Posts Tagged With: Mark Twain


My computer is infected and I dread facing it. The building project on a  day to day basis still  take up most of my time. I have to pick a microwave oven from a distance, so the cabinet guys can put the right size unit between it and the ceiling. Meshing systems…well I won’t go on and on about it.

I decided to blog something inane and silly that doesn’t require any thought, like these old laws that are still on the books:

In Michigan, it is illegal to chain an alligator to a fire hydrant.

Whaa? How many alligators are kept as pets in Michigan? They needed a law?

It is illegal in Louisiana to shoot a bank teller with a water pistol while committing a bank robbery.

Looks like some wiley dude was trying to evade the serious weapons charges associated with robbery.

It is against the law to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket in Lexington, Kentucky.

That one just boggles the mind. Someone entered a posh place, or store, or theater where no food was allowed and made a mess? A law was necessary? Anybody’s guess.

Eating ice cream in public with a fork is strictly forbidden in Rosemead, California.

Come on, how can that offend anyone to the point of taking the time to make it against the law? There should be a law against people who make absurd laws.

A woman can’t dance on a table in a saloon in Helena, Montana, unless she has on at least 3 pounds of clothing.

Doesn’t this tickle your funny bone? The guys still want her to dance, but not quite as skimpily clad as before. I suspect it causes too many fights.

Mark Twain made a comment about lack of clothing.

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”

He obviously didn’t watch near naked  women dancing on tables in Helena.





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These were compiled by Jon Winokur for Funny Times. Peoples beliefs shape their lives and philosophers, comedians, scholars and just plain folks weigh in on the subject of an afterlife. At Christmas time, the religionists want us to keep Jesus in Christmas, and I expect they will be offended by afterlife humor. Others want to avoid the word Christmas and call this time of year a generic “the holidays.” Many people, myself included, don’t believe in an afterlife.  In short, there is enough here to offend or amuse just about anyone.

From Woody Allen:
I do not believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of  underwear.

I don’t believe in a big vacation village up in the sky. Bill Maher

The Baptists believe in The Right to Life before you’re born. They also believe in Life After Death, but that is a privilege and you have to earn it by spending the interim in guilt ridden misery. At an early age I decided that living a life of pious misery in the hope of going to heaven when its over is a lot like keeping your eyes shut all through a movie in the hope of getting your money back at the end. Whitney Brown

From Samuel Beckett:
We’ll sit around talking about the good old days, when we wished that we were dead.

Woody Allen, again:
I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying.

He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt. Joseph Heller

I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend my life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse. Isaac Asimov

Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  Susan Ertz

We have no reliable guarantee that the afterlife will be any less exasperating than this one, have we?
Noel Coward

It is a curious thing…that every creed promises a paradise which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste.  Evelyn Waugh

When I think of the number of disagreeable people that I know who have gone to a better world, I am sure hell won’t be so bad at all.  Mark Twain

It must require an inordinate share of vanity and presumption too, after enjoying so much that is good and beautiful on earth, to ask the Lord for immortality in addition to it all.   Heinrich Heine

A belief in hell and the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton have never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumor.  Aldous Huxley

Our current obsession with creativity is the result of our continued striving for immortality in an era when most people no longer believe in an afterlife.  Arianna Huffington

He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.   Douglas Adams

And as the wife says to her husband:
You realize if you go to Heaven, my relatives will all be there.  LasHowski

Eternity’s a terrible thought. I mean, where’s it all going to end?  Tom Stoppard

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“All you need is ignorance and confidence and then success is sure,” quipped Mark Twain, AKA Samuel Langhorne Clemons. In truth, success didn’t come easily for Twain. He had ups and many downs; he suffered hunger, poverty, despondency and had at one time decided to take his own life over his failures. Lucky for us, news of his story’s success, “Jim Smiley And His Jumping Frog,”  reached him in time and brought him back from his depression so he failed at suicide, as well.

He was here in Calaveras County at the time. The jumping frog story was generated by a conversation in an Angels Camp bar. Gold mining was one of his failures and he tried journalism as a more profitable job. But it was a hungry, cold time for him. He wrote in his diary: “January 23, 1865. Rainy, stormy. Beans and dishwater for breakfast…dishwater & beans for dinner, & both articles warmed over for supper. January 24th. Rained all day-meals as before. Jan 25th. Same as above.”

Before moving West, he loved being a Mississippi river pilot, it was lucrative too. He once bragged he made more money than the Vice President of the United States.  But Missouri was a Confederate State, and he and his brother headed west when war was imminent.
Before he got his Mississippi River pilot’s license, he found work at a Newspaper and worked in printing as an assistant. He’d occasionally insert humorous things in the paper anonymously when the editor was absent.  He inherited his red hair from his mother and probably her sense of humor as well. He was pulled at least nine times out of the river in a “substantially drowned condition” at which she scoffed, “People who are born to be hanged are safe in the water.” She never expected the runt to live. He was always in trouble.

This bust of Twain is borrowed from the Bancroft Library along with many other artifacts in a very well done exhibit at the 3 acre Angels Camp Museum. While Mark Twain lived in Angels Camp, he met Bret Harte and other famous writers from San Francisco, where he eventually moved. He was a humorist to be sure, and he is famous for his wry quips, such as: “A classic is something that everyone wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” And “The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” But, of course, for this community, he is of paramount importance which is why they are celebrating his many accomplishments over this weekend. Its certainly worth the drive. Especially since the Museum Committee has published all five of his various Jumping Frog story variations in one volume for sale at this event. 

This community had no paved roads in 1928. Someone suggested they have a frog jumping contest, as in the famous Mark Twain story, to raise enough money to pave Main St. Angels Camp.  And, so it was done and has evolved into the largest such frog jumping festival in the world. In fact, the Little Flower, New York’s Mayor, La Guardia ,came to see the frogs jump along with other famous people over the years.

The contest held the 3rd weekend in May attracts an average of 10,000 people to come see “the jumps.” Its old home week. kids who once jumped frogs, return in May with their children and grandchildren to try their hand at the $1,000 prize, but mostly for the camaraderie.

Gold may have been a big industry all those years ago, and established Angels Camp, but Mark Twain put Angels Camp on the map.

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