Archive for the ‘mark twain’ Tag

03/06/2023 “Conformity & Conscience”   Leave a comment

I’ve had more time to contemplate things and myself over the last few years than I ever thought I would have. Many years as a workaholic kept me running at an insane pace leaving very little time for self-evaluation and concerns of conforming to meet the expectations of others. As busy and crazy as my life was at the time, I always looked for a way to separate myself from the crowd. It was done without a lot of thought, and I paid a price for all of my more stupid decisions. I always felt that I had to be different and regardless of the consequences I pursued that end. Overall, it was worth doing because I learned a lot about myself and about many of my closest family and friends, they gave me a steady drumbeat for most of my life of “your being weird” or “get with the program”. One of the phrases I hated the most was “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” That was like “fingernails on a blackboard” for me. For you youngsters, check with your parents if you want to know what a blackboard is. I’ve spent the last few weeks, bedridden with a fractured ankle with plenty of time to reflect on things. I must be doing and saying something right because my ever-present bodyguard, my cat Lucy, has been agreeing with me on everything. I thought in fairness I would search out a second opinion and who better to ask than my favorite smartass, Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“Your conscience is a nuisance. A conscience is like a child. If you pet it and play with it and let it have everything that it wants, it becomes spoiled and intrudes on all of your amusements and griefs. Treat your conscience as you would anything else. When it is rebellious, spank it – be severe with it, argue with it, prevent it from coming to play with you at all hours, and you will secure a good conscience; that is to say, a properly trained one. A spoiled one simply destroys all the pleasure in life. I think I have reduced mine to order. At least, I haven’t heard from it for some time. Perhaps I have killed it from over severity,”

THANKS ONCE AGAIN MARK

01/05/2023 “Odds & Ends”   Leave a comment

Being a collector of useless information and all types of odd trivia, I offer for your enjoyment today the following list of really strange occurrences and/or coincidences. I’ve firmly believed for years that there are no such things as coincidences but maybe these will prove me wrong.

  • The Surete, the French precursor and modern counterpart of the FBI, was founded in 1812 by a man who was once named Public Enemy Number One. Eugene-Francois Vidocq, a thief and outlaw, evaded the police for years, turned police spy, joined the force as a detective, and used his knowledge of crime to establish a new crime fighting organization, the Surete.
  • The carpenter who built the first stocks in Boston in 1634, a man named Palmer, was the first to occupy them. He was charged with over-billing the town elders for the construction, found guilty, and sentenced to spend a half-hour in the stocks he had recently completed.
  • To help determine on what floor it should have its offices in one of the two World Trade Center towers, a Japanese company hired a soothsayer to throw dice.
  • A Harvard student on his way home to visit his parents fell between two railroad cars in Jersey City, New Jersey, and was rescued by an actor on his way to visit his sister in Philadelphia. The student was Robert Lincoln, heading to the White House to visit his father. The actor was Edwin Booth, the brother of the man who in a few weeks would murder the student’s father.
  • The celebrated seventeenth-century pirate William Kidd was a wealthy landowner in New York state.

  • Mark Twain was born in 1835 when Halley’s comet appeared. He predicted he would die when Halley’s comet next returned to scare everyone – and he did, in 1910. The comet returned again in 1986.
  • U.S. Congressmen expressed surprise on learning in 1977 that it takes fifteen months of instruction at the Pentagon’s School of Music to turn out a bandleader but merely thirteen months to train a jet pilot.
  • Eleven days before the statute of limitations was to expire on the three-million-dollar Brink’s bank robbery in Boston in 1950, one of the robbers confessed and betrayed his fellow robbers.
  • During the Gold Rush days in California, Charlie Parkhurst was a stagecoach driver, taking passengers and gold shipments along dangerous roads. Charlie smoked cigars, chewed tobacco, played cards, drank and at one time shot dead two highwaymen. On December 31, 1879, Charlie was found dead at his home. As they were dressing the body for burial it was discovered that Charlie Parkhurst was a woman.
  • The slave, Henry Brown escaped from Virginia in 1858 by hiding (with a box of biscuits and a bladder of water) in a box that was shipped from Richmond to Philadelphia. There, he popped out into “the free world.” He was forever after known as “Box” Brown.

Here is a message from my new 2023 calendar that specializes in profanity laced sayings.

