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Scartol   Biography   Talk   WikiThoughts   Drawing Board

About Me

"I always feel that I've just started. The work to be, the work that's yet to come … it will remain there, to be done, no matter what happens. If the reviews of a play of mine are the best in the world, my work remains to be done. If a book of mine wins all the prizes in the world, the work remains to be done."

Maya Angelou (1973)

I'm currently working on:

My t-shirt is from the Tour de Timor

I am Eric S. Piotrowski, a high-school English teacher and writer living in Madison, Wisconsin USA. For more details please read my life story.

My Wikipedia work revolves mostly around reconstructing various pages (usually about people and Balzac's work) into Featured Articles, and copyediting. Perhaps you'd like to read some of my fascinating wikithoughts. I've also discussed copyediting on a recent podcast. If you'd like to leave me a message, click here.

I also do some video-mashing in my spare time. My most recent project is a blockbuster documentary film about a journey I took with my wife around the southeastern United States in July 2008. One of my better videos is I, Neo, which mixes together Massive Attack, Mos Def, and The Matrix.

I designed this page – with lots of trial and error – using tables. Feel free to swipe code if you like, but a link is appreciated.

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Significant Contributions

Userboxing Ring

These are the Featured Articles I've written. I devoted lots of time and energy to each of these projects, doing research and polishing words. The brief summaries below may interest you to read the corresponding article, or just provide food for thought. The most recent articles are up top. Because many of these articles are about Honoré de Balzac, you may also be interested to visit my Balzac Wikipedia Shrine.

Cscr-featured.svg I. M. Pei is a Chinese American architect, often called a master of modern architecture. Born in Guangzhou and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Pei moved to the United States in 1935 and studied at the University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His first major recognition came with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado; he was then selected as chief architect for the John F. Kennedy Library in Massachusetts. He went on to design the East Building of the National Gallery of Art and a skyscraper in Hong Kong for the Bank of China. In the early 1980s, Pei's a glass-and-steel pyramid for the Louvre museum in Paris brought a maelstrom of controversy. He later designed the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, the Miho Museum in Japan, and the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. Pei has won a wide variety of prizes and awards in the field of architecture, including the Pritzker Prize, sometimes called the Nobel Prize of architecture.
Why I Worked So Hard on I. M. Pei
As a student at New College of Florida, I lived in the Pei dorms surrounding Palm Court. They were fascinating structures, and I've always been intrigued by his designs. When I went looking for someone to research from the world of art/architecture, the choice was easy.

Cscr-featured.svg Z. Marcas is an 1840 novelette by French author Honoré de Balzac. Set in contemporary Paris, it describes the rise and fall of a brilliant political strategist who is abandoned by the politicians he helps into power. Destitute and forgotten, he befriends a pair of students who live next door to him in a boarding-house. Balzac was inspired to write the story after he spotted the name "Z. Marcas" on a sign for a tailor's shop in Paris. It was published in July 1840, in the Revue Parisienne, a magazine he had founded that year. The story is remembered primarily for its political themes. Balzac, a legitimist, believed that France's lack of bold leadership had led to mediocrity and ruin, and that men of quality were being ignored or worse. The title character, with his keen intellect, is based on Balzac's conception of himself: a visionary genius who fails to achieve his true potential because of less talented individuals with more social power.
Cscr-featured.svg La Cousine Bette (English: Cousin Bette) is an 1846 novel by French author Honoré de Balzac. Set in mid-19th century Paris, it tells the story of an unmarried middle-aged woman who plots the destruction of her extended family. Bette works with Valérie Marneffe, an unhappily married young lady, to seduce and torment a series of men. Balzac wrote La Cousine Bette, one of his longest novels, in two months. Balzac based the character of Bette in part on his mother and the poet Marceline Desbordes-Valmore. At least one scene involving Baron Hulot was likely based on an event in the life of Balzac's friend, the novelist Victor Hugo. La Cousine Bette is considered Balzac's last great work. Several critics have hailed it as a turning point in the author's career, and others have called it a prototypical naturalist text. A number of film versions of the story have been produced, including a 1971 BBC mini-series starring Helen Mirren and a 1997 feature film with Jessica Lange in the title role.
Cscr-featured.svg Barton Fink is a 1991 American film written and directed by the Coen brothers. Set in 1941, it stars John Turturro in the title role as a young New York City playwright who is hired to write scripts for a movie studio in Hollywood, and John Goodman as Charlie, the insurance salesman who lives next door at the run-down Hotel Earle. Barton Fink premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1991; in a rare sweep, it won the Palme d'Or prize, as well as awards for Best Director and Best Actor (Turturro). Although it was celebrated almost universally by critics, the movie only grossed $6,000,000 at the box office– two-thirds of its estimated budget.
Why I Worked So Hard on Barton Fink
Barton Fink is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is the most important film ever made about writing. I show it to my Creative Writing students every semester.

