Friday, August 29, 2014

Splash du Jour: Friday

We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire, though often it is the distance between us and the object of desire that fills the space in between with the blue of longing. I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation on its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance?  If you can look across the distance without wanting to close it up, if you can own your longing in the same way that you own the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed? For something of this longing will, like the blue of distance, only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition and arrival, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them and the blue instead tints the next beyond. Somewhere in this is the mystery of why tragedies are more beautiful than comedies and why we take a huge pleasure in the sadness of certain songs and stories. Something is always far away.
-- Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost --


Have a great Friday!
*****

Monday, August 25, 2014

Splash du Jour: Monday

I'm not against religion in the sense that I feel I can't tolerate it, but I think written into the rubric of religion is the certainty of its own truth. And since there are 6,000 religions currently on the face of the Earth, they can't all be right. And only the secular spirit can guarantee those freedoms, and it's the secular spirit that they contest. 
-- Ian McEwan --

Have a great Monday!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Splash du Jour: Monday


I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt --


Have a great Monday!
*****

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Splash du Jour: Thursday


Liking is probably the best form of ownership, and ownership the worst form of liking.
-- José Saramago, The Tale of the Unknown Island --


Have a great Thursday!
*****

Monday, August 11, 2014

Splash du Jour: Monday

I don’t think it is worth explaining how a character’s nose or chin looks. It is my feeling that readers will prefer to construct, little by little, their own character—the author will do well to entrust the reader with this part of the work.
-- Jose Saramago, The Paris Review: Winter 1998 --


Have a great Monday!
*****

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Thinking of Jose Saramago

As most of you reading this will already know, one of my favourite writers of all time is Jose Saramago. He died in 2010, and was the author of some the best novels I've ever read. Books like Blindness, All The Names, and The Cave [from which I purloined my own blog-alias, Cipriano] just to name a few.
I'm thinking of him tonight because well, he was Portuguese.
And tonight I sat out on my balcony while all around me things from Portugal exploded in the air.
See -- there is an annual event in my city called The Casino Lac-Leamy Sound of Light show. For a three week stretch in August there are fireworks competitions every Wednesday and Saturday night and it's really spectacular. Each night is hosted by a different country, and tonight it was Portugal's turn to blow up! In the past, I used to have to take the screen out of my kitchen window and sort of wedge the top half of myself out there [14 stories up] to watch the fireworks over on the Quebec side, at Lac Leamy. But beginning this year they relocated the event to the Ontario side of the river and now I can see them perfectly from my balcony without even risking my life. It's grand.
So, here is a bit of what went on as the homeland of Saramago lit up my back yard.


video

video

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Splash du Jour: Thursday

"The court was never really interested in my youth," Albert Speer said decades after the Nuremberg trials. "Why should they have been? What does it have to do with what happened?"
This was true enough for the judicial matters before the Nuremberg court. But it can never be true if one wishes to evaluate a human being, his development, motivations, conflicts and emotions. If there is one thing all psychologists now agree on, it is that the denial of love in childhood almost invariably leads to a damaged adult. And in that sense, Speer certainly had more than scars -- he bore the wounds of an emotionally deprived childhood.

-- Gitta Sereny, Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth --


Have a great Thursday!
*****

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Hardcover vs. Softcover: A Bookpuddle Poll

I am just early into the reading of what is already a terribly intriguing and well-written book. Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth, by Gitta Sereny. In 1978, the author began a lengthy series of personal interviews with Albert Speer, the enigmatic Nazi war criminal who escaped a death sentence at the Nuremberg Trials. His penalty for being the overlord of Hitler's entire war economy was twenty years in Spandau Prison. I look forward to providing a full review of this already excellent book somewhere around 2017 when I will finally finish it. The thing is about 20 pounds, the size of an average slab of concrete, and makes Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries look like… The Little Prince. Hence, the topic of tonight's blog. Hardcover vs. Trade Paperback.
Which do you prefer?
The only negative thing I can say about this book by Gitta Sereny is that it's giving me lower lumbar problems. It's so big and heavy and unwieldy. I'm considering devising a pulley system, attached to my neck. I prefer trade paperbacks myself. Not only are they lighter, but the covers bend.
I guess I'm also revealing the dinosauric nature of my reading style at any rate, because a lot of people would probably answer that they prefer their e-readers to either type of book that contain actual paper!
But humour me for a moment. Given that the battery in your Kindle or Kobo dies [or something] and you have to read either a hardcover or a softcover book, which do you prefer?

*****

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Although we are taught the Copernican astronomy in our textbooks, it has not yet penetrated to our religion or our morals, and has not even succeeded in destroying belief in astrology. People still think that the Divine Plan has special reference to human beings, and that a special Providence not only looks after the good, but also punishes the wicked. I am sometimes shocked by the blasphemies of those who think themselves pious -- for instance, the nuns who never take a bath without wearing a bathrobe all the time. When asked why, since no man can see them, they reply: 'Oh, but you forget the good God.' Apparently they conceive of the Deity as a Peeping Tom, whose omnipotence enables Him to see through bathroom walls, but who is foiled by bathrobes. This view strikes me as curious.
-- Bertrand Russell --


Have a great Tuesday!
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