Saturday, September 30, 2006


Well, not to be overly morbid on a nice sunny Saturday afternoon, but I just received a phone call that was sort of interesting [to me]. I am about to inflict its details upon you...

A friend of mine is a pastor of a church. And this morning he officiated at a funeral, the circumstances of which involved a suicide. A funeral is pretty much always a serious and somber moment, but even moreso is this the case when the person whom everyone has gathered to remember, chose to take their own life. Standard eulogies, standard all-purpose anecdotal stuff does not really translate... everyone gathered knows that there is an element of grief present, a palpable untimeliness to it all that was not there when your 96-year old grandmother died of natural causes!

And so, not to belabor the point, but I think you can get what I am saying.
My friend, as you can imagine, was looking for the right things to say, at the right moments. At funerals, the officiating minister is trying to gather the scattered thoughts of those in attendance, and make of them something at least manageable, much as a person would gather 52 playing cards on a table, and pat them down, straighten them out, and then set them down as a pack, ready to be dealt out for the next game.
And so it was that at the interment service this very morning, there at the graveside, my friend recited a poem I had once written, back in 1995.
I wonder if it is wrong for me to feel honored.
Maybe honored is the wrong word, because it [the feeling I have] has very little to do with recognition. The truth is, no one there knows that I wrote it. It was merely read out, "as the writings of a friend."
No, I think it is in that anonymity itself that I feel honored.
Because it ensures merit where merit is due. In the words themselves. Like... in the fact that words can convey so much meaning, sometimes.
He told me that he could tell in those moments that people were moved, that the words reached into some of the ways they were feeling at that moment. Or perhaps, wanted to feel.
The poem is very brief, and can be seen here.
Have a great Saturday, all.
-- Cip


Friday, September 29, 2006

Splash du Jour: Friday

The General, speaking one felt with authority, always insisted that, if you bring off adequate preservation of your personal myth, nothing much else in life matters. It is not what happens to people that is significant, but what they think happens to them.
-- Anthony Powell, Books Do Furnish A Room

Have a great, myth-making Friday!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Splash du Jour: Thursday

To really be centered and to really work well and to think about the kinds of things that I need to think about, I need to spend large amounts of time alone.
-- Donna Tartt

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Something Fishy Goin' On....

The following blog-thing has absolutely nothing to do with books, nor is anything intelligent being said herein, furthermore, you will not be a better person for having read this particular blog-thing. Reading it will not impart any lasting value [moral, nutritional, or otherwise]. No dolphins were harmed in the creation of this blog-thing. [For those who may be interested, the Phantom Cat© walked across my bed again last night, I swear to God.] If you choose to read on, the author of this blog waives all lawsuits that may result from time wasted. In lieu of reading the thing any further, the Blog-Proprieter suggests you read a way more interesting piece, like this one entitled Some Penises of Things. Having said all of this, he would now draw your attention to the following freakish photo:

OK, that is a fish that has only one head and yet has two bodies.
It was caught near North Bay, Ontario.
I thought I had seen everything, but apparently..... not!
It merits an ode.....

The Dual-Bodied Pike.

A greater mystery I'd never heard
Though The Phantom Cat comes close.
Three fishermen fell overburd
Yelling, "Damn that thing looks gross!"

A legend was born that very day
'Round the campfire by the brook.
'Bout two tails that tried to swim away
After one mouth bit the hook!


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
-- Cicero
[Note: I basically agree with this statement. However, I would add one more thing. → Hamburgers. As in, “If you have a garden and a library and some hamburgers, you have everything you need.”]
-- Cipriano

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Phantom Cat

Hi y’all. I’ve been meaning to write a sort of review of my time at the Roger Waters concert, but honestly, time eludes me. Since sobering up, I really have not had any free moments to write about that glorious eve!
I shall. I will. I promise.
But firstly, I must speak briefly of something that has been happening to me every night when I lay in bed and try to fall asleep.
Have I got your attention now?
OK…. this is a mystery, and I am wondering if any of you cat owners out there can reassure me that I am not losing my marbles.
Personally, I am not excluding [at this point] the possibility that I am simply going mental.
Here is what happens.
When I finally get in bed at night and get all comfy, usually, minutes later, my cat Jack [shown here] jumps up on either of the endtables and gingerly makes his way over to me. You may be able to picture what I mean…. he walks so carefully it is as if he does not want to awaken me, although I am not yet asleep. Then he usually crouches down and sleeps rather near to my face.
Lately, however, he has not been doing this. And I am not sure why. Yet, in the morning, there he is, down at my feet in the nether regions of the bed.
Thing is, for the past few weeks, as I lay there each night I swear that I can feel him walking across the bed and the pillows, and when I turn to look, he is not there.
It is like….. like a ghost cat is walking towards me. The phantom cat.
[Don’t laugh].
It is really bugging me.
And never was it worse than last night.
I was laying there as I do, on my side. Then the phantom cat arrived. Behind me, I felt him gently walk onto the bed, from the endtable. This time I was not going to be duped. So I waited.
Yep, I lay there and said to myself, “OK, is that the sense of the mattress actually indenting under the weight of his paws? Is that the blanket actually feeling like it is moving against the back of my neck, because Jack is kneading it like he does? Am I imagining this? NO. I am not imagining a damn thing. It is real. When I turn my head, he will be there. This time for sure he….”

