Tag Archives: The Phil Factor

My Life Long Friend Judy Izzum

That pic above is the kind of information I didn’t have as a kid. I grew up as a Catholic kid in a middle class neighborhood in upstate New York. So, you would think that if I’m in New York there would be a lot of Jewish people around. You are sadly mistaken.

New York is a pretty big state. There’s upstate and downstate.  Downstate is New York City, Long Island and a couple counties just north of New York City. That whole area is a five hour drive from where I live. The downstate area is filled with many unique, wonderful cultures, and the Jewish community is one of them. The upstate part of New York is more homogenized, although there are some quirky cultural things going on in different places.

This one is available on Amazon

When I grew up, I didn’t think that I knew anyone that was Jewish. I was sheltered.  My Irish Catholic mother was too busy training me to be the next Pope. It wasn’t until I went away to college at 17 that I really discovered the Jewish religion. Many of my college friends were from downstate and chose to go to college upstate.

For me it was fun learning about the Jewish religion from my friends, and I was thrilled one year when my friend gave me a dreidel and taught me the song: “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel, I made it out of clay, and when it’s dried and ready, oh dreidel we will play.” Thank you my college friend Gary. That song has been in my head every December since we met.

After having many Jewish friends in college and learning what surnames were most likely to be Jewish, I realized that I had had Jewish friends my entire life and just didn’t know it.

As an adult I’ve always craved learning about other cultures and religions because I felt like I grew up very generically.  Go watch That 70’s show. I think the parents in that show were modeled after my parents. In the picture below, I was most likely to be Eric (actor Topher Grace) in the top right.

At the end of the day though, there’s almost really no difference between religions and the people that practice them. Every religion has different repetitive, quirky traditions and every religion in  the world is based on the “magic guy in the sky” premise, so who cares if someone wears a different hat or says a different prayer? At 17 I thought my Jewish friends were this new and interesting novelty when it turned out that I had Jewish friends my whole life.

If I was Jewish, this would be me every December

During the holiday season when Hanukkah and Christmas overlap, it feels like Hanukah doesn’t get the big publicity that Christmas does, and that’s a shame because they have 8 days of one holiday. If that’s not an excuse to day drink, I don’t know what is. Anyway, I just want to say Happy Hanukkah to all the Jewish friends that I’ve had in my life, even the ones that I didn’t know were Jewish. Now that they know I know, I hope they don’t expect eight presents times the number of years that I didn’t know they were Jewish.

If I could ask my Jewish friends one favor it is this: Could you decide on one spelling of your holiday?

Shalom and Happy Chanukah my friends~ Phil

Ten Weird Holiday Traditions From Around The World

My first baby picture! (pic credit to https://www.artstation.com/yoneyu )

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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2. Guatemala: They sweep out their houses on Christmas Eve, with brooms they borrowed from the Norwegianscreating 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 undergroundcome 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

The Ten Best Christmas Movies Ever? Let the Debate Begin!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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5. The Polar Express: (2004) Tom Hanks is a better actor as cartoon character.

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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

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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?

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2. A Christmas Story: (1983) It is right and just that TBS plays this movie for 24 hours straight every year.

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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

Daylight Stupid Time

This is my bi-annual reminder that tomorrow night in the United States we move our clocks back by an hour and my reminder to you that it’s stupid. I’ve been posting this every Fall and Spring since 2006 and will continue to do so until we do away with Daylight Savings Time.

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When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m going to pass a law getting rid of Daylight Savings Time. I don’t know if all other countries do this. I do know that not all the U.S. states abide by it. Daylight Savings Time was created about 120 years ago to give farmers more daylight in which to do their work in the fields. Call me crazy, but why the hell didn’t someone just suggest that the lazy ass farmers drag themselves out of a bed a little earlier each day? Because those cud chewing, overall wearing, udder jerking lay-abouts can’t be bothered to set their alarm clocks we’re all stuck changing time?

I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but about ten years ago the U.S. Congress, in another colossal waste of their time and our tax dollars, extended daylight savings time by a few weeks on either end.

First off, why isn’t it called daylight spending time since we are using more daylight in the summer months? Secondly, at this point the farmers (except the creepy Amish ones) all have electricity and alarm clocks, which may not have been the case 120 years ago. I can get away with saying that about the Amish because my demographic data shows that for some reason I have very low readership among the Amish. I guess they just don’t get me.

Reportedly the reason Congress did this is to save energy. How will changing our clocks twice a year save energy? Don’t we set our thermostats and use heat based on the outdoor temperature, not how light out it is? I’d like to save the energy I expend changing my clocks! I’d like Congress to tell me when I get that back. Congress has again proven to be the biggest collection of morons outside of…well…I guess I can’t think of a bigger collection. Why doesn’t Congress set their alarm clocks an hour earlier so they can get up early and get more of this important work done?

