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I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure. – Mark Twain
Last week gave me an obituary I read with great pleasure: that of Ted Kaczynski. He was the Unabomber, a wacko environmentalist who mailed bombs to random individuals. For me, he has always been the face of the “world is ending because of mankind” environmentalists. You know – the ones who are running the country today intent on eliminating gas stoves and furnaces and cutting back farming to reduce its environmental impact.
So this interesting spiel from the self-appointed “health expert” Bill Gates took place on a recent “The Daily Show” with unfunny “comedian” Trevor Noah. The 9 minute run time for our favorite chirpy “The Next Pandemic” Nostradamus of chimeric gain-of-function, and enabler of most lab-developed pandemics allowed the billionaire to remain quick to suggest how […]
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” — Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar, Mark Twain
Ain’t it the truth. All you have to do is look at the news today. If in 1960 someone had written a science fiction novel about the 2020s with even half the things that are going on today his editors would have laughed at the draft when they encountered it on the slush pile. The world would lock down for a respiratory virus with a 1% fatality rate? Get outta here! That will never happen. The FBI would be colluding with a major political party and the New York Times to subvert justice? That’s wacko conspiracy theory territory. Big Brother would not come from the government but rather from public sector technology companies? That idea’s kinda out there, isn’t it?
Happy May 13, National Frog Jumping Day!
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than to reprint here the story which started it all, Mark Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. It was his first significant published work and appeared as Jim Smiley and his Jumping Frog in The Saturday Press (a weekly New York literary newspaper) on November 18, 1865. Over the course of several years, as the story was published in other magazines and in anthologies of humorous stories, Twain changed its name back and forth, at one point titling it The Notorious Frog of Calaveras County, sometimes calling the frog’s owner “Jim Smiley,” and sometimes “Jim Greeley.”
The story was immensely popular from the first, and also appeared in several unauthorized versions during Twain’s lifetime. At one point, he discovered it in a French translation and subsequently published a tri-partite volume consisting of the original English version, followed by the French, followed by Twain’s translation of the French back into English, in the course of doing which he retained the original French syntax. And so you get passages like
Mark Twain once wrote, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” I’ve always liked Twain, probably because his temperament and philosophy pretty much match my own. I’m in a Twain state of mind this morning, so I thought I’d use Twain as my spirit guide as I write a post on last things.
OK then, first things first: last words. I don’t know about you, but I want to leave a good last impression. Here’s Mark Twain with a hint to help us to do just that: “A man should be as particular about his last words as he is about his last breath. He should write them out on a slip of paper. . . .and never leave such a thing to the last hour of his life.”
“Humanity has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” — Mark Twain
Do we want to marginalize woke-scolds? Laugh at them. Make them figures of fun. Similarly for Progressives. (Indeed, Progressives realize this too. Alinsky’s fifth rule states “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”)
I’ve a confession to make. I used to be a phillumenist. I have an excuse though – I was young. Plus, until about ten minutes ago, I didn’t know what a phillumenist was. As per the British Matchbox Label and Bookmatch Society (BML&BS), phillumenists collect items related to matches including but not limited to matchbooks […]
Ready Player One is a worldwide hit and the lead actor, teenager Tye Sheridan, is headed for fame. So your trusty podcast brings you the story on his best performance, in Jeff Nichols’s Mud, alongside Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, the late Sam Shepard, and Michael Shannon. The movie came out in 2012 and was nominated for the most important art film award, the Palme D’or at Cannes. It’s a coming-of-age story set in Nichols’s native Arkansas, on the Mississippi, and it owes a lot to both Mark Twain’s Huck Finn and Flannery O’Connor’s violence and religion storytelling. It’s all-American in the best way, not least because it showcases the full humanity of the drama of rural communities that seem to have run out of future.
Fire and Ice Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump couldn’t be more different, yet they have much in common. Both ran for the nomination of parties in which they are not real members. Both men recognized better than 20 competitors the brazen corruption of elites in Washington DC, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the coastal metropoles that […]