He wasn’t there!
And I turned around like really fast.
It’s not as though Jack jumped off the bed, so please don’t tell me he was there and he jumped off the bed before I could see him do it because that is not a valid explanation. For one thing, there is no reason for Jack to be that jumpy. We’ve been calmly sleeping together for years! And don’t try and tell me it is the after-effects of breathing the fumes at the Waters concert [which admittedly, were quite hallucinatory!] The phantom cat has been visiting me long before I got peripherally stoned at that concert.

Please, can anyone let me know if you have ever experienced the phantom cat?
If so, did the remedy involve an exorcist?
It’s like I swear to God there is a ghost cat that gets in my bed every night.
And for all I know, it is the reason that the real live cat [Jack] is keeping his distance.


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

“Recently I eavesdropped on a conversation between two twenty-something employees at a local Starbucks. I listened as the barista mused about his taste in music. Then the cashier asked him if he had ever heard the song Strawberry Fields Forever. After a pause, the barista answered, ‘No, can’t say I ever heard that one before.’ That’s when I knew there really was such a thing as a generation gap.”
-- Mary Chapin Carpenter

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Splash du Jour: Monday

Is it really Monday morning?
After four glorious days away from work?
"Why am I trying to become what I don't want to be? What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool of myself, when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am!"
-- Biff, to Willy Loman, in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Letter To A Christian Nation

One of the greatest challenges facing civilization in the twenty-first century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns -- about ethics, spiritual experience, and the inevitability of human suffering -- in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. We desperately need a public discourse that encourages critical thinking and intellectual honesty. Nothing stands in the way of this project more than the respect we accord religious faith.
-- Sam Harris, in Letter To A Christian Nation --

Well, I know I should be writing about the Roger Waters concert, right?
But I can’t do it just yet.
Perhaps it is still too holy of a moment for me to properly regurgitate all that this evening meant to me. I will try to write a bit about it tomorrow. It will have to suffice, for now, to leave you with the report that it exceeded my expectations. It was OVER THE TOP, good!
For now though, I am reeling over this book that I read today.
It is the new one from Sam Harris, Letter To A Christian Nation.

I have never read anything that spoke so directly, and so succinctly, to the issue of the dangers inherent in the current religious faith of our day. In short, we are in a real shemozzle! I sat down with it, and did not get up out of my chair until I had read every page.
It is indeed, a letter, addressed to the Christian “in the narrow sense of the term.” →Those who believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and that only those who accept the divinity of Christ will be saved.
Since the publication of his first book, entitled The End of Faith, Harris has received thousands of letters from readers who feel compelled to warn him of the peril of being an atheist. This letter is his response.
Fascinating stuff. I was spellbound.
And I myself am not an atheist. I am what I would call an LBHA. [Lapsed-believer/half-agnostic.]
But from start to finish I believe that every topic that Harris touches upon here, ought to be brought fully into the realm of Christian discussion.
During a survey of The Ten Commandments, Harris raises the issue of what “real morality” is. He says that it always involves “questions about happiness and suffering.” How sad that at 42 years old, this tidbit should constitute a profound insight to me! He points out [for instance] that the first four of the Ten Commandments have “nothing whatsoever to do with morality.” [p.20]
He then moves to discuss prevalent Christian attitudes toward sex, abortion, stem-cell research, distribution of wealth, infant mortality, evolution, disaster [theodicy], prophecy, and offers a glimpse into where our discordant religious certainties are leading us, on a global scale.
It is ominous. Really.

See, Harris is writing this thing to the committed Christian out there. And at the end he is saying [basically]: Listen. I don’t mean to make light of the fact that your religious experience is very important to you. It has probably coincided with some positive changes in your life. That is a good thing, perhaps.
But… but… but… BUT, "It is important to realize that the distinction between science and religion is not a matter of excluding our ethical intuitions and spiritual experiences from our conversation about the world; it is a matter of our being honest about what we can reasonably conclude on their basis." [p.89-90]
According to Harris, we should conclude that we cannot conclude very much, based on faith alone. That what may have been “a necessary function for us in the past” may now be “the greatest impediment to our building a global civilization.” [p.91]
I fully concur.

What a terrific, monumentously important, timely, little book!


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Well, I am preoccupied with today’s events.
So much so, that I cannot come up with a good literary, bookish, Splash du jour.
No, all I am thinking about is that in less than eleven hours I will be AT this concert which I have patiently waited for, for so long.
Roger Waters.
TONIGHT! 8:00 p.m. EST.
I am leaving soon…. skipping work. To be there.
The Bookpuddle blog may be empty for a while, as a result of my…. recuperation!
Shine on -- you crazy diamonds!
-- Cipriano.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.
-- Ernest Hemingway

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

"Writers aren't people exactly.
Or, if they're any good, they're a whole lot of people
trying so hard to be one person. . ."

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bored of the Flies

I have been experiencing a manifestation of fruit flies in my car.
It is very annoying, and has been going on for about five days or so. But I [hopefully] put an end to it, today.
Lately, every time I get in the car a little swarm of fruit flies start swirling around.
I thought they were coming through the vents. It’s enough to make you want to drive into the nearest bridge abutment, I swear!
And I mean…. → “I swear!”
So, of course, I checked under the seats. I checked under the mats, everywhere. No sign of their hotel! No little footprints. No tiny beer bottles strewn about. No sign of campfire…
Until today.
I was going to give a co-worker a ride to his bus-stop, and as he was getting in my car I said, “Now, don’t freak out. But when we get in there, a bunch of little flies are going to go mental.”
As he opened the passenger door he said “Look, you idiot!” and pointed to the one place I had not thoroughly searched.
A little place between the seat and the door.
And there it was. A mummified plum. Or something.
And flies. Flies in a state of heavenly bliss.
So of course, I cleaned up the mess. There’s now only a few stragglers left behind. They will probably eat each other and then the strongest and most vicious among their herd will die a lingering death, trying to eat the dashboard. GOOD!
OK, so part of the mystery is now solved. I had dropped some sort of fruit-thing on the floor somehow, or one of my passengers did. Fine.
But as I drove away and came here to Starbucks, my logician’s mind began to ask the inevitable, deeper questions.
1) How did a fruit fly find out about this? Where was this fly in the first place? Driving around with me for the last few years, hoping I would throw a plum his way?
I don’t get it.
But secondly…
2) How did all the others find out about it? I mean, I lock my car doors at night! There’s no way that that one fly could have gotten out and told a pile of friends, even. Much less, SO MANY friends.
And I’ve been killing them for days.
How is this fly population replenished?
After gorging themselves, have they been spending the last four or five nights in MY BACK SEAT? So to say?


Splash du Jour: Monday

The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,

And as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name.

-- Shakespeare, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Quiverful of Spears

As many of the more astute among you will know, I am moving through this Greenblatt bio of Shakespeare at the usual snail’s pace.
What can I say though, good things deserve to be savored.
Like that Fountain-Moment© I had at Niagara Falls [see last photo of the blog, just south of this one]… you want some moments to never end!
So today’s reading in the Greenblatt was Chapter Eight, all about sonnetry.
The Sonnets.
Reminded me of a treasured book in the Bookpuddle Library I share here with my alcoholic cat, Jack. The book is called umm… Shakespeare’s Sonnets.
Let me be very clear as to why I give this book a full Five Spears out of a possible Five Spears... it makes Wilburt’s sonnets readily accessible and/or understandable to the average common reader (which I consider myself to be). It is no exaggeration to say that this Arden version has become a treasure to me. I have loved Bill's sonnets ever since committing #116 (my favorite) to memory a few years ago, but I admit that many of them have left me with one profound thought at the end of the fourteenth line, and that thought is... "huh"?
It is truly a sad predicament to be left in such a state of ignorance when Shakespeare is ALWAYS saying something AWESOME! Let’s face it, the guy was a phenom!
On any given day, he could have eaten a bowl of alphabet soup and then randomly barfed better poetry than anyone has painstakingly written since his day!
And I am stupid. Even on my best days, quite dumb as hell.
So, this book has come closest to a complete cure for me, in my severe sonnet-ignorance.
I am now seldom (if ever) left in the dark by an obscure phrase, line, or context, because the notes on the opposing page are right there to help me through those exact points of difficulty.
Hence, I unreservedly recommend this affordably priced 3rd Series edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones to any and all sonnet lovers. Let it "give physic" to your ailment.
P.S. It begins with an excellent over 100 page introduction and follows the sonnets with an equally great exposition of "A Lover's Complaint".

Quit reading this and go order the thing HERE.


Saturday, September 16, 2006


Have you ever had one of those days when you have like.... ZERO stuff to blog about?
So you resort to stuff that you would be better off not showing to the entire world?
Yeah, today is one of those days, for me. Or rather, nights! So, after drinking a gallon of turpentine, I thought I would show you a few scenes of the last time I was at Niagara Falls.
First, I sort of checked the place out.... familiarized myself, basically.

Then I thought it would be neat to try and stick my entire head INTO the Canadian side of the Falls, horizontally.

Then I did some LSD on Main Street...

Then I tried to ride a Harley-Davidson in an indoor environment....

Then I pretty much.... well.....

Then I said to myself.... I should never have posted this blog.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Splash du Jour: Friday

And why is McDonald's still counting? This is really insecure, isn't it?
40 gillion, 80 million, zillion, billion, killion, tillion...
What is this?
Does it mean anything to anyone?
“O.K. I'll have one."
I would love to meet the chairman of the board of McDonald's...
Just to say to him: "Look, we all get it. You’ve sold a lotta hamburgers, whatever the hell the number is. Just put up a sign: 'McDonald's, we're doing very well!’
I don't need to hear about every goddamn one of them."
What is their ultimate goal? To have cows just surrendering voluntarily?
Showing up at the door: "We'd like to turn ourselves in."
"We see the sign... we realize we have very little chance out there."
"We'd like to be a 'Happy Meal' if that's at all possible."
-- Jerry Seinfeld –

Have a great Friday!


Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Dark Side

Howdy all.
Just sitting here at Starbucks [again] after work and thinking.
Thinking about next week, next Thursday, at this EXACT time even, I will be at the Roger Waters “Dark Side Of The Moon” concert in Montreal.
Some of you may recall my initial blabbage about this. It seems like I bought these tickets in a previous lifetime, so long have they been sitting here!
Roger Waters [Pink Floyd]… well, I guess it is just my favorite music ever in the world, and so I am going mental wishing that next Thursday was TONIGHT.
I can’t wait.
But it’s all I can do. Wait.
Have you ever anticipated a concert so much that it pretty much drove you nuts?
If so, please let me know, so I don’t feel so alone in this….


