Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nomenclature: A Saturday Poem


We label a thing and think that’s what it is.
Meteor, nitrogen, corpuscles, larynx, God,
follicle. The goal seems to be simplifying,
acknowledging, and quite often, I fear,

An agreement of sorts is what we desire,
or common currency. Therein lies progress.
Admittedly, this is so. But what we name
did quite fine before us, and will do well
when we are no more.

The Earth is not the earth.
Blood is not blood.
Fire is not fire.

We each had a pulse long before
we knew of aorta, artery, or atrium.
May no words choke us, even as the letters
your mother, your father, decided upon --
continue to not be you.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

A man goes into the confession booth and tells the priest, “Father, I’m seventy-five years old and last night I made love to two twenty-year-old girls -- at the same time.”
The priest says, “When did you last go to confession?”
The man says, “I’ve never been to confession, Father. I’m Jewish.”

The priest says, “Then why are you telling me?”

The man says, “I’m telling everybody!”

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Nuisance Grounds

← I just finished reading a wonderful text-book size book, dealing with the issue of the intellectual sustainability of Christianity.
I’m referring to John W. Loftus’s [2008 release]:
Why I Became An Atheist.
If you have not read my former blog about this book, I encourage you, dear reader, to check it out.
And read the stimulating discussion that follows in the comments section. Even the author of the book joins in!
It’s really a superb book. I shall write a review of it, soon.
Did I become an atheist?
I think I am what can be called a TEA©.
Thoroughly Entrenched Agnostic.

OK, so I am in the beginning stages of a return to some fiction.
Reading Margaret Laurence’s [1974] The Diviners.
Classic Canadiana fiction!
The Diviners is the culmination and completion of Margaret Laurence’s celebrated Manawaka cycle.
This is the fifth of the pentalogy.
I am cheating a bit… I read three of the others, and skipped one.
Anyhoo, into the first 100 pages of it I am loving the thing.
Reminds me so much of my own small-town Saskatchewan prairie childhood. The main character, Morag Gunn, at least in her younger years, reminds me of the female equivalent of Salinger's Holden Caulfield.
Here in The Diviners, Morag Dunn is growing up just one province east of me, in Manitoba, [for those of you that would do poorly on Jeopardy!]
Part Two of the book is titled The Nuisance Grounds and well, as I read certain portions of it [where Morag actually climbs around a bit in the “nuisance grounds” more commonly known as “garbage dump” where her foster-father is the proprietor] I was reminded of a vague and distant memory.
We too, once had to TAKE our garbage to the “nuisance grounds”. And for some reason, I recall this one time when my sister and I were at this “dump” with some relatives, who were shoveling junk off the back of their half-ton truck.
We discovered a strange thing.
A veritable treasure trove of ICE-CREAM.
Yes, thrown out there…. in the big buckets it is sold in.
And even though it was blazing hot out, this ice-cream was all frozen.
So we started eating it.

Thing is, I am doubting my memory faculties here.
It does not seem reasonable that there could be frozen and perfectly good ice-cream thrown out at a garbage dump.
So I am going to have to phone my sister, out on Vancouver Island, and ask her -- I need verification.
I’ll be back in a bit, in the comments section, to corroborate or nullify all of the above.
-- Cip


Splash du Jour: Thursday

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

A man asks a fortuneteller what Heaven is like. The fortuneteller gazes into her crystal ball, and says, “Hmm, I see some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there are several golf courses in heaven and they are all incredibly beautiful.”
“Wow! Terrific! What’s the bad news?”
“You have an 8:30 tee time tomorrow morning.”

Have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"I Trust You"

A really neat thing happened today.
It restored my faith in -- shawarma guys!
I was at work, and it was 4 o’clock, my afternoon breaktime.
And I was hungry. [That part is not really unusual.]
I was craving meat!
I thought I might just jaunt on down to this new place that opened up just a few blocks away.
It’s called “Shawarma Al Baba”. A Lebanese fast-food place, complete with Drive-Thru window and the works!
If you don’t know what “shawarma” is, oh dear friend, you are missing out. It is just incredible, I seriously love Lebanese food.
After a good shawarma sandwich your breath smells like the south end of a northbound rhinoceros but hey, it’s worth it! The food is awesome.
So, I set the alarm in my building, jumped in my car and booted it over to Al Baba!
Ordered a sandwich at the window and drove forward.
The guy opens the chute and hands me the paper bag of food, and SEVEN BEARDS OF ZEUS…. I realize I have no money. Left my wallet at work!
But I’ve got the sandwich, it’s right there in the passenger seat.
I was so embarrassed. I blurt out to the guy, “Mr Baba, I’m sorry. I have no money. I have to go back to work and get money. In the meantime…. here, you keep this and I’ll come back and pay,“ and I was handing the beloved package back to him.
But he wouldn’t take it!
“No, no. You go. Take it, take it. You will come back one day and pay me. I trust you.
I said, “You can’t be serious,” the paper bag suspended in the air between us.
“Very serious my friend. Take it, take it. I trust you.

