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7 Curious Facts About 7 Dr. Seuss Books

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1. Hop on Pop

In an early draft of the book, Theodor S. Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) wanted to make sure his publisher, Bennett Cerf, was reading the manuscripts he was turning in, so instead of this line: “My father / can read / big words, too. / Like... / Constantinople / and / Timbuktu” the manuscript read as follows: “When I read I am smart / I always cut whole words apart. / Con Stan Tin O Ple, Tim Buk Too / Con Tra Cep Tive, Kan Ga Roo."

2. Green Eggs and Ham

Again, we have a story here involving Cerf. This time it’s a wager. “I’ll bet you $50 that you can’t write a book using only 50 words,” said Cerf. He knew that Seuss had used a whopping 225 words in The Cat in the Hat, which had recently been published, and he knew how Seuss had struggled with that one, so the $50 seemed like easy money. Yeah... easy money for Seuss!

3. The Cat In The Hat

This neat tidbit involves another challenge, though not from Cerf, from a Life Magazine article about illiteracy rates. The article argued, “Why should [school primers] not have pictures that widen rather than narrow the associative richness the children give to the words they illustrate — drawings like those of the wonderfully imaginative geniuses among children’s illustrators, Tenniel, Howard Pyle, Theodor S. Geisel.”

Seuss read the piece and immediately began working on The Cat In The Hat, which took him nine months to write! A 236-word book, that rhymes, and entertains, is darn hard to write!

4. Horton Hears A Who

This book has been the subject of much brouhaha. Turns out that the recurring phrase uttered by Horton "a person's a person, no matter how small" has been commandeered by several pro-life groups who use it in support of their views, something Seuss strongly disapproved of.

5. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street

Published in 1937, this was Seuss’ first children's book. His original title for the book was “A Story That No One Can Beat.” Maybe this was the reason it was rejected by 27 publishers before eventually being picked up by Vanguard Press. Yes, it seems nearly 30 publishers couldn’t figure out a way to make money off a silly Dr. Seuss book.

6. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Published in 1958, Yertle is full of metaphors and allusions that deal with fascism. This, of course, has been well documented and is fairly well-known. What is less-known, however, is the fact that the editorial committee involved in publishing the book hemmed and hawed about publishing it in the first place. NOT because of the fascism, but—are you ready for this?—because of the word “burp!” Yep, it seems burp was something like a vulgar expletive in the children’s book universe. According to Seuss, the publishers at Random House, including the president, had to meet to decide whether or not they could use "burp" because "nobody had ever burped before on the pages of a children's book!

7. The Sneetches and Other Stories

Of all Seuss’ characters the Sneetches have ound its way into more popular songs than the others.

a) From the Dead Kennedys' song "Holiday in Cambodia"
You're a star-belly sneech
You suck like a leach
You want everyone to act like you

b) Bikini Kill's song "Star Bellied Boy",
He said he wanted to
JUST touch YOU
Star Bellied Boy
Different from the rest
Yr soooo different from the rest

The Star-belly sneeches are mentioned as well in Flobots' song "Simulacra", from their album Onamatopoeia and in Ben Cooper's song "The Sneetches", in which he sings "we are nothing only Sneetches, thinking that our stars are brighter than on thars."

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Recruits George R.R. Martin to Work on His New Video Game
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George R.R. Martin has been keeping busy with the latest installment of his Song of Ice and Fire series, but that doesn’t mean he has no time for side projects. As The Daily Beast reports, the fantasy author is taking a departure from novel-writing to work on a video game helmed by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

DeGrasse Tyson’s game, titled Space Odyssey, is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. He envisions an interactive, desktop experience that will allow players to create and explore their own planets while learning about physics at the same time. To do this correctly, he and his team are working with some of the brightest minds in science like Bill Nye, former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, and astrophysicist Charles Liu. The list of collaborators also includes a few unexpected names—like Martin, the man who gave us Game of Thrones.

Though Martin has more experience writing about dragons in Westeros than robots in outer space, deGrasse Tyson believes his world-building skills will be essential to the project. “For me [with] Game of Thrones ... I like that they’re creating a world that needs to be self-consistent,” deGrasse Tyson told The Daily Beast. “Create any world you want, just make it self-consistent, and base it on something accessible. I’m a big fan of Mark Twain’s quote: ‘First get your facts straight. Then distort them at your leisure.’”

Other giants from the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, including Neil Gaiman and Len Wein (co-creator of Marvel's Wolverine character), have signed on to help with that same part of the process. The campaign for Space Odyssey has until Saturday, July 29 to reach its $314,159 funding goal—of which it has already raised more than $278,000. If the video game gets completed, you can expect it to be the nerdiest Neil deGrasse Tyson project since his audiobook with LeVar Burton.

[h/t The Daily Beast]

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Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
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Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 118th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."

Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."

Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."

By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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