Friday, June 29, 2007

What? I'm PG?

Wow, I just tested my blog for its “rating” at this Ratings Place.
Apparently, I am listed as PG [ Pretty Gnarly?] and get this, this judgment is based on the criteria that somewhere in my 1,045 blogs, I used the word “Death” two times, and “Crack” one time.
Ummm…. in my opinion, that is quite tame, am I right?

Like, didn’t I use the word “bitch” just yesterday in my Splash du Jour? And the radar chose to pick up on the seemingly banal “death” and “crack” words? Hmmm…. who is running this ratings place…. the ghost of Jerry Falwell?
I thought I was pretty prime time!
Maybe the PG stands for “Positively Grandmotherly”?


Splash du Jour: Friday

I agree with you, Kitty.
That looks like one fine treat there!
But I’m gonna stick with my Pringles©, is that alright?

Have a great Friday!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Splash du Jour: Thursday

A girl from Illinois and a girl from the east coast were seated side by side on an airplane. In an attempt to be friendly, the girl from Illinois said, "So, where ya from?"
The east coast girl said, "I'm from a place where they know better than to end a sentence with a preposition."

The girl from Illinois sat quietly for a few moments and then replied, "So, where ya from, bitch?"

-- sent to me from a reader IN Illinois, I swear --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Adventures in Duckfarming: Part 4

I’ve been sort of slack on my duck-reporting!
Remember the Duckmistress?
Well, here is the most recent shot of her darling brood!
Aren’t they cute?
The plumage has really gotten so much more colorful since their days of ducklinghood. Now they are pretty much all growed-up.
Flying all over the place.
Sometimes swooping down for a group landing and deciding at the last second that they did not have proper runway clearance. Up they go again, to re-calibrate their instruments… descend, and finally touch down, tumble a bit, and then strut around looking at each other with that pompous “Nothing to it” look on their beaks!

Apparently, one of the females did not return from the flight last night. She is still AWOL, the truant little thing.
And the last time she returned from such a stunt her mascara was all smeared up, she was walking a bit funny, and positively reeking of cologne! The wayward thing!
The Duckmistress is worried, as are these five remaining do-gooders.

Here are some former duckblogs.
Ahh… they grow up so fast!

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Hot town, summer in the city 

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty 

Been down, isn't it a pity 

Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead

Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head. . .

-- The Lovin’ Spoonful –

Will somebody please turn down the humidity around here?
If today is as hot as yesterday was, I’m going to croak!
How about you? What’s the temperature in your part of the planet?

[All the same →] Have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

No animal should ever jump up on the dining-room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation.
-- Fran Lebowitz –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cute! Real Cute!

A funny thing happened on my way out of the lunchroom today, at work.
I glanced at the big bulletin board and there, right in the middle of it, very conspicuous indeed, was an envelope with my name on it.
So I unpinned it.
It felt a bit funny, the envelope, I mean.
As though it contained something other than mere paper. Something a bit heavy, and sort of concentrated in only one corner.
I tore it open and what fell out but one of those yellow sticky notes, all folded up.
I unrolled this, to reveal no words whatsoever.
Just two quarters.
50 cents.

I’m a bit slow on the uptake, I’ll admit. Especially after a nice fat-laden Swanson TV-dinner!
So I did not “get” it, did not quite get the joke for those first 9 or 10 seconds.
Then I laughed!

See, there is only one person at my workplace that really reads my blog.
So, having read my blog from last night, she thought she would help me out a bit with my… [ahem!]… financial issues, regarding payphones!
Cute! Real cute!
I immediately turned around and went up to her office to congratulate her on such a witty gesture!
At first she played dumb. I handed her the quarters back, still stuck to their moorings in the yellow paper but she said, “No, no, I want you to have them. You really need them. You keep those quarters.”
[The brat!]

So I did. I kept them.
And I have them right here, right now, still stuck to the yellow paper, in fact.
And I’m sitting in a Starbucks at the book store.
And there’s a payphone over yonder.

So there can only be one right thing to do at this moment.
Since I don’t need an ambulance [that I am aware of], I am going to go to that payphone and order a pizza!
Ahhh... the serendipitous beauty of blogging.

Hmmm… I’m now thinking of writing a blog about how badly I need a new car.


Splash du Jour: Monday

Undaunted by the protesters, the G-8 leaders focused on finding consensus over global warming. And by “consensus” we mean getting Bush to agree with the other seven.
-- Jon Stewart, on The Daily Show

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Payphone Robbery

I am sitting at Starbucks right now and I need to use the payphone. But I’m not going to.
The reason why?
Because the price of a payphone call here in the city of Ottawa has recently risen to 50 cents. Plus, I am a cheapo.
These two factors combined mean that I am not using a payphone anymore for any reason less urgent than calling for my own ambulance!
50 cents?

