Monday, January 29, 2007

Splash du Jour: Monday

When I get in the sun I get very tanned.
You can't tell me from the native fishermen in Hawaii or Mexico.
-- Desi Arnaz –

Have a great Monday, all!
I am gone.
I am on my way to Mexico!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"What happens in Mexico..."

There is no one that deserves a vacation right now, more than I do.
And I know what you are thinking.
You are thinking that you deserve one, too.
And you probably do, there is no doubt of that.
It’s just that I need one MORE than you do.
And so I am going on one.

In less than 24 hours from now.

I am all packed away and ready to go, as soon as I have a bit of sleep here.
Tomorrow I will be in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico.
Here is a picture of the hotel that I will be staying at.

It’s called the Riu Vallarta.
Here is a great little slide show of the place.
I cannot wait to gorge myself on the 24-hour, round-the-clock all-inclusiveness of the resort, and also the Riu Jalisco, which we are allowed to walk to and destroy our livers at!
I’m taking a pager, just so I can reach for it and fling it into the ocean when it rings.
No, actually I am just kidding. That wouldn’t be very environmentally responsible of me.
[I will bury it in the sand, instead.]

I am meeting other members of my family there. We will all be in the air at the same time, departing from all corners of Canada, and arriving within hours of each other.
In my last phone conversation with my sister, hours ago, she said she is leaving the following message on her fridge door, “What happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico!”
I like that!

So I am just writing to let regular readers of Bookpuddle know that I may not be around much during the next week or so.
Any posting I do will have to be based on two important factors:
# 1) My sobriety.
# 2) Computer access.

For reading material, I am taking a little something from the year 1830.
Stendhal’s, The Red and the Black.
Always into the bestsellers. That’s me!

-- Cip


Friday, January 26, 2007

Splash du Jour: Friday

I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.
-- Emily Dickinson –

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Splash du Jour: Thursday

I believe natural beauty has a necessary place in the spiritual development of any individual or any society. I believe that whenever we destroy beauty, or whenever we substitute something man-made and artificial for a natural feature of the earth, we have retarded some part of man’s spiritual growth.
-- Rachel Carson (1907-1964) –

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'll Be An Expert

Forgive me for once again merely talking about a snapshot of my day, rather than writing some sort of profound thing about….. something.
But a neat thing did happen at the end of my lunchtime.
After eating a falafel pita and some cream of broccoli soup, [quite the combo!] I sauntered on into the Public Library downtown and thought I would read a bit of my book:
The Edible Woman, by Margaret Atwood.

Instead, I fell asleep in one of the glorious Library chairs in the lounge area. Just briefly, but with the intensity of a fully anaesthetized rhinoceros.

When I awoke I made my way past a used-book display that had been set up in the foyer area sometime during my hibernation. There were books on carts, and man were they junky. [The books, not the carts.] Like really tremendously bad books. You know?
Titles like “Parasitic Entomology of New York City During The Depression Era” and “Pouring Cement: More Than Meets The Eye”…. stuff like that.
Instantly I had the thought → “Wow! Who is going to buy such utter JUNK?”

And I turned to leave, noticing that on the stairway leading to the second level there were other books, standing upright, covers in full view. [Like this is not a safety hazard?]
And one of these books leaped out of the background, into the foreground. I was startled to see it.
Volume 3 of the Canadian Fiction Studies Series. Circa 1989.
Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman: A Reader’s Guide, by W.J. Keith.
I find serendipitous coincidences like this so uncanny!
I mean, I had the novel itself in my jacket pocket at the time.

I picked up this volume and leafed through it. It looked great.
So I sort of held it up in the air and looked around, because there was no one evidently SELLING it. Just then this wee little old scraggly woman [not very edible] came towards me out of the crowd of people and I asked her how much the book cost.
“75 cents,” she said.
I handed her three quarters.
A small price to pay to find out more about the myriad of symbolic nuance buried in the novel. Even though [as I flip through this recent find] I see that my own reading partner has already been as erudite in her comments as this author is here.
Now, there is no doubt about it. As a result of such dual-pronged expert tutelage, I am going to be an expert on edible women!

