Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thank You Dr. Sexson

I have to say thank you to you Dr. Sexson because sometimes as a senior I walk into lower division classes thinking that there is nothing new that I can learn. Whoops, I got set right and I wish I had taken this class earlier because now I am looking back on the things I have read and find that everything I have ever learned connects to this class. I don't need to say it because I've beat it to death, oh what the hell, all that is the past possesses the present. I didn't put phrase in quotation that time though, because I've made it mine. I've made my own connections now and the phrase is mine, not all mine, but mine. Everyone who has taken this class is truly blessed.... and cursed, it makes sense. Now everything I read I'm going to have to listen to Dr. Sexson saying, "now do you see the connection?" And therefore Dr. Sexson will live on forever, in the eternities, and now I will always be reading the eternities. Thank You Sir for a wonderful and entertaining semester.

P.S. Sorry I didn't post any pictures my computer is still acting funky.

Shoni's Blog

Reading through peoples blogs I came across Shoni's blog about death and the beauty of death. As I scrolled down the page I found her talking about her favorite childrens story that her mom used to read to her when she was young. Her blog about the sidewalk combined with talking about the books her mother read her as a child made a poetry book, my mom read me, stick out. Shel Silverstien's Where the Sidewalk Ends came instantly to mind. So I started thinking about how the poems link to class and I realized that the poems in Where the Sidewalk Ends are very mythological. A boy who falls in love with a tree!!!! If that doesn't scream English 213, nothing does.

I Can't Stop Now!

Okay so I might be beating the whole "past possesses the present"idea to death but I can't stop now and anybody who knows me knows that my life is consumed by baseball; you name it, if it has to do with baseball I will study it. So I thought I would connect a little of baseball's past with the present for some of you, watch out you might learn something. First, the is something that was originally done that has been repeated, in 1908 the Cubs won a World Series and they haven't done it since, ha! Cubs fans. Of coarse there are similar stories so it's not completely original, I just like to take a crack at Cubs' fans every chance I get. Was it "the curse of the billy goat" or is that the Cubs are just choke artists? Every year I hear it and every year I laugh, "this is our year" really well last year the Cubs were sporting the best record in all of Major League Baseball, better than the record they acheived in 1997. The Cubs then proceided to fall to the Los Angles Dodgers, an under acheiving team that squeeked out of one of the worst division in Major League Baseball. Ouch! Cry me a river, and this year as usual the St. Louis Cardinal have grabbed the reigns of the Central Division. Wait another 100 years Cubs fans, oh and don't forget to have a "scapegoat" like Steve Bartman when you fall flat on your face again. If none of you get these references I'm tossing out there please look them up so you can laugh along side of me. Thank You, and go Cards.

I Sing My Group Eternal

Hey dudes and dudettes I just thought that while I'm sitting here blogging my face off I would take the opportunity to thank my whole group for their efforts in bringing our project together. Everybody came over to Zach's pad and everyone was very punctual(high five). Why did everything go off without a hitch you ask? Due to the awesomeness of everybody in the group, and when I say everybody I'm not talking about myself, everybody probably got sick of me asking for favors or grab me this or grab me that. Or my usual holywoodesque temper tantrum. That never happened, just for the record. But back to why things went so smoothly, things went well because everyone worked hard and we all got along beautifully. And so there is nothing left to say but, THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH.

What in the Hell am I Thinking?

So I'm writing my capstone paper and I'm kinda cruising through my Neruda poems that I have selected, and suddenly a song comes to my mind and I can't get it out. I try and I try but I just can't shake it. Here it is the past and the past fighting in my mind in the present. Sound stupid? Well it is, but I can't get this fight to stop and so as I wrap up my conclusion of the Canto General I decide I must put part of this song in my paper so that my brain doesn't explode(what's left of it). The song is called Last Resort and it is performed by the Eagles. Some of you may not know who the eagles are and that's okay, wait no it's not listen to the Hotel California album, anyway here's a piece of the song I couldn't get out of my head and if you've ever read the Canto General you'll probably see the connection. If you haven't read the piece of literature or heard the music, well something is wrong with you! In short go read it or listen to it.

…They even brought a neon sign, Jesus is coming. Brought the white man’s burden down, brought the white man's rage. Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine. There is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here, we satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds in the name of destiny and in the name of God. And you can see them there on Sunday morning they stand up and sing about, what it’s like up there. They call it paradise, I don’t know why, you call some place paradise kiss it goodbye.

More Connections

As I did research for my Scandinavian research project I found another poem, by Eeva-Liisa Manner that relates to class straight up, her is the poem:

Kassandra I

Are you angry because you don’t understand me?
I insult you, because you don’t understand me?
Divinely inspired is my prophetic madness,
I’m filled with it,
but I control myself and speak plainly.
Towers that you built to woo the gods
have fallen down.
Who’re you wooing now? Helen’s no longer handsome.
To own female beauty, you dreamt a form for marble,
you gave stone an opaque complexion, a virgin breast,
but the eyes for ever empty repulsed you.
Whatever you achieved, you gained only emptiness.

And now, Orpheus too is dead, thrown to animals,
head for monkeys, sex for dogs to share,

and Greek’s only fit for birds,
the beasts appear,
Knowing sensing
from damp warm woods
for which he gave peace, with the music of his mind,

beasts that have broken loose from the lyre’s reins
sneak like spirits into chambers,
cry for glowing dreams on perfumed beds, in milk baths,
in the atrium, by the fountain or the book, by cool and
lovely style
claiming an empire. Aren’t you afraid?

And so if you recall the first of her poems that I posted you will she that Manner truly does believe, much like we do now, that "the past possesses the present."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Emily's a Honey

As it is the end of the semester I have three books that need to be read by tomorrow, of course they do why wouldn't I have to have things like that done with just one week left in school. So I'm reading some of Emily Dickinson's poetry as well as her letters, I hope you're ready for this quote and I know I'm not going to have to explain this connection: "God is sitting here, looking into my very soul to see if I think right tho'ts. Yet I am not afraid, for I try to be right and good, andhe knows every one of my struggles. He looks very gloriously, and everything bright seems dull beside him, and I don't dare to look directly at him for fear I shall die" (Emily Dickinson, Heath Anthology of American Literature 3164).

A New Late Segment

This is a new addition I like to call deep thoughts with Pat. Pat is one of the guys who works in the warehouse at my work he is nineteen and he is a sophmore at MSU, this is where I give him his chance to rant and rave; with an off chance that it will relate to class, and I bet it will because lately I'm finding that everything relates to this class.

Whats up people of English 213? This is Pat here telling everyone out there to keep it safe, clean and sassy. Here at the work place we like to discern upon deep thought and words of the wise. Everybody talks the talk and some people even can walk that talk like its their dog. Unlike everyone else we at the workplace go beyond walking the dog.... we ride the ship. Like a crew bound for a voyage into the unknown, we ride. This voyage is a voyage like Jason and The Argonauts, filled with trials and tribulations. Speaking on the depths of the mind and the unfortunate journey we call life; my friend Notorious BIG has something to say, "First comes the cash, then comes the ass, then come big blunts with chunks of hash." That's the rhythm of life much like the movie layer; The actor Burn Gorman says, " You're born, you take shit. Get out in the world,you take more shit. Climb a little higher,you take less shit. Until one day, you're up in the rarefied atmosphere......and you've forgotten what shit even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake, son." That's the facts of life and that's how we all operate. The question is do we all accept it?
Thank you Pat that was very enlightening. As to the layer cake: "Best thing that can happen to us is to never be born." Then we don't have to go through the layers. Pat Really has some deep thoughts. Um and he pretty much just did a homework assignment for me.

Back at it.