Cscr-featured.svg Emmeline Pankhurst (15 July 1858 – 14 June 1928) was a political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement. Although she was widely criticised for her militant tactics, her work is recognised as a crucial element in achieving women's suffrage in Britain. At the age of 20 she married Richard Pankhurst, a barrister known for supporting women's right to vote; they had five children together. She became involved with the Women's Franchise League, and later worked with the Independent Labour Party through her friendship with socialist Keir Hardie. After her husband died in 1898, Pankhurst founded the Women's Social and Political Union, an all-women suffrage advocacy organisation dedicated to "deeds, not words". Pankhurst, her daughters, and other WSPU activists were sentenced to repeated prison sentences, where they staged hunger strikes to secure better conditions. She died in 1928 and was commemorated two years later with a statue in Victoria Tower Gardens.
Why I Worked So Hard on Emmeline Pankhurst
After working on Emma Goldman and Emmy Noether, I wanted to finish the hat trick with one more article about an important woman whose first name starts with Emm-. After a superb discussion with WillowW, I decided Pankhurst should be the third feather in the cap.

Cscr-featured.svg La Peau de chagrin (English: The Magic Skin) is an 1831 novel by French author Honoré de Balzac. Set in early 19th-century Paris, it tells the story of a young man who finds a magic piece of shagreen that fulfills his every desire. For each wish granted, however, the skin shrinks and consumes a portion of his physical energy. La Peau de chagrin is part of the Études philosophiques section of Balzac's novel sequence La Comédie humaine. Although the novel uses fantastic elements, its main focus is a realistic portrayal of the excesses of bourgeois materialism. Balzac includes details from his own life as a struggling writer, placing the main character in a residence similar to the one he occupied at the start of his literary career. La Peau de chagrin firmly established Balzac as a writer of significance in France and abroad. The book served as the catalyst for his correspondence with the Ukranian baroness Ewelina Hańska, who later became his wife. It inspired Giselher Klebe's opera Die tödlichen Wünsche and may have influenced Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Cscr-featured.svg Emmy Noether (23 March 1882 – 14 April 1935) was a German mathematician known for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. Described by Albert Einstein and others as the most important woman in the history of mathematics, she revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras. In physics, Noether's theorem explains the fundamental connection between symmetry and conservation laws. She was born to a Jewish family in the Bavarian town of Erlangen; her father was the mathematician Max Noether. In 1915 she was invited by David Hilbert and Felix Klein to join the mathematics department at the University of Göttingen, a world-renowned center of mathematical research. She spend almost 20 years developing revolutionary work in the field of abstract algebra. In 1933 Germany's Nazi government dismissed Jews from university positions, and Noether moved to the United States to take up a position at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. In 1935 she underwent surgery for an ovarian cyst and, despite signs of a recovery, died four days later at the age of 53.
Why I Worked So Hard on Emmy Noether
I went to the library determined to find books about an important Arabic mathematician, since that's where all our numbers come from. But I couldn't find any such books; I did, however, find a book about important women mathematicians, so I browsed through it. I was intrigued by Noether's story (and the Einstein quote), so I found two biographies of her and got to work. Please note that I wrote none of the mathematics section; just the biography.

Cscr-featured.svg Louis Lambert is an 1832 novel by French author Honoré de Balzac, included in the Études philosophiques section of his novel sequence La Comédie humaine. Set mostly in a school at Vendôme, it examines the life and theories of a boy genius fascinated by the Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. The book contains a minimal plot, focusing mostly on the metaphysical ideas of its boy-genius protagonist. These include the split between inward and outward existence; the presence of angels and spiritual enlightenment; and the interplay between genius and madness. Although it is not a significant example of Balzac's realist style, the novel features details and events from the author's life, including punishment from teachers and social ostracism. Although critics panned the novel, Balzac remained steadfast in his belief that it provided an important look at philosophy, especially metaphysics. He later returned to the same themes in his novel Séraphîta, about an androgynous angelic creature.

