Friday, April 29, 2011

Splash du Jour: Friday

She had an overwhelming desire to tell him, like the most banal of women. Don't let me go, hold me tight, make me your plaything, your slave, be strong! But they were words she could not say. The only thing she said when he released her from his embrace was, "You don't know how happy I am to be with you." That was the most her reserved nature allowed her to express.
-- Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being --


Have a great Friday!
******

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday









If a person measures his spiritual fulfillment in terms of cosmic visions, surpassing peace of mind, or ecstasy, then he is not likely to know much spiritual fulfillment. If, however, he measures it in terms of enjoying a sunrise, being warmed by a child's smile, or being able to help someone have a better day, then he is likely to know much spiritual fulfillment.

-- Arthur MIller --


Have a great Thursday!
******

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

It is in dialogue with pain that many beautiful things acquire their value. Acquaintance with grief turns out to be one of the more unusual prerequisites of architectural appreciation. We might, quite aside from all other requirements, need to be a little sad before buildings can properly touch us.
-- Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness --



Have a great Wednesday!

******

Monday, April 25, 2011

Splash du Jour: Monday


She was becoming sad. There is no joy involved in following others' expectations of yourself.

-- Miriam Toews, Swing Low --


Have a great Monday!
******

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Adventures in Fuzziness

















I've been experimenting with not shaving my face.
It's a confusing enterprise -- some people think I am looking horrid -- others think the opposite. As for myself, I don't know -- I kinda like it.
At a certain point I guess I will have to start -- taming it. Or something.
It's kind of a bit of a spring lark a la mid-life crisis, maybe?
When I rub the side of my face I feel like I'm petting a dog.
Any thoughts on what I should do?
Save it? OR Shave it?
[For two more pics, taken last night, click on the above photo.]

*******

Friday, April 22, 2011

How I Spent Good Friday

It truly has been a "good" Friday for me.
I did two things that are just… awesome.
Firstly, I did not put on pants. I love it when I can sleep in, then walk around all day with just my jammies on [and by jammies, I mean underwear, basically] and get paid for it!
Secondly, I read an entire novel.
The Fire Gospel [2008] by one of my favorite authors, Michel Faber. In a word? --> TERRIFIC!
Two?
--> Redonculously good!
The last time I read an entire novel in one sitting was five years ago. Bernard Schlink's The Reader. Rarely am I so captivated by a book that I finish it hours from starting it.
The Fire Gospel is part of the Canongate "Myths" series, and I've read a few of the others. In this one, the myth of Prometheus is satirically treated. If you recall, Prometheus brought fire to humans in defiance of Zeus and was summarily punished by having his entrails plucked out by an eagle.
Here in Faber's book, Theo, a Canadian scholar on assignment in an Iraqi museum discovers hitherto unknown scrolls when a bomb explodes and a busted statue disgorges its inner contents. Surviving the blast, he stuffs these documents into his briefcase and smuggles them back to Canada. Theo is the world's leading expert in Aramaic and these scrolls are serendipitously written in that very language.
Turns out these scrolls contain eyewitness accounts of the last days of Jesus -- they indeed constitute a fifth gospel, and one written prior to the other four biblical ones.
In that sense, they carry a weight and authority that the others do not.
The author is Malchus, a servant to Caiaphas, the high priest who is said to have organized the plot to kill Jesus. This is almost crazy, but I actually gasped when I discovered that the author was Malchus -- just thinking of how valuable such a find would really be, in real life. This guy was present in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was betrayed by Judas [according to the Bible].
And the Bible says that one of Jesus' own disciples, in a fit of revenge, sliced off Malchus's ear with his sword. The biblical account has Jesus healing the amputation at the scene, restoring Malchus's ear to wholeness. However, in Malchus's own words, the wound was never really healed, per se, and his sliced ear sort of dangled from his neck the rest of his life, “like a woman's adornment.”
Malchus, present at the crucifixion, says that as Jesus is about to be affixed to the cross, he cries out and pulls his arms to his sides in fear, "in the manner of an infant tickled by its mother." The soldiers must place their knees directly on Jesus' arms as they pound in the spikes. Malchus says, "This was not cowardice. This is how the flesh behaves under such provocation."
Makes perfect sense to me, actually.
In Malchus's gospel, Jesus' last words are not "It is finished" but "Please, somebody, please somebody finish me." Again, seems pretty understandable to me.
He defecates and urinates all over, including directly on Malchus -- the new convert stays so close to Jesus as he dies. Birds pluck Jesus' eyes out.

