Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tell Me: A Saturday Poem

Tell Me

Turned away, my lover murmurred,
I actually think that others often see us
more clearly than we see ourselves.

Into her neck I agreed.
How can any of us do otherwise?

A story is a re-telling, every word a reflection
of something other. Little good it did Narcissus
to stare and stare. And stare.

My lifetime, I wonder, and have wondered
how it shall end. Holding I am lovely!
to a mirror.

!ylevol ma I
Better that someone else should see this.
And tell me.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Splash du Jour: Friday

We have a name for your disease. We call it a hyper-aesthetic one. You have been encouraged to over-indulge yourself in literature; and have inflamed your organs of fancy.
-- Sarah Waters, in Fingersmith.

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Splash du Jour: Thursday

I have no big plans.
I think I might have to make some, and they might have to involve some champagne.

-- Geraldine Brooks

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

If God dwells inside us, like some people say, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that's what He's getting!
-- Jack Handey --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

When writing, I am on the edge of myself, whetting away so that I have the 'sharp' needed to cut deeper. My edge doesn't need someone else’s balance to prove its solidity. I can sharpen where I need to sharpen, where only I can see to sharpen. Your edge may be honed truer than I can even fathom to aspire to, or you may be waving around a crooked stick with some scrap of a white flag snagged onto the tip. Either way, it's irrelevant. When I write, it’s my edge, and the mirth of the reader is of little consequence.
-- My nephew Chris / Hakone Lake, Japan --

Have a great Tuesday!


Monday, January 26, 2009

The Dip & The Book

See…. [he takes a deep breath…] umm… when I was back on the cold prairies a few weeks ago I was invited out to these real nice people’s place for supper and their name was The Burgesses well actually their name is just “Burgess” but if you are talking about both of them at the same time you would use the plural as I just did and so anyway Maria that’s the female half of the Burgesses she sets out these appetizers and one of the things was some hunks of bread and this dip stuff and WOW I started eating it like there was no tomorrow so I asked her where she got it and she says COSTCO so I made a mental note to seriously pick some of this stuff up as soon as I got back here to Ottawa and so today was the day so I hop in the car and I go to COSTCO on my lunch break from work and I’m looking for this Artichoke and Jalapeno dip and by golly I found it but as I passed by the book section of COSTCO I couldn’t help but notice this book by Geraldine Brooks called People of the Book and ever since I first saw it way back when I have wanted to pick it up because the cover of it really intrigues me and so I go to the cashier now with this tub of Artichoke dip and this new book and now I am sitting here reading the book and it is fabulous and as soon as I can pry myself away from the thing for a minute or two I am going to rip up some hunks of bread and eat half of this tub of Artichoke dip and it just occurred to me that if Maria Burgess had not served this crazy stuff a few weeks ago I never would have discovered Geraldine Brooks or at least not today and so there are times when you really don’t know what’s going to happen next and if you also get the urge to go and get some of this Artichoke stuff I’m going to warn you right now that after you eat a hefty pile of it your breath will smell like a baboon’s backyard.

Splash du Jour: Monday

It is a well-documented fact that guys will not ask for directions. This is a biological thing. This is why it takes several million sperm cells to locate a female egg, despite the fact that the egg is, relative to them, the size of Wisconsin.
-- Dave Barry –

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wherein I Post Yet Another Video-clip...

Dear friends.
I know I promised not to do this... I promised to be more "LITERARY" in my postings, but I can't help myself.
This video-clip came to me, and I must share it with you:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dance at Bougival: A Saturday Poem

Dance at Bougival

Please, steer me clear of Juliet if you must speak so –
[and he does] -- she leans away, but her ears are like
pincers, and nothing escapes them, my darling.

Why must we care, why? Oh love, I would declare unto
the entire drunken fleet, “I have fallen, thrice-stricken
by Eros, Venus, and Aphrodite.”

Please, your right hand above my sash if you will –
[and he does] – that’s better, we must for the sake of
appearances if nothing else, maintain some decorum.

Why must we do so? Love, I would trace with my tongue
the red trim of your bodice against this very poplar in the
presence of these witnesses that worry you so.

