"Americans can always be counted upon to do the right thing after all other possibilities have been exhausted" (Winston Churchill)


Yes, we're back from Italy; a wonderful trip to Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Bologna. I learned some Italian, at last, and took far too many pictures, as usual. Melinda should have our travel book assembled by 2002. While we were away, a joke from Planet Proctor was published in the "Laughter, the Best Medicine" section of October's Readers Digest. Now I know I've made it! You can read me in your Doctor's office.

Our latest Rhino CD "Boom Dot Bust," was released the day we returned, and the first rabid review is out on Amazon.com where critic John Sulak describes it as "A mind-blowing comedy masterpiece. A new creative peak that will have people grinning with joy and laughing out loud. For a bunch of old guys, the Firesign Theatre are sure on a roll." Brian Westley adds that "there is a real Billville in Indiana, and a real Elmer Town in Oklahoma, both real small towns." Our LodesTone friends in Bloomington, however, were unable to find Billville. Perhaps it was destroyed in a tornado and flood after all!

And by the way, "How Can You Be In Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All" was chosen as one of the "Ten Best Albums of the Millennium"1 by CDnow, which is also running a wonderful review. (I should go away more often.)

1. Footnote: Actually, HCYB is one of the Ten Best Comedy Albums of the Millennium. - RJA, ed.

"Life doesn't make any sense,
and we all pretend it does.
Comedy's job is to point out
that it doesn't make sense,
and that it doesn't make much
difference anyway"
(Eric Idle, with Terry Gross on 'Fresh Air')


There was also a big pile of catalogues waiting for us, but my favorite products are from the Sinclair Intimacy Institute in Chapel Hill, NC, like the "Kegelmaster 2000 Exercize Equipment for better bladder control and improved vaginal tone;" or, the "Remote Control Butterfly" with a 15-20 foot range "so you can surprise your lover across a crowded room or even through walls." Comes with fully adjustable waist and thigh straps.

You can also purchase the "Pleasure Orb", a vibrating silver egg with a washable soft and bumpy silicone sleeve; the "Twister" waterproof vibrator, or your choice of "Chocolate Pudding or Champagne Jelly Dongs". The latter is made of clear jelly with champagne bubbles and a suction-cup base for hands-free pleasure. Great stocking stuffers or New Year's treats!

"Millennium, Schmillennium!
We've been there five times before!"
(Headline in a Jewish newspaper from Gary Berkson)


At age 4, success is not peeing in your pants
At age 18, success is "gettin' a little"
At age 25, success is graduation and a wedding
At age 35, success is about career and family
At age 55, success is graduations and weddings
At age 65, success is "gettin' a little"
At age 90, success is not peeing in your pants

(From Herb and Barbara Blitzstein)

"CHARACTER: Grubby--Classic Western Comic relief. Reads like: Gabby Hayes, Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies, Chris Rock. Age: 60 - 100"
(Agency Audition Copy)


A first-grade teacher gave her class the first half of a common proverb and asked them to come up with the rest:

Better to be safe than...........Punch a 5th grader

Strike while the.......................Bug is close

It's always darkest before....Daylight Savings Time

Never underestimate the power of...........Termites

You can lead a horse to water but..............how?

Don't bite the hand that................looks dirty

No news is...............................impossible

A miss is as good as a..........................Mr.

You can't teach an old dog new.................math

If you lie down with dogs you'll...stink in the morning

Love all, trust..................................me

The pen is mightier than the...................pigs

An idle mind is...............the best way to relax

Where there's smoke there's...............pollution

Happy the bride who...........gets all the presents

A penny saved is...........................not much

Two's company, three's...............the Musketeers

Don't put off till tomorrow what.....you put on to go to bed

Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and......you have to blow your nose

None are so blind as...................Helen Keller

Children should be seen and not......spanked or grounded

If at first you don't succeed........get new batteries

You get out of something what you....see pictured on the box

When the blind leadeth the blind.....get out of the way

And the favorite: Better late than.........pregnant

"Many are called, but few hear the phone ring over the TV"
(Robert Spina)


Melinda's aunt, Margaret Peterson, sent us an incredible article by James Merolla from the Massachusetts Sun Chronicle, about an amazing relationship between a wild cat and an untamed crow in North Attleboro.

Wamsutta trailer park residents Wallace and Ann Collito spotted a tiny, dehydrated kitten in the grass near a neighbor's oil tank which was initially mistaken for a baby rat. "It was no bigger than my little finger," said Ann, but when she tried to pick it up she was attacked by a crow and then watched in amazement as the bird fed the kitten insects and later fought off squirrels, skunks and raccoons to protect her charge.

The Collitos christened the cat "Cassie" and the crow "Moses" and put out food for them. Every day about 4p.m., the cat would play in the yard and Moses would drop in "to peck gently at its paws or walk with it or hop around it or nestle nearby."

"The bird even gave me money," Ann Collito insists, bringing dollar bills to the yard "as a sort of payment." "As God is my witness, three dollars," she said. "Then it brought a dime...That's the truth."

Lest skeptics challenge the story, they've videotaped these encounters, as well as chronicling Cassie's continuing taste for insects, which she catches and eats as a supplement to the cat food they supply. Moses even plays "traffic cop" cawing "and spreading her wings when the kitten strolls onto the road near oncoming cars...and when the cat plays with a squirrel, she doesn't like that."

