Bulwer-Lytton Quotations #2

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 2011-2016.

As Farmer Brown’s train pulled out of the station at 10:00am traveling east at 50 mph, he had no idea that at that very same moment Farmer Green was 100 miles away on a west-bound train heading straight for him at 60mph and that because of a tragic track-switching mistake he was going to die in a fiery head-on train crash at exactly … uhm … well … err … sometime later that day.
— Shanon Conner, San Angelo,TX –

As his small boat scudded before a brisk breeze under a sapphire sky dappled with cerulean clouds with indigo bases, through cobalt seas that deepened to navy nearer the boat and faded to azure at the horizon, Ian was at a loss as to why he felt blue.
— Mike Pedersen, North Berwick, ME –

As the sun dropped below the horizon, the safari guide confirmed the approaching cape buffaloes were herbivores, which calmed everyone in the group, except for Herb, of course.
— Ron D Smith, Louisville,KY –

Corinne considered the colors (palest green, gray and lavender) and texture (downy as the finest velvet)and wondered, “How long have these cold cuts been in my refrigerator?”
— Linda Boatright, Omaha, NE –

Morgan “Bamboo” Barnes, Star Pilot of the Galaxia (flagship of the Solar Brigade), accepted an hors d’oeuvre from the triangular-shaped platter offered to him from the Princess Qwillia –lavender-skinned she was and busty, with two of her four eyes what Barnes called “bedroom eyes” – and marveled at how on her planet, Chlamydia-5, these snacks were called “Hi-Dee-Hoes” but on Earth they were simply called Ritz Crackers with Velveeta.
— Greg Homer, Placerville, CA –

“One cannot easily shake off old habits,” was all that retired Detective Tim O’Hara could say when, after rifling through the dead old man’s pockets (which, as he expected, were all empty), inspecting his throat,and forcing open his cold, stiff hand to get his fingerprints, he was gently but firmly pulled away from the coffin by his brother Harry and piloted out of the parlor under the perplexed stares of uncle Mel’s friends and relatives.
— Jorge Stolfi, Campinas, SP, Brazil –

On March 5, 1836, Lieutenant Colonel William Travis stood before his rag-tag revolutionary army, unsheathed his sword, and drew a line in the sand, followed by a smiley face, some crude stick-figure men, and a few choice words about Mexicans that the State Board of Education has deemed unfit for publication in this 7th Grade Texas History Textbook.
– Gwen Dallas, Austin, TX –

Their love began as a tailor, quickly measuring the nooks and crannies of their personalities, but it soon became the seamstress of subterfuge, each of them aware of the others lingual haberdashery: Mindy trying  to create a perfectly suited garment to display in public and Stan only concerned with the inseam.
— D. M.Dunn, Bloomington, IN –

The life of a mountain man like Jedediah Buckman is a simple one, a campfire to warm the person as well as the soul, a full moon to illuminate the forest as well as the mind, and game to nourish the body as well as the spirit, though one wonders how he could stomach beaver without mint jelly and a bold, young pinot noir.
– John Hardi, Falls Church, VA –

To Juliet’s mind, he was just a small town Romeo, and – bummer – a Capulet to boot, but the men pickings in Verona were slim, so even though her daddy would have a cat, she decided, “What’s the worst that could happen?” — John Hardi, Falls Church, VA –

When Glenn left the house, the sky was a satin Spinnaker Blue with White Feather clouds, the still-moist lawn and street were glossy Sunlit Glade and Bastion Grey, and, contemplating the to-do list jotted on Ivory Cream notepaper as he started the Sundance Yellow hatchback, Glenn knew he would go flat Condition Red berserk if his wife didn’t hurry up and select a color for the dining room.
– David Franks, Greenland, AR –

“Your eyes are like deep blue pools that I would like to drown in,” he had told Kimberly when she had asked him what he was thinking; but what he was actually thinking was that sometimes when he recharges his phone he forgets to put the little plug back in but he wasn’t going to tell her that.
— Dan Leyde,Edmonds, WA –

Last, but certainly not least is this one from one of the bloggers I follow: Al at The Cvillean

It was only after he accidentally shut off the engines and the plane nosed over and dropped like a rock, that the pilot realized the gravity of the situation and thought how this horrible performance was sure to get him grounded forever.
– Al Hood –

Part One of my favourite quotations in this series: Bulwer-Lytton Quotations

What Does 28 plus 47 Mean to You?

quip cardToday on Twitter, someone asked the question, “What happens in your brain when you add 28+47? Tell me your process – let me see how your brain works.”

Here were a few of the responses. Which one is closest to how you would answer the question?

a. Add the 7 and 8 remember 5; carry 1 and add to 2+4 equals 75

b. 20+40= 60; 8+7= 15; 60+10+5=75

c. 28+2 + 47 -2 = 30+ 45 = 75. (Basically take one number to the nearest multiple of 10 by adding the deficit from the second number)

d. I hit the little circle in the bottom of my phone and then open the calculator ap. I switch back and forth several times because I’m dyslexic and don’t trust myself to hold the numbers in my head the right way around. And it tells me it’s 75 which is more than 60 and less than 80.

e. Me: “Alexa, what is 28 + 47?”; Alexa: “I’m sorry, I did not understand the question.” Me: “Alexa, I said, what is 28 + 47?” Alexa: “Here’s Yellow by Coldplay.”

f. Because 28 = 4×7 , the 3nd Cosine of the 4rd logarithm of π squared divided by the binomial coefficient can be used find the 2st normal form of the bending moment of the right angled trilateral …75 I can’t make it any simpler.

g. When I was 28 I thought 47 was ancient. Now I only hope I make it to 75.

h. 8 unicorns + 7 unicorns = 15 unicorns; 4 kittens + 2 kittens = 6 kittens; 6 kittens + 1 unicorn = 7 unikittens; 7 conkittenated with 5 = 75 unikittens.

i. It’s a bit of an age gap… I forsee the relationship lasting at least 5 years. If it’s long distance the entire time? Probably less. But then again — ya might be soul mates.. what would I know?

Click this link for all the best Math and Number Quotations.

Limericks

There was a young lady of Niger

A bather whose clothing was strewed
By breezes that left her quite nude,
Saw a man come along
And, unless I am wrong,
You expect this last line to be lewd!

A crossword compiler named Moss,
Who found himself quite at a loss.
When asked, Why so blue?
Said, I haven’t a clue,
I’m 2 Down to put 1 Across.

A forgetful old gasman named Dieter,
Who went poking around his gas heater,
Touched a leak with his light;
He blew out of sight—
And, as everyone who knows anything about poetry can tell you, he also ruined the meter.

A magazine writer named Bing
Could make copy from most anything;
But the copy he wrote
of a ten-dollar note
Was so good he now lives in Sing Sing.

A maiden at college, Miss Breeze,
Weighed down by B.A.s and Lit.D’s,
Collapsed from the strain,
Said her doctor, “It’s plain
You are killing yourself — by degrees!”

A mosquito cried out in pain:
“A chemist has poisoned my brain!”
The cause of his sorrow
was para-dichloro-
diphenyl-trichloroethane.

A painter, who lived in Great Britain,
Interrupted two girls with their knittin’
He said, with a sigh,
“That park bench–well I
Just painted it, right where you’re sittin.'”

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His beak can hold more than his belican.
He can hold in his beak,
Enough food for a week,
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.
– Dixon Lanier Merritt –

Is Algebra fruitless endeavor?
It seems they’ve been trying for ever
To find x, y, and z
And it’s quite clear to me:
If they’ve not found them yet then they’ll never.
– Graham Lester –

I’ve done it — I’ve done mown the lawn,
But my muscles are aching and torn.
I could swear there are some,
In my legs and my bum,
I’ve not used since the year I was born.

One Saturday morning at three,
A cheese monger’s shop in Paree.
Collapsed to the ground,
With a thunderous sound,
Leaving only a pile of de brie.

There once was a lady named Ferris
Whom nothing could ever embarrass.
‘Til the bath salts one day,
in the tub where she lay,
turned out to be Plaster of Paris.

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
– Dayton Voorhees –

There was a young lady named Bright,
Whose speed was far faster than light;
She started one day
In a relative way,
And returned on the previous night.
– A. H. Reginald Buller in Punch (Dec. 19, 1923) –

There was a young lady named Cager
Who, as the result of a wager,
Consented to fart
The complete oboe part
Of Mozart’s quartet in F major.

There was a young lady of Niger
who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
They returned from the ride
with the lady inside,
and the smile on the face of the tiger.
– Edward Lear and William Cosmo Monkhouse –

Last, but certainly not least, this Limerick was written by my favourite Virginia Beach blogger, Al Hood at The Cvillean

Margy authors a blog called amusive
And with funny folks she’s collusive
She makes everyone’s day
With jokes that will slay
Cause for laughing they’re really conducive!

Stop Motion Clay Animation (Video)

The Quippery

Gumby is an American clay animation about a green clay human like character created and modeled by Art Clokey.

A History Lesson on Stop Motion Animation

A Funny but slightly Gruesome Clay Animation – Great Song Though!

The song is Cinderella Rockefella. It was written by Mason Williams and Nancy Ames and was originally recorded and released by Israeli folk duo Esther and Abi Ofarim on their 1967 album ‘2 in 3’.

Bulwer-Lytton Quotations

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 2017-2020. Be sure to go to their website to read all the other excellent entries!

After almost twenty years of baldness, Harry finally decided to splurge on an expensive, human-hair wig – after all, four hundred dollars to look twenty years younger was a small price toupée.
– Julian Calvin, Bellbrook, OH –

Although the public’s initial concerns about artificial intelligence and the “internet of things” had been troubling, its eventual ability to embrace those advances only underscored the greatness of America, mused Hoover Upright LXI as he took the oath of office to become the first cordless vacuum cleaner elected to Congress.
– G. Andrew Lundberg, Los Angeles, CA –

Call me Ishmael, for my tale is that of the only survivor of the attack by a great white whale on the “Pequod,” our Nantucket whaling vessel, and though the story is so fantastic you may be tempted to question my veracity, I need only remind you that writers write and readers read, and you really should stay in your own lane.
– John Hardi, Falls Church, VA –

Deep within the Great Pyramid, Pharaoh Khufu gazed at the walls of what would eventually be his burial chamber, asking himself what he had been thinking in entrusting its adornment to the teenaged Prince and Princess, but comforting himself with the certainty that the younger generation would soon tire of these annoying “emoticons” and return to the rich thirty-character Egyptian alphabet.
– G. Andrew Lundberg, Los Angeles, CA –

Dropping his now-empty Remington .30-06 and tearing across the tundra after two weeks of hunting in the Alaskan wilderness in the company of none other than three-time Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt—the rustic outing being the spoils of his winning bid at the Sun Valley Country Day School live-auction fundraiser—Bart Michaelman realized with dismay that, in this particular instance, he did in fact have to outrun the bear.
– Andrew Lundberg, Los Angeles, CA –

For rookie detective Lara Stinson, the hardest aspect of her most recent case was not discovering that the adolescent victim had been thrown from the tenth story of the apartment building by his own grandmother, but rather trying to spell “defenestration by octogenarian” in her subsequent report.
– Thomas Purdy, Roseville, CA –

Gasping for breath as she lay in the dew-laden lakeside grass, Rifka Lieberman’s chest heaved with rising passion as Saul Cohen approached with the inhaler she had left behind at the assisted living facility.
– Leo Gordon, Los Angeles, CA –

Gregory was falling in love with the doe-eyed Nora, not knowing that she could be an infuriating, complicated woman at times, like one of those self-service checkout machines at the grocery store where you can never figure out where to insert the money or get your change, plus the scanner never recognizes your jar of Vlasic sweet pickles so you have to call the attendant.
– Steve Lynch, Tucson, AZ –

“He’s got a good head on his shoulders” overheard Preston the Praying Mantis of his fiancée chatting with her mother, though he may not have understood the full implications thereof.
– Peter Bjorkman, Rocklin, CA –

In preparation for visits by African dignitaries, we had redecorated the West Wing of the White House in an African motif with numerous artificial plants and animals, but the President asked that we remove the papier-mache wildebeests, saying he was “tired of fake gnus.”
– Wm. “Buddy” Ocheltree, Snellville, GA –

It seemed a cruel irony to Nigel when he realized, only in hindsight, how mistaken he had been to abandon his youthful ambition to become a technical writer and bend to his parents’ wishes that he go into proctology.
– Scott Wilson, Corvallis, OR –

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – though any decent statistician might net those two factors together and conclude that things were fairly average all round.
– David Meech, Auckland, New Zealand –

Knowing well the hand signals of his platoon leader, Private James Dawson silently dropped to the dirt, concealed and motionless for what seemed an eternity, a move that he had learned, coincidentally, from his parents whenever the Watchtower ladies would ring the doorbell.
– Peter S. Bjorkman, Rocklin, CA –

“Master Wlfindermx sauntered across the Plains of Teflandous towards the city of Gjorgturc carrying the mythical Blade of Vulbertrian, once owned by Lord Leszsoriog,” wrote the author, who wanted to make the life of the audiobook narrator a living hell.
– Robert Greer, Queen Creek, AZ –

Phoebe, age 15, very much regretted not having a little sister or brother, but reflecting on the embarrassing moment of earlier that morning when she had walked into her parent’s bedroom at a most inopportune time, she thought Ben Franklin’s list woefully incomplete, for there most certainly were things, besides laws and sausages, that you might like, but you definitely did not want to see being made.
– Herbert Krimmel, Los Angeles, CA –

She sauntered into his smoke-filled office with legs that, although they didn’t go quite all the way to heaven, definitely went high enough for him to see that she was a giraffe.
– Jarrett Dement, Eau Claire, WI –

Once in a great while a story is so magnificent, so grand, so great that it begs to be told and while this is not one of those stories, it’s nice to know that they’re out there.
– Douglas A. Bass, Farmington, NY –

Terellian Shapeshifters often blew their cover by taking subtly inappropriate forms — a squirrel that swims perhaps, or a chair with five legs — but Officer Max Throckmorton spotted this one immediately; every Human knows that bidets are NOT purple, and they usually aren’t installed next to a McDonald’s drink dispenser.
– Mark Watson, Chapel Hill, NC –

The fun had seemed innocent at first—simple handstands and easy dismounts, but as the hours passed the routines became more intricate and aggressive with cartwheels and round-offs, competitive and risky with back walkovers and flipping twists, until the twins’ mother ordered them to stop the nonsense and return Grandpa’s walker so he finally could get to the dinner table.
– Scott G. Witmer, Allentown, PA –

The gentle, rhythmic sound of water lapping at the metal hull of the boat transported Phillip back to a simpler time of marshmallow campfires and magical summers at the lake until, upon waking, he came to realize it was only the sound of the Roomba vacuuming robot which had short-circuited and was running repeatedly into the baseboard heat register.
– Tony Buccella, Allegany, NY –

Walking home, picking crushed bouquet bits from his hair and lapel, it occurred to Stan that perhaps “spotless” was the wrong compliment for Evelyn’s home so soon after the incident between the Mazda and her beloved Dalmatian.
– Steve Lauducci, Bethlehem, PA –

Whether I shall emerge from this tale as the hero of my own life, or whether that station be the lot of another, these pages must show, and the path for you, dear reader, will be, as it was for me, long and tortuous, though pages 247-252 will clear up a lot.
– John Hardi, Falls Church, VA –

WD Fyfe Quotations

Canadian author WD Fyfe has written material for radio, newspapers and magazines. He has also published three books which can be found on Amazon: The Woman In The Window, Dogsh*t Without Tears, and Songs of Sylvia. His blog is  WD Fyfe. The following quotations are from his blog – either his own musings or occasionally borrowed from the brilliant philosopher Anon.

After enduring nearly a year of a planetary plague, I can now fully understand why all the women in Renaissance paintings are a little overweight and braless.

A written test before anyone is allowed to vote. Even multiple choice (guess?) would be better than nothing. (Stuff we need)

Deny it or not, in the 21st century, we’re wading in the shallow end of the intellectual swimming pool. Most people don’t know enough history to fill a mouse’s ear.

Don’t ask me what’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever done: I haven’t peaked yet.

Finally realizing that the reason you clean the house before people come over is you don’t want them to think you actually live this way.

I don’t care what wonders the newest wonder drug does, the “side effects” litany scares the hell out of me. Honestly, “may cause dry mouth, tremors, depression, heart attack, vomiting, internal bleeding, external bleeding, massive bleeding and your tongue’s going fall out” leaves me a little reluctant to try taking it for “occasional arthritis pain.”

If, at some point, you just lose it and confront the clothes dryer, demanding the return of all the socks it’s stolen over the years, you need to take a step back. (Advice to avoid Covid Burn-out)

I hate being the parent because I always have to say no to all the same things I loved doing as a kid.

I’ll betcha right about now, Joe Biden’s thinking, “Hey, people! I’ve got mittens, too!” (Random thoughts January 2021)

It’s never a good sign when your fitness watch starts flashing stress warnings and you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.

Personally, I think nudity in films is never necessary. Every movie I’ve ever seen would be just as good (or bad) without it – except porn, of course, where nudity is, in fact, “integral to the storyline.”

Realizing you’re excited about Valentine’s Day because you know chocolate’s going to go on sale the morning of the 15th.

Single people don’t know there’s a wrong way to load the dishwasher.

The best thing about working from home is you don’t have to fight through all the lunch purses in the company refrigerator — and, sometimes, a pigeon sits on the balcony.

The only thing in the universe that’s worse than a Man Cold is being married to someone who has a Man Cold.

The other day I thought it would be cool if someone invented a hot veggie smoothie; then I remembered — it’s called soup.

Transparent toasters. So we can at least see what that maniac machine is doing to our bread! (Stuff we need)

When I was young, I fell off my bike and fractured my ankle. I rode my bike home. Last week, I stubbed my toe– and I haven’t left the sofa since.

When I was young, I thought I’d have a great career, a wild social life, a cool apartment and a retirement plan. I ended up with mismatched wineglasses and a toilet that won’t quit flushing unless you jiggle the handle.

When a two-year-old offers anybody a toy telephone, even the biggest badass in history will answer it.

When I was a kid, it was “normal” to write letters to your friends — with a pen — on paper. Since then, we’ve been through at least three “new normals,” and — like it or don’t — there are a bunch more to come.

With all the crap that’s going on in the world, these days I watch The Shining to relax.

Dr. Thomas Sowell Quotations

Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Imagine how different the next generation of young people might be if they were exposed to and educated about the ideas Dr. Sowell discusses…

As long as human beings are imperfect, there will always be arguments for extending the power of government to deal with these imperfections. The only logical stopping place is totalitarianism — unless we realize that tolerating imperfections is the price of freedom.

Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.

Dave Rubin: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
Dr. Sowell: It’s a super highway.

Equality of rights does not mean equality of results. I can have all the equal treatment in the world on a golf course and I will not finish within shouting distance of Tiger Woods.

If politicians stopped meddling with things they don’t understand, there would be a more drastic reduction in the size of government than anyone in either party advocates.

If we start operating on the principle that people alive today are responsible for what their ancestors did in centuries past, we will be adopting a principle that can tear any society apart.

