Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z
faqs.org - Internet FAQ Archives

Firesign Theatre: Lexicon, Part 4/4

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 )
[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Property taxes ]
Archive-name: firesign-theatre/lexicon/part4
Last-modified: 1994/8/30
Version: 2.0

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
  Side 4) The Firesign Theatre: Lexicon and Concordance File(4/4)
  ===============================================================

[P]
---

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
Responsible!"

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

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street in Los Angeles.They are also historical references: Pico and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 
"Poohsticks."


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. 
Why? See {WDTPBLHEITA}.

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.



[Q]
---
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.

[R]
---

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}.

RESPONSIBLE: See {PARK}.

ROACH: See {DWARF}.

ROCOCO: See {ROCKY ROCOCO}. 

ROCKY ROCOCO: {NICK DANGER}'s nemesis. Rococo is an extended 
impression 
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. 
[S]
---

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},
{TAJUNGA}, {LOS ANGELES}.

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?

or:

  NANCY: [SLAPPING NOISE] Oh Nicky, Nick, Nick, Nick! Are you all
        right?
  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-
                   father

               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
Service.
 	Headline:

	FOR DECADES, SHE'S HELPED SUPPLY SHOES FOR DEAD

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 
   things."
   "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}.

[T]
---

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
there.

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!"

[U]
---

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

[V]
---

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

[W]
---

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

Joes Hanes writes:

..an 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...

WHIZ: See {BEAR WHIZ BEER}

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!

[X]
---

[Y]
---

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}, 
{POOP}.

[Z]
---

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".

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA




Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
ritter@earthlink.net





Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM