Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday








I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system.
Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.

-- Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary --

Have a great Wednesday!

*********

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

I’m a failure as a woman. My men expect so much of me because of the image they’ve made of me – and that I’ve made of myself as a sex symbol. They expect bells to ring and whistles to whisper, but my anatomy is the same as any other woman’s and I can’t live up to it.
-- Marilyn Monroe, c.1962 --

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Epitome of Sarcasm...

Well, as my faithful readers know, I really love great music.
If you had asked me yesterday if any musical group could ever rival Pink Floyd in my estimation of musical perfection I would have said, “No way, Jose!”
But tonight I think I have found a new favorite group.
Pink Floyd Pink SHMOYD!
These guys are incredible. I think they are all one family. Incredible musicians, really. Meaningful, touching lyrics. The keyboardist alone is simply amazing.
And the bass solo. Roger Waters eat your heart out!
My God, I nearly started crying.
Check them out for yourself.


Oh, to touch the hem of their garment!
Like me, you will be running to the nearest HMV to nab their new CD!
**********

Splash du Jour: Monday

This above all — to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

-- Hamlet Act I, scene iii --

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On The Unpredictable Merits of Overpacking

A few weeks ago I listened to a CBC radio interview with novelist Sandra Gulland [author of the Josephine B. trilogy et al] and one of the final questions was, “What do you fear?”
I will never forget her answer → “I fear being trapped in an elevator – without a book.”
I thought that last part was so neat. Trapped in an elevator is bad enough. But eegads! Without a book?
No kidding! I would much rather be shot!
Trapped anywhere without reading material would be dreadful.
[Fast forward to the events of today!]
I have been ALL DAY at airports and/or in airplanes.
Trying to get home after my holidays!
I started in Saskatoon, everything seemed to be going well. I arrived for the first leg of my journey at 10:30 in the morning and my flight was right on time. We boarded, and then sat on the tarmac for a hundred years. The pilot announced that the Toronto airport was shut down and hence, we returned to the gate. We had been on the runway, ready for take-off! We de-planed, a herd of grumbling cattle.
Hours and hours and hours passed, during which I consumed the world’s most expensive roast beef and provolone sandwich, purchased from the little kiosk in the terminal.
Also, I finished reading the old children’s classic The Enchanted Castle, by E. Nesbit.

Here is where the entire concept of forethought and overpacking come in, folks!
A true booklover always exaggerates his or her possibilities. Always presupposes Murphy’s Law is going to kick in somewhere! And today I am so thankful I was positively exaggerant. Because see, I packed along an extra book, in my carry-on luggage. This one, shown in the photo above [I am writing this from the Starbucks in the Toronto airport] July, July – by Tim O’Brien.
And I am so thankful because I have just been told that my connector flight to Ottawa is not going to leave until one o'clock a.m.
I will have spent an entire day in transitory limbo!
See, friends?
ALWAYS pack that extra book!

Now, admittedly, let’s say I had not had the appropriate forethought today… of course, I could just go to one of the many bookstores here in the airport and purchase a brand new one!
However, if the price of airport sandwiches is proportional to the cost of airport books, any new book around here is liable to cost a cool hundred smackers!
And financially speaking, I am a poor man.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have some reading to do. Plus, I am about to tie into my second ten-dollar sandwich of the day, this time a roast turkey / provolone.
Oops.
I spoke too soon.
An announcement just played overhead. All flights to Ottawa for the entire night are fully cancelled altogether.
I am absolutely stranded here.
Wow!
Anyone in the Toronto vicinity able to take me in for the night?
[As you can see in the photo below, I am a very low-maintenance sleeper!]
Dammit!
Some things…. no matter how well you overpack, are just insurmountably bad.

**********

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Visions of Sugarplums...

I had no idea I was ever this cute!
I had inklings, but no real concrete evidence, until now.
Yes folks, these photos are of ME!
Me me me me me! Look at how cute I am. Was.
With my family, Christmas is a time when many old photo albums come off the shelf and are casually flipped through as we chatter and eat [more than we should] and drink coffee or egg nog. This afternoon, as I was leafing through an album or two, I happened upon these old old photos of yours truly here!
Wow, what a somewhat half-decently cute kid I was. I had entirely forgotten!
In that first photo I am obviously dreaming of sugarplums. Or maybe a new BMX-bike, or something.
In this other one [below] I am casually sitting out in our back yard on Argyle Street.
As you can see, in neither instance did I seem to have any qualms about upper-nudity!
So long ago… so long ago…

Wishing you all a very very Merry Christmas!
**********

Splash du Jour: Thursday

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness.
-- Bob Hope –

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
*********

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart -- filled it, too, with melody that would last forever. 

-- Bess Streeter Aldrich (1881-1954) --

Have a great Wednesday!
-- CLICK
*******

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Effigy

“Your people got any wolf stories?”

