Monday, April 30, 2007

Splash du Jour: Monday

Well friends, today is the 2nd Blogiversary of Bookpuddle!
Two years of bloggitry.
Has it really been that long?
Wow! It seems like just yesterday I looked over at my roomate [we were living in an old fridge-box under the overpass] and said, “A blog? What’s a BLOG?”
And now look! I’m totally off crack! I have my own apartment, and a cat with severe gastro-intestinal problems [He pukes in my shoes on a daily basis!]
And, perhaps best of all, I’m famous.
I’ve been asked to star in a movie opposite Nicole Kidman! ← Actually that’s not true.
I’ve appeared on Oprah! ← Umm…. not really true.
I’ve been cited by Harold Bloom in his most recent book on….. ← So way not true that the sentence is not worthy of completion.

In all seriousness though, I have posted 965 blogs in this past two years.
I have had 32,300 hits at my site.
These 32,300 hits are all coming from about 15 devoted Puddlers, one of which is me. And my cat!
So to my devotees, The Wonderful Baker’s Dozen©, I thank you all for clicking on Bookpuddle from time to time.
All 13 of you!
If you are here right now, for instance, reading this, I have two final things to say:

1) I like you! 2) Have a great Monday!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pferfectly Pforty-Nine

Today She turns a pfabulous, pferfect, pforty-nine!
A pfascinating phenomenon becomes apparent if you do the slightest research on Her. Many many websites, and even one magazine I read, will say that She is turning pfifty!
But no. Do not rush the old Girl.
She’s turning pforty-nine today. Next year, pfifty.
That’s how it works. One year at a time!
Really, it is true. Somewhere, someone [obviously possessed of the Devil] published Michelle’s birthdate as being April 29th, 1957. And the false information has spread far and wide until now there is about an equal amount of places that will tell you She is an entire half-century old.
Trust me on this one, the year in which She came to earth was 1958.

I should know.
I was once married to her.
But I do not have time really, [today] to get into the reasons that we parted ways. Perhaps one day I will be able to speak of it, but the pain of my loss is still too….pfresh!

I could go on an on about how much I am still in love with Her.
But I won’t.
Suffice it to say, here are two scenes from her work that are especially memorable to me.
Firstly, a scene from The Pfabulous Baker Boys, which TOOK MY BREATH AWAY!
Secondly, a scene from What Lies Beneath, wherein I HELD MY BREATH!
And prayed for Her.

Happy Birthday to you!
Your pface is still as symmetrically pferfect as when I pfirst pfell pfor you!
We all love you Michelle Pfeiffer.
[NOTE: All comments to the contrary will be summarily deleted!]


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Just Listening

I am having one of those mellow Saturdays, where I hit the Jazz folder in my iTunes and sit back and sip coffee... and relax.
Think some more. Fall in love, all over again, with Life© .

I look over at Jack [my cat] and see that he uncannily opens one eye, somehow aware I was asking for his opinion on the subject, and I can see in that moment that he agrees with me.
"Life is pretty damn good," he says with a big yawn.

I'm just listening.
In some way, the quietness of today has made me think of a poem I once wrote.

Just Listening

For hours now, you’ve told me how
your life has been so rough…
And it’s been draining, and maintaining
silence has been tough.

I want to get involved and get it solved
and see you freed…
But I sense my advice, though nice
is not quite what you need.

No, I believe that sharing is repairing
you in a way…
That my words merely, though sincerely
chosen, fail to say.

For sometimes listening is the glistening
thread we can extend…
There love is known, and hurt is sewn
and friend is bound to friend.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2007

Wishing you all a peaceful, attentive, weekend!
-- Cip


Friday, April 27, 2007


I have always loved the work of Graham Greene, and tonight I was browsing through some old notebooks and spotted a few pages where I had jotted down a few things while reading his 1961 novel, A Burnt-Out Case.
This is my [current] favorite Greene novel. I have not read all of his stuff.
I have a beautiful 1962 hardcover edition.

OK, so this blog will be for only those die-hard lovers of S.T.A.N.G.
[Sentences That Aren’t Not Good!]
In other words, I loved these… I am a lover of simile/metaphor:

At the end a half-sentence had been thrust out into into the void – “I will do anything for you in reason, but don’t ask me to revive…” like a plank from a ship’s deck off which a victim has been thrust. [p.52]

He thought, “I was too late,” and an obsessional phrase bobbed up again, like a cork attached to some invisible fishing-net below the water, “Who cares?” “Who cares?” [p.54]

A small black child hardly more than two feet high walked into the room without knocking, coming in like a scrap of shadow from the noonday glare outside. He was quite naked and his little tassel hung like a bean-pod below the pot-belly. [p.74-75]

The superior opened the door, and there the girl was on the threshold, like someone surprised by a camera in a night-club, looking up at the flash, with an ungainly grimace of pain. [p.78]

Father Jean was tall, pale, and concave with a beard which struggled like an unpruned hedge. [p.88]

“I have heard differently from Deo Gratias,” Father Thomas said, fetching up a smile like a liquorice-stick, dark and sweet and prehensible. [p.98]

The fathers in their white soutanes gathered on the veranda like moths round a treacle jar… [p.100]

His eyes were heavy and bloodshot; he pushed his shoulders forward on either side of his shrunken chest as though they were the corners of a book he was trying to close. [p.109]

