Thursday, February 28, 2008

Worst Opening Lines for Novels

Every year the Dept. of English & Comparative Literature San Jose State University runs a contents to see who can construct the worst opening sentence for a novel. They are spectacular.

Here are a few:

2007 Winner:

Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee.

Jim Gleeson, Madison, Wisconsin

She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight . . . summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp's tail . . . though the term "love affair" now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism . . . not unlike "sand vein," which is after all an intestine, not a vein . . . and that tarry substance inside certainly isn't sand . . . and that brought her back to Ramon.

Dave Zobel, Manhattan Beach, CA (2004 Winner)

They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white . . . Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently.

Mariann Simms, Wetumpka, AL (2003 Winner)

The corpse exuded the irresistible aroma of a piquant, ancho chili glaze enticingly enhanced with a hint of fresh cilantro as it lay before him, coyly garnished by a garland of variegated radicchio and caramelized onions, and impishly drizzled with glistening rivulets of vintage balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic oil; yes, as he surveyed the body of the slain food critic slumped on the floor of the cozy, but nearly empty, bistro, a quick inventory of his senses told corpulent Inspector Moreau that this was, in all likelihood, an inside job.

--Bob Perry, Milton, Massachusetts (1998 Winner)

The bone-chilling scream split the warm summer night in two, the first half being before the scream when it was fairly balmy and calm and pleasant for those who hadn't heard the scream at all, but not calm or balmy or even very nice for those who did hear the scream, discounting the little period of time during the actual scream itself when your ears might have been hearing it but your brain wasn't reacting yet to let you know.

--Patricia E. Presutti, Lewiston, New York (1986 Winner)

The countdown had stalled at T minus 69 seconds when Desiree, the first female ape to go up in space, winked at me slyly and pouted her thick, rubbery lips unmistakably--the first of many such advances during what would prove to be the longest, and most memorable, space voyage of my career.

--Martha Simpson, Glastonbury, Connecticut (1985 Winner)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


It's been a cancer, not cancer, cancer, not cancer kind of week for my family, so in the dark of the night, I started counting my blessings and thinking about what makes me truly happy.

1. When my husband holds my hand. I am THE Least sentimental, romantic woman alive -I have never willingly having sat through a chick flick for example - but I still get a little squidgy feeling when he holds my hand.

2. My daughter C's sarcastic sense of humor. It's good to have that demented British sense of humor translate to the next generation. "Aunt Alma, I once shot a man in Phoenix." Good stuff.

3. My dog Sophie. I am one of those dog owners I have mocked my whole life. What goes around comes around.

4. Food. Good food. Good wine & cheese. Fresh bread & fruit. Comfort food on a bad day. Comfort food on a good day.

5. My sister Kim. She is one of the few truly good people I know. She's sees goodness and value in people I would't bother to hit with my car. She's like a character from a Bible story. I on the other hand, am more like a character out of Stephen King...

6. The sun. Overcast days are God's way of saying, "Yeah, I couldn't be bothered either. Go back to bed with some tea and toast and catch up with your TIVO and reading."

7. The ocean. The sound of it makes me relax. It's where I grew up and it takes me back. I love the smell - high tide or low - the sound, the sight - all of it.

8. The feeling of pulling up my socks. It's stupid, but it feels nice when they've been squashed down and you pull them up... ahhh. Similar to taking off panty hose/nylons or as I like to call them, Satan's Sausage Casing for Ladies. Damn you Alan Grant Sr.

9. Washing my hands. I a germaphobe, and I appreciate hand sanitizer, but a good handwashing is almost a religious experience.

10. Movies. I love movies. Movies, movies, movies. In my next life I want to be a projector.

11. My Message Bible. It's a little hard to get used to hearing Jesus toss out slang, "Yo, disciples!" but it's made me pay more attention to Bible reading I had become too casual about.

12. My girls singing. All day, all kinds of music. It's nice.

13. My daughter S's constant dancing. Lord, if that child could sit still for 5 minutes. I don't know where she gets it. Of course if it gets her to Broadway and pays for a nice nursing home for her mother...

14. List of the day.
First of all, it's a LIST people. What's not to love? Secondly, there isn't a day that there isn't something that makes me smile, laugh out loud/pee a little - Olan Mills family photos anyone? - and occasionally offends my previously Baptist Pastor's wife self. Whatever. It's funny stuff.

There's of loads of other stuff, way too mundane to list. As if you weren't bored already.
Thanks for hanging in to the end. You're a real team player, go get yourself some juice. You've earned it.

By the way, the Chinese symbols at the top are supposed to mean Double Happiness. With my luck it probably means Lemon Chicken, but you don't speak Chinese either, so get over it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Top Rejected State Mottos

In my never ending love of all things "list", I came across this little gem at Keepers of Lists I have no idea if their other lists are good, bad or in between, but I thought this had some winners. They have 276 rejected mottos - here are some of my favorites.

Alabama - Not as Racist as we used to be.

Alaska: come cause' it's pretty. stay cause your lost

South Carolina: 50th in education, #1 in mobile home sales

Arkansas : Who needs branches on a family tree?

Maryland: We've got crabs!