So I'm back at it and blogging my night away because I was slacking earlier in the semester, probably because I'm taking five English classes. I want to re-open the idea if it never being the worst as long as you can say "this is the worst." The other day I made the mistake of telling someone "you're the worst" when in reality she isn't the worst she may be the best, but I was continually getting frustrated with her because I couldn't convince her to see things from my perspective. Gosh I'm selfish, but we all are, maybe I should try and see things from her perspective, I will. Why is it that sometimes when people have minor conflicts they avoid talking about them and then let the small issues fester until they snowball into something larger? I don't have the answer or else I wouldn't be asking the question. Maybe someone could help me out and explain it to me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finding Links All the Time

I was recently doing a research project for my English 440 class, which is a study in Scandinavian Literature. When I came across this author who as we can see has told us what we already know: That we are not original so post your papers online, I promise nobody's going to rip them off and make a bunch of money off it so get over yourself. But here we see Eeva-Liisa Manner (a Finnish poet) putting into question several of the things or topic I and many others talked about in their papers. Here is a qoute from her as well as a poem, enjoy:

“The war years shadowed my youth. I was seventeen when the Russian planes started bombarding my home town of Wiborg on 30 November, 1939, damaging it badly. At armistice, Wiborg had to be yielded, it remained behind the border- an endless source of nostalgia for one who had a catlike, preserving fondness for homestead. Even as a ten-year-old, I had spine-chilling dreams about the destruction of Wiborg, and from those times onwards I have been haunted by reflections about the nature and mystery of time. I believe we have a false conception of time; everything has already happened some-where in an unknown dimension. Intuitively I knew it quite early, even as a child I was a Spinozistic determinist. Now that quantum physics has revolutionized our world picture, such a belief- in fact it is an experience- may appear hopelessly old-fashioned, but inevitably there are fractures in determinism, just as there are ossifications in irrationalism, in its conception of time.

‘I do not believe in coincidence, at most, in the sum of chances.
Even a dream, a vision, an apparition will materialize
doesn’t it prove that what happens
has in fact happened already?
That the future tense is the present tense and the present, the past tense?
That we have stuffed time into too tight a box?
Time does not flow, is not consecutive, but
all time is around us?
We live in a falsely co-ordinated space’”(Eeva-Liisa Manner)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Monkeys in Outer Space

Recently while I was sitting in one of my classes I over heard a student talking about how he did not want to share his idea with the class because he was afraid that someone else would steal his idea and use it. However, it would seem rather obvious to me that this young man was a freshman because if he were to read everything that I have read, here in my numerous years as an English major at Montana State University, he would realize that he has stolen his idea from someone else and that his “original” idea is not original at all. Originality died a long time ago, and the more we read the more we realize that there is no such thing as an original piece of work.
Writing is not the only place that originality is gone, earlier in the semester we were required to have a bad day. The thing is there are several different factors that can lead to a bad day. However, there really is not even a unique bad day, even when talking about the death of a pet or a loved one. We can simply see we are not all so different. What are the odds? one in three. I am starting to see that Professor Sexson is correct, and as we get older the odds increase, right now I could comfortably say when someone asks me: what are the odds? One in eight will be my answer. I seem to be getting off course a bit though, not Tristram Shandy off course but none the less, off course. The work of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy is a unique book but again not entirely original. Some would argue that meta-fiction is a somewhat recent phenomenon of the contemporary literature movement or post modern movement. It has always been there, a story within a story, or a story about writing about a story. Origin stories are some of the best examples of this, I realize that origin stories are from the oral tradition but that is where many stories come from. The story of how the loon got its red eyes is mainly a moral story told by Native Americans about not being lazy, but within the story there is another story about how the loon got its red eyes. So we see that meta-fiction has always been around.
Many would believe that William Shakespeare was considered one of the most original and creative authors to ever live. Well I used to believe much of that to be true as well, until now, after reading Ovid’s Metamorphoses I have realized that many of Shakespeare’s works were stolen straight out of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The story of Romeo and Juliet was straight up swiped from the story of Pyramis and Thisbe: two young people fall in love, their love is forbidden by there parents, one believes the other to be dead and in turn takes their own life, the other person who was believed to be dead is not really dead but the other person has already committed suicide so they kill themselves as well so as to be with the other in death. It is kind of jumbled and mixed up but we all know the story. However, this brings another thought to mind when talking about Shakespeare: Professor Sexson told our class this year that when tragedy is taken too far or is taken over the top it becomes comedy. At first I did not know what he meant until I thought back on Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, combined with bad acting, tragedy becomes so overwhelming that it becomes hysterical. A bit of a digression, but still noteworthy is the idea of getting hit in the face, which is not all that funny in real life, but in slapstick comedy it is hilarious. Just watch Chevy Chase in any of the Vacation movie series’ and you will find that this is true. At the same time this movie holds the Old Comedy tradition as well, proving once again that: “all that is past posses our present.” As we have read Lysistrata we are quite aware of what crude sexual humor is, just have a look at Clark W. Griswold, after picking out a Christmas Tree far to big for the house, or as Rusty says: “That thing wouldn’t fit in our yard” Clark’s neighbor asks him: “Hey Griswold, where do you think you’re gonna put a tree that big” to which Clark responds, “bend over and I’ll show ya.” It has all been done before, it’s not original but it’s still hilarious.
Speaking of Lysistrata the idea of women withholding from sex to get their way has been done over and over again. Not just in fictional books or movies, but in real life. Look no further than the popular television series Sex in the City, now I must confess that I did not watch this show willfully but was “in a round about way” forced to watch the show, which pretty much reinforces my point. In the bookFantomina by Eliza Haywood, Fantomina is a fictional character that uses sex, and the strange ability to disguise herself better than anyone ever, to get what she wants. What she wants is a young man named Beauplaisir, so she dresses up like a prostitute to get his attention, but then she has gained to much of his attention and she is somewhat raped, but then falls madly in love with her attacker Beauplaisir. This story had also been done long before Eliza Haywood’s time, and continues to be done to this very day.
At first my plan was to blow this idea of “originality” out of the water by showing how Shakespeare not only copied Ovid’s work in A Midsummer Night’s Dream but in Romeo and Juliet as well, but I have found a new outlet and that outlet is The Golden Ass. The Golden Ass is chalk full of things and ideas that have been copied and are still being copied today. Beauty and the Beast is certainly one piece of work that can easily be linked to The Golden Ass but there are so many other pieces of work that share the thread. Pinocchio may have been over looked by some but not by me, you may recall the seen where the boys are playing pool, smoking cigars, and drinking into the late hours of the night and so they are changed into the thing they are mimicking: an ass. The sicked wisters: Cinderella. Psyche who can only be woken by true loves kiss: Snow White, Shrek, and that list goes on and on. The point I made earlier about meta-fiction pops up in The Golden Ass so many times it is ridiculous, a story within a story, The Golden Ass becomes a little Russian wooden doll with progressively smaller dolls within dolls.
Professor Sexson offered an out for those who wish to not have to post their papers on-line for fear the paper could be stolen or plagiarized, well it already has been, so I expect to see everyone’s papers on-line because of this groundbreaking and original piece I have just written. When a man was first sent into outer space and orbited around the moon there was a chimpanzee somewhere who thought, “so what, I’ve already done that.” Does literature ever change, is it slowly evolving, or is it simply like fashion which slowly moves in a circle? Do we start at the end, and finish at the beginning? The last question proposed to us was: What have we learned from this class? We have learned nothing; we have only been reminded of the things we have forgotten.

God I Love Love.....UH

Get it? It's not that Psyche fell in love with "someone" if you will, but she fell in love with being in love. "Just getcha some!!!!!!"(Pat at Conlin's). (Sorry I have a bunch of people who are always messing with me at work. But I refuse to erase it.) Anyway, this idea of falling in love with love is not an oddity even in today's society. Have you ever met someone who can't be alone, who always has to be dating someone? But we can't knock these people: to love is beautiful and to be loved is just as beautiful if not more beautiful and warming. As doctor Sexson spoke of, then of course Cupid's meddling mother had to stick her nose in the middle of this fight and try and tear the two lovers apart, sound familiar? Most everyone knows this story, my mom tries very hard to decide who I will and will not date and she usually does a pretty good job. Sometimes though I would just prefer she do something else. So what have I said? Nothing really, I guess I've just been thinking about what we've been reading, which is kind of the idea, right?

