Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
-- Mark Twain –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Reserve

Russell Banks never does take the reader quite to the moment of the explosion of the Hindenburg.
But that image - haunting, ominous, and looming – weaves through the pages of The Reserve to suggest what is one of its overarching themes… loss of innocence - as it applies to the novel’s individual characters as well as within the historical context of the story.
In a pre-World War II setting, with America in the grip of the Great Depression, the geographical and historical context of The Reserve adds considerable depth and richness to a book that has many of the hallmark traits of the pot-boiling page-turner. So movie-ready I could smell the popcorn!

Action plays out against the backdrop of pristine upstate New York at a storybook retreat called The Reserve, a secluded, ritzy resort, inhabited by The Beautiful People - people of privilege.
It is as though they are living in suspension, occupying a mist-filled dream life before the nightmare begins. Banks’ lush depiction of a sequestered, complacent lifestyle of entitlement forms a sharp and telling contrast with the understated but inevitable horrors of the war to come.
Stepping from this lovely setting comes the book’s equally lovely heroine, the glamorous, mysterious, and perhaps seriously unstable heiress, Vanessa Cole, who stays at the Reserve with her parents, wreaking havoc on those
hapless souls who come under her spell. [I admit, I also found myself wicked in love with her until she turned into a bit of a whackbar!]

Working within classic mystery genre tradition, Banks skillfully manipulates multiple narrative stances, keeping us guessing about the reliability of each of the narrators’ visions, especially that of Vanessa, who vacillates from scheming siren to vulnerable waif with alarming speed.
Ultimately unable to resist her charms – or to discern the degree of validity in the stories she spins - is Jordan Groves, the swashbuckling, notoriously independent artist and pilot that Banks has [my theory] modeled on real life artist Rockwell Kent.


Into this mix, pour a working class character trying to recover from the sudden death of his young wife, a possible case of sexual abuse, an ever intensifying double love affair, and a murder cover-up. Then set them smack down into the romantic twilight haze of America’s upper crust in the mid-thirties. You have the building blocks of a story that feels destined for Hollywood.
[Whether that is a compliment or not will depend on the reader’s perspective.]

All the big themes are here. Fidelity to one’s spouse and country, mental and emotional instability, the effects of social constraints on the individual, and difficulties of self-awareness, the absolute unending beauty of an impartial natural landscape, bearing mute witness to the flaws of humans.

If it all sounds too plot-packed and grandiose for a simple summer read that has a hint of dime store romance hanging about it…well, maybe it is.

But Banks has also laced this barn-burner of a novel with enough artistry to satisfy – or at least to appease – the reader who is looking for more than a conventional escapist plot with slapdash action.
One of the novel’s most interesting artifices is in Bank’s use of inter-chapters, fast-forwards which he alternates with the time-bound linear plot.
The inter-chapters provide tantalizing, if hazy, glimpses into events that will happen after the main timeline of the book has ended.
As The Reserve’s crystal ball, their futuristic setting makes these inter-chapters initially puzzling. For the impatient reader, perhaps even maddeningly so. Readers simply have to trust Banks to eventually bring us into their sharper focus. At first I was confused by them, clueless as to what was happening or even who the characters were. But ultimately, they turned out to be a kind of afterword, resolving many things in the book that would have otherwise been left unanswered.

There is plenty in The Reserve to please all types of readers. Difficult to categorize, it may be read as a love story, murder mystery, historical sketch, or an artfully rendered literary novel.
Maybe all of the above.

I rate The Reserve a solid and splashy 3.5 Puddles© out of a possible 5!
To read an excerpt, click HERE.
“Reserve” your own copy HERE.

************

Splash du Jour: Monday

Because our worldview so often reinforces our own particular preferences and privileges, when someone tries to change it, by whatever means, we find ourselves locked in what seems to be a life and death struggle. In truth, that is exactly what it is. Because our worldview is plastic, not elastic, it can stretch, but it cannot return to its former shape. So when someone or something has such an effect upon us that it changes our worldview, our consciousness is raised to a level from which it cannot return; as American author Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “Every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.” We can’t go back. Who we were and how we saw the world dies in the process. We are forced to find a new homeostasis – a new consciousness, a new us.
-- Gretta Vosper, in With or Without God --

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Devastation: A Saturday Poem


Devastation


The hardening is deliberate and cruel,
as is all that will come thereafter.
The only consolation being that so many,
so very many others, share the same fate.

The heat, the sweat, the pain.
Left and right, succumbing to the pressure,
those known to you perish.
Blown apart, ripped open, left white
in shock. Naked guts torn inside out.
A mushroom cloud of exposed flesh,
shards of skeleton clinging to the core.

Throw these now (still exhaling steam)
to the gaping maw, to be mashed to pulp
and lowered into hot acid.
Ground in the mingled bile and bones
of comrades, and finally
rammed the length of a cold hard pipe
into a rotting cesspool…

where there is nothing,
nothing more devastated
than popcorn.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Is Your Religion?

Today I read this following passage, in George Eliot’s Middlemarch.
It is between Dorothea and Will.
Dorothea is married to this dust-farting old guy that is about as exciting as a bag of dryer-lint.
Will is a swarthy, curly-haired, hot-looking single guy…. artistic-minded.
You do the math!
They are both powerfully attracted to each other, but Will is more aware of it at this point, than is the ever-ethical Dorothea.
They are sitting in the library of the house…

“What is your religion?” said Dorothea. “I mean – not what you know about religion, but the belief that helps you most?”
“To love what is good and beautiful when I see it,” said Will. “But I am a rebel: I don’t feel bound, as you do, to submit to what I don’t like.”
“But if you like what is good, that comes to the same thing,” said Dorothea, smiling.

It’s from chapter 39.
I felt that this passage of dialogue was not only wonderfully written, but had some profound insight and depth to it.
Wouldn’t it be great, if rather than wondering what “religion” people adhered to, we could focus our attention [not only outwardly, but inwardly] upon “the belief that helps us most?”

Religion is most often defined as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods. But there are so many variants in such a description of the word, that I really wonder…. is it not almost meaningless, connotation-wise?
Among other things, who is this "super-human" being?
I think that Dorothea is uttering a profound thing here, to Will.

Because really… if there is something, or perhaps an entire system of things, that “helps you” or “moves you” or “motivates you” toward a better understanding of who you yourself know yourself to be… isn’t this thing, whatever it may be, more important when it comes to the distilled version of who you ARE than would be the adherence to a pre-scripted set of religious criteria?

There are only two other sort of options available, aside from saying “Yes” to the above question.

One is to live in a sort of denial of the fundamental reaches of your inner being.
The other is to subject these realms of yourself so dramatically to a concept of what is religiously “correct” [← and how subjective is this option] that you come to identify the “ideal” concept of yourself as being that which is unattainably perfect. [Some might substitute the word “enlightened” for "perfect."]
Regardless…. I would call both options not only futile, but sad.

In other words, I am suggesting that Dorothea asks the best question we can ask.
And Will answers it in the best way possible.

************

Splash du Jour: Thursday

A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.
-- Ernest Hemingway –

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Father, forgive me for what I am about to post....


Have a great Wednesday!
Amen!
***********

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Went to WALL-E

On the weekend I went to WALL-E.
Here is a robot that needs no introduction.
Probably most of the people reading this have also been to see WALL-E at some point in the past few weeks. It’s still doing quite well in the theaters, especially since, once you try to find a seat for yourself you notice that entire rows are marked off for birthday parties.
Then when the movie starts, you seriously realize... THESE KIDS DO NOT KNOW HOW TO BE QUIET.
WALL-E stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth-class.
The movie takes place seven centuries after earth has been so devastated by garbage that all life has ceased to exist. WALL-E, [being solar-powered] has sort of continued on, in an auto-pilot mode… daily compacting garbage into little square cubes, and assembling them in what ends up being monolithic skyscrapers of junk.
He also collects certain items that seem of especial interest, and later categorizes them in revolving trays in his own storage container he shares with his friend, an unnamed cockroach.