Please, that may well be, but if you do so love me –
[and he does] -- you will lead me from here, even now,
that thine impropriety may be properly, received.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2009


Friday, January 23, 2009

Splash du Jour: Friday

You ever find that your personality takes on some of the air of books you have read recently? I’m sure you do. If there is a word for that, let me know, and if not, let’s make one up. Something like “literated”.
It`s like being freed, and you run out in glee, only to realize that the cell is now only bigger. So you pick up a new book…

-- My “literated” nephew Chris, via email from Japan –

Have a great Friday!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Little Wing: The Corrs

Forgive me friends, lately I have been posting a lot of video-clips and things of that nature.
But I just can’t help it… after this one I will try and refrain from the multi-media for a while.
I’ll try focus on books.

But see, the thing is…. there is just too much to love about life.
I am inundated with so many things that move me.
It is not only books.
It is also music. And stuff like that. And Obama.
And YouTube. And whatever.

So… one thing I love, and I mean LOVE – is The Corrs.
If you don’t quite believe me, you need to click on the links [don’t do it now, though] at the END of this blog-posting.
But first, before that – I have been listening and re-listening to this one song tonight, it’s their “unplugged” rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s song Little Wing.
You’ve gotta hear the thing, really. It’s beautiful.
Now, here is where I tell you of my favorite part [besides all the parts where Andrea Corr is front and center, of course]……. This guy who does the little guitar solo. His name is Anthony Drennan.
It happens at 3:08 in the song.
My God.
I am not going to exaggerate at all… I will just say, that I have heard him play that part about a hundred times now, and it still brings tears to my eyes. So beautiful. So tasty.

And now, for the post-script, that you may know this is not some sort of superficial fling I’m involved with, I have declared my love previously HERE, and have gotten even more specific about it HERE!
Visit The Corrs, and just buy their music. Trust me.
-- Cip


Splash du Jour: Thursday

My favorite minute....

A man I can listen to.
Have a great Thursday!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

I think a good novel would be where a bunch of men on a ship are looking for a whale. They look and look, but you know what? They never find him. And you know why they never find him? It doesn't say. The book leaves it up to you, the reader, to decide. Then, at the very end, there's a page you can lick and it tastes like Kool-Aid.
-- Jack Handey –

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This Day In History

Today I cranked up the radio in the warehouse.
President Obama’s inaugural message echoed through the place.
I wish I could have watched it on TV but no, I was trapped at work.
Today is an important day in world history. Perhaps the only equivalent fervor over a presidential address might have been 48 years ago [to the day] when JFK was sworn into office. But certainly, because of the extent of modern-day coverage, we can truly say that today the world was watching. [Well, those parts of it that are not trapped in warehouses at least!]
The entire planet was tuned in.
I heard so many people comment today that this is an “historical” moment.
No, it isn’t.
It is an “historic” moment.
Not one that once took place. But one that will be forever remembered!

So how did yours truly spend this day, January 20th, 2009? Well, as I said, I was trapped in a warehouse first of all.
But secondly, I spent it reading Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking-Glass. Sub-titled “And What Alice Found There.”
I am just now finishing up the book, writing this blog from my favorite Starbucks on Ogilvie Road. This book was [is] as NUTTY as the Wonderland one I reported about yesterday.
So here we are, all of us, knee-deep in a day we will always remember, awash in a “pivotal” moment in history.
In the book, Alice found herself at one point lamenting the fact that she did not know how to "remember things before they happen."
“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” the Queen remarked.
“What sort of things do you remember best?” Alice ventured to ask.
“Oh, things that happened the week after next,” the Queen replied in a careless tone. [From Ch.5]

So…. what the hell am I really saying with this blog-posting?
Because at key moments in history, yes… even pivotal moments my friends, I will be prone to forfeit governing.
I am more likely to be found hiding away, in some dusty place… READING CHILDREN’S BOOKS!


