David Bruce: The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Animals, Art

Animals

  • When she was in the first grade, children’s book author Lois Lowry found what she thought was a very cold mouse. (Actually, it was a dead rat, but she didn’t understand such things yet.) Hoping to warm up the “mouse” and keep it as a pet, she took it home, put it in the oven, and turned the oven on to a low temperature. Then she started playing and forgot about her new pet. Her mother noticed that something was being baked in the oven, and she checked it out — then, Lois says, her mother started screaming at her for no reason.
  • Even a dog can be a critic. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed a number of mansions, but he also designed a number of modest houses. After schoolteacher Robert Berger built his own house using Mr. Wright’s design, his 12-year-old son wrote Mr. Wright asking him to design a matching doghouse. Mr. Wright did exactly that, and Mr. Berger and his son built the doghouse. However, Eddie, their Labrador retriever, apparently did not like the doghouse and so never went into it.
  • In 1924, Pep, a black Labrador retriever, killed a cat that belonged to the governor of Pennsylvania. The governor was not pleased. Because he was a judge, he decided to hold a trial for Pep. He found Pep guilty, and Pep was sent to prison for life. However, Pep was happy in prison. He was allowed to run free as he pleased, and he accompanied the prisoners on their work details. Pep liked the prisoners, and the prisoners liked Pep. When Pep finally died, prisoners wept.
  • In his book Faith, Hope, and Hilarity, Dick Van Dyke tells a story about a boy who prayed to God to bring him a puppy. Unfortunately, his mother was allergic to dogs and so she got him a kitten instead. The boy told his mother, “I thought you said that God is perfect and never makes mistakes.” “That’s true,” his mother said. “Well, you’re wrong,” her son said. “I prayed real hard for a puppy and anyone can see that this is a kitten.”
  • At a Westminster Dog Show in Madison Square Garden, a woman was selling an expensive coat made for dogs. Saying “We want her dog to look as smart as madame,” the saleslady held up a pink cocktail coat made out of embroidered silk with a lining of mohair. Sportswriter Robert Lipsyte asked her, “When would a dog wear that?” The saleslady replied, “After five o’clock.”
    When opera singer Joan Hammond returned to Australia for a visit, two of her nieces asked for her autograph — in fact, they each gave her a piece of paper and asked that she sign each piece of paper ten times. When she had finished, they said, “Goody! Now we can swap these for twenty tadpoles!”

Art

  • Shortly after Vincent van Gogh died, Theo, his brother, followed him in death. Nearly everyone thought that Vincent had been a failure as an artist, and Theo’s widow, Jo, was urged by her brother to throw away Vincent’s paintings and other works of art. She declined to do that. Instead, she preserved Vincent’s works of art and the letters that he and Theo had written to each other over the years. She organized exhibitions, wrote a biography of Vincent, and arranged for the publication of the letters. Without her efforts, many soon-to-be-recognized-as-masterpieces works of art would have perished.
  • In 1962, sculptor Louise Nevelson traveled to Italy to represent the United States in the Biennale Internazionale d’Arte in Venice. Unfortunately, her trousseau turned up missing, and the airline officials had little interest in locating it for her. Of course, she did not want to wear her traveling clothes at such an important competition. Therefore, she lied to the airline official, “I’m getting married tomorrow, and I’ve got to have my trousseau. My white wedding dress is in it!” The airline official started making telephone calls and soon the trousseau was located for the 62-year-old “bride.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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