-- Erastus Hammer
Effigy, by Alissa York.
Believe it or not, a real wolf and an imaginary crow figure prominently in the impressive array of essential characters in this novel. Not that it is lacking in plot, but clearly, it is more of a character-driven, imagistic work. Richly poetic, or as I have previously described it, lyrical.
I love this book, present-tense. I read its final page last night, but the story stays with me, a reverberating echo.
Erastus Hammer is a four-wived Mormon horse-rancher in 1860’s Utah. Because of his failing eyesight he is forced to pursue his greatest passion [the shooting of animals] by relying on his Native American guide, Tracker. Erastus claims the spoils, but Tracker fires the shots.
Erastus selected his fourth wife, Dorrie, specifically for her unique talents at taxidermy. She faithfully “resurrects” all of the carcasses deposited at her workshop, but seems to be having an unusually difficult time bringing a certain wolf pack to life.
There is so much I could say about the diversity of Hammer’s four wives. Of the way the title of the book relates to its content. Of the guilt and longing in the heart of Tracker. Of the winding way that “Bendy” Drown becomes a farmhand on the ranch, or how he becomes the agent whereby Dorrie herself is resurrected. Of the foreboding terror a vengeful wolf wreaks upon the household as he howls at night, stalking the perimeter of the homestead. Of the rich way the author reveals the horror of the [real-life] Mountain Meadow Massacre, which took place in 1857 when a wagon train from Arkansas en route to California was ambushed. Dorrie survived this horror, as she will survive the dreadfulness of being Erastus Hammer’s wife. Instead of providing synopsis, I would point you towards the book itself and encourage you to pick it up.

The beauty of Effigy involves the intricacy of the threadwork. Grimness delivered with grace. Through letters, flashbacks, dreams, insights into the hypocrisy of religious devotion gone awry, and ever-eloquent narration, Alissa York has provided me with one of my favorite reads of 2008.
Effigy is a wonderful patchwork-quilt of a novel. Eerie, ominous, riveting and intricate. Searing in the end, and delicious [albeit bittersweet] in revenge and reward.
The author has said, "I want people to really feel a lot. It's not my goal to just make people think. I want them to think, but I want them, more than anything, to feel."
Here in Effigy, she succeeds at both things.

*********

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Once again we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.
-- Dave Barry --

Have a great Tuesday!
*******

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Best Hunting Video EVER!

Relax!
Relax, animal lovers everywhere! I am an animal lover, too!
The only way I would ever shoot an animal is if it was going to shoot me first, and even then I would first try negotiating. This video is good, trust me!
I am thinking about hunting for several reasons.
Firstly, I am currently in frozen-frosty Saskatchewan, on my Christmas holidays. This is hunting country. It is so cold out today [minus 51 degrees Celsius, which is way colder than Fahrenheit, my Yankee friends] and I am thinking of all the animals that are left outside today.
Secondly, I am visiting my brother and he is, [among having other severe character flaws] guilty of being a prolific hunter. Shame on him! [However, I myself have been guilty of eating the odd venison-burger freshly sizzling from off his barbecue, mmm…. yummy. I hereby apologize to all deers currently freezing their keesters off this afternoon!]
Thirdly, I am still reading this wonderful book by Alissa York, called Effigy. And the pages of Effigy are filled with accounts of animals being killed simply for the sake of taxidermy.
So, without further ado, I present to you a really great video, in which NO MAJESTIC ANIMALS WERE HARMED.
And wherein one severely frustrated hunter was….. severely frustrated.
See, here’s the deal -- well, just watch the thing while I keep blabbing….

video

See, this hunter only has a tag for a buck. And this is a cow.
For those of you who are really hunter-lingo-challenged I am not referring to money matters or the producers of cereal milk. No. → This hunter is only allowed to brutally murder a male moose, and by golly here’s a girl moose calmly getting so close to his weapon of mass destruction that he could have reached out and tweaked her nose!
So, due to legal restrictions Mrs. Bullwinkle lives for another day! Hurray!
But, too bad she has to live outside! ‘Specially on a day like today!

*********

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Here We Are Now: A Saturday Poem


Here We Are Now


How can I sleep, leaving so much unread.
Notice, it’s not a question.
How can I leave here with so much unwritten.
Again, no one asking.

Why should I climb aboard a train I bought no
ticket for, clacking toward a stop I want not.
I like when my chest goes up, from the down.
No desire to leave it there, flat.

Porter, tell someone else this is their stop.
Or another, “Here we are now.”
I’m nowhere near done. In fact, I do not
remember agreeing to a single –

You know what? [first question] I can carry
that, if this is my damn stop. Already
the trees that flew past my window for days
are missed missed missed. I would climb them.

Would. Wood. What I desire. And trees.
I recall a lifetime of such speculation, but
God, these bags are filled with gravity.
And [second question] how far am I to drag them?

There were as many books before you were born.
Yes, but don’t tell me that, not now. And as much
unwritten – oh please, no more questions.
Notice, no one was asking one.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

“I will love you forever,” swears the poet.
I find this easy to swear. “I will love you at 4:15 p.m. next Tuesday”: Is that still as easy?

-- W.H. Auden, 1959 –

Have a great Friday!

*********

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Not all chemicals are bad.
Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.

