Andrew Shaffer wrote an article for Mental Floss about Paperbacks in America:
“Half a century before e-books turned publishing upside down, a different format threatened to destroy the industry…
“A movie ticket set you back 20 cents. John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the year’s bestselling… book, was $2.75. For a nation suffering 20 percent unemployment, books were an impossible expense.”
Cathy Bryant of Manchester (England, not New Hampshire) is the winner of this year’s coveted Bulwer-Lytton Contest for the Worst Opening Sentence for an Imaginary Novel. Hers is the overall winner, but there are many runners-up proudly displayed on the Bulwer-Lytton results page. Some go for elaborate set-ups of punch-clause puns, but I most enjoy the ones like Ms Bryant’s that really mimic an untalented author whose novel I’m glad I don’t have to read.
Here, for your delectation and anti-edification, the prize-winning run-away sentence:
As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting.
‘While he was praying in a certain place, after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples”‘ (Lk 11:1).
What prompted the disciples to ask, I wonder. Many of them were John’s disciples before they were Jesus’ disciples. Was there something different about Jesus practice of prayer that caused them to ask for teaching?
In any case, Jesus’ response was to give them what we call the Lord’s Prayer (Lk. 11:2-4). In Luke’s version, it’s told in a way that emphasises petition, asking for things – for the text immediately goes off into the parable of the friend at midnight, followed by the aphorism Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you (vv. 9-10).
I think other passages teach us that prayer isn’t simply filling in an order form and waiting for the delivery (as Luke shows in his own telling of the Gethsemane story, Lk. 22:39-44). But the aspect of asking and receiving is emphasised here (perhaps in deliberate dialogue with John the Baptist) and prayer cannot be fully understood (or practiced) without it.
Tom Warren, writing for theVerge, cites Lenovo’s advertising checklist (above) which explains at last why it is that the iPad isn’t selling and why no one likes it.
In the same spirit, here, on behalf of typewriter manufacturers everywhere, is a checklist about why it is that computers haven’t caught on:
Typewriter – Computer – Feature
YES — NO — Direct-to-Paper technology
YES — NO — Easy to change ribbon when type gets faint
YES — NO — Automatic bell-noise signals line end
YES — NO — Effortless copies via carbon paper
YES — NO — True WYSIWYG real-time display
What are you waiting for? Get a typewriter today!