p r o s e

. . . soothing stories . . .
. . . . . for a sleepy soul . . . . .




Mark Twain
Broadly speaking 
corn-pone stands 
for self-approval. 
Self-approval 
is acquired 
mainly from the 
approval of others. 
Conformity is the result. 
Corn-pone is confor{mity}. 
Sometimes it has a 
sordid business interest 
back of it and is calculated: 
but mainly is it unconscious 
and not calculated.
Be good and you 
will be lonesome.
When angry count four; when very angry, swear.
Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.
Change is the handmaiden 
Nature requires to do her miracles with.
Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.
Now and then we had a hope 
that if we lived and were good, 
God would permit us to be pirates. 
I was gratified to be able to answer 
promptly, and I did. I said I didn't know.
There comes a time in every rightly-constructed boy's life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.
An American girl would rather marry a title than an angel.
Temperate temperance is best. Intemperate temperance injures the cause of temperance, while temperate temperance helps it in its fight against intemperate intemperance. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky.
By trying, we can easily learn to endure 
adversity - another man's, I mean.
Many a small thing has been made large 
by the right kind of advertising.
The citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth's political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal; he is a traitor.
In those old slave-holding days the whole community was agreed as to one thing--the awful sacredness of slave property. To help steal a horse or a cow was a low crime, but to help a hunted slave, or feed him or shelter him, or hide him, or comfort him, in his troubles, his terrors, his despair, or hesitate to promptly to betray him to the slave-catcher when opportunity offered was a much baser crime, & carried with it a stain, a moral smirch which nothing could wipe away. That this sentiment should exist among slave-owners is comprehensible--there were good commercial reasons for it--but that it should exist & did exist among the paupers, the loafers the tag-rag & bobtail of the community, & in a passionate & uncompromising form, is not in our remote day realizable. It seemed natural enough to me then; natural enough that Huck & his father the worthless loafer should feel it & approve it, though it seems now absurd. It shows that that strange thing, the conscience--the unerring monitor--can be trained to approve any wild thing you want it to approve if you begin its education early & stick to it.
Our conscience takes no notice of pain inflicted on others until it reaches a point where it gives pain to us. In all cases without exception we are absolutely indifferent to another person's pain until his sufferings make us uncomfortable.
Citizenship is what makes a republic; 
monarchies can get along without it.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, 
it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).
Good citizenship would teach 
accuracy of thinking and accuracy of statement.
....every citizen of the republic ought to consider himself an unofficial policeman, and keep unsalaried watch and ward over the laws and their execution.
Conformity - the natural instinct to passively yield 
to that vague something recognized as authority.
Civilization largely consists in hiding human nature. 
When the barbarian learns to hide it, 
we account him enlightened.
Cizitenship should be placed above everything else, even learning. Is there in any college of the land a chair of citizenship where good citizenship and all that it implies is taught? There is not one -- that is, not one where sane citizenship is taught. There are some which teach insane citizenship, bastard citizenship, but that is all. Patriotism! Yes; but patriotism is usually the refuge of the scoundrel. He is the man who talks the loudest.
We are strange beings, we seem to go free, but we go in chains - chains of training, custom, convention, association, environment - in a word, Circumstance - and against these bonds the strongest of us struggle in vain.
A man may plan as much as he wants to, but nothing of consequence is likely to come of until the magician circumstance steps in and takes the matter off his hands.
The only very marked difference between the average civilized man and the average savage is that the one is gilded and the other is painted.
War talk by men who have been in a war is always interesting; whereas moon talk by a poet who has not been in the moon is likely to be dull.
I never saw an author who was aware that there is any dimensional difference between a fact and a surmise.
....the best way to increase wolves in America, rabbits in Australia, and snakes in India, is to pay a bounty on their scalps. Then every patriot goes to raising them.
Experience is an author's most valuable asset; experience is the thing that puts the muscle and the breath and the warm blood into the book he writes.
There are three infallible ways of pleasing an author, and the three form a rising scale of compliment: 1, To tell him you have read one of his books; 2, To tell him you have read all of his books; 3, To ask him to let you read the manuscripts of his forthcoming book. No. 1 admits you to his respect; no. 2 admits you to his admiration; No. 3 carries you clear into his heart.
I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English--it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them--then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.
I am dead to adverbs; they cannot excite me. To misplace an adverb is a thing which I am able to do with frozen indifference; it can never give me a pang. ... There are subtleties which I cannot master at all - they confuse me, they mean absolutely nothing to me - and this adverb plague is one of them. ... Yes, there are things which we cannot learn, and there is no use in fretting about it. I cannot learn adverbs; and what is more I won't.
Whatever a man's age, he can reduce it several years by putting a bright-colored flower in his button-hole.
When an audience 
does not complain, 
it is a compliment, 
and when they do 
it is a compliment, 
too, if unaccompanied 
by violence.
Concerning 
the difference 
between man 
and the jackass: 
some observers hold 
that there isn't any. 
But this wrongs the jackass.
The blunting effects of slavery upon the slaveholder's moral perceptions are known and conceded the world over; and a priveleged class, an aristocracy, is but a band of slaveholders under another name.
We can secure other 
people's approval if we 
do right and try hard; 
but our own is worth a 
hundred of it, and no 
way has been found 
out of securing that.
By and by 
when each nation has 
20,000 battleships and 
5,000,000 soldiers we 
shall all be safe and the 
wisdom of statesmanship 
will stand confirmed.
We have to be despised by somebody whom we regard as above us or we are not happy; we have to have somebody to worship and envy or we cannot be content. In America we manifest this in all the ancient and customary ways. In public we scoff at titles and hereditary privilege but privately we hanker after them, and when we get a chance we buy them for cash and a daughter.
You see, in a country where they have ranks and castes, a man isn't ever a man, he is only part of man, he can't ever get his full growth. You prove your superiority over him in station, or rank, or fortune, and that's the end of it--he knuckles down. You can't insult him after that. No, I don't mean quite that; of course you can insult him, I only mean it's difficult; and so unless you've got a lot of useless time on your hands, it doesn't pay to try.
The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.
Armaments were not created chiefly for the 
protection of the nations but for their enslavement.
Concentration of power in a political machine is bad; and an Established Church is only a political machine; it was invented for that; it is nursed, cradled, preserved for that; it is an enemy to human liberty, and does no good which it could not better do in a split-up and scattered condition.
In this game France puts up a battleship; England sees that battleship and goes it one battleship better; Russia comes in and raises it a battleship or two--did, before the untaught stranger entered the game and reduced her stately pile of chips to a damaged ferryboat and a cruiser that can't cruise. We are in it ourselves now. This game goes on and on and on. There is never a new shuffle; never a new deal. No player ever calls another's hand. It is merely an unending game of put up and put up and put up; and by the law of probabilities a day is coming when no Christians will be left on the land, except the women. The men will all be at sea, manning the fleets. This singular game, which is so costly and so ruinous and so silly, is called statesmanship--which is different from assmanship on account of the spelling. Anybody but a statesman could invent some way to reduce these vast armaments to rational and sensible and safe police proportions, with the result that thenceforth all Christians could sleep in their beds unafraid, and even the Savior could come down and walk on the seas, foreigner as He is, without dread of being chased by Christian battleships.
... when a Library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected youth and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn't anger me.
There has been only one Christian. 
They caught him and crucified him - early.
Blasphemy? 
No, it is not blasphemy. 
If God is as vast as that, 
he is above blasphemy; 
if He is as little as that, 
He is beneath it.
The church 
is always trying to get 
other people to reform; 
it might not be a bad idea 
to reform itself a little, 
by way of example.
Our Civil War was a blot on our history, but not as great 
a blot as the buying and selling of Negro souls.
The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive...but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born.
If I were going to construct a God I would furnish Him with some ways and qualities and characteristics which the Present (Bible) One lacks.....He would spend some of His eternities in trying to forgive Himself for making man unhappy when He could have made him happy with the same effort and He would spend the rest of them in studying astronomy.
For three hundred years now, the Christian astronomer has known that his Diety didn't make the stars in those tremendous six days; but the Christian astronomer doesn't enlarge upon that detail. Neither does the priest.
Spectrum analysis enabled the astronomer to tell when a star was advancing head on, and when it was going the other way. This was regarded as very precious. Why the astronomer wanted to know, is not stated; nor what he could sell out for, when he did know. An astronomer's notions about preciousness were loose. They were not much regarded by practical men, and seldom excited a broker.
I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: "Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together."



      J. Geils Band
No Anchovies Please

The following is a true story of a young couple from Portland, Maine.

While awaiting her husband Don to return home from work, she reaches for a can of anchovies. As she spreads the tiny fish across the piece of lettuce, she notices a small note at the bottom of the can - on it is written a telephone number. Curious, she dials, and is told, "don’t move, Lady - we’ll be right over.

As she places the telephone back on the hook, she turns to see three smartly dressed men standing in her kitchen doorway. Before she realizes what is happening to her, she is tightly rolled in long sheets of cellophane, transported to an international airport and placed on a waiting jet liner. All this being too much for her to comprehend, she passes out.

Upon awakening, she finds herself in a strange foreign speaking nation. Alone, and fearing her escape impossible, she seeks comfort in the arms of a confidential agent. With the trace of her kiss still warm upon his lips, he betrays her into the hands of three scientists, engaged in diabolical, avant-garde experiments - previously performed only on insects and other small, meaningless creatures - and using her as their subject, they are delighted with the results. For the first time, a human being is transformed into a - shhhhhh ……. (top secret).

Her husband Don now chain smoking forty packs of cigarettes a day sits at a local bar and has a few beers with the regulars. Bored, everyone’s attention turns to the television set that just hangs from the wall: "Welcome to Bowling for Dollars!"

Suddenly, Crazy Al says, "s-s-say, Don, there sure is something familiar about that bowling ball." - to which a terrified Don replies: "Oh my GOD - that bowling ball - it’s my wife!!!"

And the lesson we learn from this story is, next time you place your order, don’t forget to say, "no anchovies, please."










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