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

“Man was put on this earth to eat meat...The Bible says so dumbbell... I mean look it up will ya? All them old Bible peoples, they was always eating meat, soon as they found out eating apples was wrong. It's true! On special occasions: goats and lambs. Who the hell ever heard of sacrificing a head of lettuce? You?”
-- Archie Bunker –

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Urban Observations: The Sequel

For the past couple of days I have been working offsite, at a highrise building in the downtown core. So I walk there from my place. I love it.
At lunchtime I walk down Metcalfe Street to the Foodcourt at The World Exchange Plaza. [Note…. that’s World Exchange Plaza…. not World Sexchange Plaza…]
Today it was snowing, and the weather was mild.
On the way back to the office I stopped at one intersection with the rest of the herd and waited for the “Walk” signal.
I looked to the right and saw a guy and his dog.
This guy was bent over on hands and knees beside his dog and patting around on a patch of grass, freshly snowed upon.
I found this so interesting that I missed the “Walk” signal altogether and moved a bit closer. With my new angle I could now see what he was after. You probably know too, right?
There it was. A little steaming pile of…… digested Alpo©!
And that’s when I noticed that the guy has a plastic bag over his hand. But I am now wondering why in the hell he doesn’t just pick up the….. treasure….. instead of flattening the snow all around it.

That’s when I noticed the special body-harness on the dog.
This is a seeing-eye dog.
This guy is blind.
Now everything within me is refraining from lending a helping……. voice!
“Little to the left….. some more… oh, too much. To the right now… left again…. you’re getting warmer…. oh too far… back a bit. That’s it. Oh, almost got it….”

But I didn’t. I just watched.
And by Jiminy, he found it.
I wanted to applaud.
But I didn’t.

As the dog led him past me, this guy slipped the bag of treasure into his jacket pocket.
Now that’s dedication!
That is SERIOUS responsible urban living.
Out of respect for you Mr. Blind Person, I did not applaud at the time.
And out of respect for myself, I did not shake your hand!
But seriously, kudos to you my friend, for your canine poop-consciousness above and beyond the call of duty.


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work… I want to achieve it through not dying.
-- Woody Allen –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Splash du Jour: Monday

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.
-- Jack Handey –

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Urban Observations

I hope that no one misconstrues what I am about to say, thinking that I am making some sort of value-judgment on the phenomenon itself.
It is merely an unanswered question that has come to me today, and so I share it with you.

I am an urbanite.
I LIVE in the downtown core of a city of approximately a million inhabitants.
As such, I encounter a fair number of what has come to be known as “street-people.”
Perhaps another phrase would be “homeless” people. Whatever the proper descriptive name for them may be, I am referring specifically today to the sector of this social grouping that are the ones that ask you for money.
I pass them every day, in my pedestrian travels.
Like today.
I spent the afternoon downtown drinking coffee all over the place, and reading Margaret Atwood. When I left Starbucks and made my way home, I was repeatedly asked to part ways with any money I may have had in my pocket.
It is incredible the amount of times I am asked for my money, on the way home.
[Remember, I am not making a judgment upon the gross amount of need out there, I am merely recounting an observation of reality]…. I mean, one guy asked me for money, and literally, I could see, not even fifty feet yonder, the next guy gearing up to ask me the same question.
Where am I? In Calcutta?
Walking the streets of my city is beginning to be like crossing a never ending toll bridge!
But today, for the first time a question hit me.
After I had said, “Sorry pal” to about the fifth “pal”.... I asked myself:

Honestly, I had never noticed this before!
And I am a well-travelled, experienced urbanite.
Why is it always men asking for money?
In all seriousness, I would estimate that for every 100 people that ask me for money on the street, upwards of 95 of them will be men.

It’s just an observation I have acknowledged.
I have no answer to the question.

To see a former blog of mine on the phenomenon of urban begging, click → HERE.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Musical Genius

One of the things about myself that I have rarely mentioned on this blogpage [if ever] is how much I love singing. Both doing it, and listening to it, when both are done well.
I am the consummate dashboard-tapping guy that gets caught singing at the red light!
So today I thought I would just take a minute to tell you of one of my favorite songs of all time.

It’s the song Sacrifice, performed by Elton John.
The song was originally released on the 1989 album entitled Sleeping With The Past, but was also subsequently released on the 1996 compilation album Love Songs.
The lyrics are written by Bernie Taupin, who has composed at least eighty thousand poems for Elton to put the music to. Seriously, check this out. Taupin is some sort of writing machine! The success of the collaborative efforts of Taupin and “Sir” Elton are impossible to exaggerate.
OK, but this one song, Sacrifice.

I just think that it is incredible, and it is not so much the lyrics that impress me, even though they are pretty dang good. It is what Elton John has done with them that makes me listen to the thing a thousand times over, wanting to hear it one thousand and one!
The genius of the song is in the “phrasing.”
By “phrasing” I am referring to the value of each syllable in each word. And it includes the invention of syllables that are not there. Phrasing refers to the artist’s choice of how long these syllables will be drawn out or extinguished. With careful attention given to inflection.
For instance, from the very first line, there is an artistic choice involved in making the word “sign” have three descending steps to it. Stuff like that. This first sentence ["It's a human sign"] has five syllables, but Elton John makes it contain eight.
And the result is that the listener runs UP five steps and DOWN three, and pauses, as though waiting to hear what more needs to be said. And that is exactly what the writer [Taupin] would want a listener to do.
But to create it, to do this, requires musical genius.
I could mention similar things about every single line of this entire song.
I just think it is one of the most beautifully crafted songs of all time.
So much so, that the best thing I can do is shut up about it. My comments cannot do it justice.
You can hear and see the music video for Sacrifice, HERE.


It's a human sign

When things go wrong

When the scent of her lingers

And temptation's strong

Into the boundary

Of each married man

Sweet deceit comes calling

And negativity lands

Cold cold heart

Hard done by you

Some things look better baby

Just passing through

And it's no sacrifice

Just a simple word

It's two hearts living

In two separate worlds

But it's no sacrifice

No sacrifice

It's no sacrifice at all

Mutual misunderstanding

After the fact

Sensitivity builds a prison

In the final act

We lose direction

No stone unturned

No tears to damn you

When jealousy burns

Music by Elton John
Lyrics by Bernie Taupin


Friday, January 19, 2007

Splash du Jour: Friday

Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.
-- Joseph Campbell –

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Poem...

I Am An Orchid

A girl told me, so it must be true.
And I told her she was a peach.
I said, “When I look at you
I think of how a man will preach
until he is black and blue
and never know the half of who
God is,” and she said, “Teach
me the way that I may eschew
all others, and preferring you
above them…” Just then I reach
her lips with mine, and two
and two is one and each is each
and we, no longer on the beach
with juice and petals slipping through
our hair and hands, are lost to view.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2007


Splash du Jour: Thursday

All greatness of character is dependent on individuality.
The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him will never have any other than
an existence of mediocrity.

-- James Fennimore Cooper (1789-1851) --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we'd all pile into the car - I forget what kind it was - and drive and drive. I'm not sure where we'd go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called "Dad." We'd eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.
-- Jack Handey –

Have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In The Year 2107...

