Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Farewell To Arms

I admit I am but a fledgling Hemingway reader.
Definitely not yet an aficionado of the canon!
There are times when I still falter over his simplistic style, his reporter-like, almost point-form and unembellished narration. His pithy dialogue which seems at times so unusual that I am jarred into the realization that I am holding a book in my hands.
But this book, A Farewell To Arms was a fantastic read and has given me a new appreciation, I guess, for Hemingwayism© in general.
Genre-wise, it is somewhat of a historical romance, set squarely in WWI Italy and Switzerland. Lots of war, lots of rain, lots of gore, lots of pain.

I hesitate from saying too much about the novel, story-wise, because truly there are many ways that one could ruin it for others, by saying too much, especially as regards its increasingly-paced and unforgettably moving final sections. [The novel is broken down into five parts, books, or sections].
For me as a reader, one of the key things [feelings] I am left with is an overwhelming sense of the simultaneous dual-existence of meaninglessness and meaningfulness.
I feel that this is a theme or thread running the length of the novel.

There is the meaninglessnes of war.
The seemingly arbitrary way that beautiful things can be so quickly taken from us, be they dignity, or love, or life itself. The suddenness of bone-crunching shrapnel in the midst of friendly camaraderie… bombs putting an end to meaningful conversation. War is a perpetual mess, needing to be cleaned up.
But alongside this “meaninglessness” [what I am calling meaninglessness for lack of a better term], Hemingway paints a searing portrait of love and the meaningfulness of intimate relationship.
Lt. Henry’s [solidly requited] love for the Scottish nurse Catherine Barkley is like repeated flashes of color thrown into the clattering frames of a black-and-white newsreel. Meaningfulness, inserted into mayhem.
It was something beautiful, growing, thriving and enduring in a field of ugliness, disaster and loss.
The novel ended with the tears of two men.
Lt. Henry’s.
And mine.

I could say so much more about #74 on the list of the 100 Best Books of All Time, but I won’t. I will simply ask a question and then answer it:
In A Farewell To Arms, does Hemingway show us that the meaningfulness of love and goodness and hopes and dreams are altogether something too good to be true?
He shows us that all of these things are too good, and true!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Watching A Boat: A Saturday Poem

Watching A Boat

Upon this pier
the boat becomes
a mirror of emotion.
You are the breeze
trapped in its sails
I, the windless ocean.

And like this vessel
tethered here
yet longing to be driven,
You long to be released
and freed
I long to be forgiven.

Look, these thoughts
lie heaped upon
a heart’s undying embers.
You are forever
I, one who remembers.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

Not to be aware of the reader’s presence is sort of like being in a room with somebody and ignoring them, which I don’t think is an acceptable way of behaving in life or in literature.
-- Billy Collins --
Here is yet another new book that I eagerly anticipate. Ballistics is the title of Billy Collins’s soon to be released [in about a week from now] collection of poetry. I have read and re-read all of his previous books. The guy is fabulous! CLICK.

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

People have always been more impressed by the power of our
example than by the example of our power.

-- Bill Clinton, Aug.27, 2008 –

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Literal Anticipation...

Now here is something to be excited about, dear Readers.
A new book by Jose Saramago.
Death With Interruptions.
It’s not yet released [should be published “next month” according to Harper’s magazine…] but WOW! I cannot wait! Here’s a book I will buy while the print is still drying!
Saramago is my favorite living author. Really he is!
I actually hate that word “favorite” in this context, yet I use it all the time. The problem being that there are so many [worthy] favorites among my List of Favorites…. but perhaps a better way of expressing my love for Saramago is that I feel he is the author I am most unequivocally interested in.
The author least likely to disappoint me?
The author with the Most Flawless track record in that regard?
Those of you who are very astute will recall that recently I lamented that there is only one Saramago novel I have yet to read. Well, now there are TWO!
The current Harper’s magazine has printed an excerpt of Death With Interruptions, on page 29. [September ’08 issue].
I just finished reading it.
It does not specify where the excerpt comes from, but I am imagining it is from the first chapter. And the first sentence is… The following day, no one died.
This is the premise.
Some phenomenon happens, wherein no one dies!
People just don't DIE any more.
[God, I love this guy]!
Here is a promotional blurb I unearthed… On the first day of the new year, no one dies. This, understandably, causes consternation among politicians, religious leaders, funeral directors, and doctors. Among the general public, on the other hand, there is initially celebration -- flags are hung out on balconies, people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits home -- families are left to care for the permanently dying, life-insurance policies become meaningless . . .

