Planet Proctor 2002 Volume 18

"The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation.  It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative nature of the whole world." - FDR, 1945


    The name of the author is the first to go
    followed obediently by the title, the plot,
    the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
    which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
    never even heard of, as if, one by one,
    the memories you used to harbor decided to retire
    to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
    to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

    Long ago you kissed the names of the Muses goodbye
    and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
    and even now as you try to recall the order of the planets,
    something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
    the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

    Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
    it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
    not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
    It has floated away down a dark mythological river
    whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
    well on your own way to oblivion, where you will join those
    who have forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

    No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
    to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
    No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
    out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.
    ("Forgetfulness" by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins)

 "On June 25, 1951, the first U.S. commercial color TV program was broadcast to 4 cities; but no one had a color TV, so nobody saw it." -Phil's Phunny Phacts


  Excerpts from playwright Tony Kushner's graduation address at Vassar, class of 2002:

"Hasn't this past year, your senior year, hasn't it been the worst year ever in the history of humankind? Maybe it's the beginning of the end of the world, but please, you should not feel personally responsible. Blame someone else, blame your parents, why not? They are blaming your grandparents. Or blame the Bush Administration. That's what I do. If that gets old, blame Ralph Nader. And Happy Graduation!

"What to say to the graduating class of 2002, to you vibrant young people leaving college and entering the great world beyond just in time to be trampled flat by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? 'Duck!' might be a good place to start.

"Stockpile canned goods and huge vats of water. Beyond that, what to say? You wanted to hear from a playwright, at least some of you did, at least someone at Vassar did, unless a mistake has been made and you actually meant to invite Tony Kushner, the British Holocaust historian...

"Am I a symptom of your despair, and if I am, why couldn't you have gone for someone a bit more techno-savvy, someone from the movies, Spiderman for instance?...Or do you want everyone to think you're gay? Is that it? Is it because I'm gay? Did you hope to shock your grandparents? But you know, since the Bush Administration began issuing those warnings every ten minutes that more terror is on its way and that we apparently can't do Thing One about it, I have been feeling incredibly uninterested in sex...

"It's time to stop talking. Oh, it always goes like this. I start out not knowing what to say, and before I know it I can't shut up. So commence already!...I am certain you are aflame. Hurry hurry hurry, now now now, damn the critics and the bad reviews:

"The world is waiting for you! Organize. Speak the truth."

 "The [Pledge of Allegiance] decision...generated an emotional debate, especially in a country that puts 'In God We Trust' on the item most sacred in its philosophy -- the dollar." - Madrid newspaper article


L.A. audio producer Tony Palermo writes in a recent Radiodrama Digest:

"Years ago, a friend explained to me that there are two types of license available to you. One is a hunting license. It permits you to go into the woods and blow the brains out of some poor animal.

"The other kind of license is 'poetic license.' It permits you to go into the real world and blow the brains out of the truth."

 "I have no problem blowing up Baltimore in a movie if it's done with joy and style." - Baltimore Director John Waters on "The Sum of All Fears"


An Australian saloon patron was awarded 60,000 dollars ($33,600 American) for breaking his arm in a 1997 fall onto a Sydney barroom floor made greasy by a patron wearing pork chops as shoes, according to a Times Wire report. Ross Lucock had won the meat in a bar raffle and strapped the porkers on after being told he would not be served more alcohol "because he was barefoot."

"Babes at the Bowl" will celebrate a $22 million buck renewal of the ladies' restrooms at the Santa Barbara Bowl on July 13th. with drinks such as "The Royal Flush" and "The Tidy Bowl". Tickets are $50 @ (805) 560-0895. The Ladies Only blast will be held in the 45-stall, 1,700-square-foot facility. Publicist and FST pal Mo McFadden quotes executive director Sam Scranton as saying, "Now we can serve more beer."

And speaking of babes, Russian-born Oxana Fedorova - whose school records declared her:"Physically in good condition. Knows the rules for maintaining and firing weapons. Knows how to keep state secrets."-- was just crowned Miss Universe; fictitious interactive cyber-star Lara Croft was signed to a multi-million-dollar (on paper) contract by the Creative Artists Agency; and Iranian police have expelled that little doll, Barbie, from their country, proclaiming her a "Trojan Horse." (Are they confused over there, or what?)

Oh - and a "Monocle Lewinsky!" is available @

 "Tony Curtis, Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle and Jack Lemmon were at one time ape-masked members of Ernie Kovaks' Nairobi Trio." - Phil's Phunny Phacts


Paintings of George Washington created in the past showed him standing behind a desk with an arm behind his back, or with both legs and arms visible. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were represented. Hence, the expression: "Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg."

And early politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs and bars to "go sip some ale" and report back on people's political concerns.