I work at a gigantic archival storage facility.
To say more about the logistics of my job would be too boring for you to adequately comprehend.
However, one thing happened today that even I find interesting.
We process, store, retrieve and ship millions of bits of information. My day-to-day life revolves around the never-ending search for the exact information our clients require, whether it be in hard-copy [paper] or computer-data [tape, disk, etc.] format.
[OK, when does the part that is NOT boring kick in, Cipriano?]
→Today, I retrieved five boxes of ancient files [of a nature I cannot divulge here] and was just about to seal them shut on this special machine, made for just that purpose.
As I was doing so, my co-worker informed me that these boxes were to be shipped to another location where they were to be stored and then re-opened [here is the neat part]….. in one-hundred years.
One-hundred years?
That's almost a century!

Immediately, as I lifted the next box onto the banding machine for the sealing procedure, I had this amazing sense of how profoundly dead I would be when that very box would be re-opened.
It was sort of creepy a bit.
What will the world be like, when that box is unsealed, and some guy or gal [or maybe by then there will be a third gender?] will peer into its contents?
All of a sudden I had this wild urge to write a little note and slip it inside one of the boxes.
But what would I say?

“Umm. Hey! How’s it going? Uhhh… I sealed up this box way back in the year 2007 and I have… I mean had a blogpage called Bookpuddle. If you go there and check the archives for January…..”

No, that’s stupid. How about…

“Hi, person of the future. I am writing this in 2007. Do you drive a spaceship? If you do…. just think, this note was written by a guy who had to drive a CAR to work. Yeah. A CAR!”

No, that’s pretty bad, too.
In the end, I never wrote anything at all.
Now, the Spaceship-driving alien-type hermaphrodite-creatures that will open those five boxes will never even know that I existed!


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

If I can stop one heart from breaking

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

-- Emily Dickinson –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Splash du Jour: Monday

Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.

-- Robert Frost –

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

No Answer

There is drama all around us.
I am writing this, mere minutes after it happened.
I am sitting here at Starbucks, with my laptop open in front of me. It had just booted up, and I had just taken my first sip of my first Sunday coffee. I'm at the bar-like counter, at the plate-glass window, facing a sidewalk full of pedestrians.
In fact, here is a picture of the very exact spot.

The street is Rideau Street.
A blue van pulls up rather quickly, zipping into the bus-lane to offload passengers. “Blue-Line Taxi” says the sign on top.
The rolling side door opens and a young woman, about 20 years of age, jumps out. She steps onto the sidewalk and walks a few feet, and as she does this, I notice that there is still someone else in the back of the van [it had tinted windows] and that person reaches out and slams the door shut and says to the driver something like, “Go! GO!”
I saw some frantic hand waving from the backseat area.
The van then disobeys every rule of the road [as taxi-drivers do] and cranks the wheels to the left, cuts across three lanes, and takes off in the opposite direction from which it arrived.
At this same moment the woman who had gotten out turns around and flings her arms out, palms up, saying, “Whaaaat?”
Immediately she sets her handbag on a newspaper stand and takes out her cell phone, looking in the direction of the fleeing cab, and dialing. There is no answer.
No answer.
It is, to me, one of the most amazing things about the human body's emotional reaction time, how quickly tears can well up. Because I can already see them in this woman’s eyes, and she is about twenty feet away from me.
As the phone rings inside that cab.
And there is no answer.
With this agonizing [for me to see] look on her face, she snaps the phone shut and zips it into her handbag and turns, and walks away.
And I was already wondering, like even before any of this had happened, I was wondering today, the following question:
“Why do human relationships have to be so difficult? So precarious? So precariously difficult?”

There are a few personal reasons I was already thinking this, but it helps that I also just finished reading a supremely excellent philosophic novel that raises this exact question… and provides really…. → no answer.
The novel is Alain de Botton’s On Love. [a.k.a. Essays In Love]. I must write something about this book, it was so damn good.
But heartbreaking. Good, but heartbreakingly so. Like human relationships, I guess? The best ones having the most potential to hurt, at some point?
I am just about to begin, as soon as I refill this coffee here, another de Botton book, called The Consolations of Philosophy. The table of contents shows that one chapter is called A Broken Heart, so perhaps the author will answer the answerless question in that chapter. But I am not going to hold my breath.
Because love is complex. There is nothing as complex.
To the question, there is no answer.
Unless love itself is the answer.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Two Things!