All of this may seem downright sacrilegious for me to be even mentioning… especially as I am mentioning it on Good Friday, the very day that commemorates the death of Jesus on the cross. But The Fire Gospel, in its raison d'être, its construction, etc., is not at all about any sort of re-evaluation of what may have taken place on Good Friday. Not at all.
It's moreso about the emphasis we place on written accounts of anything, the reports of which, by the way, will contain varying degrees of accuracy and inaccuracy in the telling.
Theo's translation of the Malchus gospel becomes a smash success.
Millions of books are sold. And as Theo makes the rounds of the book tours, he is accosted by fanatics, offended at what he has unearthed. Undone by what he has done.
[Enter the Prometheus myth]… it is not long before some of these fanatics take it upon themselves to punish Theo, or at least undo the damage he has caused.
They do so, with their own brand of violence.
I don't want to give away too much of the action sequence of the latter stages of the story -- suffice it to say that I found it engaging enough to sit here, entirely pantsless, until the last page was read. And this is, as I said, rare for me.
What a terrific book. Faber has not failed me, ever.

Just the other day at work a co-worker of mine, a consummate Kidder-Arounder who shares a first name with an actual gospel-writer… he looked over at me and asked, "What exactly is Good Friday? Isn't that when Jesus was born?"
Again, not to be sacrilegious or anything, but this book has made me decry anew the level of [religious] ignorance at the root of many atrocities committed on behalf of "God"…. when ultimately, for most civilized people today, including Yours Truly, the real significance of religiously sponsored holidays is the fact that we do not have to go to work. We can stay home. In peace… at one with our undergarments.

******

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Splash du Jour: Tuesday


It's a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody but a parent or a God to love.

-- Graham Greene --


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

Friday, April 15, 2011

Splash du Jour: Friday

It doesn't matter whether a sequence of words is called a history or a story: that is, whether it is intended to follow a sequence of actual events or not. As far as its verbal shape is concerned, it will be equally mythical in either case. But we notice that any emphasis on shape or structure or pattern or form always throws a verbal narrative in the direction we call mythical rather than historical.
-- Northrop Frye --


Have a great Frye-day!
******

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday

His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. 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 like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby --


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

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Splash du Jour: Wednesday


If you are in a book store and can't find the particular book you are searching for, you are obviously in the…















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

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Splash du Jour: Monday

Sometimes it’s a sort of indulgence to think the worst of ourselves. We say, "Now I have reached the bottom of the pit, now I can fall no further," and it is almost a pleasure to wallow in the darkness. The trouble is, it’s not true. There is no end to the evil in ourselves, just as there is no end to the good. It’s a matter of choice. We struggle to climb, or we struggle to fall. The thing is to discover which way we’re going.
-- Daphne du Maurier --


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

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that.
The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.

-- Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go --


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

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

"The human race is unimportant. It is the self that must not be betrayed."
"I suppose one could say that Hitler didn't betray his self."
"You are right. He did not. But millions of Germans did betray their selves. That was the tragedy. Not that one man had the courage to be evil. But that millions had not the courage to be good."
-- John Fowles, The Magus --


Have a great Wednesday!
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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

We read deeply for varied reasons, most of them familiar: that we cannot know enough people profoundly enough; that we need to know ourselves better; that we require knowledge, not just of self and others, but of the way things are. Yet the strongest, most authentic motive for deep reading…is the search for a difficult pleasure.
-- Harold Bloom --

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

Monday, April 04, 2011

Splash du Jour: Monday

The president of the United States [Bush] has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.
-- Sam Harris, Letter To a Christian Nation --

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

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Three L's





As I explained a while ago, I'm experiencing a bit of a dry spell when it comes to blogging. And even, reading.
A mixture of laziness, lethargy… and lager.
But I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that last night I went to the Joe Bonamassa concert. It was NOT disappointing.
He is one of my favourite guitarists ever -- his genre is mostly blues a la straight-ahead rock. I took a ton of videos with my new iPod and there are so many to choose from… such great music -- but instead of music at all, I've chosen a brief clip of one of the rare moments that Mr. Bonamassa actually spoke to the audience.
Since he mentions one of my own most favourite establishments in the Universe, I felt I must share this with you…

video

I am the guy screaming "Yes" right after the word "corner".
And I feel compelled to say that I am NOT the guy that yells out "I like chai lattes!"
Every moment of this concert was incredible. But here is a clip I uploaded to Youtube today. It's from his acoustic solo set.
It may be a bit of an exaggeration to be calling him The Greatest Guitarist in the World -- but if Joe Bonamassa isn't… I wonder who is?


Friday, April 01, 2011

Splash du Jour: Friday

From authors whom I read more than once I learn to value the weight of words and to delight in their meter and cadence -- in Gibbon's polyphonic counterpoint and Guedalla's command of the subjunctive, in Mailer's hyperbole and Dillard's similes, in Twain's invectives and burlesques with which he set the torch of his ferocious wit to the hospitality tents of the world's colossal humbug . . . I know no other way out of what is both the maze of the eternal present and the prison of the self except with a string of words.
-- Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's Notebook, Nov., 2010 --


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

The End


The End


It was the walking away.

The footsteps of it all, the sound
heels on floor, steps, street, clouds.

A sorry kiss on your knees, ankles
toes. Soul. I realized.

North and south can meet again.
East and west -- never.


It was the walking away.
The setting sun.

-- © Ciprianowords, Inc. 2011 --