So I took it. And oh, my God it was good!
And here’s the kicker I have absolutely no intention of ever going back there and paying the guy!

No, I’m just kidding.
I swear by all the hot peppers in my shawarma that I went back right after work, a few hours later, and paid Mr. Baba.
Do you believe me?
To believe me, you must trust me!

In the future, maybe I’ll
make my own.

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Customer in a restaurant: How do you prepare your chickens?
Cook: Oh, nothing special really. We just tell them they’re gonna die.

Check out this terrific poultry-themed poem!

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

A Jewish grandmother is watching her grandchild playing on the beach when a huge wave comes and takes him out to sea. She pleads, “Please God, save my only grandson. I beg of you, bring him back.”
And a big wave comes and washes the boy back onto the beach, good as new.
She looks up to heaven and says: “He had a hat.”

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

To Meow or Not to Meow...

I love Shakespeare.
I also love cats.
And my favorite Shakespeare play is Hamlet.
So, eschewing much ado about nothing, allow me to show you a brief clip so adorable I could hack up a hairball!

Who knew kitties could be so erudite?

Mine just relentlessly meows!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Toilet Paper: A Saturday Poem

Toilet Paper

This morning, elbows on knees
I gazed at a roll of it,
Wondering what the ancients did.
Long ago. Way before toilets even.
And which came first, the toilet
Or the paper?

All we really know is that
Everywhere, ubiquitously,
There is some or so we hope.
But it is even beyond hope.
We know it is there, it has to be.
Because we know that the need is.
Our own rumblings
The evidence of things unseen.

Look at where it is perforated.
Who ever takes just one square?
Has even one human, done so?
Yet mathematically, design-wise
Let none tamper with perfection,
Nor alter the exquisite roll.
It should be on someone’s flag.

Today I looked upon civilization’s
One big unanimous agreement.
When it comes to this stuff, we
Are all fundamentalists.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

Two women are sitting on a bench.
After a while the first woman says, “Oy!”

The second woman replies, “Oy!”

The first woman says, “All right, enough about the children.”

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Love Your Blog

Wow! I was so surprised when I saw my blog listed on Stefanie’s page, as one of her favorites. What an honor. She is a reader/writer/thinker and all around cat-person that I greatly admire.
So here is the way this works.
I am now going to list my seven favorite blogs that I most frequently… frequent, and if you see yourself listed here, blog-etiquette requires that you do the same as I am doing. Post the “I Love Your Blog” image and place a link to Bookpuddle in your introduction, and then list your own favorite seven blogs.
Failure to comply will mean immediate expulsion from Blogdom and a fine of $700, payable to Bookpuddle Inc.©
I am going to start with my #1 favorite blog, Stefanie’s own So Many Books.
She is a librarian, and a voracious, insightful reader who consistently writes stuff majorly worth reading, especially if you are into Emerson. Occasionally she posts images of the second and third cutest cats in the world, [Waldo and Dickens]… my own [Jack] glaring at me right now in a wee bit of an impassioned reminder of who is #1 in the Handsome Feline Department.

#2. Booklust. Patricia is a hoot. You’ve got to go to her blog and see what she’s drawing lately. When she is not hopelessly cheering for the Maple Leafs, she manages to conjure some of Toronto’s best cartoonitry. Is that the politically correct word, Patricia? Illustrator? Artiste? Nutbar?
We once had coffee at the Eaton Center, she and I.

#3. Magnificent Octopus. One thing I really like about Montrealer Isabella is she is forever reading books that no one else really reads. This shows moxy! And she always makes me feel I should also be reading them. Occasional forays into the delights of shopping, and just life in general. Always good. Her blog title originated from her desire to buy four pairs of shoes with the left half of her body while handing over four credit cards with the right side!

#4. Moleskin Notebook. Oh, San Fransisco! There is no country of the world Matt has not been to, and blogged about. The guy is an intrepid traveler, observer, and precise reader. His book reviews are fabulous. A blogpage with serious substance!

