Sunday, March 26, 2017

OPENING PARAGRAPHS



Don't you love the way the best magazine writers used to begin their stories? How do you like this opening:

"The floor beneath Conners' feet dropped like a gallows trap. What had been solid, shining mahogany was suddenly a gaping black void. The man shot through space. Down, down, into the darkness below. 

The native servants stood blandly silent. From the opening in the floor came a thump then, after a moment, a horrible scream of terror, that echoed ominously through the room like a banshee's wail.

'For God's sake take me out of here! What is this thing? God, it's coming close to me!"  It's----' "

Very nice. I'll bet nobody ever stopped reading after an opening like that.

How 'bout this one:


"Night, black and rain-swept, shrouded the Kirty Institute for the insane. Gusts of howling wind attacked the ugly gray buildings like seas pounding some bleak, rocky coast. There was the same impression of desolation, of a savagely forbidding place that humans shunned."

"A small car lurched to a stop in front of the guardhouse at the gate. Two men got out, collars upturned, hats pulled low."

Nice. Very nice.

Of course you could argue that the best openings were the most brief.  Here (below) the writer grabbed our interest with just a few words:

"Sally, take that child away. Don't put it down in the dirt."

Huh? The dirt!? Yikes! What the heck was that story about? I found it excerpted in, of all things, a book about grammar, so I have no idea what the context was.

Ah, giants walked the Earth in those days!


Monday, March 20, 2017

MY BEE STORY

Here's how it happened. 

My wife and I were talking about the new house we're hoping to get and I mentioned a type of screen we could get for the back porch.  She said something like, "Oh, not that kind. Our bees'll get stuck in it." 

Huh? Our bees? 

I laughed and said, "Haw! you're gonna die when you hear this. I thought you said...aw, this is rich...Haw! I thought you said...here it comes...I thought you said...'BEES'. Haw haw, haw!"

She replied dryly: "Yeah. That's what I said...bees. I've wanted to be a beekeeper ever since I was a little kid."

(Groan!) A long discussion ensued during which I was reminded of favors that I owed.  The upshot was...you want to see a picture of me a year from now? That's me (above), and all the hapless guests who ignore the warnings and venture out into our backyard. 


I forgot to say that my wife wants a goat, too. 


We might have to let the goat live inside the house.


How can I kick the poor creature into the backyard when all that carnage is taking place out there?


Have you ever seen a corpse stripped by bees? Well...I haven't either...but I know it must be terrible.


I don't think any amount of coaxing will convince the pets to leave the house.

Would you if you knew the yard was full of bees?


I don't know what the neighbors will think. If we're lucky we'll have hippie neighbors. Bees don't sting hippies. That's why God created hippies...so there'll be somebody to love the world's bees.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

A TALE OF THE FARM HUSSY

My name is Mildred and this is my autobiography.

I grew up on a farm where I had a certain reputation...deserved, I suppose.


But it was kinda boring there.


All the boys in my town just liked to drink and fight. I thought, geez, there had to more to life than that...so I hitched a ride to the big city. 


 
Now THAT was a change!


Haw! I only succeeded in holding down one normal job.


After that I got "connected." I took some serious risks and made some serious money. 


You wouldn't believe the situations I got into.


I had a few laughs, took a few hard knocks.


Maybe some guys trusted me who shouldn't have.


That last caper put the fear into me. I almost got nabbed! One day I came across a "marriage wanted" ad in the paper and I went for it.  It was a chance to lay low for a while.


Okay, the guy wasn't the handsomest man in the world. 


Anyway, it didn't work out. I just didn't feel right around my husband's creepy friends.


And he experimented on me! Really! It was horrible!

One day I couldn't take it anymore and I pushed him into a vat of acid. As his smoldering skeleton slipped beneath the liquid he made one last grab and pulled me in.


As you can imagine I thought that was the end, but amazingly I found myself in the sky, winging my way Heavenward. 


I couldn't believe my eyes! I found myself in the afterlife, surrounded by all my old friends...um, if you can call them that.  Everybody I used to know! I didn't know they let people like us into classy places like this! Wow! What a kicker!


And there on a rock was a harp, just waiting for me to pick it up and play! It was all too good to be true! 

"Hmmm," I wondered out loud, "I wonder if Heaven has any pawn shops? That harp must be worth something."

ON MILDRED'S EYES:
HUSBAND (VO): "No Dear Wife, but you won't need the harp."


THE HUSBAND: "After my next experiment you won't have anything to play it with!"


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

AMAZING MOON OF SATURN

Above, a stunning photo of a little known moon of Saturn, only 30 kilometers across. It's called "Pan." The soon to self-destruct Cassini orbiter took the picture last week.

Why the heck does it look like that? Who knows? Only a small number of craters are visible. That indicates that the surface is fairly new, but how could that be?



For comparison here's (above) Mimas, also a moon of Saturn. Mimas is eleven times larger than Pan, and the surface is quite a bit older and strewn with craters. If the left side is dark, drag your cursor over it to light it up.


Friday, March 10, 2017

A GOTHIC ROMANCE


EXT. BRANDYTHISTLE MANOR: NIGHT:

REBECCA (VO): "I have to look good for D'Arcy."

INT. BEDROOM: 

REBECCA: "The next time we meet will be the clincher." 


REBECCA: "Oh, he was stand-offish at first..."

REBECCA (VO): "...but when he gets to know me a bit better his feelings will blossom into love."

REBECCA (VO): "Nobody will ever replace me in his heart.  He'll take me into his strong, sinewy arms and hold me tightly. I'll feel his strength, the pure animal grace of his movements. There will  never be anybody else. "

REBECCA: "Yum yum!"

REBECCA: "The problem is, every girl in the shire wants D'Arcy. Especially that stupid Gertrude Kratz."

REBECCA: "Maybe I'll become a nun. Yeah, that's it. No more men. I'll devote myself to the higher things in life."

REBECCA (VO): "But then Gertrude (above) gets D'Arcy. That can't be right."


REBECCA: "What's a girl to do?"


REBECCA: "I know...I'll take a walk...on the moors!"


OUTSIDE: NIGHT: Rebecca runs in a wild zig-zag across the windswept moor, stumbling and sobbing as she goes.


REBECCA: "It looks like a storm's coming! D'Arcy's a rugged outdoorsman. I wonder if he's out in this."


REBECCA: "If he is...and we meet in the driving rain...Oh, it would be so romantic! Wet outside but my mouth dry, my throat aching as I touch him. He'd stare at me with hungry intensity, his eyes soft and luminous, my lips slightly parted, inviting a...."


ON REBECCA'S STARTLED EYES:

GERTRUDE KRATZ (VO) (IN A MOCKING, ELMER FUDD VOICE):
"Oh...It would be thooo womatic! He'd stare at me with hungwy intenthity."


ON GERTRUDE as she steps out from behind a bush.

GERTRUDE: (MOCKING): "My widdle, stupid mouth would know twoo wove at wast!"


Gertrude leaps out, attacks. A fight ensues. 


LATER: BACK AT BRANDYTHISTLE MANOR: ON REBECCA:


She turns to address cam:

REBECCA: "You should see what Gertrude looks like!"