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

What we call man’s power over nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with nature as its instrument.
-- C.S. Lewis, 1944 --

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Dilated Pupils of Lewis Carroll

Yes, I am reading the Karen Armstrong book about fundamentalist religion, but I am tempering this activity… tempering it, I say, with the reading of something I have wanted to read for a long long time.
← Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Followed by Through The Looking-Glass.
Sitting here at Starbucks I have just finished the former one.
Wow! It is delightfully NUTTY!
At one point Alice meets a hookah-smoking caterpillar!
But I think maybe Lewis Carroll was the one smoking a hookah!
It’s a great book. I can’t wait to read the other one now.
Remember when I asked you to remind me about Alice? [Actually I do not expect any of you to remember but seriously I did say one time about 400 years ago that you all needed to remind me to read this crazy book].

There are just so many bizarre characters in Wonderland. I like where Alice uses a flamingo as a croquet mallet.
And the conversations, the dialogue, I love it.
At the crazy Tea-Party, the March Hare says to Alice, “Take some more tea.”
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”

Everywhere in Wonderland there is this emphasis on the precision of saying things correctly… and yet, the things said are nuttier than a bag of hammers!

For instance, at one point, the ever-moralizing Duchess tells Alice that it is important to → “Be what you would seem to be” – or if you’d like it put more simply – “Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”
I am now convinced that Lewis Carroll’s pipe was definitely filled with something other than tobacco!


Splash du Jour: Monday

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Who's Counting?

Just a word to my fellow blogmen and blogwomen…. do you utilize a site-counter or hit-meter or whatever they are called?
Since I started my blog, I installed one of these free hit-counters on my site and for the most part it worked fine [I guess]! How is one to know if it is really working accurately, right? I know that I have very few readers, when it comes down to it, but those readers are quite faithful, have become friends, and I sincerely appreciate them. They are quality readers. You who are reading this, for instance, I like you!
You are a patient, quality, faithful reader.
Well, for the past few weeks I noticed that the hit-meter was either stuck or dead or something worse, so I went in to the template and did some maintenance, sort of re-installed the thing, and it was supposed to show up anew with the previous number, which was around 70,500, intact.
It didn’t.
It started up [at the very bottom of my opening page] with a big fat ZERO!
So, now, I am back up at around 120 hits.
Seeing as I have blogging for 46 months now… wow! That’s 2.5 readers a month!
Oh, the frustrations of blogging!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Rain Rained: A Saturday Poem

The Rain Rained

When we extended our stay, both of us
agreeing, I knew that nothing could surpass
my joy. But the days proved me wrong.

There was that evening boat, and an afternoon
museum tour we would have missed.
Getting to know the croissant man, and licking
jam from your fingers, the muted television
our only light.

We did what was right, what we knew.
Felt. We fell.
Never will our eyelids erase a little girl
smiling, blushing as we lost ourselves
in the diner. Her mother tapping her plate.

When we chose to stay on, when we sighed.
The last night, who folded the umbrella?
No matter.
We each drank of the cloudburst.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Watching The Apples Fall

Well, after finishing up that [excellent] Carl Sagan book I have embarked on one that I have wanted to read for a long while now.
The Battle For God: A History of Fundamentalism, by Karen Armstrong.
This one is going to take a while, it is meaty.
I myself am a former [recovering] Christian fundamentalist.
I’ve read stuff by Karen Armstrong before and before, and I just think she is totally fascinating, and extremely knowledgeable [about God]. Not only theoretically knowledgeable, but also experientially knowledgeable. As in, she gave it her all!
No one could have been more dedicated to “serving” [the Roman Catholic] God than Karen Armstrong once was. She found that the process nearly drove her insane.
So now, on the other side of that experience she can speak of “God” in rational terms, in a way that makes total sense.
She’s got my ear!
I love these kind of books that are able to speak about “God” in terms that make sense. Authors like John Shelby Spong, Karen Armstrong, Bart Ehrman, Elaine Pagels, etc.
Even dear old Carl Sagan. I had a good chuckle at the way he answered one audience member who asked if it was likely that science would one day come upon a demonstration of the existence of God.
Sagan said that any “answer” depended on what a person means by using the term “God”.
If one’s definition of “God” is something like “the sum total of the laws of physics” [as my own definition of God would be] then [Sagan’s conclusion →] “surely God exists.”
We already know that much!
“All we have to do is watch the apples drop,” says Sagan.
I agree.

In this sense [if this is how we are defining “God”] then really, there are no such things as atheists!
So… a lot rests upon our interpretation of that word, “God”.
I am not an atheist, by any means.
It’s just that my definition of what “God” is has radically changed.
I no longer believe in the clearly TRIBAL God of the Christian Bible. The one who says in Exodus "Thou shalt not kill" and then a couple pages later instructs the Israelites to go and kill all those "OTHER" people!
As Sagan went on in his response to this audience member “But now take the opposite pole: the concept of God as an outsize male with a long white beard, sitting in a throne in the sky and tallying the fall of every sparrow. Now for that kind of god I maintain there is no evidence.”
I fully agree.
In fact, I once wrote an article, proving [in my opinion] unequivocally and/or beyond any shadow of a doubt, that any concept of a god that “cares” about the fall of even one sparrow [or pigeon] is utterly spurious.
You can read it HERE.
And for an excellent example of the clear-thinking ways
of the late great Carl Sagan CHECK THIS OUT.

Splash du Jour: Friday

We have Ten Commandments in the West. Why is there no commandment exhorting us to learn? “Thou shalt understand the world. Figure things out.” There’s nothing like that. And very few religions urge us to enhance our understanding of the natural world. I think it is striking how poorly religions, by and large, have accommodated to the astonishing truths that have emerged in the last few centuries.
-- Carl Sagan --

Have a great Friday!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Splash du Jour: Thursday

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
-- Dave Barry --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

You know what's probably a good thing to hang on your porch in the summertime, to keep mosquitoes away from you and your guests?
Just a big bag of blood.

-- Jack Handey --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Pale Blue Dot

For Christmas this year, I received a superb book.
← The Varieties of Scientific Experience.
Written by Carl Sagan.

The subtitle is A Personal View of the Search For God.
The book is an edited transcript of the Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology, presented by Sagan in 1985, at the University of Glasgow.
I am just past the halfway point in this book and finding it to be endlessly relevant and fascinating to me, especially after the events of my New Year. I needed something to sort of set my mind back on a reasonable track -- after asking myself so many questions about existence, life, death, and purpose, over these past couple of weeks.
Some people may find it confusing that I can gain spiritual sustenance from a book like this. But I find something strangely beautiful about the perspective that Sagan presents in these pages.
What a timely gift.
The chapter I just finished this evening, ended with these words:

When you buy a used car, it is insufficient to remember that you badly need a car. After all, it has to work. It is insufficient to say that the used-car salesman is a friendly fellow. What you generally do is you kick the tires, you look at the odometer, you open up the hood. If you do not feel yourself expert in automobile engines, you bring a friend who is. And you do this for something as unimportant as an automobile. But on issues of the transcendent, of ethics and morals, of the origin of the world, of the nature of human beings, on those issues should we not insist upon at least equally skeptical scrutiny?

And speaking of perspective, please take a moment to listen to this wonderful clip.
The Pale Blue Dot.


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other in silence for some time; at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.

Alice replied rather shyly, “I – I hardly know, sir, just at present – at least I knew who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”
-- Lewis Carroll –

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Splash du Jour: Monday

They say that "Time assuages" --
Time never did assuage --
An actual suffering strengthens
As Sinews do, with age –

Time is a Test of Trouble --

But not a Remedy --

If such it prove, it prove too

There was no Malady --

-- Emily Dickinson –

Have a great Monday!


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Finally Relaxing --

Cipriano, coming to you live from the new Indigo Bookstore on 8th Street East in [balmy] Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
It is nice to relax and grab a coffee, and sit reading Snow.
I really like the tableau-style picture above my table here [shown above].
I found some post-Christmas bargains out in the store.
Just what I needed!
More books!
More stuff to try and cram into my suitcase! Soon I will be flying home to the incessant meowing of my best friend, Jack!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Best Books: 2008

