official holiday not just in India, but in eleven other countries. Let’s face it, if you’re not down with Diwali then you ain’t jolly. I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a saying in India.

diwali-tip-400x400

Why would you need “eye health safety tips for Diwali”? Because it’s like our Fourth of July/Independence Day in the States. On Diwali, all the Hindus get lit! They don’t get lit in the sense of drinking a lot, or do they? I imagine that the Feni was flowing freely in Mumbai yesterday as they celebrated the Festival of Lights by lighting candles and fireworks until the wee hours of the morning. Something like one tenth of the Earth’s population is in India, nobody has more than 6 inches of personal space, and on one day each year they all start fires. I don’t see how that could possibly go wrong! The fire departments in India earn their keep on Diwali. There are literally tons of fire accidents on Diwali, so read this article to help you stay safe and alive during Diwali. No one wants to leave Diwali in a funeral trolley. That’s not a saying in India yet, but mark my Hindi words, this time next year some marketing dude in India is going to make this the tag line for a public service announcement. Here it is in Hindi: कोई भी एक अंतिम संस्कार ट्राली में दीवाली छोड़ना चाहता है. And tomorrow, someone in India who reads this will say it to their friends moments before one of them blows off a finger or two with firecrackers.

669656abbb812a5622eade565aa18f89aa17c359c84962753666c63b473aa4d6

I love the angry baby memes. I wonder if one day in 20 years we’ll see a picture of the angry baby then and now. Anyway, for those of you who are not Hindu, I hope you learned a little more about another culture today and for all my Hindi speaking readers, if you drink too much don’t get into a brawly on Diwali. Yeah, I could do this all day. दीपावली की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं ! <–That may or may not be me and my Hindi readers making fun of the rest of you. For all you Netflix watchers, go look up The Office episode about Diwali. Very funny. Have a great weekend! ~Phil

Good Books and a Good Cause: Help #Hurricane Laura Survivors

I’m happy to welcome back friend of The Phil Factor, author, tv & radio personality and zombie expert Marie Lanza! Marie is one of the few human beings in the world that I’ve allowed to write a guest post here at The Phil Factor.

I was planning to write a stellar review of Marie’s story in the anthology Under Her Black Wings: 2020 Women of Horror Anthology which features horror stories by all female authors. It’s almost Halloween, so it’s time to get in the mood with a great read. As I said, I was preparing to write a review of Under Her Black Wings and Marie’s story, The Faceless Woman, when I came across a post of hers on Instagram (where you can find her as @marie_lanza). I’ll let Marie take it away in her own words:

My hometown of Lake Charles, Louisiana has been devastated by #HurricaneLaura. The community needs help as they begin the long journey to rebuild their lives. There is no running water or electricity. Many have lost everything and so many are desperate for supplies.

For the month of September, 100% of book proceeds will go directly to individuals and families in need. We’ll be sending it in forms of gift cards, cash, clothing, food–whatever we can.

I accept Venmo and Paypal! Please DM me for details.

Donations of $10-$15 : You’ll receive paperback copy of an anthology – 25 Gates of Hell or Under Her Black Wings. Lots of greats authors in these books!

Donations of $15-$25 : You’ll receive the first 3 books of my Fractured series.

Or, if you just want to give something, please let me know. Alternatively, the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana was recommended by friends as a great group to give donations as well. I know there’s so much going on in this world, but this beautiful city needs all the help they can get.

Good books and a good cause. I can’t think of a better way to spend my money. For links and/or to DM Marie, you can find her at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieLanzaBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marie_lanza

Instagram: @marie_lanza

You can also find her on Amazon

It’s Labor Day, a classic American holiday. Do something American by helping out other Americans!

Have a great day! ~Phil

 

Stressful Week? Here’s Some Happy News!

If you’re dealing with stress fatigue from well, everything in 2020, this post will remind you that there is still good in this world.

The Jigsaw Man

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon… ~Harry Chapin

The Jigsaw Man is my father. I call him that because he has Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I don’t actually call him that, but if I did he wouldn’t remember it five minutes later.

Why I think of him as The Jigsaw Man is because now his brain seems to be filled with puzzle pieces of his life, and none of them fit together any longer. It’s as if he has a hodge podge of pieces from different puzzles and he has no idea how to put them together again.

Every summer my family went camping with my dads parents and his brothers and sisters families. Every summer I watched my big brother and older cousins water-ski. I was dying to water-ski. I wanted to get out on the water and do all the cool tricks that the big kids were doing. 

When I was eight years old, my uncle took the boat out, letting out the tow line behind it. My dad sat back in the water holding the handle at the end of that rope with the tips of his skis poking out of the water. Then I climbed up on my dad’s shoulders and wrapped my arms around his neck. The motor roared to life and seconds later I was riding my dads shoulders at thirty miles an hour. That’s one of my puzzle pieces. I wonder if it’s one of his.

Oh, crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got ~
The Living Years, Mike and the Mechanics

On Friday I had my dad placed in a memory care facility. He needs constant supervision, otherwise he might wander off. I know it’s hard to think of putting your parent in a locked facility, but it’s a very nice place and I’m comfortable with it. For years he had been cared for by his long time girlfriend who was at her wits end. Despite her emotional exhaustion, she had a harder time with the decision than my siblings and I. 

One thing that will forever make me think of my dad is the TV show Two and a Half Men. No, my dad didn’t love the show. In fact, I’d be surprised if he knew about it at all. In the picture above, see the higher one of the two framed posters on the wall? It’s a poster of Earl Hines, a legendary American jazz musician. I wish that I could have found a better picture of it. That poster was on the wall on that set every year that Charlie Sheen was on the show. When Ashton Kutcher showed up they redecorated. (How many of you even knew that in the last couple seasons they replaced Charlie Sheen with Ashton Kutcher?)  You may not know of Earl Hines, but in jazz circles he’s still famous enough that when my son went to college a few years ago they were still teaching Earl Hines songs to the jazz ensemble. So, why does a famous jazz musician remind me of my dad?

On a snowy December night in Syracuse, N.Y. in the early to mid 1970’s my dad was on his way home from working late and he saw a car broken down by the side of the road. It was Earl Hines and his manager. My dad gave them a ride to their hotel. For a few years after that they remained in touch and whenever Earl Hines was playing in Syracuse, he’d meet my dad for dinner and my mom and dad might go to the show if they could get a babysitter. That is one of my puzzle pieces. I wonder if it’s one of his.

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’, don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if it ain’t free, no no
And, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
You know, feelin’ good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee ~
Janis Joplin

Me and Bobby McGee. He used to walk around the house playing his guitar and singing it. That is one of my puzzle pieces. I wonder if it’s one of his.

They say you grow up to be your parents. If someday I become a Jigsaw Man, I wonder what my puzzle pieces will be. 

Have a great Sunday! ~Phil