The huge garbage problem has been caused by a company called Buy N Large, a sort of Wal-Mart gone crazy! Apparently, Buy N Large had the foresight to create a giant spaceship called Axiom, shuttling all of mankind off to outer space until earth becomes habitable again, if ever.
Wall-E one day finds a living plant, and keeps it in an old boot.
Then he falls in love with an egg-shaped space-probe called Eva. She has been sent to earth from the Axiom ship to see if life has re-appeared. When the enamored WALL-E presents her with the boot-plant, she instantly goes into this hibernation mode after sealing the plant inside her chest. Soon the spaceship returns for Eva, and WALL-E stows away on board, to be with her.

The Captain of the Axiom discovers the boot-plant in Eva’s chest cavity and makes the executive decision to return to earth. However, the MACHINERY on board the Axiom is not on the same page, per se, and there is a full-scale mutiny.
Some reviewers are saying that WALL-E is an “instant classic that will stand the test of time and sear itself into the collective memory of a generation” [Katherine Monk, in the Post]. Andrew Stanton of Rolling Stone said, "You leave WALL-E with a feeling of the rarest kind: that you’ve just enjoyed a close encounter with an enduring classic.”
I don’t know.
I think that I simply left the theater feeling that YOUNG KIDS TALK WAY TOO MUCH DURING A MOVIE!
But it was cute. It was good.
And I have said all of the above to really emphasize that WALL-E is about a hundred times better than The Happening!

WALL-E and Eva.
[Note: Eva’s blue eyes are not illuminated because she is in hibernation mode because she has eaten the Boot-Plant.]
*********

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern, that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel, that discernment is but a hand playing with finely ordered variety on the chords of emotion – a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge. One may have that condition by fits only.
-- George Eliot, Middlemarch. Ch.22 –


Have a great Tuesday!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Balder Every Morning: A Saturday Poem










Balder Every Morning


Like he does not have enough of his own.

He’s covered, from ear to claw with it.
And wants mine.


I cannot tell you how many nights

I’ve awakened to this chewing, gnawing

Saliva-filled, purring feline in nirvana.


My cat is eating my hair.

And it feels good, to me.

I would not tell that to everyone.


It’s all I can do to make him stop.

I say, “Jack! NO!”

But I mean, “Yes!”


And I think he knows it.

Something so therapeutic about it.
He was born at night, but not last night!

I cuddle him close, so our noses touch.
And tell him to behave.

And fall asleep again, hoping he forgets.


© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

The MIDDLE of MARCH




Me, reading on the beach, after work.




Ahhhh…. It’s F-F Day!
[That stands for Finally Friday!]
I have not been writing much on Bookpuddle, as of late.
This is because, at the end of each weekday I have been feeling as though I have a briefcase of hammers tied to each ear.
I am getting a bit old for the torturous and inhumane job I do, day after day.
And at my current rate of Advanced Retirement Planning©, I have mathematically ascertained that I will be living on Easy Street as long as I can somehow keep working until I am 136 years old!
Somehow, I have still been finding a few hours each evening to do some light reading.
Middlemarch!

It is an appropriately titled book…. because it is going to take me till the middle of next March to finish the thing.
But it’s a good book. I am enjoying it.
I will stay with it until the final page.
I am currently ankle-deep in the tale. On chapter 22, of a possible 86.
I like Lydgate, but I am worried about him, because I can see that he is going to fall for the shallow Barbie-dollness of Rosamond.
I don’t like Casaubon because he ensnared the vivacious young Dorothea!
And she should have been MINE!
And he is so horridly boring. The poor girl.
I am already thinking she should run off with this Will Coleslaw fellow [Casaubon’s cousin]…. he seems like a real hoot!
George Eliot is a master prose-stylist.
I am ashamed that it has taken me 44 years to finally read him!

I loved this sentence, from tonight’s reading:
If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.

If you have read this wonderful book, drop me a line and tell me what you thought of this legendary Literary Doorstop.
Choose one of the following, for your response!
A) Great book.
B) Bad book.
C) Too many pages.
D) Would have been better if written by a woman.

NOTE: The above photo is not really me.
However, for a real photo of me, taken last weekend CLICK HERE.

**********

Splash du Jour: Friday

For their mutual birthdays the pair always contrived some ‘surprise present’ in the shape of a glass receptacle for tooth-powder, or what not; and as they sat together on the sofa he would suddenly, and for some unknown reason, lay aside his pipe, and she her work (if at the moment she happened to be holding it in her hands) and husband and wife would imprint upon one another’s cheeks such a prolonged and languishing kiss that during its continuance you could have smoked a small cigar. In short, they were what is known as ‘a very happy couple.’
-- From Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move...similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle.
-- Honore de Balzac –

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time; keep back the tears and look a little pale about the lips, and in answer to inquiries say, ‘Oh, nothing!’ Pride helps us; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our own hurts – not to hurt others.
-- From George Eliot, Middlemarch, ch.6 –

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Underdog Book Club©

The Underdog Book Club©

When it really comes down to it folks, I am not a reader of Best-sellers.
In fact, I tend to gravitate toward lesser-known books… the sleepers.
The ones on the back shelf of some used bookstore.
I like to prowl the remaindered section of the local Mega-Bookstore.
I gravitate toward stuff other people don’t want to read.
Best-seller, Best-SHMELLER….. am I right?

With this in mind, I want to announce something that has been in the works for a while now.
I’m starting a new Reading Group and inviting all and sundry to join me.
If you feel the same as I do, and have the urge to read books that have only barely made it onto the WORST-seller List… then you need to join The Underdog Book Club©.
And here’s the neat thing!
I, Cipriano Bookpuddle, will SEND YOU THE BOOK, FREE OF CHARGE!
Getting your silly paws on such obscure books would not be easy, so I will only select books that I myself inexplicably have a stack of, here at Bookpuddle Headquarters!
I’ll send you one, and we will get rolling!

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the inaugural book!
I’ve got about twenty of them, sitting here!
[This is so exciting!]
OK, it’s from the earlier work of the legendary writer, Fred Haley.
If you want one, just let me know!
You can view the cover of the book HERE.

*********

Splash du Jour: Monday

Hard-covered books break up friendships. You loan a hard covered book to a friend and when he doesn't return it you get mad at him. It makes you mean and petty. But twenty-five cent books are different. 

-- John Steinbeck –

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Garden Of Last Days

Just the other day I finished reading one of the best novels I have read in a long long time.
The Garden of Last Days, by Andre Dubus III. [2008].
It is such a sprawling, yet condensed work.
Even the ISBN people do not know how to categorize it. They list it as combining eight topics: 1) Stripteasers, 2) Mothers and daughters, 3) Older women, 4) Life change events, 5) Sex-oriented businesses, 6) Saudi Arabians – United States, 7) Florida, 8) Psychological fiction.
I am a very slow reader, and so it was noticeable to me how quickly I devoured this fairly lengthy book [535 pages]… noticeable how every time I set it down, I did not want to do so.
The book is sprawling because it analyzes in detail four or five separate, yet simultaneous streams of action. It is condensed because the entire bulk of the story takes place in the six days days leading up to and including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in 2001. Dubus throws together a remarkable, yet highly believable amalgam of characters, in this week of heart-piercing hell.

April Connors, a knockout stripper [her stage-name is Spring] is forced one evening to bring her 3 ½-year old daughter Franny to the Puma Club because Jean, her landlady and ever-present babysitter, has been admitted to the hospital. At the Club, April entrusts her daughter to the care of Tina, who is [to say the least] extremely negligent. Even I could have done a better job of babysitting!
Meanwhile, April is getting [how does one say this]…. umm… more business than usual out on the floor. After one of her normal routines on stage, she is invited to the Champagne Room, and is detained there for a long while, as a foreigner named Bassam continues to hand her a seemingly endless stream of hundred-dollar bills in return for simply talking with him. Or rather, answering his increasingly spooky questions!
Unbeknownst to April, Bassam is enjoying the third last evening of his life, as he is one of the terrorists who will soon carry out the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Dubus based his story on the well-known fact that the Florida-based contingent of 9/11 hijackers spent their last days this side of death indulging in the evil-pleasures of strip-club visitation. For the fictional character of Bassam, the temptation to re-view these Western evils was too great, and he returned to the Puma Club for a private audience with the alluring April.
Simultaneously, one of the club regulars, A.J. Carey, a man on the down-swing of severely bad times [his wife has placed a restraining order on him] gets thrown out of the club by Lonnie the Bouncer for touching one of the dancers, Marianne. A.J. sustains a broken wrist in the process and when he returns later that night, he parks out back and waits for his Marianne to leave so that he can have a word with her, and explain his actions.
What will happen when A.J. sees little Franny crying at the screen door at the back of the club?
To the drunken A.J., she seems to be a helpless, abandoned child, and forgetting about Marianne for the time being, he decides to….. well, really, this is all I will say. You must read the book.

Every time Dubus switched to focus on a different character, I found myself completely engrossed in what was happening with that separate thread. And I marvelled at how all was being tied together… it’s just a terrific read! To use an overused clichĂ©… this thing is a real page-turner.
Full of so many “What If’s”…. as in:
What if Tina was just a little less negligent of Franny?
What if A.J. had not squeezed Marianne’s hand?
What if Bassam did not find the strip-club so alluring? What if he had not taken April into the Champagne Room?
What if Jean could have been at home, as usual, that fateful night?
What if Lonnie the Bouncer had just checked on Franny, as April had asked him to?

Among other things, I found this novel to be a real illuminating look into the absolute insanity of religious extremism. I agree with one reviewer, who said: "Dubus knows that you may not make sense out of the incomprehensible, but you can make art."
This book is definitely a work of art.

Buy it HERE.
Check out this great INTERVIEW with the author.
Click HERE for a way better review than mine!
**********

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Hermit: A Saturday Poem


The Hermit


There was a troglodyte. A hermit.
Deliberately ignorant of all things going
On outside his dripping cave and brown
Beard. Craggy, shaggy, each.

Not knowing Tuesday from Friday
He ventured out to gather seaweed
Or clams. Whatever lay stranded, left
Behind. On the mild, wild beach.

Near a boulder, between driftwood
Ducking and alert, he stooped. Never,
Not ever, squinting, had he ever seen
This before. Dove, love, needing.

It cannot be. Forgotten, every longing
Now awakened, stood to claim him.
In a white dress, the sand held golden
Tresses. Flying, sighing, reading.

She flipped a page. He leaned, as though
Her hand could move his soul. And
Tears like drops of cave-dew sent a ripple
Through his heart. Drop, plop, but...

Turning, the hermit stumbled headlong
Up the crags to what he knew. Two sticks
Will give me heat while I sleep hungry, and
The stone will keep me. Sleep me. Shut.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday









Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of marriage, master?
And he answered, saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
-- From The Prophet / Kahlil Gibran --

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Little Miss Sunshine

Today, throughout my work day…. which even on a really really GOOD day, is about as exciting and intellectually stimulating as watching paint that is already dry, dry… yeah, during this day, which was today, I found myself musing upon what might be the funniest moment for me, in movie-watching history.
I thought and I worked and I thought and I thunk…..
And then it hit me.
It would have to be a certain portion of the movie Little Miss Sunshine.
I will never forget one Christmas when we all rented about sixteen movies and then sat around eating popcorn and drinking eggnog and eating chocolates until we very nearly became a sort of Group Bio-Hazard. There were about 37 of us in the living room of my sister’s place, and we were committed to a marathon movie session.

There was a certain portion…. a certain extended scenario, I guess, in the movie Little Miss Sunshine, where I very nearly lost my life due to laughter. I seriously began to fear for my life, or at least felt that I might end up with brain damage or some sort of internal rupture if I did not stop laughing, and yet I could not stop. [In actual fact, my nephew Ernie in the La-Z-Boy yonder, actually DID kick the bucket around the same time as I was laughing, but a later autopsy revealed that his death was caused by choking on half a box of Turtles©!]

The scene in the movie involves the family in their highly dysfunctional yellow van, ripping down the highway and when Dad [Greg Kinnear] hits the horn, it gets stuck…. and continues to let out these plaintive bleats for a long long while. Soon, a cop pulls them over as Kinnear is driving so erratically…. and meanwhile Grandpa is dead and rolled up in a tarp at the back of the van… and something about the way that horn kept bleating as the cop approached the driver-side door of the van…. well…. it’s just lucky I made it to New Years Day!
I thought I was going to die.
Here is a trailer of the movie. The horn just starts bleating, exactly at 1:16 1:27.



This is just such a great movie.
Especially if you have been confined to the same room with 36 other people and are not allowed to leave even to go to the washroom and everyone is high on egg-nog and one guy is dead.
Little Miss Sunshine is right up there with the classics of the genre... like My Cousin Vinny, So I Married An Axe-Murderer, and Liar, Liar.
*********

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Way off to the west in the wire grass were the twinkling lights of a trailer park. Mostly old people. The whole damn state full of them. Like God picked up the country and shook it and all those who weren’t nailed down with jobs and commitments slipped right out of their houses, their card games and visits with grandkids, their nine holes of golf and double dates with other old people who’d lived long enough to make it to dinner one more Saturday night – every year more and more of them just slipped out of their lives and fell to Florida.
--- From The Garden of Last Days, by Andre Dubus III --

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

Ours is an age besotted with graphic entertainments. And in an increasingly infantilized society, whose moral philosophy is reducible to a celebration of “choice,” adults are decreasingly distinguishable from children in their absorption in entertainments and the kinds of entertainments they are absorbed in – video games, computer games, hand-held games, movies on their computers and so on. This is progress: more sophisticated delivery of stupidity.
-- George Will –


Have a great Monday!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I Hate Shopping...

I hate shopping.
Oh my God, do I ever hate shopping.
I just hate it.
Something disastrous always happens.
I am writing this from an actual Mall… in the Foodcourt, just after a disaster.
In about a month’s time I have to be the MC at my niece Amy’s wedding.
So I figure it’s about time I got a new suit. As in, a suit!

Do you have any idea how much I do not want to buy a new suit?
Well, at any rate, today’s the day!
So I put on some dress pants and shoes, and I came here to the St. Laurent Mall. When I shop for nice clothes, I like to arrive in some half-decent clothes, you know? [Perfectly beautiful hot day outside, and here I am in a Mall, spiffed out like a Mormon Missionary!]
To make a long story shorter, I ended up with a terrific looking Calvin Klein suit at half price, which means I still paid 400 clams!
But from the moment I tried the thing on, I knew it was mine… like, for the first time in my life, a suit fit me perfectly, right off the rack. The only alteration needed is to hem the pants.
Apparently, I am a textbook 42-short!

Always the skeptic though, I didn’t trust that it was legitimately “on sale” so I told the guy I would be back and then I walked through the Mall and did some comparative shopping!
Found the same suit at a different store at full price!
Needless to say, I went back to the original store and Bob’s your uncle!

So, after this, I thought I would do some… lighter shopping.
Went upstairs and found myself at Sports Experts, where, among other things, one of these logo-ized sports T-shirts caught my eye! See… this wedding is taking place on Vancouver Island in August, and so, when I saw a blue Vancouver Canucks NHL hockey T-shirt… complete with the word “Luongo” stenciled on the back [he is the goaltender] and the big #1 [his number]… I had to get it.
You know?
When in Rome wear what the Romans where… yadda yadda.

Well….. by now I was hungry. And the Food Court is like RIGHT THERE…. all the neon signage beckoning me hitherward, the force is literally irresistable.
But first, before lining up at Jimmy The Greek’s for some chicken souvlaki, I felt the urge to urinate.
I went to the public washroom.
So, the bag of clothes clenched in my armpit, there I was facing the urinal, and like… do I need to give more detail, really? Shook the dew off the lily.
Then I went to pull up the ol’ zipper.
Umm… there is no zipper!
What?
After tucking away the Pony Express© I am standing there, staring down, and there is NO ZIPPER deal on the zipper of my pants. [Are you listening?]...
So now I am searching for it in the urinal basin. Maybe it went through one of the holes in the drainage grate? Or it is still sort of floating around in there? Within those first few seconds it dawned on me that even if the damn thing was in there…. it was going to STAY in there. Like… I don’t want it anymore.
But meanwhile, the door to the O.K. Corral© is WIDE OPEN!
And not just a little bit, I mean wide open, dammit!
What in the hell am I going to do? I can’t walk around in the Mall like this!
So I went into a toilet stall and locked the door.

I figured at least here I could do some thinking, not to mention a more thorough search.
And sure enough, the part of the zipper that you move up and down? It was there at the toppermost part of the tines… and how it even got there I do not know!
I started fumbling about, leaning on the stall door, trying to hook that damn thing into the other innocent-looking row of zipper-teeth. I tried and tried until sweat was beading on my forehead, honest to God.
I only stopped thrashing about when I realized that if I went any further with this project I might actually somehow turn INTO Mr. Bean!
My God!
So…. I figured I would just wear my nice dress shirt over top of my pants, rather than tucked in. At least make it out of the Mall that way without getting arrested. I opened the stall-door and looked over at the wall-length mirror. Nope. The shirt is too short. I’m revealing way too much pasture-land south of the equator!
So I had no choice.
I opened my Sports Experts bag and threw on my new extra-large Vancouver Canucks T-shirt.
I looked in the mirror again.
Bingo!
I’m covered. ‘Specially if I slouch a bit.
But I look like a complete DORK!
Always one to wallow in my humiliations and drink them to the dregs, instead of running out of here I not only had my chicken souvlaki at Jimmy The Greek’s, but afterward, I got a coffee at Tim Horton’s and fired up my laptop. And here I sit, even now, in the cool breezes and wide open spaces, of the St. Laurent Foodcourt.

GO CANUCKS GO!
********

Saturday, July 05, 2008

We Know We Love: A Saturday Poem


We Know We Love


We know we love, when, if the coin was ours to toss
We would have it land in our disfavor
Rather than someone else’s.

We know we love, when, drinking what is absorbed
By our beloved, we ask,
Is there more?

Tonight, on the way back to the car
I turned toward the misty walls of the hospital
And closed my eyes.

We know we love, when the coin is caught
While ascending. And the question is answered
By something other than gravity.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

I Am A Total Tool...

For reasons, or rather “reason” [ singular] I have had a rather stressful past few days, and I am just now sort of having a bit of a more relaxing time.
It has been near impossible to write anything over the past little while, but I did manage to finish the reading of a fairly good novel, that being the latest one from Russell Banks, entitled The Reserve.
It was an enjoyable read and I will write a review soon. The book has made me interested in reading other stuff by this author. Have any of you read any of the other books of Russell Banks? If so, which would you recommend?

So… seeing as I have had such a stressful week and all, I thought I would do something simple, like post a photo of my family.

That first guy there?
That’s my brother Adam. He’s a real character. Thinks he is the King of the Barbeque!
In back there, that’s my sister Becky. I know… she’s got sort of hairy man-legs and all… I gave her a Lady Schick as a stocking stuffer last Christmas but apparently she has no interest in the product!
Next to her, that’s me…. yours truly, blowing off some steam. I could also use a Lady Schick, apparently!
Then, in the apron, complete with false hanging gonads, that’s my other brother, Samson. Thought he was a real tough guy before the haircut!

No.
I’m kidding.
All of the above is not true, [except the thing about my sister’s legs.]

