Planet Proctor 2003 Volume 25

"I think Italian is spoken in Heaven and Dutch in Hell." ~ New Yorker cartoon by Victoria Roberts 


     I just went through 1,745 messages that had accumulated on my server over the last 5 days. As many of you probably know by now, (when I respond to an email you sent me on July 4th}, my busy personal and professional life often keeps me away from these infernal machines for protracted and un-proctored periods of time.

      How do I face the avalanche of correspondence? I generally wade through the spam, mass deleting as I merrily go along and depending on the header message and the sender's moniker, open mail accordingly. I'm very wary of downloads, and only open attachments if I really know from whence they come.  I hardly ever open BIG files or read anything that says "long."

"Memo to Cruz Bustamante: Alfred Hitchcock's estate called.They want his silhouette back." ~ Phil's Phunny Phacts


     Ed Ryba writes: "These great tips were actually sent to me by my 81-year-old mother, Mrs. Beatrice Ryba of Sun City, CA.  When I was a kid, I always wondered how Mom kept the house quite the way she did.  Now it all makes sense."

     *Dirt: Layers of dirty film on windows and screens provide a helpful filter against harmful and aging rays from the sun.  Call it an SPF factor of 15 and leave it alone.

     *Cobwebs: Cobwebs artfully draped over lampshades reduce the glare from the bulb, thereby creating a romantic atmosphere.  If your husband points out that the light fixtures need dusting, simply look confused and exclaim "What? And spoil the mood?" (Or just throw glitter on them & call them holiday decorations)

     *Pet Hair: Explain the mound of pet hair brushed up against the doorways by claiming you are collecting it to use for stuffing hand-sewn play animals for underprivileged children.  (Also keeps out cold drafts in the winter)

     *Guests: If unexpected company is coming, pile everything unsightly into one room and close the door.  As you show your guests through your tidy home, rattle the door knob vigorously, fake a growl and say, "I'd love you to see our den, but Fluffy hates to be disturbed and the shots are SO expensive."

     *Dusting: If dusting is REALLY out of control, simply place an empty showy urn on the coffee table and insist: "This is where Grandma wanted us to scatter her ashes."

     *General Cleaning: Mix one-quarter cup pine-scented household cleaner with four cups of water in a spray bottle.  Mist the air lightly. Leave dampened rags in conspicuous locations. Develop an exhausted look, throw yourself on the couch and sigh, "I clean and I clean and I still don't get anywhere."

     As a last resort, light the oven, throw a teaspoon of cinnamon in a pie pan, turn off oven and explain that you have been baking cookies for a bake sale for a favorite charity and haven't had time to clean...Works every time. Always keep several get-well cards on the mantle so if unexpected guests arrive, you can say you've been sick and unable to clean.

     If you can live in it, they can surely stand it for a 30-minute visit!

      "Make love, not war. Hell, do both, get married!" ~ Women's restroom graffiti


     Brian Westley writes, "I just realized that part of Santa's skeleton was lost in the 9/11 attack. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was across the street from one of the towers, and it was almost totally destroyed.  

     "They were unable to find any of their holy relics, including a bone from St. Nicholas."

  "The main reason Santa is so jolly is that he knows where all the bad girls live."~ Phil's Phunny Phacts


     The year is 1903 -- one hundred years ago...

     Only 14 Percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.  Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars. There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S. and only 144 miles of paved roads. The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

     The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour. The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

     The average life expectancy was forty-seven. Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education. The five leading causes of death were pneumonia/influenza, tuberculosis, diarrhea, heart disease and stroke. More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.

     Sugar cost four cents a pound, coffee, fifteen cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo. Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

     Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason. The American flag had 45 stars: Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet. Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union. The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30. There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.

     Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented. There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school, and one in ten U.S. adults couldn't read or write. Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic.

     The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

     Just think what it will be like in another 100 years...if we can last that long.

   "Everyone in Sacramento will have more details than I have, but I know exactly what needs to be done."  ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger


     Two families move from Saudi Arabia to America. When they arrive, the fathers make each other a bet -- in a year's time, whichever family has become more American will win.

     A year later when they meet again, the first guy says, "My son's playing baseball, I had McDonald's for breakfast and I'm on my way to pick up a case of Bud for tonight. How about you?"

     The second guy says, "F**k you, rag-head!"

           "Congress is not an ATM." ~ Dem. Senator Robert C. Byrd


     Last Christmas, my sister-in-law, Bonnie, slipped these into my sock...

"Over The Hill Re-Energizer Briefs by Fruit of the Loins" -- for when It's Fallen and It Can't Get Up.     "Warning: Because you are so OLD...vital body parts are severely 'worn.' Without proper use of these briefs, demanding too much, too often from these vital parts could be hazardous to your health.

"Now through the miracle of modern science, a space age combination of silly puddy (sic) transparent stainless flex-steel and bionic bungee cord are woven into every pair of these amazing briefs, giving the wearer the strength to defy the forces of age and gravity.

     "Fruit of the Loins - Putting technology in your shorts; bringing good things to life."

          Available from Laid Back Lifestyle gifts 1-800 843-5242

  "The slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."~ George Orwell


     Bob Lovejoy's grandfather clock suddenly stopped working, so he loaded it into his van and took it to a clock repair shop where he found a wrinkled old man with a heavy German accent who insisted he was Swiss.

     "Vat sims to be ze problem?" He asks.

     Bob says, "It doesn't go "tick-tock-tick-tock" anymore. Now it just goes "tick...tick...tick."

     The old man rummages around a bit behind the counter and emerges with a huge flashlight. Walking briskly over to the grandfather clock, he shines the light directly on the clock's face and says,  

     "Ve haf vays of making you tock!"

    "I was always dreaming of very powerful people, dictators and things like that." ~ Arnold in "Pumping Iron"


     "Romeo and Juliet/New Orleans" opens this Friday...and Saturday --it's a 99-seat house, after all. We're all very excited and looking forward to the run which we hope to extend right up to Thanksgiving. Get your tickets at and be warned, we filled the house last week for our THIRD preview on word-of-mouth alone!

     Our pal, the indomitable Edie McClurg. has put together a show about the funny and poignant personalities from her midwestern upbringing.

     Blessed with an audio graphic memory (so that's what you call it!!!) Edie began her performing career at age five with the oxymoronic Kansas City Rhythm Kids.  She retired at the age of six when the dance teacher was arrested on a morals charge.  

     Her proudest moment was portraying John Ehrlichmann in "Conversation 26" in an NPR national broadcast of the "Nixon Tape Transcripts". Thus did Edie contribute to the peaceful overthrow of the government as an un-indicted co-conspirator.

     IT'S EDIE IN HERE will preview October 13 and 14th and open on Monday, October 20th.  Performances are Monday and Tuesdays at 8:00pm at the Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave. in Hollywood, 323/934-4747.

    "In everyday conversation Americans use about 800 words a day...while 'Romeo and Juliet' contains 25,948 words." ~ Dialect coach Joel Goldes


     And for my readers who pay their dues, and don't we all, one way or another, here are my friends running for the Hollywood Screen Actors Guild Board: Rene' Auberjonois, Leigh French, Nicholas Guest, Robert David Hall, David Joliffe and Paul Willson.  

     Read their statements and vote.  Give "SAG" some backbone!

   "I do not miss TV. I would never go back. I'd have to do my hair." ~ Ex-News Anchor Paul Miller


2003 by Phil Proctor
Published SEPTEMBER 11, 2003