I mean, his ideas are so CRAZY…. but so ingenious. And handled with such exactitude and rigor and finesse.
And just as he has done with such books as Blindness and Seeing and The Stone Raft [and others], he immediately moves toward the issue of how society is to contain this new outbreak of non-death!
The government steps in “to take efficient, coordinated action.” And, of course, the religious leaders get all knotted up like a sweaty basket of nightmare-twisted bedsheets. Oh, it’s great… even this Harper's excerpt is enough to reveal that the book will be magnificent.
HOW do you take action upon such circumstances?
Any reader of Saramago knows that nothing but unmanageable [mismanaged] mayhem is going to ensue!
Here in Canada the book will be available October 1st.
I shall be pre-ordering it.
[Unless I die from something first...]
I cannot wait to read it.
I cannot wait to read it.


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

OCEAN, n. A body of water occupying about two-thirds
of a world made for man – who has no gills.

-- Ambrose Bierce, 1911 --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning, but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing. That's my way, sir; and there are many victories worse than a defeat.
-- George Eliot, in Janet’s Repentance

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

“You don’t train for a silver.”
-- Shawn Johnson, Olympic Gold Medalist –
I shamelessly admit, I fell in love with this young woman last Tuesday night, watching her win GOLD in gymnastics for the U.S.A., in Beijing!
She is a a champion to be reckoned with!
A little 4’9” wonder. A little Iowa fireball!

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I was horrified.
More embarrassed than I have been in a long while!

verb ( -fies, -fied) [ trans. ]
1 (often be mortified) cause (someone) to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or humiliated : [ trans. ] she was mortified to see her wrinkles in the mirror | [as adj. ] ( mortifying) she refused to accept this mortifying disgrace.

Seriously… oh, I am such an idiot. Moron this… I mean, more on this, in a minute.
But first Hey! I am back home at Bookpuddle Headquarters.
Spent ALL DAY in planes.
In a way it is good to be back home. I just arrived.
Jack is meowing like it’s the end of the world.
He had a superb cat-sitter in Val The Cat-Lady©, but it’s nice to know that he misses me, at least a bit.
He is on his perch nearby, looking at me as I type.

Anyhoo… so here is what happened.
After taking the small sort of commuter plane from The Island to Vancouver at an inhumanly-early hour this morning, I had just enough time to grab a grande-bold coffee at the Starbucks on the way to the next leg of my journey home.
This flight was to Toronto. Biggest jet I have ever been on. A Boeing 777-300.
This is Canada’s biggest passenger jet, by the way! They’ve only got nine of these babies in Their Fleet.
OK, so maybe I was in awe of the size of the plane, I don’t know. All I know is that when I got to my designated seat [35A] I sort of made a real suave move to get my backpack up into the overhead bin, and when I did so, I spilled my grande-bold coffee all over the guy that was sitting in the aisle seat.
Yes, you heard right.

And he was like sort of an executive-type looking guy.
In other words, he was dressed nice, in a suit and tie, and he was instantly NOT IMPRESSED…. nor did my immediate appeal to every deity known to mankind inspire any similar spiritual ejaculations from himself.
“Oh my God, oh my God, OH MY GOD!” I said, about twelve times over!
“Oh, my God, sir, I am so sorry….” [the cup is on the floor…. a big huge puddle spreading in the carpet….] “I should never have been born! Oh my God, I am SUCH an idiot…. Oh my God, I’ll get an attendant….” I ran away to arrest the attention of a stewardess.
The entire time [I am not kidding] this man did not say one word to me.
Just glared.
Glared with a wicked disdain of my existence.

The stewardess brought paper towels, wet and dry. The guy mopped himself up, [even the seat was coffee-soaked]. I wanted to kill myself with something. And I could tell that he would have helped me out.
I apologized several times as I took my window seat in the same row, and never once did he respond.
Just stared at me like I was an escaped lunatic.

It was a long while before the plane actually took off, it was still boarding, so this whole scene was extremely uncomfortable.
Redemption arrived in the form of an ancient woman.
She hobbled up and took the seat between us.
Now at least there was a person between me and this guy who wanted to kill me. I picked up my book which I had flung on my seat one second before the coffee fiasco. George Eliot’s The Mill On The Floss.
I began intently reading.
The old lady reached into her own carry-on bag which she had stowed under her seat, and she retrieved… of all things in the world, Eliot’s Middlemarch.
So I showed her the cover of my book, and we both laughed, while the man to the right of both of us was steaming from pants and ears.
It was an interesting day.
And as much as I loved my vacation, I am also glad to be home.
Everything in its season.


