Bulwer-Lytton Quotations #5 ( 2004, 2022)

The English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest since 1982. It is a literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence for the worst possible novel. The following submissions are the ones I liked best from the years 2004 and 2022.

As the hot air balloon ascended into the calm morning air over his native Bavaria, Stefan’s nerves were on edge as he reached into his jacket pocket and fumbled for the little velvet box containing his grandmother’s wedding ring, cleared his throat, and dropped to one knee in front of his beloved Gwendolyn; meanwhile, our story begins on a cold, rainy day at a pig farm near Belgrade, Nebraska.
– Jeff Green, Celina, TX –

At least it was a creative way to be dumped, Ben mused to himself as he looked at the new location of his name on the updated seating chart for his wedding reception—the singles’ table.
– Izzy Maurer, Lincoln, UK –

Doris learned two things working at the Post Office — the first was that when Jake came in and asked her if she wanted to see a really big johnson, he didn’t mean he wanted her to go through The Special Limited Presidents stamp collection, and the second was that she didn’t need to head outside at the end of each shift with a bag of envelops and a trowel because it turned out the dead letters were not, in fact, actually dead.
– Susanne Antonetta, Bellingham, WA –

Farmer Brown knew the moment he read the ransom note – the tiny, dirty footprints, childish scrawl, and a spray of seed debris among the angry peckmarks marring the paper’s surface – that the chickens had kidnapped his beloved Bichon Friese Fifi, and that the only man who could help him, George “The Chicken Whisperer” Fitzpatrick, was sleeping off a killer hangover in the outdoor privy behind the pigpen.
– Debra Mann, Subbury, ON Canada –

Hans sipped from his bottle of German Bru-hoff beer and idly read the label:
“Bru-hoff, a heady-nosed Rhine beer
has a slightly briny pose,
and if you’ve ever drawn it,
you would like the way it flows,
but all of the other Rhine beers,
Dusen lagers, and thick ales,
they never beat our Bru-hoff
in the yearly Rhine beer games.”
– Roger J. McNichols’ Pearland, TX –

He heard a bang, well not really a bang but more of a crash with metallic overtones of platinum-encrusted steel alloys, hammering against unyielding iron and iridium plates; or maybe it was the clash of huge nickel-zinc rods hitting molybdenum fused sheets of tantalum, then he felt a stab of pain and heard another bang, and wished, instead of using his extensive metallurgy skills to try and analyze the sound, he would have run like hell when he first saw the gun pointed at him.
– Ken Loomes, Winnipeg, Manitoba –

Her breath came in short, urgent gasps as beads of sweat slowly coalesced and slipped hesitantly over her lightly-tanned skin, leaving glistening trails down a cleavage that was both feminine and primal while her wide eyes betrayed a mind still struggling to accept that her physical ordeal was over and that she had, in fact, caught the bus.
– Ben Connelly, Canberra, Australia –

It was a Dark ‘n Stormy night: Dark n’ Stormy cocktails were half-off at Tata’s, the breast-themed barbeque chicken restaurant.
– Ross Ozarka, Auckland, New Zealand –

It was a dark and stormy night – actually not all that dark, but more dusky or maybe cloudy, and to say “stormy” may be overstating things a bit, although the sidewalks were still wettish and smelled of ozone, and, truth be told, characterizing the time as night is a stretch as it was more in the late, late afternoon because I think Oprah was still on.
-Gregory Snider, MD, Lexington, KY –

It was hardtack and beans for the crouching cowboys in the lee of the chuck wagon that stormy night when the wind flared the fire and the light caught the trail boss’ leather-bound, barb-wire muscled face which might have said, were he not the quiet sort, “Cookie, we should have had more salads.”
– Barry McAtee, Austin, TX –

Prior to his CNN career, Wolf Blitzer slummed the gossip magazines, once inquiring of Hugh Grant’s then-wife, Liz Hurley, why he had never been in a film with Virginia Madsen, to which she replied, “Hugh’s afraid of Virginia, Wolf.”
– Peter Bjorkman, Rocklin, CA –

The day dawned much like any other day, except that the date was different.
– Geoff Blackwell, Bundaberg , Queensland Australia –

The Director of Child Protective Services was aghast, and needed clarification, “Let me get this straight — You were rocking your baby on the tree top, and when the wind blew, the cradle rocked and the bough broke, the cradle fell, and down came baby, cradle and all?”
– John Tracy, Palm Desert, CA –

To her dismay, Julia found that her right hand seemed to be pulling her into an increasingly horizontal position; first her wrist and forearm, then her upper arm and shoulder, until her cheek lay on her shoulder, leaving her to surmise that the handrail of the airport’s moving sidewalk progressed at a more rapid pace than the sidewalk itself.
– Ann Harper, Phoenix AZ –

While scrolling through the online catalog of the Acme website trying to decide if he should order rocket roller skates, TNT, and an anvil, or—Fool-Me-Twice fake tunnel paint, the Coyote suddenly realized, ‘Hey, I could just order food.’
– Rusty Hamilton, Candby, OR –

For more ‘Best of Bulwer-Lytton Quotations’, click on the Bulwer-Lytton tag in the Posted In box below.

Quirky Quips and Quotes – Did You Know?

Be careful when you blindly follow the Masses. Sometimes the ‘M’ is silent.
– Author Unknown –

Being an adult is like folding a fitted sheet.
– Author Unknown –

Every woman’s dream is that a man will take her in his arms, throw her into bed… and clean the whole house while she sleeps.
– memionscom –

If attacked by a mob of clowns, go for the juggler.
– WallingfordSign.com –

If more government is the answer, then it was a really stupid question.
– Ronald Reagan –

It’s not what we don’t know that gets us in trouble. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.
– Mark Twain –

It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
– Author Unknown –

It’s possible to feel full when it comes to more vegetables, but not full when it comes to a piece of cake.
– Cynthia Copeland Lewis –

One thing you can learn from your dog is when to go lie under the dining room table and await developments.
– Robert Brault –

People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it’s safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.
– Alexei Sayle –

Understanding Quotations

A child is a person who can’t understand why someone would give away a perfectly good cat.
– Author Unknown –

Anyone who eats three meals a day should understand why cookbooks outsell sex books three to one.
– L.M. Boyd –

As I grow older and wiser, I’ve begun to understand how little I understand.
-Author Unknown –

Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.
– Grossman’s Law –

I did not fully understand the dread term ‘terminal illness’ until I saw Heathrow Airport for myself.
– Dennis Potter –

I can explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you.
– Author Unknown –

I don’t understand your specific kind of crazy, but I do admire your total commitment to it.
– Author Unknown –

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
– Robert McCloskey –

I’m trying very hard to understand this generation. They have adjusted the timetable for childbearing so that menopause and teaching a sixteen-year-old how to drive a car will occur in the same week.
– Erma Bombeck –

I stopped understanding math when the alphabet decided to get involved.
– Author Unknown –

It isn’t easy being the parent of a six year old today. However, it’s a small price to pay to have someone around the house who understands computers.
– S.D. Sisseton –

I understand the concept of COOKING and CLEANING – just not as it applies to me.
– Author Unknown –

Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”
― Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book –

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.
– Hal Borland –

People have been cooking and eating for thousands of years, so if you are the very first to have thought of adding lime juice to scalloped potatoes try to understand there must be a reason for this.
– Fran Lebowitz, The Fran Lebowitz Reader –

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
― Francis Bacon, The Essays –

Sometimes it’s not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don’t mean.
― Bob Dylan –

Sometimes the mind, for reasons we don’t understand, goes to the store for a quart of milk.
– Joel, Northern Exposure –

What part of s = sqrt{frac{1}{N-1} sum_{i=1}^N (x_i – overline{x})^2} don’t you understand?
– Author Unknown –

This is the Week That Was: Tidy Friday

Tidy Friday

It is ever so easy to just keep putting things off, especially when you are retired and deadlines are mostly a thing of the past! That was the impetus for my declaration a few weeks ago that Fridays would be Tidy Friday – the object being we would ‘rehome’ stuff that had been ‘unhomed’ during the week. You know what I mean – that pile of unfolded laundry, work surfaces that you can’t work on because of the accumulated clutter, etc, etc.

That is working out rather well – so well, in fact, that I have taken it one step further with One and Done Wednesday. Wednesdays are going to be dedicated to finishing all those little projects that never quite got finished, but when they are done, they will never have to be done again! (There are lots of these types of things here at the ‘House of the Never Ending Reno’!) This past Wednesday, The Car Guy finished the baseboards and window trim in two rooms!  I removed the dead lower branches from ten more spruce trees.

Many Thanks to Family Tree Maker

Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some have just a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking.
– Author Unknown –

Way back when (2004) I purchased the Genealogy Program, Family Tree Maker. Last week I finally decided to upgrade it so that I could use the new ‘tools’ it offers. I was disappointed to find, however, that though the new program could import all the ‘people’ data I had saved, it could not read  the family tree charts I had made.

I contacted the company that owns the software (Mackiev.com) and was impressed with how quickly they responded to my concerns, how much help they offered me and finally how promptly they refunded my money when we agreed that the software was not going to work for me!

What I really would like now is Family Tree Maker 2005. It is an upgrade to the program I have, but still reads all my charts! No luck so far in finding a copy for sale online!

How Many Things Aren’t as They Seem?

A Peanut is not a nut – it is a legume.
Koala bears are not bears – they are marsupials.
A guinea pig is not a pig, but a rodent.
Bulls don’t charge a matador’s cape because it is red; they charge it because it is moving.
Adverse Weather events are not proof of Climate Change.  I mention this because the Province I live in, Alberta, had another hailstorm last week. It dropped the largest hailstone ever seen in Canada. Though some claim that this one hailstone is proof of climate change, no one knows if the ‘mother of all hailstones’ actually fell in a farmer’s field at some other time and no one was there to celebrate its arrival!

Another Kind of ‘Cult’

Turning the Tables on Vegetable based Meat (Satire)

Thinking Outside the Box

You Don’t Say!

A Musical Interlude: Barcelona Guitar Trio + Paquito Escudero – Billie Jean (Michael Jackson ) (flamenco guitar) For more of their videos: https://www.youtube.com/c/MaestrosdelaGuitarra/videos

… and That was the Week That Was…

Tell Me Why!

Stephen Wright, the American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and film producer asks:

Why are there five syllables in the word “monosyllabic”?

Why are they called a-part-ments, when they’re all stuck together?

Why are they called buildings when they’re already finished? Shouldn’t they be called builts?

Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?

Why do banks charge you a “non-sufficient funds fee” on money they already know you don’t have?

Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

Why do we put suits in a garment bag and put garments in a suitcase?

Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that black box stuff?

Why, in a country of free speech, are there phone bills?

Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a racing car not called a racist?

Why is it, when a door is open it’s ajar, but when a jar is open, it’s not a door?

Why is the third hand on a watch called a second hand?

Why isn’t the number 11 pronounced onety one?

Why isn’t the word “phonetically” spelled with an “f”?

Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song?

Other People ask:

If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?
– John Cleese –

If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?
– Will Rogers –

Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?
– Robin Williams –

Other People have Answers:

A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.
– Winston Churchill –

Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.
– Gilbert K. Chesterton –

I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.
– Lily Tomlin –

If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’
– Dave Barry –

It’s true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?
– Ronald Reagan –

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
– Alan Dundes –

Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that.
– George Carlin –

Do you have some ‘why’ questions like these? Do you have answers to any of these ‘Why’ Questions?

Quirky Quips and Quotes – The Well of Lost Thoughts

The growth in the internet, 24-hour television and mobile phones means that we now receive five times as much information every day as we did in 1986….
– The Telegraph –

1986! That’s recent history to someone who is my age! With decades and decades of information input, my memory hard drive is full. The only way to add something new is to delete something older.  Unfortunately, I don’t necessarily remember what I deleted, which results in a blank look on my face while my mind goes “to the store” looking for what might not have been deleted but stored on a different shelf or that which was deleted but might be recovered if I quickly delete the reason I’m walking from one room to another.

A while back I wrote a post about Absent- mindedness. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but my blog is my “Well of Lost Thoughts”,   so you (and I) can read what I wrote here:  Upside to Absent-mindedness.

We really are living in an age of information overload. Google estimates that there are 300 exabytes (300 followed by 18 zeros) of human-made information in the world today. Only four years ago there were just 30 exabytes. We’ve created more information in the past few years than in all of human history before us.
– Daniel Levitin –

Are you filling your head with empty calories?
― Frank Sonnenberg, Soul Food: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life –

Quirky Quips and Quotes – Laundry in Limp Mode

Preamble: A few years ago our Jeep suddenly lost it’s zippy acceleration while we were driving home from Arizona. We took it into a Chrysler dealership. They couldn’t repair it for days, but said we could drive it home. It would be a slower trip than usual because the Jeep would be running in ‘limp mode’.

