"Join the War Against Reality! It's the only W.A.R. worth fighting for!"
(George Papoon, National Surrealist Party)


Italian doctor Fillippo Surano claims to have solved the centuries old mystery of Mona Lisa's smile as reported recently in the Florence newspaper La Republica. Turns out to be a bad case of bruxism, better known as compulsive unconscious teeth-grinding. Il dottore believes that the "strain of posing for Da Vinci" led to the attack.

Since my wife, Melinda, and I are going to Italy to celebrate her mid-century birthday and will be in Firenze, we'll check it out for ourselves. I just hope the strain doesn't send us to "il dentisto."

"My mind not only wanders, it sometime leaves completely."
(A. Nonymous)


According to the Feedback column in the June issue of London's fascinating Fortean Times, a chap named Simon Painter tried to download Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5, and was asked which version he wanted:

"English, English (Canadian) or English (British)."

Gee whiz! That's a bloody tough choice, eh?

Customer: "I can't send an email. Is the Internet full?"


In a thought-provoking article by Patt Morrison in L.A. Times Magazine about Robert Gillespie, president of the Zero Population Growth movement, she writes:

"If you're congratulating yourself on being a Responsible American with just one or two kids, don't. The paradox is that one American consumes as much as 60 Bengalis, as much as three Japanese, twice as much as a German. Wee are wasteful and heedless children, gobbling down fossil fuel and other goodies willy-nilly. Like children, we keep depending on technology to haul us to safety in the last reel."

And Gillespie adds, "We are the most gluttonous country in the world, with no discipline economically or politically. That's going to go on until there's a major crisis such as gas and oil running out. If that were to happen today, more people would be starving in New York City than in Bangladesh, because [there] people live closer to their level of subsistence.

We live in an artificial world, and nobody is addressing the future as it relates to finite resource. And all resources are finite -- except population."

"What this country needs is a good
old-fashioned gas shortage.
That'll get those arrogant SUVs off the streets!"
(Melinda Peterson, actor)


"Actors are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, actors face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get "real" jobs, and their own fear that they'll never work again. Every day they have to ignore the possibility that the vision to which they have dedicated their lives is a pipe dream. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life - the cars, the family, the house, the nest egg.

"But they stay true to their dream, in spite of sacrifices. Why? Because actors are willing to give their entire lives to a moment - to that line, that laugh, that gesture, or that interpretation that will stir the audience's soul. Actors are beings who have tasted life's nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another's heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes."

(David Ackert)

"Being a screenwriter in Hollywood is like
being a eunuch at an orgy.
The only difference is that eunuchs get to watch"
(Albert Brooks in "The Muse")


Writer and PP reader Ivan Berger responds: "Your line about a bungle of joy reminds me of my own coinage about a woman I know being 'a pillow of the community' and a friend's posting about a pub where, at closing, you can 'take home the bartenderness.'

And this uncredited observation from the very forward Garry Margolis: "In an all too familiar burst of PC, the Faculty Human Relations Committee of one of Houston's schools voted to remove 'Huckleberry Finn' from their library. Which school? Mark Twain Intermediate."

From funnyman Bob Claster, "There's a sign on Crescent Heights near Sunset, on the East side of the street, as you're about to head up into Laurel Canyon that reads: 'WARNING: You are leaving a tow-away permit-only parking district." Whew... imagine if they didn't warn you!

Drew Daniels notes that his "local eatery serves its Sunday brunch Eggs Benedict on a chromium-plated dish because... there's no plate like chrome for the hollandaise." Get well soon, Drew.

And from the latest LALA LETTER we learn that Levi Jeans are 125 years old. Notable moments include adding a red tab in 1936, a zippered fly in 1954 and removing the copper rivet from the crotch in 1866, as it caused major burns "in a sensitive area when men squatted in front of the campfire."

Finally, these actual headlines from the Reuters newswire from the "Planet Duh" segment of Bob Harris's "Scoop:"

"Reaching 100 Reflects A Healthy Life," "Stretch Longer For Better Flexibility," and "Impaired Ability To Swim Likely Cause Of Drowning."

