"Instant gratification takes way too long."
(Producer Robert Evans)



Welcome back to "Blame It On The Stars," with pseudo pselebrity psychic, Dr. Cloud Astro, who says that for a Cold Fish like you, Mercury, Venus, Chevrolet and your deadbeat son will soon be moving into your garage. So, get the heck out and live a little! Especially since it looks like like that's all the time you've got left. This could be a month of exciting love affairs, winning lotteries, exotic travel. erotic fun and adventure beyond your wildest dreams -- if only you were born in November. But take heart, Big A, since you will enjoy good health and not enjoy bad health at all. But then -- who does? Your lucky day is over and your lucky number is up. And so is my time! This is Dr. Astro, signing off...



The Firesign continues to tap away at "Unconscious Village" (or) "Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death." Any preferences out there on the potential title? Want 'em both? We hope to enter a studio early February...

Sunday night, Melinda and I were featured in a radio episode of "Buddy Shell, Metaphysical Private Investigator" with writer/director Terry Miles and meta/co-creator/producer Steve Carlson, recorded for a March broadcast before a very live audience at Borders Bookstore in Thousand Oaks. Besides a full house, friends Anne "Battlestar Galactica" Lochhart and John "J-Men Forever" Mayer showed up to root us on.

I played comic villains Harry Gantz and "the King," both of which will later to be unmasked as one bad dude with a helical personality. Harry is "a flaming anus with a bad sinus and is more or less a walking accident. The King is, well, Elvis, as a vampire." Melinda had an hysterical scene as Lavendar Hepburn (played as a Marilyn Monroe clone) selling her soul for a Sundown Records contract and then essayed "Councilwoman Moustakas" -- a role for Margot Mundane, if there ever was one..

Buddy Shell broadcasts regularly at 11:30 pm on KCLU 88.3 fm in Ventura county and 102.4 in Santa Barbara county. It was also videotaped for future broadcast on Falcon, TCI & Com-Cast leased & public access television, covering Malibu, Westlake, Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Moorpark & Simi Valley. The folks at Borders were knocked out by the show and are negotiating for more. And if you want more, try: http://www.tj.org/BuddyShell.



I have also been invited by Jerry Stearns to host the Easter Weekend Minneapolis Regional Science Fiction Minicon (which attracts some 3500 participants from April 10th to the 12th) to present the "Mark Time Award" created by Jerry, David Ossman and Richard Fish for the "Best Science Fiction Audio Production of the Year"

Other events will include the traditional opening night live radio show, which this year is about two inept wizards (played by guess who?); a nostalgic performance of the parody "MidWestSide Story" as produced originally in '74, with Dave and I providing a zany time-travel wraparound; and participation in a panel on "Comedy in Fantasy and Science Fiction."

There'll also be a fantasy art show, a costume masquerade, a fantasy shopping mall (called The Hucksters' Room) and many presentations, exhibits, displays, discussions, and autograph sessions. For further info, contact Jerry at jstearns@mtn.org



Cybernotes from nowhere...

Jo Ann Hackett scribes that she was watching "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" recently and distinctly heard Quark say that his bar's special of the day was groat cakes;" ...someone there must be a fan."

Billy Bond claims: "Some years ago, a person in New Mexico tried to subscribe to a major magazine; the subscription was rejected, because, the magazine representative claimed, the rate for foreign customers was higher. The magazine was National Geographic."

Mike Gerber writes: "Scientists have announced that they can put genes from sheep, pigs and other species into cow eggs and then grow embryos from that. Does anybody else think these guys are just fooling around?"

Mr. Voices came across this (AP) item: "Jazz fans, gun owners and those who lack confidence in the president are among the most sexually active Americans." It concludes, "Just why was unclear."

Lorenzo, the Adequate, posits that poor "Sonny Bono was killed by the paparazzi. He was chasing them."

From Cheri Wilkerson: an MIT instructor demonstrating the wonders of static electricity while holding a plastic rod in one hand and a wool cloth in the other, told his class, "You can see that I get a large charge from rubbing my rod..." That was pretty much the end of learning for that day.