Friday, August 22, 2008

To Kill or Not to Kill...

…that is the question.
Or rather, in the following case… “How to kill” is perhaps the question.
I am interrupting my wonderful vacation to just drop by and say Hello to all my blog-friends out there. I have only today and tomorrow left, Sunday will be spent in a couple of airplanes and then I am back to reality… work, work, work.
Monday it all begins again. The regular routine. The grind.
As for today, we are taking the boat out onto the ocean. I’ve got to soak up as much of this gorgeous place as I can, while I can.

I subscribe to a regular editorial V-log called The Resident.
The host, Lori Harfenist, always has something interesting to say, and today’s posting is no exception. It involves the issue of the Death Penalty.
I must say that I have no real solid, definitive, works-every-time answer to the question of the rightness or wrongness of the death penalty. Overall, I find it to be a severely barbaric idea… unworthy of humanity as a whole. Also, one of my main objections to it would involve the possibility of error, ie., executing someone who was innocent of the crime for which they’ve been convicted.
In the following short clip, Lori raises a valid issue [I think] concerning any given opinion regarding the institution of the death penalty for convicted criminals.
That is… → has the crime directly affected you or your family?
Ahhh… there’s the rub.
It’s fairly easy to say one is fully against the death penalty in all instances, when one has not been personally affected by the crime in question.
There are so many variants to the entire issue. I recently watched an episode of 48 Hours, in which it was concluded beyond any doubt that the killer of a man’s wife and two children was his own son.
Does the father advocate the death penalty in this case? No, he does not.
If the killer was a stranger? Hmmm… who knows how the father may feel about it.
The following brief clip addresses an entirely different scenario. A man claiming to be too obese to be put to death by lethal injection. It is interesting, to say the least.
Perhaps they should just lock the man in a room full of pizzas?

The fuller story.
Your comments are welcome.
Have a great weekend, y’all!
See you soon. Back in reality!
-- Cip

Monday, August 18, 2008

Terrific Vacation

Just dropping by to say I am having a fabulous vacation. The wedding was wonderful.
I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that even now, as I type this, I am supposed to be at work.
Bwahahahaha! Evil laugh!
And I could not be at a more beautiful place, here on Vancouver Island, in the city of Nanaimo. Hometown of Diana Krall.
We have a house rented for the week, in an area of town known as Departure Bay. [see photo]. It is so peaceful, so serene and beautiful, this place tucked away on a hill of pine trees.
From our deck we can look out upon Departure Bay.
So far, each morning without fail, there have been deer prancing about in the yard. This morning I was out on the deck reading some George Eliot and sipping on a steaming coffee, and as I looked to the right, there below me, munching on the grass, were two young deer.

Needless to say, I am thinking of moving back to Nanaimo.
The other day I was walking through the Mall and passed by one of these donation bins, filled with used books. Not being in any sort of hurry at all, I browsed through the bin thinking, “Hey, I’m as needy as the next guy!”
I found this one book called Awakening The Buddha Within. It’s by some dude named Lama Surya Das.
So I stole the thing.
I mean… I took it. I permanently borrowed it. [What would Buddha do?]
And I have been reading it off and on, here where the deer and the antelope play. I want this holiday to never end.

My Deer

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Going There, With Me

Hello Friends:
It is very early in the morning… it is still night, actually.
I was “untimely ripp’t” from the cozy bed!
But the time has finally come for me to leave Dodge, for this Infamous Wedding I have been all a-fluster about, for so long now.
Off to Vancouver Island!
I think I may be more nervous and stressed out over it than the bride and/or groom are!
I will be singing a beautiful song called “Go There With You” at the actual ceremony portion. During that song, the bride and groom [since it’s sort of a… near-the-ocean wedding] will be doing something called a “sand-pouring”. Instead of the usual deal with the candles and all. I am also the MC for the reception portion.
At any rate, I am just tuniing in here to my site [as Jack meows in the background, knowing that those blue suitcases mean that Dad is leaving again… don’t worry, Animal Rights Activists… I have a cat-sitter that takes much better care of him when I am away, than I do, when I’m here…] as I was saying, I am just tuning in here as a cab is driving to my place to pick me up, to say that I will not be around much, Bookpuddle-wise, for the next little while.
For those of you who may be interested in knowing about it, the extraction of my bothersome wisdom tooth [two days ago] went extremely well. Excellent excellent dental surgeon.
It was funny, while my mouth was cranked open, Dr. Johnson’s assistant asked me… “So where is it you are going on vacation?”
I stared at her… saucer-eyed!
Is she seriously asking me a question in my current state?

Here below, is the song I will be singing at the wedding.
[NOTE: There is no real visual accompaniment.]
I love this song. It’s by Steven Curtis Chapman.

See you on the flipside!
-- Cipper

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Once we move outside the boundaries of dogmatic Catholicism and Hinduism, both positions can be seen to have deep flaws. Consciousness is universal, and if there is a such a thing as God-consciousness, no one can be excluded from it. By the same token, no one can lay exclusive claim, either. If Jesus rose to the highest level of enlightenment, why should he be unique in this regard? Buddha may be his equal (hundreds of millions of followers believe so), along with Vedic rishis like Vasishtha and Vyassa, who didn’t happen to have religions named after them.
-- Deepak Chopra, The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

I'm not proud of biting the head off a bat. I'm not proud of having attention deficit disorder.
But I'm a real guy...It could be worse. I could be Sting.

-- Ozzy Osbourne –

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Jam, and Idleness

The other day I finished reading Middlemarch.
What an amazing book. Truly, I loved it.
Then I was driving home and it started raining.
I literally had to drive off of busy Bank Street, onto some side street that was less trafficked, but, to my vehicular-committed horror, I found even this tributary to be already fender-deep in rushing water.
So I pulled into the nearest parking lot.
Hey… it’s a used bookstore.
Seriously. How do you spell serendipity?
So I ran in there, with the rain continuing to pelt the few windows of the place.
An old grey-haired man sat behind the desk. I had the immediate impression that he does not even leave that chair to sleep at night, but simply slumps forward onto the desktop in front of him as night falls. He never even greeted me, as though my arrival in this place [as Noah’s Ark floats by], was entirely expected.
I browsed the shelves.
Hmmm…. TONS of lovely stuff. Like, I mean TONS!

I gravitated towards the literature section…. you probably can envision what I mean? Where a good 80% of the books are Penguin Classics? I love it.
Almost immediately, I reached forward, and retrieved an ancient-looking Mill On The Floss.
Still thoroughly impressed with my experience in Middlemarch, I tucked this paperback under my arm and continued to browse the place.

I have been now reading Floss for a couple of days.
And I really like it.
Thing is… to appreciate these kind of old books, you have to be able to appreciate the masterful elucidation of simple things.
Like… like, for instance… the eating of a jam-puff.

I’m not kidding.
It’s what George Eliot [this guy is incredible] is so good at!

In The Mill On The Floss, we meet, right from the get-go, with Tom and Maggie Tulliver.
They are brother and sister. Maggie is nine, Tom, just a bit older.
Maggie WORSHIPS her brother. She loves him, and he, her.
Maggie is like an Anne Shirley, injected with an extra few CC’s of piss and vinegar! A feisty kid. [Her recent self-inflicted hair-shearing reminded me of the early Jane Eyre.]
The kind of kid you want to just adore, but who would vehemently reject your devotion. A wild-child.

OK, so in this one scene [Chapter 6 of Book One], Maggie and Tom have the opportunity of sharing a jam-filled “puff”. A piece of pastry.
It is the highlight of their day…. they run off with the thing, for a moment of rapturous indulgence.
Nowadays, a kid of the same age would not experience such joy even if you presented them with a new iPhone©, with a year of free use!
So, if this thing about the jam-puff eludes your interest, do not read George Eliot…. as for me, I love this sort of innocence, that [allegedly] once existed on the antediluvian Earth!

Anyhoo…. so, here they are now, with this... this treasure in their possession, and Tom gets his jacknife out, to divvy the jam-puff in two equal portions. But it is so irregularly shaped that he finds the deed impossible. He makes Maggie close her eyes and choose left or right….. she ends up with the larger portion.
Thing is…. each of these kids originally would have deferred the bigger portion to the other…. but… but… BUT…. as Tom watches his beloved sister wolf down her prize….. he… well…. [I’ll let brother George tell it]…

Maggie, thinking it was no use to contend further, began too, and ate up her half puff with considerable relish as well as rapidity. But Tom had finished first and had to look on while Maggie ate her last morsel or two, feeling in himself a capacity for more. Maggie didn’t know Tom was looking at her; she was seesawing on the elder bough, lost to everything but a vague sense of jam and idleness.

Oh, I loved that!
It’s the part where she has no idea Tom is looking over at her…. indignation mounting. He gets royally pissed-off at her! He expected her to give him some of that prize!
But [and this I love] she DIDN’T.

