A Brainy Pig


As a change of pace, here’s a poem about a brainy pig, courtesy of Roald Dahl.



The Pig

by Roald Dahl

Why Everyone Should Be An English Major

PileOBooksAs I discovered a few years ago, deciding to get your undergraduate degree in English – especially when you are a student of non-traditional age – is an open invitation for confusion and ridicule.

Nobody ever questioned me when I was a marketing major or a business management major or an accounting major or a computer science major (I had a lot of majors), but when I finally committed to being an English major, people looked at me askance. Potential employers reviewed my resume and demanded explanations for my strange path. My friends tut-tutted. My parents stared at each other in horror. Why? everyone asked. Why in the world would you get an English degree? What are you going to DO with it?


As I tottered around the Palatial Horvath Estate making preparations to confront Tropical Storm Sandy a/k/a Hurricane Sandy a/k/a “The Storm Of The Century” a/k/a FRANKENSTORM, I thought about labels.

What if the storm hadn’t been called anything at all? What if all the weather forecasters had said was “It’s going to rain more than you would believe and be incredibly windy”. Would people have taken it seriously? Did the fact that we kept hearing “Hurricane” and “FRANKENSTORM” make a difference?

I think it did.

In other words, labels matter. What we call something matters. What we call another person matters.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare

My friends, I am a total Shakespeare geek. There. I’ve said it. Laugh at me if you will, but I love that little bard. ¬†And lovin’ him ain’t hard.

Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better. (Twelfth Night)

We don’t really know when Shakespeare was born. His baptism date was April 26, 1564. Most historians celebrate his date of birth on April 23. For the most part, they decided to do that because he died April 23, 1616 and it just makes a nice circle. Historians love them some nice circles.

My Inner Polonius

Sometimes I feel like one part of my brain is trying to give advice to the other part of my brain, and the other part of my brain isn’t listening.

No, I’m not!

Yes, you are!


You know what I mean, right? Right?

*tap, tap, tap* Is this thing on?

Anyway, it’s like I have an inner parent nagging at an inner adolescent who refuses to pay attention. And if that’s not bad enough, yesterday I realized that much of my inner parent’s advice to my inner adolescent is a scary mimic of Polonius’s advice to his son Laertes in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet.

Now THAT set me back a little bit, I’ll admit. But I’ll prove it to you. First Polonius, then inner parent Betsy.

Literary Thoughts

In the world of fiction, there are two categories. Literary fiction, and everything else.

Literary fiction confuses me.

There. I’ve said it. I, your hostess, an English Major, am confused by literary fiction. It’s not necessarily the books themselves I find confounding (although, hello! James Joyce anyone?). It’s the definition. What exactly IS literary fiction anyway?

Here’s the definition of literary fiction from Wikipedia: