Life in Omaha (in Scottsdale)

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Great Opening Lines

This year's 10 winners of the Bulwer-Lytton contest, aka "Dark and Stormy
Night Contest" (run by the English Dept. of San Jose State University),
wherein one writes only the first line of a bad novel:

10) "As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in
the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it."

9) "Just beyond the Narrows, the river widens."

8) "With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned,
unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue
eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for
competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied

7) "Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept
along the East wall: 'Andre creep... Andre creep... Andre creep.'"

6) "Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of narcissism, was
about to give his body and soul to a back alley sex-change surgeon to become
the woman he loved."

5) "Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from
eeking out a living at a local pet store."

4) "Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins
often do."

3) "Like an over-ripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the
corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."

2) "Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn't know the meaning of
the word 'fear'; a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the
eye of death -- in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies."


1) "The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the
green sward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window,
revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in
frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her,
disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly, 'You


"I feel so miserable without you, it's almost like having you here." --
Stephen Bishop "

A modest little person, with much to be modest about." --- Winston
Churchill (about Clement Atlee)

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."
--- Irvin S. Cobb "

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

He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the
dictionary." --William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others." ---
Samuel Johnson

He had delusions of adequacy." --- Walter Kerr

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." --- Groucho

"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human
knowledge." --- Thomas Brackett Reed

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." --- Forrest Tucker "

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of
it." --- Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." --- Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go." ---
Oscar Wilde

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends" --- Oscar

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


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