"The loss of life will be irreplaceable"
(Dan Quayle)


From the June 17 issue of the New York Post comes these ruminations on my favorite candidate's latest strategy. "Eyeliner. The preternaturally boyish presidential hopeful from Indiana carries around a makeup kit full of M.A.C. cosmetics and a laminated instruction sheet in order to do his own on-the-spot touchups for TV appearances, according to Allure. "Like, 'When you do the brows, make sure they're not too full or too tapered.'" The rep added that it's "much healthier" to use your own makeup than stuff "that's been lying around the studio for eight months and has been used by others."

M.A.C., whose products have names like "Viva Glam," and is also very involved in AIDS charities, features spokesmodels like the cross-dressing RuPaul and lesbian singer k.d. lang. Company president John Demsey says, "The M.A.C. credo has always been bipartisan: All sexes, all races, all ages." And all levels of intelligence...

"I love the confidence that makeup gives me"
(Tyra Banks)

[Go to next column to continue reading]


From the new Dutton book "The Parrot's Lament" by Eugene Linden, comes this tale of a pet parrot who may have pulled a joke on her owner, Sally Blanchard. Sally's story, originally published in her own "Pet Bird Report," was just featured in a cover story in Time magazine.

As she was preparing a Cornish game hen for dinner, her African gray, Bongo Marie, suddenly cried out in apparent distress, "Oh, no! Paco!" referring to his cage companion, an Amazon green. Blanchard suppressed her laughter and said, "That's not Paco," to which Bongo Marie said "Oh, no!" again in a seemingly disappointed tone -- and burst into "a raucous laugh."

Studies of African grays have revealed that they not only mimic but seem to understand the meaning of words (for instance, that red refers to a color) and that they "enjoy getting a reaction out of humans.'" but "whether or not Bong Marie's crocodile tears were intentional, the episode was thoroughly satisfying -- from the parrot's point of view."

"It just tastes anti-Semetic!
They are Burger King, and they are very strong,
and I expect them to behave like
a king and not like a chicken"
(Protesters in Jerusalem responding
to an Arab boycott which led to
the closing of a new franchise
in the disputed West Bank -- L.A. Times 9/4/99)


The latest children's books (that didn't make it):

You Are Different and That's Bad

The Boy Who Died From Eating All His Vegetables

Dad's New Wife Robert

Fun four-letter Words to Know and Share

Kathy Was So Bad Her Mom Stopped Loving Her

Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence

All Cats Go to Hell

The Little Sissy Who Snitched

Some Kittens Can Fly

Grandpa Gets a Casket

The Magic World Inside the Abandoned Refrigerator

Garfield Gets Feline Leukemia

The Pop-Up Book of Human Anatomy

Strangers Have the Best Candy

Whining, Kicking and Crying to Get Your Way

You Were an Accident

Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will

Your Nightmares Are Real

Where Would You Like to Be Buried?

Why Can't Mr. Fork and Ms. Electrical Outlet Be Friends?

Places Where Mommy and Daddy Hide Neat Things

Daddy Drinks Because You Cry

Bob Claster saw a bumpersticker that read:
"Wouldn't it be awful if it turned out that
the Hokey Pokey really WAS what it was all about?"


DAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from shredding the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant and cough it up on the carpeting.

DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair... must try this on their bed (again).

DAY 762 - Slept all day so that I could annoy my captors with sleep depriving, incessant pleas for food at ungodly hours of the night.

DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was... Hmmm. Not working according to plan.

DAY 768 - I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo." What sick minds could invent such a liquid. My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth and the tiny bit of flesh under my claws.

DAY 771 - There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odor of the glass tubes they call "beer." More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

DAY 774 - I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The Bird on the other hand has got to be an informant. He has mastered their frightful tongue (something akin to mole speak) and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured. (But I can wait, it is only a matter of time.)


"Given their output, the 'Culture of Youth'
is an oxymoron"
(Ed Lennon, L.A. Times Sunday Calendar
Letters section, 9/5/99)


Io e mia moglie - anderemo - a Venezia, Firenze, Cinqueterra e altri citta' del Nord Italia della 25 Settembre al 8 Ottobre. (Where I hope to learn to speak a little Eye-talian) E dopo, we'll be in London, Cambridgeshire and jolly old Westminster, visiting with friends until our return on the 12th of October to promote the Rhino Records release of the latest Firesign Theatre CD, "Boom Dot Bust" to be released on October 18th.

Arrivederci, tutti!



(C) 1999 by Phil Proctor

Published 9/12/99