Tag Archives: Throwback Thursday

TBT! Monk See, Monk Do

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

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

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

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

TBT! My Green Heaven

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

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

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

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

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

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

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

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

canadabeaversign (2)

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

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

reddit.com

reddit.com

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

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

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

popdoctor.com

popdoctor.com

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

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

Throwback Thursday? Planes Trains, & Automobiles

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Throwback Thursday! The Man Who Would Be Bieber

(03/22/14) This is a classic and creepy one.

First off, I have to apologize to my readers for having missed this story last fall. Secondly, I have to apologize for including it on my blog at all.

No, despite my obvious boyish charm I do not strive to be Bieber-like. Thirty-three year old German-born songwriter Toby Sheldon, pictured on the left above and now living in the United States, does. He has spent roughly $100,000 on plastic surgery to look as much like the Biebs as possible. It’s not just him though. If you Google you’ll find dozens of pictures of people that have had plastic surgery to look like their favorite stars. Then you’ll find dozens of pictures of their favorite stars who have had plastic surgery to try to reclaim the beauty of their youth. That’s what Toby Sheldon claims as his motivation; the pursuit of a youthful look.

Maybe I should I have titled this The Pursuit of Youthfulness or Youth is Wasted on the Young. If I had though I’d get half as many views. The Bieber may be a colossal asshat, but his name pulls readers to my blog like nobody’s business. Bieber may be the dumbest rich person in the world, but he does have a youthful look. Hey Toby Sheldon, guess what? It’s because he is young, you moron. You’re in your 30’s. I can’t blame Toby too much though. I may not want to look like the Biebs, but I wouldn’t mind looking younger. Like most men, I have the Peter Pan Complex, which is every man’s desire to be portrayed on Broadway by Sandy Duncan.

It used to be that men’s Peter Pan Complex was the result of incongruity between our minds and our bodies. As women will attest, men stop maturing when they’re about seventeen years old. We look in the mirror with our seventeen your old brains and see a forty year old with gray or no hair, crows feet and no discernible abs to speak of. The cognitive dissonance is jarring. Now, our Peter Pan Complex is media driven.

You can’t turn around without seeing a magazine cover or commercial with some shirtless twenty-five year old actor or athlete who only has 2% body fat and a 28″ waist. When I was younger there was no pressure for men to look perfect. When I was a kid the professional athletes and actors were completely out of shape. They smoked and drank and had beer guts and still got the girl. There was no standard to live up to. Now our wives are all ogling these statuesque dudes on TV that we can never look like because we actually have full time jobs that don’t involve working out. Then on top of everything else, you’ve got Vladimir Putin posting shirtless pictures everywhere. He runs a frickin’ country (maybe two now) and he’s out hunting shirtless! I can’t compete with that.

It is so unfair and unrealistic how men are portrayed by the media. You women just don’t understand what we’re going through.

I wonder how that guy is doing now. As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor please share by the Facebook, Twitter, or Re-blog button below. Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

Picture credits: vnews24.it, funnyordie.com

Throwback Thursday! Rest in Fun Terry Pratchett

This week is the two year anniversary of the passing of one of my favorite authors. If you don’t know his work, I hope this persuades you to read one of his books.

Picture credit: BBC News

(03/15/2015) The literary world has lost a wonderful writer. Sir Terry Pratchett died yesterday at the age of 66 due to Alzheimers. In the title I wrote ‘Rest in Fun’ and I believe that Terry will certainly be having a wonderful time in the afterlife. Yes, if there is an afterlife, I believe that Terry Pratchett probably embraced the new adventure he embarked upon yesterday. Why would I think this? I think this because he wrote of Death. It was a character in some of his books.

The Independent: “But unlike the cold, stereotypical hooded figure wielding a scythe, Pratchett’s Death is a haphazard figure who we see embarking on the very human experiences of getting drunk, dancing wildly and even hankering after happiness. He likes cats. He enjoys curry.”

From his hilarious book Good Omens: ‘DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING,’ said Death. ‘JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.’

From his book, Sourcery: ‘Death isn’t cruel, merely terribly, terribly good at his job.’

From Terry’s Twitter yesterday:
Terry’s books were very funny satire and fantasy on all manner of the human condition. If you haven’t read him yet, Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Neil Gaimans, is one of my favorites.

Have a great Friday! You too Terry. ~Phil

TBT! It’s Definitely Not The Cult of Personality

(03/05/16) I joined a cult recently. I knowingly and willingly joined this cult. Don’t worry, it’s not Scientology or the Amish. It’s a different, newer cult. I yearned to be let into their ranks, and now that I’m in the cult I’m certain it will drive me crazy. OK, crazier.

cults

It started the day before Valentine’s Day. My wife knew I wanted into the cult for about three weeks, but I wasn’t willing to spend the money. So, for my Valentine’s Day gift she bought me entry into this exclusive cult. She gave it to me the day before Valentine’s Day so that I could “enjoy it for the weekend.”

She got me a Fitbit. Yes, I’m one of those people now. I’m wearing the thin black wrist band. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing.

Fitbit-Charge-HR-position

All day every day I now know how many steps I’ve taken that day, my heart rate, how many flights of stairs I’ve walked up, calories I’ve burned, my current pulse rate, and the time. The only problem is that it sometimes distracts me from checking how many blog views I have that day. I remember back in the day when people just exercised until they were too tired to exercise any more.

My problem with this thing is that I don’t consider walking to be exercise. Walking is how our bodies were designed to get from one place to another! Now, if I walk a lot in a day I’m expected to feel good about it. I’m told to feel that I’m slimming down. I walked before I had this and I didn’t think anything about it. Now if I exceed my highest step record I’m a champion! Woo! Go me! That’s ridiculous. If you’re a completely sedentary person who gets winded walking around the house, then wearing a wristwatch that measures your steps doesn’t suddenly make you into David Beckham or Ronda Rousey.

You know what would be awesome? If in addition to counting my steps it also gave me a little electric shock when I did something bad for my fitness. Like for instance if, like a dog’s invisible fence, it could shock me if I got too close to a McDonald’s. Or maybe if it sensed that I was about to eat pizza a little message would scroll across it’s tiny screen: “Are you frickin’ kidding me fat ass! That slice is like a thousand calories! Put it down!”

Another problem I have is that I’m not entirely sure that I’m not on house arrest. I know that I’m not on house arrest yet, but like the felons that have to wear an ankle bracelet so they can be tracked if they leave their house, how do I not know that I’m being tracked by the government? That my movements aren’t being entered into a data base some where? We’re all being tracked every day by our cell phones, our GPS’s, public video cameras, and our cars, so I guess that although Edward Snowden and the American Civil Liberties Union would both have fits (but not Fitbits), I don’t care if the National Security Agency knows what I’m doing and where I’m going. I’m pretty sure they don’t give a crap how many steps I’ve taken today.

So here’s where I’m at: so far, three weeks in I’m kind of addicted to my Fitbit, I like to check my pulse and my steps at least twice hourly. I like keeping score. I like feeling like I’m doing well even if I’m not doing anything different than I was before. Isn’t that what modern life is about with all our “likes” from strangers on the interwebs? Yes! More false and meaningless affirmation from an outside source! Excellent, now I don’t have to develop my own self-esteem!

So what are the cults that you’ve willingly joined and enjoy? Now don’t be stingy with the meaningless affirmations; give me lots of likes and comments! Have a great Thursday! ~Phil