Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en Issues

In honor of Halloween I am reading a scary book, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. So far there have been no witches in the book, but for some reason [maybe it is the combination of having recently read the life of Einstein]... all morning long I’ve had one question rolling around in my head and it simply will not let me alone. It involves witches and gravity. If for no other reason than to exorcise the quandary of it all, I will here elucidate my current thoughts on the matter.
The question is this:
What happens when a witch falls off her flying broom?

At first glance this may seem like merely a whimsical question concocted for an extremely brief moment of possible hilarity, a question for which no real answer is intended or expected.
But no. Nothing of the sort is going on. I don’t even think the question is very funny, to be honest! I am asking it in all earnestness and want to submit it to the due process of valid interrogation.

Let us imagine that tonight, this very Hallowe’en night, you are pretty much minding your own business, doing what you usually do on the evening of October 31st, namely, answering the door for all the hobgoblins and Frankensteins that are out trick or treating.
So... a small flock of trick-or-treaters have just arrived on your doorstep and are holding forth their pillowcases and plastic pumpkins in hopes that you do not give them something that falls into either one of the two most dreaded categories: anti-Hallowe’en religious propaganda and fruit.
In our current scenario, you have flicked the porch light on to see a small assemblage of amateur ghouls and vampires and whatnot else. You turn to get more handfuls of candy from the big bowl in the hallway.
Just as you turn back towards the kids, the witch flies by.
A real one though.
There she is, just over their heads and a few blocks distant.
You freeze.
You pee your pants a bit.
The kids see the instant terror on your face.
Just as they all turn to see what is causing such concern, the witch lets out a raucous cackle and kicks her heels. The broom lurches forward in a wild spurt of speed and she topples backwards.
Boots over nose-wart, she falls from the broom.
Thinking you’ve staged the event, the kids turn back towards you and applaud.

But what happens next?
There are only a limited number of possibilities to consider, and I intend to consider them.
Here is the real issue: At what point, and to what degree, does normal gravity over-ride the powers of witchery?
Does the witch plummet to the ground, in which case all of the magical power of flight must be supposed to reside in the broom, which, (one would think), would still be buzzing around in some sort of blindly erratic witchless flight path in the sky until it crashed into something?
Or when the witch falls, does the broom fall also? Simultaneously?
In other words, is the broom merely a normal broom, vested with aeronautic power only when the hands of the witch are upon it? Can it fly at all, without the witch at the helm?
Herein lies a problem though --> If they BOTH fall, then it would seem to me that both are subject to an outside power that has simultaneously failed them both. As though a spell were suddenly broken.
Is witchery subject to gravity?
The fact that she was flying around at all (prior to falling off) would seem to answer that question “No.”
But if, upon falling from the broom, she merely floats in the air and does not plummet, we must wonder what the hell she needs the broom for in the first place! Perhaps for greater speed?

Let’s say she does fall, like a screaming bag of rocks and hair!
Well, if the witch has her own magical powers which she can conjure at will, certainly she would conjure some quickly, to save herself prior to hitting the ground. However, if she in fact does this in this instance, then one must inquire once again as to the purpose of the broom in the first place. If she is now sort of still flying (as it were)... broomless, prior to hitting the ground, surely she could have flown in this fashion earlier, when she initially set out from her lair, and prior to the accident which we have observed.
If the role of the broom is merely to provide something to sit on while in flight, might the witch not have been better off to select one of those plush La-Z-Boy recliners, with the pump-action footrest thingy on the side there? Wouldn’t she rather fly around town in that? I know I would.
Perhaps recliners and sofas do not steer as well as a broom?
Is maneuverability the thing?
[I am not being sarcastic, and in no way am I ridiculing the principles of witch-flight... I really and sincerely would like to come to some conclusions in these matters....]
Would a workable formula be something like F = bw2?
[Flight = broom X witch, both?]

Here is yet another scenario which is entirely possible. As the witch accidentally falls from her broom, it swoops down quickly and catches her up before she reaches the ground.
This is not a satisfactory answer for me. It seems too cartoonish. Remember, we are talking about a real Hallowe’en witch here, not some trumped up thing. Anyone who believes this latter scenario [the Swooping-Broom Theory] to be a valid possibility, probably also believes that WWF wrestling on TV is real.

At any rate, I think that I have exhausted at least a few of the possibilities.... I feel a lot better for just having talked it out a bit, you know? Thanks for hearing me out.
There are inherent problems in specifics, related to witchflight and sudden effects of gravitational pull. There is just no way around it. Like other things in life, there are no easy answers.
For now, until some of you may come up with better suggestions, I am going to maintain that there are only two possible (mutually contradictory) conclusions I can theoretically consider as being currently tenable.
They are this:
1) Witchflight is a myth. Witches exist, but do not fly on brooms.
2) Witchflight is real. Witches exist and fly on brooms, but never ever fall from them.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Splash du Jour: Friday

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
-- George Orwell, in Politics and the English Language --

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Current Favorite Song

I listen to talk-radio more than I listen to music radio. The main reason is because I hate repetition. I hate when the latest hits get played right into the ground over the course of a workday. Repitition irks me!
<-- Unless what is being repeated is Nelly Furtado.
Whoa Nelly!
So there is this new song by James Morrison and it's called Broken Strings.
I could listen to this song a million times and still love it because it is just so well-written, well-produced, and [like Nelly] flawlessly put together.
I think it is one of the best duets I have heard in a long long time.
The perfect blend of voices.
This James Morrison guy is fantastic, but I think the song just goes crazy as soon as Nelly gets in there at about 1 minute and 35 seconds. It just takes off from there and pretty much goes into orbit.
Once in a blue moon a song like this comes along and restores my faith in good music.
To hear it for yourself, CLICK on Nelly, above! Turn it up good and loud!
Whoa Nelly!


Splash du Jour: Thursday

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

A spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe -- a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort.
-- Albert Einstein --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

I have lost all sense of home, having moved about so much. It means to me now -- only that place where the books are kept.
-- John Steinbeck --

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Sushi Thing

If you've been paying attention AT ALL to my eating habits as revealed here on Bookpuddle, you will know what a change of gears this is for me.
<-- Sushi!
Not kidding.
I actually ate this stuff today and it was FANTASTIC!
The photo you see here, with Einstein hovering in the background, this was the scene in the lunchroom -- well, just before I slathered that stuff in soy sauce. See the little packets of it there?
Mmmmmm, honest-to-God, it was delightful.
Filling, in a very non-heavy way.
I think my body was a bit shocked. As this pile of sushi began falling into my gut, I could actually hear my entire gastrointestinal system crying out -- "What the hell?"
Usually at this exact moment it is receiving stuff that used to be a cow!

I'm going to do this again, for sure, the sushi thing.
This particular tray was called Spicy California Maki. I even used those wooden things that came with the whole kit.
I refrained from the wasabi sauce.... see the small green packet of it there?
My co-worker Teo grabbed it, ripped it open, and emptied the entire thing out onto what he was eating at the time. Just as he was shoving a forkful of it into his mouth I said, "I don't think you want to be doing that, man!"
It completely healed him of a sinus problem he's had since childhood!
All in all, an interesting afternoon in the ol' lunchroom.


Splash du Jour: Monday

Have a great Monday!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Flipping The Pages: A Saturday Poem

Flipping The Pages

Concentration level. Lack of distraction.

Both of these factor into the final equation.

Mb + Hb = Siadf. And "b" is a constant.

We are reading the same book!

I lower my sunglasses and do that lateral

eyeball roll, trying to see her page number.

Good Lord! It's not possible. 135?
We've only been here on the beach an hour!

Let's see, that guy came around with drinks,
and then, oh yes, I snoozed a bit, but still!

How can I only be at 35? Without the 1 in front!

My book + Her book = She is always done first.

c. Ciprianowords, Inc. 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009


Is it the weekend yet?
You know, lately, what with the change of seasons and all and that thing they do with the clocks, I am waking up when it is dark out and I'm setting the alarm of my building at work when it is..... [can you guess the next words?]........ yeah, WHEN IT IS DARK OUT.
This just isn't right.
Because it leaves so little time for more important things.
Like -----
1) drinking coffee.
2) Reading, while drinking coffee.
3) Eating a hamburger after you've had enough of the above.
4) Switching to beer, later on.

Stuff like that.
But it's the weekend. Lettuce be thankful.
I mean -- work is screwing up my entire life, I'm sorry.
Now, take a look at this picture here:

See, that is a photo is of an actual Library somewhere in Australia.
I am adopting it as my Personal Version of Heaven.
Here is what I want to happen... --
So I win the Lottery, and that week it just happened to be $20 million.
$22 million.
So I buy a house next to this Library.
I know you want more. But there IS no more!
Leave me alone. I'll be fine.
Leave me alone.
Leave me alone, leave me alone, leavemealoneleavemealone!


Splash du Jour: Friday

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Splash du Jour: Thursday

To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?
"As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and the Talmud. I am a Jew but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene."

You accept the historical existence of Jesus?
"Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."

Do you believe in God?
"I'm not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws."
-- From Einstein: His Life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Scary As A Genre

The title of this blog-posting may be a bit confusing.
At first glance it might seem to imply that I think the word "genre" is a scary word!
Perhaps I should have put a comma, after "scary."
At any rate, tonight I am thinking about "scary" books.
Halloween is fast approaching. And I want to read a SCARY book in the Halloween season.

So, tonight at Chapters I went up to this one Chapters employee and asked her, "Umm, where is your horror section?"
I know what you're thinking.
Since I practically LIVE at the place, shouldn't I already know where every section of the store is located?
Well, yes!
But recently this particular store did a big renovation and moved all their stuff around. As a veteran tenant, at first it was a bit traumatic for me. Like for quite a while I could not find the microwave, and trying to locate my mailbox? Yeah, well, I will save that story for a future blog. Suffice it to say, if I have not responded promptly to some of my fan [snail] mail lately, CHAPTERS is to blame!

I say to the girl, "Where is your HORROR section?"
And wow, I was standing right in front of it. I told her I need a "scary" book for Halloween season.
She pointed to Anne Rice and Stephen King, singling out a King novel called "Cell" as the next thing I should swipe my VISA about!
But see..... the truth is, I don't really want HORROR!
I want -- SCARY!
Totally different thing.
A guy getting chopped up with an unmanned chain saw? That's horror.
But see, I don't want horror, I want..... "scary."
Interesting that there is not a section in the store called "SCARY"....... or "SPOOKY."

I say all of this to just end with a question..... what is a great SCARY book you would recommend?
I do not want to read about some guy getting pushed into a wood-chipper.
I want -- SCARY! Like with ghosts and stuff like that.


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Today's The Day!

Speaking of John Irving, today is the day his new book hits the racks!
Last Night In Twisted River.
It's officially available in the stores. [At least here in Canada!]
<-- I know this because here it is on the shelf at the Chapters store [I am writing this from the Starbucks within the place] and yesterday it was NOT yet available.

I took this picture about three minutes ago!
[Cippy, do you LIVE at that store?] Yeah, pretty much.
When I'm not at work you can usually find me here, clicking live footage of virtual book porn like this new offering from Mr. Irving.
But this book, oh my God, I guess along with The Year of The Flood, this was my most anticipated novel of 2009! I just love John Irving.
And this new book has such a TERRIFIC first sentence -- The young Canadian, who could not have been more than fifteen, had hesitated too long.
You just know that the rest of this thing is going to be good!
I watched Irving being interviewed by George Stroumboulopoulos [say that with a mouth full of crackers!] last night on The Hour!
FASCINATING interview! I video-ed it, but the quality is so poor I currently refuse to post it here.

So, am I leaving the store today with a fresher-than-fresh new Irving book?
I have a sneaky sneaky suspicion that I am going to be soon receiving a FREE copy, so I'm holding off on dragging one of these beauties to the cashier.
Besides -- at the rate I am currently going [definitely NOT the speed of light] I may still be reading this massive Einstein book on into the Christmas season!


