"Earth First! We'll Screw Up The Other Planets Later!"- L.A. bumpersticker


Well, I'm back in Kansas after barking for seven days in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" audioplay, and boy is my tail tired.

Playing "Toto" opposite Michelle (Dorothy) Trachtenberg, Rene (Scarecrow) Aubergonois, Robert (Lion) Guillaume and Nestor (Tin Man) Serrano under David Ossman and Judith Walcutt's watchful ears, was an experience I'll never forget. With a cast that includes stars like Phyllis (Bad Witch) Diller, Annette (Glinda) Bening, Harry (The Wizard) Anderson, Mark (Munchkin) Hamill and John (Gatekeeper) Goodman how could it not be?

I also got to work with Edie McClurg, Rob Poulsen & Maurice LaMarche ("Pinkie & The Brain"), Jennifer Hale, Raye Birk, Joanna Gleason, Michael Learned, Norman Corwin, Melinda Peterson and the Firesign Theatre; with special guests including Thane Tierney from Rhino, the Reader's Group and various officials from the Children's Museum, almost all of David Ossman's children and grandchildren, editor Taylor Jessen, and actor Peter Johnson, who came all the way from Colorado to be a Munchkin.

This will be released as a 3-CD set and an NPR special that's destined to become a classic, with all profits going to the L.A. Children's Museum; and during breaks at Warren Dewey's Santa Monica Studios, we discussed many things, including anecdotes about the late, great Walter Matthau...

"Tequila jalapeno cilantro Scottish smoked salmon with traditional garnishes"
- appetizer at L.A.'s Sedona Restaurant


According to all the obituaries, that is supposed to be Mr. Matthau's given name - but it's not! As revealed in Mike Downey's L.A. Times column, and confirmed by Nestor Serrano, it was actually a "George Spelvin" credit that Walter made up for a film role that he felt misrepresented his talents in the final edit. His real name was spelled Matthow, with "an emphasis on the 'ow."

In discussing the Turner Miniseries, "Nuremberg", Rene told a story about a trip to Dachau that Walter and his wife once took. It seems they got into a terrible argument in the car on the way to the camp, and after the tour, Walter got back in and said:

"Well, I hope you're satisfied. You ruined Dachau for me!"

Rene also told us that when he was called to read for his role as an early American preacher in "The Patriot," his agent told him that Mel Gibson was looking for someone like the minister in "Mash."

"That was ME," said Rene. "I originated the role!"

Apparently his young representative had never seen the show. But that's no reason to give up show business; after all, he got the part.

"To be attacked as a menace to the theater was the first real sign that I had a contribution to make there."
- Writer Dawn Powell (1913 -1965)


When in San Diego recently to see our friend Kathleen Freeman stop the show in "The Full Monty" and to enjoy the opening night of Dakin Matthew's brilliantly directed "Henry V" at the Old Globe, Melinda and I killed time by shuffling through an exhibit in Balboa Park on "Torture and Intolerance" at the Museum of Man.

Besides the classic favorites like "Old Sparky", the Guillotine and the Rack, we found among the bloody lexicon of man's ingenious inhumanity to humanity in the service of the church, the following colorfully named devices:

"The Heretic's Fork, The Little Spoon, Shrew's Fiddles, Branks, Flails, Mute's Bridals and Rectal Pears; St Elmo's Belt, Jock's Mare, Cat's Tongues and Knee Splitters; Alligator Pliers, The Bishop's Kite, The Stork, The Scavenger's Daughter, The Iron Maiden, Iron Gags, Chastity Belts and the Self-Mortifying Ring."

The object, of course, was to keep the victim alive and conscious in the most excruciating pain for the longest time possible. Kind of like watching television. And speaking of that, did anyone else notice that one of the major sponsors for Turner's mini-series "Nuremburg" was - Volkswagen?

"The dark moment the caterpillar calls the end of the world is the sun-filled moment the butterfly calls the beginning."
- From The Science of Mind


. . . or is only Big Brother watching?

As sociologist and author Daniel J. Boorstin notes in his Antheum book "The Image: Or What Happened to the American Dream?" --

"Counterfeit happenings tend to drive spontaneous happenings out of circulation. By a diabolical irony, the very facsimiles of the world, which we make on purpose to bring it within our grasp and make it less elusive, have transported us into a new world of blurs."

Or as the unattainably sexy Darva Conger said in a Playboy news conference, quoted in Jeannette Walls' "Scoop" Newsletter:

"I'm worried, very worried. We're becoming a nation of voyeurs."

(Can't wait to see the rest of her airbrushed comments in the August edition!)

"In ancient Egypt, crocodile dung suppositories were used for contraception"
- Phil's Funny Facts


From a fax I found in the wastebasket at Walt Disney Studios: "To Whom It May Concern: I live in the small town of Epuyen, Province of Chubut, Argentina. I am writing to propose the return of the "Three Stooges." There are three young children, ages 8, 5 and 8, who remarkably resemble the original "three Stooges."

I would like an address where I could send pictures and/or video filming of them. I would further request . . . that you would please consider incorporating their talents in the manner you see appropriate."

(Well, look, if they've seen a vision of the Virgin Mary wearing mouse ears, we might be interested . . .)

"I went into a McDonald's yesterday and said, 'I'd like some fries.'  The girl at the counter said,'Would you like some fries with that?' "
- Jay Leno


Jake was on his deathbed. His wife, Susan, was maintaining a vigil by his side. She held his fragile hand, and tears ran down her face. Her praying roused him from his slumber. He looked up and his pale lips began to move slightly. "My darling Susan," he whispered.

"Hush, my love," she said. "Rest. Don't talk."

He was insistent. "Susan," he said in his tired voice. "I have something I must confess to you."

"There's nothing to confess," replied the weeping Susan. "Everything's all right, go to sleep."

"No, no. I must die in peace, Susan. I slept with your sister, your best friend, and your mother."

"I know," she replied. "That's why I poisoned you."

(From Bob Joles)

[Go to next column to continue reading]

"May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live!"
The trademark toast of William "Bud" Abbott, (1895-1974)


Johnny's Walker

Mick Callan's 112-year old Scotch

Captain Morgan-David Wine

Rolling Stop Beer

Slow Gin

Pina Colonic

Red Whine (Post Cold War Special Release)

Milk of Amnesia

(I forget the rest . . . pproctor)

"Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that's how dogs spend their lives."
- Sue Murphy


Well, the Branch Davidians seem to have lost their $675-million lawsuit against the U.S. Government after a few unsettling facts as reported by Associated Press, appeared at the trial.

Around three hundred charred and melted rifles and pistols were uncovered in the razed buildings, including 60 M-16 machine guns, 60 AK47 assault rifles, and approximately 30 AR-15 rifles. 85 weapons were in the front of the complex and another 144 in a concrete vault where 22 weapons were found under corpses as well as an unexploded grenade.

Tapes made during the siege were played that contained phrases like: "Start the fire?" -- "Let's keep that fire going!" -- "Should we light the package?" -- "There's nothing like a good fire to bring us to the earth."
-- and my personal favorite -- "You always wanted to be a charcoal briquette."

(Or, as I saw the other day on a bumpersticker: "Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?")

"A lawyer is a person who writes a 10,000 word document and calls it a 'brief.'"
- Franz Kafka


F.M. Esfandiary, better known as FM2030, because of his expectation that he would live to turn 100, has died at the age of 69.

This "chronic" optimist who "translived" all over the world, felt that if he had been implanted with any artificial body parts, a person's age was irrelevant; and according to the L.A. Times' Myrna Oliver, "He had a hip that was only two years old." Still, FM tuned out after his pancreas failed -- an organ for which as of yet no synthetic substitute has been created and that he recently denounced as "a stupid, dumb, wretched organ."

Lest you think him a humbug, however, it should be pointed out that he was an acclaimed visionary who predicted sperm and egg banks, genetic engineering, teleshopping and tele-education and a popular lecturer who wrote books on many futurist subjects, such as: "Optimism One," "Up-Wingers," "Are you a Transhuman" and "Telespheres" although his books were "concise" for he believed that today's "high-tech" citizens demand "interaction and feedback."

20/30, as he was known to his innumerable friends, also eschewed nationalism, saying "There are no illegal immigrants, only irrelevant borders," and declaring further, "We are at the beginning of an age of limitless abundance. There is no scarcity; there is only the psychology of scarcity."

His latest work, "Countdown to Immortality," remains unfinished.

"When I'm on the Net, I'm a citizen of the world. I can see how the world is evolving. And I can see forever."
- Haitian graphic designer Dmitri Fourcand


The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term: "Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)? Support your answer with a proof."

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

"First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So, we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added. This gives two possibilities.

  1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
  2. Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over. So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Therese Banyan during my Freshman year 'That it will be a cold night in Hell before I sleep with you,' and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having relations with her, then: (2) cannot be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic."

(The student got the only A.)

"I can't Believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time."  - Nietzsche


A guy is standing in front of his locker at the country club admiring a golf ball in his hand. One of his golfing buddies says to him, "New ball?"

The guy says, "Would you believe this is the greatest golf ball ever made! You can't lose it -- you hit it into the rough and it whistles. You hit it into the woods and a bell goes off. You drive it into the lake and a big burst of steam goes off six feet in the air for two whole minutes."

"That's amazing", says the friend, "Where'd you get it?"

"I found it."

(From The Friars Club)

"The best cure for insomnia is getting a lot of sleep."
- WC Fields


(C) 2000 by Phil Proctor

Published 7/22/00