Archive for the ‘mark twain’ Tag

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’

01-04-2015 Journal – Wise Ass Appreciation Day   Leave a comment

I finally feel as if my entire life has been justified and validated.  I never thought it would happen but today was the day.  I stayed up late last night snuggling warmly on my favorite chair with my Kindle.  I’ve been on a reading binge of late but decided to switch from my normal detective novels to some non-fiction.  After a thorough search of the Kindle Store I was able to download a number of books and essays that caught my eye.

Just for background purposes you should know that many many times in my life I’ve been accused of being a ‘wise ass’.  For me it stopped being something derogatory when I was still in junior high school.  It became a badge of honor at that point and I set out to be the best ‘wise ass’ I could be. It’s good to have goals, don’t you know.

I’ve always enjoyed the company of other ‘wise asses’ because we understand each other.  We all seem to be quick witted and able to crack wise at a moments notice.  It’s not as easy and glamorous as it sounds.  It takes years of hard work and dedication just to get to the level where your recognized by others after just a few minutes of conversation. 

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Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain

I also enjoyed reading as a teenager and I became hooked on anything written by Mark Twain. It became obvious very quickly that while Mark Twain could spin a tale like nobody’s business his alter ego, Samuel Clemens, was the ultimate sarcastic wise ass.  The more sarcastic and glib he became the more in demand he was.  Last night I began reading his essay on "The Decay of the Art of Lying" and it took just a few paragraphs for me to realize that I needed to give more thought to lying in general and really good lying in particular. This quote stood out in just the first paragraph:

"No high-minded man, no man of right feeling, can contemplate the lumbering and slovenly lying of the present day without grieving to see a noble art so prostituted."

Another favorite ‘wise ass’ of mine was Will Rogers. Although he died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935 much of his writings and quotations can be found everywhere. He was the leading political wit of the Progressive Era, and was a top-paid Hollywood movie star at the same time.  He was another ‘wise ass’ who made it big before his untimely death. His good-old-boy approach to ridicule and humor made him funny, well liked, with a sarcasm that was dripping with honey.  He was the sort who could take you to task for something stupid you’ve done and have you laughing at yourself as he left the room.

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It’s a real shame that both of these ‘wise asses’ weren’t able to live long enough to see how our current political figures of both parties have proudly carried the art form of lying to new heights.

I’ve always been good at spinning a yarn to avoid lying but maybe I should have just blurted out the truth.  Clemens stated rather emphatically that everyone lies.  Whether it’s a little white lie or a lie of omission, it’s still a lie. We are a nation of liars.  I honestly believe I prefer things the way they are because telling the absolute truth regardless of the consequences can get nasty and unfriendly very quickly.  It makes the age old question "Does my ass look too big in this dress?" a life threatening situation.  No thank you.  Here’s one last quote from Clemens to support my position:

"None of us could live with an habitual truth-teller, but thank goodness none of us have to. A habitual truth-teller is an impossible creature; he does not exist; he never has existed. Everybody lies-every day; every hour; asleep; in his dreams; in his joy; in his mourning; if he keeps his tongue still, his hands, his feet, his eyes, his attitude, will convey deception-and purposely."

I’m an even bigger fan of Samuel Clemens and Will Rogers that I was previously.  It’s nice to see a few sarcastic ‘wise asses’ make the big time. I just wanted to take the time to acknowledge them with this self-created Wise Ass Appreciation Day. Thankfully for all of us their works will live on forever.

Wise Asses – 2

The Rest of the World – 0

08-24-2013   Leave a comment

I spend a lot of my time watching and listening to people.  It’s my most favorite of activities to be sure.  I’ve recently began to see unusual patterns occurring in others which trouble me a great deal. It seems we as a people are loosing the ability to insult others with tact or sarcasm.  I know, I was as stunned as you are.  What is this country coming to if we lose that important ability.  That’s one of the losses we suffer from too much political correctness.

"Your mother wears combat boots." was a good way for me to get my ass kicked in grade school.  It was almost as bad as "Your mother dresses you funny." or "If my dog looked like your mother, I’d shave his ass and make him walk backward."  Mother insults were always a good way to insult someone and be absolutely sure to get the proper reaction. 

These days you can’t even call someone a liar, you must say “he’s diligently avoiding the truth”.  That’s pussy talk in my opinion. Give me the good old days when someone wasn’t "educationally challenged" he was a moron or a dumb ass. It is said that the WW II generation was the greatest and I completely agree. They knew how to deliver an good insult that was polite, sarcastic, and devastating.  No pussy talk for those guys or gals.  Here are some classic insults by famous people of that era.  Enjoy.