-- Dave Barry --


Have a great Thursday!
********

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

One day one of my little nephews came up to me and asked me if the equator was a real line that went around the Earth, or just an imaginary one.
I had to laugh. Laugh and laugh. Because I didn't know, and I thought that maybe by laughing he would forget what he asked me.

-- Jack Handey --

Have a great Wednesday!

**********

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday












Pullman

His dark materials, indeed.
Here is a man that set something ablaze in me.
I read the first one with a graduated belief, and
by volume two, was longing for my own daemon.
My cat yawned as I took a knife from the drawer
and began fencing with reality.

Around a year ago, my pillow was Iorek’s neck.
I never did cut holes in what is, but dust to Dust,
a year ago I entered a world.
Last year a world entered me.

-- Cipriano --

Have a great Tuesday!
********

Monday, December 15, 2008

Discovery...

Alissa York.
It’s probably one of the most self-centered of things we say, “I’ve discovered a great new author.”
A) The author is probably not as “new” as you think he or she is.
B) They had a perfectly valid existence prior to your “discovering” them.

But it’s understandable though. When we stumble across the work of an author we have not read before, we feel as though we have “discovered” them. As though, prior to this momentous occasion, they were some sort of being-less entity.
So we pick up their book at the store, and something stirs us, to take it home.
It’s probably closer to the truth to say that they have discovered us. Or rather, their work has found us.
I am only a hundred pages in, but Effigy is proving to be one of those rare finds, one of those books that “discover” you. An exquisite, lyrical, layered treasure.
You wish the rest of the world would just shut the hell down and let you read……

Synopsis:


Dorrie, a pale girl with a mass of black hair, cannot recall anything of her life before she recovered from an illness at the age of seven. A solitary child, she dedicates herself to learning the art of taxidermy, fascinated by the act of bringing new and eternal life to the bodies of the dead. At fourteen, her parents marry her off to Erastus Hammer, a polygamous horse rancher and renowned hunter, whose desire to see his kills preserved is made urgent by the fact that he is slowly going blind. Dorrie secludes herself in her workshop, away from the rivalries among the elder wives.
As the novel opens, Hammer has brought Dorrie his latest kills, a family of wolves, and for the first time in her short life she struggles with her craft, dreaming each night of crows and strange scenes of violence. The new ranch hand, Bendy Drown, is the only one to see her dilemma and offer her help, a dangerous game in a Mormon household. Outside, a lone wolf prowls the grounds looking for his lost pack, and his nocturnal searching will unearth the tensions and secrets of this complicated and conflicted family.

[The above synopsis lifted from the author’s homepage.]
Visit Alissa York HERE.

**********

Splash du Jour: Monday

I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex.
-- Jack Handey –


Have a great Monday!
*********

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Squirrel: A Saturday Poem









Squirrel

Oh, so humiliating, to be reduced
To such – such irreducibility.
To have this one, accentuating feature
so – so – accentuated.

I try to hide it, yet can’t.
It’s there. It’s there, I must admit.
Confounded bushiness,
how I despise thee.

I’d prefer “puff-cheeked,”
“buck-toothed,” or “talon-footed.”
But no. The accursed appendage
shall surely chase me graveward.

Would it help you, dear rodent?
I promise you, I swear.
I shall never once, when referring to you
use the term, “bushy-tailed.”

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

Two bored male casino dealers are waiting at the craps table. A very attractive woman arrives and bets $20,000 on a single roll of the dice.
She says, “I hope you don’t mind, but I feel much luckier when I’m completely nude.”
With that, she strips down, rolls the dice, and yells, “Come on, baby, Mama needs new clothes!”
As the dice come to a stop she jumps up and down and squeals, “YES! YES! I WON, I WON!” She hugs each of the dealers, picks up her winnings and her clothes, and quickly departs.
The dealers stare at each other dumbfounded.

Finally, one of them asks, “What did she roll?”
The other answers, “I don’t know – I thought you were watching.”

Have a great Friday!
********

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I've Been Had!

My cat is becoming an expensive part of my family.
A bit too expensive.
Some of you may recall… well no, none of you will remember, but anyway, two years ago [nearly exactly] my cat Jack was real sick.
It was agonizing, he was really ill.
So I had to take him to the vet just before my own holidays began.
It was a troubling time because I had to leave him here in my apartment [sick] in the hands of a professional cat-sitter medicine administrator.
The process cost me a small fortune.

At that time, the vet recommended some expensive-as-hell cat food to help him with his umm… urinary issues! So I obeyed her. I bought my first batch of Waltham's Urinary Cat Caviar!
I feed him some other real-expensive elite cat food also. Made with holistic ingredients and all that jazz. Organically-grown brown rice, none of this Uncle Ben's stuff, like I eat! He has two foods to choose from every day.
Basically, my cat lives at an all-inclusive frigging RESORT!

Anyhoo, a bag of this Waltham's stuff WAS $27.00 a bag, and I have always thought that was a bit excessive. But for two years I have bought this stuff, now renamed Royal Canin / Medi-Cal Urinary SO-33 formula, shown above.
It can only be bought AT A VETERINARY CLINIC!
Nice scam!
Well, just this morning I went and purchased a new bag of the stuff.
Good Lord!
It is now [choke] $44.00.
I nearly hacked up a hairball.


But it was too late, the cat-nurse highway-robber already had my VISA card swiped. I argued with her a bit, but in the end I just had to come to the conclusion that this is the LAST bag of this stuff that Jack is going to get.
I’m sorry Jack, but Daddy has to eat, too. So, from now on I think you are going to just eat hamburgers, like he does!
Holistic hamburgers…. made with whole…. ham-things!
I mean jeez, I’ve been eating nothing but cows for decades now, and I don’t have any urinary problems at all!
What makes me even more steamed is that I have now read several reviews online about how this caviar-priced catmeal is nothing special ANYWAY!
Check it out… Jack, come over here and read this. And this.

For a photo-synopsis of some of my cat’s other problems click on his nose.
*********

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Have a great Thursday!
********

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

As seen on a Starbucks cup…
People need to see that, far from being an obstacle, the world’s diversity of languages, religions and traditions is a great treasure, affording us precious opportunities to recognize ourselves in others.
-- Youssous N’Dour, musician --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Addicted To Gilmour

I am addicted to listening to David Gilmour.
Seriously.
For the last few months… perhaps longer, half a year or so, I have been almost exclusively listening to the various solo music of David Gilmour.
Primarily re-playing on eternal repeat-mode his newest [2006] album entitled On An Island.
Every single track is so wonderful, so richly melodic. So poetic.
Unforgettable. And unbetterable.

As you all are well aware, I am a real fan of Pink Floyd.
Roger Waters, David Gilmour….. these guys are music GODS in my opinion.
Not to belabor the point here, but Gilmour is the legendary guitarist for the ‘60’s ‘70’s 80’s 90’s group Pink Floyd, in case you have been stationed on some other planet during any of these decades. Really, it is music that simply cannot be ignored by any rational-thinking human being.
The two principal writers of the group [Waters and Gilmour] have gone on to create simply amazing solo projects.
On An Island is pure musical poetry.
All day long, while I am at work, the songs [all lyrics for this project written by Gilmour’s wife Polly Samson] reverberate through my mind… endless, endless, endless.
What is so startling to me is that repetition is something that I abhor when it comes to music. It is the major reason I cannot bear having the radio on at work.
But these songs!
If there is a heaven, I want the DJ to have Gilmour (and Waters) on repeat-mode. [By the way, speaking of the afterlife and all -- I have heard that in hell it is nothing but Michael Buble and Amy Winehouse forever and ever…]

My homage to Roger Waters.
GO HERE if you know what’s good for ya!

*********

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

God appears to Adam and Eve in the Garden and announces that he has two gifts, one for each of them, and he would like them to decide who gets which gift. He says, “The first gift is the ability to pee standing up.” Impulsively, Adam yells out, “Pee standing up? That is so cool! I want that one!” “Okay,” says God, “that one’s your Adam. Eve, you get the other one – multiple orgasms.”

Have a great Tuesday!

**********

Monday, December 08, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

My grandmother, already afoot before my grandfather, set in front of me a big bowl of coffee with pieces of bread in and asked me if I had slept well. If I told her some bad dream, born of my grandfather's stories, she always reassured me: "Don't make much of it, in dreams there's nothing solid".
At the time I thought, though my grandmother was also a very wise woman, she couldn't rise to the heights grandfather could, a man who, lying under a fig tree, having at his side José his grandson, could set the universe in motion just with a couple of words. It was only many years after, when my grandfather had departed from this world and I was a grown man, I finally came to realise that my grandmother, after all, also believed in dreams. There could have been no other reason why, sitting one evening at the door of her cottage where she now lived alone, staring at the biggest and smallest stars overhead, she said these words: "The world is so beautiful and it is such a pity that I have to die".
She didn't say she was afraid of dying, but that it was a pity to die, as if her hard life of unrelenting work was, in that almost final moment, receiving the grace of a supreme and last farewell, the consolation of beauty revealed. She was sitting at the door of a house like none other I can imagine in all the world, because in it lived people who could sleep with piglets as if they were their own children, people who were sorry to leave life just because the world was beautiful; and this Jerónimo, my grandfather, swineherd and story-teller, feeling death about to arrive and take him, went and said goodbye to the trees in the yard, one by one, embracing them and crying because he knew he wouldn't see them again.

-- Jose Saramago, Nobel Lecture –

Have a great Monday!

*********

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Diviners: My Thoughts

No, no, friends.
I don’t mean this Diviners.
No, no. The old one. Turn back the page. 1974.
CanLit 101. The other Margaret.
Margaret Laurence’s, The Diviners.
I loved it.
The Diviners was Laurence’s final [adult] novel, the culmination of her Manawaka pentalogy. [← Should be a word, but isn’t.] I have read three of the others, so I am no stranger to her fiction, but I must say, The Diviners is the best one thus far.
Excuse me? Yes, you with the waving hand in the air?
"Why?"
Ahh, good question. Why is this a good novel.
Because it is deep, unsimple, ahead-of-its-time.
Rich in symbolism. Poetic, gutsy. Brave, real, unsentimental.
Of all of these adjectives I will single out “real”, and elaborate for three minutes or so.

Morag Dunn, born in 1920’s Manitoba has not ever had an easy go of it. Her parents die and she is shipped off to be raised by an eccentric duo worthy of being characters in anything by Flannery O’Connor.
Grotesques.
But I am focusing on “real” here. Not grotesgue. [And I’ve only got three minutes…] Well, it is obvious that Laurence models Morag after her own life, being raised in a small Manitoba town, working on a local newspaper, marrying a professional man, separating, becoming a novelist, and then living for stretches in Vancouver and Britain.
In all of this, [Morag has a daughter out of wedlock] is the search for love, for significance and for permanence. Stability. And above all, a sense of home or belonging.
Does Morag find this?
I believe she does. But only by coming full circle. By realizing that our roots go deep, and that the familiar is not to be despised, but sometimes, embraced. By looking up [as she so often does in the novel] and hearing the silence behind the honk of the Canada geese flying south for the winter.
Different geese, perhaps. But same instinctual journey. Life being different participants along a very similar flightpath.

The hand waved in the air is that of my lovely niece Sarah, asking “Why?”
A couple years ago The Diviners was a required text in her university course in English Literature, and I recall her chagrin at being forced to read it.
“It’s so booooooooring!” she lamented, as I leafed through her Library copy.
At the time, I had not yet read the book myself, so I did not know what to say.
I hope she asks me again when I go back home for Christmas, ten days from now.

**********

Saturday, December 06, 2008

She Listened: A Saturday Poem


She Listened


She listened, while I said things.
None of them [my things] made sense.
Even to me, truth be known [but it wasn’t].
It [my words] made sense, not.

But she was listening, so on I went.
Out the window, beside her left eyebrow
some geese migrated south. I saw them
but she didn’t, because she listened.

A jet landed. I saw the wheels come out,
and the leaves in that tree turned orange
.
[Still she listened] and on, like bees
I droned, making honey.

Flipping a page from October to November
she fixed her gaze on my babble. I missed
not a beat, but many points were lost
and the rain barrel filled with cold water.

White flecks of ice frosted the pane,
and with one breath the chill was gone.
It was not my breath, but hers. In back of it
was the word, “What?”

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

Old age is something that interests me more and more – the myriad ways people meet it, some pretending it doesn’t exist, some terrified by every physical deterioration because that final appointment is something they cannot face, some trying to balance the demands and routine of this life with an increasing need to gather together the threads of the spirit so that when the thing comes they will be ready – whether it turns out to be death or only another birth. I think birth is the greatest experience of life, right until the end, and then death is the greatest experience. There are times when I think that the revelation of death will be something so vast we are incapable of imagining it.
-- Margaret Laurence (1926 - 1987) --

Have a great Friday!

**********

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Pat: Mike, I’m calling you from the freeway on my new cell phone.
Mike: Be careful, Pat. They just said on the radio that there’s a nut driving the wrong way on the freeway.
Pat: One nut? Hell, there are hundreds of them!

Have a great Thursday!
[Yayyy! Today is my birthday! I’m 24!]

********

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

“… we know that it is the search that gives meaning to any find and that one often has to travel a long way in order to arrive at what it near.”
-- Jose Saramago, in All The Names, p.53 –

Have a great Tuesday!

********

Monday, December 01, 2008

Pondering...

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.
Jonathan Swift, Irish novelist & satirist (1667 - 1745) --

I think that the above quotation is extremely profound.
I would love to know more about the context in which it was first spoken or written, by Swift.
At first glance it appears to be one of those maxims that is undoubtedly true. You know? You read it or hear it, and think “Hmmmm” or “Wow” and nod your head.
I myself do believe it to be true, for the most part. More true than not true.
But a trifle overstated.
I speak from personal experience.

It is the word “useless” that I would argue is a possible exaggeration, on Swift’s part.
There are very few things that are useless, really.
But in this scenario of “reasoning” someone from a former state of – for lack of a better word, unreasonableness -- not only is it not useless to attempt to do so, but it is entirely possible to be successful.
I know because it happened to me.

I am assuming that Swift is perhaps referring to someone who may be designating certain areas of their belief system [their “weltanshung” or worldview] to be answerable to “faith” rather than reason. Or even “belief” over “evidence.”
I once did this.
By that I mean I lived out a worldview not only based in faith, but also capped off with it. At the top and bottom of the pyramid of my worldview, faith sealed whatever was reasonable, in a state of insulation.
Yes, seemingly impenetrable.

In many ways, the entire premise of faith-based belief relies upon this impenetrable idea, right up front. In other words, there is no such a thing as adherence to “faith” without a commensurate rejection of reason. It’s an integral part of the deal.
And yet, for me, reason found a way in, or rather, it’s way out.
So, at an essential level, I must disagree with Swift.
It is not "useless" to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.
It is only difficult to do so.