Hi Friends:
Well, as you know, it has been a real whirlwind of a New Year for me and my family. On Monday we held the funeral for my mother in one city and then [yesterday] a Memorial service and the interment in another city.
It was cold, cold COLD!
Delivering the eulogy for my mother was both moving, and draining.
Today is the first day that there are no official pressing duties upon any of us, and for the first time in a while, I feel relaxed. At some point I shall pick up the book which has been on hold for a while.
It’s appropriately titled "Snow” – by Turkish author Orhan Pamuk.
I haven’t really thought about “books” for a while now, but as I do, I think back to the year that has passed.
In 2008 I read a total of 48 books.
35 works of fiction, and 13 non-fiction.
So many of these books have been memorable, wonderful reads. I find it almost impossible to list my favorites in any sort of hierarchical order. Therefore, I am just going to select 6 favorite novels, and 3 favorite non-fictions.

World Without End / Ken Follett
Love In The Time of Cholera / Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Master / Colm Toibin

The Crimson Petal and The White / Michel Faber
The History of The Siege of Lisbon / Jose Saramago
A Widow For One Year / John Irving

As I say, it is almost painful to narrow it down to these, above, because there were several other truly wonderful novels read in 2008. But these were truly superlative.

The Power of Now / Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth / Eckhart Tolle
The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright & The Taliesin Fellowship / Roger Friedland and Howard Zellman

-- Cip

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Travelling Woes

Hello Friends:
What an outpouring of warm comments I have received regarding my mother… my loss.
Thank you so much.
I have had unbelievable problems in returning home [“home” being Saskatchewan].
If any of you have been keeping score here, I just recently RETURNED from Saskatchewan and a visit to my hospitalized mother on the 27th of December.
When she passed away on New Year’s Eve [technically New Year’s Day] I immediately secured a flight home for that same day. Was scheduled to leave at 6 p.m.
I did NOT leave.
I got on board the flight and as we were waiting at the gate we all noticed that it was about 150 degrees HOT on the plane. Maintenance staff arrived and tried to fix the problem but could not do so. We were told to go back into the terminal, which we did, and then an hour or two later an announcement told us the flight was utterly cancelled.
A lineup, [yet another herd of cattle] ensued, and people frantically tried to re-book their flights.
I was toward the back of this moo-ing lineup. By the time I ever got to the ticket-issuing personnel, my udders were sore!
I was re-booked on a flight for today, the 3rd. This is the earliest I could get out of Dodge since those cattle ahead of me got the better flights.
Now today, I awoke at around 3:30 a.m., got my cab, was at the airport by 5 a.m., and boarded at about 6 a.m.
Flight to Toronto was fine and on schedule.
During the flight I was walking to the washroom when a flight attendant mentioned to me that the toilets were not flushing.
“Pardon me,” I said.
“The toilets do not flush,” she repeated.
I went in anyways.
Was she ever correct! The scene was rather horrid.
A few minutes late the pilot announces that we are landing in Winnipeg to have the toilets fixed. [Murphy’s Law].
We land.
Maintenance crew arrives and fixes the toilet problem.
Captain then announces that a plane is stuck on the snowy runway and we cannot depart for several minutes.
Those several minutes stretch on into approximately five hours.
Right now my butt is so sore I may need surgery!
I am still on this flight right now as I type. We are finally landing in Saskatoon, and local time is about 3:40 p.m. Original arrival time was 10:45 a.m.
I am tired.
The only consolation is that when we finally did take off they announced that they would be serving free booze.
Right now I am high on Heineken!

Thank you once again for all of your sincere and thoughtful wishes.
P.S. I am not kidding when I advise you to NOT fly with Air Canada in the winter-time unless you want to experience lengthy delays and lost baggage [and sore udders].
-- Cip


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Sleep Peacefully, Mom

For me and my family it has not been a Happy New Year.
Late last night, just a few hours into the new year, my brother called to tell me that my dear mother passed away after a lengthy illness. All of my siblings were with her, around her bed at the hospital. I was the only one that could not be there at the time.
Dear Mom, bless her soul. She was 76 years old and I already miss her very much.
Just hopping aboard a plane in minutes to be with my family.
So I just thought I would drop by here at The Puddle and let my friends know that I probably will not be around for the next little while.

Wishing you all a happy Happy New Year 2009!
Sleep peacefully Mom!