  • “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill
  • “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” – Clarence Darrow
  • “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx
  • “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain
  • “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” – Oscar Wilde
  • “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend… if you have one.” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
  • “Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend second, if there is one.” – Winston Churchill’s response to George Bernard Shaw
  • “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West
  • “Winston, if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee!” – Lady Astor to Winston Churchill
  • “Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it!” – Winston Churchill’s response to Lady Astor
  • "There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure." – Jack E. Leonard
  • "He has Van Gogh’s ear for music." – Billy Wilder
  • “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde
  • "A modest little person, with much to be modest about." – Winston Churchill

Three of my all time favorites, Mae West, Mark Twain, and Winston Churchill. They just don’t make them like that anymore and it’s a damn shame (In my humble opinion).

07-16-2013   Leave a comment

The battle of the sexes has existed for as long as anyone can remember.  If your a Christian it’s taught that women were made from a man’s rib and then couldn’t resist the temptations of the devil.  Eve, the first woman, got the first man, Adam,  thrown out of Paradise because of a lack of self-control.  It’s a sad story but as in all ancient stories there is always a grain of truth.  I’m not a big believer in religion or religious writings from hundreds or thousand years ago and prefer to make my own judgments based on what I know.

Let me qualify myself a little.  My mother was a women.  My sister was a woman. My grandmothers were women and many of my aunts and cousins were female. My many girl friends, lovers, and acquaintances were females. Why I was so enlightened that many of my pets were also female.  I’ve had women work for me, with me, and on occasion I worked for them.  I feel I have the right to voice an opinion or two about the war between the sexes because after being married for nineteen years I consider myself imminently qualified. It wasn’t the marriage that helped qualify me but the divorce.  I learned a lot.

You probably think that I’m now going to rant about all of my bad experiences with the women in my life.  I admit there have been a few but nothing I would care to bore you with.  I’d rather fall back on the words of women and how they perceive themselves.  Here we go.

  • The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy.  Helen Hayes (at 73)
  • There is no more creative force in the world than the menopausal woman with zest.   Margaret Mead
  • One is not born a woman, one becomes one.   Simone DeBeauvoir
  • A male gynecologist is like an auto mechanic who never owned a car.  Carrie Snow
  • I am a marvelous housekeeper.  Every time I leave a man I keep his house.    Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.  A woman must do what he can’t.  Rhonda Hansome
  • Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.  Charlotte Whitton
  • Whoever thought up the word "Mammogram"? Every time I hear it, I think I’m supposed to put my breast in an envelope and send it to someone.  Jan King
  • You see a lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy.  Erica Jong
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry with your girlfriends.  Laurie Kuslansky
  • Behind every successful man is a surprised woman.  Maryon Pearson
  • In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man – if you want anything done, ask a woman. Margaret Thatcher
  • I never married because there was no need. I have three pets at home who answer the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog that growls every morning, a parrot that swears all afternoon, and a cat that comes home late every night.  Marie Corelli
  • Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.  Eleanor Roosevelt
  • I have everything I had twenty years ago, only it’s all a little bit lower. Gypsy Rose Lee
  • The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.  Erma Bombeck
  • A woman’s rule of thumb: if it has tires or testicles, you’re going to have trouble with it.  Unknown

Many of these quotations are from women who are famous and even iconic.  Read them, digest them, and make up your own mind.  Nothing stated here surprised me in the least. Now let’s hear from a few men about themselves.

  • God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.  Robin Williams
  • God made woman beautiful and foolish; beautiful, that man might love her; and foolish, that she might love him.  Author Unknown
  • Man is the only animal that blushes – or needs to.  Mark Twain
  • A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.  Chuang Tzu
  • When a young man complains that a young lady has no heart, it’s pretty certain that she has his.  George Dennison
  • How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.  Oscar Wilde
  • When a man is in love he endures more than at other times; he submits to everything.  Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them.  Mark Twain
  • Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.  Albert Einstein
  • Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.  Billy Crystal
  • Wise men are not always silent, but they know when to be.  Proverb
  • Every woman needs one man in her life who is strong and responsible. Given this security, she can proceed to do what she really wants to do – fall in love with men who are weak and irresponsible.  Richard J. Needham
  • Men play the game; women know the score.  Roger Woddis
  • I like men who have a future and women who have a past.  Oscar Wilde
  • There are two perfectly good men, one dead, and the other unborn.  Chinese Proverb
  • Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times he will pick himself up and carry on.  Winston Churchill
  • Men forget but never forgive. Women forgive but never forget.  Unknown
  • Men are what their mothers made them.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

This battle continues as it always has and always will with the same old complaints and wise cracks by both sides.  It’s Mother Nature at her very best.  It’s called the “mating ritual” by some experts but it all comes down to one thing.  Yes, that’s right, you know exactly what I’m talking about, S..E..X!  If your surprised by that statement then you must live in an isolated convent or monastery far from the civilized world.  Either that or you’re a total idiot with a lack of common sense and no chance of getting laid. 

The war continues.