Thursday, January 31, 2008

Books vs. Movies: REDUX

There’s this great guy I’ve been seeing.
Wait a minute, let me rephrase that.
When I go to my favorite Starbucks after work, there’s this other guy who also sits there and reads voraciously as though the world was scheduled for demolition tomorrow!
He's a lot like me, in other words.
Long ago, Greg and I began talking about the books we are reading, and I saw him again tonight. Most of the stuff he reads is French [he prefers reading in that language] and right now he is on Volume 12 of a compilation of some French author called Georges Simenon. [And he’s read the other 11 volumes!]
Anyhoo, tonight he asked me if I had seen the movie Atonement.
He had not read the book but loved the movie, and I loved both movie and book. We talked about the difference between movies and books, and for the first time I realized why some people may be opposed to books, while others [like myself] actually PREFER books to movies. [Generally speaking].
It has to do with time.

I enjoy living with the scenarios and characters during the interim between readings.
For instance, I am now reading the gargantuan Ken Follett book…. well, it will probably take me two weeks or more to get through it all. But see, I LIKE that.
And I think that this sort of gestation period does not appeal to a lot of other people. They want to imagine the story scenario, yes, but they also want to be done with it in a matter of two hours or so. [← Hence, a movie is much preferable to a book, for them].
At the same time, there is so much about a movie, [cinematography] that cannot translate into print as effectively as it can translate onto the screen. ← Even that sentence is not correctly worded…. see what I mean? Language is sometimes not quite enough.
You want to SEE the mountain!
Not read about it.
You want to SEE Keira Knightley [nightly]. Not just... well, you get the point, right?

Speaking with Greg reminded me of something I had read in a Harpers article, an essay by Ursula K. LeGuin, and so I went to the magazine rack and brought it over to the table.
In Staying Awake: Notes on the alleged decline of reading, Harper’s Feb. ’08 issue, she said:

… readers aren’t viewers; they recognize their pleasure as different from that of being entertained. Once you’ve pressed the ON button, the TV goes on, and on, and on, and all you have to do is sit and stare. But reading is active, an act of attention, of absorbed alertness – not all that different from hunting, in fact, or from gathering. In its silence, a book is a challenge: it can’t lull you with surging music or deafen you with screeching laugh tracks or fire gunshots in your living room; you have to listen to it in your head. A book won’t move your eyes for you the way images on a screen do. It won’t move your mind unless you give it your mind, or your heart unless you put your heart in it. It won’t do the work for you. To read a story well is to follow it, to act it, to feel it, to become it – everything short of writing it, in fact. Reading is not “interactive” with a set of rules or options, as games are; reading is actual collaboration with the writer’s mind. No wonder not everybody is up to it.

Not everyone is up for it.
I wonder if any of you recall the engaging discussion here at Bookpuddle, engendered by my one Kunderian Splash du Jour?
It was about Book vs. Movies.
Check it out, in the COMMENTS section HERE.


Splash du Jour: Thursday

I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.
…The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery.

-- Bertrand Russell, In Praise Of Idleness

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday


I made you many and many a song,
Yet never one told all you are --

It was as though a net of words
Were flung to catch a star;

It was as though I curved my hand

And dipped sea-water eagerly,

Only to find it lost the blue

Dark splendor of the sea.

-- Sara Teasdale --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Two newlywed University of Illinois grads were driving through Louisiana.
As they were approaching the town of Natchitoches, they started arguing about the pronunciation of the name.
They argued back and forth until they stopped for lunch.
As they stood at the counter, the husband asked the manager, "Before we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are...very slowly?"

The manager leaned over the counter and said,

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

Freud: Anna, although I am your father, as part of your education I must show you my penis so you understand certain fundamental concepts. Now, do you see the difference between the penis and the phallus?

Anna: Yes, Father. The penis is like the phallus, only much smaller.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Just dropping by to tell you of something that just happened, here at Timothy’s [a coffee shop].
For once, a coffee place is playing the right kind of music. Classical. And I mean the good stuff, the adagios. Intermingled with solo piano-music, nice and relaxing. It’s a great reading atmosphere, and so that’s what I am doing… voraciously reading Ken Follett’s new World Without End.
I’m at page 307. Just 707 to go.
It’s a terrific book, long awaited, by me. Actually, I think this is the first time I have ever read an Oprah book while it was still a current Oprah© Book.
I am not even sure if it is the current one, but if not, it is at least one of her very recent picks.
So I’m sitting in this peaceful chair when in walk these two middle-aged ladies with their gym bags and rolled-up exercise mats. And they sit down with their coffees not four feet away from me, sort of invading my sanctuary a bit with their immediate and incessant babble!
And so mundane!
Here they are talking about every TV show that has ever existed, and how the one lady is going to get someone to tape upcoming segments of some show while she is on holidays in Punta Cana and blah-blah-blah… it is driving me nuts because now I can’t concentrate on my book and I am longing for the former soothing sounds of The Death of Ase by Grieg that had so recently been wafting through here….

Then they start talking about books.

And instantly the one that is going to Punta Cana is raving about how she just finished World Without End. And how great it is! And how she liked Pillars of the Earth better, but, but, but…. “The way this thing ends is pretty good,” she starts saying and I’m over here thinking, “No, no, no…. please, I am READING it right now, do you not SEE this 40-pound book here?… please be quiet, please talk quieter ladies….” but no, she is talking even louder now, giving away all the parts of the book I have not yet gotten to and I honestly did not know what to do so I just cleared my throat with a big loud “Ahem!” and I held the book out between us so that they could see the spine and its wonderful gold capital letters!

They both laughed and morphed into these classic “Ooops! Sorry!” expressions and I laughed too, and morphed into this “Not like I was eavesdropping or anything” expression, and we exchanged a few repentances and absolutions and they changed their book topic to high-school Beowulf experiences, if you can believe it.
It was a little humorous moment in my day and really, as I think of it, I can only come to one conclusion.
Lots of people read Oprah© Books!


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Apostrophe: A Saturday Poem


Life’s one.
Remember how long we were confused about it?
Do you? I recall asking
Your opinion of the Fall.
You argued for myth, and I stuck to
Fact. So much, I damn near convinced myself.
The serpent was not even a snake, you said.
And I asked how you knew this.
I was there, you said.
You bit the fruit?
It was not a fruit.

And what’s so wrong with wanting to know?
This was you, and I, donkey-like, replied
Some things are a violation of the --
You lovingly stopped me, with a finger on
My stupid lips, and you whispered,
A violation of what?
Knowledge we were denied access to, I breathed,
And knew I was wrong.
Always, had been

Listen, dear -- you began. But I stopped you
A finger to your lips.
And just as I said We are God’s,
You proved to me that we are gods.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

In the novel the voice that speaks the first sentence, then the second, and so onward – call it the voice of the narrator – has, to begin with, no authority at all. Authority must be earned; on the novelist author lies the onus to build up, out of nothing, such authority. No one is better at building up authority than Tolstoy. In this sense of the word, Tolstoy is the exemplary author.
-- From Diary of a Bad Year, by J.M. Coetzee –
[And I agree with the conclusion. Tolstoy. The exemplary author.]

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

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 Thursday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Wife [A Scene]

The Wife

Sam Roll’s wife had these false teeth that would clatter around and nearly fly out of her face when she talked. I guess this was in the days before the invention of that adhesive stuff. And she talked a lot. Your eyes jittered watching her rattle on about something, waiting for that big pile of teeth to leap out at you, as from a skeleton.
Amazingly, it never happened, and so you’d look at her hair. It sat atop her head like a wiry black crow’s nest. Or a lopsided jumbo pot-scrubber, and not a brand new one. She rarely blinked, and her small bright eyes seemed constantly amazed, like poultry. I was a kid, and so she reminded me of a big friendly chicken. A cackling henwoman.
And her name was Polly. Mrs Polly Roll. Wife of Sam.

The Rolls lived three houses down from us, to the west. They had a tree out front, close to the sidewalk, and at a certain time of year, millions of little aphids would congregate in a single V-shaped section. It became a seething green clump, and I would take a stick and knock it down. Then I would ride back and forth over them with my bike for a while.

You could walk into the Roll’s house anytime of the day, without knocking. Not the front door though, only the screen one in the back. And so I would.

