Firesign Theatre: Lexicon, Part 3/4

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Niles D. Ritter

Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96

Archive-name: firesign-theatre/lexicon/part3
Last-modified: 1994/8/30
Version: 2.0

Side 4) The Firesign Theatre: Lexicon and Concordance File(3/4)


HCYB: How Can You Be in {TWO PLACES} at Once, When You're Not Anywhere
at All?

HEMLOCK STONES: Yet another FT detective, loosely based on Sherlock
Holmes. Known as "Hemlock Stones, the Great Defective". His sidekick is

Michael Rogers writes,

For those who are not devotees of Sherlock Holmes I came across
this while reading Conan Doyle a couple of weeks ago:

"'Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman,
Watson,' said Holmes in a reminiscent voice. 'It was
a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra,
a story for which the world is not yet prepared.'"

-from _The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire_ (The_Doge) continues,

Actually, there are a fair number of Canonical references in
"Giant Rat"....

For example: "Violet Dawn Dudley" refers to the fact that some
of the more interesting heroines in the Canon are named Violet ("The
Solitary Cyclist" is one example). And then there's the frequent use
of the name "Moriarity" in various guises. And the fact that Watson
had just returned from the Afghani wars when he met Holmes..

Bill Johnson writes,

What B+W Sherlock Holmes movie with Basil Rathbone had an
opening sequence strikingly like the one which opens the Hemlock
Stones mystery, where he is playing his violin while his asssistant
is trying to find food, and both are discussing a case they just

John Burkardt answers,

>The movie you saw was "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", starring
>Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

>Holmes was plucking his violin, trying to find a frequency that would
>disturb flies, reasoning that if he found such a frequency, he could
>have a simple fly repeller.

>The movie was made about 1939, I believe.

HIDEO GUMP: A Japanese business man, whose son Hideo Gump, Jr.played
the role of {YOUNG GUY}, Motor Detective!

HINDE: Refers either to the {GOLDEN HINDE} or Bob Hinde, the host of
the show. Briefly appeared in {DWARF}, and in {EYKIW}, where we first
meet the aliens. They have appeared in several {MST3K} episodes as well.

HOLOGRAM: A 3D cybernetic {CLONE} of someone, made popular in the play

HOPI: Hopi Indian culture has a lot of influence on FT terms.

John V. Scialli writes:


I know that the Native Amnerikan stuff on Electrician
derived from the three or four boises from I da know (Proctor stayed
behind with his show) spending time living amongst the Hopi in Hopiland
(Arizona & New Amerikanexprexico). They brought back material for a
serious documentary and information which was accurate. The legend of
the Great White Brother is moralistic, but it is moralistic to the Hopi
who *had* (may still be if they haven't lost hopi) welcomed the Anglo's
arrival as a Sign, sign here.

I bet you think the character Mudhead derived from the Archie
comicbooks. Of course and not so. Mudhead is a very important (& my
favorite) Kachina. Mudhead is the last Kachina during pageants. He is
the Clown who provides comic relief. Kachina have multiple layers of
meaning. I know the one where Mudhead is the living embodiment of the
warning against brother-sister incest, less a baby with a bizarre head
pop out (of the sodium shop). Phil Proctor said that at a deeper level,
Mudhead appears at the end of ceremonies to mock what has gone on
before. He admonishes children not to believe anything they have just
been taught by adults and especially not to respect the opinions of
tribal leaders, these leaders are out of touch. Phil came up with this
great phrase, "Their leaders have heads of mud while our's
have feet of clay." Wouldn't that be a great album title "Heads of mud,
feet of clay," huh? And what a paradocs in that it is the elders putting
on the ceremony. Kinda like Principal Pooproctor "fuck you'ing" the kids
back. Anyway, the high school madness plot is derived from this and
other legends. If you found Electrician too moralizing it has to do with
technique, not message. Dwarf taught the same things but infiltrated our
consciousnesses with only 10% of the effect "visible" at the time.



HUMBOLT: Temporarily Humboldt (Humbolt) County. (W. John Weber) writes,

In a radio show prepared by David {OSSMAN}, and heard only in Seattle
and Bloominton, IN, celebrating the 20th birthday of Electrician it was
explained. Humbolt County is an actual county in which the FT boys had
friends, and they were fairly interested in Native American politics.
The government (white) had declared the area Humbolt County, but the
Indians in order to refuse the whites appelation (and I guess to remind
them that no man really owns the land) called it Temporarily Humbolt


I CHING: "The Book of Changes". A Chinese fortune telling device,
involving the tossing of coins or (more traditionally) the dividing and
counting of yarrow stalks,called {POOH STICKS} by some. The binary
patterns which come up are used in looking up the corresponding pattern
in an I CHING dictionary of patterns. In "Return for Regrooving" on the
{ELECTRICIAN} album, the Hippie Republic of China reported, "We threw I
Ching... out the window! We are now unanimous!"