#5. Arukiyomi. Good, well-thought-out, brutally honest book reviews. Aesthetically gorgeous. When my own blog grows up, I want it to look like this!

#6. Book Chase. If you know Sam, you just have to like Sam. Viciously unassuming. Yet the guy reads like Harold Bloom! And he’s a Texan! You know? Texas? Where they FRY people at the drop of a Stetson? Sam Houston, you are a conundrum!

#7. Vienna For Beginners. I love to visit Merisi’s site, but a warning, what we call a “proviso” – you will gain weight! Merisi posts absolutely decadent photos of Vienna-life. She will convince you quickly that she is living in the most beautiful city on the planet.

Honorable mentions go to Dorothy's blog, Of Books and Bicycles, and [I must say it] I wish that Beth [yet another dreaded Maple-Leafer...] would revive her blog, entitled Books, Etc. But all things, in their time --

So says my therapist....

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Moses, Jesus and a bearded old man are playing golf. Moses drives a long one, which lands on the fairway but rolls directly toward the pond. Moses raises his club, parts the water, and the ball rolls safely to the other side.
Jesus also hits a long one toward the same pond, but just as it’s about to land in the center, it hovers above the surface. Jesus casually walks out on the pond and chips it onto the green.
The bearded man’s drive hits a fence and bounces out onto the street, where it rebounds off an oncoming truck and back onto the fairway. It’s headed directly for the pond, but it lands on a lily pad, where a frog sees it and snatches it into his mouth. An eagle swoops down, grabs the frog, and flies away. As the eagle and frog pass over the green, the frog drops the ball, and it lands in the cup for a hole-in-one.
Moses turns to Jesus and says, “I hate playing with your dad.”

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

See, one reason I prefer agnosticism over atheism is that it leaves you with the possibility of still retaining at least one good [possibly existent] expletive when having an orgasm!
-- Cipriano --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obedience in Heaven?

Cipriano, coming to you live from my favorite Starbucks.
Just taking a break from my reading of an excellent book entitled:
Why I Became An Atheist.
Written by John W. Loftus.
The subtitle is A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity.
As some of you may know, I also am a former preacher. I was in the Christian ministry for several years, and over the past decade or so have come to a place of gradually rejecting the claims of Christianity.
For those interested, a brief history of this process can be seen HERE. And HERE. And STUFF.
I am not what one would call an atheist, per se, but moreso an agnostic. But I am nowhere near being finished this journey. My perspectives are ever-changing.

Something on page 252 of Loftus’s book really made me do some Bookpuddle-style pondering -- to me it is humorous but I hope I do not offend anyone who may… take offense.
On page 252, Loftus is citing some of the ideas of a theist [a believer] named David Wood. The gist is that Wood argues that in heaven the saints will be in the unmediated presence of God and in this realm there will be no moral choices, even if free will is present.
Loftus explains, “They [the saints] wouldn’t desire to rebel against God, and even if they did, they would know doing so would be futile.”
I paused. [So did Loftus, I am sure of it…]
Because I began to imagine the idea of “obedience” in heaven.
You know? OBEYING God, in heaven.
It is one thing to consider obedience while on Earth and still alive in our mortal bodies [not sinning, remembering to worship and stuff, etc.] but, in heaven, I cannot fathom what saintly obedience would consist of!
As Loftus later points out [same page] “What is the value of this to God? Why does he want anything?”
Good questions!
Think about it, it is really intriguing.
I know there is that classic answer out there… “He desires that we worship him!”
And I have heard Christians going on and on about how they will worship God endlessly in heaven. I myself have said it, and believed it, in the past.
And I think that we sort of equate this “worship” with the “obedience” thing.
To worship God is to somehow remain obedient to God.
But how would we do this, the worship part, I mean?
By endlessly singing to God? Or telling him stuff?
Have any of us ever watched American Idol?
ALL OF THESE PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN SING! And let’s face it, most of them are absolutely horrid.
Is it possible that the Creator of Heaven and Earth wants to listen to this kind of caterwauling forever? If you really think of this scenario for five or six seconds, you see the absurdity of it.
What then does the “obedience” entail?
As Loftus points out, obedience implies “want” and hence [ipso facto] “need.”
How can I have anything that God can possibly “need?” And so much so that God “needs” it ETERNALLY!
Heavenly obedience. What does it MEAN?