What has this world come to?
When I was a kid [ Oh my God, I have turned into my father]… when I was a kid, using the payphone costed a mere 10 cents.
That is fair, I think.
Ten calls for a buck! Excellent. Who can’t live with that?
Then it went up to 25 cents.
OK, I’m not going to jump off a bridge over it or anything. 25 cents. A quarter.
Still reasonable.
But, here is how the new Payphone Robbery recently revealed itself to me.
I was driving down Strandherd Street and stopped to use a payphone. Put in the 25 cents. Nothing. The display read out some jibberish about my having a 25 cent “credit”. But no call went through. I thought the phone itself was broken.
So I drove to the next phone booth.
Same deal. “Credit” but no call.
Then it dawned on me… this thing is wanting me to put in another quarter?
For 50 cents, I’ll write a letter!

Now here’s the thing.
99% of you reading this little rant of mine… you own a cellphone. So, the whole phenomenon of Payphone Robbery is irrelevant to you. PLUS, you are saying to yourself, “Cipriano, isn’t it time that you sort of got with the programme here and….”
I have previously spoken somewhere about what I think of our silly cellphone culture.
Plus, I think that holding it next to your head like that gives you brain cancer.
Hence, I will not buy a cellphone.
I would rather adopt a somewhat more radical, yet, in my opinion, more feasible approach.
I am going to quit phoning people altogether!

And might I just add one more thing here?
It is you people, the ones with cellphones, all 99% of humanity out there that have caused this Payphone Robbery. This 50 cent problem! It’s all your fault!
See, the phone companies have been losing money. Why? Because everyone is using their own cellphone.
So they hike the rates of payphone usage, to compensate.

Thing is, I think this strategy is going to backfire on them.
Because see, people like me, part of that last 1% who still think that the Indians did it best with their smoke signals and all…. this Last Vestige of Antiquity… many of us are going to give in, and finally GET cellphones.
Because of the Payphone Robbery.
Whereas, [are you following me?]…. the smarter thing for the phone company to do would be to revert back to The Age of the Dime!

But they’ve made their greedy quick-fix of a choice.
And I will not bow, nor give in.
For me, when I am away from home, I am going to maintain my NNFA-NNFP Rule©.
No Need For Ambulance → No Need For Payphone.

That is, unless I have to order a pizza.
There are still some phone calls that are… umm… non-optional matters of life and death!


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ornamental Cruelty

I feel sorry for fish.
Not so much the wild kind, like in a lake or stream or ocean. Well, actually even those type haven’t got the greatest life either when you think about it, having to worry every single moment about some bigger fish eating you. Not even being able to erect a fence against intruders!
Not knowing what fishhooks are?
But I mean domestic fish.
The kind you keep in a tank.
I feel sorry for them, I really do. What kind of a life is this?

I am sitting at Starbucks and in walk these three giddy girls. Young, and well…. giddy.
They each plop down a bunch of plastic bags filled with water and fish. Just leave them there on the table and then they walk away to go and get their drinks.
There must be a pet store nearby.

So I’m looking at these frantic fish in these bags.
Not a one of them is just sitting there, or even casually swimming. No. The tails are frantic, these are fish in turmoil. Fish well aware of the precariousness of their situation, and perhaps even chagrined at the giddiness of their new owners.
A couple of the bags are even sideways, and all that is keeping the occupant from a grisly gill-flapping death on a Starbucks table is the strength of a hastily-tied knot.
What if one were to accidentally roll off the table and smash to the floor?
The knot would burst, there’d be no last rites, all would be over.
No one is worried about this, except the fish itself, and me, apparently.

The girls return.
They set their drinks down amid the bags and are comparing fish with each other. Picking them up one by one and peering in. Imagine what the fish sees.
These big huge bag-distorted monster eyeballs ogling them!
It’s got to be horrible.

And so even if they survive the bus-ride “home” with these kids, what awaits them there?
A tank of some sort.
And they will probably be added to an already disgruntled and rudely displaced grouping of other fish that instantly hate them!
Even so, there is [I think] a worse scenario.
Yes, I am speaking of the solitary confinement tank.
Just you and the tank. Often, no accoutrements. No fake underwater trees, mermaids, or treasure chests. Not even that thing with the bubbles! Just you and water and this invisible wall you keep bumping against.
That’s gotta be fish hell.

No, I’ll go you one worse.
Put that tank in a bathroom. And while you’re at it, shrink the tank to the size of a baseball!
Seriously now, I was at a friend’s place and I was in the bathroom.
So as I was… sitting there [← enough detail? Ahh, the difference an “h” would make…] I look over and what do I see?
One of these baseball size jars WITH A LIVE FISH IN IT!
The thing’s got about enough room to want to kill itself, and that’s it!

I was horrified!
I mean, I had just peed more environment than this poor fish was living in!
It’s not right I tell you!
It’s not right, this fad with the ornamental fish in a jar. It’s cruel!
It would have been merciful of me to take that thing and flush it away.
And by the way, that fish’s funeral is going to take place there anyway! In the toilet!
But in the meantime, we feel compelled to have it suffer its life away in an almost always darkened bathroom. It cannot be good for the fish.

The girls have now left the Starbucks, giddy as ever.
Swinging their bags of frantic treasure.
Innocently filled to the brim with all manner of unintentional torture!


Friday, June 22, 2007

Splash du Jour: Friday

Me, calling home to check in on Jack!

You know, sometimes I REALLY miss Mexico!

I really REALLY miss the place! [MORE PICS]
Have a great Friday!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Splash du Jour: Thursday

The world is blue at its edges and in its depths.
This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water.
Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue.
The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. The light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.

-- Rebecca Solnit, in A Field Guide To Getting Lost

For my own biblically inspired, [yet entirely whimsical] take on the origins of the blueness of the sky, see my poem The Firmament.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

If there’s one thing that almost never fails to crack me up, it is David Letterman’s Top-Ten List.
Here is a recent one that had me very nearly soiling my pantaloons!
May it have a similar effect upon you…

Top Ten Signs Your Pilot Is Drunk

10. Introduces his co-pilots as Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniels.
9. Wings on his hat made of folded cocktail straws.
8. In lieu of P.A. safety instructions, he sings “Kung Fu Fighting”.
7. Long rambling announcements about animal shapes he’s seeing in the clouds.
6. At security, passengers remove shoes – he removes pants.
5. Giggling fit every time he says the word “cockpit”.
4. Delays takeoff to de-ice his mojito.
3. You experience heavy turbulence and you’re only taxiing to the runway.
2. Invites all passengers to a “layover” in his hotel room.
1. Midflight asks, “Which one of you losers is the designated driver?”

Have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Time To Quit

I guess that Bizarro© cartoon I placed on this morning’s Splash du Jour© has gotten me thinking about it.
Smoking, I mean.
It’s been a real long time since I have had a cigarette.
Over 22 years.
In fact, my last cigarette was inhaled on November 26th, 1984.
For some reason I had slept on the couch that night, and when I awoke the next morning I reached for a cigarette, but I was all out.
And I instantly said to myself, “I’m not buying any more.”
Admittedly, the night before, when I had noticed that I was down to my last ciggy, I said to myself, “Time to quit.” I verbalized a resolution there. But I had no idea I would follow through so determinedly.
That afternoon [the 27th of November] I went to Smitty’s© Restaurant with a friend. A smoker. Was I tempted to light up?

Strangely, not.
And then, when my friend Gord arrived a bit later [Smitty’s was our hangout], he sat at the table next to me, an eye-high partition between us.
Soon, he looked over and asked me for a cigarette, and I told him I had quit.
He laughed.

And then he got up from his seat, went to the vending machine, and purchased a pack.
That he may tempt me, thereby. Test my mettle!
Back at his table, he took one out of his freshly unwrapped pack and tossed it to me, over the wall.
I will never forget how that cigarette rolled, oh so delightfully across my own table, as though nudged along by Satan himself! At the time I would not have been surprised if that cigarette, fueled as it was by Gord’s well-intentioned yet cancerous desires to kill me, would have rolled its way right up my chest and into my mouth, somehow igniting itself along the way!
But I picked it up before it could do any of that, and reaching over the partition, handed it back to Gord, and said,
“Thanks. But, I quit!”

And I have not had one since.
Somehow, I have survived.
My story of quitting so “cold turkeyish” is unusual [uncommon], I know.
I had tried to quit several times [every New Year?] for many many New Years, and could never follow through. Could never do it.
Somehow this time, something clicked.

Dear Hopelessly-Addicted Puddle-Reader, if you smoke, I don’t want to lay a heavy on you, but I do want to encourage you.
Please quit!
Just try it. Try quitting. One more time.

In January of 2007, I flew to Mexico.

Not one person smoked a cigarette during that long flight, from frigidly cold Ottawa to beautifully warm Puerto Vallarta. Of course, smoking’s not allowed!
However, when we landed, HAI CARAMBA!
It was like a small brush fire around the tour buses waiting to take us to our respective resorts. I had to go back INTO the airport terminal for some fresh air!
EVERYONE was smoking outside. Like walking chimneys!
And I remember thinking, “How did you people survive that flight? Shouldn’t it be at least some sort of sign, telling you that you can actually live without filling yourself up with smoke?”

I am well aware that nicotine is powerful. It’s a powerful drug.
But maybe if you could just imagine that you are on a really long airplane ride?
Would that help?
OK, how about this one…. Imagine that you are on a really long airplane ride, and that if you continue to not smoke when it lands, you will SAVE A LOT OF MONEY, and BE MORE HEALTHY and also LIVE WAY LONGER?

Ahhh…. but I said I would not be heavy…..!


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Splash du Jour: Monday

My mother was a high school English teacher, and when I was a kid she used to tear apart my compositions with scissors and a glue pot. That made me into a ruthless self-editor. When I came to the New Yorker, I was determined to have the cleanest Gould galleys of any writer, and I did. Miss Gould was my mother.
-- Judith Thurmann –

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Pesthouse

I will skip all introductory preamble and move straight on to several opinionated statements → The Pesthouse, by Jim Crace, is an absolutely superb novel. Best I’ve read in a long time!
I loved it. I savoured, yet devoured it.
I didn’t want it to end, yet raced my way to its last page and I must conclude that anyone who thinks it worthy of less than five stars out of five is no friend of mine!
There. With that out of the way…

In this, the first novel by Crace I have ever read, post-apocalyptic America has been so long destroyed by some sort of un-named ecological disaster that the surviving population has reverted to a frontier, pioneering manner of life.
Gone [and seemingly long-forgotten] is the age [our own] of automation and electricity. No cars or planes, no big buildings or mass communication.
It is an America in shut-down mode, where a donkey is an extravagance.
It is an inversion of the American Dream, a reversal of Manifest Destiny, and nearly a return to the Dark Ages.
However, civilization’s demise is not global, or so the inhabitants of Crace’s America [and we readers] are led to believe. Legend has it that across the sea, in Europe, things are not so bad. Whatever has happened to America has not happened there. Europe is the new Promised Land, and hopeful Americans become pilgrims, making their way east where they believe they will board ships that will ferry them to their prosperous future.

Toward this utopia, the Lopez brothers, Franklin and Jackson, are making their way.
At a crucial point just outside Ferrytown, Franklin cannot go on, due to his bum knee. [Man, I could really relate to this guy, having a rickety knee myself!]
Low on supplies, Jackson heads into Ferrytown to work in exchange for food, leaving Franklin to rest on a hillside, and vowing to return.
But Jackson does not return. In the middle of the night, a landslide causes displaced gases from the lake to envelop the town, killing all the inhabitants, including Jackson.
Don’t let the first line of the book fool you [as it did, me]. “Everybody died at night,” does not refer to the overall end-of-the-world state of things. It refers merely to this one isolated tragedy, which serves, among other things, as a catalyst for Franklin’s meeting with Margaret.

Ahh, red-haired Margaret.
She has been abandoned by her family at the top of Franklin’s hill, in a hut known as the pesthouse.
It is a somber cabin where victims of the flux, a terrible disease, are left to die. Margaret is there, languishing.
Because Jackson does not return as promised, Franklin seeks shelter in the pesthouse, and a friendship is now born which will endure the length of the novel, and beyond.
Together they set out, their mutual ailments abating, toward the east.
But what a journey awaits them! This will not be your average Boy Scout hike!
The bulk of the novel is the chronicle of their journey, wherein they encounter peril after peril, and mutual pilgrims all along the way. Folks helpful, and folks not so helpful.
And bandits aplenty, none of which are helpful!

Quite suddenly, Margaret and Franklin are separated, and Crace chooses to follow Margaret’s continued quest, which is now no longer involved with merely reaching the ocean, but with a desired reunion.
She wants to find and/or rescue her Franklin. She becomes, for me as a reader, a very convincing heroine, someone I grew to love and admire for her courage and determination, and dang-it-all red-haired feistiness!
What a holy terror she is, at times!
And one of the main reasons is because, along the way, Margaret has become a mother to a child.
No, it is not what you think. The child is unintentionally adopted, along the way. Margaret is fighting not only for her own freedom and survival but also for her child, which she renames Jackie, in memory of Jackson.
Don’t mess with a mother!
The mother’s going to win.
The mother is going to get what is needed.

This was one of the most rollicking, gut-searing, adventurous, well-paced, un-put-downable, well-written, ending-redeeming, simultaneously scenically stark and beautiful novels I have ever read. Really, I loved it that much.
I agree with the Globe and Mail reviewer Joan Thomas, who called Crace’s style “just one draft away from blank verse.”
It is truly poetic. Mythic, even.

Some may find it an authorial inconsistency that towards the end, the travelers [now making their way west] encounter a landscape with “fewer dangers, warmer nights, softer going in a season that was opening up rather than closing down. It even decorated the way with early flowers.”
Early flowers?
What happened to the toxic soil and the barrenness and the despair?
It is overcome, in this novel, by the persistence of life and survival.
No inconsistency at all.
In the end, Franklin and Margaret are called upon to make some truly brave decisions, on behalf of the purest kind of love for one another.
And they do.
There are always flowers, somewhere.

To purchase this book, and you should do so right now, click HERE!
You can read an excerpt, HERE!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Splash du Jour: Friday

There are a whole bunch of books about Hillary Clinton. According to a biography of Hillary by Carl Bernstein… Bill Clinton planned to divorce Hillary.
And when asked why she stayed married, Hillary was quoted as saying, “There are worse things than infidelity.”

To which Bill Clinton said, “Yeah. Fidelity.”
-- Jay Leno --

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blindness: The Movie

OK, hold thy horses!
It’s kind of sketchy right now, I am searching frantically for information on this, but alas, all I have to go on is an article in the paper.
The web is very scarce on the subject.
But earlier today I was in the lunchroom at work, eating one of those individual size things of yoghurt and flipping through the papers strewn about at random, when what caught my eye but Blindness!
The word…. and alongside it, “Nobel Prize-winning novel”… and above this, a headline → Ruffalo, Moore Tapped for Canadian Film.
I nearly swallowed my dentures.
And I don’t even HAVE dentures!

So, here is the scoop.
One of my favorite novels of all time is going to be coming to a theater near me and you, soon!
In the spring of 2008, apparently.
It is in production, as we blog-speak!
Here…. I will tell you what I know.

Apparently, production of the film starts the end of July, in Toronto. Then moves to Uruguay, in September.
Some of the stars will be Mark Ruffalo as the doctor, suddenly struck blind.
None other than Julianne Moore → [and Cip said… “meooooow!”] will play the role of the doctor’s wife, one of the few that does not go blind.
Danny Glover will play the man with the eye patch.
The movie will be directed by Fernando Meirelles, whose previous work includes such things as The Constant Gardener [2005], and City of God [2002].

Oh my God, it is all too good to be true!
When the reclusive author, Jose Saramago, was originally approached by several hopeful filmmakers, they were “firmly rebuffed.”
But finally, in 1999, these two guys, Somebody McKellar and Somebody Fichman, “hopped a plane to the writer’s home in the Canary Islands, where they persuaded him to sign off on a deal.”

Instead of my blabbing, you can read the same article I saw in The Globe and Mail, by clicking HERE!

I will be one of the first in line, to see this film.
I may even wear real dark glasses and carry a walking stick, and be led into the theater by my alcoholic Seeing-Eye Cat, Jack!

“You know, that’s not even all that funny, Dad.”

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Scooter Libby, former aide to Vice President Cheney, was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Afterwards, Scooter said, “I just hope I have the chance to clear my incredibly stupid name.”
-- Conan O’Brien –

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How Do They Do It?

Hey, just a world to all my girlfrien's in blogland!
Have you ever wondered how some of these covergirls, like Keira [above], can be as flawlessly beautiful-ish as they are?
Well, HAH!
Truth is, they aren't!

I mean, look at that photo there.
She is, among other things, WAY better looking than me!
How does she do it?
She doesn't.
Her photographer does.


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

“Paris Hilton has been in jail for three days. They’re already making a movie about Paris Hilton being in jail. I believe they’re calling it The Bird Brain of Alcatraz.”
-- David Letterman –

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

She’s got a great sense of humour about herself. When she found out that the one group of potential voters who really hated her were white, middle-class men of property, she wondered, ‘What on Earth have I done to them.’
And then she worked it out.
‘Apparently,’ she said, ‘I remind them of their first wife.’
-- Gore Vidal, on Hillary Clinton –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 11, 2007

An Ominous Warning

I just got quite the wake-up call!
For those of you familiar with my after-work habits, you will know that I tend to hang out at the Chapters bookstore and read and drink coffee in the Starbucks area!
I don’t do this ALWAYS per se, like I mean….
OK, who am I kidding?
I practically live here.
I’m here right now, writing this.
At a Chapters store. I can’t help it. I love books and I love Starbucks.
Plus, my apartment [don’t tell Jack I said this]…. but it’s sort of a bit boring if I sit there for too long.
So I’m here at Chapters for an average of seven days a week, and sometimes more!
And because I am here so much I get comfortable. Begin to think that everyone else, all these anonymous people walking around are just part of the family! To be trusted.
Decent. We’re all brothers and sisters.

