Posts Tagged ‘Mark Twain’

Fun Fact Friday, Number Fifty-Nine!

January 19, 2018

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “famous people.”  Do you know the name of the Missouri town where Mark Twain was born?

Nope, it was NOT Hannibal.  Hannibal was where he grew up.  Rather, Twain (Samuel Clemens) was born in Florida, Missouri.

Source: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong, by Dr. Rod L. Evans.



June 10, 2017

Yes, it is the twenty-first century and we certainly have all the trappings of being a civilized society:

  • marked by well-organized laws and rules about how people behave with each other
  • polite, reasonable, and respectful
  • pleasant and comfortable
  • showing concern for what is correct according to social rules

But are we really?  Violence continues to lead the headlines, our prisons are overflowing, and moral corruptness is exemplified on a daily basis.  Despite all of these counter indications, I truly believe that we are still managing to maintain some semblance of civility as a society.

That being said, here are some of my favorite quotations about “civilization.”

“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”  (Ariel Durant)

“Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary  necessities.”  (Mark Twain)

“America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.”  (Oscar Wilde)

“Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty and dies with chaos.”  (Will Durant)

How Farcical!

May 10, 2017

Most people would define “farce” as an absurd event and may even go so far as to use words like  buffoonery or horseplay; events such as these would including crudeness and highly ludicrous or improbable situations.  Here are some of my favorite quotations on the topic of farce . . . (Source:  The Cynic’s Dictionary by Aubrey Dillon-Malone)

“A genre that’s nearer to tragedy in its essence than comedy is.”  (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

“Tragedy with the trousers down.”  (Brian Rix)

Additionally, I found some additional quotations that are equally amusing . . .

“Life is the farce which everyone has to perform.”  (Arthur Rimbaud)

“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”  (Karl Marx)

“The farce is finished. I go to seek a vast perhaps.”  (Francois Rabelais)

“Farce treats the improbably as probable and the impossible as possible.”  (George Pierce Baker)

“There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race, and finish the farce.”  (Mark Twain)

Reading in Fundamental!

December 17, 2016

I remember well the “Reading is FUNdamental” campaign from the mid-60s (and celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year [2016]).  This nonprofit organization was one of the earliest advocates for improving children’s literacy in the United States.  Some quick facts (from

  • 65% = the number of  fourth-graders who can’t read at the 4th-grade level.
  • 80% = the number of low-income children who are “at-risk” of falling behind in school.
  • 8,000 = the number of high school students who dropout each day.

I’m certainly grateful for my literacy and cannot imagine the inability to read.  Here are some of my favorite quotations on the topic of reading.  Enjoy!

“The man who doesn’t read has no advantage over the man who can’t read.” (Author unknown)

“A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it.”  (William Styron)

“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.” (Author unknown)

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”  (Paul Sweeney)

“We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else’s mind.”  (Anna Quindlen)

“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”  (Mark Twain)

“It is better to have your nose in a book than in someone else’s business.”  (Adam Stanley)

The Insult of Richard Wagner!

December 23, 2015

Happy Tuesday!  In consulting our copy of Oxymoronica, I discovered that Richard Wagner was the object of three “oxymoronic” insults by some pretty memorable humorists.

“I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to panes of glass with its claws.”  (Charles Baudelaire)

“The late Bill Nye once said, ‘I have been told that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.'”  (Mark Twain)

“I like Wagner’s music better than anybody’s.  It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without other people hearing what one says.”  (Oscar Wilde)

So, just to prove his point, here is my favorite Wagnerian excerpt from the “Ride of the Valkyries.”  Enjoy!

Source: Oxymoronica,by Dr. Mardy Grothe, p. 144-145

On Light and Dark!

July 6, 2015

Happy Monday!  In “light” of my blog post yesterday, here are some more quotations on light and darkness that I just have to share.  Enjoy!

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” — Steve Martin

“When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” — Og Mandino

“Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety, after all it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly.” — Hazrat Ali Ibn Abu-Talib A.S.

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” — Mark Twain

Here’s to Libraries, Number Twenty-One!

June 18, 2014

Library21The newly completed (2011) public library in the town of Stuttgart (Germany) is a striking detached square-shaped building.  The library, which can be accessed from all four sides, towers over the nearby buildings as a new intellectual and cultural center.  The façade consists of 9 x 9 panels of glass bricks in a frame of light grey exposed concrete.  Total cost for the project: $79 million euros and the building occupies over 66,000 square feet of space.

“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”  (Mark Twain)

Source: photo courtesy of  (BuzzFeed).

Here’s to Libraries, Week Seven!

March 5, 2014

CanadaParliamentLibraryThis week’s tribute takes us to the Canadian Library of Parliament (in Ottawa).

Their vision: “To be Parliament’s preferred and trusted source of information and knowledge.”

Their mission: “The Library of Parliament contributes to Canadian parliamentary democracy by creating, managing and delivering authoritative, reliable and relevant information and knowledge for Parliament.

Their strategic outcome: “An informed and accessible Parliament.”

“A public library is the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them.”  (Mark Twain).

Source: photo courtesy of  (BuzzFeed).


Water, Water Everywhere . . . !

October 12, 2011

Gustave Dore Illustration (Ancient Mariner)

Building on yesterday’s post, here is a perfect quotation for the start of my travels. 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)

For me, the beginning (as well as the duration, I guess) of any journey is always accompanied by a sense of anticipation coupled with wonder and/or adventure.  This is even more true when the journey involves sailing the high seas on schooners (as has been romanticized greatly through novels and the movies).  Unfortunately, I’m opting to “sail the high seas” aboard a modern cruise ship (which is not really sailing).  However, someday I would love to experience an actual Windjammer Cruise for an ocean sailing.  (I’m thinking the South Pacific would be nice.)  As I reflect back on previous cruise vacations, I’ve always enjoyed the days “at sea.”  ‘Tis a wonderful thing to be surrounded by water.  Restful and relaxing … cruising along in the middle of nowhere … heading to an exotic destination … being in no real hurry to reach the end.  So, I’m not sure why my thoughts tracked to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but alas, this poem crossed my mind nonetheless.  Hopefully my journey will not be as fraught with hardship and lamentation as was the Ancient Mariner’s.

Advice on Living an Awesome Life!

May 5, 2011

ala Mark Twain . . . I’ve been subscribed to the Positivity Blog (of Henrik Edberg), for quite some time now, and one of his posts features quotations from Mark Twain that relate to the things one must do to have a great life.  (Read the entire post here.)

1. Approve of yourself.
” A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

2. Your limitation may just be in your mind.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

3. Lighten up and have some fun.
“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.”

4. Let go of anger.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

5. Release yourself from entitlement.
“Don’t go around saying the worlds owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

6. If you’re taking a different path, prepare for reactions.
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

7. Keep your focus steadily on what you want.
“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles … by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”

8. Don’t focus so much on making yourself feel good.
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”

9. Do what you want to do.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”