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by Lydia Bugg
They say if you put enough monkeys in a room with a typewriter they'll eventually produce Shakespearean works. Well, what if they did and then the monkey won a Nobel Prize? Not a special one for super smart monkeys, but the real human Nobel Prize. That monkey would be way more successful than most people ... and that doesn't even have to be a metaphor, because there are real monkeys, bears, and dogs, that are doing way better in life than most of us ever will.
Bart The Bear Presented At The Oscars
The Academy Awards are without a doubt Hollywood's most prestigious accolades. The crème de la crème of showbiz present awards to their fellow thespians in appreciation of high art which contributes something extraordinary to the craft. Also, one time a bear and Mike Meyers gave out an award.
Bart The Bear was definitely worthy of the Oscars stage. Like so many actors, he started his career when he was just a cub, playing the younger version of Ben in The Life And Times Of Grizzly Adams. He went on to star in two commercials, several TV movies, and eleven feature films before being invited to present at The Oscars. He was the Meryl Streep of bears.
Supposedly his starring role in 1988's The Bear generated some Oscar buzz, but The Academy ultimately decided that an animal couldn't win an Oscar. This explains why that T-rex in Jurassic Park got snubbed.
Throughout his career, Bart worked with A-list actors including Anthony Hopkins (twice), Brad Pitt, Annette Bening, Robert Redford, Ethan Hawke, and many more. He only mauled one person in eleven films, a director who entered his enclosure against his trainer's advice, which is a pretty good track record for a bear. Technically, Russell Crowe has mauled more people than him.
In 1998 Bart was nearing the end of his career. His minor role in that year's Meet The Deedles would be one of his last. As we all know the Academy only recognizes true talent well after it's deserved, so they invited Bart onstage to hand a comically oversized envelope to Mike Myers who would read off the winners in the category. Unfortunately Bart mistook the envelope for a tasty snack and chose to put it in his mouth rather than hand it to Myers. Still, since the bear didn't announce the wrong Best Picture winner he's definitely a better presenter than Warren Beatty.
A Dog Was Promoted To Sergeant In The US Army
I thought Sergeant Stubby was just a super cute name for a dog, but it turns out Stubby (a World War I hero dog) actually earned that rank in the U.S. Military. So maybe think about that before just randomly putting a title in front of your name, "CAPTAIN" CRUNCH.
When Robert Conroy was in basic training he ran across a stray dog who enjoyed training with the soldiers. He even learned to do a salute by putting his right paw over his eye. Conroy didn't want to leave his dog behind when he shipped out, so Stubby stowed away inside his jacket and stayed hidden until they were too far out to sea to turn around.
The ship's commanding officer wasn't happy with Stubby's presence at first, but when Stubby saluted him, he was like, "OK, that's freakin' adorable," and let him stay. This turned out to be a smart decision, because Stubby ended up more than proving his worth overseas.
It turns out he had a knack for detecting mustard gas and incoming artillery shells before human senses could, and he'd alert the soldiers by barking, giving them more time to get to safety. He also used his super senses to find fallen soldiers in the dangerous No Man's Land between trenches.
"I didn't ask if I had too many treats, maggot! I ordered you to give me more!"
His promotion to Sergeant came after he single-handedly captured a German spy who was attempting to map the trenches. Supposedly, the spy called out to Stubby in German, which he had grown to recognize as bad. So, Stubby attacked him and held him in place until American soldiers arrived to take him into custody. After this heroic act, his commanding officer felt he had no choice but to submit Private Stubby for promotion. This meant he outranked several other soldiers in his unit.
Stubby went on to meet two presidents, get multiple medals for his heroism, and now has an exhibit at the Smithsonian. The only difference between the dog's display and human displays is that Stubby's exhibit contains his stuffed body.
Naruto The Monkey Took A Selfie More Popular Than Any Of Kim Kardashian's
A lot people think anyone with an iPhone can be a professional photographer, but that's actually a massive oversimplification. There's a lot about lighting, composure, and artistic significance, which can take years to learn. Selling a picture to a major magazine or newspaper is something that some photographers can spend their entire careers without accomplishing. Naruto the Celebes crested macaque did it in one try.
Using photographer David Slater's camera, Naruto took a selfie that got picked up by several newspapers and magazines including The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and The Guardian. It was also featured in a book published by Slater. Like many of Kim Kardashian's selfies it was a tasteful nude.
The fact that it got national media attention right off the bat isn't what makes it so successful, though. When the photo came to the attention of PETA, they stepped in to sue Slater on behalf of the monkey, who they thought should rightfully be assigned its copyright. This sparked a long and vicious legal battle so ridiculous that Conde Nast Entertainment is trying to develop it into a movie. Brad Pitt will play the monkey.
Naruto's brief but very successful photography career ended when the courts ruled against his ability to claim copyright over his selfie. It's a precedent-setting legal case that will surely be discussed by law students and people who think monkeys are just really funny for decades.
A Super Rich Dog Bought Madonna's Old House
Back in 2000, Madonna's Miami mansion was purchased by the richest dog in the world, Gunther The Fourth, son of Gunther The Third, owned by countess Carlotta Liebenstein. Supposedly, when Carlotta passed away she left the entirety of her $80 million fortune to her German Shepherd and his heirs. His caregivers, who occasionally refer to themselves as the Burgundians, have invested wisely on the dog's behalf and grown the fortune to around $375 million.
At the time there were rumors that the dog's purchase of the house was a publicity stunt by an Italian PR company. The Burgundians reportedly planned to trick out the house with cameras and film a reality TV show about the dog and his caregivers. Who wouldn’t want to watch a super rich dog live like a boss all day?
If it was a PR stunt, it was a bad one, because the thing it was meant to promote never happened. We never got to see Gunther's lavish life on TV. Screw the library at Alexandria ... the fact that this reality TV show never came to fruition is humanity's greatest loss.
Pretty sure there’s a person whose only job is to put those sunglasses on him.
Gunther didn't disappear from the spotlight after purchasing Madonna's house, though. In 2006 The Gunther Corporation purchased the Pontedera Football Club, and used the halftime shows to occasionally screen parts of a play they had previously produced called Global Revolution. To recap, Gunther was a Madonna's mansion owning, play producing, sports team-owning, millionaire.
I say "was" because the average lifespan for a German Shepard is nine to thirteen years. His age was never disclosed back in the year 2000, but even an extremely rich dog is unlikely to have overshot his life expectancy by five years. Don't worry though; I'm sure Gunther the Fifth is out there somewhere living a way cooler life than you.