"America. Where nobody has bad
teeth and everybody has a lavatory"
(Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt)
Dear Friends, all four of us will be gathering at Borders bookstore on La Cienega in LA at 7:30 on Monday, December 13, for a twenty-minute Q&A session; and then we'll sign CDs and anything else you deign to bring us. Be there or be ware. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday, Andy Thomas and Hugh Brown with a crew from Rhino will be taping and filming and snapping pictures of us in various disguises for the upcoming PBS special at various locations around town.
I will also be working again as Howard, the dad of the twins, Phil and Lil, for another season of "Rugrats," appearing as Sgt. Tibbs in a new release of "101 Dalmatians" and adding more voices to Disney's "Atlantis." Also, my darling wife, Melinda, shot another national TV spot yesterday for "Hotjobs.com," playing a Brit assistant to a jet-setter CEO. They filmed til midnight at Van Nuys airport, and it's set to premiere on the Superbowl pre-show. Everybody thought she was really English and apologized to her because the spot pokes fun at the limeys! At the end of the shoot the director wanted her to say a sexy line to her "boss" for his reel, and Mellie came up with "Would you like to smell my knickers?" (He did ten takes.)
HAVE A PSYCHO XMAS
Schizophrenia - Do You Hear What I Hear?
Multiple Personality - We Three Kings Disoriented Are.
Dementia - I Think I'll Be Home For Christmas (If I Remember Where I Live)
Narcissistic - Hark The Herald Angels Sing (About Me)
Mania - Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town...
Paranoia - Santa Claus is Coming To Town...To Get Me.
Personality Disorder - You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout (then MAYBE I'll tell you why).
Borderline Personality - Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire.
Passive Aggressive - On the First Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me (and then took it all away).
Obsessive Compulsive - Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell...
THE SHOW MUST? GO ON!
"Aida" is not the only show in out-of-town tryouts with a set that needs a little tweaking. According to the latest "Production Notes," during a performance of "Finian's Rainbow," our pal and fellow Yalie Austin Pendleton was hit upside the head by one of the sets but is ok. Later, that evening, Bryan Murray fell on stage during curtain calls, banged his head and was taken to hospital for a checkup. Equity has now inspected the set, "but many in the cast felt it was dangerous from day one." I played Og opposite Pat O'Brien once and a stump exploded when I threw pixie dust at it. The show is jinxed!
"Change is inevitable except from vending machines"
THE CAJUN DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Day 1: Dear Emile, Thanks for da bird in the Pear tree. I fixed it las night with dirty rice an' it was delicious. I doan tink the Pear tree would grow in de swamp, so I swapped it for a Satsuma.
Day 2: Dear Emile,Your letter said you sent 2 turtle dove, but all I got was 2 scrawny pigeon. Anyway, I mixed them with andouille and made some gumbo out of dem.
Day 3: Dear Emile, Why doan you sen me some crawfish? I'm tired of eating dem darned bird. I gave two of those prissy French chicken to Mrs.Fontenot over at Grand Chenier, and fed the tird one to my dog, Phideaux. Mrs. Fontenot needed some sparring partners for her fighting rooster.
Day 4: Dear Emile, Mon Dieux! I tole you no more of dem bird. Deez four, what you call "calling bird" wuz so noisy you could hear dem all da' way to Lafayette. I used they necks for my crab traps, and fed the rest of dem to the gators.
Day 5: Dear Emile, You finally sent something useful. I liked dem golden rings, me. I hocked dem at da' pawn shop in Sulphur and got enough money to fix the shaft on my shrimp boat, and to buy a round for da boys at the Raisin' Cane Lounge. Merci Beaucoup!
Day 6: Dear Emile, Cochon! Back to da birds, you coonass turkey! Poor egg sucking Phideaux is scared to death ah dem six goose. He try to eat they eggs and they pecked the heck out ah his snout. Dem goose are damm good at eating cockroach around da' house, though. I may stuff one ah dem goose with erster dressing to serve him on Christmas Day.
Day 7: Dear Emile, I'm gonna wring your fool neck next time I see you. Ole Boudreaux, da mailman, is ready to kill you, too. The crap from all dem bird is stinkin up his mailboat. He afraid someone will slip on dat stuff and gonna sue him. I let dem seven swan loose to swim on da bayou and some stupid duck hunter from Mississippi done blasted dem out da water. Talk to you tomorrow.
Day 8: Dear Emile, Poor ole Boudreaux had to make 3 trips on his mailboat to deliver dem 8 maids-a-milking & der cows. One of dem cows got spooked by da alligators and almost tipped over da boat. I doan like dem shiftless maids, me. I told dem to get to work gutting fish and sweeping my shack--but dey say it wasn't in their contract. They probably tink they too good toskin all dem nutria I caught las night.
Day 9: Dear Emile, What you trying to do? Boudreaux had to borrow da Cameron Ferry to carry these jumping twits you call lords-a-leaping across da bayou. As soon as dey got here dey wanted a tea break and crumpets. I doan know what dat means but I says, "Well la di da. You get Chicory coffee or nuthin." Mon Dieux, Emile, what I'm gonna feed all these bozos? They too snooty for fried nutria, and da cow ate up all my turnip green.
Day 10: Dear Emile, You got to be out of you mind. If da mailman don't kill you, I will. Today he deliver 10 half nekkid floozies from Bourbon Street. Dey said they be "ladies dancing" but they doan act like ladiesladies in front of dem Limey sailing boys. Dey almost left after one of them got bit by a water moccasin over by my out-house. I had to butcher 2 cows to feed toute le monde and get toilet paper rolls. The Sears catalog wasn't good enough for dem hoity toity lords. Talk at you tomorrow.
Day 11: Dear Emile, Where Y'at? Cherio and pip pip. You 11 Pipers Piping arrived today from the House of Blues, second lining as dey got off da boat. We fixed stuffed goose and beef jumbalaya, finished da whiskey, and we're having a fais-do-do. Da' new mailman drank a bottle of Jack Daniel, and he's having a good old time dancing with the floozies. Da' old mailman done jump off the Moss Bluff Bridge yesterday, screaming you name. If you happen to get a mysterious-looking, ticking package in da mail, don't open it.
Day 12: Dear Emile, Me I'm sorry to tell you--but I am not your true love anymore. After the fais-do-do, I spent da night with Jacque, the head piper. We decide to open a restaurant and gentlemen's club on the bayou. The floozies--pardon me--ladies dancing can make $20 for a table dance, and the lords can be the waiters and valet park da boats. Since da' maids have no more cows to milk, I trained dem to set my crab traps, watch my trotlines, and run my shrimping business. We'll probably gross a million dollars next year.
Joyeaux Noel et Bonne Annee! (Uncredited)
A California policeman pulled a car over and told the driver that because he'd been wearing his seatbelt, he had just won $5,000 in the statewide safety competition. "What are you going to do with the money?" asked the policeman.
"Well, I guess I'm going to get a driver's license," he answered.
"Oh, don't listen to him," said the woman in the passenger seat, "He's a smart aleck when he's drunk."
This woke up the guy in the back-seat, who took one look at the cop and moaned, "I knew we wouldn't get far in a stolen car."
At that moment there was a knock from the trunk, and a voice said in Spanish, "Are we over the border yet?"
If you rearrange the letters in the phrase
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We've conquered outer space, but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight.... or to just hit delete.
Barry White had to cancel
I regret to inform you that, effective immediately, I will no longer be able to serve Southern United States on Christmas Eve. Due to the over-whelming current population of the earth, my contract was renegotiated by North American Fairies and Elves Local 209 and I now serve only certain areas of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. (As part of the new and better contract I also get longer breaks for milk and cookies, so keep that in mind.)
However, I'm certain that your children will be in good hands with your local replacement who happens to be my third cousin, Bubba Claus. His side of the family is from the South Pole. He shares my goal of delivering toys to all the good boys and girls; however, there are a few differences between us.
1. There is no danger of a Grinch stealing your presents from Bubba Claus. He has a gun rack on his sleigh and a bumper sticker that reads: "These toys insured by Smith and Wesson."
2. Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers that children leave an RC cola and pork rinds [or a moon pie] on the fireplace. And Bubba doesn't smoke a pipe. He dips a little snuff though, so please have an empty spit can handy.
3. Bubba Claus' sleigh is pulled by floppy-eared, flying' coon dogs instead of reindeer. I made the mistake of loaning him a couple of my reindeer one time, and Blitzen's head now overlooks Bubba's fireplace.
4. "Ho, ho, ho!" has been replaced by "Yee Haw!" And you also are likely to hear Bubba's elves respond, "I her'd dat!"
5. As required by Southern highway laws, Bubba Claus' sleigh has a Yosemite Sam safety triangle on the back with the words "Back off". It also sports a Chevy logo with lights that race through the letters and a caricature of me pissing on the Tooth Fairy.
6. The usual Christmas movie classics such as "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's a Wonderful Life" will not be shown in your negotiated viewing area. Instead, you'll see "Boss Hogg Saves Christmas" and "Smokey and the Bandit IV" featuring Burt Reynolds as Bubba Claus and dozens of state patrol cars crashing into each other.
7. Bubba Claus doesn't wear a belt, so make sure you, the wife and the kids turn the other way when he bends over to put presents under the tree.
8. And finally, this year, songs about Bubba Claus will replace the traditional favorites on all Southern AM stations, like Mark Chesnutt's "Bubba Claus Shot the Jukebox", Cledus T. Judd's "All I Want for Christmas Is My Woman and a Six Pack", and Hank Williams Jr.'s "If You Don't Like Bubba Claus, You can Shove It."
Fraternally Yours, Santa Claus (From Magic Mike)
Actor Peter Johnson sent me a photo from a Denver newspaper with this caption:
"A Little Stinking Spirit:
Firesign fans, maybe?
"I am 74 years old and I think I can whip (your) collective asses. Growing old is not a leper colony where an unfortunate few are sent to die. It is a precious gift given only to some lucky human beings. Sad to say, it's not an award of merit... I hope (you) live long enough to acquire the insight, wisdom and understanding that comes with 'old' age." - Dick Van Dyke, Calendar Letters, L.A. Times
(C) 1999 by Phil Proctor