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Your memory is a monster; you forget - it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you - and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!
-- John Irving --

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Would Einstein Do?

Just taking a break here at Starbucks [coming to you LIVE, folks!] as I am absorbing my third pint of coffee... admittedly I'm a bit hyper... I feel like talking about Einstein.

As you know, I'm reading this biography of the man!
Even though from time to time I really get bogged down in the strictly mathematical stuff, nonetheless, I find the character and personality of Albert Einstein to be just endlessly fascinating.
And Walter Isaacson is a terrific writer. I cannot fathom the research that must have gone into the writing of this brick of a book.

Remember the bracelet fad [perhaps it is still a fad, I don't know, I've been out of the Christian loop for a while now] of the WWJD thing?
As in, What Would Jesus Do?
Well, in a whimsical way, I find that when I put the book aside and just live life, often I find myself wondering What Would Einstein Do?
Or maybe more correctly, what would Einstein SAY!
Because so often in the book he comes out with some real good zingers!
What I love about the Einstein I am meeting in these pages is that he was such a non-conformist. He was not a joiner. Let's face it, he was eccentric in many ways. I mean, look at his hair and stuff!
And even when he was wicked famous, he [Gandhi-like] often preferred traveling third-class!

At one real snazzy event where he was to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva [an institution founded by the great Protestant Reformer John Calvin] Einstein turned to a dignitary seated next to him and speculated, "Do you know what Calvin would have done had he been here?" The gentleman replied "No."
Einstein continued, "He would have erected an enormous stake and had us all burnt for our sinful extravagance."
Isaacson tells us that Einstein later recalled, "The man never addressed another word to me."

I like that. I just like his chutzpah!
Another Einstein moment that really cracked me up was when he is again at a very regal ceremony and he is enduring speech after boring speech by all these other people, and he leans to the Dutch diplomat seated next to him and says, "I've just developed a new theory of eternity."

For years and years Einstein The Genius worked at [of all things] a patent office. He was a patent clerk.
And for years before this, he could find no job whatsoever. Just imagine how crazy that is. A genius of this magnitude, forced into working at just a normal old job!
And so all day today as I worked at my very very extremely menial physically-outrageous job, I thought of Einstein.
What Would Einstein Do?
Surely if he worked alongside me, together [us two geniuses] we would be able to come up with some easier way to do things. At the very least, he may be able to invent some way for time itself to go quicker.
Some way for me to have been drinking coffee here at Starbucks a lot sooner.


Splash du Jour: Monday

A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.

-- Albert Einstein --

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Get A Hammer

I am convinced that we, in our day and age, are involved with too many things.
By "too many things" I am referring to things we would rather NOT be involved with.
Busyness can subtly come along and steal large and significant portions of who we are.

Hey, how many lifetimes are you going to live?
My cat may have nine of them, but seriously, I'm pretty sure that you and I as human beings only have one. In this sense, perhaps the most appropriately-named soap opera of all time is One Life To Live.
What is the thing you most like doing?
When is the last time you did that thing?
If there is a great gap between the wanting and the doing, why is that gap there?
Is there anything you can do to remove this barrier erected against your greatest desires?
Take some time to consider what size of hammer is required to smash apart that obstacle between you and the reason you're breathing.
Then -- get that hammer. While you can still swing it.

-- Cip


The Wheelbarrow Thing: A Saturday Poem

The Wheelbarrow Thing

We had a thing where one of us would say
You need a ride in the wheelbarrow right now.
It meant we had violated some secret code, one
only we could decipher, much less pay the fine

for. Fine. That's cute. I would rather eat a bullet
than punish her. Oh, but I loved to threaten.
The wheelbarrow thing got a lot of mileage!
You need a ride in the wheelbarrow right now.

One afternoon I actually was pushing the thing.
Full to the rim, toward her blessed plantation.
Satan himself told me to dump it all into her gloves
so she would chase me. So she would chase me.

c. Ciprianowords, Inc. 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Splash du Jour: Thursday

A novel, like a myth, teaches us to see the world differently; it shows us how to look into our own hearts and to see our world from a perspective that goes beyond our own self-interest. If professional religious leaders cannot instruct us in mythical lore, our artists and creative writers can perhaps step into this priestly role and bring fresh insight to our lost and damaged world.
-- Karen Armstrong --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In The Presence of Greatness

You know, there are times when you go to one of these author "reading" events and think at the end of it, "Wow, that was cool. That was pretty neat-o."
Well, I have just returned here to Old Milwaukee Headquarters from a night of being in the presence of author Karen Armstrong.
Absolutely incredible.
I really do not have words, the correct or even remotely adequate words to describe the feeling I get from absorbing such wisdom, such wealth of knowledge, presented in such gentle, meaningful, terms.
Having read her memoirs, and several of her books on religion, I already was well aware that Karen has lived an incredibly interesting life, and I already knew that she was a brilliant scholar -- I would go so far as to say "religious genius."
But tonight, I add to that panoply of praise by saying that Karen Armstrong is a wonderful, beautiful person.
There is just no way that anyone can speak so transparently, in front of hundreds of listeners.... holding us in thrall.... in THRALL I say unto you... no way that anyone can "be" what she was, and be an unbeautiful person.
It was glorious.
I so look forward to reading her new book, The Case For God.

Her theme tonight [the whole thing was in interview format] was, I guess -- compassion.
Dialogue about religion / theology that is not rooted in compassion is not dialogue.
The BASIS of true religion must be The Golden Rule. Not only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," BUT ALSO "Do not do unto others what you would not have done unto you."
Any takers on who was the first person to promote this maxim?
It was Confucius.
I could say so much more, but won't.

Why do I not have my own photos of her?
Well..... I arrived at this event 45 minutes early. Which means I had my pick of the best seats -- I was just behind the reserved seating rows. Which means.... a terrific spot.
But the downside of this is that picture-taking and video-making is very obtrusive to those behind you. When I held the camera up, I was blocking the view of those behind me. So I refrained. PLUS, I was thinking "Hah! When the book-signing starts, I'LL BE IN THE FRONT LINES BABY!"
Check out my frigging tail-lights!
Compassion COMSMASHIN'!
Know what I mean? Read Darwin!
It's all about survival of the fittest, baby!
[Me looking behind me -->] "Why didn't you have the sense to leave work early, you dumb ignorant........."
Right about at the very moment as I was harboring such un-Christly thoughts, the moderator went to the microphone and announced that the book-signing would be taking place DOWNSTAIRS.
What the hell?
And where are the stairs?
At the far end of where I am [on the evolutionary scale...] -- We all stand up and face the other way and now I am at the BACK of this herd of semi-evolved useless cattle!
Not only could I make absolutely NO PROGRESS forward, but I could not move AT ALL!

So I just exited out a side door into the chilly evening, to come complain about it all here, on my blog.
But very early on, I did get a wee small clip of Karen Armstrong partially answering the first question posed to her.
You do get to hear her to-die-for accent -- have a listen.

If you have not heard of Karen Armstrong, first -- shame on you.
Secondly, her memoirs are EXCELLENT reading.
But so are all of her nearly two-dozen books on religion.
Tonight was just glorious. To hear someone speak -- to hear someone eloquently speak this good -- well, for me it is, and will be, unforgettable.
A milestone in my journey through life.

And speaking of milestones, this blog-posting, this one right here is #2,000 for me.
Happy............ whatever......... to me!
I want to thank you, my friends, for reading my babblings, these many years

Check out what Karen is into, lately, --> HERE!


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

People like you and me never grow old. We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.
-- Albert Einstein to Otto Juliusburger, Sept.29, 1942 --

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Three Questions

Lots of people like to read.
Then there are people that are addicts.
Another way of looking at "addictions"... it's like, hey, you are a "specialist" in this particular field.
But the downside of every type of addiction is that without the chemical rush it affords you... you are somewhat debilitated.
I do not at all believe the reports we sometimes see that tell us that books [the real kind, the kind you hold in your hands and you turn the pages] are on their way out.
Going out of style, in favor of electronic accessibility to information, etc.
No. