"The time to carry a man is when he's alive."
(W.C. Fields)

 

MARCH ON

According to the "Fat Times" calendar, this is National Sauce as well as National Noodle Month. The 8th sees the Nenena Banana Eating Contest in Nebraska (was Lewinsky there?); on the 14th, the annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest in Kelowna, British Columbia (guess why it's annual); the 19th commemorates the World's Largest Omelette created from 160,000 eggs in Yokohama, Japan; the 20th is the Great American Meatout (don't tell Clinton) and the 25th is Waffle Day in Sweden (and The House and Senate, probably).

 

YES, VIRGINIA, THERE REALLY IS A ROCKY ROCOCO.

And according to a recent article in a Madison, Wisconsin newspaper sent me by Mr. Firezine Wiebel, "He also happens to be Jim Pedersen, professional actor and motivational speaker, but separating the two at this point would be about as tough as getting the white-suited pizza purveyor to put Spam on one of his pies.

"Pedersen essentially invented the Rocky character when the pizza chain started more than 20 years ago. And he's portrayed him ever since, smoothly adapting the character to fit changing times and business strategies. 'The truth is there's only been one Rocky Rococo, and that's me -- for more than 20 years,' says Pedersen.

"A trained actor and part of the influential early 1970s version of the Second City comedy troupe, Pedersen was already friends with Wayne Mosely and Roger Brown when the two decided to start a Madison pizza business in 1975. They settled on the name Rocky Rococo, borrowed from an old Firesign Theater comedy routine, and Pedersen volunteered to bring the character to life.

"In the beginning he had a big, bulbous nose and kind of a garish image, he says. 'I've toned it down since, to make it clear that Rocky's big thing is being proud of his pizza.' Pedersen also gave Rocky his voice, a generic gravel-mouth sound somewhere between Chicago alderman and Brooklyn thug... He portrays the character in several new radio and TV commercials each year and makes a live appearance at stores about once a week. '...once in a while... someone will yell, "Hey, I know who you are." I usually tell them I'm Rocky's brother, Reginald. Everybody needs their privacy.'" (madison@madison.com)

P.S. The Firesign granted this chain use of the RR character name, but not his true persona and Jim is absolutely in the right to do what he's doing. So please, hold the spam -- and the anchovies! Now, if anyone ever claims to be Rocky's long lost brother, Reginald, well, that's another story...

 

CYNICS CORNER

"I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows. And a foundation leaks and a ball game gets rained out and a car rusts and... The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire... Follow your dream! Unless it's the one where you're at work in your underwear during a fire drill... Always take time to stop and smell the roses and sooner or later, you'll inhale a bee... It's always darkest before dawn, so if you're going to steal the neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it... Love is like a roller coaster: when it's good you don't want to get off, and when it isn't you can't wait to throw up... It's a small world, so you gotta use your elbows a lot... This land is your land. This land is my land. So stay on your land." (Author Unknown)

 

SIGN HERE... AND HERE... AND HERE...

Jarrett Lennon's uncle sent this one from a newspaper in Great Britain:

"My name was printed incorrectly below my letter in the December 30 issue of The 'Sevenoaks Chronicle.' It should read L. P. Pook, not L. P. Hook." (signed) L. P. Hook

And Magic Mike asks "If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked and dry cleaners depressed?"

 

A BUG IN THE SYSTEM

Yesterday, all those backups seemed a waste of pay.
Now my database has gone away.
Oh I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly, there's not half the files there used to be,
And there's a milestone hanging over me,
The system crashed so suddenly.

I pushed something wrong,
What it was I could not say.
Now all my data's gone
and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.

Yesterday, the need for back-ups seemed so far away.
I knew my data was all here to stay,
Now I believe in yesterday.

(Editor unknown according to MacMaster Richard Tickle)

 

PLANET STUPID

These strange sex laws collected by Avi Golden were submitted by regular contributor Garry Margolis.

In Ventura County, California, cats and dogs are not allowed to have sex without a permit and in Kingsville, Texas, there is a law against two pigs having sex on the city's airport property. A law in Oblong, Illinois makes it a crime to make love while fishing or hunting on your wedding day.

In Ames, Iowa a husband may not take more than three gulps of beer while lying in bed with his wife, and a law in Alexandria, Minnesota makes it illegal for a husband to make love to his wife if his breath smells like garlic, onions or sardines. During lunch breaks in Carlsbad, New Mexico, no couple should engage in a sexual act while parked in their vehicle, unless their car has curtains; and according to a Liberty Corner, (sic) New Jersey law, any couple making out inside a vehicle and accidentally sounding the horn during their lustful act, may be taken to jail.