There was also a Sally I CHING who just turned 12 today on {DWARF}.

By far the most insightful translation of the I Ching is one by Richard
Wilhelm, with introduction by C.G. Jung. In fact this is the trans used
by FT, as the wording on the albums IS the Wilhelm wording.

The Firesign Theatre, in writing their {EVERYMAN} plays, had a
tradition of throwing the I CHING before and after each of their plays.
For example, in {BOZO}'s, the first words we hear are "Biting
Through...", which is an I CHING.

The {TWO PLACES} album uses The Army hexagram, where Nick Danger says,

NICK: Well, Bradshaw -- It's like in The Army, you know--The Great
Prince issues commands, founds states, vests families with fiefs.
Inferior people should not be employed

BRADSHAW: Nick, I can't know success, but you still put me through
too many changes.

(This last remark refers to the fact that the "I Ching" means "Book of

The last line of {NICK DANGER} in {TWO PLACES} may also be found in the
Unix version documentation for ching(6), under "DIAGNOSTICS", which is
based upon the Wilhelm translation. In fact, using "ching" we can
determine the exact configuration that was thrown for the {TWO PLACES}
album. In the liner notes for one of the CD's it was noted that they
threw the hexagram "The Army", with the changing line leading to
"Youthful folly".

The way all this stuff works is, you throw some yarrow sticks (also
called pooh sticks) or coins, and derive a set of six numerical
values, between 6 and 9. The even numbers represent the -- --
broken line, and the odd numbers represend the ------ solid line.
Also, lines which came from the numbers 6 and 9 are called changing
lines; if there are any changing lines then they are considered
unstable, and will turn into their opposite. So, you have to
also use the hexagram resulting from flipping the changing lines.

Now, The Army is: And Y. Folly is: So the configuration was:

-- -- ------ 6 (change)
-- -- -- -- 8 (no change)
-- -- -- -- 8 (no change)
-- -- -- -- 8 (no change)
------ ------ 7 (no change)
-- -- -- -- 8 (no change)

So, let's go to our favorite unix-box and throw the Firesign Theatre's
exact hexagram:

$ /usr/games/ching 878886

7. Shih / The Army

-- --
-- -- above K'un The Receptive, Earth
-- --
-- --
----- below K'an The Abysmal, Water
-- --

The Judgement

The Army. The army needs perseverance
And a strong man.
Good fortune without blame.

The Image

In the middle of the earth is water:
The image of the Army.
Thus the superior man increases his masses
By generosity toward the people.

The Lines

Six at the top means:
The great prince issues commands,
Founds states, vests families with fiefs.
Inferior people should not be employed.

4. Meng / Youthful Folly

-- -- above Ken Keeping Still, Mountain
-- --
-- --
----- below K'an The Abysmal, Water
-- --

The Judgement

Youthful Folly has success.
It is not I who seek the young fool;
The young fool seeks me.
At the first oracle I inform him.
If he asks two or three times, it is importunity.
If he importunes, I give him no information.
Perseverance furthers.

The Image

A spring wells up at the foot of the mountain:
The image of Youth.
Thus the superior man fosters his character
By thoroughness in all that he does.


An interesting sidelight; note the reference to Ken, Keeping Still.
If any of you have read the FT's Big Mystery Joke Book, the last
play is one called "The Dream Play, (for Monkey, Dreamer, Mudhead
and Snake)" written by Phil Austin. It starts out with the Dreamer

Once upon a time, when time was nothing like it is today,
you must imagine that you sat still, upon the side of a
mountain called Keeping Still. You have clear eyes and
they are very strong and they see a great land and beyond
it a great sea and above it a great sky...

I'm pretty sure that "Ken" is actually K'en, which was the name of
one of the characters Phil {PROCTOR} played in {DWARF}.

Unforturnately, we don't know the changing lines for the other hexagram
thrown for {BOZO}s, "Biting Through", so we cant get the exact
judgement. In any case, this is what we get with all the changing lines
activated (we'll ignore the changed hex, since it could have been
any of the 63 others):

% /usr/games/ching 966969

21. Shih Ho / Biting Through

-- -- above Li The Clinging, Flame
-- --
-- -- below Chen The Arousing, Thunder

The Judgement

Biting Through has success.
It is favorable to let justice be administered.

The Image

Thunder and lightning:
The image of Biting Through.
Thus the kings of former times made firm the laws
Through clearly defined penalties.

The Lines

Nine at the beginning means:
His feet are fastened in the stocks,
So that his toes disappear.
No blame.

Six in the second place means:
Bites through tender meat,
So that his nose disappears.
No blame.

Six in the third place means:
Bites on old dried meat
And strikes on something poisonous.
Slight humiliation. No blame.

Nine in the fourth place means:
Bites on dried gristly meat.
Receives metal arrows.
It furthers one to be mindful of difficulties
And to be persevering.
Good fortune.

() Six in the fifth place means:
Bites on dried lean meat.
Receives yellow gold.
Perseveringly aware of danger.
No blame.

Nine at the top means:
His neck is fastened in the wooden cangue,
So that his ears disappear.

Now *there's* something to chew on! :-)

Final note: Peter {BERGMAN} remarks that as far as he can remember,
there was no particular hexagram for the other two albums.

ITNWYOYO: In the Next World You're On Your Own. An FT album.

ITWABOTB: I Think We're All {BOZO}S On This Bus. One of the
cornerstones of FT philosophy and viewpoints, and the fourth in the
FT's {EVERYMAN} cycle of plays.



JOE SWINE: "Ok, swami whatever-your-name-is, we'll be back to this
Christ-consciousness racket in just a minute.". Definitely Joe Pine,
a radio/tv interview show host. An early version of Wally George and
Morton Downey. From {DWARF}.


Kali Yuga: From "TV or Not TV", "Umperor Kali Yuga" is a play on the
Roman Emperor Caligula and the hindu term Kali Yuga. Bongo sez:

Kali Yuga is a hindu term for the age just (thankfully) coming to an
end, in a system that (more or less) defines human spiritual receptivity
as a cyclical function emcompassing multiple thousands of years.

In such a system, Kali Yuga is considered the darkest age, which some
believe bottomed out about 500 or 600 A.D. As we are now supposedly on
the ascendant cusp exiting the age, "watching Kali Yuga pass" is a
nicely poignant pun on the times in which we live.


LANGERHANS: As in The Far-flung Islets of Langerhans:
The Rocket Man writes:

Well, the Islets of Langerhans aren't on any map.
In 1869, Paul Langerhans, a German pathologist, described
cells in the human pancreas which secrete insulin. These
cells became know as the 'Islets of Langerhans'.
Diabetes is a disorder where the Islets of Langerhans do
not properly supply the body with insulin.

LEPRECHAUNS: Posed the {PORRIDGE BIRD} question to {EVERYMAN}. And
just look at the havok THAT recked!

LOMPOC: Another town in Southern California. Also used by W.C.Fields:

Cat writes:

The reason Fields used Lompoc, aside from the fact that it was fun to
pronounce, was that it was the capitol of the temperence movement in the
US, and you know W.C. Field's tolerance for temperence; at least that
was the surmise of David Ossman when he visited Lompoc in 1970, and
reported back to the other Crazee Guys on their radio show at the time.
Dave said it was actually pronounced lom-poke, but he may have been high
on pork at the time.

LOOSTNERS: Caster-oil flakes. One of {NICK DANGER}'s sponsors. "With
real glycerin vibra-fome!"

LOS ANGELES: A city featured in many Firesign Theatre terms. The
FT got their start in Peter Bergman's Radio Free Oz on KPFK in
Los Angeles. Here are some LA related terms:

{RALPH SPOILSPORT} - Ralph Williams
{JOE SWINE} - Joe Pine ("Ok, Swami..")
{YUCAIPA HEAP} - Yucaipa/Uriah Heep hybrid.
{ANTELOPE FREEWAY} - "one five-hundred-twelfth mile"
Mulholland Drive
{SAN FERNANDINO} - San Fernando

LOVE IN: A 60's phenomenon whose name and event was coined and
created by Peter Bergman. The first one occurred in Echo Park in
{LOS ANGELES} with 40,000 people.

LUPINO: Ida Lupino, an old Hollywood actress. See Ralph {BUNCHE}.


MARK TIME: A space-adventurer from the Circum-Solar Federation,
serialized by the FT in their "Dear Friends" album, and also a
ride in the {FUTURE FAIR}. His side-kick is {BOB BUNNY}.


MOUSE: Deacon E. L. Mouse, one of the characters in {DWARF}, serving
under pastor Rod Flash. He was apparently named after a pet beetle
that Phil {AUSTIN} had of the same name.

MUDHEAD: {PORGIE} {TIREBITER}'s friend in the movies. Motivated
by Jughead and Archie, and by Henry Aldrich, the old radio show.
Speculation: Starting with the second film, Henry's pal was a certain
"Dizzy" Stevens. The connection between Dizzy and Jughead is via
baseball: "Dizzy" Dean was a renowned pitcher, and "Mudhead" was
one of the nicknames of an early black baseball great.

This may also be a reference to the Zuni mudheads.


MST3K: Mystery Science Theatre 3000. A TV series on the Comedy Channel
which often makes references to obscure Firesign Theatre phrases,
including loose shoes, {SHOES} for industry, hi i'm joe beets, dear
friends, sit in a tree and learn to play the flute, as well as the

Hal Broome writes:

This time on Mystery Science Theater 3000; the "experiment" was
a Jack Palance stinker called THE OUTLAW, and the robot's line was:

"Don't crush that {DWARF}, hand me the pliers".

There was sort of an albino-type dwarf ("a negative of Herche V.")
which received this line. The whole movie seemed an Italian rip-off
of the GOR series (a feminist S.F. series -- NOT!).


NANCY: Also known as Melanie Haber, Audrey Farber, Susan
Underhill,and... Betty Jo Bialowsky! {NICK DANGER}'s old college beau,
in "Cut 'em off at the Past!". Her name is a {BEATLES} reference.
Tom Teslacle names his "Automated Pushover" after Nancy, based on
{TESLACLE'S DEVIANT}, a corollary to {FUDD'S LAW}, in {BOZO}.
Also, in British Slang Nancy is a prostitute or loose woman. "Comes in
and goes out like anything!"

NASI GOERING: An FT song. Also a type of dutch food, apparently:

Nasi Goreng..."A Spicy Dutch Treat"
Indonesian Rice, vegetables and pork, with a fried egg and

NICK DANGER: A private-eye, made popular in the FT play,"Nick Danger,
Third Eye", on the {TWO PLACES} album, and in the video episode, "The
Case 0f the Missing {YOLKS}". His Japanese counterpart is {YOUNG GUY},
Motor Detective! He is tied to George {TIREBITER} via {ANCHOVIES},
which George doesn't like on his {PIZZA}s. He is also tied to {BOZO}s
when the Whisperin' Squash suggests to {CLEM} that he could "Cut Em'
Off at the Past". Parts of the "Cut 'Em Off at the Past" episode are
conjectured to have been influenced by Philip K. Dicks 1962 novel,
_The Man In The High Castle_, which also used the {I CHING}.

NOT INSANE: The reason you should have voted for {PAPOON}, rather than
those other {BERZERKERS} and {BOZO}S. He's not insane! Refers also to
the FT's album of the same name. Crazy {ROCKY} also said, "I'm not
insane!" in the {YOLKS} video.

The 1960 Lenny Bruce album "Togetherness" contains a bit called "Our
Governers." On it, Lenny does a surreal take on a supposedly real
comment made by "Gov. Long" (probably Earl Long of Louisiana). The gov.
apparently said, on the campaign trail, "I'M NOT A NUT!!!!!!--which
Lenny really admires as a political slogan, adding: "I DON'T WET THE

Also: George McGovern's original 1972 running mate, Thomas Eggleton, who
was dropped from the ticket when revelations of earlier psychiatric
analysis came out. The comments at the time referred to the fact that
whatever had been wrong with him had been cured...thus he was now
diagnosed as "Not Insane".


OIL: A famous prayer in {TWO PLACES} goes:

"...annointed with oil on troubled waters? oh Heavenly Grid,
help us bear up thy *Standard, our *Chevron flashing
bright across the *Gulf of Compromise, standing
*Humble on the *Rich Field of *Mobile *American Thinking?
Here in this *Shell, we call Life..."

which has 8(*) oil-company references in it.

In {HEMLOCK STONES} there was also Pignut Oil (not {PIG NITE}), and
Boyle M. Owl and his Bowel Oil Company.

OM: OM MANE PADME HUM; An ancient (Sanskrit) buddhist mantra. Referred
to in {NICK DANGER}. The phrase "Om mane padme hum" translates from
Sanskrit as "Hail to the jewel in the lotus". Related to the chant
"Namu Myoho Renge Kyo", used in some Japanese buddhist sects."Myoho
Renge Kyo" is the title of the Lotus Sutra, tranlated into Chinese by
Kumarajiva and then transliterated into Japanese. Loosely translated,
"Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" becomes "Hail to the Mystic Law(jewel) of the
Lotus Sutra"

OSSMAN: David Ossman, one of the FT members.

OXNARD: A real place on the California coast, home of the {YOLK}s.
{ROCKY ROCOCO} is thought to be responsible for everything bad that
happens there. (In the FT video, "The case of the missing {YOLK}s").

OZ: The land of {BOZOS}. Refers to Radio Free Oz, on Pacifica-sponsored
KPFK radio in Los Angeles, where the FT used to broadcast their show.
David {OSSMAN} is also referred to sometimes as Oz.

Niles D. Ritter

Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96

Archive-name: firesign-theatre/lexicon/part4
Last-modified: 1994/8/30
Version: 2.0

Side 4) The Firesign Theatre: Lexicon and Concordance File(4/4)


PAPOON: An FT character who ran for {PRESIDENT}. He's {NOT INSANE}!

PARK: "Park and Lock it! Not Responsible" A common yell in FT plays.
{PICO} and {ALVARADO} yell it a lot. According to the {BBOP} book,
when Peter {BERGMAN} was young, he and a kid named Bruce Berger
opened up a parking lot one night in an empty lot across from an
Emporium show in the Midwest. As Peter put it, "We made $50 wearing
Cleveland Indians baseball caps, yelling, "*Park and Lock It! Not

PHENOMENA: Look's like you've got your phenomena scrambled. See

PICO: {ALVARADO}'s friend, as in "It's Pico and Alvarado". Another
street in Los Angeles.They are also historical references: Pico and
Alvarado were the last two Mexican governors of Alta California.
There really is an intersection at Pico Blvd, and Alvarado, which used
to boast, among other things, a decent Salvadoran restaurant. Much of
the area was burned to the ground during the recent Disturbances...
(let's just call them, the {PHENOMENA} :-)

PICKLES: Lots of pickles in FT. {ROCKY ROCOCO} is always carrying
some around in a brown paper bag, and often wears Pickle on a Rope
perfume. "Pickles down the rat-hole!", says {HEMLOCK STONES}. On
the old "Dear Friends" shows they used to have a squeeky pickle that
you could hear every so often.

PIG NITE: A fraternity party tradition: The idea
is that you have a party and that each fraternity brother is supposed
bring the ugliest girl he can find. The one with the ugliest girl
gets some sort of prize. That is Pig Nite. Attended by {NICK DANGER}.

PIZZA: Nick's Swell Pizza has a phone number very similar to
{NICK DANGER}'s, when George {TIREBITER} tried to order one. On
{TWO PLACES} we also hear:

SCHNIFTER: Das ist immer alles Aulung und ist rauch mit and potzen
Volkswagen und niemann stint und "Swell Pizza!!"

Nick also fools {ROCOCO} in {YOLKS} by pretending to be a pizza
delivery boy.

PLAYER: Another {EVERYMAN}, in the record "Eat or Be Eaten", who, like
{BABE}, has his adventures in a car.

POOH: Winnie the Pooh has influenced a number of FT lines. For example,
Tom Teslacle says "It goes in and out like anything," which is a
misquote of Eeyore (see {TESLACLE'S DEVIANT}) In addition, the FT
would sometimes read directly from the Books of Pooh for each
other's birthdays.

POOH STICKS: How the FT guys referred to the yarrow stalks used
to throw the {I CHING}. Gary Fritz writes of the origin of this
term from {POOH}:

Pooh Bear tripped while carrying a fir cone over a bridge, and noticed
that it eventually came out the other side. Then, being ever the
scientist, he dropped two, to see if one came out before the other --
and one did! This was then developed into a game where Pooh, Piglet,
Christopher Robin, and the rest of the crew would drop sticks in the
water and see whose came out first. And they called the game

POOP: A character in many FT plays, who gives speeches with numerous
spoonerisms and Freudian slips, eg. "In the words of the Foundry, er..
Founder, Ukaipa Heep,". Appears as Principal Poop in {DWARF}.

PORRIDGE BIRD: A (mythical?) bird which lays its {EGG}s in the air.

PORGIE: Porgie {TIREBITER}. One of George Leroy {TIREBITER}'s many
personas. Apparently motivated by Archie & Jughead, and by the old
"Henry Aldrich" radio shows. The old radio show always started out:

MOTHER: Henry! Henry Aldrich!
HENRY: Coming, Mother!

PRESIDENT: A popular ride in the {FUTURE FAIR}. You get to ask a
question of the computer-operated President, and get a free simulfax
copy of your question, together with his answer. {CLEM} broke the
President by asking him about {PORRIDGE BIRD}s.

...{PAPOON} also ran for President!

PROCTOR: Philip Proctor, one of the FT members. Plays the {POOP},
among many.

QUID MALMBORG IN PLANO: A mysterious phrase which recurs in {BOZOS}.
It was first exclaimed by the discoverer of {FUDD'S LAW}. No
one (yet) seems to know its true origin, although it is said to have
been written on a cigarette lighter that Phil {PROCTOR} used to have,
and belonged to a person named Malmborg, who lived in Plano, Texas.

This has since been confirmed by Peter {BERGMAN}.

Another listener is convinced that he saw this pseudo-latin phrase
inscribed in a drawing by Albrecht Duerer.

The phrase seems to be a mixture of latin and middle-english: "Quid"
may be translated from the latin root meaning "this/something/that",
and "plano" simply means "flat/horizontal/smooth".

The nearest translation of "malmborg" we are willing to conjecture is
based on the Middle-English word "malm" which the OED tells us is a
type of man-made chalky clay, which is often worked into "malm-bricks",
so perhaps this phrase refers to the conversion of this(quid) clay
into flat (plano) bricks, as consternation turns to lucidation.

The mixture of ME and latin, together with the brick reference, may
indicate a Freemason influence, but this is wild conjecture on the
part of the editor.

Many other theories abound. For example:

malborg sounds suspiciously like 'malbolg' (malbolgia?). Malbolgia,
as read-ers of Dante may remember, are the "bad pockets" of Hell,
where the corrupt and treacherous souls simmer. Here one finds
thieves, hypocrites, whores and panderers. Schismatics are ripped
to pieces and reconstituted in an assembly-line manner, liars are
steeped in a sea of shit. It is lower than that part of
the Inferno where the sensual and brutal are found, and just above the
lowest part, where Judas and a coterie of betrayers sit. Dante puts
several nasty folks in Malbolgia, including a few popes. Nixon probably
has (had) a reservation.


RALPH SPOILSPORT: A used-car salesman, based on Ralph William's ads
in Los Angeles. Also refers to a kind of mantra, which when recited
sounds like a used-car ad: "Hiya friend, Ralph Spoilsport, Ralph
Spoilsport motors, the largest new-used and used-new dealership...". He
appears in {TWO PLACES}. See {BABE} for a comparison between Ralph and
Hermes, messenger of the gods.

RANCHO MALARIO: A set of Clowndominiums build at a former indian
reservation. Includes the famous "Trail of Tears" golf course. Mentioned
in {TWO PLACES}, and also {EYKIW}, when Bob Hind was interviewing Buz
and Bunny Krumhunger about their visit with the aliens.

RAT: Rats are featured prominently in FT plays, notably, in
{HEMLOCK STONES} "Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra", in the song
"Rat in a Box" (in the {NICK DANGER} video, {YOLKS}), and in their
play "The Year of the Rat".

"The Giant Rat of Sumatra" is "a tale for which the world is not yet
ready", which is a line attributed the the "real" Dr. Watson in "The
Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

REGNAD KCIN: See {NICK DANGER}, the other way around (on the other
side of the record/door!). See also {ANCHOVIES}, {TWO PLACES}.




ROCKY ROCOCO: {NICK DANGER}'s nemesis. Rococo is an extended
of Peter Lorre playing Joel Cairo in the film "The Maltese Falcon. His
name is an apparent play on the Beatle's "Rocky Racoon".

Rocky Rococo is known to be a {DWARF}, wear terrible perfumes, like
"pyramid patchuli", and "pickle on a rope". He is also thought to be
responsible for everything bad that happens in {OXNARD}. His main
offensive tactic appears to be to put people on installment plans, and
then pressure them when they can't keep up the payments.

His Japanese counterpart may be Rocky Rocomoto, whose TV series,
"Million-Dollar Monster Crasic" (on the {NOT INSANE} album), featured
the Shake-a-speare play "Anythinge you want to", in addition to
{YOUNG GUY}, Motor Detective.

In Minneapolis and maybe nationwide, there is a pizzeria chain called
"Rocky Rococco", with a Middle-Eastern looking guy in a white suit on
the logo.

SAME OLD PLACE: The Old Same Place, in Santa Barbara, where {NANCY}
and Catherwood, her butler/husband lived. See also {NICK DANGER}.

SEPULVEEDA: A mis-pronounced street in Los Angeles in {NICK DANGER}.
The actual street is Sepulveda. See also {PICO}, {ALVARADO},

SEEKER: There's a seeker born every minute! See {EYKIW}!

SFX: A standard radio term for "Sound Effects" man. Also known
as "foley" in the entertainment/movie biz. {ROCKY ROCOCO} had to split
his "half-a-key" with the SFX man. The tools used in
SFX are often mixed up in FT plays with the real things they're
supposed to imitate: see, eg, {CELLOPHANE}, {CORNSTARCH}.

There are often SFX-reference jokes in FT, For example:

NICK: [MUFFLED VOICE] Rocky Rococo, that sleazy weazle, how did
he get in here? And... How do I make my voice do this?


NANCY: [SLAPPING NOISE] Oh Nicky, Nick, Nick, Nick! Are you all
NICK: [Coming To] Uhhh..Yes.
NANCY: Then stop slapping me!

SHAKESPEARE: What you can do from Louise Wong's {BALCONY}.

