Tracking Twain: The Man Irritates Me

Mark Twain irritates me. He’s like the grain of sand in your sock that won’t come out no matter how many times you stop hiking, unlace your shoes, peel off your sweaty sock and shake it like a fist at the sky. Bastard.

Mark Twain: My Albatross.

The oldest known, living wild bird in the world is a Laysan albatross, at 64 years of age. She showed up recently at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, just in time for the breeding season. There are more photos here, if your voyeuristic nature is piqued, of what happens when she and her mate see each…

In Mark Twain and Life: It’s Who Your Friends Know.

Preparing a Thanksgiving meal on Kaua‘i goes something like this: You spend days selecting the dishes you will make. You compile a long list of necessary ingredients. You hit your favorite grocer and find only half the items on your list. So, you stop at a second and third store and tick off a few…

In Remembrance of Mark Twain

Last week, on April 15th, flags across America flew at half-staff. No, not in grief over the taxes I owed the government—in fact, this year, for the first time in quite a while, I am due a refund. One of my duties as a park ranger at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is to raise…

The Irony: Someone Stole Mark Twain’s Memorial Plaque.

Whoever stole the plague adorning a monument at Mark Twain’s grave last month had to climb a ladder to do so. At least, that’s what a local historian suspects, as reported by the Elmira Star-Gazette, since the monument itself stood at a height of 12 feet, the same measurement used by riverboat pilots to indicate…

Why the Discovery of Harper Lee’s Manuscript Encourages Me.

Today, The New York Times announced the July publication of a second novel by Harper Lee, age 88. The story goes that Lee wrote Go Set a Watchman but shelved it when an editor suggested she rewrite it from the point of view of a young Scout Finch. That rewrite, of course, became the wildly bestselling To Kill A Mockingbird, a novel…

In Which Mark Twain’s Unpublished Manuscripts Inspire Me.

I’m sitting in a bed-sized window seat overlooking Sycamore Canyon in Big Sur, California, in a friend’s barn. Through an octagon-shaped window, I can see the famous Big Sur coastline, as well as, the occasional deer that roams by. In addition to deer, crows and vultures catch my eye. Sometimes, it’s the neighbor dog—a shih tzu…