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Wordsmith wins annual contest given to bad writing
Ananova ^ | July 16 2002

Posted on 07/16/2002 4:27:18 AM PDT by 2Trievers

A word-puzzle creator has won the 21st annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for horrible writing.

Rephah Berg, of Oakland, triumphed over thousands of entrants from around the world.

The judges at San Jose State University liked how her composition "was a combination of something atrocious and appropriate," said Scott Rice, the professor who began the contest in 1982.

The winning sentence was: "On reflection, Angela perceived that her relationship with Tom had always been rocky, not quite a roller-coaster ride but more like when the toilet paper roll gets a little squashed so it hangs crooked and every time you pull some off you can hear the rest going bumpity-bumpity in its holder until you go nuts and push it back into shape, a degree of annoyance that Angela had now almost attained."

The contest, which seeks the worst beginning to an imaginary novel, is named after Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, a British writer whose 1830 book "Paul Clifford" begins with the oft-mocked cliche, "It was a dark and stormy night ..."

"There are literary contests on campuses, and they're often deadly serious and end up producing some terrible writing," Rice said.

"I thought, why not be up front and honest about it and ask for bad writing from the get-go?"

Berg, who won in the detective category last year, wrote 10 entries this year. She said she could not recall her inspiration for the winner, but noted that it follows a pattern commonly found in successful Bulwer-Lytton entries.

"There's a sudden change in diction, a drop in tone," she said. "From academic prose, the style suddenly plunges into a mundane image, almost a slang tone."

Berg said she has been a copy editor for 25 years and began her career with a company that sells notes on lectures at the University of California, Berkeley.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: badwriting; contest; sanfrancisco; wordsmith

1 posted on 07/16/2002 4:27:18 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: 2Trievers
Dark and stormy night BUMP!
2 posted on 07/16/2002 4:33:31 AM PDT by ellery
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: 2Trievers
The 1998 winner was "I did not have sexual relations with that woman.......Miss Lewinsky."

4 posted on 07/16/2002 4:39:48 AM PDT by YourAdHere
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To: 2Trievers
Isn't the award pretty automatic any year Michael Moore releases a book?

-Eric

5 posted on 07/16/2002 4:43:21 AM PDT by E Rocc
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To: 2Trievers
And more for your reading pleasure:

Runner-Up:

"The professor looked down at his new young lover, who rested fitfully, lashed as she was with duct tape to the side of his stolen hovercraft, her head lolling gently in the breeze, and as they soared over the buildings of downtown St. Paul to his secret lair he mused that she was much like a sweet ripe juicy peach, except for her not being a fuzzy three-inch sphere produced by a tree with pink blossoms and that she had internal organs and could talk."
-Charles Howland
St. Paul, MN

Winner: Detective (And the grumsters personal favorite)

"Chief Inspector Blancharde knew that this murder would be easy to solve-despite the fact that the clever killer had apparently dismembered his victim, run the corpse through a chipper-shredder with some Columbian beans to throw off the police dogs, and had run the mix through the industrial-sized coffee maker in the diner owned by Joseph Tilby (the apparent murder victim)--if only he could figure out who would want a hot cup of Joe."
Matthew Chambers
Hambleton WV

Winner: Purple Prose

"The blood dripped from his nose like hot grease from a roasting bratwurst pierced with a fork except that grease isn't red and the blood wasn't that hot and it wasn't a fork that poked him in the nose but there was a faint aroma of nutmeg in the air and it is of noses we speak not to mention that if you looked at it in the right profile, his nose did sort of look like a sausage."
Jim Sheppeck
Farmington, NM

Go to the website to see more great bad writing... It's perfect Monday morning stuff - but it's of a Tuesday we speak....

6 posted on 07/16/2002 4:56:23 AM PDT by grumpster-dumpster
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To: grumpster-dumpster
Thanks GD ... Elmore Leonard watch out! &;-)
7 posted on 07/16/2002 5:02:54 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: grumpster-dumpster
Link to Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2002 Results
8 posted on 07/16/2002 5:06:29 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: grumpster-dumpster
Hot cup of Joe Bump!
9 posted on 07/16/2002 5:08:01 AM PDT by TooBusy
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To: grumpster-dumpster
who would want a hot cup of Joe

What in the world is a hot cup of Joe?
From context, I would guess it's coffee... but where did "Joe" come from?
Or was the the murdered guy's name?

10 posted on 07/16/2002 5:28:02 AM PDT by grobdriver
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To: grobdriver
In the 1940's the slang term for coffee was "Joe." (I caught that from old movies! LOL!)
11 posted on 07/16/2002 5:36:34 AM PDT by grumpster-dumpster
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To: Wordsmith
Wordsmith wins annual contest given to bad writing Ananova

Congratulations.

SD

12 posted on 07/16/2002 5:37:11 AM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: grobdriver
From context, I would guess it's coffee... but where did "Joe" come from?

It's java, yes. The term has been around since the 40's. Some say the term comes from "Joe Awful Coffee's" a once famous restuarant out West. Others say it comes from the bags which were stamped J.O.E. (Java something something) and other's that it was named after the captain of some ship who banned rum in favour of bean juice on his vessels. But wherever the term comes from, one can't deny the perky effect that a good cup o' joe has. The way it makes your eyes open up like two big oatmeal cookies...

13 posted on 07/16/2002 5:40:06 AM PDT by Wm Bach
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To: 2Trievers
This beauty should have gotten higher mention, IMHO:
The moon looked like a discarded toenail clipping submersed in a puddle of saliva on a black formica countertop.
14 posted on 07/16/2002 5:40:19 AM PDT by sanchmo
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To: grobdriver
"Cuppa joe" is an old slang term for coffee, as in, "Getcha a cuppa joe?" said to a diner patron.
15 posted on 07/16/2002 5:43:50 AM PDT by bleudevil
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To: 2Trievers
LOL Bump!

16 posted on 07/16/2002 6:32:02 AM PDT by alley cat
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To: M. Thatcher; Molly Pitcher; kayak
Bad-writing contest winner...
17 posted on 07/16/2002 7:20:27 AM PDT by lepton
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To: 2Trievers; SoothingDave
Hey, I resemble that remark! :)
18 posted on 07/16/2002 7:35:17 AM PDT by Wordsmith
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To: grobdriver
who would want a hot cup of Joe

In the spirit of the BBC's My Word.

Sly Stallone's Cockney cousin and manager was asked by the studio if they could make any follow-ons to Rocky.

He responded, "Y'd wan' wot, couppa, yo?"

19 posted on 07/16/2002 7:39:49 AM PDT by monkey
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To: YourAdHere
Re: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman (Hillary Clinton), Miss Lewinsky."
20 posted on 07/16/2002 7:42:54 AM PDT by SevenDaysInMay
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To: ellery
up with Snoopy and Woodstock ...
21 posted on 07/16/2002 7:47:29 AM PDT by geologist
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To: 2Trievers
It had started off as a prank, but when Major Elyse Livesay discovered (during her solo space walk, no less!) the tarantula that the boys in the crew had slipped into her spacesuit, she knew that while in space no one could hear you scream, it was damn sure not for lack of trying.

Matthew Chambers Hambleton WV

22 posted on 07/16/2002 8:26:25 AM PDT by lepton
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To: lepton; Carolinamom; Miss Marple; illstillbe; Utah Girl; Bitwhacker; OneidaM; A Citizen Reporter; ..
YIKES! Those people must have worked really hard to come up with such awful writing!
23 posted on 07/16/2002 9:18:11 AM PDT by kayak
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To: kayak
Thanks for the ping! I look forward to the winners of the this contest each year.
24 posted on 07/16/2002 9:50:27 AM PDT by Utah Girl
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To: Wordsmith
And your modus operendi ...

&;-)

25 posted on 07/16/2002 10:02:58 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: 2Trievers
"There's a sudden change in diction, a drop in tone," she said. "From academic prose, the style suddenly plunges into a mundane image, almost a slang tone."

FR could win this award.

26 posted on 07/16/2002 10:07:07 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: *San FRancisco; GodBlessAmerica; Cool Guy; CounterCounterCulture; deeel-me-in; Golden Gate; ...
It was a grate and patriotic ping.....: )

("Grate" - courtesy of Syncro.) : )

27 posted on 07/16/2002 10:09:47 AM PDT by American Preservative
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To: 2Trievers
Drat, lost again. Well, as they say, always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

Michael M. Bates: My Side of the Swamp

28 posted on 07/16/2002 10:09:58 AM PDT by mikeb704
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To: 2Trievers
wordsmith?

"in conclusion, I will leave you with a story about Professor Irwin Cory, a disheveled, little guy who wore a tux with tails and tennis shoes. Interviewers would ask him, “Why do you wear tennis shoes with a tuxedo?” His answer: “That’s a two part question. First is why - the perennial interrogative. That question has plagued mankind since time immemorial. The greatest philosophers of every age have addressed it. They haven’t answered it. I’m not going to try. The second part of the question is, ‘Do you wear tennis shoes with your tuxedo?’ Yes!”

The day was established to have Professor Irwin Cory, who was known for his rambling, contradicting and deliberately humorous lectures and complex verbiage. Cory posed as an expert, but it was really just a joke to entertain his audiences with a stream of nonsensical gibberish.

MARRIAGE: is like a bank account. You put it in, you take it out, you lose interest.
- Professor Irwin Cory

Some quotes by Alan Greenspn today:

-"Balance sheets should balance."
-"US is more transparent than most(nations)."
-"The economy in the past 6 months follow the pattern we expected as the negative becomes less negative.

-"Let's pretend you and I are businesses. I could sell you something and you could sell it back to me and we both could make a profit. NOTHING OF SIGNIFIGANCE HAPPENED.

WORNG! BOTH STATE AND FEDERAL GOV'TS MADE MONEY ON IT IN THE FORM OF TAXES.

29 posted on 07/16/2002 10:13:15 AM PDT by It'salmosttolate
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To: RightWhale
We're trying to keep up RW, but you are light years ahead of the rest of us. &;-)


30 posted on 07/16/2002 10:27:01 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: RightWhale
"There's a sudden change in diction, a drop in tone," she said. "From academic prose, the style suddenly plunges into a mundane image, almost a slang tone."

LOL! But I do that on purpose!!!

Something to do with breaking up monotony with humor to land a point.

31 posted on 07/16/2002 10:48:21 AM PDT by Carry_Okie
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To: dighton
;^)

32 posted on 07/16/2002 10:59:38 AM PDT by AnnaZ
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To: American Preservative
What makes you think I'd be interested in this?

;-) Oh yeah, I did do the 2000 thread on this...

And here's the 2001 thread...


33 posted on 07/16/2002 5:06:40 PM PDT by CounterCounterCulture
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To: CounterCounterCulture
Well, geez, CCC, did ya oversleep this time? : ) (Just kidding. Maybe you can find another source and still post a thread.)

BTW, did you enter this contest? : )

34 posted on 07/16/2002 7:05:04 PM PDT by American Preservative
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To: American Preservative
I had to be at work by 7am, so I had no time to go through the news wires.

No, I did not enter the contest. Maybe some day I'll enter (it is my alma matter, after all). :-)

35 posted on 07/16/2002 7:17:23 PM PDT by CounterCounterCulture
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To: CounterCounterCulture
CCC, there's an article at www.sfgate.com! Go forth and post! : )
36 posted on 07/16/2002 7:29:09 PM PDT by American Preservative
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To: 2Trievers
Now I know where Maureen Dowd and Molly Ivins go to get their inspiration.
37 posted on 07/16/2002 7:34:41 PM PDT by small voice in the wilderness
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To: 2Trievers
See the smaller cow kind of lagging behind the udders, picking over the leftovers? That would be me, one eye swiveled upward toward Comet Cowhutek.
38 posted on 07/16/2002 8:11:18 PM PDT by RightWhale
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To: American Preservative
Dishonorable Mention, Vile Pun category:

"This is a story of twin Siamese kittens, or, more specifically, of their shared appendage; it is a tail of two kitties.''

David Bubenik, Palo Alto

39 posted on 07/16/2002 8:17:07 PM PDT by CounterCounterCulture
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To: RightWhale
ROFLOL ... you are toooo much RW! Celestial hugs, 2T &;-)
40 posted on 07/16/2002 8:19:00 PM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: 2Trievers

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. Through one of the obscurest quarters of London, and among haunts little loved by the gentlemen of the police, a man, evidently of the lowest orders, was wending his solitary way. He stopped twice or thrice at different shops and houses of a description correspondent with the appearance of the quartier in which they were situated,--and tended inquiry for some article or another which did not seem easily to be met with. All the answers he received were couched in the negative; and as he turned from each door he muttered to himself, in no very elegant phraseology, his disappointment and discontent.

At length, at one house, the landlord, a sturdy butcher, after rendering the same reply the inquirer had hitherto received, added,--"But if this vill do as vell, Dummie, it is quite at your sarvice!" Pausing reflectively for a moment, Dummie responded, that he thought the thing proffered might do as well; and thrusting it into his ample pocket he strode away with as rapid a motion as the wind and rain would allow. He soon came to a nest of low and dingy buildings, at the entrance to which, in half-effaced characters was written "Thames Court." Having at the most conspicuous of these buildings, an inn or alehouse through the half-closed windows of which blazed out in ruddy comfort the beams of the hospitable hearth, he knocked hastily at the door. He was admitted by a lady of a certain age, and endowed with a comely rotundity of face and person.

"Hast got it, Dummie?" said she quickly, as she closed the door on the guest.

"Noa, noa! not exactly--but as I thinks as ow . . ."

"Pish, you fool!" cried the woman interrupting him, peevishly. "Vy, it is no use desaving me. You knows you has only stepped from my boosing ken to another, and you has not been arter the book at all. So there's the poor cretur a-raving and a-dying, and you . . ."

