David Bruce: The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Language, Letters, Money

Language

• As an elite figure skater, Sarah Hughes had the opportunity to compete in other countries while taking Spanish in high school. When she learned that she would compete in Mexico, she was excited about practicing her Spanish on the Mexicans. It didn’t work out the way she expected, though, because the Mexicans were even more excited about practicing their English on Sarah.

• Early in his career, Russian bass Feodor Chaliapine once knew an Italian ballerina named Tornaghi who danced in his country but was homesick for Italy. To comfort her, he used to say all the Italian words he knew at that time: allegro andante religioso moderato.” (Later, he married her.)

Letters

• Sid Fleischman, author of the McBroom comedy series of children’s books, is a very good writer — so are many of the children who write him letters. In his autobiography, The Abracadabra Kid, Mr. Fleischman includes brief selections from some of the letters that children have written him. A few examples: “Dear Sid Fleischman, I have read Mr. Mysterious & Company. It is the second best book I ever read.” “Dear Sid, I think for a man you write pretty good books.” “Sorry I can’t talk long, but I’m planning to write to the president.”

• Composer Franz Joseph Haydn married a woman who was difficult to get along with, and he was happy when his work took him away from her for long periods of time. During one occasion when Mr. Haydn was long away from his wife, a visitor asked him about several unopened letters piled up on his desk. Mr. Haydn replied, “They’re from my wife. We write to each other every month, but I don’t bother to open her letters, and I’m sure she doesn’t open mine.”

• Amelia Earhart flew airplanes at a time when that was dangerous; therefore, at various times in her life, such as immediately before attempting to become the first woman passenger to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, she wrote “popping-off” letters to her family and friends. These were letters that would be delivered to her family and friends if she died in the attempt to set a new record.

• The Wee Pals comic strip features a rainbow of children of all races, both genders, and a few handicaps. Because of the black children in the comic strip, people sometimes wrote the strip’s creator, Morrie Turner, to ask if he really knew any black people. He would write back, “Only my mother and father, my wife, and my son.”

• While working at Marvel Comics, Stan Lee wrote a “Soapbox” column. Of course, he received many, many letters asking many, many questions. One of his favorite letters asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Money

• As a Methodist preacher in Texas, Edwin Porter attended the Annual Conference every year. This was a big deal because at it he would find out to which church he would be assigned for the following year. A Porter family tradition was to take along one of the children to the Annual Conference when he or she reached the age of 11. Alyene Porter, the youngest daughter, wondered why this great privilege was given at the age of 11, instead of some other age. Brother Hugh speculated it was because at age 11 the children’s understanding was more developed, but brother Paul Candler came up with a different reason: “It was the last year we could ride the train for half fare.”

• When telephone psychic Dougall Fraser was working for the Psychic Friends Network, a woman who called herself Champagne called him every morning at 11 a.m. to ask such questions as “When is my husband getting out of jail?” and “When am I getting my welfare check?” Finally, Mr. Fraser could stand it no longer and told her, “Champagne, the next time you want to call me, I want you to take $50, open a window, and throw it out. Because that’s what you’re doing every day. It is a complete waste of your money.” She slammed down the telephone receiver and never called him again.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

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Music Recommendation: Crush — “Twist & Shout”

BRUCE’S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC

Music: “Twist & Shout”

Album: TWIST & SHOUT

Artist: Crush

Artist Location: Graz, Austria

Record Company: Aldora Britain Records

Record Company Location: Rothley, UK

Info:

Crush are Christina Lessiak, Katrin Borecky, Christian Lach, Verena Borecky, and Manfred Herzog. They are based in Graz, Austria.

“AB Records is an e-zine and record label that promotes the music and work of authentic independent or underground artists from all around the world. Originally established in 2013, they revamped themselves in 2018 with a brand-new approach. Their first weekly compilation, aptly titled THE SECOND COMING, was released in late 2019. They now also release original singles, EPs and charity projects.”

“TWIST & SHOUT is this week’s sampler, 23 hidden gems from all around the world. Sharing its title with the often-recorded classic, this compilation is actually named after the song by Austrian cinematic indie pop outfit, Crush. Crush are this week’s pick from the roster of the brilliant Numavi Records. Big Stir Records appear, too. The Armoires contribute a track from their surprise April Fool’s Day record!”

Price: £1 (GBP) for track; £2.10 (GBP) for 23-track album

Genre: Pop. Rock. Various.

Links:

TWIST & SHOUT

https://thealdorabritainrecords.bandcamp.com/album/twist-shout

Aldora Britain Records

https://thealdorabritainrecords.bandcamp.com

Crush on Bandcamp

https://crushcrushcrush.bandcamp.com

David Bruce: The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Husbands and Wives, Illness, Language

Husbands and Wives

• Two Quakers by the name of Rachel Kirk and Phillip Price got married. (Mr. Price was the 4th Superintendent of Westtown School.) Ms. Kirk was asked how she had ever consented to give up such a wonderful name as Kirk (which means “Church”). She replied, “Oh, I got a good Price for it.”

• Russian bass Feodor Chaliapine knew a military man named General Ernst, who sometimes quarreled with his wife. When the arguments grew especially heated, she would sit at the piano and play the Russian National Anthem, forcing the general to come to attention and stop quarreling.

• When Morrie Turner, creator of the comic strip Wee Pals, wanted to propose to his girlfriend, Letha, he carefully prepared the words he wanted to speak to her, but he was so nervous when the time came to propose that all he could say at first was, “Will you, will you, will you?”

• Many children’s book illustrators put their spouses and children in their artistic creations. Jane Dyer once put her husband in an illustration in which she gave him striped socks and fairy wings. He requested that she not put him in any more illustrations.

• French-American modern artist Marcel Duchamp enjoyed playing chess. In fact, on his honeymoon his wife got so annoyed at his chess playing that she glued all the chess pieces to the playing board. (They were divorced a few months later.)

• Daniel Keyes wrote much of “Flowers for Algernon” on his typewriter at night while his wife, Aurea, was sleeping in the same room. She got so used to his typing that when he stopped she would wake up and ask, “What’s the matter?”

Illness

• Kazuko came from a very traditional Japanese family, but she ended up getting a Fulbright scholarship and moving to New York City. Once, she returned home when both of her parents were ill and in the hospital. Being a dutiful daughter, she spent time with both parents. Because they were on different floors, she would spend time with one parent, then go to a different floor and spend time with the other parent. This, however, was something that the lady who shared a room with her mother did not know. This lady’s daughter was dutiful indeed, spending morning, afternoon, and evening with her. When Kazuko had to return to New York, this lady gave her a gift: a box of seaweed in a bag that had written on it traditional Japanese calligraphy. Kazuko thanked the lady for the gift, then carried it on board a train, where she fell asleep. When she woke up, she deciphered the calligraphy — and was horrified because it said, “Those who betray and do not take care of parents will be punished for not knowing the virtue of filial piety.” While Kazuko had been sleeping, other Japanese people on the train had been able to read the calligraphy and receive the clear message that she was a bad daughter!

• When Quaker humorist Tom Mullen went into a hospital to have his colon removed, he met a nurse who had undergone the same medical procedure and so was able to answer his questions and joke with him about the procedure. For example, with no colon, the patient must wear a bag into which the feces collect. Mr. Mullen asked what he should do if the bag broke, and the nurse replied, “Stand downwind.” The nurse also said that men have an advantage over women in undergoing this procedure: “Both men and women wear bags, but we women have to find shoes to match.”

Language

• Opera singer Helen Traubel was born in St. Louis, Missouri, at a time when the best opera singers were thought to come from Europe. In Seattle, a surprised woman told Ms. Traubel’s husband, “Why, your wife speaks almost perfect English! How long has she been in this country?” Ms. Traubel’s husband replied, “All her life, and if I told you how long that is, she would shoot me first and divorce me later.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Buy

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Buy The Paperback

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Kindle

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Apple

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Barnes and Noble

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Kobo

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Smashwords: Many formats, Including PDF

Music Recommendation: Gian Galiano — “Watch the Line”

BRUCE’S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC

Music: “Watch the Line”

Album: BOOKMARKS

Artist: Gian Galiano

Artist Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Info: “‘I don’t charge for mistakes.’ A quote I live by. As a guitarist, composer and engineer my goal is to always produce and present my raw, unaltered, free flowing ideas to listeners. We are all human after all!”

Price: $1 (USD) for track; $7 (USD) for 7-track album

Genre: Blues. Instrumental.

Links:

BOOKMARKS

https://giangaliano.bandcamp.com/album/bookmarks

Gian Galiano on Bandcamp

https://giangaliano.bandcamp.com

Gian Galiano on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvi57pIcBm_zRwoHMtzgLjA

Official Website

https://www.giangaliano.com

David Bruce: The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Husbands and Wives

Husbands and Wives

• A woman who owned many slaves asked Rabbi Joshua what God had been doing since He created the universe. Rabbi Joshua answered that God had been busy pairing people into couples: husband and wife. The woman thought that she could do that as well as God, so she paired her slaves into couples, man and woman, and she made them get married. The next day, the slaves were in bad shape because of the fights that they had had, so she decided that she had better let God pair people into couples in the future.

