"To live creatively, to live honorably, to hurt no one as far as possible, to enjoy mortality, to fear neither death or immortality, to cherish fools and failures even more than wise men and saints since there are more of them; to believe, to hope, to work and to do these things with humor; to say yes, and not to say no."
- Playwright William Saroyan


From: Bin Laden, Osama
To: Cavemates
Subject: The Cave

   Hi guys. We've all been putting in long hours but we've really come together as a group and I love that. Big thanks to Omar for putting up the poster that says "There is no I in team" as well as the one that says "Hang In There, Baby." That cat is hilarious. However, while we are fighting a jihad, we can't forget to take care of the cave. And frankly I have a few concerns.
   First of all, while it's good to be concerned about cruise missiles, we should be even more concerned about the scorpions in our cave. Hey, you don't want to be stung and neither do I, so we need to sweep the cave daily. I've posted a sign-up sheet near the main cave opening.
   Second, it's not often I make a video address but when I do, I'm trying to scare the most powerful country on earth, okay? That means that while we're taping, please do not ride your razor scooter in the background. Just while we're taping. Thanks.
   Third point, and this is a touchy one. As you know, by edict, we're not supposed to shave our beards. But I need everyone to just think hygiene, especially after mealtime. We're all in this together.
   Fourth: Food. I bought a box of Cheez-Its recently, clearly wrote "Osama" on the front, and put it on the top shelf. Today, my Cheez-Its were gone. Consideration. That's all I'm saying.
   Finally, we've heard that there may be American soldiers in disguise trying to infiltrate our ranks. I want to set up patrols to look for them. First patrol will be Omar, Muhammed, Abdul, Akbar, and Richard. Love you lots.


P.S. If it looks like I'm going to be captured, kill me.

Hugs, ObL
(From Take A Break, attribution unknown)

   "Military justice is to justice, what military music is to music."
- From Sinbad, AKA G.G. but attributed to either Groucho Marx or Clemenceau


   Planeteer Mike Muskin writes that he's noticed "four juicy Freudian slips" on recent TV-news broadcasts.
   First, it was announced that President Bush would lead a nationwide "resuscitation" of the pledge of allegiance. Then a cable-TV news anchor was called a network "nose-caster". Then the "war on terrorism" was instead called the "war on television".
   Finally another "nosecaster", during a discussion of the worldwide arsenal of bio-weapons and wondering whether there was also a corresponding arsenal of antidotes, mentioned the "Administration's arsenal of anecdotes."
   (Sorry, Mike; but what's funny about that?)

   "Want to make a million bucks? Invent a gadget that makes paper coming out of a laser printer SMELL like it's coming off of a mimeograph machine."
- Richard Fish, CEO of LodesTone, new home of Firesign Theatre Records


   In the latest issue of "Pinnacle", the source for L.A. real estate and beyond, you can make "an offer they can't refuse" on Frank and Barbara Sinatra's Heavenly Bills estate featuring "two maids", (Frank had it his way).
   There's also a manageable 10-acre plot called "The Ranch", which features "a kennel that serves as a state-of-the-art gym" (fine for the pit bulls, but where can we work out?), includes a pool just "a jaunt from the main house" and a 2,500-square-foot guest quarters (that's a lot of quarters per square), all for a paltry $13, 500, 000. (Do they take credit cards? Do they return them?)
   But if you REALLY want to get away from it all - I mean NO tall buildings - how's about your own little volcanic, mystical 250-acre island in Tahiti, "holding more wonder than the imagination of a child" (a spoiled child, I would imagine) and described as a "developer's dream"?
   "In the beginning of the 18th century", waxes the brochure, "there were approximately 150 inhabitants who enjoyed the few springs of the whole island. The population left and the springs," it concludes, "were buried by landslides.
   "Reduced to $3,000,000. "
   CALL NOW! Our operators are on the streets.

   "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
- Thomas Edison


   In this month's Yale Alumni Magazine I found a remarkable observation from Marina Belica, Class of '81.
   "I began to write an e-mail . . . " she wrote to her class secretary, "when all hell broke loose. Soho (where I live) is close enough for me to have witnessed the second tower collapse before my eyes, but not before I saw a man jump from a high floor in the most unforgettable embrace of life I have ever seen.
   "He spread his arms wide and did the most graceful swan dive, a mythic figure, like Icarus, surrendering to his fate, a final majestic, and heroic act, choosing to fly before he died. Apparently, many people jumped. I saw only this man and never, ever will forget it."

   "Paramount Classics felt New Yorkers weren't emotionally equipped for something bright or frothy or vivacious [after the events of 9-11]. They needn't have been concerned."
- L.A. Times film critic John Anderson on "Sidewalks of New York"


   A grieving Australian widow, Sandi Canesco, 26, has had her late husband Dustin's ashes injected into her breast implants after he was killed in a car accident, the British tabloid the Daily Star reported under the headline "Dust to Bust".
   "It dawned on me that if I carried Dustin's cremated remains in my breast implants, I'd never really have to part with him at all," she was quoted as saying in an article forwarded to me by "Take A Break".
   Tit's a fitting mammorial.

   "The Rev. Jerry Falwell says even Osama bin Laden's soul could be saved if he converted to Christianity; but he would still deserve to be killed."
- A.P. release


   The L.A. Times has been a-bursting with surrealistic news during these doom's days. For instance, while the good people of Oregon are fighting Ayatollah Ashcroft for their right to die at home; across the nation in Montgomery County, Maryland, home owners and apartment dwellers are fighting their neighbors for their right to smoke at home . . . and maybe die. Seems they passed a measure stipulating that one's smoke "cannot cross property lines."
   In the meanwhile, back here in L.A., formerly disconnected souls adrift on the mean streets are celebrating the advent of cable-TV to skid row. Says Joe Shelby Walker, who's occupied a room in the Hotel Carlton for almost 40 years, "This is gonna keep me off the streets at night." He was watching gangster movies and a John Wayne film.
   Councilwoman Jan Perry helped to get 'em hooked up and thanked AT&T for supplying service to "a previously untested client base." Many of the approximately 3,000 residents are pensioners or vets and can afford minimum service . . . and mediocre entertainment.
   Finally, there is an astonishing look into medical practices under the talons of the Taliban by staff writer Paul Watson, which reveals that surgeons in Kabul were not allowed to operate on female patients but had to stand in a doorway and relay procedures to a nurse wearing a head-to-toe burka, limiting her vision and her hygiene, like the Doctor's obligatory beard.
   (Continued . . .)

[Go to next column to continue reading]


   Prior to the fall of the Theocracy, the Doctor interviewed had not been allowed to set eyes on the body of a suffering female or to deliver babies for 5 years. But immediately after November 13th, Dr. Hashem assisted many of 84 newborn Afghans into a "changed world." And we ain't talkin' 'bout diapers . . .
   And finally, in Spin Buldak, a flood of Western journalists entered the newly liberated town, to put their spin on things. "Look at them, here they are," said a resident as reported by the Times' Tyler Marshall and Alissa J. Rubin. "First they bomb us, then they come to visit."

   "What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret."
- Milton Mayer, "They Thought They Were Free; The Germans, 1933-1935"


   The Washington Post's Style Invitational asked readers to alter a word by adding, subtracting, or changing a letter and supply a new definition. The winners:
1) Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
2) Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
3) Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
4) Giraffit