The Remington portable had been set up on Father Thomas’s table beside the crucifix. On the other side of the cricifix, like the second thief, the Rolleiflex hung by its strap from a nail. [p.111]

The bed bent below Parkinson’s weight as he shifted his buttocks like sacks. [p.115]

But Rycker was like a wall so plastered over with church announcements that you couldn’t even see the brickwork behind. [p.151]

The whisky was finished and the equatorial sky broke outside the window like something smashed suddenly on the curb of the sky, flowing in a stream of pale green and pale yellow and flamingo pink along the horizon, leaving it afterwards just the plain grey colour of any other Thursday. [p.166]

The thunder came nearer, and then the rain: first, it was like skirmishes rustling furtively among the palm-tree fans, creeping through the grass; then it was the confident tread of a great watery host beating a way from across the river to sweep up the veranda steps. The drums of the lepers were extinguished like flames; even the thunder could be heard only faintly behind the great charge of rain. [p.185]

Somewhere a telephone began to ring – a trivial human sound persisting like an infant’s cry through the rain. [p.185]

He put the receiver down and stood bent like a question-mark over the telephone. [p.187]

Well, if you have read this far, then you officially qualify as a Bookpuddle-Approved Luster of Sentences© .
I have written a brief review of A Burnt-Out Case, HERE.

-- Cip

Splash du Jour: Friday

If art teaches anything… it is the privateness of the human condition.
Being the most ancient as well as the most literal form of private enterprise, it fosters in a man, knowingly or unwittingly, a sense of his uniqueness, of individuality, of separateness - thus turning him from a social animal to an autonomous "I".

-- Joseph Brodsky, Nobel speech –

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Atrium

Today I had occasion to work offsite.
In other words, spent the whole day in a building entirely foreign to me.
It was a beautiful, immense place.
So sprawling that the grounds can only be described as a “campus” and the buildings themselves, a “complex".

At lunchtime I wandered up to the fully-staffed cafeteria. There was a great assortment of fresh food to choose from, and a Menu to please just about anyone other than Gandhi! [You gotta admit. That guy was a bit picky!]
There is even a full-out bakery in this place, behind the counter of which, a guy was walking around with one of those big hats on.
Question: Why do bakers even NEED those hats?
Name one thing more superfluous in this world than the big enormous hat of a baker!

So I got some stuff and sat at a far-off table, so as not to be too distracted by all these people congregated in one area, chattering like a herd of chipmunks.
Opened my book.
Munched on my carrot cake and sipped coffee that was profoundly NOT Starbucks.
Afterwards, I got up and walked to the edge of the cafeteria level and looked out over the sprawling atrium of the place. The inner court, down below and up above.
I instantly felt quieted. At peace.
There are trees down there, and all manner of [real] plant-life. Flowers. Rocks. A bubbling fountain. Just a real lot of air… empty space. I would not have been surprised to see a monkey swing by on a vine.
Windowed offices towering high on all sides, up, up, up.
And I found myself thinking how fun it would be to have wings.
The atrium achieved what is was DESIGNED to achieve, before my analytical mind kicked in and realized that it had done so.

The atrium is a wonderful phenomenon, I think.
Look at the amount of SPACE that architects are “building” into today’s mega-structures.
It is amazing how much we need, and want to see, and feel → space.

Shopping malls → museums → libraries → galleries → office buildings.
Even some mega-bookstores.
Even the hotel resort I stayed at, in Puerta Vallarta. It had a gorgeous atrium, viewable from all floors. And there, the atrium was even truer to its original definition, being “open-roofed.”
When one considers the cost per square foot of realtor-controlled commercial space, it boggles the mind how impractical the best architects can be!
But it amounts to impractical wizardry.
Because it works.
It amounts to art, because it is embellishment.
Beyond the necessary, yet there.
Like a baker’s big huge, space-filled hat.


Splash du Jour: Thursday

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

“From every book invisible threads reach out to other books; and as the mind comes to use and control those threads the whole panorama of the world’s life, past and present, becomes constantly more varied and interesting, while at the same time the mind’s own powers of reflection and judgment are exercised and strengthened.”
-- Helen E. Haines (1872-1961) –

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

People always think something's all true.
-- Holden Caulfield, ch.2 of Catcher In The Rye

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Shakespeare & Jesus

Well, it is wrong to say that Shakespeare is my “favorite” author.
It is much more correct to say that I think he is the “BEST” author ever.
For me to say he is my “favorite”… it just doesn’t seem right.
But he is definitely the Reigning King of my Literary Affections.
Who could ever dethrone him. Come on, now. Who?
Dan Brown?
It’s like saying…… who is going to make a better coffee than Starbucks?
You know?
There are some things, about which, we must forever remain gravely serious.
One of these is coffee.
Is like…. is GOD going to open a coffee place and put Starbucks out of business?
See what I mean? See how quickly the whole argument caves in on itself?

Shakespeare is the best.
And today is his birthday.
So I did a little dance with Jack [my cat], sipped some Shiraz with him over on the couch… then, [while he puked up a wine-soaked hairball into my shoes] I thought I’d saunter over here to the laptop and say a few words about my Willy!

The Bard is 443 years old today.
That’s a bit old.
I remember wandering through Cathedral Grove© , on Vancouver Island once.
Cathedral Grove has these trees in there and they are like [honestly]... almost a millennium old!
You cannot see the tops of them. 'Specially if you forgot your glasses back there in the car. You're not going to even see those tops!
I have hugged some of the elderly trees, while thinking in my mind, “Oh, Tree. You were totally well into being a tree while Shakespeare wrote every one of his plays. I love you, Mr. Tree.”
Call the loony-wagon, I know. [I’ve got the number right here on a fridge-magnet if you need it. And my phone is set on re-dial anyway!]

I’m just telling you stuff.
I don’t ever recall making any sort of promise that it was supposed to "make sense."
Oh… but I did promise once, recently, to be "relevant."
I am still violently breaking that promise, with tonight’s posting.

What can I say?
Cut my Willy in half and count the rings.
That is a LOT!

Here is a poem I once wrote, at least over a decade ago, about Shakespeare:

Shakespeare And Jesus
(A Summary Of Perspective)

Shakespeare said our last scene would be
A type of “second childishness,” senility
Or Futility personified... And to oblivion
“sans everything”
we’d go.

“Not so,”

Said another Man (more distinguished than he)
Who spoke of a “second birth,” immortality
Or Purpose glorified... And of a kingdom
where everything
was so.

Said one, the world’s a stage
On which we slowly die...
And One, the world’s a cage
From which we soon... fly.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2007

In summation?
I love Shakespeare.
And I love Jesus, too.

No matter what fans of Dan Brown [and their ilk] may say, Shakespeare is still the best author, way better than Jesus, even.
And Jesus is still the best……. Jesus-figure ever!
Way better than Shakespeare!

-- Cip

Splash du Jour: Monday

"What's gone and what's past help Should be past grief."
-- The Winter's Tale (III, ii, 223-224) --

The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good - in spite of all the people who say he is very good.
-- Robert Graves (1895 - 1985) --
The Bard turns a ripe 443 years old today! Happy Birthday, William!

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Minor Non-Relevance

I know I promised that my next posting would be something relevant about…. BOOKS!
But please.
Forgive me for what I am about to do.
→ Talk about just whatever! ←

Thing is…. I am TOTALLY lazy!
I had the most laziest day ever. It was grand.
I was ensconsed with much coffee at a wonderful Starbucks and I read books, revised some of my own poetry-work, which, by the way, you can READ OVER HERE if you are ever so bored!
I had a great day, really I did.

I was at the Chapters, the very one that you see here in the photo, above.
At one point, I think it was in the nineteenth hour, one of the Chapters-wenches came over to my table in the Starbucks area and said, “You’re still here?”
I replied, “Oh yeah! I’m hardcore!”

I finished the Shakespeare, and opened up C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces.
This will be my third reading of this amazing novel, subtitled “A Myth Retold.”
The “myth” being retold is that of Cupid and Psyche.
Here is an early line in the book → I was Orual the eldest daughter of Trom, King of Glome.

I love that! I do.
Do you know that I have FIVE different copies of this book, on my shelf, on my desgnated C.S. Lewis Shelf©?
I am sort of a collector. One of my treasures is a pristine 1956 Geoffrey Bles hardcover edition that I found at an Antiquarian Book Fair.

All these books shown above? That is ALL C.S. Lewis stuff.

Remember Zeus?
The orange cat at Ace High Acres that is determined to eat the young ducklings of The Duckmistress© ?
I cannot resist showing a few shots of today’s attempts:



[The above footage was sent to me, by a very distraught Duckling that recorded it on her cell-phone, and escaped via a back door in between the repeated attacks.....!]

I promise you.
Tomorrow I will be relevant.
I promise you.
I will be relevant as soon as my brother straightens out.
[He's a hunchback….]

Friday, April 20, 2007

New Coffeemaker

Yesterday I got a new coffeemaker.
← This one, right here.
It rocks.
My last coffeemaker was faithful. Gotta admit, the thing had some life in it yet.
But it was drooling.
Going senile, basically. Sometimes it wandered. And mumbled. Grabbed the remote and flicked to the Lawrence Welk show!
I was finding little pools of water leaking out of it, onto the countertop. I did not even want to FIND the source. Just kept putting paper towels under the thing.
Confession: In my entire lifetime I have only bought three coffeemakers. First a Melitta© . We had a wonderful relationship, me and my Melitta. Over a decade. All through college, she served me a fine brew.
Then I had a Braun© . We were together for about 12 years. But like I was saying above, the Braun went senile.
Last night, buying groceries at the Supermarket, I was just about to leave the place. Pushing my bachelor-cart stacked high with future microwavable-meals, [and melting fast]….. I yet paused at the home appliances section.
There, a host of coffeemakers showed me their ankle!
Did you know that Betty Crocker© has a coffeemaker?
There was the Black and Decker© . And the Sunbeam© .
And the Braun© . Fancy carafes and all. So many choices.
This one [above] caught my eye. The President’s Choice© brand.
I’m all over it.
Threw one on my cart, atop the mountain of Swanson© products!

And this morning?
OK, I have never made a finer java!
I’m impressed. It has a special feature. If you hit this one button, it will make a more robust brew for just one to four cups.
I love that word.... ROBUST!

OK, I PROMISE, next time I write on this blog I will try and say something about BOOKS, instead of….. PUDDLES….. caused by ancient coffeemakers!
-- Cip!

