Monday, September 29, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

A university anywhere can aim no higher than to be as British as possible for the sake of the undergraduates, as German as possible for the sake of the graduates and the research personnel, and as American as possible for the sake of the public at large – and as confused as possible for the preservation of the whole uneasy balance.
-- Clark Kerr, 1963 --

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dear Old Dad

Election time is fast approaching, not only for the Yankees, but even sooner for us Canucks!
On Oct.14th Canadians will be going to the polls and electing a Prime Minister.
The campaign is going great guns right now. [The three Liberal buses passed me on the Queensway tonight, a big red one in the lead, followed by two white ones…. Stephane Dion's roadies perhaps?]
However, most Canadians seem to be more interested in what is going on south of our border! [And on a scale of global importance, rightly so, I guess.]
When I first became eligible to vote, several decades ago, I did not vote.
Out of respect for my dear old dad.
I am not sure now, looking back, if what I did was stupid or not.
See, way back then, my father and I were on opposite ends of the political spectrum ideology-wise. And when election time[s] came around, I would see him go to the polls, and there was no mystery as to how he was going to vote. He made it QUITE clear.
And his choice was not my choice.
And so, out of respect for him, I personally felt it would be wrong to cancel his vote with my own.
He raised me. For at least one or two, maybe even three of those federal elections, I was still living under his roof. [The cloud of marijuana smoke wafting up the stairway from my room was a dead giveaway that I was still a resident…]
Now, thinking back, I guess if I really really respected him I could have used my own ballot to DOUBLE his vote!
But even parental respect has its limits.

My dad passed away just two weeks before the new Millennium.
I have missed him since that December of 1999.
I now live on the other side of Canada, in the nation’s capital. Several provinces east of my pot-smoking days!
I can SEE Parliament Hill from my balcony! The Prime Minister’s residence at 24 Sussex is only a few blocks from my apartment. My polling station is connected underground to my own building.
I hope that this year, in a few weeks time, when I walk that subterranean labyrinth to place my “X” where my father would never have placed his -- I hope he is not watching me on some cloud-mounted big-screen TV in heaven.
He’d be shaking his head back and forth.
Dear old dad.
I still respect him. I still disagree with him. And because of both things, part of me hopes they do not allow televised coverage of such Earthly events where he lives.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last-Minute Cancellation

Well, it is Saturday and usually I post a poem on Saturday.
But I am last-minute canceling that plan!
I had a poem all ready to go here this morning but then I happened to see something so funny on Youtube that I felt compelled… yes, compelled I say, to post it.
May it give you even more inspiration than my awesome Billy Collins-like poem would have done.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
-- Kenyan leader Jomo Kenyatta --

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Generally speaking, I think fiction seeks to reflect the ambiguity and contradictions in experience, not some slogan or message. If there were a shorter way to fully express what the story does, there would be no point in telling it.
-- Scott Turow, in Ultimate Punishment

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

His "X" on "No"

I’ve been known to break a promise now and then.
But here is one I have kept.
Remember back when I was on my summer vacation and I mentioned the “death penalty” issue? [ HERE].
Well, at that time, I made a promise to myself that I would look further into the issue. And I did.
Tonight I just finished reading Scott Turow’s excellent book, Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer’s Reflections on Dealing With The Death Penalty.

Excellent, excellent book. Essential, even.
Everyone should read it.
See, because my own views on the topic were very… elementary.
And the topic itself is anything but elementary. The issue of capital punishment is not easily dealt with, it is not rudimentary. It is very intricate. It’s convoluted.
It’s a matter of life. And death.
It is ignorance to say, “I believe in it” or “I don’t believe in it” without examining what is involved in choosing either decision.
And here are 125 pages that are a great introduction into the matter.

Turow, a respected criminal lawyer [and bestselling author of crime-novels] was one of fourteen experts Governor George Ryan of Illinois appointed to serve on his Commission on Capital Punishment. While in office as governor, Ryan declared a moratorium on executions in the state. In March of the year 2000, realizing that abolition was not a current valid option, Ryan posed the following question to the Committee:
What reforms, if any, would make application of the death penalty in Illinois fair, just, and accurate?
How’s that for a homework assignment, huh kids?

