-- Ambrose Bierce was a well known columnist and writer when, at age 71,
he left the USA to travel in Mexico in 1913. He was never heard from
again. To his readers, he was known as a provocative skeptic who coaxed
bizarre images and wit from the English language. The objects of his
scrutiny may now be passé, but his style of observation remains valid.
(I hope to have real live writers visiting here soon.)
An Ingenious Man who had built a flying-machine invited a great concourse of people to see it go up. At the appointed moment, everything being ready, he boarded the car and turned on the power. The machine immediately broke through the massive substructure upon which it was builded, and sank out of sight into the earth, the aeronaut springing out barely in time to save himself.
"Well," said he, "I have done enough to demonstrate the correctness of my
details. The defects," he added, with a look at the ruined brick-work,
"are merely basic and fundamental."
Upon this assurance the people came forward with subscriptions to build a second machine.