Splash du Jour: Thursday

“If I had a thousand sons, the first human principle I would teach them should be to forswear thin potations, and to addict themselves to sack.”
-- Falstaff, in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, (4.2.109-11) –

Perhaps some definitions are in order… firstly, “potations” refers to the action of drinking something, esp. alcohol. And “sack” here is referring to “a dry white wine formerly imported into Britain from Spain and the Canary Islands.”
So basically, Shakespeare’s Falstaff [probably half-tanked at the time] is saying that it is important to teach one’s progeny how to be properly drunk.
Or, as another great English writer would put it, centuries later, and in much less poetic of terms….

"Bring in the bottled lightning, a clean tumbler, and a corkscrew."
-- Charles Dickens

To which I say… “Here, here! Fill my bloody tankard!”

Have a great Thursday!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The NEW Jim Cuddy

Well, tonight, just a few words about one of my favorite musical artists on the planet.
← Jim Cuddy.
He is listed in my "Favorite Music" of my Blogger Profile, under Blue Rodeo, the band in which he shares lead vocalist honors with another great songwriter, Greg Keelor.
I love Blue Rodeo, and I love Jim Cuddy.
Jim's first solo album, called All In Time [1998] is superb. And I am right this minute enjoying my inaugural spin through his brand new solo CD, called The Light That Guides You Home. It was just released in stores, yesterday! I am Johnny-on-the-spot!
Love it.
I could praise Jim Cuddy until six cows walked into my 14th story apartment, right off the balcony, chewing their cuddy!
So I won't belabor the point. He writes superb music. In a bit I'll show you how you can hear the new single. But here's my reason for writing...
Last night I talked about CanLit, and ended that blog entry by drawing attention to the fact that no one wants to sing about Canada.
Well...... Jim Cuddy is a royal exception to that rule, and I love him for it.
Already, in this first spin through the CD, I’ve compiled a sampling of Canadianisms© in the lyrics.
In the second song, Maybe Sometime, he says: "We followed the moon all the way to Golden [as in, Golden, British Columbia]... Slept outside til we were almost frozen / watching the sun come up over Lake Louise [as in, Alberta].
In Countrywide Soul, he praises his girl by saying, "I love your hair / smells like Rocky Mountain air / Like the big sky shining on a Winnipeg night [as in, Manitoba]. Then he says, “Listen to a band in a St. John’s bar [as in, Newfoundland] / Down by the water on a Halifax [Nova Scotia] shore.”
Mentions the “magic in the mushrooms of P.E.I.”
Then, in a song called Falling, he says, “I spent a little time out west / A year in Calgary…”

All of this to say that Jim Cuddy is really ruining my argument of last night.
That it is impossible to sing about Canada.
This CD is like a TOUR of the entire nation, from coast to coast!
So, I revise and add to my former points, by saying…. Canada has the best authors, best music, best beer, best cigarettes, AND best zippers!
You can hear the gorgeous song called “Pull Me Through,” if you go → HERE and click just under the image that appears on the left side of the screen.
Happy listening to ya, eh?


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

I was late for work yesterday.
My excuse?

“I hit a fork in the road.”
-- Cipriano

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

CanLit 101

I am just sitting here at Chapters after work, actually in the Starbucks section of the bookstore and I’ve just had a nice little walkabout at the New Releases display.
I preface my remarks today by reminding readers that I myself am thoroughly Canadian. As Canadian as the zipper! [Invented in St. Catherines, Ontario by Gideon Sundback in 1914.]
As such, I am impressed with the amount of great CANADIAN books that are either just recently released, or are about to be released, this fall.
It amounts to a lot of real good reading.
Canada ROCKS, in the literature department, I really believe this. So many of my favorite authors are Canucks.
It is particularly impressive when you consider Canada’s literary output on a per capita basis.
Like, how people are there in the entire country?
Four or five million?
We’re doing pretty good CanLit-wise, when you stop to think of it in those terms.
Anyhoo, in a recent New York Times piece, Canadian writer Douglas Coupland summarily disses his own nation, with the following words, and I must say up front, I see this as an unfair assessment:

"Basically, but not always, CanLit is when the Canadian government pays you money to write about life in small towns and/or the immigration experience. If the book is written in French, urban life is permitted, but only from a nonbourgeois viewpoint."
[I already think he is over-stating, but then he goes on to say worse things…]
"One could say that CanLit is the literary equivalent of representational landscape painting, with small forays into waterfowl depiction and still lifes. It is not a modern art form, nor does it want to be. CanLit is not a place for writers to experiment, and doesn't claim to be that kind of place. CanLit is about representing a certain kind of allowed world in a specific kind of way, and most writers in Canada are O.K. with that."

Hey, hey, hey! What planet is this guy from?
Shampoo Planet?
Is he saying that Canadian writers are too regional? Too closed to big ideas? Navel-gazers? Drab? Not artsy enough? Too artsy? Not cosmopolitan enough?
I don’t know. I really don’t know.
Like, there are so many great Canadian writers, [living and deceased], names like Richler, and Atwood, and Munro, and Davies, and Ondaatje…. these are writers that do not even need their first names attached, for us to know who they are.
I will admit that Canadian authors are big on landscape, yes.
My [American] reading partner comments on this from time to time, how it is very notable to her that when we read such great examples of Canuckitry as Jane Urquhart, the setting [the landscape] seems to be as important and as vibrant as any character in the novel!
But I don’t know. I am not sure how this can be a negative thing.
I mean, if we were to criticise Mordecai Richler for always writing about Montreal, would we also criticise someone like John Steinbeck for setting so many of his novels in and around Salinas, California?

But, [sadly], I think it is a very “Canadian” thing to be self-critical of our own beautiful country. And in many ways, we here in Canada have been culturally “americanized.” Made to subliminally think that the U.S. is better, or something. You can even see it in our attitude toward music.
We love the song “New York, New York.” But what Canadian would ever endure a song with the refrain “Edmonton, Edmonton” in it?
That’s The Night That The Lights Went Out In Georgia!
But who wants to sing about a power outage, in say, Saskatoon?
We’ll listen to songs about the “Wichita Lineman”… but who wants to sing about The Winnipeg Meter-Reader Guy?

At any rate, there are great books…. STUPENDOUS examples of great CanLit in your bookstore this fall:

Moral Disorder - Margaret Atwood
Custodian of Paradise - Wayne Johnston
The Communist's Daughter - Dennis Bock
Touchy Subjects - Emma Donoghue
The View from Castle Rock – Alice Munro
What It Takes to Be Human - Marilyn Bowering
Gargoyles - Bill Gaston
Consolation - Michael Redhill
Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? - Anita Rau Badami
The Friends of Meager Fortune - David Adams Richards

The naysayers and ne’er-do-wells are wrong.
I disagree with Coupland. I think that CanLit is an art form!

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

“What do you know about this business?” the King said to Alice.
“Nothing,” said Alice.

whatever?” persisted the King.
“Nothing whatever,” said Alice.

“That’s very important,” the King said, turning to the jury.
They were just beginning to write this down on their slates, when the White Rabbit interrupted:

Unimportant, your Majesty means, of course,” he said in a very respectful tone, but frowning and making faces at him as he spoke.
Unimportant, of course, I meant,” the King hastily said, and went on to himself in an undertone, “important – unimportant – unimportant – important – “ as if he were trying which word sounded best.
-- Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, ch.12 – Alice’s Evidence –

Have a great Tuesday!


Monday, September 11, 2006

I Like Old People

OK, first of all, I want to say that the following has nothing to do with books or puddles, or even bookpuddles©, per se.
It’s just something I’m wondering, is all.
I promise, tomorrow I will rebound, and say something bookish and somewhat erudite, I swear to God.
But for now…
OK, let’s say you are driving somewhere and you get a bit distracted and you have to pick your nose for a bit. I mean…. what I am saying is that IT CAN’T WAIT.

Not this time, it can’t.
And so you do it.
You wait till there’s a break in the action, a red light.
Then you’re doing it.
And there’s nothing to be ashamed about, it happens to everyone.
Even the Queen of England does it [with a glove on] and so this is what you are even thinking, you’re saying, “Even the Queen does this,” just as you look
over at the car next to you and there is someone who is looking right at you.

You’re drilling away.
Here’s my question…
There are only two possibilities, in the current scenario.
A) The person next to you is about 80 years old. They shouldn’t even be driving a car.
B) The person next to you is like not even 16. They should not have a driver’s license.

Which would you rather it be?

Now seriously, not that this actually happened to me lately or anything, like when I was turning left onto Cyrville off of Innes Road [by the Costco/Price-Club] today, like, Wendy’s is right there?.... but my own answer to the above hypothetical question is that I would way rather it was the ancient person.
The ancient person…. they’ve seen it all. THEY DO NOT EVEN FLINCH!
What the hell does it matter if you are picking your nose?
It takes them 45 minutes to get into their pajamas at night! They were in World War I AND World War II.
Does it really matter to them that you’ve got something going on in your proboscis?
Let’s envision the other scenario….

This kid is not only laughing and pointing…. but he or she has already text-messaged a few friends, taken a photo with the cell phone, downloaded something onto YouTube© …. created an entire website called…..
You know what I mean?
Do you?

I like old people..
I really do.
I like old people.


Splash du Jour: Monday

Certain writers, of whom I am one, do not live, think or write on the range of the moment. Novels, in the proper sense of the word, are not written to vanish in a month or a year. That most of them do, today, that they are written and published as if they were magazines, to fade as rapidly, is one of the sorriest aspects of today’s literature, and one of the clearest indictments of its dominant esthetic philosophy: concrete-bound, journalistic Naturalism which has now reached its dead end in the articulate sounds of panic.
-- Ayn Rand, May, 1968, and as applicable now, as then. –

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Soft-Boiled Eggs

Hey, in all seriousness now... have you ever had breakfast in the morning, soft-boiled eggs on toast, for instance, and then when you were done eating them, you stared at the Abort-o-Carnage© on the plate and it reminded you of back when you were a kid and your mom would totally make you soft-boiled eggs for breakfast all the time, and more specifically, there was this one time when she made soft-boiled eggs for you and a bunch of your friends that had come over because their own mothers were not the kind of mothers that even made breakfast ever?
Yeah, I know.
I think about this all the time, pretty much.
So I was staring at my plate and then I wrote a poem.
I will post it here, but also, I will add it to my poetry-page at Poetrypuddle.
Wishing you all a great, relaxing, Sunday!

Soft-Boiled Eggs

We love soft-boiled eggs.
All soft and all runny
All leaky and sunny
For breakfast for supper
With salt and with pupper.

We love them on toast.
At least one maybe three
And we tend to agree
That it really don’t matter
If the toast has much batter.