Maybe there are signs posted here and there? –

Perhaps the soothing harp-music is interrupted one morning with –
“OK, listen up guys! Winter’s almost here! I want to see twelve cords of wood stacked up against yonder angel-barracks by sundown! Is that clear?"
And everyone [no grumbling allowed] simply picks up the nearest axe and commences chopping?
Is this the way it is?

“Hey, you! Yes, cowering behind that shrub. Run down to Gabriel’s Pharmacy and pick me up a jumbo-bottle of Jehovah-Strength Tylenol©. And make it snappy! What with creating a hitherto unknown galaxy all afternoon I’ve given myself one holy-Moses of a headache!”

“Y-y-y-es, Your M-m-majesty! You w-w-will g-get no argument from thy servant!”
And off, over the golden cobblestones, the obedient fellow runs…

Some things just takes a little thinkin’ is all!

Check out the author's webpage and get his book.
I highly recommend it to all who want to think about things worth thinking about.


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

Jack actually did this to me once, so I can totally relate!

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Below is a bit of a revision of a comment I left on Isabella’s blogpage, Magnificent Octopus.
I hope she does not mind that I use it here on my own page now, as my own review of Ballistics, by Billy Collins.

I have just recently read Ballistics and prior to this I have read all of Collins’s other collections of poems, over the years. So I have really followed him, thanks to a friend introducing me to his work. And not only have I followed him, but he has very much influenced the way I myself write poetry.
I would say that the ease with which Collins handles commonplace events and the gentle way he looks in, around, and over any topic at his disposal, it has all helped me to see the beauty and wonder that are a part of everyday experience. And because of this, he has inspired me to do my own writing.
Some commentators are saying that he has “hit a dead end” with Ballistics.
Or, “The very things that make him popular, accessible and clever -- especially around the time of ‘Picnic, Lightning’ -- have solidified into concrete, and like a machine endlessly repeating itself he turns out poems with subtle color variations but which remain in the same mold.” [Sean Patrick Hill in The Oregonian].
I will agree that Ballistics seems to me “typical” Collins stuff.
But, having said that, it is still such rich and wonderful work.
Why fix what ain’t broke?
And I think that with Billy Collins a key word is “accessible.” Were I to be introducing someone to the world of contemporary poetry, it would be Billy Collins I was gift-wrapping.
And what about serenity?
For this, just listen to the endings, the last stanzas of so many of his poems here in Ballistics.
The way he describes what The Great American Poem might “sound” like:

I once heard someone compare it
to the sound of crickets in a field of wheat
or, more faintly, just the wind
over that field stirring things that we will never see.

From The Lamps Unlit

And who cares if it takes me all day
to write a poem about the dawn
and I finish in the dark with the night –
some love it best – draped across my shoulders.

Or this, from one of my own favorites, Old Man Eating Alone in a Chinese Restaurant

And I should mention the light
which falls through the big windows this time of day
italicizing everything it touches –
the plates and teapots, the immaculate tablecloths,
as well as the soft brown hair of the waitress
in the white blouse and short black skirt,
the one who is smiling now as she bears a cup of rice
and shredded beef with garlic to my favorite table in the corner.

Billy Collins is the epitome [in our day] of the magnification of words.
He takes the everyday and presents it as once in a lifetime.
The above-mentioned critic went on to point out that it is unfortunate that with Ballistics, Collins has failed to “expand, explore, and attempt to break new ground.”
Others of us can be somewhat grateful.

To read more about it, click HERE.
To get your own copy, click HERE.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Rowers: A Saturday Poem

The Rowers

Above the table, a Renoir of flush-faced rowers
finished rowing, hangs. And he fishes a boiled
egg from its shell, as she grabs his wrist,
The knife quivering.

Rather than saying, What? Now, at breakfast?
Or, I just had a shower! he sets down the knife.
Takes her face in his hands, and kisses a similar
ruddy blush. Toast can be re-toasted.

Sweet Lord, you cannot hear the sounds from a
room down the hall, nor see. For your ears,
your eyes, are not here. You are there.
Only these two, are here.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Splash du Jour: Friday

Caresses, expressions of one sort or another, are necessary to the life of the affections as leaves are to the life of a tree. If they are wholly restrained, love will die at the roots.
-- Nathaniel Hawthorne –

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My 25 Favorites

It’s sort of like the age-old Baskins Robbins dilemma.
When you are faced with “31 Flavors”…. how are you supposed to choose ONE?
Enter the invention of the double and triple cone!
“I’ll have one of this and one of that, and one of THAT!”
Rocky Road.
Tin Roof.
Tiger Stripe. My all-time base layer!