"Let I speak!" interrupted Dummie in his turn. "I tells you I vent first to Mother Bussblone's, who, I knows, chops the whiners morning and evening to the young ladies, and I axes there for a Bible, and she says, says she, 'I 'as only a "Companion to the Halter!" but you'll get a Bible, I thinks, as Master Talkins,--the cobbler, as preaches.' So I goes to Master Talkins, and he says, says he, 'I 'as no call for the Bible--'cause vy?--I 'as a call vithout; but mayhap you'll be a-getting it at the butcher's hover the vay,--'cause vy?--the butcher'll be damned!" So I goes hover the vay, and the butcher says, says he, 'I 'as not a Bible: but I 'as a book of plays bound for all the world just like 'un, and mayhap the poor cretur mayn't see the difference.' So I takes the plays, Mrs. Margery, and here they be surely!--and how's poor Judy?"

"Fearsomo! she'll not be over the night, I'm a-athinking."

"Vell, I'll track up the dancers!"

So saying, Dummie ascended a doorless staircase, across the entrance of which a blanket, stretched angularly from the wall to the chimney, afforded a kind of screen; and presently he stood within a chamber, which the dark and painful genius of Crabbe might have delighted to portray. The walls were white-washed, and at sundry places strange figures and grotesque characters had been traced by some mirthful inmate, in such sable outline as the end of a smoked stick or the edge of a piece of charcoal is wont to produce. The wan and flickering light afforded by a farthing candle gave a sort of grimness and menace to these achievements of pictorial art, especially as they more than once received embellishment from portraits of Satan, such as he is accustomed to be drawn. A low fire burned gloomily in a the sooty grate; and on the hob hissed "the still small voice" of an iron kettle. On a round deal-table were two vials, a cracked cup, a broken spoon of some dull metal, and upon two or three mutilated chairs were scattered various articles of female attire. On another table, placed below a high, narrow, shutterless casement (athwart which, instead of a curtain, a checked apron had been loosely hung, and now waved fitfully to and fro in the gusts of wind that made easy ingress through many a chink and cranny), were a looking glass, sundry appliances of the toilet, a box of coarse rouge, a few ornaments of more show than value; and a watch, the regular and calm click of which produced that indescribably painful feeling which, we fear, many of our readers who have heard the sound in a sick chamber can easily recall.

Go here for the rest... (It gets better!)


41 posted on 07/16/2002 8:23:36 PM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: American Preservative

Rephah Berg strikes a pose with the source of her prize-winning motif -- rolls of toilet paper. San Francisco Chronicle photo by Craig Lee
42 posted on 07/16/2002 8:27:55 PM PDT by CounterCounterCulture
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To: 2Trievers
Ooooh! Cows With Guns bump!
43 posted on 07/16/2002 8:32:28 PM PDT by FreedomFarmer
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To: TLBSHOW
How about William Rivers Pitt? Everything he writes should be used for toilet paper.
44 posted on 07/16/2002 8:34:46 PM PDT by doug from upland
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To: SamAdams76
Very, very funny! Thanks Sam. &;-)
45 posted on 07/16/2002 8:46:34 PM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: CounterCounterCulture
CCC, didn't you want to post the sfgate.com article as a thread? With those two other threads posted at #33, you're on "a roll~~~~~." : )
46 posted on 07/16/2002 11:12:13 PM PDT by American Preservative
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To: doug from upland
like this one? LOL

MORE WORDS FROM A LETF WING MORON......

I have plowed through more than half a case of beer tonight, and do not plan on stopping. It is a nasty fact that virtually all of the shit I have started here has come because I was Drunk Posting - getting all flamy and nuts because I was too shitfaced to think and act like a decent human. Anyone who saw me in Philly can attest to the fact that Drunk Will does not = The Best Will.

I have a sneaking suspicion that some other wild behavior seen here from time to time can be laid at the feet of the God Baccus...or Jah, or whatever.

Just a hunch.



47 posted on 07/17/2002 8:14:19 PM PDT by TLBSHOW
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To: Wm Bach
Josephus Daniel, Secretary of the Navy early 20th cent, banned rum on USN vessels.
48 posted on 07/17/2002 8:26:15 PM PDT by yianni
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To: It'salmosttolate
Prof. Irwin Corey has a website - http://professor.irwincorey.com/

He is still performing.

49 posted on 07/17/2002 8:31:18 PM PDT by yianni
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To: TLBSHOW
Thanks for the anecdote. Pitt is a fool's fool.
50 posted on 07/17/2002 8:41:00 PM PDT by doug from upland
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