Please make us some more.
We have not had enough
Of soft-boiled-y stuff
And then me and my pals
Will dispose of the shalls.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2006


Saturday, September 09, 2006


A couple of weeks ago now, I read Mary Gordon’s (2005) novel, Pearl.
My feelings about the novel vary. There are aspects of it that I truly enjoyed, and aspects that I found weighty or hmmm… slow.
“Slow” is a death-knell of a word, in book reviews, so I want to qualify my use of the word here, because truly, Pearl is a book well worth reading, but one should maybe know a few things ahead of time.
Like, for instance, that the first few pages are a bit misleadingly promising.
By that I mean that they contain more real action in them than is to be found in the next 200! Admittedly, the book [I think] really gets the reader involved in its end pages, but these parenthetical highpoints bracket an immense amount of musings upon family, religion, and politics. A lot of nostalgic montage. Stuff that may call for toothpicks to hold open the eyes of some readers.
Secondly, the author has employed an all-knowing [God-like], yet totally unknown [to the reader] in the final analysis, narrator. In some ways it seems disappointing that we are never really shown who is telling the story. At one point, the narrator pops out from behind his or her curtain, and says, "Think of me this way: midwife, present at the birth. Or perhaps this: godfather, present at the christening."
Well… I don’t know. I think I would like to know which it is!
Maybe for some, this would be OK. But for me, I found myself unduly preoccupied with wanting to know who this narrator is.
Deconstructionist DeconSHMUCKtionist!
But thirdly, and positively now, I am a reader that enjoys good [detailed, onion-peeling] character development, and I think we have that here, in this book.

Here’s the gist of the story itself.
A New York Christmas night [not dark and stormy, that we know of…] the year, 1998. Maria Meyers returns from a party to find a phone message from the State Department, advising her to contact them. She learns that her 20 year old daughter Pearl, studying language at a university in Ireland, has brought herself to the brink of death by starvation and then chained herself to the flagpole of the U.S. Embassy. Motive currently unknown.
Maria is appropriately horrified. This is out of character for Pearl. A mother’s worst news! “She packs her bag.” [p.9].
Then she calls Joseph, an old family friend in Rome who thinks of Pearl as a daughter, and the two of them set off immediately for Dublin from their separate locations.
“Do you think she’ll die?” Maria asks.
“No, I don’t think she will die,” he says. “You won’t let her.”

The thing is, Maria herself is someone who is well-acquainted with protest, with activism. Sort of a flower-child of the ‘60’s, she marched and demonstrated and ranted as did so many others of that generation, in the turbulent days of Vietnam, Kent State, and the assassination of JFK.
Now her own daughter is staging this protest… willing to lay down her life in a cause that Maria does not understand.
The bulk of the book explores why Pearl is doing what she is doing… and we learn along with Maria [actually, long before Maria, thanks to our narrator who is way ahead of the airplanes] the cause of Pearl’s angst with life. She is sacrificing her life to “bear witness” to the death of a young boy, an event for which she feels partially responsible, as well as to make a political statement for the peace process in Ireland.
Martyrs, hunger-strikers, suicide bombers, terrorists. These deliberate self-orchestrations of death are something we are all familiar with. Like, if you own a TV, you are familiar with it. And so the novel raises [I think] a lot of important issues, and asks profound questions of its readers, and of its characters.
Is there anything truly worth dying for?
Is there anything worth living for?
Is it always desirable to live?
The strength of this novel [for me] is found in the portrayal of the changes wrought within Maria, Joseph and Pearl as they grapple with these universal questions. At one point, it is put this way: “Why is it that it’s life we want?” [p.341].
I found it compelling. Rich in its philosophical musings. I will always choose this, if the option is the BANG-SMASH-POW of pointless plot. I guess it’s my inner-Dostoyevsky, coming up for air!
Mary Gordon is successful at making me believe that for some people, the conclusion “Life is worth living” is not easily arrived at!

Recommended by Bookpuddle with a rating of 3 puddles out of a possible 5, and with the proviso that you remember that I am Dostoyevsky reincarnate!
You can purchase Pearl, HERE!


Friday, September 08, 2006

Will In The World

Have you ever wanted to read a certain book for a really long time, but just continue to never getting around to the actual reading of it?
Some sort of procrastinatory failure to begin, sets in?
← That’s how I have been with this book shown here.
Will In The World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, by Stephen Greenblatt.
I’ve almost purchased the thing for about 27 years now!
But today’s the day. I realized it at about 2 p.m. [to pin down my exact moment of decision].
So, right after work I picked up the book and now I am sitting in a Starbucks, immersed in it.

I am fascinated by Shakespeare while being embarassed at how little of his work I have read. I’ve read maybe five or six of his plays, and much of his poetry.
But I intend to read so much more.
Reading Shakespeare thrills me in a way that no other reading does. Having said this, you may rightfully ask, “Why haven’t you read more of his stuff then, you pribbling puddle-puttock?”
It’s a good question. I honestly don’t know the answer.

As I turned this lovely book over and over in my hands, before tearing into it, I asked myself, “What is it about Shakespeare? Why is he so good?
And immediately, the thought came to me that when I read Will Shakespeare, I am afforded the feeling that a Bible believer would feel, reading scripture.
As though, in the English language, nothing could be said better. His sentences can be revered, so good are they.
I sipped my coffee and opened the book.
Three pages in, Greenblatt echoed my thoughts, saying:
“The work [Shakespeare’s] is so astonishing, so luminous, that it seems to have come from a god and not a mortal, let alone a mortal of provincial origins and modest education.”
I very much tend to agree. My feelings exactly.
I’m excited about this book… it is difficult to stop reading long enough to tell you!

This is a book, then, about an amazing success story that has resisted explanation: it aims to discover the actual person who wrote the most important body of imaginative literature of the last thousand years. Or rather, since the actual person is a matter of well-documented public record, it aims to tread the shadowy paths that lead from the life he lived into the literature he created.
[From the Preface.]


Splash du Jour: Friday

Without black, no color has any depth. But if you mix black with everything, suddenly there's shadow - no, not just shadow, but fullness. You've got to be willing to mix black into your palette if you want to create something that's real.
-- Amy Grant

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Keep Off The Grass!

I would like to do a series of bloggetry on the topic of Books That Were Supposed To Be Incredibly Good [Because of Awards And/Or Media-Hype & Whatnot Else] And Which I Found To Be, Really Not Very Good When It Came Down To Actually Reading Them.
I should probably come up with a shorter title for such a series, but, for now, let me just say I would probably begin by saying something about Nobel Prize-Winning writer, Gunter Grass’s [1959] “classic” The Tin Drum.
This book somehow garners unto itself a sort of cult-following. From whence cometh its accolades? I am baffled. I opened The Tin, back in October of 2000.
It was a horridly not-good book, in my opinion. Honestly, I could not finish the thing.
Overall, [I managed about ¾’s of it]… the novel was a drawn-out laborious journey for me. I had always heard so much about the merits of The Drum, perhaps I was expecting too much from it? The first three or four chapters had me thoroughly absorbed in Oskar's ancestry, [Oskar being the main character] and for the rest of the book I kept waiting for someone as interesting and human as his grandmother Anna to show up, but I was to be disappointed.
Granted, Oskar's mother Agnes is another consistent and great character, but besides these two... oyvay!
Oskar was such an unreal personage that I found him impossible to trust as a narrator... with every beat of his drum he startled the already frightened theme of this book into a corner. I never found that corner.
If you enjoy authors who tend to dive in and out of the "fantastic" and the "real" I would recommend you go to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Hermann Hesse, or Charles Williams, but for goodness sakes... "keep off the Grass."

I know that in saying all of this I am going to seriously alienate and maybe anger a lot of lovers of the book. And so, I must simply bend, and write in the sand… “Let he who loves Tin, cast the first stone!”


Splash du Jour: Thursday

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh," he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Speaking To Your Inner Demon...

The very astute among you will have noticed that lately I have not really been “with it.”
My bloggetry faltereth!
However, I have an excuse.
I have a demon!
No, just kidding. I don’t believe in such actual things…. residing in me.
I mean, I believe in them and all… but I have concluded that they reside in everyone else, and not me.
They look like this one, shown here.
I wrote a poem about serious demonetry.
If you yourself have a demon, I can almost guarantee you that he and/or she is telling you right now to click on THIS HERE, and read the thing.
Read about how Satan sends his deputies out, to corrupt your soul…


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

“Why canst thou not always be a good lass, Cathy?”

“Why cannot you always be a good man, father?”

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

The ever cute-as-all-hell Ann-Marie MacDonald, on the “award” of being a writer:
“The award is: Are people liking the book and do they want to give it to their best friend? That’s the award.”

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Splash du Jour: Monday

I’ve woken up from dreams and the whole song is there.
I'm listening to it in my dreams. I consciously have to wake myself up and get a tape recorder because I hear it like a record.

-- Lenny Kravitz

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Devolution of Suspicion

OK, here’s what happens.
As most of you probably already know, I spend an incredibly inordinate amount of time in the coffee shops of my fair city.
For instance, I’m in one right now!
I am an urbanite. Live downtown. Love coffee.
Love not being in my apartment in the daytime, because the dust shows.
I have long ago learned that if I just leave there when the sun comes up, and return when it begins to set…. HELL….→ the place ends up looking really good!
In this way I am able to utilize a huge chunk of time that would be spent cleaning up, if I ever saw the place in something other than candlelight!

So, here is what tends to happen if you sit in a Chapters bookstore say, for like nine or ten hours. Periodically, you have to get up and leave your table.
Nature calls! Or, you go on what I like to call a bit of a “book browse.” You stroll about the store a bit. Or, you have to go and get another coffee.

The conundrum of this is that I have an expensive laptop computer on the table, and it could potentially get stolen if I leave it there.
Now here is the wild thing I have noticed. Over time, I have relaxed my vigilance, in these matters.
Like… when I first got this new Mac PowerBook G4, I was seriously convinced that everyone else in the world wanted it. Hence, the thing never left my sight. I unplugged it and took it with me on all of my rambles, whether to the bathroom, or to the coffee counter.
The computer went where I went!
But soon, I began to look over at some other person, especially if they too were using a laptop, and I would ask them if they would not mind watching mine as I left town for a while. Usually they would comply, but I have already written elsewhere about the inherent absurdities of this action, so I will not re-state it all here.
Thing is, I have now descended to an even lower level of non-security.
I tend to just walk away, often for a good five minutes.
Enough time for even a really useless criminal to sit down and do some of his own data-entry stuff prior to walking away with the thing.

This…. this devolution of suspicion. This thing that has happened to me.
Usually what I do now is that I will look around the room and sort of do a bit of immediate occupational profiling, if you will.
I will try to determine which people LOOK like they would steal my computer.
→ Usually, they all look pretty damn innocent.
So I walk away.
But before I walk away I will take the book I am reading and sort of fold it [turn it over] on top of this closed $3,000 piece of machinery!
What an amazing trick!
I mean…. what criminal-type person [who has been over in the corner salivating, waiting for this very moment that my bladder calls me hitherward…] what person is going to come over and actually LIFT that book off of the Mac-treasure?
I mean, that would just be…. → craziness!

