June 30, 2009

Out into the wild, with worms bought from a machine

BIG FLATS, New York, USA - The Admiral and I were on a return-the-truck-to-Brother-Dan mission Monday when we stopped at filling station to get directions to a local restaurant, where, legend has it, the breakfasts are great.

More on that assessment later.

But when I pulled in, there right near a shiny red Coke machine and neatly wedged near the front door was a vending machine unlike any other I had ever seen.

Worm machine
Put in your money, get a box of worms

The machine offers different sizes and types of the squirming critters. And don't think worms are cheap to purchase. The prices at this stop range from $2 to $4 per box. And just after we pulled up, the owner of machine came by to restock, loading about 100 boxes into the bowels of the equipment - one day's worth of sales, it seemed.

"There's money in worms," he said. "Good fishin' right down the road."

Worm choices
Your choice of worms - and prices

With the chaos of getting the guest house ready - and the incessant rain (more predicted for today, Jaysus!) - I haven't even purchased my fishing license yet, though I hope that as soon as the first renter is safely ensconced and sipping Hazlitt Winery Reisling, I will have more time for such pursuits.

Even the new sailboat sits sadly shoreside, until I can find time to build a new platform, so I don't have to pull it up across the rocks.

That phrase, sits sadly shoreside, reminds me that my amigo Tom Balmer sent me a link to the winners of the 2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. The contest is named for the man who penned a lot of bad writing, capped by the famous, "It was a dark and stormy night..."

Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Here's some of entries and winners, best read with a glass of the earlier mentioned Reisling nearby. If you want to read the entire list, follow this link:
  • It was a dark and stormy night

  • Contest Results

    The Big Winner:

    "Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the "Ellie May," a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests."

    David McKenzie
    Federal Way, WA

    The winner of 2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is David McKenzie, a 55-year-old Quality Systems consultant and writer from Federal Way, Washington. A contest recidivist, he has formerly won the Western and Children's Literature categories.

    David McKenzie is the 27th grand prize winner of the contest that began at San Jose State University in 1982.

    An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression "the pen is mightier than the sword," and phrases like "the great unwashed" and "the almighty dollar," Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."

    Most entries are submitted electronically through the Contest's Web site: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/.


    The wind dry-shaved the cracked earth like a dull razor--the double edge kind from the plastic bag that you shouldn't use more than twice, but you do; but Trevor Earp had to face it as he started the second morning of his hopeless search for Drover, the Irish Wolfhound he had found as a pup near death from a fight with a prairie dog and nursed back to health, stolen by a traveling circus so that the monkey would have something to ride.

    Warren Blair
    Ashburn, VA

    Grand Panjandrum's Special Award

    Fleur looked down her nose at Guilliame, something she was accomplished at, being six foot three in her stocking feet, and having one of those long French noses, not pert like Bridget Bardot's, but more like the one that Charles De Gaulle had when he was still alive and President of France and he wore that cap that was shaped like a little hatbox with a bill in the front to offset his nose, but it didn't work.

    Marguerite Ahl
    Prescott valley, AZ

    Winner: Adventure

    How best to pluck the exquisite Toothpick of Ramses from between a pair of acrimonious vipers before the demonic Guards of Nicobar returned should have held Indy's full attention, but in the back of his mind he still wondered why all the others who had agreed to take part in his wife's holiday scavenger hunt had been assigned to find stuff like a Phillips screwdriver or blue masking tape.

    Joe Wyatt
    Amarillo, Texas

    Dishonorable Mention

    Karen Buffalo, sensing that her 1894 Brassic & Middon .45 calibre revolvers, mounted with mother-of-pearl grips and clasped by ivory buttons carved in the shape of elephants at play, were no match for 'Duke' Bunton's double-barreled shotgun, muttered under her breath "Darn that Parisian gunsmith in the Fourteenth Arrondisement!"

    Mark A. Gray
    Berks., U.K.

    Winner: Detective

    She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida - the pink ones, not the white ones - except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn't wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren't.

    Eric Rice
    Sun Prairie, WI

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