Thursday, December 31, 2009

Splash du Jour: Thursday


When you're 50 you start thinking about things you haven't thought about before.
I used to think getting old was about vanity -- but actually it's about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial.
-- Joyce Carol Oates --


Have a great Thursday!
And a safe, fun, New Year's Eve!
********

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Splash du Jour: Wednesday













Yesterday was "Take Your Kid to Work Day." It used to be "Take Your Daughter to Work Day," but political correctness took over. Thanks to the economy, there's a new special day for parents and kids -- "Take Your Child To Where You Used To Work Day."
-- Jimmy Kimmel --


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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

This week a list was released of all of Hitler's living relatives and it turns out there are 39. It also turns out that not one of them has a sign on their door that says, "Welcome to the Hitlers."
-- Conan O'Brien --


Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Changing of the Scent

Well, I did a radical thing today.
I bought a different cologne.
For about the past 57 years I have worn Adventurer which is a fragrance sold at Eddie Bauer stores. I even once wrote a bit of a thing about... cologne-theory.
In my neighborhood Mall [The Rideau Centre] the store next to Eddie Bauer is Banana Republic.
I just happened to walk in there and sprayed a few of their many men's fragrances around on those little cardboard things.
This one scent really intrigued me. Awakened my inner... something.
So I bought a bottle of it.
I am almost out of this last bottle of Adventurer [the bigger green bottle in photo] so -- we'll see how this goes.
This new scent is called Republic of Men.
I know... sort of a goofy name, if you ask me. But wow -- it smells real nice.
I have always gotten a lot of terrific comments when I am soused down in Adventurer, so I will try this new product [which is exactly twice as expensive] and see how it goes.
Contrary to a rumor that was going around, Eddie Bauer has NOT discontinued Adventurer, but they have renamed it Adventurer II. And the new bottle is not nearly as sexy as this Banana Republic product.
I have had women actually ram their head into my neck to get a better whiff of my Adventurer fumes.
So -- if I do not notice equal or BETTER fanaticism with Republic of Men, I will definitely be going back to Eddie Bauer.
After all, it's not about me. It's about RESULTS!

********

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Getting Old

Lately I have not been blogging much.
I've been reading, writing The Odd Poem here and there -- but I guess that overall this Christmas season I've been feeling really relaxed -- quiet -- pensive.
[Well, when I was not partying.]
But right now, for instance, I could not be more at peace. Listening to some soothing "Zen" music. Many candles aglow. My favorite beverage being sipped.
Warm.
Cozy.
Even Jack seems content.
All is well with the world. Or more correctly, all is well with MY world.
And today I noticed something -- for the first time ever.
My eyesight is not what it used to be.

I was sitting at Starbucks reading this terrific novel called A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.
Had a great bench seat, facing Rideau Street.
The way I was situated.... well, it was ideal for reading, the book laying flat on its own.
I could sit there, elbows on knees, in exquisite toilet posture.
As I leaned forward and back, however, I noticed [for the first time ever] that anything closer than six inches or so from the page -- everything becomes blurry. Out of focus.
I can read it, but only with serious effort. Move back a bit.... oh.... there we go!
Perfect.
HOWEVER... I have always had perfect eyesight. Have never had to wear glasses.
Have never noticed even one out-of-focus moment.
Until today.

Hmmmm...... will I soon be wearing goggles to read?
Will I be one of those people that hold a book out at arm's length to focus on text?
For a moment, I panicked.
Seriously..... I did all manner of experiments..... there I was, bobbing back and forth like one of those novelty bird-gadgets, you know the ones that fall forward, sip some water and then straighten out again?
Yep.
I panicked, but then I smiled. This is just part of life.... hell, I'm almost half a century old.
If I was a tractor I'd be in the scrap heap by now.
But as it is, I'm doing not too bad.
Not too bad at all.

Maybe all of my "mellowness" this Christmas season -- maybe the fact that there are BIRDS CHIRPING in the music I choose to listen to right now -- maybe it's just that I am rightfully getting............. old!

********

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Good. And Thoughtful.

Thank you so much, my friends, for your kind wishes this Christmas. I have had a good, thoughtful Christmas. It continues to be so.
Good.
And thoughtful.
Not to be too somber at such a festive time, but I am big on commemoration.
I think most of you have noticed this about me, by now.
I have a very reflective nature. I'm always remembering things.
Today, Boxing Day, is exactly one year since I sat and talked with my mother for the last time. I was visiting her in the hospital and then the very next day I flew back here to Ottawa. She passed away, days later, in the first moments of New Year's Day.
Also, a couple weeks ago was the tenth anniversary of my father's passing.
So I have had a pensive Christmas, in many ways. Have caught myself several times talking aloud to the both of them.
No, I'm not going loony[er] at all.
Just remembering.
I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas.


The Gentle Hug

Ten years on Dad, I feel again the strength.
The weakness around my neck. Power of
the gentle hug. The water in the corner of
your eye. What I would give now to see it
reflect
the bales of hay, or the perch caught.
The spoon in the tea, the oil changed,
the ghost seen, the garden gardened,
or Helen discovered.

The phone answered. The clink of you
dropping screws into a jar labelled "screws".
Re-aligning that pendulum. Once I awoke
in the night. At the end of the hallway
I saw you cracking hazelnuts as though
only the snow falling outside knew
neither of us were sleeping.

c. Ciprianowords, Inc. 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

To one and all, I wish you a very Merry Christmas Eve followed by a stupendously good Christmas Day!
This is the first year in the past 15 or so that I will not be flying home for Christmas, so, the following song has special meaning for me this year.
Kate Smith sings it so beautifully.
The last note in this song.... completely lovely!




Merry Christmas to you!
*******

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Have a great [Christmas Eve] Thursday!
*******

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Splash du Jour: Wednesday








Did you ever think that making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg? It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.

-- Lyndon B. Johnson --


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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall.
We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space.

-- Dave Barry --


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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Splash du Jour: Monday

You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies, and the importance of a work of art by the harm that is spoken of it.
-- Gustave Flaubert --

I wonder if this is true, in an absolute sense.

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The History of Love

Can you imagine, say for instance, if you yourself undertook the writing of a book with such an ambitious title?
The History of Love.
First guy: "So hey..... umm, what are you doing today?"
Second guy: "Not much. Just working on a book called The History of [frigging] LOVE!"

For one thing, there is no such thing as a history of love.
There are only many histories of loves.
And each "history" -- each story -- a unique, and inexplicable, one.
The relevance so internal, is what I mean.
Your love for another, for your loved one, your beloved -- only you yourself can know what it all means, if put into words.
Those words would be inadequate.
If at all meaningful to anyone outside of the relationship, terms would have to be generalized -- you would end up writing a philosophy of love, because anyone reading your work would not have truly experienced the unique thing you are describing. At best, they would know [or imagine] a vague approximation.

Nicole Krauss's [2005] novel, The History of Love is a difficult book.
Read a few reviews. You will see. It is not for the faint-of-heart.
If you need a potboiler, don't go here. You're going to be waiting a long while to see any percolation, much less modest bubbles... never mind the lid rattling.
A few times I wanted to abandon the thing. It's difficult. Almost like a real love-relationship, there is nothing simple about it. But I have discovered tonight [having finished the book mere minutes ago] that, as with a healthy love-relationship, patient tenacity will be worthwhile.
Stay with this book to the end.
The pieces you don't think are fitting, will.

It's stopping in the middle that would be a mistake.
Like a painting that means little in the first ten minutes.
In the eleventh, it all hits you.
As with history, so with love.
To stop partway through is to miss the beginning.

*******

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Empty Skull of the Poetess: A Saturday Poem


Empty Skull of the Poetess


What of all her musing if it comes to this?
Socket and jaw, lips that shall not kiss
beyond the compass of her time and place.
Recall the sadness of her thoughtful face,
the scratch of quill in candled bliss?

Oh, I do, I do. And few knew her my friend
as we did. ‘Tis so, agreed! To what end
shall we commit this find, will it rest
beside that of her husband, but blessed
above his station? This, I would intend.

Well then, let us carry them to the tomb
where they shall forever reside, in whom
they have believ’ed. None wrote like her,
nor jested as he. But let God himself confer
Yorick’s wife wrote verse when in the womb.

c. Ciprianowards, Inc. 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Splash du Jour: Friday

Only two other presidents have won the Nobel Prize. Woodrow Wilson, who was credited for ending World War I, and Teddy Roosevelt for inventing the teddy bear.
-- David Letterman --


Have a great Friday!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nicely Twisted, in Pickled River...

Have you ever discovered a great beer as a by-product of reading a great book?
I did.
TONIGHT!
In the Toronto segments of the new John Irving novel Last Night in Twisted River, everyone is always drinking this Toronto-brewed pilsner beer:
Steam Whistle.
So I picked up 24 of these beauties after work today!
And what can I say?
THEY'RE BETTER THAN THE BOOK!
Which [by the way......] was EXCELLENT!
I am currently... pleasantly pickled.
Thank John, you..... Irving.

*****

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Britney Spears is in the news again. She is denying rumours that she is pregnant. She made a statement and said, "If I were pregnant, these cigarettes would be low-tar."
-- Conan O'Brien --


Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

A new study from Purina found that house cats spend about 22% of their days looking out windows. 12% playing with other pets. 8% climbing on chairs and just 6% sleeping. The study also found that cats have the exact same schedule as Joe Biden.
-- Jimmy Fallon --



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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Incredible

Maybe it's just because I am 101% Ukrainian? Right down to my shoes?
Maybe it's because she is SO HOT!
Maybe it's because this is amazing giftedness, on display?

All I know is that this is just absolutely incredible.
She is doing all of this with a big pile of SAND!
[I love the orchestration of Metallica's Nothing Else Matters at the end...]

Thank you, C, for sending me this clip.


Splash du Jour: Tuesday







J.B.S. Haldane, one of the three leading architects of neo-Darwinism, was once challenged by a lady after a public lecture:

Evolution sceptic: Professor Haldane, even given the billions of years that you say were available for evolution, I simply cannot believe it is possible to go from a single cell to a complicated human body, with its trillions of cells organized into bones and muscles and nerves, a heart that pumps without ceasing for decades, miles and miles of blood vessels and kidney tubules, and a brain capable of thinking and talking and feeling.

Haldane: But madam, you did it yourself. And it only took nine months.


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

Monday, December 14, 2009

Splash du Jour: Monday















I do not know what art means but I know what it is. Edward Hopper is in Paris between 1906 and 1910 and he is lonely because he is always lonely and will always be lonely. He is the figurative painter, an idea then slipping from fashion, but his paintings capture desolation so complete it will take decades, until the summer of 1045, to replicate what he sees in his mind. The young woman has dark hair and sits on the floor with a white sheet under her, one half pulled from the bed. Her chemise is awry, black hair blooms between her legs, and one foot basks in a shaft of yellow light penetrating her lonely chamber. Her lover has left, or more likely never come. She is warm and the world is cold, and so slowly, ever so slowly, she will become chilled and become one with the world.
-- from Charles Bowden's "Contested Ground" (p. 13 in the recent Harpers magazine.) --

Question: What is your impression?
Has the lover left the scene, or never arrived?
Or thirdly, there never was any lover in the first place?


Have a great Monday.
*********

Sunday, December 13, 2009

He Waited For Me

In the very early morning of December 13th, 1999, my sister woke me up and told me that our dad had just passed away in the hospital.
I guess that is the kind of a moment that one never forgets, as long as one lives.
Ten years ago, today.
I had just arrived back "home" by plane the evening before this.
My father had been in and out of the hospital many times over the previous few years, as congestive heart failure progressively debilitated him.
Several times I had returned home... several times he had gotten better. And several times he had returned back to his own home on Argyle Street.
I knew though that this time, in December of '99, the one inexorable aspect of life was about to take place.
So did my father. He also knew.
I was driven straight from the airport to his private room at the Pasqua Hospital.
My mother and the rest of my siblings had already been there a while, and so, they left me to be alone with Dad.

My father seemed to be asleep at the time. Even peacefully so.
It would have been nice to shake him awake and say, "Dawn is breaking. This is when the fish are biting, Dad!"
It would have been an awesome moment for him to awaken, and smile at me -- and maybe we would both laugh at something unsaid.
But what happened, in reality, was far more awesome...
I bent down and kissed his forehead. Told him I was there, and that I loved him.
And with what I can only assume was his final act upon this earth, he partially opened his eyes and lifted his arms to my neck, for but a second, after which they fell back to his side.
I sat beside him holding his hand, as one by one, my brother and sisters and my mother came back into the room.
After some hushed discussion, we left.
And the rest I've already told you, in the first sentences, above.
He waited for me.
I miss you, Dad.

If forgiveness is needed, then I beg it of you Dear Puddle-Reader, for allowing me to use my blogpage to give This Man a big hug tonight.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dvorak: A Saturday Poem


Dvorak


How can someone dead six decades before my life
move me so? How can his decaying tympanis
cause my heart to quell its perturbations
with a conductor’s descending baton?
Tell me that no genius burned
within the flags and dots of
each five-staffed page.
And I will mention,
you do not know
my composer,
my Dvorak!

c. Ciprianowords, Inc. 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Splash du Jour: Friday

Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.
-- Piglet, in Pooh's Little Instruction Book --




Have a great Friday!
******

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Splash du Jour: Thursday

He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
-- Gatsby, on his first kiss with Daisy --


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

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Book-Lovin' Nelly

I've always felt that there was more than just the umm... obvious audio / visual reasons for liking Nelly Furtado.
I've just discovered an excellent reason, to add to the others.
Just this past fall, Nelly became the spokesperson for the Jumpstart Read For The Record Campaign.

Jumpstart is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that children succeed in school by building literacy, language and social skills. Recently, at a Jumpstart press conference, Furtado [the mother of a six-year old daughter] talked about the importance of books in her life.
She said:
"As someone who started writing songs at a very young age, I know how important literacy is -- I remember, when I was a child, my parents saving their hard-earned money and buying us the Childcraft Encyclopedias. They were our whole world and inspired a love of reading. I know that it is so important to get the language in the children before they even get to kindergarten because then they have the familiarity there. And so, it's really special to be here because I really love books."

There you go.
Now I like her even more than I did yesterday!


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves.
-- Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception --


Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Splash du Jour: Monday

A couple in England named their new daughter Kia because she was delivered in the back seat of a Kia. No one was happier than her older brother -- Hospital Bed.
-- Jimmy Fallon --


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

Sunday, December 06, 2009

My Boy, in Repose










It's been such a long time since I posted a photo of my son.
So, here he is. In all of his retired glory.
This is his favorite chair. Usually, toward the evening he will jump up there and assume this position. He hunkers down and hugs the back of the chair.
Last night it just struck me how adorable he is.
Well, when he ain't drinking.

******

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Mammoth Cheeseburgers?

Rather than posting a Saturday Poem -- today I thought I might just blab a bit about how great my Birthday Weekend is going.
All in all, it just keeps being great.
Even now, this very moment, I am sitting at an over-stuffed Chapters, in the Starbucks section, at one of the only free [much coveted] tables.
I have a great book beside me. They provide free refills of coffee here. In other words, things are great.
Admittedly, the word "great" means different things to different people.
Personally, I define it [in reference to weekends] according to a measurement of:
The Three Essential Criteria.
1) Coffee.
2) Hamburgers.
3) Reading time.
It's finding the right balance of these three things that ensures a "great" weekend for me. This weekend I am getting the perfect melange of all three.

<-- A few minutes ago I was walking through the store and had a look at this book on yonder display.
The newly-released Chronic City, by Jonathan Lethem.
The sheer urbanity of the dust jacket drew me in. Reading the inner blurb intrigued me even further, because the book is set in a sort of alternative-reality Manhattan.
And I just like that kind of jazz.
But what really got me is the part that describes one of the central characters, a pop-critic named Perkus Tooth, "whose conspiratorial riffs are fueled by high-grade marijuana, mammoth cheeseburgers, and a desperate ache for meaning."

Did someone say, "mammoth cheeseburgers"?
I'm in!
As long as the word "mammoth" is being used as an adjective here, I guess.
Oh, but who am I kidding. I'd eat mammoth!

Anyhoo -- please forgive me this near substance-less blog. I'm just doing some light musing while high on caffeine. Chronic City is Lethem's eighth novel and I haven't read any of them.
Have any of my dear Bookpuddle friends read anything by this author?
If so, who is he comparable to?

*******

Friday, December 04, 2009

That's Quite The Shnozz!








Today is my birthday. This is why I slept in.
As of today, I am 46 years old.
Those who know me know that I do not act my age.
I am much sillier than any 46-year old geezer should be.
For instance, in the above photograph, why am I wearing my underwear on the lower portion of my face? There is an explanation, I assure you, but you probably don't really want to know!

My workplace allows us our birthdays off... and today is my day to take advantage of this perk.
Hence, I missed the posting of my Splash du Jour today. I was sleeping.
Then, a friend and I went to Bigg's for breakfast.
Bigg's is a restaurant where the breakfasts are -- bigg!
Then we stopped in at the theater where we got some tickets to the IMAX version [in 3D] of A Christmas Carol.
Then we stopped here at Chapters where we are enjoying a grande amount of good Starbucks coffee!
He is working on the creation of his own website/blog, and I am reading the latter stages of John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River.
Mac laptops back to back.
Wow!
Say that quickly five times in a row!

Anyhoo, just dropping by to say -- if you want to join us for the movie, it starts at 4:30.
Come on! Take the afternoon off!
It'll be fun.

Scrooge's nose will be the size of Abraham Lincoln's on Mount Rushmore!
How often in life do you get to see such a spectacle?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Superstition Ain't The Way

Just watching this excellent concert DVD on a 27-inch iMac Quad Core with LED display.
Amazing.
If you can't quite get what Stevie Wonder is saying, umm... here is my rough translation:
If a family is expecting something special to come their way and they get down on their knees and pray, shame on them.


video

I tend to agree.
*******

Splash du Jour: Thursday









There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

-- Wind In The Willows, ch.1 --


Have a great Thursday!
******

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

There are two possible outcomes: If the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery.
-- Enrico Fermi --


Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Sarah Palin's new book is out. Some people are saying that it's too soon for her to write her memoirs. They're saying she should wait until she has at least 10 years of inexperience before writing.
-- David Letterman --


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