“I remember Tallulah [Bankhead] telling of going into a public ladies’ room and discovering there was no toilet tissue. She looked underneath the booth and said to the lady in the next stall, ‘I beg your pardon, do you happen to have any toilet tissue in there?’ The lady said no. So Tallulah said, ‘Well, then, dahling, do you have two fives for a ten?'” — Ethel Merman


Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome is the tendency of child characters on soap operas to age unnaturally quickly, so they can be included in more adult storylines.

This can lead to complications that even Einstein would admire. On The Young and the Restless, the character Colleen Carlton was born in 1991; 10 years later she was 14. Even more impressive, her uncle, Billy Abbott, born in 1993, reached his 16th birthday in six years. He had overtaken her, aging six years faster in the same amount of time.

I guess boys grow faster than girls.

Paging Farrokh Bulsara

Music stars and their un-sexy real names:

  • David Bowie – David Robert Hayward Stenton Jones
  • Eric Clapton – Eric Patrick Clapp
  • Alice Cooper – Vincent Damon Furnier
  • Dido – Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong
  • Bob Dylan – Robert Alan Zimmerman
  • Jewel – Jewel Kilcher
  • Mama Cass – Ellen Naomi Cohen
  • Marilyn Manson – Brian Warner
  • Meat Loaf – Marvin Lee Aday
  • George Michael – Yorgos Panayiotou
  • Nelly – Carnell Haynes, Jr.
  • Lou Reed – Louis Firbank
  • Busta Rhymes – Trevor Tahiem Smith
  • Cliff Richard – Harry Webb
  • Sade – Helen Folasade Adu
  • Seal – Henry Olusegun Olumide Samuel
  • Gene Simmons – Chaim Witz
  • Cat Stevens – Steve Georgiou
  • Sly Stone – Sylvester Stewart
  • Ice T – Tracy Marrow
  • Randy Travis – Randy Bruce Traywick
  • Shania Twain – Eileen Regina Edwards
  • Frankie Valli – Frank Castelluccio
  • Eddie Vedder – Edward Louis Severson

Paul Revere’s real name was Paul Revere.

Satan, Schmatan


You can stop worrying about backward messages hidden in popular songs — they’re totally passe now. Examples:

  • “Congratulations. You’ve just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the funny farm, Chalfont.” (Pink Floyd, “Empty Spaces”)
  • “Anyone who is stupid enough to play this record backwards deserves what he is about to hear.” (Bloodrock, “Gotta Find a Way”)
  • “Obey your parents. Do your homework. Winners don’t do drugs.” (Information Society, “Are Friends Electric?”)
  • “Time is important. You are wasting it by backmasking this song. You want me to say something about the devil or something? Okay — lalalalalalalala Satan.” (K&H, “Dusty Road”)
  • “Wow, you must have an awful lot of free time on your hands.” (“Weird Al” Yankovic, “I Remember Larry”)
  • “Devil shall wake up and eat Chef Boyardee Beefaroni.” (The Bloodhound Gang, “Lift Your Head Up High”)
  • “I buried my parakeet in the backyard. Oh no, you’re playing the record backwards. Watch out, you might ruin your needle.” (The B-52s, “Detour Through Your Mind”)

Maybe that’s for the best; those congressional witch hunts were getting kind of scary. Saint Teresa of Avila said, “I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.”

Platinum Plus

All-time best-selling music artists:

  • The Beatles (about 1 billion albums sold)
  • Elvis Presley (500 million)
  • ABBA (350 million)
  • Led Zeppelin (320 million)
  • Alla Pugacheva (250 million)
  • Cliff Richard (260 million)
  • Julio Iglesias (250 million)
  • Nana Mouskouri (250 million)
  • Madonna (250 million)
  • Michael Jackson (250 million)

Alla Pugacheva is a Russian popular singer active since 1965. Greece’s Nana Mouskouri has been singing even longer — since 1961. Her French record company recently released a box set of 34 CDs.

Red Alert

Next time you visit the circus, if the band starts playing “Stars and Stripes Forever” — run. The hymn is known as the “disaster march”; it’s played during a life-threatening emergency to organize aid and evacuate the audience without panic.

Circus bands never play it under any other circumstances.