Ol' Mr. Clemens was a funny dude....

We typically run a pretty PG-rated ship, but if you absolutely need an outlet for yer offcolor stuff, please keep it here....
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Kip
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Ol' Mr. Clemens was a funny dude....

Post by Kip » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:53 am

Mark Twain on Nicotine Nannies
The Moral Statistician
Originally published in Sketches, Old and New, 1893

I don't want any of your statistics; I took your whole batch and lit my pipe with it.

I hate your kind of people. You are always ciphering out how much a man's health is injured, and how much his intellect is impaired, and how many pitiful dollars and cents he wastes in the course of ninety-two years' indulgence in the fatal practice of smoking; and in the equally fatal practice of drinking coffee; and in playing billiards occasionally; and in taking a glass of wine at dinner, etc. etc. And you are always figuring out how many women have been burned to death because of the dangerous fashion of wearing expansive hoops, etc. etc. You never see more than one side of the question.
You are blind to the fact that most old men in America smoke and drink coffee, although, according to your theory, they ought to have died young; and that hearty old Englishmen drink wine and survive it, and portly old Dutchmen both drink and smoke freely, and yet grow older and fatter all the time. And you never try to find out how much solid comfort, relaxation, and enjoyment a man derives from smoking in the course of a lifetime (which is worth ten times the money he would save by letting it alone), nor the appalling aggregate of happiness lost in a lifetime by your kind of people from not smoking. Of course you can save money by denying yourself all those little vicious enjoyments for fifty years; but then what can you do with it? What use can you put it to? Money can't save your infinitesimal soul. All the use that money can be put to is to purchase comfort and enjoyment in this life; therefore, as you are an enemy to comfort and enjoyment where is the use of accumulating cash?

It won't do for you to say that you can use it to better purpose in furnishing a good table, and in charities, and in supporting tract societies, because you know yourself that you people who have no petty vices are never known to give away a cent, and that you stint yourselves so in the matter of food that you are always feeble and hungry. And you never dare to laugh in the daytime for fear some poor wretch, seeing you in a good humor, will try to borrow a dollar of you; and in church you are always down on your knees, with your ears buried in the cushion, when the contribution-box comes around; and you never give the revenue officers a full statement of your income.

Now you know all these things yourself, don't you? Very well, then, what is the use of your stringing out your miserable lives to a lean and withered old age? What is the use of your saving money that is so utterly worthless to you? In a word, why don't you go off somewhere and die, and not be always trying to seduce people into becoming as ornery and unlovable as you are yourselves, by your villainous "moral statistics"?

Now, I don't approve of dissipation, and I don't indulge in it either; but I haven't a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices. And so I don't want to hear from you any more. I think you are the very same man who read me a long lecture last week about the degrading vice of smoking cigars, and then came back, in my absence, with your reprehensible fire-proof gloves on, and carried off my beautiful parlor stove.
White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise....

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Kip
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Re: Ol' Mr. Clemens was a funny dude....

Post by Kip » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:54 am

I smoke in moderation. Only one cigar at a time. – Mark Twain

I pledged myself to smoke but one cigar a day. I kept the cigar waiting until bedtime, then I had a luxurious time with it. But desire persecuted me every day and all day long. I found myself hunting for larger cigars...within the month my cigar had grown to such proportions I could have used it as a crutch." -- Mark Twain, discussing his attempt to cut back on his cigar consumption

"I ordinarily smoke fifteen cigars during my five hours' labours, and if my interest reaches the enthusiastic point, I smoke more. I smoke with all my might, and allow no intervals." -- Mark Twain
White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise....

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Kip
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Re: Ol' Mr. Clemens was a funny dude....

Post by Kip » Wed May 29, 2019 5:47 pm

Mark Twain is one of my top-3 favorite authors (mixup between C. S. Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, and him). My absolute favorite Twain book is Following the Equator. I've had these two very old postcards hanging on the wall for many years, which include quotes from the book that are significant to me. They say a lot about mankind's pride and inhumanity to our fellow beings, which actually kinda sums up a big part of the book. I dig 'em.

No reason for this post, other than I had them down today to dust them and became re-fascinated. ImageImage

Sent via Caribbean smoke signal

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kurtdesign1
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Re: Ol' Mr. Clemens was a funny dude....

Post by kurtdesign1 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:04 am

Honest question. Should we be working to change those or embrace them? I'm always curious how I say I don't care about others' perception and then brush my hair on days when I have "nothing" going on. The comment about blushing is a lovely one. How that applies to everything we do...

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Re: Ol' Mr. Clemens was a funny dude....

Post by Kip » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:08 am

kurtdesign1 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:04 am
Honest question. Should we be working to change those or embrace them? I'm always curious how I say I don't care about others' perception and then brush my hair on days when I have "nothing" going on. The comment about blushing is a lovely one. How that applies to everything we do...
I'm old enough (and cynical...and jaded...and....) that I've come to accept that I won't change the world. But, I can have an impact on the immediate vicinity. I can't do that if I haven't modified what goes on inside my most immediate vicinity - my own skin. If I open myself to being improved (by trying to live out the faith I claim, for example), I can influence the local environment, which hopefully (if it's a positive influence) will go "viral" and impact the circles of my circles. That, cumulatively, is far more likely to make a difference than anything else I'm doing.

There are too many people walking around that are exceedingly proud of their humility. These are the ones who would prefer to enforce their ideology rather than share it. That's an important distinction. I have a long- and deep- running belief that pride is the source of dang near all mankind's troubles. From "I will be like God" to modern day Instagram vanity to political pissing matches.



At least, all that's what I tell myself. :D
White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise....

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