Splash du Jour: Friday

← The Land of

Seeing that a clear 4/5ths of his wretched species was already wiped out, Friday Morning began to softly whistle a tune and slink away.
But King Bookpuddle, ever vigilant, spied Friday’s backside weaving through the gathered townsfolk.
“Alack Brother Albert! Posthaste! Trip that ‘scaping weekday in black!” cried the King, even as he leapt the balustrade of the Palace balcony and strode toward the East Gate, where Albert proudly stood upon Friday’s ragged coattails. And as he advanced, the King unfurled a scroll and read the following. Clear. And loud!
“For sundry nefarious crimes involving Clocks of Alarum and other such indecent Devices of Sleep Disturbance, we, the citizens of the newly formed Land of Weekendia© , sentence you to….” [several cries of “death,” or “hanging,” or “drawn and quartered” or “burning at the stake” were heard as the King paused, and finally spoke the judgment…] “ETERNAL BANISHMENT!”

Friday was hurled forth and the Gate shut against his return.
The people, with one voice shouted, “O King! We would have preferred dismemberment and perhaps burning at the stake, but you are Merciful and Great and we shall start building the Statue soon, some afternoon and not morning!”
All in all, things turned out VERY well.

Saturday and Sunday, pictured here to the left, lived in the Palace along with the King.
And from that day forward, no one, from King to peasant, had to wake up early.
Every day [ahem! The King clears his throat]… was either Saturday… or Sunday!
As it were.
[P.S. Stanley and Hag #1 were married, shortly after the events herein described.]

Have a great… WEEKEND!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Just then the Three Hags© burst forward in a cloud of stench, and in unison, croaked upwards, “Might we suggest what to do with Early Thursday, sire?”
King Bookpuddle looked down, squinting into the rising sun…. “Speak. But, into the microphone please, Hag #1.”
Said she, [with a short squeal of feedback] “Well, we’ve been sort of ruminatin’ as it were y’know sire, what with after readin’ Lord O’ The Flies© and all at last week’s Groprah Book Club© and what have ye, we figure it may be a jolly treat to hand-feed Thursday straight into the wormy jaws of Chester McPhartin’s rabies-infested black pig what’s got the syphilis also!”
And much scratching of beard.
Then, pointing His Royal Finger at the aformentioned pig, the King cried, “SO BE IT! AND AMEN TO THURSDAY MORNING!”
The Hags busied themselves, stuffing Thursday into the pus-filled pig, as the crowd cheered and sang out, “Oh King, with these shards of broken pottery we joyfully scratch thy Name into our chests and/or buttocks in a crazed frenzy!”

Have a great…..

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Moron Shakespeare

Whoopsie daisy!
I mean… MORE, on Shakespeare.
What a difference just one little “e” can make.

OK, a bit about Shakespeare in a bit, but firster… so I am sitting at Starbucks tonight [no surprise there] and I am observing how many times a barista goes out to refresh and clean the entire Condiment Center© .
“Condiment” is the wrong word, I know, but I mean the place where the cream and sugar and honey and lids and napkins and swizzle sticks and self-aggrandizing pamphlets are located.
Whatever the hell it's called!
Yeah, that place.
Where you fix up your brew! Your elixir!
Anyway, I estimate that it is no more than every ten minutes. They are OUT THERE! Cleaning. Seriously.
I would like to find out if there is some actual policy on this. Like, they are VERY thorough.
On the other hand. Go to a Tim Horton’s.
Come on now, let’s be serious for three seconds.
Because I have seen them clean the coffeemaker once. I happened to be in there on the vernal equinox, which is the only time they do any cleaning whatsoever.
And the girl was scraping something out of the one coffeemaker and when she finally got it out, it looked up at her and said, “Close de door! Eet’s cold!”
Need I say more?
Starbucks is the place…. it is the PLACE, I say unto you, it is the perfect place to spend over half of your life!

OK, so I’m sitting there reading Antony & Cleopatra.
And again, I just happened across the most incredible passage, brilliantly illustrating Shakespeare’s prowess with the language that so many of us [including myself] daily mangle to shreds.

The scene is this guy Pompey’s yacht.
The three world leaders are out there partying. Getting loaded. Having a barbeque.
And so, Pompey [one of the three]… his right-hand man, by the name of Menas, comes over and tells him that now would be a great time to cut the cables and when the boat is adrift, KILL the other two.
Here’s how he says it though…

These three world-sharers, these competitors,
Are in thy vessel. Let me cut the cable;
And when we are put off, fall to their throats.
All there is thine. [Act II, Scene vii.]

Pompey doesn’t like the idea.
Or rather, doesn’t like that Menas TOLD him of the idea. He would rather that Menas had just DONE it.
See…. that way, Pompey would have never had to deal with the guilt of compliance!
So he says to Menas:

Ah, this thou shouldst have done,
And not have spoke on’t. In me ‘tis villainy,
In thee’t had been good service. Thou must know,
‘Tis not my profit that does lead mine honor;
Mine honor, it. Repent that e’er thy tongue
Hath so betrayed thine act. Being done unknown,
I should have found it afterwards well done,
But must condemn it now. Desist, and drink.

Come on now!
‘Tis that not good?

I mean, reading other books, to the neglect of Shakespeare is sort of like…. driving past a Starbucks to get to a Tim Horton’s.


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Geoffrey stood and pointed to his best friend Stanley, the Village Idiot.
“Wednesday morning’s fate has fallen upon you. What say ye?” asked the King.
Stanley thought so hard that steam came out of his ears.
The crowd held its breath.
And looking up at King Bookpuddle Stanley shouted, “Let us tie Wednesday Morning to the top branches of yonder tree, that the birdfowls may poop and pee on it!”
The King scratched his beard while the multitude roared its approval.
“This seemeth good to us! So shall it be!” declared the King, even as Geoffrey scrambled up the tree and prepared the ropes.
“We adore thee O King!” chanted the crowd. “There should be a rather large statue of you at the junction of a highly-travelled thoroughfare!”

Have a great…..

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

A brave lad [this is him, right here] raised himself from the dust, and cried out:
“King Bookpuddle, I beseech thee. Unworthy though I be, may I personally fling the early morning of Tuesday into the bubbling Slough Of Intense Horridness© yonder?”
A hush fell upon the multitude...
“You may, indeed, young Geoffrey,” declared the King, adding, “And select from among you one you feel may be sufficiently equipped in body and soul to instruct me as to what the hell to do with Wednesday!”
And the people cried, “You are great, oh King. Even magnificent, as it were!”

Have a great…. never mind!

William Shakes Me

It’s wild how reading something so foreign to one’s normal mode of thinking and talking and talking and thinking, can yet feel like coming home.
That’s the wonder of reading this guy named William Shakespeare.
Often, when I am asked, “Who is your favorite author?” I hesitate…. as though I have never pondered such a profound question.
As though the best answer may have changed, since the last time I was asked.
What’s to think about?
The guy’s name is Willy!
My greatest shame involves not having read even half of him yet.
But every time I open Shakespeare up, I feel that there is so little time, so little time left, and none, none to waste.
Just tonight, I began reading Antony & Cleopatra.

Right off the bat, in Act 1, Scene ii, a messenger [today it would be a brown-suited UPS guy…. no, an email… no, something on your Blackberry] comes up to Antony, announcing that Antony’s wife Fulvia has died.
“The nature of bad news infects the teller,” says the messenger.
In other words, “It saddens me to have to tell you this, sir…..”

Antony immediately responds:
“When it concerns the fool or coward. On.
Things that are past are done, with me. ‘Tis thus:
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flattered.”

I am not even going to paraphrase what Antony is saying there.
Because nothing could be more already clear.
Sometimes I wonder if it would not be worth returning to the Age of the Bubonic Plague, just to return to the Age when peasant folks, who earned three pennies in the past year, would not scratch their heads as to what Antony is saying there.
Beautiful stuff.
Ye shake me!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Splash du Jour: Monday

When King Bookpuddle awoke, he placed the Crown on his royal head and made his way to the balcony, where down below, the thousands had assembled to await his Morning Decree©.
Sceptre high, he cleared his throat and bellowed:
“As of this day and henceforward, I hereby abolish all weekdays, beginning with the worst of them all, Monday!”
The crowd, with one voice, cheered and fell upon their faces crying, “Long live the King! Long live the King!”

Have a great……… never mind!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Adventures in Duckfarming: Part 2


Remember the ducklings?
They’ve grown a lot in the past two weeks, as you can see in the above photo, taken at an Amway convention they attended earlier this afternoon.
Oh, how fast they grow up!
[One of them has already expressed an interest in “borrowing the car.”]
Remember what they looked like, just two weeks ago?
Yep, my friend sure picked a fine peck of speckled peepers!

Then there is this guy.
He lives at the same compound as do the ducks. It’s a veritable varmint sanctuary, called Ace High Acres© .

His name is RP.
Short for Richard Parker. That’s right. Like the tiger in Life of Pi.
RP shares the same overall mailing address with that orange cat,
But RP’s got the better digs. He’s the indoor cat!
You’d think with his god-like powers Zeus would have found a way to be allowed to stay indoors, but no!
Banished to the wilderness, Zeus spends all his free time trying to find a clandestine way to roast one of those duckies without getting caught by the dreaded, [seemingly omniscient] broom-toting Duckmistress.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Capture The Dream!

I should preface this blog-posting by reminding everyone that I was dropped on my head as a baby.
Today I went to a matinee.
I haven’t done that since…. well, I can’t even remember when. But I met up with my friend downtown, and into the theatre we went.
We wanted to check out the new Will Ferrell / Jon Heder movie, Blades of Glory.

Seriously now… I’m a bit ashamed to admit this but I PEED MY PANTS!

[Then the movie started!]

And I laughed till I cried.
[The above scene also reminded me... I'm due for a prostate exam!]
My friend and I were in hysterics, from the start to the end. Literally, I was in tears.
Mind you, I am, and have always been, a big fan of Will Ferrell.
I’m sick like that!
Plus I was dropped on my head as a baby.
I will not belabor this blog area with a synopsis of the movie… you can find out all about it HERE.
Better than Anchorman or Taladega Nights.
On the [Dropped-On-Your-Head-As-A-Baby] Laughmeter© , Bookpuddle rates Blades of Glory a solid:

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Night Poem-Thing

They Played The Part So Well

‘Farewell’ said she, and I felt sure… my heart about to tear
In two… thank God ‘tis only one part of the tale I share…

Our fated lot, the leading parts in one of Willy’s plays
(A fairer acting partner I’d not met in all my days).
And I the more enthused as we together read the script…
Kisses here and there ‘I’ll take it’; she remained tight-lipped.
The morning she consented was a day I’ll not forget…
The day I claimed the part of Romeo… she, Juliet.

Reviewers touted our first night ‘a stunning great debut!’
‘They played the part so well,’ and oh, the half they never knew.
For who were we to alter script that called for lips contacting?
And who were we to tell the Guild that we, no longer acting
Would linger in those moments, and begin to know for certain
Our tendrilled hearts would beat the same, no matter where the curtain!

Act 3, Scene 5, ‘Farewell, Farewell! One kiss and I’ll descend.’
And she’d reply ‘Art thou gone so, love-lord, ay husband-friend?’
The more she called me ‘husband’ ah, the more I wished I were…
And with each ‘Farewell’ I said, the more I dreaded missing her.
For now by Shakespeare’s hand my role would be to Mantua banished;
Knowing that when next we meet my Juliet will have vanished.

And one night, in the final scene I touched her lifeless eyes…
‘Good Lord’ I thought, and listened… watching for her chest to rise.
She lay so still, so spiritless, I felt my ghost take flight…
I gladly gave my soul to her, so loved her I that night.
‘Thus with a kiss I die’ I fell… and laying there I knew
Tomorrow I would ask her to become a Montague.

The next night with the curtain I too fell on bended knee
And with a rose I breathed it ‘Juliet, wilt thou marry me?’
Blood pounding in my heart and ears drowned out the crowd’s ovation
We stood, we kissed, I waited for her word in rapt elation.
And then with trembling lips ‘Oh sudden love… I cannot tell…’
She turned and ran off with the rose and left me with ‘Farewell!’

So cold that icy word had dropped… so cruel and firmly placed.
‘Did not her heart beat fast as mine each time that we embraced?’
She left the play, the town, my world… and vanished as though dead.
Alas, with broken heart I played the part again that said…
Act 2, Scene 2, ‘Love goes toward love as schoolboys from their books;’
(And here was I) ‘But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.’

I have no way of knowing just how long I wandered thus,
Bleary-eyed and lovesick, wishing her and I were ‘us’.
Till one night at a Masquerade I spied her ‘mongst the crowd.
I knew her eyes through her disguise, and called her name aloud…
‘Where dwells the rose I gave thee when we in the last scene kissed?’
Said she, ‘Tis in my heart and lives in amaranthine mist.’

We married then in haste (I’ll say, almost not quick enough)!
And folks agreed, we looked the part of fairy-tale stuff.
The lesson here? Do not lose heart if first you have been spurned;
In asking women for their hand, here’s something I have learned…
These fickle creatures who can tell, no more than predict fate?
But when love’s dagger sinks, true love is always worth the wait!

‘Tis here the tale ends my friend, the rest too good to tell.
I hear my Juliet calling now… to you I say, ‘Farewell!’

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2007

Splash du Jour: Friday

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
-- Kurt Vonnegut –

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Passing Away"

I am sitting here at Chapters, in the Starbucks section of the bookstore…. you know, I would love to come up with a better term for this location, since I, of necessity, use it so often.
It’s just that if I say “Starbucks” and then talk about books on shelves, it may sound confusing.
I always need you to know that I am not only at Starbucks [in general] but at the one in the CHAPTERS BOOKSTORE.
StarChaps© ?
Chapped Bucks© ?
Starbooks© ?
At any rate, here I am, and a few m
inutes ago I nearly had a heart attack.
I looked over, and there on display was a “new” book by Alice Munro, and see… I was under the impression that she had gone into some kind of self-induced literary-retirement after The View From Castle Rock.
So I raced over.
Hmmmm… a letdown.
It is a "new" compilation of nine previously released short stories.
The first one, [Away From Her] was originally titled The Bear Came Over The Mountain, and is here re-titled to match the name of the soon-to-be-released motion picture, based on the story. [above photo].
Which proves true what so many have said of Munro’s stories… each could easily be stretched to novel-length. Or, in this case, movie-length!
The film stars Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent, and Olympia Dukakis.

So. I did NOT have a heart attack. I am still very much alive.
But…. sad news.
Kurt Vonnegut has passed away.
By now, 99% of Bookpuddle readers will know this. I mention it only to say that I feel a special sadness whenever the world loses a great writer.
In the case of Vonnegut, I must ashamedly say that I have never read any of his novels. So my words should be few.
It would be inappropriate for me to pretend I knew him. It would be like calling upon a dearly departed loved-one's dentist or mailman to speak their eulogy.
Know what I mean?
There you are, not alive any more, and some guy is at the pulpit telling everyone… “Yeah. He sure had great molars!” or… “Wow! He sure subscribed to some interesting magazines!”
I just know that Vonnegut is great because my beloved Reading Partner© says so, and there is nothing that she does not know about literary greatness and/or infamy.
If she says he is good, then good he is. And she does.

She met Vonnegut. And she loves his work[s].

After looking at the Munro book, I walked down the “V” aisle of Fiction, and I observed the impressive row of Vonnegut books…. they were leaning slightly, but nonetheless standing there as alive as they were two days ago.
As alive as last year.
But the author has gone hence.
I don’t want any of them to leave. The authors, I mean.
I don’t want to hear about Atwood, or Munro, or Saramago, or Kundera “passing away.”
And judging from my disappointment at the display table a few minutes ago, I even hate it when they RETIRE!