South Dakota: Plenty of parking

Pennsylvania: Not to be confused with Dracula's home

New Mexico: Better than the Old Mexico

Kentucky-Go ahead and grow weed. We don't care.

Illinois: The "s" is silent, you morons

Indiana: Corn Corn Corn Corn Indianapolis Corn Corn Corn

Mississippi: come feel better about your own state

CA: The cereal State: nothing but fruits, nuts and flakes

Kentucky: 5 million people 15 last names

Idaho -- No, U-da-ho!

Maine: Not as terrifying as Stephen King makes it out to be

Colorado we hate texans too

Maryland The Other Alabama

Louisiana: You know what to do if you want these beads

New Jersey - Aaay! How U Doin'?

Maine: Now Canadian Friendly!

2 manky prostitutes and a racist dwarf

Now that got your attention didn't it? It's a line from In Bruges- the Colin Farrell film in the theatre now. I loved it. It was wierd, gory, and seriously, the dwarf was wicked racist, but a great story with beautiful cinematography. Bruges is a beautiful city. The story centers around Farrells' character Ray, though Jordan Prentice is brilliant in his role as Jimmy, the angry, racist dwarf. Brendon Gleeson (Mad Eye Moody to all you Potter fans) plays Farrells partner - literally - in crime. I won't bore you with the plot synopsis, that's what IMDB is for, but I will say it was amazing. The characters are complicated and flawed, yet you're on their side when Ralph Fiennes (English Patient, Lord Voldemort) shows up. It had all the things I like in a movie - it wasn't tidy and neat, the characters are dysfunctional in interesting ways, everyone didn't have a happy ending and the story (for me) wasn't completely predictable. The acting was solid, the score didn't take on a life of it's own and overpower the movie. A lot of my friends are chick flick fans. This movie is NOT for you. For me, it was a great way to spend a Sunday night.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I'm addicted to Post Secret - it's my favorite Sunday guilty pleasure.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Best insults

None of these are original to me - they are credited to whoever spoke them - bless their hearts. These the things you wish you had said, or wish you were clever enough to think of.

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”
Winston Churchill

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”
Clarence Darrow

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.”
Groucho Marx

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”
Mark Twain

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.”
Oscar Wilde

“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend... if you have one.”
George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

“Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend second, if there is one.”
Winston Churchill’s response to George Bernard Shaw

“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.”
Stephen Bishop

“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.”
Irvin S. Cobb

“He had delusions of adequacy.”
Walter Kerr

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”
Mae West

“Winston, if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee!”
Lady Astor to Winston Churchill at a dinner party

“Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it!”
Winston Churchill’s response to Lady Astor

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."
Moses Hadas

"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
Jack E. Leonard

"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt."
Robert Redford

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
Billy Wilder

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.”
Oscar Wilde

"Why are we honoring this man? Have we run out of human beings?"
Milton Berle

"Some people stay longer in an hour than others can in a week."
William Dean Howells

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."
Groucho Marx

"They don't hardly make 'em like him any more - but just to be on the safe side, he should be castrated anyway."
Hunter S. Thompson

"You're a good example of why some animals eat their young."
Jim Samuels

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx (Okay, so it's not an insult, it was too good not to include)

"I married your mother because I wanted children, imagine my disappointment when you came along."
Groucho Marx

"I thought men like that shot themselves."
King George V

"I can't believe that out of 100,000 sperm, you were the quickest."
Steven Pearl

"Don't look now, but there's one too many in this room and I think it's you."
Groucho Marx

"You were born with your legs apart. They'll send you to the grave in a Y-shaped coffin."
Joe Orton

"There goes the famous good time that was had by all."
Bette Davis

"She's been on more laps than a napkin."
Walter Winchell

"So boring you fall asleep halfway through her name."
Alan Bennett

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Jobs I would HATE...

Not that you necessarily care, but these are jobs I would hate to do. My insomnia is back, you've all been prayed for, so I have to fill the time somehow...

1. Vet Tech - the one that puts the animals to sleep
2. School Bus Driver - I swear I would veer into oncoming traffic just for the time off
3. Disney World Mascot - Princesses included. Runny-nosed,bratty kids, demanding/pissed off moms, sweaty, frustrated dads...need I go on?
4. Clean restrooms at a Rest Area on the interstate
5. Proctologist - I don't know what you make but it isn't enough
6. Adult Theatre janitor...I definatly just threw up in my mouth
7. Massage therapist at at Senior Citizens Center
8. Taxidermist
9. Pimp - Seriously, I'm so not good with money
10. Amy Winehouse's maid
11. Anything related to pig farming - that stink don't wash off
12. Fur trapper
13. Mortician
14. Driving Test Examiner - I know how my first road test went...
15. Waitress in a honky tonk - is there even such a thing as a honky tonk any more?
16. Road kill cleaner upper
17. Chuck E Cheese employee. 'Nuff said.
18. Drug Mule
19. Roadie for the Rolling Stones - do you want to clean up after Keith Richards has been in the bathroom?
20. Body Guard for a gangsta rapper
21. Coal Miner
22. Finally and most importantly - A MIME. Serioulsy. No one likes a mime. NO ONE.

There's a lot more I'm sure, but I'm sure you're bored with my list. What would YOU hate to do?