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Home / Articles / News / Hits & Misses /  Neil Abercrombie, The Autobiography of Mark Twain & Back-Up Survivor
Hits & Misses

Neil Abercrombie, The Autobiography of Mark Twain & Back-Up Survivor

By Katharine Biele
Posted // December 29,2010 -

SAD.jpgIsland Child
Some people don’t like to be corrected. But don’t tell Neil Abercrombie. He’s the new Democratic governor of Hawaii who’s pledged to beat back the “birthers” who insist that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and probably is even an illegal alien devoted to the destruction of the American Way, God and country. Abercrombie was a friend of Obama’s parents while Dad was studying at the University of Hawaii, and he got to see Baby Barack soon after he was born. Documentation doesn’t help, either. That’s underscored by a recent University of Michigan study that found people pretty much dismiss facts in favor of “non-rational beliefs.” Sorry, Governor. The president is a socialist alien, for sure.

SMILEY.jpgReports of His Death Exaggerated
And you thought the Kindle, iPad and Nook were threatening the book-binding industry? Not. Along comes the Autobiography of Mark Twain—100 years after his death—and readers can’t get enough of it, not even at $35 for the 760-page first volume. Whew—really, this is weighty bedtime reading, at best. Apparently, the University of California Press was a little uncertain of the potential, and only planned for a measly 7,500 copies. But in the short time since its release, the late Twain is on best-seller lists, and The New York Times reports that the university press is now thinking that 275,000 isn’t enough. Salt Lake City bookstores have run out of copies a couple of times, and Ken Sanders of Ken Sanders Rare Books says he’s about to sell out of the third printing.

SMILEY.jpgDo You See Me?
It was a Christmas miracle of sorts. A Payson 2-year-old had only minor injuries after an uncle backed over him in their driveway on Christmas Eve. This was one of many back-up bumps that kill nearly 300 and injure 18,000 children and old folks each year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Just under half the fatalities are of kids under 5—hey, they’re small, and it’s hard to see them. That’s why the NHTSA, responding to a congressional mandate, has proposed a new rule to expand the field of vision in vehicles, and it wants automobile manufacturers to install rear-mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays in all vehicles by 2014. Yes, it means pricier cars, and more than likely a pushback from tea-party activists who are just fed up with the Obama administration’s protective directives.

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Posted // December 29,2010 at 09:32

Don't let the size of Twain's first volume of his "real" autobiography scare you off. There's only about 260 or so pages dedicated to the actual biography. The rest comprises a sizable introduction, several false starts and a big notes and references section - stuff for diehards.

As far as I'm concerned, Twain is God. I feel damn lucky to be living 100 years after his death and hope to hell we don't blow the fucking planet up before I'm able to read the other volumes.


Posted // December 29,2010 at 12:21 - "Whew—really, this is weighty bedtime reading, at best." I read this line again and see that I initially misunderstood your intentions. At first, I thought you were paying Twain a compliment, but you weren't. I'll wager that you aren't a Twain fan, haven't read one word from the biography, probably haven't read any Twain you weren't forced to read in school, and wrote your little blurb based on the page count alone. You didn't let the page count scare you away from the Twilight saga, did you? I mean, I know the text is larger and the words, concept and content vastly simpler than Twain's latest, but you made it through that just fine, didn't you? Remember this gem, located on page 438 of "Bella Loses Her Anal Virginity under the Shadow of Mount Vampire? "Bella," said Edward, raising his prodigious eyebrows slightly, sliding his index finger just beneath her delicate button nose, sort of deer-like nose. "Hey, Bella. Smell my finger." "Oh, Edward," Bella replied, sniffing, looking as beautifully vacant and deliciously brain dead as ever, "your finger smells so sparkly, so, so Vampirey." She let her tongue slide past her dentist-whitened teeth and gloss coated lips. She crossed her eyes and watched it quiver in anticipation, like a little puppy that drank a little too much anti-freeze. She allowed it to light, ever so gently, upon Edward's glittering, beautiful, fingernail. "Damn, Edward," she said, retrieving her tongue and storing it safely inside the useless cavern located just beneath her delicate, deer-like button nose. "Damn, Edward, your finger tastes like rotten gopher nuts." "A delicacy in the Vampire world, Bella," replied Edward. "I guess you just don't understand me." In an instant, the air was filled with debris, like leaves and some dirt and pine needles and little rocks and things of that nature, Edward was flying down the road on his V29 Super Charged single-gear Bike with the orange and blue rims and cards taped to the forks for that real motor sound, leaving Bella in the moonlit clearing, smacking her mouth slowly, wondering what might have happened to the rest of the gopher she'd just tasted on Edward's sparkly, rigid, pulsing, Vampire variety index finger.