On the other hand, if a police officer in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, suspects a couple is having sex inside a vehicle they must honk their horn three times and wait two minutes before being allowed to approach the scene. A Tremonton, Utah law states that no woman is allowed to have sex with a man while riding in an ambulance, and in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania it is illegal to have sex with a truck driver inside a toll booth.

A Helena, Montana law states that a woman cannot dance on a saloon table unless her clothing weights more than three pounds, two ounces and hotel owners in Hastings, Nebraska are required by law to provide a clean, white cotton nightshirt to each guest. According to the law, no couple may have sex unless they are wearing the nightshirts. Hotels in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, are required by law to furnish their rooms with twin beds only with a minimum of two feet between the beds -- and it is illegal for a couple to make love on the floor between the beds.

In Nevada sex without a condom is considered illegal and in the state of Washington there is a law against having sex with a virgin under any circumstances (including the wedding night). In Connorsville, Wisconsin no man shall shoot off a gun while his female partner is having a sexual orgasm.

But cheer up -- you could be living under Taliban law in Afghanistan. There, a Times Wire report tells of a teen-age girl shrouded in a head-to-toe veil who received a hundred lashes while thousands watched "for walking with a man who was not her relative." God bless America.

 

AND SPEAKING OF GOD

From Peter Auerbach via Katherine James and Gary "Me Again" Margolis: students in both Jewish and Christian parochial schools were asked to write about the Bible. The following are some of the responses:

"Noah's wife was called Joan of Ark. The Jews were a proud people and, throughout history, they had trouble with unsympathetic Genitals. The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterward, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Amendments. The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple. The Fifth Commandment is humor thy mother and father. The Seventh Commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery. Joshua led the Hebrews in the Battle of Geritol. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar.

"When Mary heard that she was the Mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna-Carta. When the three wise guys from the East Side arrived, they found Jesus in the manager. Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do one to others before they do one to you. He also explained, "Man doth not live by sweat alone." It was a miracle when Jesus rose from the dead and managed to get the tombstone off the entrance...

"The people who followed the Lord were called the 12 decibels... The epistles were the wives of the apostles. One of the opossums was St. Matthew, who was by profession a taximan. St. Paul cavorted to Christianity. He preached holy acrimony, which is another name for marriage. According to the Bible, a Christian should have only one wife. This is called monotony."

 

DIME ON MY HANDS

According to Martin Crane, a man asks God: "How much is a million dollars to you, God?" and the answer booms back, "A dime."

"How long is a thousand years?"

"A minute."

"Will you loan me a dime?"

"Sure. In a minute."

 

ADIOS --

To J.T. Walsh and Lloyd Bridges, fine character actors both; and to "bearded woman" Jaqueline Julita Anderson -- murdered by Eric Walter Running in a karaoke bar in Portland, Oregon where she had gone with a female partner. (The last episode of "Ellen" perhaps?)

 

REMEMBERING CLAUDE DUKENFIELD

Finally, the quote that kicks off this edition is from a wonderful revisionist history of the Great McGonegal by Simon Louvish called "Man on the Flying Trapeze" (W.W. Norton) that Dave Ossmond lent me.

There's so much previously unrevealed information about Whipsnade's real and unreal life, not the least of which are some of the acts with which he appeared. For instance, when touring with Houdini in Germany, he shared billing with "the Howling Dervishes;" but the Berlin police forbade the Hunger Artist, Papuss, "The King of the Starvers" to appear. At the London Hippodrome, they followed "Busch's Plunging Elephants, Chester's Statue Dog, Frobel and Ruge, and -- The Jackson Family!"

Another artiste was "an exponent of the art of turtle-riding" appearing before a demonstration of the "Biophotophone" invented by Messler and Gaumont, (while more traditional moving-picture shows offered "The Lady Typist," The Parson's Cooking Lesson" and the Charles Urban Company depicting "The Russian Army in Siberia.")

"The funniest thing about comedy," quoths Fields, "is that you never know why people laugh. I know what makes them laugh, but trying to get your hands on the why of it is like trying to pick an eel out of a tub of water... I know we laugh at the troubles of others, provided those troubles are not too serious... and those accused of 'having no sense of humor' (don't laugh) because their first reaction is to feel sorry for people...

"I like, in an audience, the fellow who roars continuously at the troubles of the character I am portraying on the stage, but he probably has a mean streak in him, and, if I needed ten dollars, he'd be the last person I'd call upon. I'd go first to the old lady and old gentleman back in Row S who keep wondering what there is to laugh at."

 

AND SPEAKING OF LAUGHTER

Thanks to director Maryedith Burrel and John Apicella for mounting a marvelous and rousing presentation of "Patience" by Gilbert and Sullivan for the Antaeus Company at the Mark Taper Annex Monday eve! A grand Victorian time was had by all -- and even the audience. The "Duke" salutes you!

 

Published 3/11/98

PLANET PROCTOR
1996/2002 by Phil Proctor