-- Kurt Vonnegut --
(Nov.11, 1922 - Apr.11, 2007)


Splash du Jour: Thursday

“I'm just trying to make a smudge on the collective unconscious.”
-- David Letterman –
One of my all-time favorite funny-guys, Mr. Letterman turns 60 today!
Happy Birthday, Dave!

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

"You're too troubled by your lack of faith, Querry. You keep on fingering it like a sore you want to get rid of. I am content with the myth; you are not -- you have to believe or disbelieve. You must have had a lot of belief once to miss it the way you do."
-- From Graham Greene’s [excellent] novel, A Burnt-Out Case

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

[A superb poem by the one & only, Billy Collins]

The Dead

The dead are always looking down on us, they say.
while we are putting on our shoes or eating a steak,
they are looking down through the glass bottom boats of heaven
as they row themselves slowly through eternity.

They watch the tops of our heads moving below on earth,
and when we lie down in a field or on a couch,
drugged perhaps by the hum of a long afternoon,
they think we are looking back at them,
which makes them lift their oars and fall silent
and wait, like parents, for us to close our eyes.

-- Billy Collins –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Cute, but Pukes!

Last night.
I’m in a hurry.
All weekend I was kind of holed up in this apartment. I was beginning to look like that Una-bomber guy, you know? When they finally found him?
So I shave, shower. Exfoliate. → See here.
All that jazz.
I’m pretty much spruced-up!
Went to put on my bestest shoes?
Not quite right.
I look.
The left shoe is like filled with congealed cat-vomit!
What would you do?
I changed my socks and put on my running shoes and left. I was late.
But seriously, what would you do?
I mean… Jack is way too cute to throw over the balcony.
But he has this thing about puking in my shoes, and…. the joke is getting old.
Not funny.
For more than you EVER wanted to know about the perils of cat-puke, click YONDER!

Splash du Jour: Monday

"The thing is, it's really hard to be roommates with people if your suitcases are much better than theirs - if yours are really good ones and theirs aren't. You think if they're intelligent and all, the other person, and have a good sense of humor, that they don't give a damn whose suitcases are better, but they do. They really do. It's one of the reasons why I roomed with a stupid bastard like Stradlater. At least his suitcases were as good as mine."
-- Holden Caulfield, ch.15 of Salinger's Catcher In The Rye --

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


It's Easter Sunday!
Just the time for a little THEOLOGY PRIMER.
Did you know that I have a degree in this subject? I do.
I’m not kidding around, even. OK…

Who was the 3rd man in history to walk on water?

The first one was Christ.

The second one was the apostle Peter.

Then there was this guy Jose….

Have a great Sunday, one and all!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Land of Hither

I love coffee.
This is no surprise to readers of this blog. I am forever talking about Starbucks, and coffee in general.
It never ceases to amaze me though, how relaxing it is to sit down with a book and a coffee.
How well these two things go together.
Coffee and books draw me hitherward.
And when I get to this land of…. Hither…. I never want to leave.
I always have to reluctantly break myself free, and tend to things less desirable.
“Less desirable” is the wrong way to say it.
It’s just that things outside of the Land of Hither are of a different phylum.

I am wondering today… what is more relaxing and peaceful than gorging oneself on a favorite beverage and an excellent book?

“Gorging” is the wrong word.
Sipping. Savoring.
That’s more like it.
The liquid slides slowly south as the words travel both directions, up from the eyes, and down to the very entrails of the soul.
For me, it’s coffee. I need the coffee.
It is the potion. The elixir. The nectar.
Perhaps though, you prefer tea? Or some other drink to accompany your journey?
Something cold…. chilled?
[If it is the latter, you may be a bit wobbly when you get to Hither.]

Obviously, you are a reader, or else you would not find yourself for a moment here, in the Bookpuddle.
But my question is this… → When you leave here, when you leave this foreign phylum and open your book again, what beverage is at your side?
What is your ambrosia?
Coffee? Tea? Something else altogether?
What do you drink, on your way to….

The Land of Hither

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Splash du Jour: Thursday

-- Hemingway, writing dialogue --

In his biography of John Steinbeck, Jackson Benson cites the reminiscence of a friend from the author’s early years:

He would suddenly put down the bowl of onions he was peeling for the great chili he used to make. “Hemingway,” he’d sneer, as though somebody had mentioned Hemingway, and he would get up and go over and take The Sun Also Rises from a bookshelf. Then, sighing with satisfaction, he would read aloud, intoning the celebrated dialogue in a deliberately flat voice, without cadence, without caesura, and naturally it sounded awful. Then, pursing his lips and nodding, he would close the book and slap it against his knee. “God damn it. I don’t understand why people think Hemingway can write dialogue.”

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I work with this one guy and he reads.
No one else does. Reads, I mean.
And this guy reads the good stuff. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Salinger. Stuff like that.
Today in the lunchroom he was reading The Sun Also Rises. Prior to this it was Islands In The Stream and before that, Tender Is The Night.
So, this afternoon, out of the grey [there is no blue where I work…] he looks over and says:
“Hey, what’s the deal with these people in these books? They never work!”
Even though I instantly knew what he meant, I said, “What do you mean?”
“Well…. it’s like they are constantly partying, drinking and carrying on, going to bullfights, drinking some more, traveling all over the place, but when the hell do they ever work?
And I thunk.