If you cannot achieve equality of performance among people born to the same parents and raised under the same roof, how realistic is it to expect to achieve it across broader and deeper social divisions?

I have never understood why it is “greed” to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.

In short, killing the goose that lays the golden egg is a viable political strategy, so long as the goose does not die before the next election and no one traces the politicians’ fingerprints on the murder weapon.

Intellect is not wisdom.

It is amazing how many people think that the government’s role is to give them what they want by overriding what other people want.

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.

It would be hard to think of a more ridiculous way to make decisions than to transfer those decisions to third parties who pay no price for being wrong. Yet that is what at least half of the bright ideas of the political left amount to.

Many of the words and phrases used in the media and among academics suggest that things simply happen to people, rather than being caused by their own choices or behavior.

Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems – of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.

One of the many disservices done to young people by our schools and colleges is giving them the puffed up notion that they are in a position to pass sweeping judgments on a world that they have barely begun to experience.

One of the scariest things about our times is how easy it is to scare people and start a political stampede. There are people who could be upset if they were told that half of all Americans earn less than the median income—though of course that is the way median income is defined.

People can’t be knowledgeable about everything but they can be knowledgeable about the extent of their own ignorance.

Racism is not dead, but it is on life support — kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as “racists.”

Socialism is a wonderful idea. It is only as a reality that it has been disastrous. Among people of every race, color, and creed, all around the world, socialism has led to hunger in countries that used to have surplus food to export.

Some people seem to think that the answer to all of life’s imperfections is to create a government agency to correct them. If that is your approach, then go straight to totalitarianism. Do not pass “Go.” Do not collect $200.

The biggest myth about labor unions is that unions are for the workers. Unions are for unions, just as corporations are for corporations and politicians are for politicians.

The fundamental difference between equal treatment and equal performance is repeatedly confused. In performance terms, virtually no one is equal to anyone. The same individual is not even equal to himself on different days.

The left’s obsession with the high incomes of corporate executives never seems to extend to equally high – or higher – incomes of professional athletes, entertainers, or best-selling authors like Danielle Steel.

The income tax has spawned an intrusive bureaucracy, creating so much complexity and red tape that millions of ordinary citizens have to go get some accountant to fill out the forms for them – and then sign under penalty of perjury that it was done right. If you knew how to do it right, you wouldn’t have to go to somebody else to have it done, would you?

The minimum wage law is very cleverly misnamed. The real minimum wage is zero—and that is what many inexperienced and low-skilled people receive as a result of legislation that makes it illegal to pay them what they are currently worth to an employer.

There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.

Those who disdain wealth as a worthy goal for an individual or a society seem not to realize that wealth is the only thing that can prevent poverty.

The problem with trying to equalize is that you can usually only equalize downward. Most activities do not exist for the sake of equality. They exist to serve their own purposes — and those purposes are undermined, sometimes fatally, when equality becomes the goal.

The strongest argument for socialism is that it sounds good. The strongest argument against socialism is that it doesn’t work. But those who live by words will always have a soft spot in their hearts for socialism because it sounds so good.

Those who cry out that the government should ‘do something’ never even ask for data on what has actually happened when the government did something, compared to what actually happened when the government did nothing.

What do you call it when someone takes someone else’s money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else’s money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social Justice.

What can we be certain of from history? That human beings have been wrong innumerable times, by vast amounts, and with catastrophic results. Yet today there are still people who think that anyone who disagrees with them must be either bad or not know what he is talking about.

When I was growing up, we were taught the stories of people whose inventions and scientific discoveries had expanded the lives of millions of other people. Today, students are being taught to admire those who complain, denounce and demand.

You can see the agenda behind the rhetoric when profits are called “unconscionable” but taxes never are, even when taxes take more than half of what someone has earned, or add much more to the prices we have to pay than profits do.

Links to more about Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell – Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy
Thomas Sowell Website
Dave Rubin Interviews Thomas Sowell