Jarret Lennon Kaufman affirms that at a cocktail party honoring international guests in Shenyang, China, a Chinese host lifted his glass to his American guest and announced: "Up your bottoms," to which the diplomat exclaimed: "Up yours, too!"

According to the Sampler, rain storms eroded ruins in ancient Germany, eventually unearthing pre-Romanesque gold coins called "rainbow plates." Thus, the fabled "pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."

And from a cyber elf: "The Three Ages of Man are: I believe in Santa Claus, I don't believe in Santa Claus, I am Santa Claus."



The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).
I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,
The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."
As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt---
I said to myself, as I only can
"You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!"
So--away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
"Till all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won't have a cookie--not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore---
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!



(This treasure of excerpts ostensibly from music students' essays is courtesy of Mike Richter, as forwarded by Gary Margolis:)

A harp is a nude piano. Stradivarius sold his violins on the open market with no strings attached. A virtuoso is a musician with real high morals.

At one time singers had to use musicians to accompany them. Since synthesizers came along, singers can now play with themselves. If they sing without music it is called Acapulco. Contralto is a low sort of music that only ladies sing. Diatonic is a low-calorie Schweppes.

The principle singer of 19th-century opera was called pre-Madonna. All female parts were sung by castrati. (We don't know exactly what they sounded like because there are no known descendants.) Music sung by two people at the same time is called a duel. Probably the most marvelous fugue was the one between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

Caruso was the first Italian. Then someone heard his voice and said he would go a long way and so he came to America. In the last scene of Pagliacci, Canio stabs Nedda, who is the one he really loves. Pretty soon, Silvio gets stabbed also, and they all live happily ever after.

Young scholars have expressed their admiration for the Bronze Lullaby, the Taco Bell Cannon, Beethoven's Erotica, Tchaikowsky's Cracknutter Suite, and Gershwin's Rap City in Blue. In defining musical terms, they demonstrate that they know their brass from their elbow.



Here are several very important but often forgotten rules of English:

  1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)
  4. Employ the vernacular.
  5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  8. Contractions aren't necessary.
  9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  10. One should never generalize.
  11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
  12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  13. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary;it's highly superfluous.
  14. Be more or less specific.
  15. Understatement is always best.
  16. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  17. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  18. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  19. The passive voice is to be avoided.
  20. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  21. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  22. Who needs rhetorical questions?



After marrying a young filly, a ninety-year-old geezer told his doctor that they were expecting a baby. "Let me tell you a story," said the Doctor. "An absent-minded fellow went hunting, but instead of a gun, he picked up an umbrella. Suddenly, a bear charged him, so he pointed his umbrella at the bear and shot and killed it on the spot."

"Impossible!" the ol' fella' exclaimed. "Somebody else must have shot that bear!"

"Exactly!" replied the doctor.



Mae Questel, 89, described by Time Magazine as the "helium-toned actress who gave voice to coyly sexy Betty Boop and the coarsely sexless Olive Oyl." She also voiced Swee'pea, Winky Dink and Casper the Friendly Ghost -- now there's a steady job... "Boop Boop Adieu!"

Carl "Blue Suede" Perkins, 65, left us with this thought: "Rockabilly was nothin' but a white man's lyric to a black man's rythym."

And at 94, it's Off The Air for radio pioneer Glenhall Taylor -- writer, announcer, producer and director of such shows as "Burns and Allen," "Ozzie and Harriet," and "The Jimmy Durante Show." In 1980, he revealed that Jimmy Durante's famous sign off -- "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are," did not refer to a lost lover or wife, but came from one the Schnoz's pipe-puffing writers, who tired after a long session trying to come up with a strong closing line, pulled out his pipe and said, "Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash!" Later, they added "wherever you are." Now that's writing!



"There are two reasons for drinking -- first, when you are thirsty, to cure it;
the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it."
Thomas Love Peacock in the novel "Melincourt," 1817.


WARNING!!!! It's coming!! The Useless Information Edition!


Published 1/20/98

1996/2002 by Phil Proctor