Cscr-featured.svg Le Père Goriot (English: Father Goriot) is an 1835 novel by French author Honoré de Balzac, included in the Scènes de la vie privée section of his novel sequence La Comédie humaine. Set in Paris in 1819, it follows the intertwined lives of three characters: the elderly doting Goriot; a mysterious criminal-in-hiding named Vautrin; and a naive law student named Eugène de Rastignac. Le Père Goriot is widely considered as Balzac's most important novel. It marks his first serious use of recurring characters, and exemplifies his realist style, using minute details to create character and subtext. The struggle of individuals to secure upper-class status is ubiquitous in the book. Balzac analyzes, through Goriot and others, the nature of society, family, and marriage, providing a pessimistic view of these institutions. A favorite of Balzac's, the book quickly won widespread popularity and has often been adapted for film and the stage. It gave rise to the French-language expression "Rastignac", a social climber willing to use any means to better his situation.

Cscr-featured.svg Emma Goldman (27 June 1869 – 14 May 1940) was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Kovno in the Russian Empire (now Kaunas in Lithuania), Goldman emigrated to the US in 1885. Attracted to anarchism after the Haymarket affair, Goldman became a writer and a renowned lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women's rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. She and anarchist writer Alexander Berkman, her lover and lifelong friend, planned to assassinate Henry Clay Frick as an act of propaganda of the deed. Though Frick survived the attempt on his life, Berkman was sentenced to twenty-two years in prison. Goldman was imprisoned several times in the years that followed, for "inciting to riot" and illegally distributing information about birth control. In 1906, Goldman founded the anarchist journal Mother Earth. In 1917, Goldman and Berkman were arrested and deported to Russia. Initially supportive of that country's Bolshevik revolution, Goldman later wrote a book entitled My Disillusionment in Russia. While living in England, Canada, and France, she wrote an autobiography called Living My Life. After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, she traveled to Spain to support the anarchist revolution there. She died in Toronto on 14 May 1940.
Why I Worked So Hard on Emma Goldman
Kaldari had posted a bounty for Ms. Goldman, and I've been a fan of her anarchism for many years. I thought it untoward to accept a cash payment for GNU-licensed work about an anarchist, so I donated the bounty to the East Timor Action Network.

Cscr-featured.svg Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross; c. 1820 – 10 March 1913) was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War. Born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland, Tubman was beaten and whipped by her various owners. In 1849 she escaped to Philadelphia, then immediately returned to Maryland to rescue her family. Later she brought relatives with her out of the state, and guided slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. During eleven years of travel, Tubman made thirteen missions to rescue over seventy people from slavery. Large rewards were offered for her capture, but she was never caught and never lost any of her "passengers". She later helped John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era struggled for women's suffrage. She retired to the family home in Auburn, New York, where she cared for her aging parents. Illness overtook her late in life, and she was admitted to a home for elderly African-Americans she had helped open years earlier. She died in Auburn in 1913.
Why I Worked So Hard on Harriet Tubman
Dude, it's Harriet Tubman. I was not going to allow this to inform people about one of the greatest Americans who ever lived.

Cscr-featured.svg Chinua Achebe, born Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe on 16 November 1930, is a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor and critic. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), the most widely read book in modern African literature. Raised by Evangelical Protestant parents in the Igbo village of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures. He gained worldwide attention for Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). In 1975, his lecture An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" became the focus of controversy, for its criticism of Joseph Conrad as "a thoroughgoing racist". Achebe supported Biafran independence and served as an ambassador for that short-lived nation. When the Nigerian government retook the region in 1970, Achebe involved himself in political parties but soon resigned in frustration over corruption and elitism. He lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s, and returned to the U.S. in 1990 after a car accident left him partially disabled. He is currently the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson.
Why I Worked So Hard on Chinua Achebe
After working so hard on the Balzac biography, I needed to counter systemic bias by FA-izing an author from Africa. The choice was obvious; Things Fall Apart is tremendously important to me.

Cscr-featured.svg Honoré de Balzac (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of almost 100 novels and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the 19th century. Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters, which often appeared repeatedly in different novels. Balzac had affairs with many women during the course of his life, but he also carried on a 15-year semi-romantic correspondence with Ewelina Hańska, a Ukranian baroness. They married in 1850, and he died five months later. His most famous novels include Le Père Goriot (1835), Illusions perdues (1837–39), La Peau de chagrin (1830), and La Cousine Bette (1846).