He is asking a question that I have often asked myself while reading some of these “dated” sort of novels, especially if they take place in Europe, where it seems like no one that has ever been a character in a novel has had a job!
Yet they spend money and “carry on” like crazy!
I don’t know.
Is it a question we are not supposed to ask when reading novels that are [say] over fifty or sixty years old?
Are we supposed to treat the phenomenon with the same sort of suspension of judgment that we employ when reading the Charlie Brown cartoons?
Think about it…. here are all these kids that live in nice houses and wear nice clothes [well, except for Pigpen], yet this Peanuts world contains no adults that are paying the bills!
Is Linus punching a time clock? Lucy? Schroeder?
No! Apparently, no one is paying that phone bill or keeping the furnace stoked and the fridge stocked!

As I thought of some sort of response to my co-worker's question I had to admit, the worklessness of some novels is a situation I have noticed.
Tender Is The Night, for instance. The main character Dick Diver and his wife Nicole are gadding about the French Riviera, partying and cavorting and spending money and traveling and hitting the beaches and staying in fancy hotels almost all the way through the book, but how are they paying for all of this?
Oh wait a second.
She was a wealthy heiress or something, right? And he had written a book about psychology or whatnot?
But regardless, the point is, they are not working, really.
Nor are any of their friends! To my recollection, not once do we hear an alarm clock! At the end, after Nicole leaves him, Diver sort of becomes a doctor again, and actually goes to work, but prior to this, were greenbacks just falling out of the sky and landing in his wallet? There seemed to be some sort of cosmic replenishing of funds.

In my opinion, modern novels can’t get away with this kind of reticence as to a person’s employment.
Take Zadie Smith’s novel On Beauty. In it she is constantly aware of, and letting us know, how her characters are faring as regards employment and/or career.

The world of the modern novel is not at all like the Peanuts world of bills being inexplicably paid!
Nor is mine.
I looked at my co-worker and said, “I don’t know. It’s a good question but…. I don’t know.”
And that was pretty much the end of our discussion.
Because there was work to do!


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

“May God bless those who are trapped below the earth and may God bless those who are concerned about those trapped.”
-- George W. Bush, Jan.4, ’06 / Comment made in response to a mine disaster in West Virginia –

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

"In my last years as an editor I saw more and more stories and poems that amounted to a kind of literary MTV - they were sleek and shifting, quick and gadgety. I could have filled the pages I was editing with competent examples, by truly talented writers, of this 'tough, urban' writing, this so-called sudden fiction. Suddenly read, suddenly forgotten, but that hardly matters, as readers weaned on TV and videos we'll think we're getting the real thing, and maybe if we went and tried to read, say, Alice Munro or Keith Fraser, we'd have real trouble, would grow impatient for the payoff, the climax, the wrap-up and credits, and on to the next channel. Click."
-- Steven Heighton

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Adventures in Duckfarming: Part 1

My friend, she buys a fresh herd of ducklings every spring.
The above photo is of this year’s batch of peepers!
She raises them, like the good Duckmistress she is, and teaches them to read only the best Duck-literature.
Later, they will enjoy frolicking in their own swimming pool in the yard.
Then, as unthankful as last year’s batch, they will fly away.
Is there anything more thankless than a duck?
Well, how about a cat?

This is Zeus.
He was eyeing the peepers today! Oh, yes he was.
Licking his paws. Salivating. Filing his claws, at one point.
Just as Zeus was dragging the ol’ barbeque out of the garage, he looked over and saw the dreaded Duckmistress, holding a broom, and glaring at him.
He knows better than to mess with the likes of her!
For now, the peepers are blissfully enjoying their duck existence.
I will keep you posted here, as to their progress toward adult-duckhood through the 2007 season!


Splash du Jour: Monday

Middle age: the time when a man is always thinking that in a week or two he will feel just as good as ever.
-- Don Marquis (1878-1937)

That is so true! So true!
Have a great Monday!

Sunday, April 01, 2007


The first [but not last] Great Bookpuddle Book Giveaway has come and gone!
Several of you have taken a crack at it and have guessed the right book, which is Ian McEwan’s Saturday!
However, the lovely Isabella of Magnificent Octopus was the first to get it right, and therefore, she wins her choice of the four books that were listed on the blog.
Congratulations Isabella!
Just send your mailing address to and lickety-split… you shall have a new book sent to you!

I think I was a bit too obscure with my 4 clues. Next time around I will try to be less sadistic. But here is the explanation…. my [sick] rationale:

1) H.P. will probably take Monday off.
Just as Isabella had mentioned in her answer…. the main character Henry Perowne, had a hell of a Saturday [the novel takes place during this one day], and so, I am assuming that he does not exactly go to work on Monday.
I know. I am sadistic!

2) 53 / 1977.
There were 53 Saturdays in the year 1977.
[Should I just be shot to death and that’s it?]

3) In six days J.F.K. will be murdered.
John F. Kennedy was assassinated on a Friday [Nov.22, 1963]…. hence, six days earlier would be a SATURDAY!

4) CouldawouldashouldawonaBooker!
I always thought that Saturday should have won, in 2005. I even wrote about it.

Next time it will be better!
Less insane.
More fun.
Thank you all for playing. For splashing around!