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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about... humorous nature writer Will Cuppy.


CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood
The words funny and environmental are seldom seen in each other's company. It's almost as though they're ashamed of each other. With that in mind we would like to take note of that rare bird: The funny nature writer. Sixty-six years ago, Will Cuppy published How To Tell Your Friends From The Apes, the first book of his humorous trilogy on natural history. In the second book of the series, How To Become Exctinct , Cuppy wrote: "The Dodo never had a chance. He seems to have been invented for the sole purpose of becoming extinct and that was all he was good for." Will Cuppy was born in Indiana in 1884, and lived much of his life as a hermit on the then-undeveloped Jones Beach of New York. His writing appeared in The New York Herald Tribune, The New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post. The success of the third book in the trilogy, How To Attract The Wombat, got him a short-lived program on NBC radio where he discussed his pet peeves which included everything from parrots to tripe to fried bananas to the classification of bats as mammals. Will Cuppy died in 1949, a suicide. Ironically, the following year his most successful book was published. The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody. In it, Mr. Cuppy tells you all the stuff that doesn't get included in most history books, including the fact that every time Hannibal used his elephants in battle he lost. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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