30 November 2011

Happy Birthday, Sam Clemens

I was thrilled to open up Google today to see their clever panoramic pic of Tom Sawyer whitewashing a fence. Click. It's Mark Twain's 176th birthday. I don't need to say anything more- I'm sure you'll agree that he's one of America's all-time greatest authors. His wit not only entertained readers but it also attracted the likes of those who would be celebrities in our day and age-- Helen Keller and Booker T. Washington. 

Google sparked my curiosity about the origin of the the pen name "Mark Twain" -- Paper Portitude reports, "Clemens maintained that his primary pen name "Mark Twain" came from his years on the riverboat, where two fathoms (12 ft, approximately 3.7 m) or "safe water" was measured on the sounding line, was marked by calling "mark twain". But it is often thought that the name actually came from his wilder days in the West, where he would buy two drinks and tell the bartender to "mark twain" on his tab. The true origin is unknown."

I also learned that there's a Mark Twain museum not far from here in Hartford, CT. Twain and his family lived there from 1874-1891, and it's the place where he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Call it lame, but I think a visit to the Mark Twain House and Museum  is worthy of a spot on my Bucket List. Or at least the list of a Hundred Places to Go Before I Die list.

My all time favorite Mark Twain quote: Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that 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.
(Love the sailing reference- very apropos for this blog!)

A few others in the Honorable Mention category:

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

A person who won't read has no advantage over a person who can't read.

Always do right. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Apparently, there is nothing that can't happen today.

All you need is ignorance and confidence and success is sure.

Let us live so that when we die, even the undertaker will be sorry.

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

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