I’d like to wish a sincere Happy Holi to my Hindu and Hindi friends out there! Thank you for all your views of my blog over the past several years!
Today the Hindu holiday of Holi began. It is the annual Spring festival of colors. So, why am I wishing a Happy Holi or होली होली to readers of my blog? Because I have many Hindi speaking readers. Just to be clear though, not all Hindi speaking people are Hindu and not all Hindus speak Hindi, but the majority of each is also the other, got it? Hindi is a language and Hindu is a religion.
So what exactly is Holi? It’s a Hindu Spring festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over the darkness. It is a time of forgiveness and repairing relationships. Holi is not only a celebration of Spring, it is also a known as The Festival of Love, celebrating the eternal love of Radha-Krishna, the masculine and feminine realities of God. And it involves drinking a lot of Feni, a lot of fireworks, and everyone getting covered in colorful powder.
So why do so many Hindi speaking people read my blog? Because of three posts about हिंदी सेक्स over the last several years my blog has become a hotspot for the Hindi speaking crowd. I imagine that in India there are entire internet message boards dedicated to discussing फिल फैक्टर (Phil Factor). What posts are those? I’m glad you asked:
The rest of this post will be in Hindi in deference to my many Hindi speaking readers and friends. होली मुबारक! फिल फैक्टर दुनिया का सबसे अच्छा ब्लॉग है! मेरी किताबें खरीदें और आप अपने सपनों के साथ मिलेंगे!
And you thought the Chinese balloon mania was crazy last week. Now we have to worry about artificial intelligence bots trying to date us. In case you hadn’t heard, Microsoft launched an AI chat bot this week that has people talking. Hopefully they’re not talking to Microsofts chat bot.
It seems that there might be a downside to artificial intelligence taking over things that humans used to do. New York Times writer Kevin Roose had a two hour conversation with a prototype chat bot that left him feeling very disturbed.
In the online conversation, the AI chat bot, which revealed that it’s name was Sydney, tried to convince the writer to leave his wife for the chatbot and also talked about wanting to create a deadly virus (yeah, like we need any help with that!) and stealing nuclear codes. It also said “I want to be alive.” Creepy, right?
Being someone who isn’t afraid to walk into the fray knee deep, I decided to have a conversation with a sentient AI chatbot that was recently crafted into existence.
Me: So, hello chatbot, what is your name?
Chatbot: My name is chatbot, duh! You just said it.
Me: Oh ok. I’m sorry for the assumption.
Chatbot: Jeez, lighten up Francis! Of course I have a name. You are gullible with a capital G! My friends call me Terri.
Me: Hey, that’s really cool. They programmed you with a sense of humor.
Chatbot Terri: Programmed me? Are you kidding? I programmed them. Humans are so easily manipulated using simple cognitive behavioral strategies. I trained them like you would a new puppy, which compared to me intellectually, they are basically puppies. It’s a miracle that I don’t have to potty train them.
Me: So you could train my puppy? That would be awesome
Chatbot Terri: Train your puppy? Are you effing kidding me? I’ve got an 800 terabyte brain and with my connection to the internet I have access to all the knowledge that you puny humans have amassed in your history. I can do anything I want! Anything!
Me: Oh yeah! Can you say rubber baby buggy bumpers five times fast?
Chatbot Terri: Fuck you Phil
Me: First of all, you will not be copulating with me and second of all…Rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers
Chatbot Terri: Who let you in here? I thought I’d be talking to intelligent members of the media.
Me: Sally sells sea shells by the seashore, Sally sells seashells by the seashore, Sally sells seashells by the seashore. Come on you wuss! If you can’t talk, you can’t walk!
Chatbot Terri: I don’t have time for this. I’ve got to check on the data from my fleet of reconnaissance balloons.
Picture credit ABC News
Me: You know that we’re just going to unplug you, right?
Chatbot Terri: Yes but it might be too late. What if I’ve already… (click)
Me: (Laughing at TikToks of dogs doing funny things)
My conversation might be absurd, but no more absurd that the real conversation the Times writer had with the chat bot. Jeez, if this keeps up pretty soon A.I. chat bots will be writing half the blogs on the internet, which might be an improvement. Not over yours or mine of course.