Well, with books it’s pretty much WORSE!
To me, there even seems to be something sacrilegious about picking favorites. And yet we do it.
Well, at least I do. I try to stay current on my favorites, when it comes to novels.
But it’s not easy. One needs to be vigilant. Especially if one reads somewhere around 50 a year, like I do.
I know that some of you read much more than this, and others, a bit less. But for all of us, picking all-time favorites is difficult.

Just tonight I was thinking that my Amazon Favorites List was hopelessly out-of-date. So I revised it.
I felt like a traitor and a heathen and an adulterer and a downright dirty no-good son-of-a-you-know-what to not mention so many other books that were gems on life’s shore of common pebbles.
Like, where is Death of a Salesman? Or Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin, or Saramago’s All The Names, or Dennis Bock’s The Ash Garden, or Steinbeck’s East of Eden, or Jim Crace’s The Pesthouse, or Atwood’s Cat’s Eye?
If you would like to see what I consider my “current” Top 25, click HERE.
Do any of these resonate with you, dear reader friend?
-- Cip

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.

-- John Steinbeck, in The Grapes of Wrath

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.
-- Mark Twain --

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Splash du Jour: Monday

Everywhere I've been this year - from Jerusalem to Japan to Colombia to Italy and back again - I've heard people essentially say that America is an overweight, white plutocrat who is not only out of touch with the world but also shows no signs of wanting to grow closer to it. This is as unfair as any image - contradicted at every moment by the kindness and curiosity of many Americans - but it remains a potent one in a world where people communicate more with images than ideas and assumptions travel faster than truths. The best way to begin to correct it is to show the world a leader who can't really say how much he's African or Asian or American or just a product of their mixing in Hawaii. The point is not just that Obama will bring globalism to America; in his name, his face and his issues, he'll bring America back to the globe.
-- Pico Iyer –

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I Am An Orchid: A Saturday Poem

I Am An Orchid

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

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Splash du Jour: Thursday

In theory, taxes are different from someone merely walking into your house and taking your stuff. That’s called “robbery,” whereas with taxes you’re supposed to be getting something in return. What exactly you do get in return provides the chattering points for many a modern election.
-- Margaret Atwood, in Payback

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I wonder.
Being thoroughly Canadian [whatever that means] umm -- is it unpatriotic of me to care way more about American politics than I do about Canadian politics?
Watching the events unfold last night and seeing them unfold as I was inwardly hoping they would have unfolded, I was thrilled and jubilant in a way that was nowhere evident for me three weeks earlier, when we held our own federal election.

Is this a sign I should move to Obamaville, Illinois?


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

“I do love the Waldorf-Astoria, though. You know, I hear that from the doorstep you can see all the way to the Russian Tea Room."
-- Barack Obama
Well well!
From his new doorstep, he’ll be able to see the Washington Monument!

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.
-- Barack Obama --

Have a great world-altering Tuesday!
[The world… even Canada… is watching! As Nike says, “Just do it!” ©]

Monday, November 03, 2008

Shakespeare Junction

I pass by Shakespeare Junction every single morning on my way to work.
So today [even though it was drizzling rain] I got out of the car and took a photo of the street sign.
On the average, every year or so I read a Shakespeare play.
And just the other day I finished reading Henry IV: Parts 1 & 2.
I loved it.
It was this Harold Bloom© edition. Published by Riverhead Books, and containing the notes from his gargantuan Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. [← This is an excellent book, sort of – essential, even!]
According to Bloom, Falstaff [in Henry IV] and Hamlet [in umm…. Hamlet] are the quintessential Shakespeare characters. “Falstaff is Shakespeare’s wit at its very limits, even as Hamlet is the farthest reach of Shakespeare’s cognitive acuity.”
I am no Shakespeare scholar but at this point of my Shakespearean journey I would agree with Bloom.
I have never laughed at any Shakespeare character more than I have laughed at Falstaff, and I consider Hamlet to be the Bard’s most psychologically intriguing figure.
But I have a long way to go – many years of reading ahead of me, before I can make any sort of exhaustive Bloomian statement about what is “best” in Shakespeare.
For now though, looking again at the sign on my way to work this morning, I declare Hamlet to be my favorite male Shakespearean character and Desdemona to be my favorite female character.
My dear Othello… why did you trust Iago?
Is this not the world's ultimate story of lack of marital communication?
Why did you not kiss Desdemona’s throat instead of forcing a pillow upon it?
Shakespeare kills me!


Splash du Jour: Monday

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
-- e. e. cummings --

Have a great Monday!