• Soprano Helen Traubel married too early, fell in love with another man, and divorced her husband so she could marry the other man. While visiting her native St. Louis, she met her first husband in the street. He asked her, “What do you remember of our marriage, Helen?” She replied, honestly, “I have a very pleasant memory of being married to a wonderful young man.” He then said, “Yes, but we’re all older now, aren’t we?” They shook hands, and that was the last time they met.

• Rabbi Yosef Chayim Sonnenfeld was once asked if it was OK to have a hot drink before saying the morning prayers. He replied that it was OK. Someone who knew the good rabbi well pointed out that he never had a hot drink before morning prayers. Rabbi Yosef replied, “You are right, but I don’t for a special reason. I am afraid that if I have a hot drink before morning prayers, my wife might wake up early in the morning to warm the water for me.” (At the time, that took considerable effort, including making a fire.)

• Jerry Spinelli, author of Stargirl, a young people’s novel about a free spirit, met his wife, Eileen Mesi, when she left a chocolate Easter bunny on his desk. (They worked at the same place.) Ms. Mesi carried around loose-leaf binders filled with her poetry, which she made him read. Not surprisingly, Ms. Mesi was the real-life model for Stargirl (the lead character in Mr. Spinelli’s novel Stargirl) — and today she is a published author.

• Connie Small, born 1898, was a lighthouse keeper’s wife when lighthouses weren’t automated with electricity. Instead, they were lit with kerosene, and it took 20 minutes to light a lighthouse. One lighthouse she and her husband stayed at was in New England, and sometimes she saw no one but her husband for four months at a time.

• An actress’ body is her instrument. Early in their marriage, Mel Brooks touched Anne Bancroft during an argument. She immediately drew herself up and said haughtily, “Don’t you dare touch my instrument!” Mr. Brooks said, “Oh, so this is your instrument?” “Yes,” she replied. “This is my instrument.” “OK,” said Mr. Brooks. “Play ‘Melancholy Baby.’”

• Early in the 20th century, Annie Reel, born 1893, met William Cogburn who was a police officer in Asheville, North Carolina. Mr. Cogburn asked her to marry him, but she replied, “Well, everyone wants to get married. But I don’t want to get married without a house.” So, she says, Mr. Cogburn built her a house, and “then I had to get married.”

• Flemish painter Peter Bruegel married a woman who lied a lot. Before he married her, they agreed that every time she lied Mr. Bruegel would notch a stick, and they agreed that when the stick was notched from top to bottom, then the marriage would be over. Mr. Bruegel used a very long stick, but the marriage was soon over.

• Movie director Steven Spielberg says that in his second marriage — this time to actress Kate Capshaw — he understands that the rules of marriage say that he can’t be a workaholic. According To Mr. Spielberg, “I perfectly understand the ground rules — 8:30 to 5:30 Monday to Friday is mine. Everything else is Kate’s.”

• Pianist Anton Rubinstein liked to stay in bed much too late. Fortunately, his wife figured out a way to get him out of bed. She would play an incomplete chord on the piano. This so bothered her husband that he would get out of bed, go to the piano, and complete the chord. While he was up, his wife stripped the bed.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Buy

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Buy The Paperback

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Kindle

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Apple

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Barnes and Noble

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Kobo

The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Smashwords: Many formats, Including PDF

Music Recommendation: Rick Lee James — “The Lord Is Our Shepherd (To The Babies We Lost)”

BRUCE’S RECOMMENDATION OF BANDCAMP MUSIC

Music: “The Lord Is Our Shepherd (To The Babies We Lost)”

Album: THUNDER

Artist: Rick Lee James

Artist Location: Springfield, Ohio

Info: “Rick Lee James is a singer and songwriter, a gifted speaker, a worship leader and a Podcast host who has worked with the likes of Jason Gray, Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves, Michael Card, Brian Zahnd, Tripp York, Brett McCracken, Ian Morgan Cron, and many more.”

“Rick Lee James is songwriter who doesn’t just turn a line, but cultivates lyrics that are planted firmly in deep theological roots. […] This 13-track album combines James’ thoughtful melodies, instrumental versatility, and spoken words to create a vibe where artistry and liturgy meet. The lead single, ‘Thunder,’ is a never-before-released song by the late Rich Mullins, co-written with Lowell Alexander and Phil Naish […].”

Price: $1 for track; $9.99 for 13-track album

Genre: Singer-Songwriter. Religious.

Links:

THUNDER

https://rickleejames.bandcamp.com/album/thunder

Rick Lee James on Bandcamp

https://rickleejames.bandcamp.com

Rick Lee James on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqiv8nQ2rDBEFABOUXgdo6Q