For 24 months this Committee researched and deliberated, utilizing their combined years of experience and expertise to finally offer [in April of 2002] an impressive list of proposals for reform of the current system as applied to the state of Illinois.
Reading this book, one gets a sense of the arduous journey that is necessary in coming to any sort of reasonable expression of how we may humanly [not to mention, humanely] accomplish the inexpressible… the legalization of the taking of life.
All of that journey, not just a portion of it, is uphill.
And all of it is never-ending.

Turow [convincingly, in my opinion] argues that capital punishment and the promise of due process of law are incompatible, and concludes by saying that if he were asked on a ballot whether Illinois should retain capital punishment, would put his “X” on “No.”
Read this book, and then sincerely ask yourself if you would not do likewise.
All I know is that it has profoundly altered the way I have formerly thought about this impossible-to-exaggerate dilemma of our time.


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Dogs need to sniff around; It’s how they keep abreast of current events.
The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late-breaking news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often continued in the next yard.

-- Dave Barry --

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.
-- Marlene Dietrich --

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stafford Asks Us...

A wonderful poem by American poet William Stafford (1914-1993).

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

Tonight I was looking through The Darkness Around Us Is Deep, which is a collection of William Stafford's work.
Click for a SAMPLING.
He liked to utilize conversation in his poems. Quotation marks abound, and in a measure noticeably greater than most other poets I am familiar with.
As such, I tend to agree with the introductory comments of Robert Bly, who notes that Stafford “believes in talking to awake people...”
And elsewhere, he says “The poems feel like an extension of family gossip, trenchant statements to people listening with a little more care than usual.”
I agree, and I mention it here because in the above poem, we are reading a sort of quotation-markless conversation. We are being asked to listen with a little more care than usual.
I think it is important to notice that the poem never happens. From the first word to the last, it is speculative, and in the future tense.
I think it is important to read “Ask Me” with an ear tuned towards who is speaking to whom, and similarly, who is listening to whom (or to what). And perhaps most importantly, what is expected of any listener.
Speaking, listening and waiting are the dominant points of contact, and are the dominant verbs of the poem.

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made.
There will come a time when things are not as swift moving as they are right now. Issues that may have been too hot to discuss, and too fluid to interpret correctly, will have cooled down, solidified. Maybe even turned to ice.
Water is useful, vital and necessary. But ice is more manageable. When that time comes, [the less chaotic time] ask me (about) mistakes I have made.
Ask me of my worst.

Ask me whether
what I have done is my life.
The first thing that comes to my mind as I read this, is that one is more likely to be requesting such interrogation if one feels that they have NOT done all that they had intended to do. They had not accomplished what they had set out to accomplish, or ought to have accomplished, or were expected to have accomplished. I realize I am taking great license with that interpretation. But really, does one who feels completely fulfilled in every area of their life ask someone else to wait for a special time to ask them how they achieved such tranquility and inner harmoniousness?
The poem’s title is Ask Me.... and this is important. It is a plea. The person in question has a longing to be asked something. Someone who is at harmony with their inner and outer cosmos would be more likely interested in telling something!
Ask me whether what I have done with my life is an expression of my greatest potential.
Ask me if I have done who I am.
Ask me if what I am about, is doing.

have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt:
A bit of a difficult portion for me. Especially the phrase “into my thought.” However, I believe he is introducing the concept of “others” into the equation. Others mold us and shape us, help or hinder us. Sometimes they may even make or break us. “No man is an island” and all that. The speaker is saying he has known both types of “other.”
ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
Ask me what role others have played, regarding my present circumstances.

The second stanza really soars, for me.
First of all..... I will listen to what you say.
Now, hold on a minute. No one has said anything yet.
So far, if the hearer complies, the listener has only been ASKED certain things. He has not been instructed, or taught.
What does this listening then, refer to? Listening to questions? Well....
[oh this is wonderful, methinks...]
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait.
There’s something about being on the same team, you know?
Let’s you and I base our relationship right now on a common interest in the well-being of each other, and both turn in the same direction. Let’s wait to hear something that we both know we are not going to hear, and in doing so, realize that the answer is not in the telling, but in the mutual willingness to listen.
The one who is speaking, in this poem, is the river.
And not even the surface of the river, but the undercurrent, that which flows under the ice.
Something we know, and sense, and yes, even hear, but do not see.
We will listen for that which a third person standing nearby, looking upon the same scene, would not hear.
Notice now, the introduction of the words “we” and “us". They are the parentheses around this next passage.