I loved the inside of the Roll’s place. They had two things I had never seen in a house before. The first was in the kitchen, where, instead of normal chairs around a table, there was a bench built right into the wall. A bench. So I would love to sit on the bench seat because then it was like you were in a restaurant, and Mrs Roll would make breakfast.

The way she made breakfast was to make a hole in the piece of toast, and then inside there was a fried egg. And at the Roll’s house, butter always tasted more buttery. Sometimes Mr Roll would also have breakfast, but not always. And sometimes my sister would be with me and we would both be served the restaurant-style toasted egg.

The second thing their house had, was a piano. Right there in the living room. And I had always thought that pianos were only on television and in schools. Once I asked about the piano because I wanted someone to play it, but Mrs Roll said that she couldn’t.

My dad worked, but Sam Roll did not work because he was so old. So we would do stuff together, when I was not in school. For instance, he would fix my bike’s chain, or one time we went and talked to the old man down the street who collected beer bottles. His garage did not have room for a car because it was so full of beer bottles from everywhere in the world. I was told to never go into the garage if the door happened to be left open, because if I broke a bottle, everyone would be mad. Some days I helped Mr Roll work in the big garden, because they seemed to grow everything they ate, except eggs, I guess.

My dad liked Mr Roll because they would do stuff together when they could. Mostly, they would fish.

One day they were sitting out on our back porch, smoking cigarettes amidst the chirping sounds coming from the guitar that my dad had nailed to the top corner of our house, way up high. He had taken the strings off, and put it there, and it was full of birds.

Sam Roll and my dad were talking about something, and I was close by, just listening.

At one point, Sam Roll said “Yeah. The wife and I are planning to.....”

I forget the rest of the sentence, because my head had snapped up and was stuck on hearing the phrase “the wife and I” which he had uttered. I was such a meticulously sensitive kid that the slightest strangeness in things heard or observed, startled me. As this phrase did.

I guess I had never thought of Mrs Roll as a “the”. It seemed to me as though there was something wrong with calling her “the wife”, even though I had been thinking of her as sort of a big chicken myself. Still, I guess that even as a kid, I would have thought it more proper for him to refer to her as “my wife” rather than “the wife”. I may have even had an inkling that “my” sort of meant that this was indeed one aspect of who she was, but that “the” seemed to sound as though this was all she was.

And so, later on, when Mr Roll was three doors west, I asked my dad about it.

I said, “Dad, why did Mr Roll call his wife ‘the wife’? Do you call mom ‘the wife’”?

I think my dad just sort of stared at me for a long while. In all fairness, he did say something to me about it, but I completely forget what it was he said. And I know that at the time, his answer did not satisfy my curiosity.

Sometimes Polly would come over to our house and sit with my mom. More often, rather than sit, they would cook stuff, mostly bake bread. And they would chatter as though they had each just lain half a dozen eggs. In Polly’s case, her teeth were pretty much flying all over the room, always somehow coming to rest, back in her mouth.

I would watch her intently, my elbows on the table and face in hands, staring... waiting.

Just once I wanted to hear her use the phrase “the husband and I” in a sentence.

But she never did.

She always just called him Sam.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

A few childrearing heretics have recently dared to point out that kids aren’t particularly better off for all this overattention and chauferring and the limitless expressions of parental narcissism.
If children have replaced men as objects of female romantic fantasy (men having proven washouts once too often on the fantasy front), will children fare any better at fulfilling female yearnings? Be less disappointiing as romantic objects? You have to wonder what industrial-strength varieties of neurosis will soon be appearing in this generation of overparented children as they near adulthood.

-- Laura Kipnis, in The Female Thing

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Know that although in the eternal scheme of things you are small, you are also unique and irreplaceable, as are all your fellow humans everywhere in the world.
-- Margaret Laurence –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Stone Angel

For the longest time I had been postponing my reading of Margaret Laurence.
Then I picked up her novel from 1964, The Stone Angel.
Recently, I have also read A Jest of God [excellent book] and I do plan to continue on and read the other Manawaka books in the series.

With Margaret Laurence, I think we are looking at some essential Canadian literature here, and yet, nearly every high school student from St John's to Victoria would rise up and say, "What? Are you nuts?"
As much as this book is inflicted upon the high-schoolers of Canada, it sure has not gained a welcome reception by that age group! I recall my niece complaining about it just last year. For the Canadian teenager, seeing The Stone Angel on the English syllabus has become the equivalent of.... hmmm, what would one say?
Having a radio that is locked on the CBC station?

I believe this is because The Stone Angel is a book that is all about the "interior" and to truly love the book the reader must have an appreciation of the life processes involved in becoming an elderly person. From start to finish we are on the inside of this character Hagar Shipley. It is not the realm of the exciting pace and involved plotline. This book is rather a very somber, brooding, introspective look at a proud and uncompromising woman in her nineties. She is a woman who does not (in the slightest) want to succumb to the realities, adjustments, and inconveniences of aging and dying. As she faces the combined trauma of diminished health and loss of meaningful relationships, she has to come to terms with who she really is.
How far will her incessant pride and irritable crankiness get her in this last year of her life?
How can she escape from those who try to make it all easier for her? Will she confess her unmitigated (and inevitable) need of others... of those who truly, and undauntingly, care for her well-being?
Will she break down or remain haughty?

Laurence is simply brilliant in that she weaves a seamless web between the present and the past, between Hagar's current experience and her memories.
It is not easy, the transition[s] that we who will live on into old age will have to make if we are to succeed at being old. This book pulls no punches with how difficult the process can be, especially for the type "A" personality.

It is no accident that the book begins with the lines from Dylan Thomas:
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

It is a story about a woman who raged.
And yet (in my opinion) there is not one real angry tirade in it!
It is (I think) a different sort of "raging" that is being dealt with here in the story, as with the poem by Thomas. It is not the kind of raging that is with gritted teeth and defiance, [denial] it is the kind of raging that is mingled with profound sadness and regret... yes, anger too I suppose, but anger only because one has to leave behind so much of what one loves.
Here is the realistic journey of a woman who has to come to terms with the fact that "what's going to happen can't be delayed indefinitely."
I think the book is somewhat of a masterpiece.
Voraciously, I read it.


Splash du Jour: Monday

In doctor’s waiting-rooms, a decade or two ago, the tedium would have been relieved with quiet background music: sentimental songs from Broadway, popular classics like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Nowadays, however, one hears only the thudding, mechanical music favoured by the young. Their cowed elders bear it without protest: faute de mieux it has become their music too.
The rupture is not likely to be repaired. The bad drives out the good: what they call “classical” music is simply no longer cultural currency. Is there anything of interest to be said of the development, or must one just grouse about it under one’s breath?
-- From Diary of a Bad Year, by J.M. Coetzee –

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Worms: A Saturday Poem


We went worm-hunting, we did, me and you, we did.
Thing is, when a man is to go fishing, he needs the worms.
And so, my great God, I dug ‘em as though my last three lives
Depended on a damn-good basketfull right now.

I dug, and scraped, and so did you.
Until we found a few, curling and lost. Disoriented worms,
We needed these, and more.
And you said, you looked up at me
And your breaths were little marshmallows puffed out
‘Gainst the night. Goddamn it, those breaths, all over me.

Saying, “Don’t do it.”
“Put ‘em back,” you said, and further, “Let these live.”

“Will you tell anyone I am putting these worms back into the earth?”
I asked you, and you said into the Northern Lights,

And what was I to do?
I tucked them back into the night.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

George's Book Deal

George Michael is writing a book. A memoir.
And quite a lucrative deal, indeed. A publishing official with knowledge of the negotiations said the deal was worth at least $6 million for British rights alone, among the biggest publishing contracts ever for that market, and at least $7 million overall. I plagiarized that last sentence from an article I saw in the paper today.
Apparently, the book will be called “How I Made More Money By Writing This Book Than Cipriano Bookpuddle Will Ever Earn in 28 Reincarnations of His Current Lifetime.”
Seriously, George Michael is 44 years old.
I too, am 44 years old.
But that is where our numerical similarities end!

In all seriousness, I sort of enjoy musician autobiographies.
I really liked the recent Eric Clapton one, and since this book promises to be an “access all areas” story, and since George Michael has led a very….. umm, colorful life, and since I truthfully think he is one of the finest vocalists of all time [really I do]… I could see myself reading the thing.

