Planet Proctor 2003 Volume 26

 "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." ~ George Carlin


        Brooklyn-born illusionist and masochist David Blaine is hanging out in London these days, suspended above a bank of the Thames in a plexiglass box for 44 days, sans food. But the natives are restless. Unlike the reception his stunts have received here in the Colonies, the Englanders are mainly contemptuous of his stunt and actually participating in demonstrations of mass derision. Yes, a few birds are flashing their red breasts at him, but he's also being pelted with eggs and rocks. "It bugs us because he acts so aloof", explains professional jeerist Tom Constantine about Blaine's "Above the Below" show. "Guardian" columnist Catherine Bennett adds, "Blaine Bashers make me Proud to be British" and admonishes her readers to "participate in an exhilarating act of collective ridicule."

        Security has been beefed up and recently got onto a fistfight with a man in a horse suit and disarmed several cockneys with laser pens who were trying to keep David from sleeping. "It's like 'Big Brother'," noted one observer. "He sat up -fascinating," commented another. Even Sadam Hussein appeared one morning waving lamb kebobs, while comic Henry Naylor tried to toss an entire English breakfast of eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and toast at him.

        But even though the crowds are hoping to see him "unmasked and revealed as a trickster," the "loony in a box" remains unshaken, undeterred and unfed. Go, David, go!

    "KFI...for the opinions you need to hear." ~ Local Right-wing radio promo


        Art Peterson, father of Melinda's Godson, Luke, wrote that while they were waiting for the school bus recently, Samantha, a girl from across the street, had a fireball in her mouth and kept sticking out her tongue and showing it to them.

        As it started discoloring Art said it looked like the red planet Mars. So Luke says,  "Hey, she's eating Mars. That's better than eating Uranus."

        "Hand over the tit and nobody gets hurt." ~ On a Space Baby onesie


        You know you're a Hoosier when:  You think the state Bird is Larry.

        You can say "French Lick" without laughing out loud. There's actually a college near you named "Ball State." Your feelings get hurt whenever someone points out the acronym for Purdue University is PU. You know Batesville is the casket making capital of the world, and you're proud of it. You have no problem spelling or pronouncing Terre Haute.

        You could never figure out spring forward-fall back, so screw Daylight Savings Time! Down south to you means Kentucky. You've seen a running car, with nobody in it, in the parking lot of the grocery store, no matter what time of year it is. You know several people who have hit a deer. Kids and dogs ride in the passenger seats of cars and the backs of pickups.

        You've heard of Euchre, you know how to play Euchre, and you are the master of Euchre. De-tassling was your first job, bailing hay, your second. You know what the phrase "knee-high by the Fourth of July" means. You know that baling wire was the predecessor to duct tape.

        You install security lights on your house and garage, then leave both of them unlocked. You know that strangers are the only ones who come to your front door. Everyone knows who the town cops are, where they live, and whether they're at home or on duty.

        You think nothing of it in spring and fall to be stuck behind a farm implement driving on the roads. You just hope it's not a hog truck or a manure spreader. Getting stuck on the road by a train is a legitimate excuse for being late to school. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.

      And you know several different definitions as to what a "Hoosier" really is.

   "I would love to watch Brigitte Bardot...doing some bend-over lateral raises." ~ Arnold, 1975


        Gary Goodrow writes that an international competition was held for the best essay about elephants. The American's concerned breeding bigger elephants. The Frenchman's was about the love life of elephants. The Englishman's was about domesticating elephants. The German submitted a 10-volume treatise on the anatomy of the elephant. The Russian submitted a philosophical essay: "The elephant. Does he really exist?" He adds that, "you speak Spanish to God, Italian to your lover, English to your servants, French to your wife and business acquaintances, and German to your horse."

    "We have people from every the state here in California." ~ Gov. Joe "Gray" Davis


"I, Mark Fleischman, regret to announce that I am quitting the race for governor of California.  My reasons are:

        "I don't live in California. I'm not rugged enough to survive a quake. Governors have to get up early. My muscles are not large enough. I don't have brand recognition. Too far from Zabar's. As a journalist my income from bribery is higher. Politics are too hard.

        "The state capitol is not in San Francisco. Serving out my term would prevent me from running for president."

   "It doesn't matter who really won the 200 election; but it was so close that it clearly was not a mandate for radical change, which is what we got." ~ Paraphrasing Pres. Bill Clinton


        -- at the "Big Brother" house, as the jury of ejected guests gets ready to chose the $500,00 winner and $50,00 runner up.  Will it be Jun or Alison??? Rated "Most Watched Series of the Summer" the diabolical producers sent a mime to help the houseguests win the latest luxury competition, a private screening of "Runaway Jury." Robert said, "I don't like mimes. I don't like puppets. Everything about that...freaks me out; and Jun added that he had on "one of those masks that freaks wear before they kill you." Ali was particularly rude. "Dude, we don't speak mime!" she said/ "Do we have to feed him? And showing him to the bathroom she said, "See, that says 'Occupied." Can you read?  I know you can't talk." Robert opined that he knew "he was a drinker. I could just tell. An alcoholic clown."

        But Jun had the last word when she asked, "What if the mime is one of the producers?" (It was actually me.)

  "Big Brother, 12 people living in a's been done." ~ George Lopez on his fellow Latinos


        If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent? If a deaf person swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap? If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation? Whose cruel idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have "s" in it? Why are hemorrhoids called hemorrhoids instead of asteroids? Is there another word for synonym? Why is there an expiration date on sour cream? If you ate both pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? Can vegetarians eat animal crackers? If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown, too? Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines? Why do they lock gas station bathrooms; are they afraid someone will clean them? How is it possible to have a civil war? Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

   "The lump in the bed next to me." ~ Bush of his wife in The New Yorker's "Back Page"


        Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in what oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in  the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe and the biran fguiers it out aynawy. No this!

 "Yeah, I did misspeak. We never had any evidence that [Hussein] had acquired a nuclear weapon." ~ VP Cheney on "Meet the Pres"s


        I awoke to the horrible and shocking news of the sudden death of our longtime friend, John Ritter, last Friday morning. Since then, a lot of tears have flowed around here but we have all been heartened to hear the outpouring of love and universal praise for the passing of a dear, talented man who left us a legacy of love and laughter.

        Not only was I blessed with a final opportunity to work with him a mere month past on "8 Simple Rules", but the timing of his departure, at an apex of his personal and professional life seems oddly kind. The day of his death, he had celebrated his daughter Stella's 5th birthday, was working on a show with two of his oldest and closest friends, Henry Winkler and Peter Bogdonavich, and was due to celebrate his 55th birthday and his 5th year of marriage to Amy Yasbeck, who would also celebrate her birthday that week. He had just put 2 of his kids by his first wife, Nancy Morgan, into colleges back East, and his son, Jason, was with him when he died in the very hospital he had been born in 54 years ago. Hoping to repeat his wild success with "Three's Company", he and ABC were counting on another number, "Eight" as in "Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter" to create great ratings.  As John quipped in a recent interview, "Michael Eisner is in my dressing room right now, waiting to give me a deep tissue massage."

        My friend on the show, Robert Spina, told me that the last interview he did about his amazing career was taped for the Museum of Television and Radio the day before his aorta ruptured.

        Never have I known a kinder, funnier and more loving man both on and off stage.  He will be missed.

      "I idolized Bobby Kennedy, he was my role model. But so was Jerry Lewis." ~ John Ritter


        I also was startled to read of the passing of Trinidadian playwright Errol Hill at 84, whose musical "Man Better Man" I had performed in back at the Yale Drama School in 1962, opposite his then fellow students Joan Van Ark and Dan Travanti.

        Since I am now appearing in a multi-racial production of "Romeo and Juliet", I was reminded that Errol dedicated much of his life to researching and writing about African Americans in the theatre, including "Shakespeare in Sable: A History of Black Shakespearean Actors."

        And by the way, "Romeo and Juliet/New Orleans" is among the Critics' Choices this week in the L.A. Times. We are receiving raves, bravos and standing ovations from our audiences even after being knocked by the so-called critics, some of whom I'd like to give a few knocks to myself.

        Come see this fascinating, sexy and very moving production for yourself.  As the Times says, "It makes a sumptuous showcase for the brand new Boston Court Theater, and the leads are to die for."

Go to for seats.

    "My mother has always been unhappy with what I do. She would much rather that I do something nicer, like be a bricklayer." - Mick Jagger


        Cartoonist/writer Jay Morton also took off at 92 after a long career that included writing about 25 early "Superman" cartoons where he initially announced the superhero as:

    "Faster than a streak of lightning, more powerful than the pounding surf, mightier than a roaring hurricane..."

     Sounds more like the Caped Surfer of Krypton.

    "Sounds without boundaries. Play maps without pressure. Cutting edges without the blood." ~ Sound Design Studio demo

2003 by Phil Proctor
Published SEPTEMBER 22, 2003