Born on this day in Meigs County, Ohio, journalist Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842-1914) was the 10th of 13 children and is best known for writing The Devil's Dictionary (1906), a collection of satirical and perceptive aphorisms such as:
"LOVE: a temporary insanity, curable by marriage."
Or, "KILL v.t.: To create a vacancy without nominating a successor."
And better, still, "KISS, n. A word invented by the poets as a rhyme for "bliss."
His cynical humor and powerful short stories, born from his experiences as a Union officer in the American Civil War, have been described as having a "Northern Mark Twain" style.
Of Bierce's famous war tale, An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge (1890), writer Stephen Crane said, "Nothing better exists--the story has everything."
In 1887, Bierce joined William Randolph Hearst's San Francisco Examiner as a columnist. Known for his lively wordplay and macabre sense of humor, he kept a skull on his desk and claimed it belonged to a rival critic.
Nicknamed "Bitter Bierce," "the devil's lexicographer," and "Acid Pen," Bierce once observed, "Death is not the end. There remains litigation over the estate."
Be an optimist.