The above is a picture of my favorite rock band in current history.
Tool.
I am relatively new to the Tool scene….. having only discovered them with the release of their 2006 CD entitled "10,000 Days.”
Truth is, I was driving in my car when the song called The Pot started to play. I was immediately enthralled.
I remember arriving at my destination and I would not shut the car off until the song was finished…. and wow… it took a long while to finish! It has several false endings!
I then waited for the DJ to name the band, and I wrote it down. Bought the album. Loved it. I have rarely happened across a band that spoke more clearly to my... my inner, mildly-insane, non-conformist!
Then…. I bought EVERYTHING ELSE these crazy boys have ever done.
I am now, [as Hemingway might conclude]…. an aficionado!
A Tool junkie.
You might even say… I am a total tool!

*********

Splash du Jour: Friday

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured
by what is right with America.

-- Bill Clinton –

Happy Independence Day, America!
[As a concerned Canadian, I encourage all American voters to get it right next time.
And by “right” I do not mean “right”! Right?]

*******

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I [H]Ate Ants!




 


 

[Note to the Astute: I have posted this reminiscence before... but I have had such a stressful week that I have not been able to write anything NEW and I don't want anyone to think I have died or something....]

When I was in college there was this annual ritual among us theology students.
See, every year, a place called CBD [Christian Book Distributors] would have this crazy sale on books.
CBD [sometimes also known as Hendrickson Publishers] is essentially a massive warehouse, filled to the rafters with theological stuff. It’s in Peabody, Mass., a suburb of Boston.
I’ll never forget the first time we drove there, a bunch of us. The year was 1988.
We got a bit lost, pulled into a gas station, rolled down the window, and asked a guy for directions.
He said, “Oh, you want Pbdy!”
The way I have spelled it is the only way to transliterate what it is that he said with his sharp staccato Bostonian accent. In our 10 hours of non-stop driving, we had crossed over into an entirely new linguistic culture!
We found the place. We had driven through the night and arrived just in time to take our position in the human lineup which would soon extend for about a city block. Our group was right up front.
When the doors of CBD open on “Sale Day” all Christian behavior is tossed to the wind. You stampede, like cattle chased by Ronald McDonald!
It’s every man for himself. You get in, grab an empty box, and run to these long tables of incredibly marked-down prices. They are virtually giving stuff away, I swear. It’s a theological book-addict’s dream.
We bought a few trunkloads of books, and then stuffed this haul into our ONE trunk!
And then went to our hotel, The Victorian Motor Inn, in historic Essex County.
And ordered pizza.
I ate a ton of the stuff and then passed out on my bed in a grease-induced coma.
During the night I awoke and [what else]… thought I’d have another slab of pizza!
There it was, I could see it in the very dim light, on the floor, an open box… one of the many we had ordered, and this one had many pieces left. I reached down and grabbed one.
I don’t know, call it “experience” or call it “intuition”…. whatever… something about that piece of pizza didn’t seem right to me. But I ate it anyway, pig that I am, in the darkness. It just tasted a bit…. wrong.

A couple hours later…

With the first light that poked through the curtains I awoke and lay there, wondering if I should get out of bed, or linger. Deciding upon the former option, I got out, careful to not step onto one of the many pizza boxes strewn about the room. As I looked down at the one nearest me, I saw that it was literally crawling with no less than sixty-five million ants. It was like an Ant Amway© convention in there!
And between the several boxes on the floor, an ant freeway had been set up throughout the night, complete with traffic lights and clover-leafs!
And a bustling four-lane trail of the little buggers to one portion of the baseboards, yonder!

I nearly hurled.
It is the one portion of Fear Factor I hate the most! The eating part!
I ran to the bathroom and brushed my teeth, wondering just how many of them critters I had ingested [not to mention, digested] in the night.

*********

Splash du Jour: Thursday

I am against nature. I don’t dig nature at all.
I think nature is very unnatural.
I think the truly natural things
are dreams which nature can’t touch with decay.

-- Bob Dylan, 1966 --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science,
measured against reality, is primitive and childlike –
and yet it is the most precious thing we have.

-- Albert Einstein, 1955 --

Have a great Wednesday!
*******

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

There are no limits to the majestic future which lies before the mighty expanse of Canada with its virile, aspiring, cultured, and generous-hearted people.
-- Winston Churchill –

Happy Canada Day, Canada!
******