Planet Proctor 2003 Volume 33
THE BIG BLOCK OUT OF 2003!
Planet subscriber Dean Christopher wrote:
"Eeek! I have no wish to be blocked! I do not consider Planet Proctor to be spam -- it is strong red meat, un-canned. There is nourishment therein. I hope to continue to receive the next several thousand issues."
This is typical of the hundreds of messages I received after my mass mailing several weeks ago. Thank you. It means a lot to me that you enjoy reading the Planet as much as I enjoy writing it, and be it known that those of you reading this orbit will continue to receive it; but should you ever use a spam-blocker, please make sure I'm on your "friends" list.
"The news is disease in disguise, pretending to be information," ~ Poet/author Vanna Bonta
'Twas the night of Thanksgiving,
But I just couldn't sleep,
Tried counting backward,
Tried counting sheep.
The leftovers beckoned ---
The dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation
With all of my might.
Tossing and turning with anticipation...
The thought of a snack became infatuation...
So to the kitchen I did race,
Flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge
Full of goodies galore!
I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.
I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
Till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground!!
I crashed through the ceiling. Floating into the sky...
With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie,
But I managed to yell as I soared past the trees --
"HAPPY EATING TO ALL, PASS THE CRANBERRIES PLEASE !!"
(From Bob Joles, original author unknown, but well fed.)
"Never lose faith in the copy; and never read it over before you go into the booth."~ Voice-over advice from Hamilton Camp
Actor Rene Aubergenois reminds us that around 1787 when our original 13 states adopted their new Constitution, a Scottish professor named Alexander Tyler wrote about the fall of the Athenian Republic over 2000 years previously...
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, and is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years.
"These nations have progressed through this sequence: form bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from great courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence -- from dependence back into bondage."
"Majority of Shares in Freedom to Be Sold" ~ L.A. Times Business Section header
WEAPONS OF MATH INSTRUCTION
At New York's Kennedy airport the other day, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator.
At a morning press conference, Attorney General John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.
"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like "x" and "y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns", but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.
"As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every triangle," Ashcroft declared. When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."
"I am gratified that our government has given us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these math-dogs who are willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard. Murky statisticians love to inflict plane on every sphere of influence," the President said, adding: "Under the circumferences, we must differentiate their root, make our point, and draw the line."
President Bush warned, "These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts of vertex."
Attorney General Ashcroft added, "As our Great Leader would say, read my ellipse. Here is one principle he is uncertainty of -- though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered, as the hypotenuse tightens around their necks." (Origin? "X - The Unknown")
"When I was a boy, I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it." ~ Clarence Darrow
DO THE NUMBERS
The highest prime number has been revealed after the work of 200, 000 computers over a period of many years. It is 6,320, 430 digits in length and if I wrote it out for you, you'd be downloading 1,500 pages right now.
10, 000 or so folks the world over volunteered the use of more than 211,000 computers to create a kind of super calculator performing 9 trillion calculations per second to end up with a positive number only divisible by itself and -- "one: 2, 3, 5, 7 and so on," (as it says, somewhat mysteriously in the AP article I read). We can sum it all up by quoting Michael Shafer, the Michigan State University student who found the final computation on his "off-the-shelf" PC:
"It's a neat accomplishment, but it really doesn't have any applicability."
This was also the week when a fossilized 425-million-year old "ostracode" was discovered in Hertfordshire, England. The shrimp-like critter's remarkable soft tissue preservation allows us to deem it "unequivocally male," and it has been named "Colymbosathon Ecplecticos", meaning "astounding swimmer with a large penis."
(No, I won't "touch" that one...)
"The Riddle of the Sphinx: what walks on four feet in the morning, four feet in the afternoon and four feet in the evening? A cat." ~ Melinda Peterson
Good Ol' Boy J. W. Reynolds says that a man took his wife to the State Fair and one of the exhibits was for breeding bulls. On the first pen was a sign that said, "This bull mated 50 times last year." The wife poked her husband in the ribs and said, "He mated 50 times last year."
They walked a little further and saw another sign that said, "This bull mated 120 times last year." The wife hit her husband and said, "That's more than twice a week! You could learn a lot from him."
Further on, a third pen had a sign saying, "This bull mated 365 times last year." The wife got really excited and said, "That's once a day. You could REALLY learn something from this one."
The husband looked at her and said, "Go and ask the owner if it was with the same cow."
(The husband's condition has been reduced from critical to stable and he should eventually make a full recovery.)
"I am a homosexual with Aides." ~ CNN closed caption
SIGN IN, PLEASE
On a front door: "Everyone on the premises is a vegetarian except the dog." On a taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff." In a butcher's window: "Let me meat your needs." In another butcher's window: "Pleased to meat you." At a used-car lot: "Second-hand cars in first-crash condition." On a fence: "Salesmen welcome. Dog food is expensive."
At a car dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet-miss a car payment." Outside a muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We'll hear you coming." On a reception room: "We shoot every 3rd salesman, and the 2nd one just left." At the electric company: "We would be delighted if you would pay your bill. However, if you don't, you will be."
A funeral home: "Drive carefully, we'll wait." A beauty shop: "Dye now!"
"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." ~ Ernest Ben
HAVING A BALL
Dan The Beachcomber, Melinda's hairdresser in Laguna, sent me this observation on the upcoming New Year's Ceremony at Times Square.
"I don't know why (especially on National Television) we want to start the year by 'Dropping the Ball.' In my experience, whenever I've 'dropped the ball' it's always been a bad thing -- but after all, dropping the ball does take the pressure off of keeping any of our New Year's resolutions.
"My teenage daughter can do anything she wants, but she can't touch a male sex organ 'til I die." ~ Actor and father, Paul Eiding
That was the late 36-year-old actress Kellie Waymire's soubriquet, and after attending her packed memorial at UCLA's Freud Playhouse and hearing all the heartfelt and moving eulogies and viewing the wonderful slide show and videos reviewing her life and brilliant career, it's a touching way to remember her wonderful and far too short life.
But perhaps this poem by Mary Oliver will help, too. It's called "The Summer Day" and was printed in the program.
Who made the world?
Who made the swan and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass.
The one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down -
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do not know how to pay attention,
how to fall down into the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed,
how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I've been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
(You can honor Kellie's memory with a contribution to "The Kellie Waymire Scholarship Fund, U C San Diego Foundation, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0904)
"The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between political parties, but rather through every human heart." ~ Author Alexander Solzhenitsyn