The whole scenario reminds me of a certain Jerry Seinfeld routine.
One of his joke segments, on the DVD called “I'm Telling You For The Last Time.”
And by the way, if you have not ever seen this DVD, umm… you really need to get it. It is the funniest conglomeration of laughs I have ever encountered. I’ve watched the thing at least 40 times and I can recite any portion of it, verbatim.
It’s a gift. A gift.
My nephew Bradley is even better at it than I am.
If I ever falter with a line or two, he jumps right in and finishes off the gag!
He and I should go on tour, honest to God.
The Jerry Seinfeld Severely-Plagiarized© Tour!

Anyhoo, Jerry says, We can't stop getting ripped-off. We're gonna get ripped off. We think we're not, we think we're very clever. We think we're gonna foil the crooks.
We go to the beach, go in the water.

You put your wallet in the sneaker, ‘who's gonna know?’

What criminal mind could penetrate this fortress of security?

"I put it down by the toe. They never look there."

"They check the heels, they move on."

I think I peed my pants the first time I heard that one…. But then he goes on, [and I’d rather not tell you the effect it had on me…]

You have a TV set in the back of your car and you gotta leave the car in the street for a few minutes?
So you put a sweater over the TV.

"It's a couple of sweaters, that's all."

"One of them is square with an antenna coming out of it."

Caused a mess!

I just love that kind of situational humor though.
Because we do these things. These utterly stupid things.
Like me and my folded book over the laptop.
I am an idiot!
I need counseling.
If I lost my laptop to a crook, I would want to DIE!

I leave you with Jerry’s final jab at our stupidity…

So feeble the things we come up with to foil the crooks!
The 'Wanted' posters at the post office?

You're there, you got your package, you're trying to mail something, this guy's wanted in 12 states.

Yeah, now what?

Ok. I check the guy standing in line behind me... if it's not him, that's pretty much all I can do.
Why don't they just hold on to this guy when they're taking his picture?



No, we don't do that. We take their picture, we let them go.

That's how we get the front and side shot.
The front is his face, the side is him leaving.
Why don't they put the pictures of the criminals on the postage stamps?

Let the postman look for them.
He's out there walking around all day.
He's got the uniform on.
Can't he do something?


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Stumbling into greatness...

I began this day by waking up way too early and being prompt for my appointment with Carla.
She cuts my stupid hair.
Right now she is pregnanter than any human I have ever seen!
Holy moly, she could barely reach my actual hair with that preg-belly jutting out in front of her. She's got twins in there, she tells me. Each of them are going to be more than seven pounds! Anyway, the haircut turned out alright. Much better than this other time I reported on a bad experience.
Note: -->That was NOT Carla that butchered me that time!
After my haircut, I wandered around downtown, and ended up at The Library.
[I know! Is that rowdy or what?]
Tell you what, though.
I absolutely LOVE The Library.
For one thing, it's so.... so full of BOOKS!
Found myself wandering down the "H" aisle. I had a look at this Ursula Hegi book, called Sacred Time (2003). I fell for the cover of the thing. Love those old cars! It's set in the Bronx, 1950's. I've read one other Hegi book, The Hotel Of The Saints (Short Stories) and really enjoyed it. So I signed this thing out and then spent the afternoon with it.
It is just so well-written, honestly, I am marvelling over it. I am drawn into it, do not want to put it down. So, I may just have to stay awake with it tonight.
Thought I would just mention it to all late-night puddlers out there... awake with their own books, perhaps.
My preliminary report on this Hegi book is that it is just amazing. I love good dialogue, and this is some of the best I have ever encountered.
You know what? There are great authors [in every other respect] but.... when their characters talk, I do not hear them.
I hear Hegi's characters.
I have read and re-read and re-read paragraphs. Made copious notes.
At various points in the day [I read in a couple of different coffee shops] the book was so good that I sort of wanted to run out into the street and kick a few random people right in the shins!
[Please don't ask me to explain that?]
Isn't it exhilarating to latch onto a book that resonates with you?
That moves you, makes you shake your head, or look out the nearest window and somehow see the world, and even yourself, in a clearer light?


Poem Day

Welcome to the long weekend, fellow North Americans!
I really need this weekend to replenish my primordial fires.
This past work week has sapped me. Zapped me of life.
Just before I leave to go and drink a few gallons of Starbucks coffee downtown, I thought I would share one of my award-winning poems with you.
It’s called Cavemirth.
To read it, you will have to drag your knuckles on over to my → Neanderthal-Poetry Page.
Have a great day y’all.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Splash du Jour: Friday

Who invited September?
Where is the summer going?

As the fall season of intense binge-reading rolls in, I’ve been thinking about one of my favorite writers.
Margaret Atwood.
Apparently, she will have a new book coming out THIS MONTH!
See it here!

“I don’t think you ever know how to write a book. You never know ahead of time. You start every time at zero. A former success doesn’t mean that you’re not going to make the most colossal failure the next time.”

-- Margaret Atwood

Yeah RIGHT Maggie!
Like you don’t know how to write a book!
Gag me with a Booker!

I know there are a lot of Atwood fans out there. I want to take a poll.
Can you please use the comments section to answer my very simple question?
Here it is:
What is your favorite Atwood book of all time?
[If you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine!]

Have a great Friday!

A great long weekend, Canada!