David Bruce: The Funniest People in Books — Research, Revenge, Sales, Sex, Sports


• Peter Ustinov says that being famous is a handicap when it comes to doing first-hand research. For example, he can’t go into a brothel in Hamburg, Germany, to do research for a thriller because people ask him for his autograph.


• When the parents of author Michael Thomas Ford divorced after a long marriage, his mother — who had run away with another man — sent his father a long list of items that she said she would come by and pick up. She also included a much shorter list of items that she would allow him to keep. After receiving the letter. Mr. Ford’s father spent a lot of time in the horse barn. Soon, Mr. Ford’s mother came by and loaded up a huge U-Haul truck with stuff she and her husband had accumulated together during 35 years of marriage, and she also loaded ten heavy boxes labeled “Dishes” and “Garden Stuff,” leaving behind a piano she didn’t have room for. After she had left, Mr. Ford’s father had a big smile on his face, and Mr. Ford asked him why. His father replied, “Did you see those big cardboard boxes? The ones marked ‘Dishes’ and ‘Garden Stuff’? I put those there. They were filled with bags of horse sh*t taken from the barn.”

• The ancient Greek poet Ibykos (who lived in the 6th century B.C.E.) was said to have been murdered by robbers. Before dying, he exclaimed to the robbers that some birds — cranes — nearby would be his avengers. The robbers laughed at him and murdered him anyway. When the robbers entered a city later, one of the robbers saw some cranes and shouted, “Look — the avengers of Ibykos.” This aroused the curiosity of the citizens of the city, who — after investigating and discovering that the robbers had murdered Ibykos — put the robbers to death.


• Valerie Taylor was one of the first people to write positive lesbian fiction. She remembers the first time she saw someone buying one of her novels. She felt like rushing up to him, shaking his hand, and thanking him, but managed to restrain herself.

• After James M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, wrote his first book, Better Dead, and paid a publisher to print it, he used to hang around newsstands, hoping to see someone buy a copy.


• Screenwriter Gene Fowler was tending the lawn of his California home when a car drove up to him and stopped, then the driver asked about a glamorous, sexy movie star, “Does Lana Turner live here?” Mr. Fowler looked up and answered, “If Lana Turner lived here, do you think I would be outdoors?”

• While Dorothy Parker was on her honeymoon, editor Harold Ross sent her a telegram asking her if she had finished an article she was writing for The New Yorker. She replied with this telegram: “TOO F*CKING BUSY, AND VICE VERSA.”


• When he was a young boy, young people’s book author Walter Dean Myers went with some other boys to a church gym, where they hoped to play full-court basketball. They were disappointed when they found half of the court occupied by girls who danced, then stretched. The boys made what they thought were appropriately disgusted comments, and the girls made a deal with them. If the boys could do the stretching exercises that the girls were doing, the girls would leave and allow the boys to play full-court basketball, but if the boys could not do the stretching exercises, then they had to perform the dance routine with them. The boys accepted the offer, but they quickly discovered that none of them were limber enough to do the stretching exercises that the girls were doing. The girls made the boys live up to the deal they had made — the boys had to perform the dance routine with them.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


The Funniest People in Books — Buy:



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Music Recommendation: Howlin’ Wolf — “Smokestack Lightin'”


Music: “Smokestack Lightnin’”


Artist: Howlin’ Wolf (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976)

Record Company: Goldenlane

Record Company: Los Angeles, California

Info: “Howlin’ Wolf was one of the most important post-war American bluesmen whose Southern background helped define the ‘Chicago Sound’ of the 1950s. Born and raised in rural Mississippi, Wolf (born Chester Arthur Burnett) began his musical career singing in his local Baptist church.”

Price: $1 (USD) for track; $9 (USD) for 11-track album

Genre: Blues




Goldenlane Record Company