Norton Unwieldy Doorstop of English Literature’s Greatest Hits

Guess who’s coming out with a greatest hits album?

Let me rephrase that.

Guess why some insanely elitist music snob is cutting off the part of skin on their arm where they had the Anti-Flag logo tattooed?

And guess why Kathryn made up a music snob that’s elitist to such comically exorbitant measures that they would respond to the release of a greatest hits album in such a way?

Because, rhetoric.

In some circles, greatest hits albums are Not Okay. Usually, they’re Not Okay merely to own, but… I’m exaggerating in order to make a point. Greatest hits albums are for, like, “posers” who only want to listen to the songs that the royal They play on the radio. You know, posers who don’t listen to the whole album that the song originally came out on. Posers who don’t even know about, let alone listen to, the b-sides. Posers who buy albums put out by major labels. Come to think of it, I don’t know why my hypothetical music snob didn’t cut out the tattoo when Anti-Flag signed to a major label for, like, two albums.

My real point has to do with the subject of a covetous post I wrote back in October, a post that was much more concise and focused than this one. But when you’ve had, like, four cups of coffee within the period of twenty minutes, well…some fucks you no longer give. OH MY GOSH, BUT HERE COMES THE REAL POINT:

The Norton Unwieldy Doorstop of English Literature may fall tragically short as a token of English major bravado, assuming English major bravado is anything like English major street cred – bravado and street cred which may have slight nuances of difference, but that’s not the point either. The Norton Unwieldy Doorstop of English Literature, all things considered, is more like the Norton Unwieldy Doorstop of English Literature’s Greatest Hits. It’s not even one band’s author’s greatest hits, either, it’s like the literary canon’s equivalent of Now That’s What I Call Music. And, well, it would be embarrassing to fetishize such a thing, oui? Especially if you were the kind of person who would get all condemning about greatest hits albums.

The works included in the Norton are there because the royal They decided that the works were important and radio-worthy. Not only that, the longer prose and poetry are excerpted. Holding an anthology like the Norton on such a high pedestal would not be something any self-respecting snob would do. The hypothetical snob, or how I imagine the hypothetical snob, wouldn’t just be reading the popular Seamus Heaney poems, but also the b-sides; b-sides that would come in the form of a musty paperback from an independent used bookstore that will be cool next week, but not this week, the week when Hypothetical Snob patronizes it. That’s one of the reasons why the Hypothetical Snob is The Real Thing.

I had another point about the Norton falling short, but it depended on some possibly-bad information I once received, that W.W. Norton is really owned by the Textbook Companies That Own EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD EVER Except For The Independent Used Bookstore That Won’t Be Mainstream-Cool Until The Week After Hypothetical Snob Shops There. (Maybe the buy-out is what made it mainstream-cool?) However, some quick and superficial research has revealed that W.W. Norton is an independent publisher. At least that’s what it says on the heading for their website. There might be some huge conspiracy not even the internet could tell me, but the Hypothetical Snob could.

The again, independent labels can put out greatest hits albums, too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pour hydrogen-peroxide on an arm wound I don’t have, because the mere thought of cutting a tattoo out of my skin makes me hurt – and I don’t even have a tattoo, lot alone an Anti-Flag one. But if I did have an Anti-Flag tattoo, I’d get the girl from The Terror State album art on my lower back. Like a tramp stamp from hell.

The art you have to take the sleeve off to see.


Sink your Teeth into High Court and Revolution: Raud Gríma and Myadar Sölbói cupcakes

Raud Gríma (red) and Myadar Sölbói (blue)
Buenos Baked Goods, Cherished Blog Audience!

Do fictional characters ever inspire you to bake things?

Even when stories they belong in have nothing to do with baking things?

Me, too! Assuming your answer was “yes”.

The other day, while I was doing whatever (probably wistfully contemplating car crashes whilist going 150% the speed limit), inspiration struck. Hence, half a block of cream cheese and a jillion dirty dishes later, Raud Gríma and Myadar Sölbói cupcakes! Those who’ve read Sophia Martin’s The City Darkens (Raud Gríma) (hereunto CD), know that Raud Gríma is a character in a bit of folklore from Myadar Sölbói’s locale. Said locale includes a big city where Myadar and her son Bersi venture to upon the summons of her basically-always-absent courtier-husband Reister. Then they get there and SHIT GOES DOWN. Shit that’s much more action-packed than a nice Protestant woman making cupcakes in the suburbs. Nevertheless, this cupcake experience, like CD, was not without twists and turns!


The final product didn’t match up with what I had originally envisioned. I wanted the Raud Grímas to come off as a force to be reckoned with; the kind of cupcakes you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley. So I decided they would be red velvet cupcakes with black frosting (yes, one can accrue the resources to render frosting black). But somewhere in the process of halving the already-halved recipe, I put in twice as much cocoa as was called for. What went in and came out of the oven was maybe a little red, but not enough, IMO, for there to be both black frosting AND associations with our masked, folklore hero. So I had to alter the frosting color to make up for the lost hue.
Halving the already halved

For Myadar, I thought it would be Right and Proper to make something boozy, like blonde Irish Car Bomb cupcakes; Myadar Moltovs, if you will. Mind you, my idea for Cupcake Booziness wasn’t justified by the revolutionary strand of the novel. Which strand justified it? Well, wouldn’t YOU like to know! (Read the book.)

Blonde car bomb concoctions, however, would require me to buy booze, and I hadn’t a clue what a nice, straight-laced Protestant woman like me would do with the leftovers. Now that Stephanie lives a seven-hour train ride away, there’s no easy way to pass off the leftover hooch to my klepto/nympho/probably-alcoholic sister. This is when I came up with the idea of halving the already halved recipe at the opportune time and omitting the red dye and cocoa from the Myadar part, despite small suspicions that it would taste like sour cream sprinkled with sugar.

The final product of the Raud Grímas weren’t bad. They were intense, but not as intense as other chocolate dessert items I’ve tried. I liked the Myadars better: if that’s what sour cream sprinkled with sugar tastes like, I’m surprised people don’t sprinkle sugar on their sour cream more often. Given the minor confusion with proportions of ingredients, I don’t exactly feel qualified to stamp the recipe I “used” with an official endorsement. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I used twice the prescribed amount of milk.

That being said, having read it hella times, I am qualified to put my stamp of approval on CD. And not just because it has no calories and costs less than the sum total monetary value of the milk and eggs alone! CD employs the perfect proportions of the following ingredients to effectively make it disel(perhaps deco)-punk delicious:

This magnificent e-tome is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.