We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
The darkness around us is [indeed] deep.
Let it remain around us, and not IN us.
We know there is life, movement (“the current is there”) obscured by all that is visible, yes, but there nonetheless.
Hidden for a season, moreso than a reason.
This stillness teaches us.

What the river says, that is what I say.
I will be as mute as this river, but if you are willing to listen to it with me, we will both hear the answer to every question you have asked.
And the answer will apply to us both, equally.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Two Lonely: A Saturday Poem

Two Lonely

Alone, nightdress-clad, she sat outside the door
And swept aside a golden tress, as from heaven it fell
Across her angel face -- And thoughts too great to tell
Lay flightless, furrowed there -- as times before.
‘Oh God! Shall I be so unknown?
…With no soul to catch this night’s moonward eye
Nor to shoulder a tear -- None, but the bright black sky
With sorrows of its own?’

Away, homeward-sad, a man drew his carriage
To a halt, and wandered thus near a murmuring stream
Where danced partners of light -- And, as if in a dream
He was drawn to his own oft-imagined marriage.
‘Oh God! Will it be late or soon?
For I’ve no one to welcome me whene’er I’ve returned?’
And a tear joined the water, as his face was upturned
Toward the same silent moon.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Singin' In The Rain

Tonight at Chapters I picked up a book about great Canadian athletes… one of these huge-normous coffee-table style books. Of course, half of the book is about Wayne Gretzky.
But a certain section was devoted to this guy, figure-skater Kurt Browning.
And so I sipped my coffee and read about Kurt.
I have always thought of Kurt Browning as one of the greatest Canadian athletes of all time. Really. I am not just saying that because I saw this book tonight. I once saw him skate, LIVE, and I shall never forget it. To list Kurt’s achievements [4-Time World Champion, 4-Time Canadian Champion, 3-Time Olympic Team Member, 3-Time World Professional Champion] would just be rather boring here, so in lieu of doing so, [even though I just did so] I will place a clip from his television special of Yesteryear.
A way-younger-than-present-day, severely hairier Kurt introduces the piece to us.
I think it is an artistically beautiful and [typically] Kurt-flawless number.

On March 25, 1988, Kurt Browning landed the first ever quadruple jump in competition at Worlds in Budapest, Hungary.
Check it out HERE.
[Warning: May cause severe dizziness.]


Splash du Jour: Friday

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

It is the moment when our resolution seems about to become irrevocable, when the fatal iron gates are about to close upon us, that tests our strength. Then, after hours of clear reasoning and firm conviction, we snatch at any sophistry that will nullify our long struggles and bring us the defeat that we love better than victory.
-- George Eliot, in The Mill On The Floss --

This [the above] happens to me every New Year when I fail to give up hamburger!

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.
-- Barack Obama --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moore's Moving Tips

Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit, Michael Moore can be quite witty!
Sitting here in the Starbucks section of my favorite Chapters Bookstore, I noticed his newest book, on yonder display.
← Mike’s Election Guide 2008.
I know I am not supposed to do this, and there are signs all over the place forbidding it, but I took the [unpurchased] book to my table and browsed through it. I love the back cover.
There is a flock of ear-tagged sheep and above them hovers the following two statements:

“The Republican brand is in the trash can. If we were dog food, they’d take us off the shelf.” Republican Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia, 2008

Which begs the question: How many Democrats does it take to lose the most winn
able election in history?

That sort of gives you a sense of the tone of the book.
Michael Moore does not want the Republicans to win.
[Who does, right?]
But…. [cue the theme from The Twilight Zone…] they probably WILL win!
How does this even HAPPEN?

OK, so I flip to this one section of the book and it was so good I have to share it here. Mostly because I am a Canadian.
It is found in the question/answer section [p.67] where the question is:
“Mike, if I have to move north of the border after the next presidential election because McCain has won, what do I need to know about Canada and Canadians?”

I love his 8-point answer:

1. Canadians will subtly say the opposite of what they mean, often keeping a straight face. It’s called “irony.” They also apply this in a form of humour (bring a lot of “u’s” with you) known as “satire.”

2. Canadians have very little desire to wreak violence upon you – unless you have a puck they want.

3. You will need to learn the metric system (this should be reason enough to convince you to stay here). And you’ll never truly master it, thus holding up the line at Tim Horton’s every day.

4. You will not need to learn French. The Canadians claim to be a bilingual people, and you will see a lot of signs in English and French, but don’t worry – it’s just for show so that the people in Quebec
don’t split off and join Greenland. In fact, if you do move to Canada, move to Quebec. They’re so pissed at everything, you’ll feel right at home. None of them will speak English to you, so if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, Quebec is your place. Eventually you’ll pick up French and that will allow you to move again (when you’ve had your fill of Canadian politics) to that other country we all want to move to – France!

5. Finish any dental work you’re in the middle of before you leave the U.S. While the Canadian healthcare system is much better than ours (it’s free, it’s for everyone), they don’t cover dental. Enter the country with good teeth and you are guaranteed to live two years longer than if you had stayed in the USA.

6. Get ready to listen to a lot of complaining. Things are so good in Canada, after a while people there tend to take it for granted that 40 million of their people don’t live in poverty – heck, they don’t have 40 million people! The crime rate is low, the schools are decent, and the chocolate is real. But they get bored easily and with no real problems to bitch about, they start making shit up. Like the Irish and the British, they absolutely hate it when one of their own ends up doing better than anyone else. They’ll tear him to shreds. This keeps many afraid of doing well, and that’s why no great inventions since the telephone have come out of Canada.

7. They still drink like a sieve and smoke like a stack. I don’t know why this is. See #6.

8. Learn whatever you can about American government and history before you head there because whatever you think you know about America, they will know more. It’s uncanny and it’s scary. But I guess that’s why they’ve studied up on their next door neighbor.

‘Cause their neighbor is sorta scary.

As a Canadian I totally agree with all eight points!
And I was just going to put this book in my backpack and leave with it...
But then I re-read Point #6.
I’ll put it back on the shelf.
Gotta keep that crime rate down, eh?
I’m representin’!

Just do it!

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

What the world needs in order to survive and thrive is the radical simplicity that lies at the core of Christianity and so many other faiths and systems of thought – an abiding trust in the way of love as expressed in just and compassionate living. Out of the multitude of understandings of religion, spirituality, and faith; out of the varying views of the origins, nature, and purpose of life; out of the countless individual experiences of what might be called divine; out of it all may be distilled a core that, very simply put, is love. This core message carries its own authority. It needs no doctrine to validate it, no external expert or supernatural authority to tell us it is right. Love is quite demanding enough as a foundation, sufficiently complex and challenging without the requirement of additional beliefs, unbelievable to many. The
church the future needs is one of people gathering to share and recommit themselves to loving relationships with themselves, their families, the wider community, and the planet.
-- Gretta Vosper, in With or Without God

Have a great Tuesday!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

What’s my life worth? In the end (I don’t know what end)
One man says: “I earned three hundred thousand dollars.”

Another man says: “I enjoyed three thousand days of glory.”
Yet another says: “I had a clear conscience and that’s enough.”
And I, should somebody ask what I did,
Will say: “Nothing except look at things,
Which is why I have the whole Universe in my pocket.”
And if God should ask: “And what did you see in things?”
I’ll answer: “Just the things themselves. That’s all you put there.”
And God, who after all is savvy, will make me into a new kind of saint.
-- Fernando Pessoa, 17 September, 1914 –

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Currently Reading

I am currently enmeshed in two books.
One fiction.
One… not.
John Irving’s A Son of The Circus is proving to be a real enjoyable page-turner, but that is not surprising. I think he is far and away one of the best storytellers ever!
It’s a big novel, and I am no
t yet even a third of the way through. It involves so many intriguing characters, is so [wonderfully] digressive, and witty and sarcastic and all things Irvingish©…. ahh! It already re-confirms my desire to read every single one of his many novels. Here is a line I really enjoyed, in reference to the main character in the novel:
Except when eating, Farrokh embraced procrastination as one greets an unexpected virtue.
Wow! That is all about me!

Secondly, [simultaneously] I am reading a very interesting book entitled With or Without God: Why The Way We Live Is More Important Than What We Believe, by Gretta Vosper.
Vosper is pastor of West Hill United Church in Toronto. She is the founder and chair of the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity, an organization that provides resources and support for those [like me] exploring the boundaries of Christian thought, both within and [like me] outside of the church. She believes that the church, as we have built it and known it, has outlived its viability. I could not agree more wholeheartedly with this one thing she says, on page 29:
It is crucial that we peel away the interventionist deity concept from our belief systems and face reality. We are the origin of blessing and curse in our world, not some otherworldly deity – not in Christianity, not in Judaism, not in Hinduism, not in Islam, not anywhere.

Drop me a line, and tell me if you like to focus on one book at a time, or are you a multi-tasker, like me? Two at once?
Or… are you way out there, and into threesomes?
-- Cip


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Camille: A Saturday Poem


I thought I had a favorite song until
Eyes half shut and vodka in flight
A lifetime of longing beckoned me
From the neck up, to the stage.

I turned to see you as oblivious to
My terror as a deer in the branches
Pulls leaves before hearing fear.
As though no one’s life was over –

You went on, chorus and verse.
And a piano tried to add a little
Something to the perfection of
My demise, my neck-down defeat.

Forgetting you is not the problem.
I have since learned that I must.
But tell me, Camille, how will I
Ever remember anything else?

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Friendly Snowflake

Is summer over?
Like it or not, we are in the very throes of September, and not long from now many of these snowflakes [friendly or not] shall be flying -- am I right?
The Friendly Snowflake, by M. Scott Peck.
It is significant to be aware of the subtitle of this little "kid's" book → "A Fable of Faith, Love and Family."
And perhaps important to know just a bit about the author, M. Scott Peck... bestselling author of the near legendary 1970's bestseller, The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth.
This is the only children's book that the late Mr. Peck ever wrote.
And I read it.
It was cute, uplifting, and inspirational. However, these last two adjectives may describe the very kind of thing that parents feel wary about from time to time -- "So, what is this guy preaching in here?" they may rightfully ask.
Well, this little book does touch on some rather serious questions.
Things like "What's reincarnation?" and "How do you know that our souls live on after we die?"
Both questions are asked by the protagonist, the young girl Jenny.
The first question is answered matter-of-factly, but the second question is answered in the typical respectful and non-sectarian way that Peck approached spiritual issues in all of his works. Jenny's dad answers her... "That's a very big question. In fact, it's so big I'm not going to answer it. You see, some questions are so big you shouldn't take anyone else's answer for them. It's better if you figure out your own. Often, I think that's why we're put here: to find some solutions for ourselves. I tell you what though, I'd be delighted to listen to any answer you come up with."
In my opinion... this is a good answer to the question. You may have a different opinion on that, and you should let that be your guide as to whether this is the type of book you want to read to your children. [Or not!] Because really, this is the tone of the story, in a nutshell.

It is framed around the event of Jenny having a single snowflake land on her nose and promptly melt. This simple experience causes her to begin wondering about randomness, and consequently, her own special place in the world.
She comes to the point of concluding that she is, in fact... special, and unique.
As unique as a snowflake, and more specifically her own friendly snowflake, the snowflake that found her nose.
In the Foreword, Peck says, "Being who I am, this is naturally a spiritual sort of story. It is meant to be read in such a way by young people with old souls and older people with young souls."
I, being one of these latter type, truly enjoyed it.
As soon as I meet this former type of person, I am going to give them this book as a gift.


Splash du Jour: Friday

A little reminder to us all today -- JUST KEEP IT SIMPLE!
Don't show off!

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

From an interview with The Independent:
Now recovered in health, and with renewed energies, Saramago reflects on the relationship between the writer and illness. "Can literature save your life?" his cyber-interlocutor asks. "Not as a medicine, but it is one of the richest springs from which the spirit can drink," the Portuguese laureate replies. "Perhaps it can't do great things for the body, but the soul needs literature like the mouth needs bread."

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Saramago 101

This evening [at Starbucks] I finished reading an excellent book. An engrossing page-turner!
The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, by none other than the one and only Jose Saramago.
I am soon getting a digital camera [“Wow, get with the times, Cipriano!”] I ordered the thing last night, and I thought I would borrow a great idea from Arukiyomi. When he reviews his books, he takes photos of the book against a background of where he was when he finished reading it.
But see, for me, I would always be in a Starbucks, so it would be quite boring, I guess. Anyhoo – tonight I finished this wonderful book by my favorite living author. I have often spoken of how unique Saramago’s style is, but let me encourage you to trust him.
Fall into his capable grasp and control. I will cite an example from Ricardo Reis.

OK, in this passage [from pages 248-249] two people are conversing, Ricardo and Marcenda. Ricardo is a doctor and he's in love with Marcenda, and she has had a paralyzed left hand for many years now… let us voyeuristically listen in –

Now then, how is your health, Ricardo Reis inquired. Marcenda replied, Much the same, I doubt that I will be going back to the specialist, at least not the one here in Lisbon. There are no signs of improvement, no indication of movement or that you are getting back some feeling. Nothing that encourages me. And what about your heart, That is functioning perfectly, do you wish to check it, I am not your doctor.

Several things are radically unconventional here, you may have noticed.
Firstly, lack of question marks, when in interrogative mode. The first six words, and then the sentence beginning with “There are no signs…” are questions asked by Ricardo. ["And what about your heart?" is another question, while we're at it! As is her answer!]
Secondly, change in speaker does not merit a fresh line, nor even a fresh sentence! Nor any quotation marks at all.
Thirdly, even this practice is rather arbitrary.
Note the complete full-stop sentence Nothing that encourages me. That was a change in speaker, Marcenda answering Ricardo’s question. But the very next “sentence” initiates a dialogue separated only by commas. Ricardo – Marcenda – and back to Ricardo.
Why the full stop in that one sentence [Nothing that encourages me → . ←] and not in the next grouping of sentences?
You will have to ask The Master himself!
All I know is that reading him is always a wonderful experience, and it only takes a few pages to fall under his spell.
He DESTROYS conventional grammatical rules and is NEVER CONFUSING!
I have already pre-ordered his next book, coming out in October, and have just found out tonight that there will be at least one more thing to read from this living literary legend.
Jose Saramago.
There is no one like him.

For further study, click HERE.
To see how positively adorable this man is, click HERE.


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

The poet enters his world as an as if: he writes as if he were plowing a field, as if he were conducting a chemical experiment, as if he were analyzing a real man seated before him. He is free with a stroke of a pen to change the lineaments of the world he has imagined…
The more sensitively alive a man is, the more certainly his life must scar him. But it is only the is-reality that scars. In the act of re-imagining that reality and capturing it into the as-if of poetic form, the poem releases the mind from the bonds of body and situation.

Because the poet is free to as-if as many realities as he likes, he can, by that much, see his life as part of all other realities.

He can imagine himself from outside himself.

And he can imagine himself into the mind and feeling of other men. He is ready to acquire both sympathy and understanding.

-- from "An ulcer, gentlemen, is an unwritten poem" by John Ciardi --

Have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

[Of course, the other 5% read Bookpuddle!]
Have a great Tuesday!


Monday, September 08, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."
-- Richard Dawkins --

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Name In The Sand: A Saturday Poem

A Name In The Sand

Your hand once held my own, your
Name, the sweetest note
In a song unfinished --
The reason for my joy. Now,
Sand -- laid out in its infinity
Reminds me of the countless times
My thoughts have held you, while my
Heart was so lonely
That I fell to my knees.

I bend down and write,
Still thinking about you -- sometimes
Love is a hidden message
You find in the first word of each line.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

I Love This Guy

I’m sending out a Happy Birthday a few hours early to one of my favorite musicians of all time – an all-time musical hero – an icon – a legend before his time – one of the most poetic lyricists EVER --- Roger Waters!
Mr. Waters…. Happy 65th Birthday to you!
Damn, you’re looking good for 65.
You're giving that ol' Buddhist [Richard Gere] a run for his money!
Tomorrow, Sept.6th, the old man blows out the candles!

Those familiar with this blog will know that my favorite music ever is that of Pink Floyd.
And one of the most influential members of that group is bassist and all-around poet-magician, Roger Waters.
Without question, Pink Floyd speaks to the inner… Floydian, in me!
And as for his career as a solo artist, well, I have been to two Waters concerts in the past couple of years and both times, I had an out-of-body experience! [Mind you, there was more smoke than air in the venues!]

Tonight I am listening to In The Flesh [Waters concert] in its entirety.
I am into the fourth song right now.
Jack and I are getting high, in celebration.
I was a bit low on weed, so he and I are smoking one of his hairballs!

I think that Pink Floyd has special powers.
Those of the theological and/or apocalyptical bent may be interested to know that the infamous Antichristical number “666” figures prominently into the Floyd birthdates!
Check it out:
Syd Barrett: January 6th (1946)
Roger Waters: September 6th (1943)
David Gilmour: March 6th (1946)

Scary stuff!
Especially when I’m high like this….


Splash du Jour: Friday

So let us not say, Tomorrow I shall do it, for it is
almost certain that tomorrow we will feel tired. Let us say instead,
The day after tomorrow, then we will always have
a day in reserve to change our mind and make new resolutions.

-- Jose Saramago, in The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis --

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Lately, I find myself thinking about M. Scott Peck, one of my favorite thinkers of all time.
He had a way of inventing neat, pithy ways of defining things... for instance, mental health is "an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs."
Contemplation is "a lifestyle dedicated to maximum awareness."
Salvation is "an ongoing process of becoming increasingly conscious."
Of money, he said that "enough of it is not enough, at least not when we are chasing after the illusion of total security."
He said that "death is probably the most important fact of life," and that "a grateful heart is one of the prerequisites for being a genuine Christian."
He suggested that "laziness" might be the essence of what we call original sin. (Laziness not as physical lethargy, but mental, emotional and spiritual inertia).
Peck said that "courage is not the absence of fear but the capacity to go ahead in the very direction of which you are afraid."
I particular “love” Peck's definition of love, which is "the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth."
It is still the best definition of love I have ever heard.

Have a great Thursday!


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

From Spit To Eyelashes

Have you ever wondered what you were made of?
No, no, I do not mean the real obvious stuff, like skin and blood and underwear and Chanel #5 and denim.
I mean what you are really made up of, chemically speaking.
Yes, you are skin and blood and spit.... but what are these things made of?
Well, after you read this blog, you will always know.
I am going to show you a little trick, a way to remember, and I KNOW that it works, because I am writing this from memory, here in the coffee shop.
[Granted, it does sort of help if you are familiar with your Periodic Table of Basic Elements.]
Let me explain --

See, you and I, all of us humanoids, are [when it all boils down] only made up of TEN THINGS.
Ten basic elements.
These ten basic elements make up every part of you.
From spit to eyelashes.
And I am going to show you a helpful way to remember what these are.
All you have to remember is:


See, when someone asks you, “Hey Rosco. What are human beings made of?” [and let’s face it, this happens at least two or three times a week, am I right? Especially if your name is Rosco!].... all you have to think of is S.P. COHN’S Magic Café.

But in your mind, you must see it as I originally wrote it out, [it’s called a “mnemonic”] because each part stands for an element.
In other words:

S = sulfur
P = phosphorous

C = carbon
O = oxygen
H = hydrogen
N = nitrogen
‘S = ummm, this doesn’t stand for anything, I just needed it so the thing makes sense.

Mg = magnesium
K = potassium

Ca = calcium
Fe = iron

These are the actual scientific abbreviations for these elements.
That's it baby! That's what makes up your you-ness!
Like I said.... it does help if you are familiar with this realm of..... chemistriatrics.
But truly, minus the belt buckle [and even that may be included in the last element].... you and I are a walking, talking, blogging, amalgamated conglomeration of these ten things.
Now you know.


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Carl Jung tells in one of his books of a conversation he had with a Native American chief who pointed out to him that in his perception most white people have tense faces, staring eyes, and a cruel demeanor. He said, “They are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The whites always want something. They are always uneasy and restless. We don’t know what they want. We think they are mad.”
-- From Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now

Have a great Wednesday!