Mark Twain, the funniest man to put pen to paper since Aristophanes (did Aristophanes use a legal pad or reporter’s notebook?), was born 175 years ago this day. Check out the Mark Twain Project at UC Berkeley here.

Below are some of Uncle Mark’s writings that make me chuckle:

“I am a long time answering your letter, my dear Miss Harriet, but then you must remember that it is an equally long time since I received it—so that makes us even, & nobody to blame on either side.”
Mark Twain, 1876  (I’m totally stealing this when I’m slow to hit reply on an email)

 

“The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Letter to George Bainton, 10/15/1888

 

“The priest explained the mysteries of the faith ‘by signs,’ for the saving of the savages; thus compensating them with possible possessions in heaven for the certain ones on earth which they had just been robbed of. Nobody smiles at these colossal ironies.”
Life on the Mississippi

 

“I haven’t a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices.”
Mark Twain, a Biography

 

“Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink … under any circumstances.”
Mark Twain’s Notebook