My Other Contributions


East Timor

Organized Labour


Miscellaneous Junk of Interest to No One

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I thank Awadewit and JayHenry for their continuing support and guidance, particularly with regard to Honoré de Balzac. I also thank Bookandcoffee for help and wisdom at WP:UNION. Qp10qp is another fine editor, and WillowW is my best friend. To spread the 'love, I like to give people donuts — {{subst:User:Scartol/donut|caption|message}} ~~~~

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It gives me great joy to award this Imperial Napoleonic triple crown for exceptional mainspace contributions. Thank you very much for your generous time and diligence on behalf of the project. You are a Napoleon among editors. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:57, 27 June 2008 (UTC)


I, Durova, am pleased to thank Scartol's exceptional mainspace contributions to Wikipedia with these imperial triple crown jewels. May you wear them well. DurovaCharge! 02:50, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Human Rights Barnstar Hires.png The Barnstar of Liberty
I posted a TIL about Emma Goldman over on Reddit, then found you also did a while back, and incredibly that you a) got paid editing her article, and b) donated the money you got for doing so to East-Timor.. (I was trying to get a mention of that situation into Maggie's entry before she died)

You sir, are a legend!

Hillbillyholiday talk 16:20, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Four Award.PNG Four Award
Congratulations! You have been awarded the Four Award for your work all through on Louis Lambert (novel).
Team Barnstar.png The Teamwork Barnstar
For your outstanding and valuable assistance in getting I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to featured article. Everyone involved should be very proud of such an accomplishment. --Figureskatingfan (talk) 04:11, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Original Barnstar.png

You, Scartol, have just been awarded The New Mikemoral's generic barnstar in miniature. You can earn this award too for other generic things, just like Scartol did.

Downy Woodpecker.JPG Scorpion0422's Not-so-Golden Woodpecker Award
For your excellent help with Sideshow Bob, which probably would have failed its FAC had you not come along. Thanks once again. -- Scorpion0422 19:23, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
CopyeditorStar7.PNG The Copyeditor's Barnstar
You deserve this barnstar for your recent efforts in copyediting FACs. Keep up the great work! BuddingJournalist 18:58, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Userpage barnstar.svg The Excellent Userpage Award
I just stumbled across User:Scartol/boldibe. My hat goes off to you, sir. —Politizer talk/contribs 04:08, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Womanpower logo.jpg "Soldiers in Petticoats" Award
Thank you for all of your hard work on Emmeline Pankhurst! It is a wonderfully engaging article, but, really, don't you think we should add an audio file to the article from the Mary Poppins "Sister Suffragette" song?! :) Awadewit (talk) 14:34, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
CopyeditorStar7.PNG The Copyeditor's Barnstar
Isn't there a gold-plated copyeditor's barnstar to top the other ones I've given you for prepping my articles before they go to FAC? Someone should make one. But then I would need 15 others to top that... This one, specifically, is for Stonewall riots. You rule. Moni3 (talk) 16:19, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Everglades Barnstar.png The Everglades Barnstar
"It's curious that the ignorance about the Everglades has persisted all these years"Marjory Stoneman Douglas, 1987. Thank you, Scartol, for helping in our small wiki-corner, to right that wrong. Your very helpful copy edits were obviously needed and very appreciated. Please accept this limited-edition barnstar as a token of my gratitude. --Moni3 (talk) 13:23, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Barnstar of Diligence.png The Barnstar of Diligence
For diligently moving all their userboxen properly into their userspace. xenocidic (talk) 15:20, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
Mimus polyglottus1 cropped.png For Scartol, master of copyediting
Thank you for your massive copyediting skills in To Kill a Mockingbird. I would not have been able to feature it without your support, suggestions, and help. --Moni3 (talk) 22:15, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
WPGS barnstar2.png The WikiProject Gender Studies Award
I hadn't complimented you on your rather excellent design for Template:User WikiProject Feminism and your improvements to Template:WikiProject Gender Studies so well done and thank you for helping improve the project and Feminism Task Force!--Cailil talk 02:20, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
CopyeditorStar7.PNG The Copyeditor's Barnstar
Thank you, Scartol, for swooping in and saving my laptop from certain disposal out the window and into a nearby body of water out of frustration in the FAC process for Everglades National Park. --Moni3 (talk) 17:08, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
CopyeditorStar7.PNG The Copyeditor's Barnstar
For your patience and outstanding precs preserverence perseverance in helping me through my first foray into the world of Wikipedia academia, I offer you this shiny Barnstar. As Emily said, "The Brain — is wider than the Sky". That goes for your kindness, as well. María (habla conmigo) 13:23, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
CopyeditorStar7.PNG The Copyeditor's Barnstar
This Copyeditor's Barnstar is a token of my appreciation for your willingness to copy edit Jimmy McAleer at the height of the holiday season. Thanks for your help! Best, twelsht (talk) 03:49, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Wiki medal.jpg The Featured Article Medal
In recognition of your troika of transcendence: Honoré de Balzac, Chinua Achebe and Harriet Tubman. Oh my, the rest of us need to pick up the pace! --JayHenry (talk) 02:52, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Original Barnstar.png The Original Barnstar
Turning the Harriet Tubman article from embarrassingly bad to amazingly good in two weeks was a spectacular feat of editing. Keep up the fantastic work! -- Hemlock Martinis (talk) 19:09, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
CopyeditorStar7.PNG The Copyeditor's Barnstar
I award you this barnstar for your precision and professionalism in copyediting the Yasser Arafat article and bringing it to a higher level of reading. Cheers! --Al Ameer son 03:20, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Crystal xedit.png Ruby Pen
I, Awadewit, hereby bestow this Ruby Pen upon Scartol for his superb copy editing of Jason Priestley. Awadewit | talk 02:11, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Peace Barnstar 6.png The Barnstar of Peace
Please accept this both as laurels for your Chinua Achebe piece and as an olive branch. --ROGER DAVIES TALK 15:55, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Blueprint Barnstar 2.PNG The Template Barnstar
What a wonderful template tutorial! I am so happy that it is being featured on the community portal - now more editors can benefit from your excellent teaching skills! Awadewit | talk 03:17, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Blueprint Barnstar 2.PNG The Template Barnstar
Awarded for the extremely useful {{GAList2}} template. VanTucky Talk 00:54, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Barnstar of High Culture.png The Barnstar of High Culture
Wikipedia thanks you for all of the hard work you lavished on the now-featured Honoré de Balzac. Your wonderfully readable article will inform millions! Awadewit | talk 02:43, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
For your excellent work on articles such as Cripple Creek. Well done :) Pursey Talk | Contribs 08:34, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Did you know? has been updated with facts from the following articles, which you created or substantially expanded:

Updated DYK query
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My Pictures at Wikimedia Commons

4 May 2008
A composite panorama of Venice, seen from the top of St. Mark's Campanile
14 October 2012
A map of locations mentioned in Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas
5 August 2010
Front entrance to the new Sun Prairie High School
9 March 2008
1901 edition of The Works of Honoré de Balzac
7 February 2008
A collection of tais from around East Timor
23 January 2008
Gravestone of Sebastião Gomes in the Santa Cruz cemetery, site of the Dili massacre
15 November 2007
A map of significant locations in the life of Harriet Tubman
6 October 2007
The Stoughton, Wisconsin Opera House and City Hall
3 October 2007
A spiral stack of the 1994 Anchor Books edition of Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart
20 September 2007
A barnstar book, for this award
15 September 2007
The Arco di S. Antonio, leading into the Italian town of Maida
17 August 2007
1901 edition of The Works of Honoré de Balzac
17 August 2007
The Works of Honoré de Balzac Volume XV
18 October 2006
An image from 3DGo, used on WP for Category:Go stubs
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Pages I Will Attack Someday

I have a goal of eventually writing a Featured Article in each of the major categories. Here's my plan, with unlinked titles for those I've already done (see above):

Art, architecture and archaeology

  • I.M. Pei

Awards, decorations and vexillology

  •  ???


Business, economics and finance

Chemistry and mineralogy


Culture and society

  • Emmeline Pankhurst


Engineering and technology

Food and drink

  •  ???

Geography and places

Geology, geophysics and meteorology

  •  ???

Health and medicine

  •  ???


  • Harriet Tubman

Language and linguistics

  •  ???


  •  ???

Literature and theatre

  • Honoré de Balzac


  • Emmy Noether


  • Barton Fink


Philosophy and psychology

Physics and astronomy

Politics and government

  • Emma Goldman

Religion, mysticism and mythology

Royalty, nobility and heraldry

  •  ???

Sport and recreation


Video gaming


  •  ???

Other articles I will someday work on:

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