Wishing you all a great weekend!
-- Cip


Splash du Jour: Friday

It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.
-- J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 1 –

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

You Have No Excuse Now

Seldom will I flagrantly endorse a book.
Seldom will I compel you to RUN to the store and buy a book.
Seldom is one as god… I mean as good as this one is, though.
And, it has just been issued in paperback format, [not only in the U.S., but also here in the Great White North, I saw it just tonight, in all of its shiny paperback glory, at Chapters…] so…. now you have no excuse.
The God Delusion is way cheaper now! They’re practically giving the thing away! So you should get one. You really should.
For former words I have spoken about this book:
Clicketh HERE, and HERE, and HERE.

Also, another excellent, essential book…. Sam Harris’s, Letter To A Christian Nation is also out in paperback now! My former comments HERE.
And while we're on the topic, if you do not read this other Harris book, well, we're just not on the same page, you and I.... HERE.

Everyone who is human should read these books. Both of them.
Thus saith the [heathen] prophet Cipriano!

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Cipriano finally gets better job.
Opens his own Starbucks!

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

You've said that many people misread literature.
Can you explain what you mean?
Misreading comes in when people are unable to see what's going on in a novel because they focus on the wrong things. I'm thinking of people who want to have my books banned, particularly The Diviners.
A lot of those people not only admit to the fact that they have not read the book, they are proud they have never read it. Their eyes are blind to everything except the few sexual passages and some of the so-called swear words.
That's a sad and tragic way of reading a book. That kind of reader doesn't want to read.
To put it in its broadest sense, the motives are not of love but of hate.
-- Margaret Laurence --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Truantzoic Era©

I am two-thirds through a great book, called A Jest of God, written by Canadian literary icon, Margaret Laurence.
Early on, there is this 7-year old kid named James Doherty, and it has become evident to Principal Willard Siddley that young James has been cutting class.
Willard confronts Rachel Cameron, the protagonist of the novel [James’s Grade One schoolteacher] and advises her to contact James’s mother, “before we notify the truant officer.”
When I first read it, I just went merrily on, flipping the pages.
But something sort of brought me back.
Notify the truant officer?
It just seemed so weird to me.
A truant officer.
What is this, even?
I mean, I know what it is supposed to mean and all…. but like, is there really such an occupation in this world? Is there really such a thing?
What does this person do?
Hunt kids with a big huge butterfly net? Stake them out at the local pinball arcade? Handcuff them down at the fishing hole? Throw them all into the paddy wagon? And off to the hoosegow?
It all seems so…. so Norman Rockwell-ish to me.
A truant officer.

I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that it exists!
The Truant Officer is one of those urban myths.
How can this be someone’s JOB?
Hunting kids that skip school.

I keep in mind that this novel was written in 1966.
Perhaps this was an AGE or ERA….. like we have The Mesozoic Era and The Paleozoic Era and whatnot, followed by The Truantzoic Era© ?
To be superseded by our current Check-Your-Guns-At-The-Door Era?
But really. One way or the other, aren’t these guys pretty much extinct now?
Wouldn't they need serious flak-jackets? And tazers?
Do truant officers, or even anything remotely like them, still exist in our current world?

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

I have been astonished that men could
die martyrs for their religion - 

I have shudder'd at it. 

I shudder no more. 

I could be martyr'd for my religion 

Love is my religion

And I could die for that. 

I could die for you. 

-- John Keats –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

“A long and wicked life followed by five minutes of perfect grace gets you into Heaven. An equally long life of decent living and good works followed by one outburst of taking the name of the Lord in vain - then have a heart attack at that moment and be damned for eternity. Is that the system?”
-- Robert A. Heinlein –

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


A forbidden love. A secret letter. A child’s imagination. A false accusation. Torn apart by betrayal. Separated by war. Bound by love. Atonement.
Well, tonight, actually very very soon, I will finally be going to see this movie I have wanted to see for a long long time. My anticipation level for Atonement is high.
For one thing, it has Keira in it!
But secondly, I love the story.
I loved the book by Ian McEwan, and so I am really counting on director Joe Wright [Pride & Prejudice] to do the thing justice. Lately, I have been feeling that it is nearly impossible to cram the glories of great books into two measly hours of theater time. In this sense, I was overall a bit disappointed with The Golden Compass for I feel that the movie did not do justice to Philip Pullman’s book.
I am hoping for better things tonight, and I will begin by making sure I go into THE RIGHT THEATER the first time around!
Has anyone already seen Atonement?
Your opinion [review] is welcome here at Bookpuddle. Drop me a line and tell me what you thought of the movie. I will respond in the comments section.
View the trailer HERE.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

Have a great Friday!
And remember:
Do not dissipate your competence by hebetudinous prodigality lest you subsequently lament an exiguous

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ast. And that in wondering bout the big things and asting bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, he say, the more I love.
And people start to love you back, I bet, I say.

They do, he say, surprise.

-- Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

I love this, found in the Introduction to the book I am currently reading → McTeague, by Frank Norris.
The author said this to reviewer Isaac F. Marcosson on March 14, 1899: “What pleased me most in your review of McTeague was the ‘distaining all pretensions to style.’ It is precisely what I try most to avoid. I detest ‘fine writing,’ ‘rhetoric,’ ‘elegant English,’ – tommyrot. Who cares for fine style! Tell your yarn and let your style go to the devil. We don’t want literature, we want life.”

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Sincere Question

OK, let’s be serious here for about three minutes.
Don’t even try to compete with me on this!
And I’m OK with this.
As the 12-step folks at AA are fond of saying, “The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem!”©

But I just got home from the supermarket.
And I had bought some baking potatoes.
And for the first time ever I sort of noticed the ones yonder that are pre-wrapped in tin-foil and cost way more than the normal spuds. Or, as we say here just ‘cross the bridge from Quebec, “pommes de terre!”
How can a human being not know how to wrap a potato in tin foil?

No, really.
Again, let me remind you that if cooking were a speed, I would be going backwards faster than the Space Shuttle on re-entry into the atmosphere.
With tiles missing!
But even I know how to wrap a potato in tin-foil. And put it in the oven.
It’s pretty easy.
You can see in the above picture, how to do it, sort of like.
I’m sure that a lot of Jane Goodall’s best friends have even mastered the process!
Are there people out there, breathing the same air I breathe, that will actually pay extra for these pre-wrapped potatoes?


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

"When you stopped believing in God," Will asked, "did you stop believing in good and evil?"
"No. But I stopped believing there was a power of good and a power of evil that were outside us. And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are. All we can say is that this is a good deed, because it helps someone, or that’s an evil one, because it hurts them. People are too complicated to have simple labels."
-- From The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman –

Have a great Tuesday!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Poem From The Puddle©

Your Love For Me

If you the hills chant and me in them run

To find naught but tree and shadow

Conspiring, and an owl hooting ridicule,

What will touch my face, then?

If the moon alone lightens my retraced

Sorrowing footsteps, and leaves waft

Clues my beaten mind cannot discern,

What will whisper then, in my ear?

When I emerge to remember the old fears

That sent me stumbling into the dark

Snapping twigs and biting wind,

What will give me hope, in that moment?

What will tell me that everything
And the breeze was you, knowing sooner

To make your own way from the far side

And gain the clearing as I went in?

What will tell me this as I twist now,

Bending to pick the burrs from myself?

What will cause me to come into the open

Where you and your smile
Are brighter than the moon ever was?

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, January 04, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

Interviewer: What do you do about writer's block?
Phillip Pullman: I don't believe in it. All writing is difficult. The most you can hope for is a day when it goes reasonably easily. Plumbers don't get plumber's block, and doctors don't get doctor's block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it?
-- Philip Pullman –

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Adventures In Theater 12

I have been holding back from blabbing about how much I have been enjoying the His Dark Materials Trilogy, by Philip Pullman.
I’m now on the third book, called The Amber Spyglass, and I am thoroughly enthralled with the series. I think it is fabulous, and I highly recommend it to ye all!
When I am done with this volume, perhaps I will write an essay on my assessment of the trilogy.
For now though, let me relate yet another chapter from a trilogy that I myself could be writing, entitled, Why Do Retarded Things Happen To Me Every Day?©

So, on New Years Day I went to see what I intended to be a matinee presentation of the new movie, The Golden Compass, which is Volume 1 of the Trilogy.
Just so happens that my girlfriend Nicole is even in the thing.

