(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Casey at the Bat

“The Agee woman told us for three quarters of an hour how she came to write her beastly book, when a simple apology was all that was required”*…

 

Since 1982, the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels…

The winner of the thirty-fifth Lyttoniad is Kat Russo from picturesque Loveland, Colorado. Kat describes herself as having twenty-six years of experience in covering social awkwardness with humor and stories about her cats. She spends her time working in outdoor retail and at a wildlife rehabilitation center while trying to figure out how to use her art degree.

Conceived to honor the memory of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton and to encourage unpublished authors who do not have the time to actually write entire books, the contest challenges entrants to compose bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Bulwer was selected as patron of the competition because he opened his novel “Paul Clifford” (1830) with the immortal words, “It was a dark and stormy night.” Lytton’s sentence actually parodied the line and went on to make a real sentence of it, but he did originate the line “The pen is mightier than the sword,” and the expressions “the almighty dollar” and “the great unwashed.” His best known work, one on the book shelves of many of our great-grandparents, is “The Last Days of Pompeii” (1834), an historical novel that has been adapted for film multiple times.

As has happened every year since the contest went public in 1983, thousands of entries poured in not just from the United States and Canada but from such far-flung locales as England, Wales, Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Botswana…

All of the 2017 category winners and runners-up– all of which are eminently worthy– at “The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.”

* P.G. Wodehouse, The Girl in Blue

###

As we read ’em and weep, we might send amusing birthday greetings to Ernest Lawrence Thayer; he was born on this date in 1863.  A Harvard classmate (and Hasty Pudding and Lampoon colleague) of William Randolph Hearst, Thayer was recruited by his friend to the humor columnist for The San Francisco Examiner, 1886–88.  Thayer’s last piece, dated June 3, 1888, and published under his pen name “Phin,” was a ballad entitled “Casey” (“Casey at the Bat”) which made him “a prize specimen of the one-poem poet” according to American Heritage.

The first public performance of the poem was by actor De Wolf Hopper on this date in 1888, Thayer’s 25th birthday. Thayer’s recitation of the poem at a Harvard class reunion in 1895 finally settled the question of its authorship.

source

 

Location, Location, Location…

From Alien Loves Predator, the New York Movie Map…  Can readers spot all (91) of them?

Click here for a hi-res version, with the films numbered 1-91.

As we we slip off into Big Apple dreams, we might recall that it was on this date in 1972 that Willie Mays, in his first game as a NY Met, hit the homer that beat his alma mater, the (San Francisco) Giants, 5-4.

On this same date in 1888, baseball enthusiast and (then New York) Giants fan, DeWolf Hopper first performed Ernest Thayer’s then-unknown poem “Casey at the Bat” at a game between the Giants and the Chicago Cubs.  “The audience literally went wild,”  the New York World reported the next day.  “Men got up on their seats and cheered… it was one of the wildest scenes ever seen…”  By coincidence, August 14th, 1888 was Ernest Thayer’s 25th birthday.  Hopper’s gift to Thayer kept on giving: Hopper was the prime agent of the poem’s growing fame:  he went on to recite it publicly over 10,000 times– in theaters, over the radio and on record (click here to hear), and ultimately in an early film.

Hopper, mid-recitation (source)

%d bloggers like this: