Archives for posts with tag: Mark Twain

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“She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.” MARK TWAINFollowing the Equator

Painting: “Girl with Parrots” by Walasse Ting

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“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” MARK TWAIN

Painting: “Now Then As I Was About to Say” by Edward Ruscha (1973), collection of MOMA, NYC

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“If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” MARK TWAIN

Illustration: “Cats with Beards” by Michael C. Hsiung, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Visit Michael’s website here.

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The Mississippi is well worth reading about. It is not a commonplace river, but on the contrary is in all ways remarkable.”

Opening lines of Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

Photo: Mississippi River boat by Loren Javier

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Mark Twain‘s iconic characters Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer have captured the imaginations of people around the world. In 2001, Germany issued the above stamp to commemorate Twain’s creations.

Illustration: Deutsche Poste

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All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.”

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

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“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”  MARK TWAIN

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Mark Twain spent his childhood years in a cheery All-American white clapboard house. The famous fence that Tom Sawyer conned his friends into painting still stands (or at least was recreated).

He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it — namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.” From Chapter 2, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

As a child, Silver Birch enjoyed a summer road trip to Hannibal, Missouri, which calls itself “America’s Hometown.” I’m not much for advertising slogans (though I’ve written plenty of them) but this civic sobriquet seems perfect.

Photo: Missouri Division of Tourism

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Our summer road trip takes a jog west, all the way to the Mississippi River, where we cross the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge (pictured above) and enter the hometown of the bridge’s namesake. We have arrived in Hannibal, Missouri, where Samuel Clemens was born on November 30, 1835. When he began his writing career, Clemens assumed the pen name Mark Twain as a nod to his years as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River, where “mark twain” referred to water two fathoms deep. (For the record, a fathom equals six feet — I had to look it up. )

Photo: heresomewhere

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In the above wooden cutout painting (Marilyn, 1999) by folk art genius Howard Finster (RIP) — for sale on ebay for $7,999; find it here — Marilyn Monroe stands 6’2″ tall, draped in an American flag adorned with high rise buildings and space ships. You continue to inspire us, Howard and Marilyn!

Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” MARK TWAIN