The two words "go sip" were eventually combined when referring to local opinions and thus, we have the term -- "gossip."

 "The EuroPacific Growth Fund Report describes Vivendi Universal as a 'multimedia giant that owns Universal Studios, pay-TV's CANAL+, the world's largest recorded music company (UMG), and owns major European interests in telecommunications, water treatment and -- waste management.'" - Phil's Phunny Phacts


Classmate John Lahr wrote a brilliant New Yorker article on Richard Rodgers recently in which he quotes him as saying:

"People have a need for melody just as they need food or personal contact. When I finish a tune, I'm high...You own the world. You own yourself. You're the boy in the bubble."

But he was less ecstatic about his longtime collaboration with lyricist Lorenz Hart and once confided to Diahann Carroll, the star of "No Strings" (music and lyrics by Rodgers), "You just can't imagine how wonderful it feels to have written this score and not have to search all over the globe for that drunken little fag."

Hart was obviously a very talented but somewhat lost soul; and when he died at only 43, his last words were -- "What have I lived for?"

But then Rodgers met Hammerstein, and "in nine musicals over nearly twenty years," writes Lahr, "the pair revolutionized the nature of musical storytelling."

Rodgers adds, "We had written 'Oklahoma!' and every time one of us blew his nose, it was a symphony."

"Although his music is still with us," John reveals, "the remains of the great man himself have disappeared," and even his own daughters have not turned up a grave or an urn, let alone a memorial to his art.

I've had the supreme pleasure of being mentored by Richard Rodgers for "The Sound of Music" (when I was "17 going on 18") and of being John Lahr's friend for many years.

Cheers to them both!

 "The rich? A lot of crumbs held together by their own dough." - Lorenz Hart


Estelle Shirbon wrote in Reuters that Scottish poet William Topaz McGonagall, who started to write at 47 when a "muse" appeared in his flat ("I thought I heard a voice crying in my ears, 'Write! Write!'") was so bad "he was often asked to perform just so the audience could laugh at him."

But now, Dundee, a city dedicated to obscure memorials, and recently unveiling two eight-foot bronze statues of comic strips characters Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx, has recognized the late McGonagall as "absolutely dedicated to the art of awful poetry."

Billy, who died in 1902, was the victim of many hoaxes, including a note from "King Theebaw of Burmah" granting him the title of "Knight of the White Elephant", which he used for the rest of his life; but the highlight of his career came when he showed up at Queen Victoria's residence at Balmoral Castle convinced he was to be knighted, only to be turned away and ordered never to return.

"Affection for the self-styled tragedian of the Victorian age has grown since his demise," writes Estelle, "culminating in the plan to engrave the first two verses of 'The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay' in the ground near the bridge:

'Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay! With your numerous arches and pillars in so grand array And your central girders, which seem to the eye To be almost towering to the sky..."

 "Although I am too small a man to make propositions which might affect a reform in this dreadful state of things, nevertheless I may as well sing my fool's song to the end, and say...what could and should be done." - Martin Luther, 1520


Said God, after 74 years, to crooner Rosemary Clooney, who according to director Mike Nichols sang "like Spencer Tracey acts." According to the showbiz obit in the L.A. Times, she released her first solo disk in 1946 -"I'm Sorry I Didn't Say I'm Sorry When I Made You Cry Last Night."

She did a lot of crying "backstage" during her long career but laughed all the way to the bank when she reluctantly gave voice to "Come On-a My House", a quasi-Armenian song in a pseudo-Italian accent written by author William Saroyan and Ross "David Seville" Bagdasarian - creator of the singing Chipmunks.

Other highlights are "Tenderly", "Me and My Teddy Bear", "Botch-a-me", "Too Old To Cut The Mustard", (with Marlene Dietrich!), "This Ole House", "Mambo Italiano" and the" Night Before Christmas" song -- with Gene Autry.

She was at Robert Kennedy's murder at the Ambassador and soon after suffered a mental blow-out herself, being institutionalized for many years; but she made a miraculous comeback, re-achieving a measure of her past success,

"But," she said, "people ask me to sing 'Doggie in the Window', which wasn't even my song. It was Patti Page's. I just hope she gets asked plenty of times to sing 'Come On-a My House.'"

 "Either Do Something Very Beautiful or Very Useful." - Motto from Bell Lab


"Rolling Laughter" July 14th Benefit:
Big Brother sez get anyone's driver's license:
Cat Fights!!! (Thanks to April Winchell):
And for everything evil:

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay, from Chris Meyer

"HAVE A HAPPY FARCE IF YOU LIE!" and  LISTEN to 7 minutes with the Firesign, July 4th, on NPR's "ALL THINGS CONSIDERED"!!

2002 by Phil Proctor
Published JULY 4, 2002