Fast forward to this years snowbird return to The Red House. We unpacked and I started to do laundry. Oh, oh – our four year old washing machine quit after just one load. It’s electronic dial spit out an ‘E-11’ error code. The Car Guy did a reset (unplug and plug back in) but it didn’t help. He made sure the water wasn’t blocked and that the pressure was okay. Check, check. He contacted the warranty repair company. That put us on the list for repair, but it has been two weeks now and we still don’t have a date they can come out.

The pessimist in me thinks it could be a long time before the washer gets repaired – so I thought about whether a washing machine has a ‘limp mode’? I started to test various combinations of water temperature, wash cycles, etc. After a lot of trial and error, I’ve been able to use the machine on ‘tap cold’ mode on the ‘rinse again and spin’ cycle and one wash cycle – as long as I don’t push the ‘pods’ soap button. Fingers crossed.

I briefly wished I still had my trusty old Maytag washing machine. It would have been 44 years old now and it would not have given me grief about eating another ‘pod’. Mind you, it only had one cycle that reliably worked, it didn’t spin the clothes very well, it refused to wash sneakers or quilts and it sometimes took a walk about when it was out of balance… but it never had a hissy fit over the type of soap I gave it.

Have you ever taken anything out of the clothes basket because it had become, relatively, the cleaner thing?
– Katherine Whitehorn –

I love those 17 seconds when the laundry is all caught up!
– Author Unknown –

Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you’ve got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn’t your biggest problem. Maybe you should get rid of the body before you do the wash.
– Jerry Seinfeld –

One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweat-shirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, “What setting do I use on the washing machine?”
“It depends,” I replied. “What does it say on the back of the shirt?”
He yelled back, “University of Oklahoma.”
– boardofwisdom.com –

A clever take on the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)” by The Proclaimers. “But I would walk 500 miles, And I would walk 500 more, Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles, To fall down at your door.”

Other Posts of this nature: Clothing Quotations

Tom Swifties Quotations #3

A ‘Tom Swifty’ is a play on words. It usually starts with a quotation, followed by an adverb that describes how Tom was speaking. (For more Tom Swifties, and a brief history of this type of parody, see Tom Swifties Quotations #1 and Tom Swifties Quotations #2.

“All right — we’ll use a water solution”, Tom acquiesced.

“And to think I swallowed that lie, hook, line and sinker!” Tom gulped.

“Eating uranium can cause strange effects,” said Tom brightly.

“Honey, put on that see-through thing,” said Tom negligently.

“How do you start a model-T Ford without a battery?” asked Tom crankily.

“I always eat at McDonald’s,” said Tom archly.

“I am NOT full of hot air,” Tom belched.

“I collect fairy tales,” said Tom grimly.

“I didn’t look at all!” Tom peeped.

“I haven’t had any tooth decay YET,” said Tom precariously.

“I hope you’re not afraid of needles,” Tom injected.

“I just got a job putting up steel girders!” Tom beamed.

“I know what a bunch of lions is called,” said Tom with pride.

“I like ragged margins,” said Tom without justification.

“I’ll try to dig up a couple of friends,” said Tom gravely.

“I’m going to sue my real estate agent for not warning me the prairies were so flat,” said Tom plaintively.

“I’m on welfare,” said Tom dolefully.

“I think I’ll put new stuffing in that old settee,” said Tom fill-a-sofa-cally.

“It’s not a candy mint, it’s a breath mint,” Tom asserted.

“I’ve run out of laundry detergent,” said Tom cheerlessly.

“I will NOT finish in fifth place,” Tom held forth.

“Looks like rain,” said Tom precipitously.

“Nice mirror!” said Tom reflectively.

“Now where did I put that magazine?” Tom asked periodically.

“Of course I can make armour out of chains,” Tom replied by mail.

“She even flies her own jet,” Tom leered.

“The door’s ajar,” said Tom openly.

“The train’s late,” Tom railed.

“This bud’s for you,” said Tom lightly.

“Why shouldn’t I stir my yoghurt with a ballpoint pen?” Tom bickered.

“Y’all, I’m leavin’,” said Dolly, partin’.

“Zoos are a necessary evil, I think,” said Tom cagily.

Last but not least, this contribution from Al at Cvillean: “Shocked at having been diagnosed with laryngitis, Tom was left speechless.”