Often I walk around, and leave my Mac laptop sitting at the table in Starbucks.
How stupid is this? Like seriously, from one to ten, how stupid?
I know. Eleven! Right?
But I do it, because I am convinced that everyone out there is as decent as I am.

So this evening I am reading a fabulous book by Jim Crace, his new one, The Pesthouse. And I thought I would walk over to the “C” aisle, about half a mile away, and browse some of his other works.
Hmmm…. his stuff looks interesting.
I returned to my table and sat down.
In one of the sofa-type chairs, a vivacious woman turns around and looks at me.
[Hmmm… her stuff looks interesting, too!]
“Excuse me,” she says, “I just wanted to say something.”

I'm all ears.

She goes on, “Just last week, my brother got his laptop computer stolen from this very spot.”
“No,” I gasped, my eyes like saucers.
“Yeah, he did. Right over there,” she points. “And he only had gotten up to walk away for a minute or two, not nearly as long as you just did.”

“Oh my GOD, I would DIE if someone took this computer here…”
I said.
“Well, I just thought I’d let you know. Really, you should not leave it there at the table like you just did.”

“Well, thank you for the advice. I am in here so often that I guess I just get a bit too trusting. It’s so easy to lose sight of the fact that not everyone is as nice and totally decent of a person as I am, myself. I forget that not everyone is an educated, intellectually stimulating single, bachelor guy with tons of money….. [she started to gather her stuff up, around her] ….. that has a penthouse apartment overlooking the city, where he tirelessly cares for his alcoholic cat and… and….”

She was gone.

Actually I am just kidding about that last part, [like I didn’t mention anything about Jack’s drinking problem]…. but the rest is totally true!
So, thank you for reminding me, Mystery Woman.
I must be more vigilant about leaving the Mac unattended!
Haven’t I blogged about this kind of topic, before?

And, if you don’t believe me, about Jack, check this out.


Splash du Jour: Monday

I would imagine that if you could understand Morse code, a tap dancer would drive you crazy.
-- Mitch Hedberg –

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Roger Waters: The Concert

On Wednesday night I was at the Roger Waters concert.
I loved it.
And I knew I would.
I saw the same show in Montreal, last September.
The above image is of the stage, taken without zoom, from my seat.
I guess it is safe to say that my favorite music of all time is…. anything Pink Floydian, and Roger Waters is my favorite portion of the Pink Floyd phenomenon. I love David Gilmour also. It’s just that I love Waters more!

Here is probably the best photo of Roger, that I got. [Have any of you ever noticed how incredibly difficult it is to get a good concert photo from far away?]

Well, the show was superb!
The set list was as follows.
The show opened with In The Flesh, as did Waters’ last tour, of the same name.
And why not? It is the perfect opener, beginning and ending with thundering crescendos.

Then, an immediate “toning it down a notch as Chris Farley might say, with the beautiful song Mother, the solo part taken by the lovely Katie Kissoon. [shown below].

She pegged this. Her voice is incredibly clear and strong. I had shivers.

Then, they turned back the clock a ways for Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun. In this piece, Ian Ritchie stepped forward to showcase some of the best saxophone work I have ever heard this side of, well… the sun!

Song #4 was the legendary Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

Need I even comment? It was wonderful, and followed by Have A Cigar.
Then the crowd went wild with those first few distinctive-as-hell acoustic notes of Wish You Were Here.
What an amazing song, played note-perfect.
Another toning down a notch [Waters understands dynamics better than anyone] with Southampton Dock.
“Maggie what have you done?” All that jazz. Great tune.
Followed by Fletcher Memorial Home.

Then, one of the highlights of the night, and my personal favorite songs, an exclusive Waters’ number [distinct from the collective Pink Floyd]…. his song Perfect Sense, the start of which had a gi-normous NASA spaceman fly around the stadium in a simulated space-walk. Truly incredible. A shot of the spaceman, below.

But then, perhaps the low point, and definitely not a very good song, overall…. the politically over-charged Leaving Beirut.
I did not like this song in Montreal, nor here, in Ottawa
I find it unmelodic, and over-lyric-ed!
Positively Trollopian in verbosity. It’s trying to say too much!
There is just not enough room on any one skewer to effectively shishkabob President Bush and Tony Blair and all Christians, and this song attempts to do all of that at once. It was like The Dixie Chicks on acid!

OK, but all of that is immediately redeemed with the first reverberated Roland piano notes surround-sound bleatings of Sheep, the final song of this pre-intermission set.
This is where the Flying Pink Pig now made its flight through the stadium. I loved it. Here a couple shots of Pink-Piggy, below.

I am thinking of writing an entire blog based on one portion of Pig-Graffiti. It says “All Religions Divide.”

After the intermission, the band returned to perform each song, yea, the entire album of Dark Side Of The Moon.

It is a concert experience that cannot be rivalled, in my opinion. There were moments when I was sure my skin actually peeled itself from my body, floated upwards into the rafters, looked down and felt pity for the exposed nakedness of my shivering muscles and sinew, and decided it was best to float on down and re-attach itself to me. [Mind you, there was lot of second hand ganja-smoke in the place by this time, so I may have just been hallucinating]….. suffice it to say…. I saw “God” and he looked like a right triangle, with a prism of light coming out of His Hypotenuse!

What an amazing performance.

Let me mention some highs and lows, which all good hallucinations are duty-bound to have.
Highs: The song Us And Them, with a crazy-as-hell guitar solo from the ever-eccentric, Andy Fairwether-Low. [Shown below, in the background, in cowboy hat!]

He is NUTS!
Also of note, Jon Carin’s wonderful Gilmourian vocals, in this song.

However, a disappointing aspect of this set?

In Great Gig In The Sky, I was a bit disappointed with the vocal-solo portion, perfomed here by Carol Kenyon. It just seemed….. not happening. When I heard her do this, back in September in Montreal, the solo part was much more powerful. At that time, I wept. This time, I sort of… winced.
Granted, who can really succeed in replicating what Clare Torry did in the original song, without actually DYING in the process.
And not only so, but continue to do this night after night? It is truly impossible. In that sense, Carol Kenyon’s “dying sequence” in Great Gig was actually quite good!

When the band left the stage after taking their bow [above]…. the lighters came out in full force. And the screams. I myself haven’t screamed that much since I was a toddler and accidentally shoved a two-pronged hairpin into a power outlet.
They came back on and I tell you, it was quite the finale!

For the encore they began with Another Brick In The Wall, then did a severely pyrotechnic version of Vera and Bring The Boys Back Home.
Then…….. Comfortably Numb.

And by then, I was.
Dave Kilminster, [shown below]…… his guitar solo in this song, well, there is no way that I can describe it.

And he is so unassuming, this Kilminster guy. Looks like he might have poured a cement driveway, or perhaps painted a fence just before the show, and had forgotten to change clothes for the gig. When Snowy White harmonizes with him on the guitar solos in Numb, it is simply unforgettable stuff.

All in all, what I am saying here in this review is completely inadequate in describing how wonderful of an experience it was.

If the Dark Side of The Moon tour comes to your city [tonight it is in Chicago]...
you should just GO!
Go over to the Dark Side!

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I go to a Roger Waters concert and everything falls apart?
One comment.

There are 30 teams in the NHL [National Hockey League].
The Ottawa Senators played in the Stanley Cup FINALS!
Only the best two teams of 2007 get to play in those finals!

Way to go, guys!
I am proud of you!
-- Cip


Splash du Jour: Thursday

The concert was AMAZING! I loved it!

Not the torturer will scare me, nor the body's final fall, nor the barrels of death's rifles, nor the shadows on the wall, nor the night when to the ground the last dim star of pain is hurled, but the blind indifference of a merciless, unfeeling world.
-- Roger Waters, lyrics to Each Small Candle

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tonight's The Night

Well folks, Tonight’s The Night!
And by “Tonight” I mean, I am out the door in a few seconds here!
And by “The Night” I mean… The Night of The Roger Waters Concert!
I am so excited about it. I am positively giddy. Trembling!
As the very astute Puddler will recall, the original night for the concert was ousted by the Senators playoff-hockey game. For a terrible while it seemed that there might be no concert at all! [Horrors!]
BUT… then it was re-scheduled.
Instead of Monday the 4th →Wednesday the 6th.

Trading dates with Quebec City!
So, Tonight’s The Night!

In preparation, last night I watched the entire In The Flesh concert DVD for the 548th time!
I won’t say that Roger Waters is my favorite MUSICIAN [per se], but I would definitely say that he is my favorite musician personality!
I like what he does.
He is classy. Classic. A class in himself.
He’s got the best musician’s working with him, tonight.
Jon Carin, Andy Fairwether-Low, Graham Broad, Snowy White, Dave Kilminster, Katie Kissoon, P.P. Arnold, Carol Kenyon, Ian Ritchie.

