Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ok, this is two days in a row. Momentum.

So I recently finished reading Mark Twain's 'The Innocents Abroad'. It's one of his first books and it's about his extended excursion throughout the Mediterranean on a steamboat. I'm way into travelogues now and reading one that was written in 1867 - way before even our most basic modern necessities were invented - was fascinating. And yet his travelling companions were the same types of characters I see around me every day, and Mark Twain's satirical wit is as humorous today as it was then. Take this excerpt, for example:

"I am reminded, now, of one of these complaints of the cookery made by a passenger. The coffee had been steadily growing more and more execrable for the space of three weeks, till at last it had ceased to be coffee altogether and had assumed the nature of mere discolored water--so this person said. He said it was so weak that it was transparent an inch in depth around the edge of the cup. As he approached the table one morning he saw the transparent edge--by means of his extraordinary vision long before he got to his seat. He went back and complained in a high-handed way to Capt. Duncan. He said the coffee was disgraceful. The Captain showed his. It seemed tolerably good. The incipient mutineer was more outraged than ever, then, at what he denounced as the partiality shown the captain's table over the other tables in the ship. He flourished back and got his cup and set it down triumphantly, and said:

"Just try that mixture once, Captain Duncan."

He smelt it--tasted it--smiled benignantly--then said:

"It is inferior--for coffee--but it is pretty fair tea."

The humbled mutineer smelt it, tasted it, and returned to his seat. He had made an egregious ass of himself before the whole ship. He did it no more. After that he took things as they came. That was me."

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