Tag Archives: The Golden Boys

The Nipple Ring Open

The title got your attention didn’t it? Yesterday The Golden Boys and I played the 27th annual Nipple Ring Open.   The 1990 Nipple Ring Open was the first of the official Golden Boy weekend functions. We were all out of college and Chuck had gone off to the Navy. He was back for a week after boot camp and of course could think of nothing better to do than to spend time with The Golden Boys. As I said in Chuck’s write up, The Golden Boys were, I believe, more responsible for raising him to be the man he became than his own family was.

Apparently we did a very poor job of instilling our values in him. He runs off to join the Navy and comes home with…a nipple ring. As his mentors and role models you can imagine how disappointed in him we were. Of course you can also imagine how much abuse we heaped upon him, including a fair bit of painful tugging on his ring. The Nipple Ring Open was an informal golf tournament we played amongst ourselves and videotaped a large part of our idiocy.


I’m not sure if Chuck still has the nipple ring, but I wouldn’t bet against it. About 10 years later we had the 10th Anniversary Nipple Ring Open and we all wore matching shirts that we had specially made and which said, “The Golden Boys: Nipple Ring Open 2000.” We only realized later, as we all sat in McDonald’s in our matching Nipple Ring shirts, how gay we must have looked. The sun was hot, the beer was cold, and the golf was bad.

This year we played our 27th Nipple Ring Open, and apropos to the title, we all went shirtless, but no one had a nipple ring.

Have a great Sunday! ~Phil

One Golden Boy Short

I’m sure all of you are wondering what we do when one of our Golden Boys is missing from one of our functions. That’s easy. We replace him. There are two ways we replace a Golden Boy. One is with our back-up Golden Boy, Ozzy. (No, not the singer, but another of our friends with a nickname.

The other way we replace a Golden Boy is with a cardboard cut-out. Gooby is very technically inclined and using pictures of me from 8th grade and one from high school graduation he created two life size card board cut-outs of my head and shoulders. By all reports my card board cut-outs have had a lot more fun than I have on some Golden Boy weekends.

One year, I was unable to travel to Connecticut for Chuck’s wedding, but if you watch Chuck’s wedding video there I am, from the shoulders up, dancing with bridesmaids, sitting at the head table and hanging out at the bar. The pics in this post are actually freeze frame images taken from Chuck’s wedding video. Needless to say that Mrs. Chuck was none too pleased with the prominence of my cardboard likeness at the reception.

Last year Gooby was unable to make it to our Golden Boys trip to Florida, but his head made it and accompanied us everywhere getting his picture taken with women all over south Florida.

Have a great Sunday! ~Phil

The Golden Boys Playlist

My life has a soundtrack. Although I have nearly zero musical ability, I am an avid music listener and concert goer. In my head, many of my happiest memories in life are attached  to the songs that were playing when the memory occurred. It’s never been a conscious effort on my part to pair memories with music,  it just happens. It’s a wonderful time machine. I hear a song on the radio and suddenly my imagination takes me  somewhere years ago with my friends. On my own, I’m all about modern alternative rock, but when I’m with The Golden Boys we hop in the Way Back Machine and fire up the songs from our youth. My life-long friends and I are together this weekend and when we’re together music is always on in the background. Here is The Golden Boys playlist:

Crazy Train: Ozzy Osbourne

Back in Black: AC/DC

Fantasy: Aldo Nova

Your Love: The Outfield

Just Between You and Me: April Wine

Fight For Your Right To Party: The Beastie Boys

The Safety Dance: Men Without Hats

Don’t Fear The Reaper: Blue Oyster Cult

The Stroke: Billy Squier

Sunglasses At Night: Corey Hart

One Thing Leads To Another: The Fixx

I Want You To Want Me: Cheap Trick

Come On Eileen: Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Jukebox Hero: Foreigner

Simple Man: Lynyrd Skynrd

If you have a cell phone and go out to bars occasionally you should get the TouchTunes app. For a very small fee the app lets you choose the music for the jukebox in whatever bar that has it. Whenever The Golden Boys go out, we are happy to pay to have our music played all night long. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy my novel White Picket Prisons, available on Amazon in paperback or e-book. So what songs are on the playlist of your life?