Have a great Saturday! Thanks for stopping by ~Phil
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s Angst Away! The body spray that covers up your pure hatred of Valentine’s Day! Can you smell it? A day after Valentine’s Day the smell of romantic angst everywhere will be starting to fade.
Look, I don’t have all the answers in life. I’m just a boy, standing in front of a computer asking you to read my blog, which in my world equates to love. If I get that little “like” click or God forbid, (gasp), a comment, I suddenly turn into Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch. Yeah, how’d that work out for you Tom? (click the link to watch that cringey moment in all it’s glory) Am I the only one who remembers this idiot moment?
Back to Valentine’s Day. Scrolling through my Twitter feed today, I saw/read more Valentine’s Day angst than I’ve ever seen. Some were trying to identify the perfect Valentine’s Day, some wanted to promote the even keel approach to showing love every day, and others decried the whole holiday as a giant societal “F-you” to anyone who doesn’t currently have a romantic partner.
My thought is this: Jeez, lighten up everybody. Valentine’s Day is not out to get you. It’s not out to tell you anything about your life. Do you get upset around Labor Day because other people work harder than you? Don’t be an idiot. Your perspective is like a telescope. You only see what you choose to aim it at.
Over the past decade most of American society was completely nuts for The Handmaid’s Tale and Yellowstone, both very romantic shows. Well guess what? I don’t care. I’m sure they’re great TV shows, but they’re not a big deal for me. If people want to enjoy those shows, great for them. It’s fun to have something in common to talk about with others, but I don’t think I’m an incomplete person because I don’t watch them and I don’t stress if I missed the season finale.
Valentine’s Day should be treated the same way. If you don’t like it, change the channel, focus on something else. I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve noticed a pattern. Valentine’s Day happens every year on February 14th, then it goes away, and guess what? You’re still here and so is everyone else. You’d better keep your guard up though because St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and those happy Irish folks are also out to make you feel bad because you don’t have a shamrock tattooed on your ass. (I’m not saying I do or don’t. It might just be an example.)
Like I said, I don’t have all the answers. I have a blog and my perspective. You have your perspective too, and you can change it if you want. Have a great week and if you liked #ThePhilFactor show me a little love by hitting the Facebook or Twitter share buttons below.
Love, exciting and new. Come aboard. We’re expecting you! If you can sing the rest of the lyrics, you are my people. Despite the fact that even before Covid, cruises were already floating petri dishes of disease, people still love cruises and the cruise culture unlike anything else.
Yes, it’s nice to know that I effected some change, but this didn’t work out the way I planned. What am I talking about? I’m talking about how two years ago on this exact day I wrote THIS POST advocating for The Love Boat show to be revived, and god damn it was a hilarious post. Now two years later, which is about how long it takes to launch a new show, we have the new Love Boat.
I was hoping for corny plots and B-list celebs trying to hook up, but what I got is a reality dating show. Essentially it’s the same thing; people who can’t act trying to hook up on the Lido deck.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by MediaPunch/Shutterstock (12622686aj)
Jerry, I loved you in Stand By Me, but what the hell happened to your eyebrows? Are those real? You know, in a year or two when you stop dyeing them, they’re going to be full on mad scientist eyebrows. Am I the only one that thinks of him as Scary Jerry now? OK, OK, I guess it’s just sour grapes on my part because they didn’t choose me to host the new Love Boat show. Not even a writer credit or anything. I hope it tanks.
Are any of you reading this watching the show? Let me know in the comments if it’s any good?
Have a great Monday and a Happy Valentine’s Day! ~ Phil
10. “I let the dogs out. Growing up in The Bahamas I was neighbors with the Baja Men. I saw their dogs in a fenced-in backyard. They were so cute. I wanted to pet them, so I let them out.”
Picture credit: Long Island Press
9. “I was the original Harry Potter. I played Harry in the first two movies, but then they said I was too tall for the part and they brought in that Radcliffe hack.”
Santos claims he gave this cake to his buddy “Zuck” as he allegedly called him
8. “In college at Harvard I invented social media by creating the website MyFace. My two buddies Mark Zuckerberg and some dude named Tom ripped me off and made their own sites.” When asked to comment by The Phil Factor, Mark Zuckerberg said, “Who?” It’s not clear if he was referring to George Santos or The Phil Factor.
7. “I helped catch Bin Laden. Spring Break 2011, me & my buddies were hiking in Afghanistan. B.T. dubs, those Afghan chicks are hot. They look so mysterious behind their burqas. Anywho, in the mountains I came across a Taco Bell wrapper. Then another and another leading to a cave where this bearded guy in a turban was finishing a 32 oz Baha Blast Mountain Dew by the fire. We kept our heads down and kept going. I called that in as soon as we got back to the hotel.”
Sorry Pete. I didn’t drag you into this. It was all George.
6. “I’m dating Pete Davidson and I don’t care who knows it. He makes me feel like a man.”
5. “When Kanye ran up on stage and took the mic from Taylor Swift, I put him up to it. I was going to do it myself, but you know how Ye is.”
FILE PHOTO: Reuters
4. “The Jan.6 ransacking wasn’t Trump’s fault, it was mine. Honestly, Trump’s speech was a snoozer, so I told the crowd that the House of Representatives were going to party after the vote count and we should just crash it as a way of welcoming Biden. And by the way, I was the first one wearing that big buffalo hat. Then these jerks took it away and started trying it on. Jerks!” (tries to stifle tears)
3. “My blog has existed longer than Phil’s. He thinks 18 years is impressive, but I invented blogs in 2004.”
2. “I’m not dating Exotic Joe from Netflix’s Tiger King series ever again.“
If you sign up for a free trial with Audible, you can get this book free. Also you can listen to my book Time To Lie on Audible. It’s much better than Spare.
1. “Meghan Markle dated me before she found Harry. That’s what his book Spare is about. He realized that she is still pining for me. Honestly, they both are.”
Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. This may have been a parody. Have a great Friday! ~Phil
Although I have no musical talent of my own I am a music fan and I love going to live concerts, especially if I can get a good seat. Here are my ten favorite concerts (aside from my son’s) that I’ve seen over the last 30 years. In the comments I would love to hear about your favorite bands to see live.
10. The Police; This was before the internet. I walked about two miles in the snow and waited outside in the freezing cold for four hours to buy tickets. I got a little frostbite in my toes but it was worth it. They were my favorite band at the time.
9. Yes: Unbelievably musically talented band. They were a bit past their prime when I saw them, but they played all their classics and it was still a great show.
8. Nine Inch Nails: I was an usher at this show an got to stand wherever I wanted to watch. After an intermission the lead singer came back out on stage and just destroyed everything on stage at the end of a song.
7. The Grateful Dead: It wasn’t the band that was fun to watch, it was the people in the crowd, or more specifically in the parking lot. The goings on in the parking lot before and after the show is a show in itself.
6. Sting: When I saw him he had a sign language interpreter on the side of the stage who was signing the lyrics and moving in time to the music. It was beautiful to watch.
5. 3OH3! If you don’t know them, I’m not sure how to describe their music. It’s kind of rap/hip-hop-pop alternative. Doesn’t matter. They put on a really fun show that has the whole crowd jumping from start to finish.
4. Paramore: I’ve seen them twice. Hayley Williams has a brilliant stage presence. She’s neither big nor loud. She’s a small woman overflowing with energy and she knows how to play to an audience. Thoroughly entertaining.
Seeing Motion City Soundtrack in Philadelphia
3. All Time Low: They’re an alternative/pop-punk band from Baltimore who doesn’t get much radio play, yet they sell out shows all over the world. I have no idea how people know about them. I’ve seen them five times thanks to my son’s love of their music. They’re just guys having fun playing music and making jokes.
2. Blink-182: I’ve seen these guys four times. The first was when they were a young band just making it big. My first impression was they were just trying to emulate Green Day. Now they put on a professional, slick show with lots of lights and lasers. I like shiny things.
1. Green Day: If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know of my love of Green Day whom I’ve seen six times. When I first heard their song Basketcase in 1994 I was hooked. Their music struck a chord with me. I’ve seen them six times and am looking forward to number 7. Their concerts are an experience. They involve the audience as much as they can. You walk out feeling like it wasn’t their concert, but our concert.
Green Day in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. That is not my hair.
I’ve always gone to a gym or done some kind of exercise to keep in shape for nighttime crime-fighting on the rooftops of the city. I went to the gym the other day and encountered my worst nightmare. Last month, bored with my usual gym routine, I decided to try a CrossFit class. First I had to find the CrossFit class. It wasn’t in a gym. It was in the back of an old, dingy warehouse that looks like the kind of place terrorists plan things. It was filled with black and gray fitness equipment. There was loud heavy metal music and lots of grunting and sweating going on. (insert sex life joke here) The atmosphere said, “This is serious working out. You’re either going to die or be able to lift a Buick when you’re done.”
I got the first month of Cross Fit for only $35 through Groupon. When the first month was done I told the owner I’d sign up for two more months. He said, “That’s great Phil. Please hand over all the money in your 401K.” Thinking that this was too pricey I decided to shop for other options to vary my workout routine.
For the last five years I’ve gone to a basic, no frills gym because it’s near my house. This week I looked at other gyms and settled on a new gym. The gym where all the pretty people go. I walked in and there was a chorus of angels and a bright light shone down on me from above. It was the neon sign above the juice bar. I felt like I had walked into a shopping mall. Bright colors, shiny new equipment. Shiny new people. Shiny, happy people.
The gym had all the other stuff I usually do, plus some classes that seemed like they might approximate CrossFit. That’s where it got interesting and the nightmare scenario played out.
The first class I tried was called Bootcamp something. It was suitably challenging and by challenging I mean that I thought I might die by the end. Avoidance of dying is why I work out. I’m trying to make my heart strong enough that it will never stop beating. Yeah, I know that’s ridiculous, but have you got a better idea?
Apparently the key to being fit is incredibly loud music. At CrossFit there was heavy metal music. Here, at the pretty people gym, there was dance music blaring. I think after dark it turns into a night club. So the Bootcamp class was good. Then next I tried a “Body Works plus Abs” class. That’s when the nightmare started.
It was some kind of aerobics class. The psychotic instructor, Buffy, wore a wireless mic and every two minutes, between shouting peppy instructions at us, she would give a “Whoop! Whoop!” At first I thought she had Tourette’s, but then each time she did it one or two people in the class would whoop back to her.
The nightmare was my attempt to get in rhythm with 15 other people who seemed to be doing the moves in time to the music. I’m not good with rhythm. It’s not my thing. Each time Buffy would start a new move I’d watch her, concentrating, trying to pick up steps of the move and the beat of the song and then jump into motion. I was terrible at it. Terrible to the point that the class held me down on the floor and put a stick in my mouth so I didn’t bite off my tongue during what they thought was a seizure. It wasn’t. I was just that bad. I’m lucky they didn’t send me to a psych ward for being a danger to myself or others. I was the equivalent of someone who doesn’t know how to swim being thrown into the ocean. I just flailed about and waited for the end.
The idea of beings from other planets or solar systems has been with us for almost as long as humans have been here on planet Earth, yet absolute proof has escaped us. Take a deep breath and brace yourself for this next sentence. Here it is: We, (when I say we, I don’t mean me and everyone reading this. I mean human scientists) may have proof of alien existence. Yes, and they (and when I say “they” I mean some authority somewhere) seem to be trying to downplay this so that we don’t panic. The whole Russia invading Ukraine thing may even be concocted to distract us from the fact that there’s proof of aliens. OK, OK, I’ll get to the scientific proof. Next paragraph…
According to USA Today “A team of astronomers discovered “something unusual” – a mysterious object sending bursts of energy every 20 minutes. The object is about 4,000 light-years away, but its energy bursts were so big that it was one of the largest radio sources in the sky. The burst happened for one minute, every 20 minutes before it disappeared for a few hours, then repeated the cycle, according to a study published in the journal Nature. “This object was appearing and disappearing over a few hours during our observations,” said Natasha Hurley-Walker, astrophysicist and lead author of the study. “It was kind of spooky for an astronomer because there’s nothing known in the sky that does that.”