Therefore, two questions I ponder tonight.
1) What is it that caused me to initially re-assess my faith-based convictions?
2) What would it take, for me to revert back to them?

When I come up with any transferable and hopefully coherent answers to these questions, I am going to write a book on the subject, entitled Gullible’s Travels.

***********

Splash du Jour: Monday

Painter: How am I selling?
Gallery Owner: Well, there’s good news and bad news. A man came in and asked me if you were a painter whose work would become more valuable after your death. When I told him I thought you were, he bought everything you had in the gallery.
Painter: Wow! That’s terrific! What’s the bad news?

Gallery Owner: He was your doctor.


Have a great Monday!
*********

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nomenclature: A Saturday Poem


Nomenclature


We label a thing and think that’s what it is.
Meteor, nitrogen, corpuscles, larynx, God,
follicle. The goal seems to be simplifying,
acknowledging, and quite often, I fear,
dismissing.

An agreement of sorts is what we desire,
or common currency. Therein lies progress.
Admittedly, this is so. But what we name
did quite fine before us, and will do well
when we are no more.

The Earth is not the earth.
Blood is not blood.
Fire is not fire.

We each had a pulse long before
we knew of aorta, artery, or atrium.
May no words choke us, even as the letters
your mother, your father, decided upon --
continue to not be you.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

A man goes into the confession booth and tells the priest, “Father, I’m seventy-five years old and last night I made love to two twenty-year-old girls -- at the same time.”
The priest says, “When did you last go to confession?”
The man says, “I’ve never been to confession, Father. I’m Jewish.”

The priest says, “Then why are you telling me?”

The man says, “I’m telling everybody!”


Have a great Friday!
*********

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Nuisance Grounds

← I just finished reading a wonderful text-book size book, dealing with the issue of the intellectual sustainability of Christianity.
I’m referring to John W. Loftus’s [2008 release]:
Why I Became An Atheist.
If you have not read my former blog about this book, I encourage you, dear reader, to check it out.
And read the stimulating discussion that follows in the comments section. Even the author of the book joins in!
It’s really a superb book. I shall write a review of it, soon.
Did I become an atheist?
No.
I think I am what can be called a TEA©.
Thoroughly Entrenched Agnostic.

OK, so I am in the beginning stages of a return to some fiction.
Reading Margaret Laurence’s [1974] The Diviners.
Classic Canadiana fiction!
The Diviners is the culmination and completion of Margaret Laurence’s celebrated Manawaka cycle.
This is the fifth of the pentalogy.
I am cheating a bit… I read three of the others, and skipped one.
Anyhoo, into the first 100 pages of it I am loving the thing.
Reminds me so much of my own small-town Saskatchewan prairie childhood. The main character, Morag Gunn, at least in her younger years, reminds me of the female equivalent of Salinger's Holden Caulfield.
Here in The Diviners, Morag Dunn is growing up just one province east of me, in Manitoba, [for those of you that would do poorly on Jeopardy!]
Part Two of the book is titled The Nuisance Grounds and well, as I read certain portions of it [where Morag actually climbs around a bit in the “nuisance grounds” more commonly known as “garbage dump” where her foster-father is the proprietor] I was reminded of a vague and distant memory.
We too, once had to TAKE our garbage to the “nuisance grounds”. And for some reason, I recall this one time when my sister and I were at this “dump” with some relatives, who were shoveling junk off the back of their half-ton truck.
We discovered a strange thing.
A veritable treasure trove of ICE-CREAM.
Yes, thrown out there…. in the big buckets it is sold in.
And even though it was blazing hot out, this ice-cream was all frozen.
So we started eating it.

Thing is, I am doubting my memory faculties here.
It does not seem reasonable that there could be frozen and perfectly good ice-cream thrown out at a garbage dump.
So I am going to have to phone my sister, out on Vancouver Island, and ask her -- I need verification.
I’ll be back in a bit, in the comments section, to corroborate or nullify all of the above.
-- Cip

********

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Have a great Thursday!
********

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

A man asks a fortuneteller what Heaven is like. The fortuneteller gazes into her crystal ball, and says, “Hmm, I see some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there are several golf courses in heaven and they are all incredibly beautiful.”
“Wow! Terrific! What’s the bad news?”
“You have an 8:30 tee time tomorrow morning.”



Have a great Wednesday!

*********

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"I Trust You"

A really neat thing happened today.
It restored my faith in -- shawarma guys!
I was at work, and it was 4 o’clock, my afternoon breaktime.
And I was hungry. [That part is not really unusual.]
I was craving meat!
I thought I might just jaunt on down to this new place that opened up just a few blocks away.
It’s called “Shawarma Al Baba”. A Lebanese fast-food place, complete with Drive-Thru window and the works!
If you don’t know what “shawarma” is, oh dear friend, you are missing out. It is just incredible, I seriously love Lebanese food.
After a good shawarma sandwich your breath smells like the south end of a northbound rhinoceros but hey, it’s worth it! The food is awesome.
So, I set the alarm in my building, jumped in my car and booted it over to Al Baba!
Ordered a sandwich at the window and drove forward.
The guy opens the chute and hands me the paper bag of food, and SEVEN BEARDS OF ZEUS…. I realize I have no money. Left my wallet at work!
But I’ve got the sandwich, it’s right there in the passenger seat.
I was so embarrassed. I blurt out to the guy, “Mr Baba, I’m sorry. I have no money. I have to go back to work and get money. In the meantime…. here, you keep this and I’ll come back and pay,“ and I was handing the beloved package back to him.
But he wouldn’t take it!
“No, no. You go. Take it, take it. You will come back one day and pay me. I trust you.
I said, “You can’t be serious,” the paper bag suspended in the air between us.
“Very serious my friend. Take it, take it. I trust you.

So I took it. And oh, my God it was good!
And here’s the kicker I have absolutely no intention of ever going back there and paying the guy!

No, I’m just kidding.
I swear by all the hot peppers in my shawarma that I went back right after work, a few hours later, and paid Mr. Baba.
Do you believe me?
To believe me, you must trust me!

P.S.
In the future, maybe I’ll
make my own.
*********

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Customer in a restaurant: How do you prepare your chickens?
Cook: Oh, nothing special really. We just tell them they’re gonna die.

Check out this terrific poultry-themed poem!


Have a great Tuesday!
********

Monday, November 24, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

A Jewish grandmother is watching her grandchild playing on the beach when a huge wave comes and takes him out to sea. She pleads, “Please God, save my only grandson. I beg of you, bring him back.”
And a big wave comes and washes the boy back onto the beach, good as new.
She looks up to heaven and says: “He had a hat.”

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

To Meow or Not to Meow...

I love Shakespeare.
I also love cats.
And my favorite Shakespeare play is Hamlet.
So, eschewing much ado about nothing, allow me to show you a brief clip so adorable I could hack up a hairball!



Who knew kitties could be so erudite?

Mine just relentlessly meows!
***********

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Toilet Paper: A Saturday Poem









Toilet Paper

This morning, elbows on knees
I gazed at a roll of it,
Wondering what the ancients did.
Long ago. Way before toilets even.
And which came first, the toilet
Or the paper?

All we really know is that
Everywhere, ubiquitously,
There is some or so we hope.
But it is even beyond hope.
We know it is there, it has to be.
Because we know that the need is.
Our own rumblings
The evidence of things unseen.

Look at where it is perforated.
Who ever takes just one square?
Has even one human, done so?
Yet mathematically, design-wise
Let none tamper with perfection,
Nor alter the exquisite roll.
It should be on someone’s flag.

Today I looked upon civilization’s
One big unanimous agreement.
When it comes to this stuff, we
Are all fundamentalists.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday








Two women are sitting on a bench.
After a while the first woman says, “Oy!”

The second woman replies, “Oy!”

The first woman says, “All right, enough about the children.”

Have a great Friday!
********

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Love Your Blog

Wow! I was so surprised when I saw my blog listed on Stefanie’s page, as one of her favorites. What an honor. She is a reader/writer/thinker and all around cat-person that I greatly admire.
So here is the way this works.
I am now going to list my seven favorite blogs that I most frequently… frequent, and if you see yourself listed here, blog-etiquette requires that you do the same as I am doing. Post the “I Love Your Blog” image and place a link to Bookpuddle in your introduction, and then list your own favorite seven blogs.
Failure to comply will mean immediate expulsion from Blogdom and a fine of $700, payable to Bookpuddle Inc.©
I am going to start with my #1 favorite blog, Stefanie’s own So Many Books.
She is a librarian, and a voracious, insightful reader who consistently writes stuff majorly worth reading, especially if you are into Emerson. Occasionally she posts images of the second and third cutest cats in the world, [Waldo and Dickens]… my own [Jack] glaring at me right now in a wee bit of an impassioned reminder of who is #1 in the Handsome Feline Department.

#2. Booklust. Patricia is a hoot. You’ve got to go to her blog and see what she’s drawing lately. When she is not hopelessly cheering for the Maple Leafs, she manages to conjure some of Toronto’s best cartoonitry. Is that the politically correct word, Patricia? Illustrator? Artiste? Nutbar?
We once had coffee at the Eaton Center, she and I.

#3. Magnificent Octopus. One thing I really like about Montrealer Isabella is she is forever reading books that no one else really reads. This shows moxy! And she always makes me feel I should also be reading them. Occasional forays into the delights of shopping, and just life in general. Always good. Her blog title originated from her desire to buy four pairs of shoes with the left half of her body while handing over four credit cards with the right side!

#4. Moleskin Notebook. Oh, San Fransisco! There is no country of the world Matt has not been to, and blogged about. The guy is an intrepid traveler, observer, and precise reader. His book reviews are fabulous. A blogpage with serious substance!

#5. Arukiyomi. Good, well-thought-out, brutally honest book reviews. Aesthetically gorgeous. When my own blog grows up, I want it to look like this!

#6. Book Chase. If you know Sam, you just have to like Sam. Viciously unassuming. Yet the guy reads like Harold Bloom! And he’s a Texan! You know? Texas? Where they FRY people at the drop of a Stetson? Sam Houston, you are a conundrum!