Have a great Sunday! ~Phil

The Walk

This weekend I’m getting together with my life-long childhood friends, known as The Golden Boys. I made them into fictional characters for my two novels, in which not all of the stories are fictional. They’re those old friends who always fit like your favorite old pair of jeans. Even though we live in different cities, when we get together, it’s as if a day hasn’t passed. Whenever we’re together it usually results in a good story or two that we will laugh about for the rest of our lives. This picture of us may be a couple years old.

The Walk

Our most sacred and enduring ritual is The Walk. We grew up in suburbia. Everytown, USA. Identical houses and identical yards as far as the eye could see. A corner store we could walk to. Four guys in four consecutive houses. All about the same age from average, middle-class families. Our ritual, when the weather was willing, and sometimes when it wasn’t, was The Walk. The “walk around the block.” In the beginning it was rarely spoken or suggested, it just sort of happened. Any time of day or night it could happen. After we finished swimming or building a fort, or when we got older, after a night out on the town. We would just walk and talk. Some days we would try to fathom the mysteries of our world and some days we just laughed at each other for reasons we wouldn’t remember the next day. We knew every foot of that walk like the back of our hands. We knew who lived in every house, all 56 of them. 58 after they added the two down at the end. It was the best neighborhood in the world as far as we knew, and we felt like we were the kings of it.

The Walk is still our ritual, but it’s changed. None of us lives in the old neighborhood anymore and our reasons for visiting it are almost gone. In our eyes though, the old neighborhood is unchanged. A time capsule of our childhood. As adult men now, we still go back to the neighborhood and take The Walk. We walk down the middle of the street at night and we point to every house and talk about the memory of a childhood friend, or the time it caught fire, or what tragedy befell the old folks, who weren’t so old when we rang their doorbell and ran. For three of the four of us, the neighborhood doesn’t belong to us anymore. Our parents have passed away or divorced and sold our childhood homes. But still we walk. This year when one of our parents passed away, three of us returned to the neighborhood after calling hours and took The Walk. We still try to get together once a year. Again this year, we still drove to the old neighborhood, parked the car at the corner store and walked by our childhood, wondering where it went. Someday when the first of us passes away, I imagine the others will take The Walk, carrying our friend’s casket around the block, for one last walk.

Wordless Wednesdays: The Golden Boys

Yes, I am one of those three and the other two are my two best friends in the world. This is one of my favorite old pictures of us. Those two are who two of the characters in my books are based on. Have a great Wednesday! ~Phil

Throwback Thursday! The Dependables: A Golden Boys Story

(08/09/2014) You know that movie, The Expendables? A bunch of old guys get together for one more mission, unless it does well at the box office, in which case they’ll do a few more missions. I think that’s me and The Golden Boys, except we’re not expendable. We’ve known each other our entire lives. We’re dependable. And one day we’ll be in Depends, but we’ll still be getting together every summer. Last weekend was our Golden Boy weekend. Usually these weekends involve golf, drinking, matching shirts, and whatever other trouble we can get ourselves into.

Part of each Golden Boy weekend is The Nipple Ring Open. The Nipple Ring Open is our golf tournament that only has us as participants and has on occasion involved partially clothed or naked golf as well as some very unique rule changes.  It was named The Nipple Ring Open because Golden Boy Chuck went away to the Navy and came back two years later with…yup, you guessed it, a nipple ring. Just one. Not even a matching set. The first year of the shirts was 2000.

Nipple Ring

We all wore these to a McDonald’s on the way and I think the kid at the counter assumed we’re all romantic partners. We’re not, but we did nothing to dispel this assumption. This year shortly after I arrived at Gooby’s house the ceremonial presentation of the shirts occurred. Below is this years logo.


After golf we cooked ourselves a feast of steak and lobster. Then we left for the evenings festivities. Gooby had procured free tickets to a concert. Not just any concert; an 80’s concert! Benny Mardones, a resident of our hometown had one hit song in the 1980’s. He was hosting a concert with several other one hit bands from the 1980’s to benefit the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. Carol Baldwin is a survivor of breast cancer, also from our hometown,  and the mom of actors Alec, Stephen, and Daniel Baldwin. Stephen made an appearance at the show.