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B.T. dubs, if we set our clocks back an hour now but we turn them ahead in the Spring over the course of a year what difference does it make? If we learned anythying from Marty McFly it was that we shouldn’t muck about with time. Also, according to statistics,  the day after we change our clocks there are more workplace injuries, car accidents, and for the day, a 10% rise in heart attacks.

I for one am not going to go for this stupid daylight savings time thing anymore. I don’t work at a farm or for Congress, so I told my boss that for 6 months I’ll be to work an hour early or late, however it works out. When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, this is going to change

If you’d like to support my bid for President or Sexiest Man Alive, please hit the Facebook, Twitter share button below, but hurry because you have an hour less to do it in this weekend. Or is it an hour more? Have a great weekend! ~Phil

#PHIL2024

The Top Ten Scariest TV Series

Feel like watching something scary this week but don’t want to sit through a two hour movie? I’ve got your back. There’s nothing I enjoy more than being on the edge of my seat. I’m not talking horror or gore. I’m talking pure, can’t take your eyes off the screen, I can’t believe this is happening suspense. With the news that the early 90’s classic Twin Peaks would be returning next year with eighteen new episodes I began re-watching seasons 1 & 2 from 1990 and 1991. I also got to thinking about the best suspense TV shows I’ve watched. I’ve watched 8 of the 10 on the list and included the two others on reputation. This is a very subjective list, so if you have other suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Twilight Zone: This may be the original classic suspense show. I didn’t see it in it’s first run, but saw it later in re-runs. I fly fairly regularly for my job and I’m always tempted to yell ‘There’s a man on the wing!” If you get the reference, in the comments tell me what actor screamed it.

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The X-Files: A 90’s classic that returned to the small screen for a limited run a few years ago. It was great in it’s time and improved as it grew in popularity. Not every episode was the perfect cocktail of suspense and disbelief, but it was often enough to make my list.

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American Gothic: Maybe I just like this because I have the painting on a tie. Which is more famous, the painting or the show? Who heard of one but not the other? I didn’t see this show, but loved the title and heard others give it high praise. You win 50 points to spend in The Phil Factor gift shop if you can tell me, without looking it up, what artist did the famous painting.

LOST: Apparently I’m stuck in the 90’s. For one glorious season LOST was awesomely suspenseful and mysterious. Then the writers all seemed to lose their minds.

The Walking Dead: There’s just so many. So many zombies. Just the tiniest scratch. Any moment you could become one of them. Your group is getting picked off one by one. There could be one or one hundred around any corner. You just never know.

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American Horror Story: I haven’t watched this one. Yet. I plan to, No one else in my family wants to see it, so I have to find some time to watch when no one is around. That’s the best time to watch scary stuff anyway, right?

In Search Of… Leonard Nimoy rest in peace.  This was a late 70’s-early 80’s show that was part documentary, part reality show where they tried to debunk paranormal phenomena. As a kid I wanted to watch but it always freaked me out.

Kingdom Hospital: Also known as Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital. This was a one season series that was based on a Danish show.  Look it up on Netflix or Hulu. Completely creepy, suspenseful and weird. I loved it.

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Stranger Things:  It was a new series in 2016. Season 4 was out this past summer and there will be a season 5.  This show set out to capture the aura of those cool, creepy 80’s Stephen King based movies and it succeeded brilliantly.

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Twin Peaks: As I said, I recently began re-watching the original series and it stands the test of time. It’s still awesomely creepy and weird. If you were a fan of the show and want to see a funny, hour-long spoof featuring many of the actors and actresses from the original look up the show Psych on Netflix and find the Dual Spires episode in 2010/5th season of the show. After you do that, go back and watch the entire Psych series from season 1. It’s brilliantly funny with a little suspense.

So what did I miss? What would you add to the list and what would you take away? Please give opinions and suggestions. I’d love some good, new or old shows to watch. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

The Top Ten Scariest Movies of All Time

The Hocus Pocus 2 (<== click for trailer) movie came out last week and women everywhere ran straight to their TV’s. Is Hocus Pocus 1 or 2 on this list? Of course not. They’re not scary, just scary bad!

Feeling in the mood for some Halloween scares? Check out the movies on this list, created from a painstaking culling of countless online lists of scary movies. These are the ten that appeared most often on most of the lists. I posted this list last year and it resulted in a lot of suggestions for other great scary movies. Feel free to add your two cents in the comments.

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10. Psycho (1960) Believe it or not, this one almost didn’t make the list. This is a classic that has spawned countless imitations.

9. It (2017) The Stephen King classic was brought back about a month ago and it is seriously creepy. There were at least five times during the movie when I got goosebumps because it was so creepy and suspenseful. Watching this will not help your clown fear at all.

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8. Halloween (1978) Although Mike Myers later went on to bigger fame and fortune on Saturday Night Live and Wayne’s World, this movie has stood the test of time.

7. The Omen (1976) I never saw this, but if it’s got Gregory Peck it must be good. I hope it has Boo Radley too.

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6. The Exorcist (1973) Talk about an ugly duckling! She later went on to become Miss Nevada. First time I saw this I was completely freaked out. me and my friends didn’t sleep all night. At the time I was also sure that a film like this would never be allowed in Canada.

5. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) I’m sure this was terrifying for all the old timey folks in 1968. Ironically, Mia Farrow played Rosemary, a woman impregnated by Satan. Many years later the baby she adopted with Woody Allen would later marry Woody Allen. I’m starting to think that Mia isn’t a very good mother.

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4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) I started this series with Part 3 but went back and watched them all. I find a villian who can get you in your dreams to be the scariest of all. Sadly, some idiots made a remake of this in 2010. Did anyone see that? Me neither.

3. The Shining (1980) A cool classic. Nobody plays crazy quite like Jack Nicholson.

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2. 28 Days Later (2002) A zombie movie from 2002 before zombies were cool. I haven’t seen this one, but it showed up so regularly in my research I want to see it now.

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1. Alien (1979) This one surprised me by being on almost every list. The suspense is painful and who can forget the tag line “In space no one can hear you scream.”

So what’s your favorite scary movie? Do you like being scared? What’s scarier, the books or the movies? What would you add to this list?

Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

It’s The Great Pumpkin Spice Latte Charlie Brown

I was also going to name this “A Pumpkin Flavored Phil Factor”. It’s that time of year, again. Sigh.  It has begun. Pumpkin flavored everything is back in stores! WTH? Seriously, are pumpkins such a wonderful delicacy that we have to flavor EVERYTHING with them? Why pumpkin? Is there any other time of year where a flavor takes over the country for a couple months? Around the winter holidays why isn’t there nog flavored everything? Around St. Patrick’s Day we’ve got our Shamrock Shakes, but that’s about it. How about this? I’m going to give you a list of ten pumpkin flavored items below and you try to guess which one isn’t real.

1. Coffee

2. Beer

3. Donuts

4. Candy

5. Soda pop

6. Potato chips

7. Pasta

8. Cookies

9.  Vodka

10. Smoothies

Guess what? They all are real! That’s too much pumpkin flavored stuff. What’s next, pumpkin-flavored fish sandwiches at McDonald’s? This time of year it’s actually an effort not to accidentally eat something pumpkin flavored. This madness must end!  When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m going to pass a law stating that any company that produces a pumpkin flavored food item has to have it approved through a special sub-committee and if it is just too stupid of an idea they will not be allowed to sell it. If you know of any other odd pumpkin flavored foods or drinks please share them in a comment.

As always, if you enjoy what you read at #ThePhilFactor and want to support my bid for President, or Sexiest Man Alive, please hit the Facebook or Twitter share buttons.

Welcome to Phil’s NyQuil Chicken Restaurant!

NyQuil Chicken

(This is a proactive disclaimer for those who take everything waaay to seriously: This entire blog post is a joke. I am probably not seriously suggesting you do anything I say here. You’re an adult. Think for yourself.)

Does anyone remember my post from four years ago about snorting Tide Pods? This has an eerie familiarity. Yes, TikTok, the arbiter of all things cool, has brought us the NyQuil chicken challenge!  At first I wondered if bored farmers were giving their chickens NyQuil and then watched them fall asleep. Knowing famers, I was a little worried what they might do to those chickens after they fell asleep. But no, there are no victims.

People are making chicken with NyQuil and it puts them to sleep. You know what else it does? It makes people feel better when they have a cold or flu! Is that so bad? I don’t think so, which is why I’m going to open a restaurant where I’ll serve popular dishes with different medications mixed in.

What could be better than that when you’re sick? Go to a restaurant feeling lousy, have your favorite meal and you feel better later? It’s like a Walgreens Pharmacy and Red Lobster had a baby!

The Medicine Restaurant and Bar in Birmingham, England

Come in. Let me take you to your table. Have a seat. I will need your medical history before you order. We don’t want any of those pesky allergic reactions. Take a look at the menu:

All pictures are not mine and were “borrowed” from better websites than mine.

NyQuil Chicken: A beautiful chicken breast grilled with olive oil, Mediterranean spices and NyQuil. Guaranteed to satisfy your palate, relieve cold symptoms and help you get a good nights sleep.

