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Volume 14

Phil as
"The Government Inspector"
on the set of
"Menno's Mind."

"I'd have to say I'm slap happy, with an emphasis on the happy."
- William Daniels, SAG President, on the labor settlement


   Sent via Eight-Week Priority Mail October the Third, The Year of Our Lord 1756 from MESSRS. Smithfield and Fieldfmith Publifhers Appointed By His Majefty The King To Publifh Official Documents, Notices, Pamphlets, Works of Great Literature, &c. Located Near the New North Church Bofton, Maffachuffets
To MR. Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia, Pennfylvania.
   Thank you for fubmitting your Manufcript "Poor Richard's Almanack" to us. We regret to inform you that it does not meet our Needs at the Prefent Time. We do believe that fuch an Almanack, giving Information on the Atlantic Ocean Tides, Phafes of the Moon and other Heavenly Bodies, as well as Weather Forecafts for the several Colonies, would be met with much Intereft and General Acclaim among the Publick at Large.
   But we do not believe that the Publick would be receptive to many of the Aphorifms, Sayings, and Wife Counfel of Poor Richard that you have included in your Almanack. They offer Bad Advice, and make the Blood and the other Humours nervous. Pleafe allow us to quote the worft Offenders:
   "Never leave that till to-morrow what you can do to-day, unleff you juft don't feel like it."
"The early Bird gets the Worm; the late Bird gets the fat and juicy Beetle that did not emerge from under a rock until the Sun heated the ground; both Birds will choke on their Meals and die."
   "For want of a Nail, the Shoe was loft; for want of a Shoe, the Horfe was loft; for want of a Horfe, the Rider was loft; for want of a Rider, the Battle was loft; for want of a Battle, the Earth was deftroyed by a Weapon that will be invented in the Future, whose Terrible Power and Deftruction we cannot comprehend."
   Once again, we offer our most fincere Thanks for fubmitting your manufcript to us. However, we have juft announced the Publication of our own Almanack for the coming year 1757, to be given the Title "Sir or Madam, Would You Kindly Open This Almanack to Difcover and Be Aftounded by All Sorts of Information, Please?"
   Therefore, a refubmittal of your manufcript, with certain Corrections to make the Tone more Light and lefs depreffing, fhall not be welcomed. May we fuggeft that you publifh fuch a Volume by yourfelf?
   Moft Sincerely Yrs, Jos. A. Smithfield & Geo. J. Fieldsmith, Publishers

    "Now, no prejudice intended, but I always check with the Bible on these here things. I mean if God had meant for us to be together he'd a put us together. But look what he done. He put you over in Africa, and put the rest of us in all the white countries."
   "Well, he must've told 'em where we were because somebody came and got us."
- Sammy Davis Jr. to Carroll (Archie Bunker) O'Connor


   I recently suffered a mordant modem due to a personal rolling blackout and have thus been woefully out-of-touch with my cyberlife. In the meantime, I turned my attentions to the rehabilitation of my bruised bride and the closing and opening of various projects.
   Although the acclaimed Antaeus Company's production of "Trial By Jury" is now histrionic history, there is a plan afoot to revive it with a one-hour version of "Patience" in the not-too-distant future.
   You can also hear me in Disney's "Atlantis", as the drunken French monkey (again) in "Dr. Dolittle 2", and can spit on our newly dedicated "Rugrats" Star on the Walk of Fame at the entrance to the Hollwood Toy Store where I've bought props and costumes for the last 35 years for The Firesign Theatre, presently recording THE BRIDE OF FIRESIGN at Bob Wayne's Sunburst Studio in Culver City for a September Rhino Records' release. (Breathe)
   Also just released is our first DVD with Whirlwind Media, "Back From The Shadows", which includes a live performance and a long original interview with the four or five crazee guyz who will be taping a live PBS special "Weirdly Cool" and doing our first XM Satellite Radio show, "Fools In Space", at the end of August. (Deep Breath)

