Nobody Does it Better

Sixteen Things Calvin and Hobbes Said Better Than Anyone Else

Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes ran between 1985 and 1995. His comic strip managed to infuse wondering (and wandering) on a cosmic scale into an ageless world of lazy Sunday afternoons, snow goons, and harassed babysitters. I’m not saying that you should take moral and philosophical guidance from the inventor of Calvinball (a game that runs on chaos theory), but you could do much worse.

So here, in no particular order, is a selection of quotes that nail everything from the meaning of life to special underwear. Enjoy.

Still Better Than Shipwreck Cove on the Island of Shipwreck

A Random Walk through Oddly Named Physics Things

In spite (or perhaps because) of the overwhelming boringness of much technical jargon, scientists are drawn to whimsical or poetic names more than you might suspect. Here are some of my favorites.

In a 1969 paper entitled “Mixmaster Universe,” physicist Charles Misner set out his idea for a solution to the paradox. Although it sounds like a 1980′s proto-hip-hop group, the theory actually gets its name from a kitchen appliance, the Sunbeam Mixmaster.

The idea was that the early universe went through a phase of so-called chaotic evolution, which did for the cosmos what the Mixmaster does for cake batter, mixing its contents until they were smooth and even.

Born to Be Bad

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2011 Results

Words hoping to live up to the legacy of It was a dark and stormy night

Winner: Romance

As the dark and mysterious stranger approached, Angela bit her lip anxiously, hoping with every nerve, cell, and fiber of her being that this would be the one man who would understand—who would take her away from all this—and who would not just squeeze her boob and make a loud honking noise, as all the others had.

I, Writebot

A number of places on the web have pointed toward “I Write Like,” a site which analyzes your writing style (assuming you have a style) and vocabulary, and compares that to a somewhat limited database of authors. According to the algorithm, I write like David Foster Wallace1 (with one Dan Brown outlier; apparently some find a Dan Brown comparison to be off-putting). Or, from another perspective, my writing least resembles the other writers.

The only David Foster Wallace I have read would be short snippets from things posted by DFW fans who write blogs I read; I get the impression that it’s a highly nonlinear effect — if you like DFW, you really, really like DFW. And he’s been in the news in recent years: his death (a great career move for so many) and subsequent discovery of unfinished works.

1I am told his works are heavily footnoted

That's a Bunch of Bulwer

The results are in for the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton contest.

Winner: Detective

She walked into my office wearing a body that would make a man write bad checks, but in this paperless age you would first have to obtain her ABA Routing Transit Number and Account Number and then disable your own Overdraft Protection in order to do so.

Tips on Winning the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Or so it would seem

Blog: how to write badly well

For instance, in Skip blithely between tenses

I sit at my desk with my head in my hands and sighed. It is only three days until the deadline, I think, and I’m going to have had to finished everything before then. If only I have finish this now, I thought and lean back on my chair. Just then, the phone has rung. I am answering it.
‘Hello?’ I am going to have said. It is my boss; he was angry, but not as angry as I remember him being when I am handing in the work late, four days from now.

‘Is this work going to have been finished when it is currently the deadline which, at present, is in the future?’ he demanded. ‘I am planning to have been waiting for it, as I presently am.’

Bad writing. Leonard Pinth-Garnell would approve, I’m sure.

And no forgetting a link to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest itself