Ritalin Redfish

Ritalin Redfish Cajun Style: Enjoy this savory sea treat with cajun spices that will wake up your tongue while the Ritalin wakes up your brain. Please consult your physician before finishing your appetizer.

Anxiety Alfredo

Anxiety Alfredo: Feeling a little anxious or over-stressed? Nothing calms my mind more than a bowl of pasta, especially when it has a little something extra soothing for your nerves. Feeling a little too gonzo? Maybe you need a little benzo. It’s what gives our alfredo that silky smooth aftertaste.

Tepezza Taco Tuesday: Problems with your thyroid? Are your eyes looking a little too big? Then stop by for Tepezza Taco Tuesday! If you’ve got two eyes you get two tacos for the price of one! (Tepezza did not give me consent to use the name of their medication.)

I’m just getting started. Wait until you see the drink menu. You don’t need to tip our waitresses but please pay your copay on the way out.

Anywho, it’s up to you if you add meds to your food, but please consult your physician and don’t take me seriously.

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

The Top Ten Dumbest Named Towns in Pennsylvania

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. I’m sorry that I haven’t been here in six weeks. Part of the reason I haven’t blogged as frequently is that I travel for work quite a bit. A lot of my travel is to Pennsylvania. What I’ve discovered is that Pennsylvania is such a pathetically aspiring red-neck wanna be state that they’ve named a lot of their towns after other more red-necky places. Here are the top ten dumbest named towns in Pennsylvania.

Indiana: Yes, there’s an Indiana, Pennsylvania. One of the top ten most boring states is Indiana, so of course Pennsylvania looks up to Indiana.

Hecktown: Quite obviously, 150 years ago some Quaker religious maven made sure they didn’t name this Helltown. How cool would that be? The zip code would end in 666.

Wind Gap: Is it pronounced Wined Gap or Wind Gap? I know that it’s Wind Gap, but what does that even mean?

Ohio: Yes, there’s an Indiana and an Ohio, Pennsylvania. Again, they chose another boring, redneck state. It’s like Pennsylvania waited until all the other states named themselves and then stole their ideas as if no one would notice. There is also an East Texas town in Pennsylvania. Could they have been more lazy when they picked these names?

Climax: Ok, this isn’t rednecky, but it’s definitely fun. I’m sure the religious zealots in Hecktown probably never visit here.

Egypt: A lot of people don’t know this, but Egypt is the redneckiest of the middle Eastern countries.

Mars: I hate to beat the same drum but Mars is know as the ____ planet? It’s the red planet. The red neck planet.

Scalp Level: I have a feeling that this town was founded by some aging, balding men.

 

Intercourse, PA! As you would imagine, if you’re traveling in Pennsylvania, you get to Intercourse, PA before Climax, PA. There’s quite obviously a battle between good and depravity in Pennsylvania.

Trust me, there are plenty more oddly named places in Pennsylvania. I’m curious though, what are the oddest town or street names that you’ve come across in your life?

Have a great Friday! ~Phil

Are You An Upside-Down Pineapple?

So last Friday I posted this picture of myself on social media. Every Friday this summer I’m posting a pick of myself in a Hawaiian shirt. I have quite the collection.

But the picture above garnered more comments and attention than my usual Hawaiian shirt pictures. I bet that some of you know why. I didn’t and was surprised why this shirt caught peoples attention. About 60% of the pineapples on the shirt are upside down. I thought that was odd, but just figured that Old Navy was getting rid of some misprint shirts cheap. I was very naïve for thinking that.

Traditionally the pineapple is a symbol of welcoming. Flags and signs like the one above can be seen all over the world indicating welcome and friendship. Apparently some people use the upside down pineapple as a symbol of being really, really friendly.

As it turns out, the upside down pineapple when displayed on your clothing or as a decoration on your house indicates that you’re a swinger! According to google, the informal definition of the word swinger is “a person who engages in group sex or the swapping of sexual partners.” 

Now all those pineapple upside down cakes that my mom used to make suddenly seem very suspicious. That could explain why us kids had to go to bed when they invited the neighbors over for parties in the basement. Now I’m wondering if our basement was a secret sex dungeon. I’m also wondering if Old Navy is really a swingers cult. When does the deception end? Is my dad really my dad, or was it my next door neighbor? Now that I’ve worn the shirt, am I a swinger? Is someone swinging with me right now?!!?

When the weather turns cold I’m getting this sweatshirt

Suddenly thanks to one of my favorite fruits, my whole life is a lie. If you want to read a little more about swinger symbols so you can either encourage or avoid attention read this fun article from Men’s Health magazine. And if you are an upside down pineapple, well, you already know what to do!  ; )

Have a great day! ~Phil