Spotted on Vacation

He:She:I love this joke, particularly as I do not believe that Dalmatia and Sardinia are, in fact, contiguous. And I think that one of them, in fact, may be an island.
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I understand that a member of The H. POST is in Sardinia. This brings back fond memories, as one of the best gags I ever wrote deals with this place.

In State and Main, a film, the boy and girl are walking past a firehouse and they see a dalmatian. He: I wonder why they have these dogs around firehouses? She: The first organized fire department was established in the year 486 on the borders of Dalmatia and Sardinia. He: Huh...and that's why a dalmatian... She: It was either that or a Sardine.

I love this joke, particularly as I do not believe that Dalmatia and Sardinia are, in fact, contiguous. And I think that one of them, in fact, may be an island.

I was once deeply involved in doing research for some project or other, and Shel Silverstein invited me to come by and do something fun. I said I can't cause I'm doing research. He said, "Never do research. If you do research, you're just reading a lot of trash by some guy who didn't do research."

On the film State and Main, however, I'd scripted a gag where the dalmatian dog jumps in a puddle or something. The dog wouldn't do the gag, and the trainer informed me that dalmatians are bred especially to avoid water. So, on that one, had I done the research, I would have had a shorter work day. Or I could have chosen another dog, but then I would have lost the gag about Sardinia.

Subsequent reading about dalmatians revealed that the dogs had two things going for them: they didn't like water, and they were white. This made them great coaching dogs, as they acted as an early warning system: they jogged along out in front of the coach, they avoided, and thus alerted the coachmen to the presence of puddles, and, as they were white, they stood out at night.

Overbreeding, however, while getting them whiter and more moisture-averse, brought out the recessive gene of deafness; thus, I assume, the dog, though doing what he was paid for, couldn't hear the coachmen yell that they were stopping at an inn, so he went merrily on to Stoke-on-Trent, or something, and the fellow was out a dog.

So they cross-bred them with another dog the name of which I'd tell you, if I'd done the research, and this other dog's genes cured the deafness and gave the white dog spots, and that's why I love Sardinia.

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