"This country was founded by a bunch of slave owners who went on to declare that
'All men are created equal.'"
(George Carlin on HBO)



OK, so this issue is NOT going to be about the French -- not yet, at least -- but in an odd way it's certainly about things "French" in essence, so draw your own conclusions. By the way, my wife Melinda is learning to speak French, so while in Paris, I tried to teach her some essential french love lingo like, "Plus vite" (Faster) and "Plus lentement" (Slower); to which she added "Plus tard" (Later). So -- later it will be...




From Brad Shreiber comes this article on our Russky comrades and their economic woes from the LATimes, 2/25/97:

"Some factory workers get their wages in the form of unwanted products, such as the laborers at the Aktuba factory in Volgograd who once made high-precision navigational instruments for the military. Unpaid for 13 months, they are now paid in unsold rubber sex toys instead of rubles."




It is reported that Hungary is making a special contribution to music this year. The Serenading Condom uses technology very similar to the kind that makes birthday and Christmas cards play a tinny tune when they're opened. A microswitch in the condom connects a small battery to a pre-programmed sound synthesizer and a tiny loudspeaker. When the condom is unfurled, it plays a tune. Hungarian lovers can choose between two serenades: one version of the condom plays the traditional Hungarian tune, You Sweet Little Dumbell. The other sings the Internationale --"Arise ye Workers." One wonders where the electronics are stored... (Reported in the New Scientist from Alan "low Moan" Shearman)




From our UK correspondent, Larry "Day-by-Day" Belling, comes this gem from the Evening Standard of February 21, 1997 titled: "Passion Play in a Private Box Stuns West End Audience" by Valentine Low. (It was accompanied by a cartoon of a portly man and a blonde tart bowing to the audience from a theatre box as an actor looks on chagrined.)

It was the ultimate showstopper, a stunning performance that had the audience crying out for more. Well, at least one member of the audience was crying out for more. Unfortunately for Brian Conley, the star of the musical "Jolson," the gasps of appreciation coming from the private box were not an expression of critical enjoyment of his performance as the jazz legend Al Jolson.

They were, rather, the sounds of enjoyment of a performance of an entirely different nature - one more usually confined to the bedroom. A blonde and her middle-aged partner had, according to reports today, "wild sex" during a performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

She is said to have hitched up her skirt and climbed onto the man's lap while Conley sang "California Here I Come." Naturally; after all, not even the most ardent of lovers would have done it during Mammy. As the song goes "I'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles", it raises the question of how far one would walk for - well, a really warm welcome.

The unscheduled interruption to the show, last year's winner of the Laurence Olivier Best Musical Award, came after Conley had already sung the immortal Jolson line, "Climb upon my knee, sonny boy". The suggestion had been voiced that the same couple have been having similar dalliances at a number of West End musicals, prompting the thought that at last the real person behind the popularity of Sir Andrew Llody Webber has been revealed - to say nothing of his elevation to the peerage.

The question of awards also raises the possibility of a new addition to next year's Evening Standard Drama Awards: Best performance AT a musical.

Conley, 34, told the Sun newspaper: "I could scarcely believe it. They were going at it hammer and tongs and didn't seem to care who saw them. "When she started shouting 'More, more, more!' I thought she appreciated MY performance, but it was HIS."

The star of the show was not the only one to appreciate the impromptu performance: The amorous couple were clearly visible from the dress circle, the stage and the orchestra pit. A Jolson musician said: "When I first saw them, she was giving him the full Hugh Grant treatment. My eyes nearly popped out of my head. She was blonde, shapely and attractive in an elegant black evening dress. He was wearing a smart suit and was quite tubby and a fair bit older, in his forties." He added: "She'd hitched up her skirt and was sitting on his lap facing him.

The couple made a swift exit as the curtain came down and some of the audience complained to staff about them. Nicholas de Jongh, the Evening Standard's theatre critic, said: "It is a pretty devastating comment on the production..."

The use of boxes for carnal purposes is, of course, nothing new. The upper classes have been using the opera and the theatre for illicit encounters for hundreds of years. In the 18th century, at the opening night of The Beggar's Opera at Lincoln's Inn Fields, a prominent member of the aristocracy became so enamoured of the leading lady that he came back to see her every night. She eventually became the Duke's mistress, and then the Duchess, bearing him several children.




The Seven Deadly Sins of Gilligan's Island theory is quite simple. Each of the seven characters on the island represents each of the seven deadly sins. Now, this theory seems to fit upon initial inspection, but there are technical difficulties when you get down to THE MAN himself, Gilligan.

Run with me on this one...

Most obvious is the Professor, who fits PRIDE to a T. Any man who can make a ham radio out of some wire and two coconuts has to be pretty cocky. (His character was later revised and given a series of his own, called MacGuyver".)

For the sin of ENVY we need look no further than Maryann, who may have worn those skimpy little tops, but could never achieve Ginger's glamour. (As an interesting and completely irrelevant side note, a nationwide survey of college students a few years ago revealed that the Professor and Maryann were voted the most likely couple to have 'done it' on the island.)

And who could doubt for a moment that Ginger is LUST incarnate? Sure, the kids were supposed to think she was ACTING, but we all know what being deprived episode after episode was doing to her. (You know and I know that glazed look wasn't boredom, my friends.)

What kind of person takes a trunk full of money on a three-hour cruise? Mr. Howell gets my vote for GREED.

We are now left with three characters and three Deadly Sins. We have Gilligan, the Skipper and Mrs. Howell to whom we must match GLUTTONY, SLOTH and ANGER. As you can see, there is a Gilligan problem here.

Certainly we can further eliminate Mrs. Howell from this equation by connecting her with SLOTH. She did jack shit during her many years on the island and everybody knows it.

This leaves ANGER and GLUTTONY, either of which the Skipper had no shortage. He was, after all, a big guy with the tendency to hit Gilligan with his hat at least once an episode. After much consideration, I have decided that he can easily do double-duty, covering the two remaining Deadly Sins.

So here we have the Seven Deadly Sins trapped in an endlessly recurring Hell of hope followed by denial and despair, forced to live with each other in our TVs until the last re-run ends. And who is their captor? What keeps them trapped there?

Gilligan. Gilligan is SATAN. Think about it.

(From Harris "Have You Heard This One?" Mike, credited, I think, to W I D E R S E A T S - Upper Class * Virgin Atlantic Airlines Magazine.)




Subjazz/Lucid Records will release an album of music written and performed on the organ and flute by Dr. Jack Kervorkian. Accompanied by the "Morpheus Quintet," it is said to incorporate "the best elements of classical and swing." Bound to be a sleeper...




The Symposium at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills last Wednesday, February 26th, was a steaming delight; and it didn't hurt that the fulsome foursome was fresh from recording 10 satirical news and commercial parodies to be played on over 100 stations on April Fool's Day (April Fish Day, in France!) as part of Radio Today's "Pop Quiz." You haddock be there!




Farewell to our dear friends Ernie Anderson, David Doyle and Bob Ridgely. Bob's wife, "Batty" and many of his pals from "Yarmy's Army" threw the best, saddest and funniest memorial last week at the director's Guild that any of us had ever attended. Hosted by Jack Reilly and featuring remembrances by Robert Culp, Mel Brooks, Jerry Van Dyke, Fred Willard and a myriad of others, it had me taking furious (and tiny) notes for about two hours on the back of Ridge's memorial picture, which I hope to share with you all soon. I don't know if Bob was cremated, but he sure was roasted. He would have loved it.


Published 3/01/97

1996/2002 by Phil Proctor