#7. Vienna For Beginners. I love to visit Merisi’s site, but a warning, what we call a “proviso” – you will gain weight! Merisi posts absolutely decadent photos of Vienna-life. She will convince you quickly that she is living in the most beautiful city on the planet.

Honorable mentions go to Dorothy's blog, Of Books and Bicycles, and [I must say it] I wish that Beth [yet another dreaded Maple-Leafer...] would revive her blog, entitled Books, Etc. But all things, in their time --

So says my therapist....
**********

Splash du Jour: Thursday










Moses, Jesus and a bearded old man are playing golf. Moses drives a long one, which lands on the fairway but rolls directly toward the pond. Moses raises his club, parts the water, and the ball rolls safely to the other side.
Jesus also hits a long one toward the same pond, but just as it’s about to land in the center, it hovers above the surface. Jesus casually walks out on the pond and chips it onto the green.
The bearded man’s drive hits a fence and bounces out onto the street, where it rebounds off an oncoming truck and back onto the fairway. It’s headed directly for the pond, but it lands on a lily pad, where a frog sees it and snatches it into his mouth. An eagle swoops down, grabs the frog, and flies away. As the eagle and frog pass over the green, the frog drops the ball, and it lands in the cup for a hole-in-one.
Moses turns to Jesus and says, “I hate playing with your dad.”


Have a great Thursday!
*********

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

See, one reason I prefer agnosticism over atheism is that it leaves you with the possibility of still retaining at least one good [possibly existent] expletive when having an orgasm!
-- Cipriano --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obedience in Heaven?

Cipriano, coming to you live from my favorite Starbucks.
Just taking a break from my reading of an excellent book entitled:
Why I Became An Atheist.
Written by John W. Loftus.
The subtitle is A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity.
As some of you may know, I also am a former preacher. I was in the Christian ministry for several years, and over the past decade or so have come to a place of gradually rejecting the claims of Christianity.
For those interested, a brief history of this process can be seen HERE. And HERE. And STUFF.
I am not what one would call an atheist, per se, but moreso an agnostic. But I am nowhere near being finished this journey. My perspectives are ever-changing.


Something on page 252 of Loftus’s book really made me do some Bookpuddle-style pondering -- to me it is humorous but I hope I do not offend anyone who may… take offense.
On page 252, Loftus is citing some of the ideas of a theist [a believer] named David Wood. The gist is that Wood argues that in heaven the saints will be in the unmediated presence of God and in this realm there will be no moral choices, even if free will is present.
Loftus explains, “They [the saints] wouldn’t desire to rebel against God, and even if they did, they would know doing so would be futile.”
I paused. [So did Loftus, I am sure of it…]
Because I began to imagine the idea of “obedience” in heaven.
You know? OBEYING God, in heaven.
It is one thing to consider obedience while on Earth and still alive in our mortal bodies [not sinning, remembering to worship and stuff, etc.] but, in heaven, I cannot fathom what saintly obedience would consist of!
As Loftus later points out [same page] “What is the value of this to God? Why does he want anything?”
Good questions!
Think about it, it is really intriguing.
I know there is that classic answer out there… “He desires that we worship him!”
And I have heard Christians going on and on about how they will worship God endlessly in heaven. I myself have said it, and believed it, in the past.
And I think that we sort of equate this “worship” with the “obedience” thing.
To worship God is to somehow remain obedient to God.
But how would we do this, the worship part, I mean?
By endlessly singing to God? Or telling him stuff?
Have any of us ever watched American Idol?
ALL OF THESE PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN SING! And let’s face it, most of them are absolutely horrid.
Is it possible that the Creator of Heaven and Earth wants to listen to this kind of caterwauling forever? If you really think of this scenario for five or six seconds, you see the absurdity of it.
What then does the “obedience” entail?
As Loftus points out, obedience implies “want” and hence [ipso facto] “need.”
How can I have anything that God can possibly “need?” And so much so that God “needs” it ETERNALLY!
Heavenly obedience. What does it MEAN?

Maybe there are signs posted here and there? –
DON’T FLICK ASHES ON THE CARPET!

Perhaps the soothing harp-music is interrupted one morning with –
“OK, listen up guys! Winter’s almost here! I want to see twelve cords of wood stacked up against yonder angel-barracks by sundown! Is that clear?"
And everyone [no grumbling allowed] simply picks up the nearest axe and commences chopping?
Is this the way it is?

“Hey, you! Yes, cowering behind that shrub. Run down to Gabriel’s Pharmacy and pick me up a jumbo-bottle of Jehovah-Strength Tylenol©. And make it snappy! What with creating a hitherto unknown galaxy all afternoon I’ve given myself one holy-Moses of a headache!”

“Y-y-y-es, Your M-m-majesty! You w-w-will g-get no argument from thy servant!”
And off, over the golden cobblestones, the obedient fellow runs…

Some things just takes a little thinkin’ is all!

Check out the author's webpage and get his book.
I highly recommend it to all who want to think about things worth thinking about.

***********