I am in the latter stages of Profound Trembulation!
Also, in preparation for Tonight, I have been reading a book by John Harris, called The Dark Side Of The Moon, and learning tons of background stuff about the band [Pink Floyd] and the history of the album’s production and phenomenal success.
Tonight’s The Night.
I attended this same concert last September, in Montreal.
Back then, I did not report on it very much.
But Tonight’s The Night.
This time I will tell you all.

I’m out the door….. → → → →


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?"
: "No, not if you did not know."

: "Then why did you tell me?"

-- Annie Dillard, in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

An American Childhood

Just looking over at my bookshelves, I spy Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, a book by Annie Dillard. I’ve been meaning to read that book for about 65 years now, and have not done so.
I love how it starts out…
I used to have a cat, an old fighting tom, who would jump through the open window by my bed in the middle of the night and land on my chest.

I like that. I love her fascination with life.
Makes me recall her excellent memoir, An American Childhood, which is where I first met the furiously curious Annie Dillard.

From her very earliest years she has a profound awareness of the mystery of life, nothing is without wonder, everything worthy of further scientific investigation. She has what Abraham Maslow called a "freshness of appreciation" meaning not only that nothing escapes her notice, but also that she tends to find some positive result out of all of her experiences, and I find this to be an enviable trait.

The book, her childhood, takes place in Pittsburgh in the 1950's.
She is afforded much freedom and affluence in her somewhat eccentric and hilarious family [her mother didn't like the taste of stamps, so she didn't lick stamps; she licked the corner of the envelope instead]. Dillard wonderfully paints a picture of a world that is charged with wonder, and gives us a sense that this electrified world is not just hers, but also the world of the reader.
It's true that one has to be patient with Dillard's disconnected vignettes... there are diversions that seem to bust up the chronology of events, but overall, the book is great in that it makes the reader feel that perhaps they too have never lived an insignificant day.

She says: " is not you or I that is important, neither what sort we might be nor how we came to be each where we are. What is important is anyone's coming awake and discovering a place, finding in full orbit a spinning globe one can lean over, catch, and jump on. What is important is the moment of opening a life and feeling it touch - with an electric hiss and cry - this speckled mineral sphere, our present world."

She seems to be saying that there is a glory in the mundane.
And I agree with her.
I think there is.


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Sheep are evil. They have no eyebrows.
You never know if what you are saying to them is having any effect.

-- Tommy Tiernan –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 04, 2007


Well, dang nab it, I am having some hockey woes!
No, it’s not just that my team, the Senators are down by a game in this series!
It is a completely unrelated combination of events.
First, I worked real late tonight. Then, when I was finally out of the warehouse, it was RAINING!
Hence, ruining my plans of going down to the Jumbo-Tron to watch the game! [I still don’t own an umbrella!]
Then, I thought that perhaps I would go to a bar and watch the game.
But I hate paying the price of beer in a bar, honestly I do. I am a ROYAL cheapskate about alcohol!
So I figured I will come home and watch the game on TV. And like get drunk here, for cheaper.
But partway home I remembered that my TV is on the fritz. As in, totally not working!
So…. as I write this… I am huddled around the RADIO!

The what?
Yes, like in the olden days. I feel like some bombed-out Londoner, searching through the static on the wireless for news on the Fuhrer’s latest actions! Who watches hockey on the radio? I guess I do!
So far there is no score, first period is nearly over. I am all tense!

This is sort of fun, in an eerie sort of way. I may make some popcorn!
All day today I have been thinking that it is Spezza’s night to turn on the afterburners and score a goal [or two]. That is Jason Spezza, one of Ottawa’s key players, shown above. He is an erratic player, but when he is on, he’s damn good.
So, my prediction is that he scores 12 goals tonight.
And sends the Ducks squacking all the way back to Californy!

I’ll be back later with a post-game comment!

Wow! How about an update already! Daniel Alfredsson [the team Captain] scores in the LAST SECOND of the first period!
Sens are going into the first intermission, leading 1 - 0!


Much later.... it's not looking good.
Only minutes left and Anaheim leading 3 - 2.

2 minutes to go.....

They lost!
This is the game of hockey. Only one team can win!
For those keeping score.... this means that the series is at 3 - 2 in favor of Anaheim, and the Sens are now on the brink of elimination as they travel to Californy for the [most probable] coup de gras on Wednesday!
And for those of you keeping really close track of things here at Bookpuddle, you will recall that tonight was supposed to be the Roger Waters concert, and this game ousted it!
The Waters concert will be on Wednesday the 6th, and I'll be there!

Splash du Jour: Monday

“You’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.”
-- Dean Martin –

Have a great Monday!