    "Laurel and Hardy died penniless . . . You can be a star of television one day and cooking in a monastery the next year."
- Comedian Dom DeLuise


* FINE: This is the word we use at the end of any argument that we feel we are right about but need to shut you up. NEVER use fine to describe how a woman looks. This will cause you to have one of those arguments.
* FIVE MINUTES: This is half an hour. It is equivalent to the five minutes that your football game is going to last before you take out the trash, so it's an even trade.
* NOTHING: This means something and you should be on your toes. "Nothing" is usually used to describe the feeling a woman has of wanting to turn you inside out, upside down, and backwards. "Nothing" usually signifies an argument that will last "Five Minutes" and end with a huffy "Fine."
* GO AHEAD (with raised eyebrows): This is a dare, one that will result in my getting upset over "Nothing" and will end with the word "Fine."
* GO AHEAD (normal eyebrows): This means "I give up" or "Do what you want because I don't care." You will get a raised eyebrow "Go ahead" in just a few minutes, followed by "Nothing" and "Fine" and she will talk to you in about "Five Minutes" when she cools off.
* (LOUD SIGH): This is not actually a word, but is still often a verbal statement very misunderstood by men. A "Loud Sigh" means she thinks you are an idiot at that moment and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over "Nothing."
* (SOFT SIGH): Again, not a word, but a verbal statement. "Soft Sighs" are one of the few things that some men actually understand. She is content. Your best bet is to not move or breathe, and she will stay that way.
* OH!: This exclamation, followed by any statement, is trouble. Example: "Oh, let me get that." Or, "Oh, I talked to him about what you were doing last night." If she says "Oh" before a statement, RUN, do not walk, to the nearest exit. She will tell you that she is "Fine" when she is done tossing your clothes out the window, but do not expect her to talk to you for at least 2 days. "Oh" as the lead to a sentence usually signifies that you are caught in a lie. Do not try to lie more to get out of it, or you will get raised eyebrows and "Go ahead" followed by acts so unspeakable that we can't bring ourselves to write about them.
* THAT'S OK: This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can say to a man. "That's OK" means that she wants to think long and hard before paying you retributions for whatever it is that you have done. "That's OK" is often used with the word "Fine" and used in conjunction with a raised eyebrow "Go ahead." At some point in the near future when she has plotted and planned, you are going to be in some mighty big trouble.
* PLEASE DO: This is not a statement; it is an offer. A woman is giving you the chance to come up with whatever excuse or reason you have for doing whatever it is that you have done. You have a fair chance to tell the truth, so be careful and you shouldn't get a "That's OK."
* THANKS: A woman is thanking you. Do not faint; just say, "You're welcome."
* THANKS A LOT: This is much different from "Thanks." A woman will say, "Thanks A LOT," when she is really ticked off at you. It signifies that you have hurt her in some callous way, and will be followed by the "Loud Sigh." Be careful not to ask what is wrong after the "Loud Sigh," as she will only say "Nothing." I hope this clears up any misunderstandings . . .
From Mark Kleiman

    "Oh, give me a home with no analog roam, where the cell phone's in service all day . . ."
- PP

[Go to next column to continue reading]


   Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat). Also, always avoid annoying alliteration. Be more or less specific. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
   No sentence fragments. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous. One should NEVER generalize. Comparisons are as bad as cliches. Don't use no double negatives. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc. One-word sentences? Eliminate. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake. The passive voice is to be ignored.
   Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice. Kill all exclamation points!!! Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earthshaking ideas. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit when its not needed. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
   If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly. Puns are for children, not groan readers. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed. Who needs rhetorical questions? Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
   And finally . . . proofread carefully to see if you any words
"The Rules of Good Writing" forwarded by Bob Joles.

    "Excuse me, but we have to go drain the Yorkies."
- Dial Soap commercial director to Teresa Ganzel, "awakened" by dogs eating meat from her ears.


   "In an act of courage (or foolhardiness), the Mud-Luscious Theatre Ensemble has chosen Chekov's most challenging work as its very first production, revealing real strengths along with serious flaws.
   "Albert Alarr, like many directors before him, hasn't mastered the problems of the difficult first act . . . [but] the remaining three acts are solid and gripping, even though Alarr has chosen to 'ignore casting according to type and gender.'
   "The youngest sister, Irina (Sonja Alarr), is therefore neither young nor fragile and moody. Soyony has been transformed into a woman (Susan Pingleton). This gives the play a curious lesbian slant, changes a neurotic, overmacho male into a stereotypic killer dyke, and makes the Act 4 duel seem decidedly odd.
   "The production is not firmly moored in time and place: The costumes are as confusing a mix of eras as the use of Frank Sinatra ballads for the opening music; later, rock interludes play alongside Garnett's archaic translation. Despite some excellent performances . . . it remains a very long evening, clocking in at over three hours . . . "
(Neal Weaver in the L.A. Weekly)

    "If the aborigine drafted an IQ test, all of Western civilization would presumably flunk it."
- Anthropologist Stanley Marion Garn in Rich Schulenberg's "Muse"


   Doctors quoted in the London Times from my "Trial By Jury" bailiff, Anna Mathias, say that an increasing number of American men, fearful of downsizing, are building up their chinny chin chins with implants. L.A. Plastic Surgeon to the Stars, Brent Moellken, says he's not surprised since chinless wonders in the media are often portrayed as embezzlers and weak characters. The procedure costs a mere $2,500, is often accompanied by liposuction of the neck and takes only a few hours so that patients can return to work the next day.
   The most desired look? Michael Douglas, Cary Grant or Clark Gable. Or the drunk French monkey.

    "Avoid the bozo explosion! If you hire one clueless manager, you're dead; that person will hire more bozos, and they'll hire more."
- Ed Colligan, Palm marketing VP


   Police say Lee McPhatter is denying that he assaulted the Cookie Monster at a Pennsylvania Sesame Street theme park last June. The Maryland man alledgedly shoved the furry blue creature and then kicked it in the head and back when the employee inside the costume, 21-year-old Jennie McNelis, wouldn't pose for a picture with his daughter. McPhatter denies the park's version of the incident averring that he'd never assault Cookie Monster - his child's favorite character- in front of the little girl.
   President G. W. Bush comments, "Yes, there's violence; yes, there's terror, but it's being isolated, it's beginning to - contained. Any terror is too much terror. Any death is too much death. We recognize that . . . and we condemn terror. We condemn violence. We condemn death."

    "It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it."
- Sam Levenson


   A man enters his favorite ritzy restaurant and while sitting at his regular table, notices a gorgeous woman sitting all alone. He has the waiter send her their most expensive bottle of Merlot, knowing that if she accepts it, she is his. She looks at the wine and sends a note to the man which reads:
   "For me to accept this bottle, you need to have a Mercedes in your garage, a million dollars in the bank, and 7 inches in your pants."
   "Just so you know," the fellow writes back, "I happen to have a Ferrari Testarosa, a BMW 850iL, and a Mercedes 560 SEL in my garage and over twenty million dollars in the bank. But not even for a woman as beautiful as you would I cut off three inches. Just send the bottle back."


   To singer/songwriter John "Mark Twang" Hartford; to Diana Bellamy with whom I appeared on NBC's sitcom "13 East" and whose last role was that of a blind diabetic (which she really was) on "Popular"; to Atlantaean Anne Haney who said, "My husband died, my daughter went to college, the dog got fleas and the maid quit, so I had to come to Hollywood . . . "; and to gentleman actor Jack Lemmon, described by "Some Like It Hot" director Billy Wilder as "a wonderful guy." He was also a cute girl.
   As Jack would often say before a take, "It's magic time..."

    "Life is a serendipitous highway. You get off at a certain exit for no particular reason and what you see when you get off is sort of what happens."
- SAG negotiator Brian Walton





Phil's "Signs of the Times"

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Kewel! A place for junk mail?
captioned by
Tiny Dr. Tim

2001 by Phil Proctor

Published 07/09/01