January 5 – CHASE YOUR BIG F*****G DREAMS

12/20/2022 🎄A Twain Christmas🎄   2 comments

I’ve been a fan of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) since my early teens. His subtle sense of humor and satirical skills captured me immediately. His story telling is as good as it gets which is why after more than sixty-five years, I can still recall passages from his books as well as descriptions of the characters he skillfully created. In 1875, Mark Twain wrote a letter to his daughter Susie, who was three years old at the time. He conveys beautifully the spirit of Christmas and his love for his daughter. Unfortunately, she passed away at the age of twenty-four. Here is a copy of that letter. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

“A Letter From Santa Claus” by Mark Twain

My Dear Susie Clemens,

I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me. I can read your and your baby sister’s jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all. But I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your mother and the nurses, for I am a foreigner and cannot read English writing well. You will find that I made no mistakes about the things which you and the baby ordered in your own letters – I went down your chimney at midnight when you were asleep and delivered them all myself – and kissed both of you, too. But there were one or two small orders which I could not fill because we ran out of stock …

There was a word or two in your mama’s letter which I took to be “a trunk full of doll’s clothes.” Is that it? I will call at your kitchen door about nine o’clock this morning to inquire. But I must not see anybody, and I must not speak to anybody but you. When the kitchen doorbell rings, George must be blindfolded and sent to the door. You must tell George he must walk on tiptoe and not speak—otherwise he will die someday. Then you must go up to the nursery and stand on a chair or the nurse’s bed and put your ear to the speaking tube that leads down to the kitchen and when I whistle through it you must speak in the tube and say, “Welcome, Santa Claus!” Then I will ask whether it was a trunk you ordered or not. If you say it was, I shall ask you what color you want the trunk to be and then you must tell me every single thing in detail which you want the trunk to contain. Then when I say “Good-by and a merry Christmas to my little Susy Clemens,” you must say “Good-by, good old Santa Claus, I thank you very much.” Then you must go down into the library and make George close all the doors that open into the main hall, and everybody must keep still for a little while.

I will go to the moon and get those things and in a few minutes I will come down the chimney that belongs to the fireplace that is in the hall – if it is a trunk you want – because I couldn’t get such a thing as a trunk down the nursery chimney, you know. If I should leave any snow in the hall, you must tell George to sweep it into the fireplace, for I haven’t time to do such things. George must not use a broom, but a rag – else he will die someday. If my boot should leave a stain on the marble, George must not holystone it away. Leave it there always in memory of my visit; and whenever you look at it or show it to anybody you must let it remind you to be a good little girl. Whenever you are naughty and someone points to that mark which your good old Santa Claus’s boot made on the marble, what will you say, little sweetheart?

Good-by for a few minutes, till I come down to the world and ring the kitchen doorbell.

Your loving Santa Claus
Whom people sometimes call
“The Man in the Moon”

MERRY CHRISTMAS

And thank you Mark.

11/11/2022 “Samuel Clemens”   3 comments

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910)

I first became a fan of Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain as a youngster. I was quite the reader at a very young age and was instantly captivated by the story of Tom Sawyer and his adventures along and on the Mississippi river. That’s when I discovered one of my first “Happy Places”, my ability to get totally consumed by a book. That ability has served me well for more than seventy years and it still makes me happy. He lived an adventurous life and is famous for his biting sense of humor. Here’s why.

  • “Always do right. This greatly gratifies some people and astonish the rest.”
  • “When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear.”
  • “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
  • “It takes your enemy and your friend working together to hurt you to the heart: one to slander you and the other to get the news to you.”
  • “Man is the only animal that blushes – or needs to.”

  • “Familiarity breeds contempt . . . and children.”
  • “Confession may be good for my soul, but it sure plays hell with my reputation.”
  • “Good breeding exists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.”
  • “It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.”
  • “I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up.”

And finally, one of my all-time favorite quotes from Mr. Clemens which could apply to so many things.

“Noise prevents nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.”

PICK UP A GOOD BOOK AND LOSE YOURSELF

06/21/2022 What . . . Huh?   Leave a comment

I love sharing quotations with you and I have more of them than I have limericks. I know that’s hard to believe but it’s true. Most quotations are meant to offer up some sort of truth or to pluck at our sentimental heartstrings. Those are all fine and good but really not the ones I like best. I love celebrity quotes because most of them are humorous, and they help to humanize celebrities that always need a little humanizing. Here are a few I discovered.

  • “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas A. Edison
  • “Music should strike fire from the heart of man and bring tears from the eyes of woman.” Ludvig von Beethoven
  • “Middle age is when you’ve met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else.” Ogden Nash
  • “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” Sir Paul McCartney
  • “I’ve done the calculation and your chances of winning the lottery are identical whether you play or not.” Fran Leibowitz
  • “There is nothing so annoying as to have two people talking when you’re busy interrupting.” Mark Twain
  • “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

LET’S HOPE THEY NEVER STOP REGALING US WITH THEIR WISDOM

06/04/2022 “Samuel Clemens”   Leave a comment

There are many things I really love but in particular two should be mentioned. The first is sarcasm and without it I’d be an empty shell of a man. The second thing I love is a person. I’ve been a huge fan of Samuel L. Clemens or as he’s better-known, Mark Twain, since I learned how to read his writings. He was the master of using humor and sarcasm to explain his feelings about almost everything. What follows is his famous War-Prayer. If I had my way this prayer would be posted in every government building on the planet, especially in Russia, and be mandatory reading for any person seeking or holding an advanced military rank. War is truly hell.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the “greatest humorist the United States has produced”.

The War Prayer

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts.

AMEN

(Sarcasm Off)

02/26/2022 Down Home Philosophy   Leave a comment

William Penn Adair Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an American vaudeville performer, actor, and humorous social commentator. He was born as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, in the Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma) and was known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son”. By the mid-1930s, he was hugely popular in the United States for his leading political wit and was the highest paid of Hollywood film stars. He died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska.

That last paragraph is the current description of this man but barely does him justice. He and Mark Twain have always been my two favorite philosophers. I’ve read the writings of many of the ancient philosophers, but they are difficult to relate to. These two men always used wisdom delivered with biting humor to make their points and it was magical. Here is just a small sampling of his quotes which still ring true here in the twenty-first century. Enjoy . . .

  • “After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him… The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.”   
  • “When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”
  • “Democrats are the only reason to vote for Republicans.”
  • “The short memories of the American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.”
  • “If America ever passes out as a great nation, we ought to put on our tombstone: America died from a delusion she had Moral Leadership.”
  • “The taxpayers are sending congressmen on expensive trips abroad. It might be worth it except they keep coming back.”
  • “If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.”   
  • “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”
  • “Last year we said, ‘Things can’t go on like this’, and they didn’t, they got worse.”
  • “A man only learns by two things; one is reading, and the other is association with smarter people.” 
  • “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

HE NEVER MET A MAN HE DIDN’T LIKE

10/15/2021 Day Four – Misc. Trivia   Leave a comment

VARIOUS ODD FACTS

  • In 1679, Messrs. Green, Barry and Hill were hanged at Tyburn for a murder they committed at Greenberry Hill.
  • Melanie Griffith has a tattoo of a pear on her butt.
  • And not to be outdone, Anna Kournikova has the tattoo of the sun on her butt.
  • Andrew Jackson (1829-37) once killed a man in a duel because he insulted his wife.
  • John Quincy Adams (1825-29) used to take a swim in the Potomac River every morning naked.
  • Jimi Hendrix lost his virginity at age 12.
  • Mark Twain lost his virginity at age 34.

MARK TWAIN WISDOM

  • “There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.”
  • “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
  • “Education is what you must acquire without any interference from your schooling.”
  • “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.”
  • “Familiarity breeds contempt . . . and children.”

INSURANCE

  • Dolly Parton insured her breasts for $3 million.
  • Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance, insured his legs for $40 million.
  • Tina Turner insured her lips for $1 million and her breasts for $750,000.
  • Bruce Springsteen insured his voice for $5 million.
  • Jennifer Lopez insured her entire body for 1 billion dollars.

FYI: I’M INSURING MY RIGHT HAND FOR $10 BILLION

03-29-16 Journal–Reading & Writing!   Leave a comment

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Most people who blog love to write and I guess that’s understandable. What I don’t understand are those people out there who choose not to write or read. I’m not criticizing, just questioning why. It seems that some people are wired differently and just aren’t all that interested. I read almost the entire Lord of the Rings story to my young son and he enjoyed it immensely.  I can honestly say that might be the last book he ever had read to him and he hasn’t read one on his own very often if ever.  He just isn’t interested in reading.

Is it nature or nurture?  I really don’t have a clue.  Using my son again as an example, on his twelfth birthday I bought him a book on the history of baseball and statistics on every player of note for the last fifty years. I knew he loved sports and I took a shot. The book was four inches thick and I thought if nothing else he could use it as a door stop.  He read the entire book in a few weeks and remembered almost every statistic on every player. After a time he drove me nuts quoting stats every time we talked.  Apparently he was over-the-top interested in sports.

You all know how much I love the written word and trivia so I decided to combine them for todays post.  Here’s my collection of useless information on the written word.

  • The number  of children in  the United Kingdom appearing in hospital emergency rooms dropped by 50% on weekends when the new Harry Potter books were released.
  • The first edition of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1899) sold only 351 copies in it’s first six years.
  • Five years after the 9/11 attacks, 1248 books had been published on the subject.
  • More than  150 books have the words “before you die” in their titles.
  • Charles Dickens created 989 named characters.

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  • Only half of American adults have read a book since leaving high school.
  • Five of the ten best selling novels in Japan in 2007 were written on mobile phones.
  • In 1893, when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes, 20,000 people cancelled their subscriptions to The Strand Magazine, which had published the Holmes stories.
  • Around 200,000 academic journals are published in the English language. The average number of readers per article is 5.
  • The word “bible” does not appear in the works of Shakespeare.

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  • Thirty percent of hardcover books go directly from the printer to the warehouse.
  • The Da Vinci Code is the bestselling book in French history. A quarter of the population is estimated to have read it.
  • Mein Kampf was second bestselling book in Turkey in March of 2005.
  • The eighteenth-century scholar Edmond Malone calculated that 4,144 of the 6,033 lines in parts I, II, and II of Henry VI were plagiarized by William Shakespeare.
  • The record for the highest number of short stories published in The New Yorker by an author in one year is held by E.B. White (twenty-eight in 1927). The overall record is held by James Thurber, who published 273 stories from 1927 to 1961.

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That’s it for today.  Hopefully they’ll be a few non-readers out there who’ll decide to read this post. I know for certain my son won’t be one of them unless I add some silly facts about batting averages or Babe Ruth’s weight problems.

NON-READERS MAKE ME CRAZY

11-18-2015 Journal–Poe, Twain & Lying!   Leave a comment

It’s morning, it’s daylight, it’s cold, and I’m in my toasty bed reading a little Edgar A. Poe.  I occasionally fall back to the classics when I’m bored with reading my normal stuff and today is one of those days.

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‘He’s got Trump  Hair’

I’m not a fanatic about poetry like some, but I will read a little if and when I have time to waste.  Most poetry does nothing for me since I’ve self-classified myself as an anti-poetry snob.  My idea of good poetry  are bawdy limericks and poetry that promotes laughter and good humor. 

I have no idea why I started my day today reading some of Poe’s depressing poetic offerings.  I did my very best to concentrate on his works, Spirits of the Dead, The Valley of Unrest, and it was a chore.  He’s the only poet that can take something beautiful and make it seem tragic and misbegotten.  Man that guy had some serious issues.

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I finally gave up on Poe when I started feeling depressed and put upon by his words. I moved over to an essay by one of my all time favorites, Mark Twain, or Samuel Clemens if you insist.  He was renowned for being a spectacularly glib wise ass which immediately endeared him to me. His thoughts contained in “On the Decay of the Art of Lying” are just plain funny and sarcastic. Here’s a sample:

“The saying is old that truth should not be spoken at all times; and those whom a sick conscience worries into habitual violation of the maxim are imbeciles and nuisances.” It is strong language, but true. None of us could live with an habitual truth-teller; but thank goodness none of us have to. An habitual truth-teller is simply an impossible creature; he does not exist; he never has existed.

Everybody lies – every day; every hour; awake; asleep; if he keeps his tongue still, his hands, his feet, his eyes, his attitude, will convey deception – and purposely. Even in sermons – but that is a platitude.

Anyone who disagrees with those statements is obviously living with their head deeply buried in the sand or deeply shoved up their ass. I’ve always been a fan of lying because lies serve many useful purposes.  “Does my ass look big in this dress?”, “Of course not.’’, a beautiful, polite, required, and obvious white lie. We all have a million them and use them frequently.

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Do you want me to explain lying to you when it comes to our political system and the liar that has been squatting in the “Peoples House” for the last seven years.  That discussion would be totally rhetorical requiring no explanations or further conversations.

I think I could have supported Mark Twain as President only if he had the ability to select Edgar A. Poe as his Vice President.  No there’s a pair that could have driven most of Congress right out of their every-lying minds.  Throw in Donald Trump as Secretary of State and we’d have a unbeatable trifecta.

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Enough of my musings.  I’m going to roll over, hug my pillow, and say a prayer that the insanity that has had this country in it’s grip for seven years is slowly fading away.  And who’s up next for the Dems but good old Hillary Clinton.

I find myself agreeing with a large block of voters in this country of both parties. We’re sick of hearing the names Bush and Clinton. To both factions, please just go away. You’ve done enough harm already and we don’t need any more.

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‘Yikes”

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‘OMFG Yikes Again’

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