Day: November 9, 2020
David Bruce: The Funniest People in Books, Volume 3 — Children, Christmas, Clothing, Comic Books
• As a young schoolboy, Samuel Langhorne Clemens got into trouble with his teacher, and she sent him outside to find a switch that she could use to hit him. Young Samuel returned with a wood shaving that would definitely not hurt if it were used as a switch. Later in life, Sam became better known to the world as the celebrated humorist Mark Twain.
• When poet Robert Frost was growing up, his favorite book was Tom Brown’s Schooldays, which was one of the books that his mother read out loud to her children. Young Robert loved the book so much that he wanted his mother to read and reread the other chapters, but he wouldn’t let her read the ending. Why? He wanted the book to never end.
• Early in E.E. Cummings’ life, his mother, Rebecca, felt that he might become a great poet, and she wrote down his very earliest poems. For example, his first-ever poem — written at age three! — is this: “Oh my little birdie oh / With his little toe toe toe!” According to E.E., “I did not decide to become a poet — I was always writing poetry.”
• The grandparents of J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, owned a grocery store. Therefore, after the store had closed for the day, young J.K. and her sister were able to play “grocery store” with real food — as long as they put everything back when they were done playing.
• The parents of children’s book author Avi are Jewish, although they were not especially observant when Avi and his siblings were growing up. True, the family would light candles at Hanukkah, but they also kept a Christmas tree in their home. That is, they kept a Christmas tree unless Avi’s maternal grandfather was visiting. He absolutely refused to enter their home when a Christmas tree was inside, so when he visited in the winter, the Christmas tree was kept outside. In addition, during Passover, Avi’s father would read a book of his own choosing, hiding it inside the Haggadah, which contains the story of Passover. (As an adult, Avi was an atheist.)
• In Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries books, the American mother of Princess Mia of Genovia is an artist whose mother puts up a dead celebrity tree each Christmas. The tree is a regular tree, but the decorations are photographs of celebrities who have died that year.
• Beatrix Potter wore sturdy clothing because of her work on the farms she owned. The wool in her clothing came from the sheep she owned, and she wore clogs in the fields. However, the sturdy clothing was hardly fashionable. A tramp she met once on a road as she walked to a pasture during a cold and windy day thought that she was homeless like himself and greeted her with, “It’s a sad weather for the likes o’ thee and me!
• MAD magazine publisher William M. Gaines was either overweight or grossly overweight throughout his adult life. Whenever he became grossly overweight, he would diet until he became merely overweight. Because his weight kept fluctuating, whenever he went shopping and found a shirt or pair of pants that he really liked, he would buy it in several sizes so that no matter what he weighed, he could wear it.
• Marvel comic-book maven Stan Lee always had a sense of humor. For the cover of the 17th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, he wrote this warning: “If you don’t say this is one of the greatest issues you’ve ever read, we may never talk to you again!” He also started a Marvel fan club, but at first he revealed only the initials — not the name — of the fan club: MMMS. He allowed readers to try to guess what the initials stood for, but no one got the right answer: the Merry Marvel Marching Society. Mr. Lee’s letters pages in his comic books were also entertaining and informal rather than stuffy. The letters written to him started with “Hi, Stan” instead of “Dear Editor,” and Mr. Lee always responded with “Hey,” followed by the writer’s name. He also threw around a lot of phrases such as “Hang loose” and “’Nuff said.” When these phrases started to appear on the letters pages of non-Marvel comic books, Mr. Lee started using “Excelsior!” — Latin for “Higher!”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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Music Recommendation: The Bralettes — “Maybe”
BRUCE’S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC
Artist: The Bralettes
Artist Location: Dallas, Texas
Info: All proceeds will be donated to Dallas mutual aid organizations.
Paulina Costilla – Guitar, Vocals, Percussion
Molly Hernandez – Bass, Vocals, Percussion
Andy Cantu – Drums, Percussion
“Be confident. Love yourself and your body. Start a band and take your shirt off in front of strangers. Do whatever you want.”
Price: Name Your Price (Includes FREE) for track or for four-track EP