Just an Ass with a Pen

This subject is something that I want to go more in depth on in my paper but I don't have enough room so I'll take the opportunity right now to explore this idea of meta fiction more in depth. Lucious is very much conscious of the fact that he is writing a story within a story. Evan as an ass, ha: "Here I must give a close description of the cave and its immediate surroundings. This will be a test of my literary powers and at the same time allow you to judge whether or not I was an ass as regards my ability to size up a situation" (Golden Ass 78). So Lucious is obviously aware that there is going to be a reader reading this story within a story; that later becomes a story within a story that has a story within a story within a story. In other words a story within many frames of a main story frame. Lucious alludes to frames within frames on page 79 which to me is very funny, because he uses words like pen and frames. Oh what the hell, I'll just quote it: "...built of wattles fastened on a timber frame. The lower storey was extended on all four sides into a roomy pen for stolen sheep"(Golden Ass 79). I just found this quote peculiar because it contains so many literary terms.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jokes On You!

Maybe it's because I'm not all the way through The Golden Ass, but I'm having a hard time understanding the orchestration of this whole big joke on Lucious. Did Fortis have a hand in the putting together of this practical joke? And if so is she putting together this metamorphoses of Lucious into an ass? I mean I get the metaphor of Lucious turning into what he is already, but is it Fortis who is the puppet master? For the entire village to be in on this big joke on Lucious he must be an ass to not be able to figure out what is going on, or the village people are extremely well versed in pulling off this outstanding practical joke. This could easily be equated to the show Howie Do It, where Howie Mandel pulls practical jokes on people and makes these poor people look like an "ass." The planning must be perfect and well done. I do like the planned build up to the denouement of this short story within a story, or metafiction.

Gang Bangers

As I'm sitting here researching things from The Golden Ass I'm finding that the term Mohock(according to the Internet) refers to gangs or crimes. The Mohocks of the 17th and 18th centuries are equated with today's bloods and crips. Here is where there is some confusion on my part and maybe I'm just not digging deep enough. The term also seems to mean "turf-hunter" which Fotis eludes to, but here is where my confusion begins: I'm certain if this is a term from the Greeks in Latin or if this is a bi product of the translation it's self. Everything I've found on this term on the Internet makes reference to the 17th and 18th century. How then, if this gang was so terrifying, did Lucious confuse sheep with a terrible gang. Which brings up another question, I thought the text said that Fotis used goat's hair in the place of the young man's hair, and if so why would sheep be summoned and not goats?


Chapter two is riddled with sexual escapades or sexcapades if you will. I understand the idea of having all the food laid out in order for the two lovers to keep their strength for their athletic endeavour. However, there was never once the mention of having some water near by or possibly a gatorade. I mean let's get real people, these are the people with which the Olympics originated. This got me thinking so I put some research into my thought and here is what I found: Traditionally the Greeks believed that wine gave the body great strength, and the wines of back in the day were extremely strong so they had to mix them with water. So I guess you could say that they did have water with their wine in order to replenish the body. And when we really think about it, it's not that crazy or far fetched to think of people mixing sex and wine.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Nightmares Come to Life

What happens when Nightmares come to life? Well in the first chapter of The Golden Ass we see what happens when bad dreams go bad. Sounds a bit like a Jerry Springer Show or a special on Fox, When Good Pets Go Bad. Essentially it's broken down like this Aristomenes is trying to help his buddy Socrates get away from the evil Meroe. Meroe and Panthia show up to the hotel that Socrates and Aristomenes are staying at and slit Socrates throat and then plug it with a sponge. Aristomenes is afraid he will be accused of murder and so he tries to escape. You all know the story so I will stop the summarizing of it. This story got me thinking about dreams and how sometimes dreams can influence our days. Much like the assignment to have a bad day, some times dreams can influence our decisions and convince us to do things that we may not be conscious of why we do them. Therefore, dreams can cause something to happen like a bad day or a good day without us being aware of it. I would say that Aristomenes dream was an exceptional example of this theory, but still valid.