Microsoft analyst wins bad-writing award

Dan McKay's description of a lady that's more carburetor than femme fatale takes top prize for worst passage of prose.

Jo Best Special to CNET News.com
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Or shall I compare thee to repairing a carburetor?

Microsoft quantitative analyst Dan McKay has proven he doesn't know how to charm the ladies--he has snared San Jose State University's prize for the worst passage of prose.

The university's 23rd annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest attracted entries from Australia, Israel and the U.K. But McKay, who works for the software giant's Great Plains unit in Fargo, N.D., bested them all to take the top spot by entering his description of a lady that's more Ford Taurus than femme fatale.

The sentence that scooped the Microsoft man his trophy was: "As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual."

Sentences submitted to the contest are inspired by Edward James Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" began with the notorious line: "It was a dark and stormy night." Those seven words later became a familiar running gag in the "Peanuts" comic strip.

McKay will receive $250 for penning the most wretched sentence of those submitted.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.