Thursday, July 22, 2004

Hemingway, Faulkner, and Bulwer-Lytton (well, almost):

United Airlines' in-flight magazine Hemispheres runs a Faux Faulkner and Imitation Hemingway contest. I have enjoyed reading these over the years, in between my twenty-minute-readings of Hemingway's books and my interminable attempts at finishing anything of Faulkner's.

United's latest series of television commercials have caught my eye, and during last Friday's flights I saw a short segment on the artist/animator behind them. It turns out that the lead female character in the "Lightbulb" segment is a self-portrait of the artist.

I was pleasantly suprised the other day to hear that a friend, Dave Zobel, had won a similar writing contest, parodying the opening lines of Bulwer-Lytton's writing (of "It was a dark and stormy night..." fame).

Dave's entry:

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.

See the entire set of results here.

Dave and I went to Caltech together, and we lived in apartments that faced each other one year. We often were interviewed by folks from intelligence agencies, gathering background on friends for their security clearances. Dave had a big poster of Lenin on his wall, supposedly gazing optimistically into a Socialist future, but actually looking out a window at a set of sorry Pasadena palm trees full of escaped parrots that left their droppings on the faded Toyotas parked below. I often wonder what those security clearance folks from CIA, NSA, FBI, DIA, and the NIS thought of that poster.


At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Dave Zobel said...

I just told them it had been there when I moved in, and that I thought it might be yours.


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