SCHICKELGRUBER: One of Hitler's father's family names. This is from a
document pulled off of gopher:

B. Hitler's childhood contacts with Jews are almost
entirely unknown

1. However, at some time before he left home, he
heard a story that may have great relevance
for his later beliefs

2. And that story was that he had a Jewish grand-

3. His father's mother, Anna Maria Schicklgruber,
had worked as a servant in the house of a
Jewish family, the "Frankenburgers" in Graz

SHOES: Shoes are ubiquitous in FT plays. "Shoes for industry!" "Don't
take off your shoes!" (Porgie {TIREBITER} did), or if you're a {BOZO}
you can inflate them. In the liner notes for the Bozo CD, Philip
{AUSTIN} says,

"By now, any serious Firesign Theatre listener knows that 'taking
off your shoes' serves us as an an anology for childhood itself and
its attendant dreams of freedom."

From the back page of the Variety Section of the Minneapolis Tribune,
Oct. 28, 1993. An article written by Mike Harden, Scripps Howard News


It's about Alyce Maddox who's worked over forty years for Practical
Burial Footwear, a company that makes special shoes for mortuaries
to bury people in. Bottom of third column:

"Shoes for the dead? Why bother?"

Holy mudhead, mackerel! Life immitates art.

SUGAR: A popular phrase in FT is "More Sugar!". We hear a voice yelling
"More Sugar!" during Pastor Flashes' Hour of Reckoning, in the {DWARF}
play, and mention is made of the "More Sugar Foundation" in the
"Not Insane" album.

From THE LAST BATTLE by C.S. Lewis, (c) 1956
Book 7 in the Chronicles of Narnia
page 10 of the 1970 Collier edition:

"But isn't everything right already?" said Puzzle.
"What!" cried Shift. "Everything right? -- when there are no oranges
or bananas?"
"Well, you know," said Puzzle, "there aren't many people -- in fact,
I don't think there's anyone but yourself -- who wants those sort of
"There's sugar too," said Shift.
"H'm, yes," said the Ass. "It would be nice if there was
more sugar."

SWELL: Swell {CHEESE}, which is put on Nick's Swell {PIZZA}.


TAJUNGA: Yet another mis-pronounced LA street name in {NICK DANGER}.
Tujunga canyon is a bit north of Pasadena, and the FT used to perform

TESLACLE'S DEVIANT: "Who goes in, must come out". This is a corollary
to {FUDD'S LAW}, and is referred to in the {BOZO} play,and also in
{HEMLOCK STONES}, Giant {RAT} of Sumatra play, where Stones chases the
{ELECTRICIAN} into the bathroom, and continues to search, claiming,
"what goes in must come out! Fudd's Law!" First enunciated by
Tom Teslacle ( a reference to Nikolai Tesla) to Dick {BEDDOES}. See
also {NANCY}.

TIREBITER: The last name of George Leroy Tirebiter, another
incarnation of P, the {EVERYMAN} in the FT's play {DWARF}. Also the
name of the {YOLK}'S neighbors in the {NICK DANGER} video. The original
George Tirebiter was a dog. In the liner notes for the Dwarf CD,
Phil Austin writes:

The dog, the immortal George Tirebiter, was the doughty unofficial
mascot of USC (Univ. South. Calif.) athletic teams in earlier
times, renowned for his devotion to attacking the spinning wheels
of large American automobiles....

The five ages of George Leroy Tirebiter are these:

-Tirebiter the Child, called Porge or Porgie.
[###Porgie and Mudhead is verbal play on "Archie and Jughead"].

-Tirebiter the College Student, called
George Tirebiter Camden N200-R. [###that's his last name]

-Tirebiter the Soldier, called Lt. Tirebiter.

-Tirebiter the Actor, Called Dave Casman. [###play on {OSSMAN}]

-Tirebiter the Old Man, called George Leroy Tirebiter.

It should also be mentioned that a sixth incarnation of Tirebiter,
named George Matetsky, actually encounters his alter-ego {NICK DANGER},
an Early Bird Theatre presentation of a movie whose title starts with
"Luck". George Matetsky was the real name of "The Mad Bomber" -- a real-
life enraged weirdo in the 50's who used to blow things up and send
ranting messages about his dislike for Pres. Eisenhower.

David Ossman remarked in a interview once that George Tirebiter,
the dog, used to walk past his house every day when he lived near
USC, that he much later met the fellow who named the dog, and was able
to explain how that dog's name had become a good part of his career...

This is quoted from the LA Times, "Only in L.A" column, at the bottom of
page B2, Wed Nov 10, 1993:

"...True, USC did boast an unofficial mascot named George Tirebiter
for a few glorious years in the 1940s and 1950s..
Tirebiter, a scraggly mutt who wandered onto campus after his owner
died, grew to be beloved for his nasty temper, which often manifested
itself in chases after automobiles.
So treasured was Tirebiter that miscreants from a rival school once
captured him and shaved the letters "UCLA" into his coat. Alas, the
hound tried to chew on one too many Firestones [tires] and was run over
in 1950.
The school newspaper eulogized: `Gone to heaven, where he will have
cushion rides for breakfast, white sidewalls for lunch, and cold rubber
recaps for dinner.'