If this kind of literature-genius does not turn you on [no hidden meaning intended]…. stay away from George Eliot.
As for me, I shall read more of him, after this.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Reindeer: A Saturday Poem


It is appropriate that the name is unchanged
Whether singular or plural.
For tonight I saw one,
Seeming to bow for all things living
Toward the grass.

The Northern Lights and the stars
Were together less majestic than the single breath
Huffed, as the branch beneath my foot
Sent all things living, echoing
Over the ridge.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

Trouble In Tooth 28

Is there ever a “good” time to have problems with one’s wisdom teeth?
The short answer is, “NO!”
But for me, right now… the long answer is, “For the love of God, my holidays start in a few days and they begin with my gig as MC at my niece’s wedding and I don’t want to have a face all puffed out like a raccoon and plus I have to sing and entertain the people and I don’t want to have to worry about sudden eruptions of blood from my mouth and plus I was looking forward to really chowing down on lots of good wedding-food and getting wicked drunk… and… and….”

But, in all seriousness, Murphy’s Law has really gotten me good, with the news from my dentist yesterday afternoon. The current, unbearable pain I am experiencing is due to a cavity in one of my upper wisdom teeth.
Known as Tooth 28, in technical terms!
Lately I have been going crazy with pain…. especially when trying to sleep at night. Amazingly, as soon as I lie down in bed… BOOM!
The pain flares up.
Doctor says this is "a sign of a dying tooth."
I said, "Perhaps! But it is also the cause of a very grumpy Ukrainian!"

So…… the earliest appointment I could make with a dental surgeon is TUESDAY.
And…. my flight leaves painfully early, on Thursday morning!
Needless to say, I am now preoccupied with thoughts of looking like a some kind of bruised and battered chipmunk in front of all of my relatives and friends, when I MC this wedding!
Does anyone have any experience with upper tooth extraction, followed by immediate Master of Ceremonies duties?
Please… only send comments that are ENCOURAGING and UPLIFTING!
I am already depressed enough, thank you!

I have been known to tell a certain riddle, from time to time. It is one of my favorites, and goes like this:
QUESTION: What time is it when a Chinaman needs to see the dentist?
ANSWER: Tooth-Hurty!
Guess what time my appointment is, on Tuesday?
That’s right folks.

[Quit laughing…]


Splash du Jour: Friday

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

A man vows, and yet will not cast away the means of breaking his vow. Is it that he distinctly means to break it? Not at all; but the desires which tend to break it are at work in him dimly, and make their way into his imagination, and relax his muscles in the very moments when he is telling himself over again the reasons for his vow.
-- George Eliot, in Middlemarch, ch.70 --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

You must be sure of two things: you must love your work, and not be always looking over the edge of it, wanting your play to begin. And the other is, you must not be ashamed of your work, and think it would be more honorable for you to be doing something else.
-- George Eliot, in Middlemarch, ch.56 –

As I have heard it said, “Those who love their work, add five days to their week.”
My week has two days.
Saturday and Sunday.
The days I am not working.
If today I won the Big Lottery [which is currently at 43 Million clams and I have two tickets, so I have a damn good chance at the thing…] I would definitely quit my job.
If you, dear reader, would keep working where you currently work, after winning $43,000,000… I envy you. I really do.
Because you are living SEVEN days a week, instead of just the two!
More power to you!

Have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

On Sunday, one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th Century, one of my favorite authors, and someone I consider a hero of the human spirit, passed away…

Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Dec.11, 1918 – Aug.03, 2008

One should never direct people towards happiness, because happiness too is an idol of the market-place. One should direct them towards mutual affection. A beast gnawing at its prey can be happy too, but only human beings can feel affection for each other, and this is the highest achievement they can aspire to.

-- Alexander Solzhenitsyn –

Several of my own writings/reviews on Solzhenitsyn:
1, 2, 3.

Wishing you all, a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.
-- Ernest Hemingway –

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I'll Marry The Sister...

Those of you who have been paying attention in class may recall that soon I will be the MC at the wedding of my niece, Amy.
I am taking the thing sort of seriously. I want to be funny, is what I mean.
I don’t want to just announce stuff.
There’s this one friend of mine [I will not mention names] but his wife Melanie pees her pants when she laughs real hard. They will be there. They will be at the wedding on the 16th of August.
Melanie’s…. umm, dress-moisture will be my gauge of success.

