When the great French playwright Moliere died, the archbishop of Paris refused permission for him to be buried in consecrated ground. Moliere's sin? He never repented being an actor. King Louis XIV of France was a fan of Moliere's plays and determined to pay his respects. So the king ordered the gravediggers to get around the bishop's decision vertically. They dug Moliere's grave twelve feet deep, four feet below the bishop's consecrated ground.
The artist Maurice Utrillo was frequently arrested by the French police for being drunk in public. But Utrillo found a way to turn his problem to his advantage. He arranged with the Parisian gendarmes to keep paints, canvas, and brushes in the city jail so he could paint whenever he got locked away for the night.
Outsmarting the Opposition:
If you want to get out of jury duty, take a John Grisham novel with you to court. Lawyers don't want jurors who think they're smarter than the attorneys trying the case. That's what the judge is for. If you ever find yourself in front of the jury, throw yourself on the mercy of the court. Remember, these people who will decide your fate are the ones not smart enough to get out of jury duty.
Strange Customs (besides Juggling Geese):
For a thousand years, Scotland had a crazy method of treating madness. If someone was thought to be insane, he was dunked in the pool at Strathfillan, then tied up in ropes and left overnight in the St. Fillian Chapel. If the soaked captive freed himself by morning, he was considered cured of his madness. This dubious medical practice was discontinued in the nineteenth century when more enlightened doctors switched to electric shock treatments to bring the insane to their senses.
They Said It:
Cartoonist Doug Larson: "The only nice thing about being imperfect is the joy it brings to others."
"I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me," standup comic Rodney Dangerfield said. "He said I was being ridiculous, everyone hasn't met me yet."
The Odd People:
"Some people believe that it's a good idea to face your fears," comic Ellen DeGeneres said. "I usually feel that it's much healthier to tie them up in a bag, drive them out of the country, chuck them out your window, then drive home as fast as you can."
Ask A Dumb Question:
When English prime minister Winston Churchill drew a large audience for one of his speeches, a friend asked, "You must be very pleased to be so popular?" "It's quite flattering," Churchill admitted. "But if instead of making a speech, I was to be hanged, the crowd would be twice as large." (I guess it depends on what country he was in.)
It was only Tom's second day on the job, but he showed up an hour late. "You should have been here at nine," the manager said. "Why?" Tom asked. "What happened then?" (Sadly, this is often the attitude of both the admin. and employees at my job.)
Ask A Dumb Question:
When playwright George S. Kaufman arrived at a Broadway theater for a rehersal of his new show, a stagehand stopped him at the door and asked if he was with the play. "Let's put it this way," Kaufman replied, "I'm not against it."
Clear Thinking on a Cloudy Day:
Words you can live by from writer Mark Twain: "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow."
If President of the United States is such an important job, why aren't there any job qualifications? No intelligence test, obviously. No demonstration of required skills. No psychological profile. Lawyers have to pass bar exams. Doctors must get a license. Secretaries have to take typing tests. Presidents? Nothing. Any American, rich or poor, can become president-- as long as he's got $200 million for the ad campaign.
Just once I'd like to see an Oscar winner step up to the podium and say, "I'd like to thank all the little people without whom I wouldn't have known how big I really am."
They Said It:
"They should consider giving Oscars for meetings," screenwriter William Goldman said about Hollywood movie studios. "Best Meeting of the Year, Best Supporting Meeting, Best Meeting Based on Material from Another Meeting."
The Business of Stupidity:
The district manager stopped off at the sales office and asked the supervisor, "Exactly how many people work in this office?" The supervisor looked around the room and said, "Almost half of them."
Dumb Ways to Die:
Turkish wrestling champion Yousouf Ishmaelo made a lot of money on an American tour in 1987. Suspicious of paper money, he turned his winnings into gold, which he wore in a belt when he booked passage on a ship back home. When his ship was rammed by another ship and started to sink, Ishmaelo jumped overboard. Swimming for his life, he refused to take off the gold belt, and the weight pulled him under.