[Go to next column to continue reading]

"We're going to have to charge admission pretty soon," Wallace said.

"If there was a cat and my works, I would save the cat. A cat's life is more important than art." Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti when asked which of his masterpieces he would save in a fire.


Two vampires were fed up with their peasant food in Transylvania and flew to Venice because they'd heard that Italian cucina was really good.

On a bridge over one of the canals, they hid in the shadows and waited for dinner. A few minutes later, a young couple strolled by. Each vampire grabbed one, sucked them dry and tossed the bodies into the canal below. They were extremely pleased with their meal and decided to have "secondi." A few minutes later, another young couple approached and suffered the same fate as the first -- drained and tossed into the canal.

Our vampires were now fairly full but decided on dessert, and in a short while a third young couple provided just that. The vampires, full at last, started to walk away but stopped suddenly when they heard what sounded like crooning coming from under the bridge.

They looked over the rail and saw an alligator feasting on the bodies and singing, as only Italian gators can, "Drained wops keep fallin' on my head..."

"Kathie Lee Gifford is going to Broadway
to star in 'The Sound of Music.'
In this version she helps the Von Trapp family
escape from Austria to Guatemala
where she puts the kids to work
for 15 cents a day"
(Jay Leno)


You may recall that Rosie O'Donnell suggested that they change the lyrics "I can shoot a partridge with a single cartridge'' in the revival of "Annie Get Your Gun", to make them less violent. This inspired writer Susan Brady Konig to suggest even more politically correct changes in her article "A Rosie View Of Broadway Classics." My favorites follow:

WEST SIDE STORY: The Sharks and the Jets rumble. They're subsequently arrested by Officer Krupke and sentenced to a low-security juvenile rehabilitation facility, where they are all diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder and put on Ritalin and Prozac.

MY FAIR LADY: Professor Higgins attempts to transform street urchin Eliza Doolittle into a society maiden. With the help of an ACLU lawyer, Doolittle sues Higgins for violating her constitutional right to live on the street. Perplexed, Higgins sings the gender-neutral 'Why Can't A Person Be More Like A Person?''

GYPSY: Mama Rose pushes her daughter Gypsy Rose Lee into vaudeville. Gypsy grows up and becomes a burlesque stripper. Show ends abruptly, shortly into the second act, as all the strip clubs have been shut down by the mayor. Gypsy takes a job as a clerk in the Disney store on 42nd Street.

PORGY AND BESS: Songs include "Bess, You Is My Significant Other Now'' and "It Ain't Necessarily So" (with all biblical references deleted).

HARVEY: Everywhere he goes, Elwood C. Dobbs sees a giant, invisible rabbit. He undergoes therapy, is diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder and is put on Ritalin and Prozac.

THE KING AND I: The king of Siam is unhappy with the plummeting reading scores of his many children since the arrival of Anna, teacher from the West. He tries to fire her. Unfortunately, she is protected by a strong union and there's nothing he can do about it. She whistles a happy tune.

PETER PAN: Never-never land is forced to admit Lost Girls as well as Lost Boys. Tiger Lily sues the government to recover tribal lands and opens a casino. Mr. and Mrs. Darling are visited by Family Services after leaving their children in the care of a dog.

WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?: George and Martha join a 12-step recovery program and quit drinking. They calmly discuss their relationship 'issues.'' Some colleagues stop by for a pleasant visit.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC: All references to Catholicism deleted. Sister Maria is now a member of an order of the Sisters of the Non-Denominational Multicultural Non-Judgmental 'Church'' of What's Happening Now.

OLIVER! The conniving but lovable Fagin is arrested on several counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He agrees to a plea bargain and, with the help of a court-appointed therapist, is diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder and put on Ritalin and Prozac.

And, of course: ANNIE GET YOUR GUN properly registered, after submitting to the required background checks and mandatory five-day waiting period.

"Mom, Dad? I think I'm goy,"
said the Jewish boy to his parents
(Paul Moor)


And it came to pass after these things that God did test Avraham. And God said to him, "Avraham!" And Avraham replied "Hineni - here I am." And God said, "Take your old computer, your 286 and install upon it an operating system, a new operating system, Windows 98, which I will show to you."

And Avraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass. He loaded his computer, his old computer, his 286, on the ass. And he took two of his young men with him and Yitzchak his son. And he rose up and went to the place where God had told him, there to find Windows 98. Then, on the third day, Avraham lifted his eyes and saw Windows 98 from afar.

And Avraham took his computer his old computer, his 286, and laid it on Yitzchak his son. And they went both of them together. And Yitzchak spoke to Avraham his father and said, "My father, Windows 98 requires far more memory than a 286 has. How will it possibly run on your machine?"

And Avraham looked at his son, his only son, whom he loved; and he shook his head slowly, and in perfect faith and with unswerving trust and belief in the Almighty, he said,

"Fear not, Yitzchak my son, God will provide the RAM."

"And on the seventh day,
He rested for about 3 billion years,
and growing tired of the scene,
he went to Venus and set up a
much more highly developed civilization,
who all came back to help us in the late 60's"
(According to Jack Nicholson as George Hanson
in "Easy Rider" from Billy Bowles)

And farewell to genius Jean Shephard, probably most famous for his movie "A Christmas Story" and his book "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash."


(C) 1999 by Phil Proctor

Published 10/29/99