Last weekend some friends and I gathered for a post-holiday Starbucks gab-session.
The four of us meet every Sunday evening.
Sun, rain, or snow.
One of the things we discussed were New Year's Resolutions.
They had such interesting ones, involving fitness programs, character-building sort of self-assessment things a la Stephen Covey, healthier eating regimens.... all of that sort of planned-out sort of jazz.
When it got to me I had to say...
"Umm. Nothing! Not a single thing!"
Poor planning, I guess. I am just not the "resolution" type.
But just tonight I have thought of two things that are My 2007 Resolutions:

1) More sleep.
2) Less beer.

You may think I am joking but I could not be more serious.
Concerning #1, I am not an insomniac at all. Once I decide to sleep I pretty much go into a coma, but the things is.... by the time I DECIDE to do so, it is usually tomorrow! [Umm, for instance, check the post-time on this blog here...]
That's gotta change.
Concerning #2, I am not an alcoholic at all. But I do consume beer in a bit of an all-too regular sort of fashion. Two here. One there. But I mean, why not drink something else in 2007? Like.... vodka! [No, just kidding]. Like bottled water or something?

So, these are my two resolutions.
I know, I know. I am soooooooooo ambitious!


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Splash du Jour: Thursday

I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain (what I consider the most enviable of all titles) the character of an honest man.
-- George Washington, letter to Alexander Hamilton, 28th Aug. 1788 –

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

The most attractive are not those who allow us to kiss them at once (we soon feel ungrateful) or those who never allow us to kiss them ( we soon forget them), but those who know how to carefully administer varied doses of hope and despair.
-- Alain de Botton, in On Love --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"Sicker Than A Dog"

Why do we say the phrase “sicker than a dog?”
I’ve known a lot of dogs, and really, only a small percentage of them were actually sick at any given time. Perhaps it is because when they do get sick, it is hard to diagnose what is wrong? Difficult to cure a sick dog? Is that it?
At any rate, yesterday and today, I have been “sicker than a dog!”
Toward the end of Monday’s work day I noticed that my legs, from butt to ankle, were killing me. And I had a headache. And I was unbearably tired.
When I got home I was useless. I went to sleep very early, and I was freezing, even though I had turned the temperature up to somewhere just below “Broil.”
So I had a very fitful sleep.
When I awoke this morning, I actually felt not bad. That is, until I got OUT of bed.
Total dizziness and nausea struck me like a hammer while I was brushing my teeth.
So I called my boss and told him I’d be staying home.
I still don’t know exactly what was wrong with me. I seem to be getting over it now.

In the early afternoon I had to make a trip to the supermarket to pick up some pain reliever. I was all out of headache pills.
So [as always] I grabbed a basket and started buying more stuff than I really need.
Ends up I had a basketfull of junk and was just about to go to the cashier when I remembered what I had really come there for.
One cashier was sort of standing off to the side, I think she was on break.
She looked at me and I said, “I need headache stuff.”
[I looked a bit like that Una-bomber guy after they had dragged him out of his shack in the wilderness, you know?]
She quickly said, “Right this way…” and it was all I could do to keep up with her, as she led me to the pharmacy department.
I immediately was reminded of the Jerry Seinfeld routine, where he says:

To me the only thing tougher than the supermarket is the drugstore.
The drugstore's really challenging because you have no idea what they're talking about.
You're just looking at the ingredients.
I had a cold a couple of weeks ago.
So I go in there and I'm looking...
The entire wall is cold medication.
And you can't understand anything so you're just reading ingredients.
Did you ever catch yourself reading ingredients in the drugstore?
"Oh, this has .03 tetrahydroziline! That’s a good amount of that."
But it's so hard to figure out.
Here’s one that’s “quick acting.” This other one is “long lasting.”

"Hmm, when do I need to feel good?"
"Now or later?"
I don't know.
Then they tell you about the pain relieving ingredient.
There's always gotta be a lot of that.
Nobody wants anything less than “extra-strength”.
"Extra-strength" is the absolute minimum.
You can’t even get “strength”. “Strength” is out now.
It's all “extra-strength”.
Some people are not satisfied with “extra”. They want “maximum”.
"Give me the maximum-strength."
"Give me the maximum allowable human dosage."
"Figure out what will kill me… and then back it off a little bit."

So I’m standing there thinking all of this and she is giving me a tour of the pharmacy shelf. For someone that rarely buys headache pills, it actually is confusing.
She recommended the Extra-Strength Tylenol Rapid-Release Gelcaps.

“These work really fast,” she says. “I use them all the time for my cancer pain.”
“Cancer?” I said.
“Uh-huh,” she said as she handed me one of the boxes and we walked back to an open cashier till.
She rang me through. She was so nice.
I popped a couple of these pills in my car as I drove home and ate them down with an apple I had just bought. I felt better before I even got back here.
Cancer pain?
I may be sicker than a dog, but those two words from that cashier made me realize that I should not even complain about whatever it is that is wrong with me today!


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

"We don’t do God, I’m sorry, we don’t do God."
-- Alistair Campbell interrupting a question to Tony Blair on his faith –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Splash du Jour: Monday

“Writing is a serious business and not for any stray bastard
that wants to try it.”

-- Lancelot Clokey, in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, Part III, ch.6 –

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Toilet Talk

I awoke this morning to the sound of violent abdominal convulsions.
Otherwise known as “heaving” and/or “hacking.”
Air vomiting!
The source of the racket was Jack.
He is a chronically notorious hairball-hacker!
I’ve written of this hobby of his many times, but most notably HERE, I guess. Poor Jack.

So I launched out of bed and ran to find where it was happening.
This is always important, because if I just roll over and go back to sleep, later on I will surely step on an oozing pile of cat-vom!
I need to GET to the source of the action, as fast as I can.

So there he was…. levitating, pretty much!
There’s nothing you can do really. It’s pretty much like watching someone have an epileptic seizure [as I have observed, several times]… you’ve just go to let the thing play out. You can’t make it stop!
Sometimes I will at least swirl Jack around toward a more suitable puke-zone. Often this means digging his head out of my shoes, near the door.
But today there he was, convulsing toward a patch of floor just outside the washroom. I went to the kitchen and grabbed the spray-cleaner and a new roll of paper towels, while Jack hacked.
I anticipated a routine cleanup, and it was, at first.
I got back to Jack just as he gave it the final heave-ho and “SPLORRRRRRQUE” there it was! Like a mouse in porridge!
I bent down to gather up this pile of hurl, and sort of lifted it all in this dripping wad of at least four or five sheets of paper towel. Eager to get back into bed I just threw this steaming mess into the toilet, and flushed it.


And I mean….. wayyyyyyyy wrong!
How could a routine cleanup that I had performed about 600 times before, go so wrong?
Well, it went wrong because I usually throw the stuff into the garbage can, not the toilet.
Apparently toilets are designed to carry away a lot of umm….. stuff…. but they are not really made to export half of a cat’s intestinal tract wrapped in a towel!

The water rose. Oh God, it rose and would not stop.
I began to wail, “No, no. Don’t do this to me. What the hell? NOOOOOO!”
I grabbed the toilet plunger and jammed it in there but water and cat-vom were now pouring over the sides of the bowl.
No, no, no, no!” I was now pretty much jumping with all my weight on that plunger. I’m surprised I did not shove it right through the pipes and into the toilet on the 12th floor, beneath me!
“Water! Water everywhere, and not a drop to dri….”
Never mind. There was no time for jokes!

I grabbed a towel, [and a damn good towel it was] from the rack and threw it on the floor. And another one. And the rest of the paper towels.
I kept thrashing away with the plunger while visions of cat-puke seeping through someone’s apartment below me, danced in my head!
Finally, a shift in water level.
Yes, yes, there it goes…. down, down, down. I am nearly giddy for joy! Joy that my toilet works!
And not only works, but works so good!
Because it really went crazy now, like with the way it greedily hauled back on the water there at the very end….. you know what I mean?
After all that wild plunging I guess it sort of hyper-flushed itself!
Like, it was startling the way it gurgled and gurgled angrily, like I mean there was NO water in the toilet now and yet it was still swallowing something. It was like a death rattle. Like my toilet was yelling at me, all garbled like…. “Don’t evvverrr doooo that agaaaiiiiin you idiotttttt…..”

The bathroom was a mess.
Some dang good towels got thrown out.
It took me a while to clean everything up, while Jack casually looked on, occasionally licking his paws, and lightly meowing now and then.
Wondering what all of the fuss was about.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Adventures in Obscurity: Part 314

I know what you are thinking.... "When is Cipriano ever going to talk about someone other than Brian Moore? Was the guy his Grandpa or something?"
I wish.
Or maybe you're thinking something more along these lines... "Does Cipriano ever read anything that was published like... more recent than forty or fifty years ago?"
Sometimes I do, yes! If I must.
But a lot of great books are like... ancient! Let's face it.
For instance, Brian Moore's 1962 novel, An Answer From Limbo.

This is undoubtedly my favorite Brian Moore novel and I have read almost all of his many many books. He is (was) such a fabulous writer, but there is something about this book that just goes beyond any of his others. And the strange thing is that Limbo it is not easy to obtain.
Mine had to be purchased used. It was not a "best-seller" as is so often NOT synonymous with "best-written"!
But, trust me, OK? Do what you have to do to get your hands on An Answer From Limbo.

This is the story of Brendan Tierney, a 29 year old would-be-famous writer, presently employed at a banal magazine in New York City. He "knows" that there is a great novel inside of him, just waiting to get out. [Incidentally, I feel the same way about myself, maybe that's why I like this story so much.]
One day, an aquaintance of Brendan's achieves literary acclaim for a novel that he's written, and Brendan feels that his friend is unworthy of this success, especially as he compares this man's ability with his own.
This spurs Brendan on to no limit of sacrificial endeavours to achieve his own literary goals. To free up his writing time, he ships his mother (from Ireland) into the spare bedroom to tend to the children, and his wife takes a job to support this changing bohemian lifestyle. It is not long before everyone around him begins to realize that nothing and no-one will stand in the way of his obsession, and Brendan has to consider what price he is willing to pay for his ruthlessness.
A poignant example of Brendan's complete deterioration is seen when, at his own mother's funeral, he can only contemplate how the scene would be felt by one of his fictional characters. He has become detached from himself... and another appropriate title for this book could be something like... "What Price Greatness?"

For all his sacrifice, does Brendan ever achieve greatness? Well, that is the most searing question! My reader-friends, this is an under-rated, under-read book that shows Brian Moore at his unparalleled greatness, and the writing and characterization is superb in every way.
1) Find it.
2) Get it.
3) Love it!
If you do those first two things, the third will follow.


Splash du Jour: Friday

If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist,
it's another nonconformist who doesn't conform
to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.

-- Bill Vaughan –

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Roark. And Roarkness

Just a few brief words tonight, coming to you LIVE from Starbucks in the Chapters bookstore!
As you have probably deciphered [after I’ve mentioned it at least 16 times now], I am reading The Fountainhead.
Need I even mention the name of the author?
If you do not know her, see the photo in this morning’s Splash du Jour.
There she is, looking as powerful as ever. As if she could crack walnuts with her elbows!
I am thoroughly enjoying the book, and I am now in the last of the four sections. Part IV, entitled Howard Roark.
My reading partner has suggested that the book in its entirety is as much about Dominique [the woman who loves Roark] as it is about Roark himself. And I agree. When it comes to character development, more time and print is given over to Dominique. Yet, there can be no great degree of character development in Dominique, without the presence of Roark.
He is the quintessential individualist.
He makes a great impression on all who meet him.
And I myself feel that I have met him here, and I am impressed.

I may one day write an essay on my interpretation of Roark and his overall Roarkness, but not tonight.
Tonight, I simply wanted to relate an incident that took place about five minutes ago.
I wandered from my table and ended up in the Rand section of the fiction shelves. I picked out a book entitled The Early Ayn Rand: A Selection From Her Unpublished Fiction.
I flipped through it and my eyes landed upon the title of the penultimate chapter. It’s called Roark and Cameron.
[In The Fountainhead, Henry Cameron was Roark’s architectural mentor.]
Here’s what happened. → I instantly said to myself, “How interesting. I wonder what Roark is up to, in this lost chapter.”
And I started to devour the words.
Nothing unusual in that, except for the fact that I realized, after reading a bit, that I was not thinking of him as a fictional character! I was ACTUALLY WONDERING WHAT HE WAS UP TO!
As though he were REAL, and here on the bookstore shelf I had inadvertently stumbled upon some shards of further information about the man.
And so it is that I find it remarkable that an author has succeeded in doing this to me!
Rand has made me BELIEVE in Roark.
And Roarkness!

Interestingly enough, in the Fountainhead chapter I just finished reading prior to my wanderings, the character of newspaper tycoon Mr. Gail Wynand was doing the same thing. Finding himself amazed with Roark.
Wynand had just met with Roark for the first time, and in that meeting, had asked, “Have you always liked being Howard Roark?”
I love what Ayn Rand tells us, happened next….
Roark smiled. The smile was amused, astonished, involuntarily contemptuous.
“You’ve answered,” said Wynand.

Too soon it will end.
It’s shaping up to be one of the most enjoyable and significant novels I have read in a long while!


Splash du Jour: Thursday

"Capitalism demands the best of every man – his rationality – and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the products of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him."
-- Ayn Rand

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. …Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window – no, I don’t feel how small I am – but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.”
-- Gail Wynand, in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, Part III, ch.4 –

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


My apologies to all those who click on to this page and occasionally see nothing new!
I've been in airplanes!
But now I am home.
Jack is meowing, my alarm is ringing. Work displaces hibernation!
I would love to recommend to you all, a great book.
Leon Uris's, [1970] QB VII.
A superb novel!

What will happen to the Plaintiff in this case at Queen's Bench Courtroom Number Seven?
What will the verdict be? Things can go either way right up until the jury foreman tells us, and that is part of what makes this novel so great. The Courtroom drama is excellent, and Uris does a fine job of showing us how expert legal cross-examination during the course of a trial can turn a Plaintiff into a Defendent.
It's superb stuff. He keeps us guessing and re-guessing.
The issue at stake here in QBVII cannot be over-estimated.
A doctor is being tried in order to establish whether he can be held accountable for atrocious operations he performed while he was himself a prisoner of Jadwiga Concentration Camp. Did Dr. Kelno purposely mutilate and torture the Jews that were brought to him? If so, was this intentional? What were his options? Is he, in fact, an Anti-Semite? Were his actions based on racial hatred/prejudice?
Wow, I was completely taken up with this book and fascinated with its sobering subject matter. I was page-flipping long into the night... the whole "Oh-just-one-more-chapter-just-one-more-chapter," thing.
At one point the narrator says "There is in us all that line that prevents us from fully understanding those who are different." This is so true, and this book makes each reader ask themself... "In a similar situation, what would I have done?"
Great characterization and suspense from a superb author.
I love this book, and highly recommend it.