So tonight I am rooting around on the Internet, mostly on Youtube. Trying to find some funny material to use…. jokes, etc. From former Wedding MC’s that have gone before me. However, my own original stuff is better than anything I am finding here on the Web.
So I am just going to say “Hell with it” and stick with using what has worked in the past. [I have MC’d two weddings before]. I will use my original jokes. Original re-written songs. Drinking beer through a straw rammed up my nose. Stuff like that!
But, in my research I did happen to stumble over a Youtube clip that is simply PRICELESS!
I must share this with you, dear Puddle-reader. I think these two are just DYNAMITE!
This is, far and away, the best first dance of Bride and Groom I have ever seen!
These two are obviously made for each other!

Mmmm…. I wanna know.
Does she have a sister for me?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Things We Say: A Saturday Poem

Things We Say

No two snowflakes are the same.
But how do we test for this?
Imagine how many there have been.
Has someone caught them all?

Perhaps one, clinging to the window
Melts, just as its soulmate arrives.
Or another, landing on fall’s last leaf
Shivers beside its twin, unseen.

Who knows? Yet we do say it.
No two have ever fallen,
Alike. Unique, we are told.
And so we repeat, and trust.

No two snowflakes are the same.
I am in love with you.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, August 01, 2008

Mechanical Separation

For the past few days I have been away from my computer.
Regretfully so.
I sincerely apologize to all Splash du Jour addicts out there.
All…. all three of you!
In a very real sense, you could say I have been "Mechanically Separated" from something I love.
Blogging, and blog friends.
Anyhoo… those of you who know me well… (again, all three of you… and you know who you are…) you will know that I love food.
Rather, I love EATING food.
I even like BUYING food.
I love grocery-shopping… and I love reading the ingredient labels on all of the stuff I eat! [Click here for an EXAMPLE of such a pastime.)
One beneficial side effect of my label-reading (being a Canadian) is that I have learned to speak French!
For those of you who do not know… (all three of you)… in Canada, all of our food has to be labelled in English and French.
My personal feelings (that all labelling should also be in Ukrainian) seem to not matter to any legislators, thus far! But as I was saying…. I learned to speak French by reading labels.
I’m not exactly fluent though! For instance, just the other morning, in the elevator of my apartment building, an attractive woman entered, and said, “Bonjour.”
I turned to her and said, “Vider le chili dans une casserole moyenne.” 
(Umm… → “Empty chili into a medium saucepan.”)
Needless to say, her and I are not going out dancing this evening!

But just today I was sitting there at work at lunchtime, reading the label of my Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup, you know the one? As in, “The Soup That Eats Like A Meal© ”…. or, as we, on this side of the bridge to Quebec like to say, “Une soupe qui se mange comme un repas.”

So…. while this wonderful soup is heating in the microwave, I am reading the label, and I quickly get to the part that says “mechanically separated chicken.”
Seriously, this gave me pause.

I stared at this phrase…. wondering what on earth it was implying…. and WHY it was implying it.
Why even MENTION the “process”…. why make a point of noting that the chicken parts I am about to eat, have been MECHANICALLY separated?
I must admit, prior to reading the thing, I had not even speculated on how the chicken fragments had ended up in this can of soup!
But now I was WORRIED!
Like… I am wondering, is this some sort of disclaimer?
Is it a legal statement?

As in… “Umm, if you find any beaks or toes or paperclips or whatnot in this Soup That Eats Like A Meal© , we are telling you up front that the problem has nothing to do with any sort of human error?”
BEEP…. BEEP….. BEEP….. [the microwave calls me hither….]

See…. as to the other ingredients, I was not all that concerned… for instance, I am under no illusion as to whether or not any carrot fragments were ever in any sort of actual GARDEN per se. Or saw one ray of actual sunshine upon their leafy carrot-tops!
I do not envision Grandma Campbell© toiling in her backyard, pulling each carrot out of the earth and then washing and slicing it, tossing it into a steaming pot, as her calico cat purrs, yonder.
I have never envisioned her actually digging any of the potatoes or anything!
And so now, reading this jargon about this… this Robotically-Severed© “chicken”, I guess I am wondering if the veggies were also grown in some kind of test-tube or whatnot!
Why would a (fairly reputable) food company have to LET YOU KNOW that the chicken that went into their soup was “mechanically separated”?
I am not even sure if I really WANT to know any more information about this!
Because, like…. I want to totally keep EATING this stuff.
Because, let’s face it! It DOES “eat like a meal!© ”

Mechanically separated?
Mechanically separated FROM WHAT?
Do any of us want to know?