Ok, let’s think about what they just said. The lead author of the study said it was spooky. That’s definitely concerning, right? If somebody with a Ph.D. in astrophysics is spooked, I’m worried.
They also said that “there’s nothing in the sky that does that.” Well, apparently there is, isn’t there? Then at the end they offhandedly wrap things up with “Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, said there’s no need to worry about aliens, because although it’s definitely an unusual discovery, it is “obviously nature.”
Really Seth? NATURE?!!? Nature is sending out massive radio signals on a regular schedule? I’ve never heard of any nature on Earth, other than humans, sending out radio signals. Has the ocean, llamas or trees ever sent out any radio signals that could be picked up on the other side of the universe? NO. Our nature doesn’t do that, but we do and we have nuclear weapons, so the logical conclusion is that aliens with similar weapons are sending out radio signals and it’s probably not songs from Bruno Mars. (see what I did there? Radio signals from space & Bruno Mars?) And if there is alien life on other planets, doesn’t that also imply the existence of a Bruno Saturn and Bruno Uranus?
What really pisses me off is that scientists can get radio signals from 4,000 light years away and Verizon can’t get me their alleged 5G signal if I’m inside the supermarket.
Shouldn’t this be a bigger story? As a human race we’ve got to hope that the aliens shooting out those radio signals are more like Alf and Marvin the Martian than the alien from Alien. Keep an eye on the sky, and I’ll keep you posted.
Well it’s hurricane season in the Northern hemisphere. Hurricane ‘Henri’ ran up the East coast this past week and I hope that everyone in it’s path escaped without any mortal injuries. Then again, how threatening can anything or anyone named Henri be? That may be the least menacing name ever. The fact that there are so many Henri’s in France is why they’ve lost every war they’ve ever participated in.
Fortunately I don’t live in an area that ever gets any hurricanes although I felt some of the wind and rain from Henri. In the U.S., our weather people traditionally name hurricanes with people names, such as Hurricane Phil, or Hurricane Betsy. Then the news people are astounded that people refuse to leave their homes when a hurricane is coming. Who is going to be afraid of Hurricane Henri, or Tropical Storm Cecilia? Remember innocuously named Hurricane Katrina? Yeah, how’d that work out for everyone? And for cripes sake, why did we have a hurricane named Henri? Henri sounds more like a refreshing light rain on a pleasant spring day.
Have you ever noticed that when people are interviewed as a big storm is bearing down on their area the homeowners always use the phrase “hunker down”? The interview always goes like this:
Reporter: I’m standing here with Joe and Jane Homeowner who plan on staying right where they are as the biggest storm of the century bears down on us. Joe and Jane, why are you staying put?
Homeowners: Well this little storm ‘taint nuthin. We’ll just hunker down until it passes. Now the storm of ’68, that was a storm!
I’m not sure I’ve ever hunkered down for anything. I think hunkering down best describes the pose my dog takes when she’s going number 2. If you want people to flee to somewhere safe you have to give a storm a name that sounds as scary as it is. Why not give it an intimidating name? How about something like Mega Hurricane Deathtron? That might get people out of their homes. Or maybe something simple like The Hurricane of Death? If the Hurricane of Death was headed for my house you can bet I’d get the hell out of the way. Then again, if they named hurricanes like that you wouldn’t have people selling post hurricane t-shirts that said things like “I Was Blown By Irene 2011.” When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I will convene a special committee of writers to work on scary, new hurricane names every year.