The band lineup for the show included Animotion, Tommy Tutone, A Flock of Seagulls, Naked Eyes, and of course hometown favorite Benny Mardones. I’ve linked each band to the video of their big 80’s hit song. My favorite is Tommy Tutone. Remember Jenny/867-5309? We arrived and joined the crowd on the floor to enjoy the show. Then we moved up to some vacant seating to watch. Most people would just sit, watch, and enjoy. The Golden Boys are not most people.


As we were on the upper concourse I noticed a set of stairs from the concourse down to what appeared to be the area behind the stage. That area was cordoned off from the commoners. The area was where the bands and the V.I.P.’s got free drinks and hob knobbed with each other. I pointed to the stairs and their apparent access to the V.I.P. area. Gooby decided to go check it out. He went down the stairs casually and walked past the V.I.P. area and emerged on the other side of the stage. He came back and reported that there didn’t appear to be any reason we couldn’t just join the V.I.P’s. Our friend Carol, who had seen our check in on Facebook had found us. She decided she would head down there and walk right in to the V.I.P. area to get a free drink. She did so successfully and waved to us. I went down and joined her, soon to be followed by Gooby and Cliff and later by another high school friend Elaine. Before we knew it The Golden Boys were rubbing elbows with anyone and everyone.  I had a lengthy and weird conversation with Tommy of Tommy Tutone about fireflies. Oddly he had never heard of The Golden Boys. It was such a  long and weird a conversation that I was thinking of faking that I had a phone call I had to take.  Then thankfully, Tommy did just that. A lead singer from one of the bands was kind of a mean jerk to everybody but I won’t name him. He did almost walk off the stage but not where the stairs were. He would have taken an accidental dive had there not been people there to stop him. Below is a picture of me with the singer from Naked Eyes. He asked for it so he could prove to his kids he met The Phil Factor guy.


As always, feel free to share #ThePhilFactor on Facebook, Twitter, or by re-blogging. If you’d like to read how the Golden Boys would handle a murder mystery in their own neighborhood, try one of my novels. Have a great Thursday! ~ Phil

Throwback Thursday! Who Are The Golden Boys? You May Never Really Know

Golden Golf

(Aug. 3, 2014)  Who are The Golden Boys? Are they men? Are they myth? Are they Minotaur? They’re two of those three, but I’m not saying which.

Have you ever wondered if authors base their characters on people they know? I don’t know if all of them do it, but I did. White Picket Prisons and The Sneaker Tree may be suspenseful, humorous, murder mysteries, but the real stories are about the close knit group of friends who refer to themselves as The Golden Boys. The picture above is of me, on the right, with two of the Golden Boys. I will not identify them by name to protect the innocent. I have known these two guys my entire life, literally since we were in diapers. The Golden Boys and I grew up on the same street in four consecutive houses.  We all live in different cities now, but we still try to get together once a year. Today is that day.

There is one more Golden Boy, not pictured, with whom we have little contact. He is still in our hearts and if he were ever to make it back to our hometown we would welcome him with open arms. If or when you read either of my novels, know this: the murder mystery parts may be fiction but the characters are real people, just like the friends you grew up with. If, as in the Mitch Albom book The Five People You Meet in Heaven, you do meet people from your past in the afterlife, I hope that my five are the three other Golden Boys and the two people who leave the most comments on The Phil Factor.


My friends and I have a million stories, some that may appear here in the coming weeks and others that may never again be told. Some involve matching shirts, public nudity, wedding crashing, and/or fake musical abilities and the pretense that we may have been a ‘one hit wonder’ band from the late 80’s. If you want to read some of our stories, I’ll tell you that many of them are in my books, but I won’t tell you which are fact and which are fiction. If you follow me on Instagram at ThePhilFactor you may see some pictures from the next 24 hours. I hope you have a great weekend and more importantly I hope you have life-long friends as great as The Golden Boys.

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