By going to this page you are already one step closer to reaching your dream goal. Whether your biggest dream is to write the next great American novel, become the next big rock star, or even to lose that final fifteen pounds, you are now one step closer. All you need to do now is become a follower of my blog.

Just think: you're one click away from your wildest dreams.*

*Disclaimer: Everything I just wrote is not true. But you should become a follower anyway.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Geoffrey Chaucer: Homeboy Extraordinaire

“He was a janglere and a goliardeys, And that was moost of synne and harlotries.”  This quote is just a bit of light reading picked from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.  I know what you’re thinking: I didn’t know Chaucer wrote in Elvish.  Well geeks, you’re wrong.  Chaucer is considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages.  (This would explain why Gr8tst_Engsh_Poet was already taken for a Facebook username.  Damn you, Chaucer.)  One might assume that this guy writes about boring stuff like cricket and lawyers, but no.  It turns out Geoffy is the Chuck Norris of writing, and it is for this reason that I will be telling you about two things that are prevalent in many of the stories of “The Canterbury Tales.”
                First, allow me to introduce you to the word cuckoldry.  Cuckoldry is a name for a man whose wife cheats on him.  In one of the greatest stories written by Chaucer, “The Miller’s Tale,” a wife named Allison makes her husband John a cuckold.  Because this story unwinds similar to something you might see on the television show “Arrested Development,” and because that show is hilarious, I am briefly going to tell you what happens.  Then after this, you will probably want to go pick up your very own copy of G.C.’s great book.  I have no problem with this, as I am entitled to approximately 50% of Chaucer’s earnings.  (I won the rights in a bet).    So, here it goes.
                Once upon a time, there lived a husband named John who was pretty old and a young hot wife named Allison.  (Couple was equivalent to a modern day Trump and his wife, only John has neither the money nor the beautiful head of hair).  They also have a scholar named Nicholas who lives with them, who is also very good-looking (think David Beckham).  One day, Nicholas walks up to Allison while John is away and says something along the lines of “you’re hot, I’m hot, we should probably be together.”  Allison agrees, so they set a plan in motion to do the nasty.
                When Nicholas returns, John (who along with being good-looking is also an astronomer) tells Nicholas that there is going to be a huge Apocalyptic flood, so John should tie three bathtubs up to the ceiling so they can sit in them, along with some food to last them for a few days.  Nicholas, knowing that he should always trust a man with a six pack, says, “of course.  I’ll go get some tubs and food.”
                So after a little while, John, Nicholas, and Allison are all sitting up in their tubs, ready for the big flood.  Nicholas and Allison both climb down then as John sleeps, and do the horizontal mambo right under John!  (The nerve of good-looking people).  But then here’s the kicker.  Absalom (a guy that has a crush on Allison) comes to the window to ask Allison for a kiss.  Allison says “tehe, watch this Nicholas,” and sticks her gosh dang fanny out of the window.  Because it’s so dark, Absalom then kisses it!  Realizing it is not a face but rather a butt, Absalom seeks his revenge.  He gets a big hot poker and comes back a second time, ready to burn some rubber.
                Absalom calls under the window again something along the lines of “Hey Aaaaallie! I have a ring for you if you give me another kiss.”  Nicholas decides to take care of this fool and sticks his butt out the window.  Then, right in front of Absalom’s face he lets out a huge fart that is equivalent to a “thunder clap”!  How absurd!  Who knew they farted in the 1300’s!  Anywho, Absalom gets pissed and pokes the guy in the butt with the poker.  Nicholas jumps up from the window sill and yells “Water! Water! For the love of God, I need water!” 
                When John (the guy who’s still up in the bathtub) hears this, he believes the flood is coming, and chops the rope that is holding the bathtub.  In doing so, John breaks his arm.  Allison and Nicholas run down the street screaming “help!” Those two jerks then tell the townspeople John is crazy because he thought a flood was coming.  I think we all realize that the moral of the story is that we should probably never trust very good-looking people.    

                Well look!  Now you’ve learned something.  Just remember, next time you are recapping that last episode of “Days of Our Lives” to your friend, instead of saying “Ben was cheated on by Melissa,” you can say “Melissa made Ben a cuckold.  In fact, have you noticed that there is a lot of cuckoldry occurring in Days of Our Lives?  Just an observation.”  Then shrug, and walk away.  Your friend will be so impressed with your Middle English knowledge that she will probably give you her stamp collection or something equally as valuable.

This is getting to be a very long post, and so I will refrain from telling you the second thing that is prevalent in many of “The Canterbury Tales” until next time.  (Clue: The thing is farts.)      

Friday, March 4, 2011

Need a Change?

Ever have that moment where you read something and then sit back and go "wow"? You set the book down and just ponder the meaning of what you just read?  Buried deep within a detailed and somewhat political autobiography by Grace Lee Boggs, I had one of these moments.  The moment didn't simply stop with reading her autobiography Living For Change, rather it continued as the various member of the seminar class discussed their views on the text.  

Have you ever pondered what the words "living for change" mean?  If you haven't, it's definitely something to ponder.  Grace Lee Boggs was an Asian American women who was deeply invested in the civil rights movement with her husband Jimmy Boggs.  In her autobiography she mixes philosophy with living life and leaves examples of movements, revolutions and rebellions.  She is someone who is comfortable with change, and in many ways she expects it.  She knows that movements come and go and she uses her skills to spread the written word of their work through pamphlets and papers and publications. She wants to make change happen. 

How do you make change happen? How can you live to learn and change peoples lives?  These questions are a lot bigger than they seem...and there is not an easy answer. 
As the "wow" moment has passed...just keep thinking change (and not the loose kind under the couch).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Books! Free Online and at your fingertips!

Books…free! Online! At Your Fingertips!
Today while trying to find something to keep busy I stumbled across the Internet Archive ( www.archive.org )!  As I clicked around I found The Library of Congress’ collection.  I figured why not try to find some fun literary piece to read when I noticed Literature, art and song: Moore's melodies and American poemsIt was fun to “read online” http://www.archive.org/details/literatureartson00moor and page through. 
Nothing beats the dedication:
"All lovers of poetry and the fine arts, this work is respectfully inscribed by, The Publishers"
I really enjoyed the illustrated poems in the front!  Try reading a few! They seem familiar and the drawings really add to the poems!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Anti-climatic ending: an ending of a story or poem that contains no surprises.

There is a Creative Writing professor here at UWEC that believes solely in the anti-climatic ending. To him, there is no such thing as an "exciting ending" or a "surprise ending." (I am under the firm belief that if a student did dare include a surprise in his or her ending, this professor would die from shock.) This post is dedicated to that professor:

Anti-Climatic Poem
Insert a man:
Average colored brown hair,
Moderate height,
Medium weight.

Insert a woman--

--They’re both on a bus by the way.
Bother, I always forget to put in a setting.
It’s as though my characters are just floating there,
Waiting for somewhere to be.

Oh sorry.
Insert a woman:
Give her the same characteristics as that man up there.
Put her in a light gray blouse too if it makes you feel better.
And just for the hell of it,
They can sit across from each other on the bus.

That’s fine.
Trust me, it won’t matter.

The man is not aware of his surroundings:
Day-dreaming of a closet filled with nothing but colorful ties.
Do not ask me what all those ties are doing in his day-dream.
It’s not important.

The woman is much more conscious of her whereabouts.
Looking out the window she says in her mind what she sees:
Tree, tree, tree, tree, tree, brown fence.
Literary scholars will later deem her
the most boring character ever written about in a poem.

Nothing happens between the man and the woman.
They do not gaze at each other over their newspapers.
There will be no passionate kiss, not even an exchanged number.
I will not even describe them getting off the bus,
because nothing happens then either.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Literary Analysis of the Webster’s Dictionary as a Piece of Fiction

      When I was first asked to analyze Webster’s Dictionary and its amount of literary merit, I was humbled. Surely the Dictionary, a book that almost every family owns, is above such criticism. However, when I began reading the first page, I was less than impressed. Firstly, I was confused by who exactly is the protagonist of the Dictionary. At first I was sure it was a fellow named “aardvark,” but then as I continued to read, I noticed “aardvark” was never mentioned again, but now I was hearing about new characters like “airplane,” and “apple.” Eventually I landed upon a character whose name was “astrology.” What does Webster think he’s playing at?
      Aside from the characters, I was very confused by the marking of chapters. Instead of numbering chapters, Webster lettered them (the first chapter was A, the second B, and so on). I was surprised that such a highly-regarded “reference guide” would use such a cheap and tacky method of trying to do something outside the “norm,” in order to get people to buy their book.
      When one finds themselves analyzing the symbols and themes in Webster’s Dictionary, they will not be disappointed. Upon halfway through the book, I realized every word in bold was followed by a definition of that word (undoubtedly this is one of the hidden themes that Webster tried to mask). This theme symbolizes that life is like a book, and that it can be defined by many different things. Readers may also realize that when putting together words from the Dictionary together, we too may form our own sentences, and maybe even our own paragraphs. In fact, you may be surprised to hear this, but every single word I have just written is in Webster’s Dictionary. Criticisms aside, this is an impressive feat to accomplish.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

If You Don’t Read This Blog, We'll Kill This Dog

If You Don’t Read This Blog, We’ll Kill This Dog

An early 70’s National Lampoon magazine displayed the title "If You Don't Buy This Magazine, We'll Kill This Dog."  While some thought of it as merely an amusing ploy which would inevitably gain attention of passersby, others realized the truth behind it.  No, I do not mean that if you do not buy that exact magazine, they will in fact shoot Spot, the adorable dog on the cover.  The real truth is that National Lampoon’s clever title served to mercilessly mock the media’s attempts of scaring people into reading/watching their news.  Allow me to explain.
Media loves to scare people, to threaten people into watching their news program or buy their magazine.  This is why most headline stories on the news tend to lean towards the message that if you don’t watch, you will be in mortal peril.  We hear these threatening statements all the time, statements such as: “and after a commercial break, we will explain all about those silent killers that are lingering in your house right now.”  Or maybe something along the lines of “and in five we’ll explain more on the poison that is in the food that you just gave your children and are also now eating right now.”
I think I’ll wrap up this blog post simply with three words: “Kudos National Lampoon.” 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Self-Help Books: Don't Be Afraid Of Them

Self-Help Books: Don't Be Afraid Of Them
By: Sarah Schrupp


                              Except this self-help book. You can be afraid of this self-help book.


           The scene is all too familiar: a woman standing in the middle of Wal-Mart. She whips her head around both ways to make sure no one is looking. Someone walks by, so she quickly turns to the shelf behind her, pretending to be checking out the latest line in hair care products. The intruder is gone now, so she flips around again to examine the shelf. She finds what she’s looking for, shoves it in the cart, and walks away, blood rushing to her face. Let’s be honest: most of us have gone through it. I’m talking about having to buy something that you are just plain embarrassed to buy. Whether you’re a dad buying Midol and feminine pads for your daughter, a man in your thirties buying Twilight (it should be noted that anyone who buys a book about a sparkly Cedric Diggory should feel a certain amount of guilt), or a middle-aged woman buying a Snuggie for your cat, there is a certain amount of dread that comes with going into that check-out line and risking the fear of being judged. And then you turn your head about twenty degrees and notice your savior: self-check outs. You have won! . . .at least at Wal-mart. But what about Barnes & Noble?
           At Barnes & Noble there is no self-checkout. Now one might ask “Why would anyone be embarrassed about purchasing a book?” Apparently you, my silly friend, have not been to the self-help section at B&N. In said section, book titles range from “So You Have Herpes: Now What?” to “How To Tell Your Gay Boyfriend That You Met A Guy Named Brian At That Queen Tribute Concert And You May Or May Not Be Moving In With Him Into His Flat Next Week,” all of them as specific as they are embarrassing. Who wants to go through the check-out with that in your hand? Well, I am here to tell you, don’t be afraid to still visit this section, for among all the garbage there are some very useful books there.
           Yeah, yeah I can hear you all whining now, “but we don’t want to be made fun of for purchasing self-help books! Help us, oh great one!” Well here are a few solutions to your problem. Solution number one: bring a stack of post-it notes to the bookstore. After you find the self-help book of your choice, cover said book with the post-it notes (therefore blocking the title of the book), leaving the bar code open for swiping. When the salesclerk questions you about all the post-it notes, ask him why his mother made him so ugly. This should quiet him. If for some reason you find this solution to be “rude and very bizarre,” then go with my next solution: suck it up and buy self-help books anyway. There’s a reason self-help books have grown 7% a year since 2001. It’s because they can make us better human beings. They have self-help books out there to help with almost any problem you can think of, so why not use these resources?
           Business men and women read self-help books to learn how to make more money, manage their time and staff more efficiently, and to improve on their Donald Trump impression of “you’re fired,” (it’s a great party trick for the corporate Christmas party). Men and women that suffer from depression and social anxiety disorders read self-help books to understand more about their condition. Oprah writes self-help books in case people haven’t had enough Oprah from her magazines, television show, television channel, appearances in movies, website, and radio.
           In conclusion, if you have been in a bookstore and walked right past the self-help section, now is your time to revisit this aisle. Just think of self-help books as inexpensive magic genies that are here to help you solve your problems. Now is the time to metaphorically rub your magic lamp and have your life transformed.*

* I recently purchased and read a self-help book entitled “How To Use Magic Genie Metaphors In Order To Make Your Point Clearly and Concisely.” You tell me if it worked.