TORTURING: "Not to be Torturing Me!" Said by HIDEO {GUMP}, Jr., who
played {YOUNG GUY}, Motor Detective. He was being tortured because
"decision-making factor absent from brain", following a terrible brain-
washing session in radio prison, at the hands of {BRADSHAW} !

TWO PLACES: "How Can You Be in Two Places At Once, when you're not
Anywhere At All?" The record album containg the {EVERYMAN} story of
{BABE}, and also the {NICK DANGER} episode, "Cut Em Off at the Past!"


UNDERHILL: Susan Underhill -- Another of {NANCY}'s last names.


VIOLET DUDLEY: An American ingenue in {HEMLOCK STONES}.


WALL OF SCIENCE: Another ride in the {FUTURE FAIR}, describing the
evolution of the universe. "Man, woman, child, ALL are up against the

Joes Hanes writes: incisive parody of the 60's high school science films. The
recounting of the history of life makes many allusions to real
paleontology, e.g,

"... sand dollar, which shrank to almost nothing at the bottom of the
pool" refers to the fossil ancestors of all present day sand dollars,
which apparently escaped a mass extinction by virtue of their extremely
small size.

" ... in the late Devouring period, fish became obnoxious" In the real
late Devonian, fish became ubiquitous.

WDTPBLHEITA: Why Does The Porridge Bird Lay His {EGGS}s In The Air?
This question was asked by the character P in {ITWABOTB}, first directly
to the {PRESIDENT}, who broke, and then to {DOCTOR MEMORY},who became
confused, and shut down the whole {FUTURE FAIR}. Dr. Memory kept
getting the question wrong, for example:

"White dust 'n' perished birds leaves its hex in the air?" Nooo.
"Wise doves 'n' parish bards lazy leg in the Eire?" Nooo.
"Wise-ass the poor-rich Barney laser's edge in the fair?"

This question was posed to {EVERYMAN} by the Leprechauns, although
{BOB BUNNY} reported that he found it written on the Great Wall of Mars.
{BOB BUNNY} asked this question of {HIDEO GUMP}, Jr, during a segment
of {YOUNG GUY}, Motor Detective. Young Guy promised to answer the
question tomorrow!

Reports also indicate that in the record "Eat or Be Eaten", Laura asks
{PLAYER} the question at the end of the record, to which Player
replies, "Aw, that's the old Leprechaun scam... that's EASY!"

An FT fan writes:

This is definitely a classical reference, which I've been racking my
brains for, but can't remember. It seems to me that some Greek or
Roman historian (Herodotus?) describes a bird which does indeed lay its
eggs in the air, with the obvious unfortunate result...


WORDSWORTH: William Wordsworth, the poet. One of his poems is
referenced in {DWARF} "Intimations Ode" (also known as the
"Immortality Ode"), from stanza V, where he writes:

Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
*But trailing clouds of glory do we come*
From God, who is our home . . .

Let's Eat!



YOLK: The poorest people in the country, depicted in {NICK DANGER} and
the "Case of the Missing Yolks" video. They lived in {OXNARD}, and
"Didn't have half of what the have-nots had!".

YOUNG GUY: Another FT private detective. "Young Guy, Motor Detective",
played by {HIDEO GUMP}, Jr.

YUCAIPA HEAP: A play on the So. Cal town of Yucaipa, and Uriah Heep,
a character from one of Charles Dickens' novels. See also {LOS ANGELES},


ZEPELLIN TUBE: A source of immense power, possessed by the Sumatran
{RAT}s in an adventure of {HEMLOCK STONES}.

ZENO'S PARADOX: A paradox devised by the Greek philosopher Zeno,
which seems to prove that motion as such is impossible; Reason:
Consider an arrow flying towards a target. Before it gets to the
target it must first get halfway there, but before it gets to that
point it must first get 1/4 the way there, but before that (etc..)
Since an infinite number of things must be done first, the arrow
could never get *anywhere*; ergo, motion is impossible.

This paradox is referred to indirectly in the {TWO PLACES} album,
where {BABE} falls asleep in his car, while the talking freeway
signs read off:

"Antelope Freeway, one mile"
"Antelope Freeway, one half mile"
"Antelope Freeway, one quarter mile"
"Antelope Freeway, one eighth mile"
"Antelope Freeway, one sixteenth mile"
"Antelope Freeway, one thirtysecondth mile"
"Antelope Freeway, one sixty-fourth mile"
"Antelope Freeway, one one-hundred-and-twenty-eighth mile"

ZIPS: As in "I'm hip like a zip, let's take a trip". One of the
{FIVE LIFESTYLES OF MAN} according to the FT. {BOZO} is an acronym for
"The Brotherhood Of Zips and Others".

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