Wednesday, July 09, 2008

foghorn langhorne

The face on the cover of Time magazine is usually that of a current newsmaker. Although he's been dead for nearly a hundred years, the man on this week's issue is still relevant today. My wife picked up a copy of the annual "Making of America" issue for me because of my distant relation to the cover subject. Mark Twain is my first cousin, four generations removed. My great-great-grandmother was a first cousin of Samuel Clemens. Her mother and his father were siblings. I called my grandmother tonight to make sure I had remembered it correctly.

Instead of automatically opening up my laptop after dinner, I picked up the magazine and read about Mark Twain. A long essay by Roy Blount Jr. makes it easy to draw parallels between then and now. It is only one of four pieces about Twain in the magazine. I like knowing that Twain kept a deadpan facial expression when telling funny stories. A world map illustrates the many countries on five continents that he visited. My favorite line in the whole feature is on the same page as the map. Twain once said that a life of travel was "fatal to prejudice."

During our cross-country drive in 2002, my family and I visited Mark Twain's boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri. Here's a photo of our late pet tortoise Mo in Hannibal, with the Mississippi river and a big riverboat in the background.

After the enjoyable experience we had with the Harry Potter book last summer, I recently started looking for an audiobook to entertain us on our next road trip. If my wife doesn't mind, I think I'll download a free Mark Twain title that's in the public domain and give it a try. Any recommendations?

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Anonymous Sandy Weaver Carman said...

Frank, I had no idea...this explains your incredible creativity!

As an audio book voice & producer, I appreciate that you and your family love them so do I. It's like a grown-up version of "tell me a story."

The Complete Works of Mark Twain are apparently available in the public domain. I found a reference to it here so bet you can chase the links and get any story you desire. Happy driving and listening!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Frank log time no see. Glad to see you using or thinking about using the Gutenberg project. I have not heard the Twain stuff they have but the Author Conan Doyle, Holmes stuff is really well done. Just stay away from the computer read Huck Finn, listened to about 2 pages of that a few years go, pretty funny but gets old really fast.


Blogger John Hudgens said...

It's not Twain, and it won't be free (unless you go the torrent route), but I highly recommend getting the original BBC radio versions of "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" - excellent for long trips, especially if you've never heard the originals before... each of the five sets is roughly three hours...

I'd also recommend the 1981 BBC adaption of Lord of the Rings, which will last you 13 hours... :)

Also, I'd recommend the two "lecture series" recordings by the British (notice a trend?) humorist Chris Addison - "The Ape That Got Lucky", and "Civilization"...


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