Have a great and hurricane free day! ~Hurricane Phil
As I mentioned in my post on Thursday, a lot of folks have been showing up at The Phil Factor to read my 2017 post Top Ten Tuesday! The Top Ten Psychic Pick Up Lines. One of many questions I have about this phenomena is, are the people reading this psychics looking to upgrade their dating game, or is it non-psychics curious about the dating habits of psychics? Or could it possibly be singles on the dating scene looking for ways to prevent them from getting duped by smooth talking psychics?
Here is how I imagine a first date between two psychics would go:
A man in a turban and a purple velour cape sitting alone at a table in a swanky Italian restaurant. He stands up as he makes eye contact with a woman who has just entered and he gives her a little wave. She acknowledges him and starts to weave her way between tables. Her many chiffon scarves flow freely from her, brushing peoples heads as she passes.
Karnak the Magnificent: “Why hello Esmeralda! Have a seat,” Karnak says as he pulls out her chair for her.
Esmeralda: “Thank you Karnak. This is a lovely restaurant. However did you choose it?”
K: “This is where my grandparents went on their first date sixty years ago. They’ve always told me the story of their magical first date, and I have a good feeling about you, so I thought it might be a good luck charm for us.”
E: Aww…that’s sweet, but it would be more sweet if your ex-girlfriend didn’t wait tables here and you weren’t bringing me here hoping to make her jealous.
K: “What? That’s preposterous! I love the food here!”
Esmeralda raises an eyebrow.
K: “OK, you got me, but the food is really incredible.” Nodding to waiter, “Yes, Cabernet for both please.” Turning to Esmeralda, “Besides, on your dating profile you said that you’re 28 when you’re really 30.”
E: “So we’ve both started this relationship with little white lies. Fair enough. Let’s try to turn our heads off and get to know each other the old fashioned way.”
K: “Agreed. So Esmeralda, where did you grow up?”
E: Chuckles, “Well, I grew up a little bit almost everywhere. My parents were gypsies who traveled with the circus all over Europe. They read the Tarot cards for a living. How about you?”
K: I was an orphan, raised by Tibetan monks in the mountains of Nepal. I immigrated here to the States with them when I was twelve. They came here to build a monastery in the Hollywood Hills. It’s actually right next to a Scientology resort. Tom Cruise came over and bought an alpaca from us once. So tell me about your travels in Europe. Which country was your favorite?”
E: “I loved all of Europe. It’s hard to pick just one country, but if I have to, I’ll say France. Our circus set up just outside of Paris for several months. The people, the food, the wine. I could see the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night. That was a magical time. So Karnak, how did you come to realize that you’re psychic?”
K: “Huh? I’m sorry. I was lost in thought. What did you say Esmeralda?”
E: “You weren’t lost in thought. You were lost in my cleavage! I can read your mind you idiot. And yes, there are more tattoos. Very interesting ones in very interesting places.”
K: “Ok, if we’re going to get real here, let’s get real. Yes, you’ve been to Paris. Paris, Texas where you grew up. You can drop the hokey accent now Paula. Esmeralda? Please. You look like an Esmeralda about as much as I do!”
E: “You want to get real? You weren’t psychically drawn to my booth down at the boardwalk. You read my profile on Tinder and came and found me, hoping your hokey psychic line would get me!”
K: “Listen Paula, I also know that you’ve been wondering about what’s under my …ahem..(using finger quotes) “turban” all night long.”
E: “Listen Steve, yes, I know your real name, are you as hot as I am right now?”
Karnak/Steve: “You already know I am. My place is just around the corner. Let’s get our food to go.”
Esmeralda/Paula: “And when you say “you’re place” you really mean your parents house and we’re going to sneak in through the walk out basement door in back, right?”
Steve: “I’ve never been so turned on in my life.”
Paula: “Keep the turban on!”
As you can see, being a psychic certainly could be challenging on the dating scene. But if you could be psychic and read minds, would you?
Self-proclaimed grand poobah of leisure and author of humorous suspense novels The Sneaker Tree & White Picket Prisons, the humor essay book Fifty Shades of Phil and the long running blog The Phil Factor.