Up the chain — t r e f o l o g y

I once joined a UFO cult. My initiation was, surprisingly, very brief *** I signed some papers, was fitted for a robe, the leader said a few words, and then I was immediately handed a small dixie-cup of poison. *** Of course, I was aghast. I said, hold on, one minute, folks, I thought we […]

Up the chain — t r e f o l o g y

David Bruce: The Funniest People in Books — Travel, Work


• Meindert DeJong was born in Friesland, a province of the Netherlands, and he had the blond hair of his countrymen. During World War II, having moved to America, he joined the United States Air Force and was stationed in the Chungking area of China. There, his blond hair fascinated the Chinese. Many wanted to touch it — but some women were so frightened by it that they ran away from him. Later, Mr. DeJong became the renowned author of such children’s books as The House of the Sixty Fathers, a story about a Chinese boy struggling to survive in wartime.

• Basho, the famous writer of haiku, decided to visit a place that was famed for its beautiful flowers. While traveling there, he heard about a peasant girl who was famed for her tender devotion to her parents. Basho visited the peasant girl, and he discovered that her devotion to her parents had not been exaggerated. Basho then gave her all the money he had saved for his trip and returned home, saying, “This year I have seen something better than flowers.”

• In 1922, E.B. White and a friend drove across the country in a Model T they named Hotspur (from a character in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1), eventually ending up in Seattle, but not before watching the Kentucky Derby. Mr. White lost $5 (approximately $40 in today’s money) betting on the race, but recouped his loss by writing a poem about the winner of the race and selling it to the Louisville Herald.

• While visiting the cathedral at Milan, Italy, Mark Twain and a friend wished to go aloft. A sacristan told the party “to go up one hundred and eighty-two steps and stop till he came.” According to Mr. Twain, “It was not necessary to say stop — we should have done that any how. We were tired by the time we got there.”

• Johanna Hurwitz, author of Busybody Nora, usually writes in her study, although while traveling, she occasionally writes elsewhere. During an airplane trip, a flight attendant asked her if she wanted a beverage. Ms. Hurwitz looked up from her writing and wondered, “What is this lady doing in my study?”

• James Boswell said about a well-known tourist destination that the pleasure of seeing it wasn’t worth even half a guinea. His friend, Samuel Johnson, replied, “But, sir, there is half a guinea’s worth of inferiority to other people in not having seen it.”


• Jonathan Swift once traveled with a lazy servant. One night, he gave his boots to the lazy servant to clean and shine, but the next morning they were still dirty. When Dean Swift asked for an explanation, the lazy servant said that he had not cleaned them because Dean Swift was going to ride again today, and what was the use of cleaning them if they were just going to get dirty again. Hearing that, Dean Swift told the servant to get ready immediately to continue their journey. The servant protested, “But I haven’t eaten breakfast yet!” Dean Swift responded, “What is the use of feeding you breakfast if you are just going to get hungry again?” After that, Dean Swift had his boots cleaned and shined each night, and the servant ate breakfast each morning.

• In Roughing It, Mark Twain wrote about working as a common laborer in a quartz mill, where he refined silver ore into silver bricks. After a week of backbreaking labor, he went to his employer and said that although he had come to love the work, he felt that he could not continue working without a raise. The employer countered by saying that he was paying Mr. Twain $10 a week, which he felt was a fair sum, and just how much of a raise did Mr. Twain want? Mark Twain replied that $400,000 a month, and board, was all he could reasonably ask, considering the hard times. Of course, Mr. Twain was then ordered off the premises of the quartz mill.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: Los Hidrocálidos — “Cuatreros “ [“Rusters”]


Music: “Cuatreros “ [“Rusters”]


Artist: Los Hidrocálidos

Artist Location: Toledo, Spain

Record Company: Roctopus Tea Party Records

Record Company Location: Toledo, Spain

Info: This is a compilation record featuring three songs each by these groups:

Los Hidrocálidos

Els Morts

The Gorgons


Genre: Rock




Roctopus Tea Party Records


Los Hidrocálidos on Bandcamp


Els Morts on Bandcamp


The Gorgons on Bandcamp