"No matter where you go, there you are"
(Buckaroo Banzai)

 

WHERE AM US, ANYWAY?

I've been working! And in my business, that means "playing" -- parts, that is. Hard to believe, but in the last few weeks I've been a monk with the other Firesigns in the short film, "God's Clowns," shot 7,000-feet high on Mount Hood in Portland, Oregon: then I put on my "casual business attire" to speak at Ernst & Young's business colloquium on "Complexity" in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I got to -- for the first time -- watch my daughter Kristin, act in a scene from "Of Mice and Men." I also got to sit in on her classes at the American Repertory Theatre's Conservatory, taught mostly in Russian by passionate instructors from the Moscow Art Theatre, then back to lots of voice-work here in steamin' L.A. But now -- I'm back!

 

FOR OPENERS

The Edward Bulwar Lytton prize is awarded every year to the author of the worst possible opening line of a book, and Penguin now publishes five books worth of entries. Some recent winners:

"Just beyond the Narrows the river widens. Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the east wall: 'Andre creep... Andre creep... Andre creep...'"

"Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do."

"With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description."

"Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of narcissism, was about to give his body and soul to a back-alley sex-change surgeon to become the woman he loved."

"Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn't know the meaning of the word 'fear,' a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death -- in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies."

"As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the sound chamber he would never hear the end of it."

"The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly, 'You lied!'"

 

SOAP AND WATER

Aaron Spelling aired a so-called "Shock Wave" event featuring a quake and tsunami hitting NBC's soap "Sunset Beach" on the same day that a village in Papua, New Guinea was wiped out by a real tidal wave. His office said they were "devastated" by the coincidence.

 

ROBOT'S RULES OF DISORDER

According to Micheal J. Ybarra in the L.A. Times, "Robotica", a robot fighting "party" scheduled for this weekend in San Francisco, has been canceled due to a business dispute.

Disappointed fans of the annual "Robot Wars" which began in 1994, would not be able to watch 56 remote- controlled machines destroying each other, since one of the battling partners says in a marvelously mixed metaphor, Robotica is just "Robot Wars in sheep's clothing... it looks like a commercial event." So no one will get to watch happy robots "flip, saw and impale each other in a storm of sparks, smoke and flying shrapnel."

Gary Cline, who had hoped to stage the event at the Cow Palace says, "All I was doing was trying to have a party. I wasn't trying to make money. I've lost everything. My dream. My faith. Everything."

I'd cry, too, if I only had a heart...

 

JUNK MAIL

Dave Ossman sent me the following definition of "Junk" from the South Whidbey Record:

"Any manufactured good, appliance, fixture, furniture, machinery, vehicle, personal property or any other thing or part thereof, whether of value or valueless, that is demolished, discarded, dilapidated, or so worn and deteriorated that it would not be normally usable in its current state for its original manufactured use."

"We get serious when we see more than one type of junk on a piece of property, " adds Phil Bakke, local enforcement officer.

 

"Two-thirds of all the lawyers in the world are in America."
(Gore Vidal)

 

FLY ME

"Mnarz" claims this is a true story that happened during the final days at Denver's old Stapleton airport when a crowded United flight was canceled and a single agent had to rebook a long line of inconvenienced travelers. Suddenly, an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk, slapped his ticket down on the counter and said, "I HAVE to be on this flight and it has to be FIRST CLASS."

"I'm sorry sir," the agent replied, "I'll be happy to help you but I've got to take care of these folks first, and then I'm sure we'll be able to work something out." The passenger was unimpressed and yelled, "Do you have any idea who I am?"

Without hesitating, the gate agent smiled, grabbed her public address microphone and announced, "May I have your attention, please? We have a passenger here at the gate WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to gate 17."

With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the United Agent and said, "F--- you."

"I'm sorry sir," she responded calmly, "but you'll have to stand in line for that too."

 

THREE STRIKES, YOU'RE OUT!

PRILEP, Macedonia (AP) Outside a small Macedonian village close to the border between Greece and strife-torn Yugoslavia, a lone Catholic nun 53-year-old Sister Maria Cyrilla keeps a quiet watch over a silent convent. She is the last caretaker of the site of significant historical developments spanning more than 2,000 years.

Historians say that Attila took over the old temple in 439 A.D. and used it as a base for his marauding army. The Huns are believed to have first collected and then destroyed a large gathering of Greek legal writs at the site. Scholars differ on why he had the valuable documents destroyed - either because he was barely literate and couldn't read them, or because they provided evidence of democratic government that did not square with his own notion of rule by an all-powerful tyrant.

In more ancient times, a Greek temple to Eros, the god of love, occupied the hilltop site, but when the Greek church took over the site in the 15th Century and the convent was built, church leaders ordered the pagan statue of Eros destroyed, so another ancient Greek treasure was lost.

Today, there is only the lone sister, watching over the old Hun base, amidst the strife of war torn Yugoslavia. No Huns, no writs, no Eros, and nun left on base. (Professor James Marrow)

 

TWO STRIKES, YOU'RE OUT

Merl "Mr. Puzzle" Reagle "writes" in response to Mayor Ed Koch's "People's Court" ruling in favor of a topless dancer who allegedly had clubbed a nightclubber with her boobs, that "here in Tampa, where it took place, that boobs-in-the-face case involving Tawny Peaks was immediately dubbed -- THE DOUBLE-BREASTED SUIT.

"No kidding. just thought you needed to know that."

 

"If money really made the world go 'round, I would write a big check to make it spin
faster during the day. That way, I wouldn't have to spend so much time at work."
(Paul Paternoster)

 

OH, MY GOD

A newly formed Religious Right Organization wants Arkansas to set up special Christian learning institutions but the group's leader, Kathy Smith, says they do not favor public prayer in schools. "I asked God. He said no... (because) they could pray to Buddha. God doesn't want that. There's only one God."

The late conservative Barry Goldwater said "Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make them the only alternatives." (ggordon)

 

"Only in America... do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting
so we won't miss a call from someone we didn't want to talk to in the first place..."
(Yakov Smirnoff)

 

DON'T MONK-EY WITH HIM!

LHASA, TIBET - Employing the brash style that first brought him to prominence, Sri Dhananjai Bikram won the fifth annual International Yogi Competition yesterday with a world-record point total of 873.6.

"I am the serenest!" Bikram shouted to the estimated crowd of 20,000 yoga fans, vigorously pumping his fists. "No one is serener than Sri Dhananjai Bikram. I am the greatest monk of all time!" Bikram averaged 1.89 breaths a minute during the two-hour competition, nearly .3 fewer than his nearest competitor, second-place finisher and two-time champion Sri Salil "The Hammer" Gupta.

Bikram got off to a fast start at the Lhasa meet, which like most major competitions, is a six-event affair. In the first event, he attained total consciousness (TC) in just 2 minutes, 34 seconds, and set the tone for the rest of the meet by repeatedly shouting, "I'm blissful! You blissful?! I'm blissful!" to the other yogis.

But event number four, the contemplation of unanswerable riddles known as koans, proved the key to victory for Bikram. The koan had long been thought the weak point of his spiritual arsenal, but his response to today's riddle: "Show me the face you had before you were born" was reportedly "extremely illuminative." While koan answers are kept secret from the public for fear of exposing the uninitiated multitudes to the terror of universal truth, insiders claim his answer left the judges "highly enlightened."

 

SIMPSON SAYS

"Television - teacher, mother, secret lover! I want to share something with you - the three sentences that will get you through life. Number one, 'cover for me.' Number two, 'oh, good idea, boss.' Number three, 'it was like that when I got here.' If you really want something in life you have to work for it. Now be quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers.

"Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen. Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals! Except the weasel. We live in a society of laws. Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well I didn't hear anybody laughin', did you? Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else - and it hasn't - it's that girls should stick to girls' sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such and such.

"And son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose: it's how drunk you get. To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems! And don't let Krusty's death get you down, boy. People die all the time. Just like that. Why, you could wake up dead tomorrow.

"Well, good night." -- Homer Simpson from Marv Wolfman

 

GUMP FLUSHED

I know we've lost a lot of icons lately, including Lambchop and H. Doody, but did you know that Massena "Andy" Gump, whose portable toilet empire brought convenient relief to millions of Southern Californians for more than 40 years, died Monday? He was 88.

Gump built his first five portable toilets out of plywood in his garage after a law was passed in the 1950s requiring toilets at construction sites. Now a $7 million company with nearly 100 employees, Andy Gump Inc. rents shower trailers, portable toilets, solar-powered restrooms and VIP restrooms complete with air conditioning, oak cabinets, flush toilets and mirrors.

 

"Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum, minutus carborata descendum pantorum." (A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.)

 

Published 7/15/98

PLANET PROCTOR
1996/2002 by Phil Proctor