I get to the theater and the cashier hands me the ticket, after I clearly enunciated the particular movie I want to see!
I never looked at the ticket, just walked to the long corridor and handed it to the kid there and he said, “Theater 12, to your left.”
So I went into theater 12. To my left.
Above the entrance there was a scrolling LED display in red, SAYING The Golden Compass.

I sat there for about three decades, while literal herds of children flooded the theater. They were on every side of me…. and I began to wonder what I was in for. I did not think The Golden Compass was THAT much af a children’s film. Like, the average age of the people around me was about….. FIVE!
But I just sat there. And soon I began to worry about the TIME.
Like the movie was supposed to start at 4:00 p.m. and it was now 4:20. And all of the movie trailers were for KIDS! Then the feature presentation started.
And I’m looking up at the screen.
At Alvin & The Chipmunks!

I’m in the wrong theater.
So I run out!

My God. My first thought was that I missed it by one.
So… I go into the next theater entrance. It’s packed. I run to the very back row where there is one empty seat [yes, I was ALONE…. well hell, my girlfriend is STARRING in the movie, right?]….. and I sit down…. and I look at the screen and there is a guy and a girl in a bed. Making out, like. I realize instantly that this is NOT The Golden Compass.
So now I run out of a second theater.
And in the corridor, I look at my ticket for the first time since I purchased it.
It says on it, Alvin & The Frigging Chipmunks.

And I realize that the cashier gave me the wrong ticket!
That is why the theater gatekeeper-kid told me to go to Theater 12.
And the scrolling marquee?
That was an announcement of where the NEXT showing would be!
Not the current showing.
So…. I go back to the cashier [same one] and complain vehemently.
The manager of the Cineplex was standing right there, so I walked back to the long corridor with her and I showed her where it clearly states that The Golden Compass is playing in Theater 12.

She reimbursed me for my original ticket and gave me a complimentary pass for the next showing of Compass, which was at 7:05 p.m. in….. guess where?

That’s right.
Theater 12.
I liked the movie and Nicole was looking good in it [for sure] but overall, the book is about 48 times better.
Read the book.
Read all three of them. They’re terrific.
And if you go to the movie? → Check your ticket before actually walking in to the land of chirping chipmunks.


Splash du Jour: Thursday

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Wonder is a state of mind in which nothing is taken for granted. Each thing is a surprise, being is unbelievable. We are amazed at seeing anything at all; amazed not only at particular values and things but at the unexpectedness of being as such, at the fact that there is being at all.
-- Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) –

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Realistic Resolutions

Happy New Year!
I am just sitting here thinking about New Year’s Resolutions.
Realizing that I don’t really have any. Not the normal kind, anyway.
I’m not sure if I really believe in them. Oh, I’m sure that at times people make them, and then follow through with them, and that occasionally January 1st can be a great historical launchpad for an assortment of intentions. But overall, I think that if a person has to wait until the first day in January to begin to do something or to stop doing something else, well… the determination will probably fizzle out somewhere around Jan.10th or sooner.
I overheard a few of my nephews talking about this very thing over the holidays. See, they regularly go to the gym and workout a few times a week, all year long. Every year! But in the first few weeks of January they always notice an enormous surge in the amount of newcomers vying for time on the machines. These are the New Years Resolutioners. There seems to be an annual influx! My nephews know it is only a matter of time before the gym is back down to its manageable proportions! As for me, I am going to skip the part where I quit going to the gym by also skipping the part where I start going to it. Know what I mean?

I should eat more healthier. If anything, this should be my resolution. But no matter how great my intentions, my car will probably be in the Burger King Drive-Thru just as frequently in 2008, as it was in 2007.
I should really get a different job. But in all reality…
I should, I should, I should, I will, I will, I will….

Actually, all I want for 2008 is an ever-increasing desire to wonder.
What I most greatly want to [continue to] develop is an ever-increasing state of awareness. And I want my list of questions to grow, rather than diminish.
I want my level of understanding to increase in simplicity and in complexity, at the same time.
That may sound like a really silly New Year’s Resolution, but what I like most about it is that I can trust it.
I know that I will not only feel the same about it next Dec.31st, but will have done the thing, daily, between now and then.

I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder.

-- Lawrence Ferlinghetti --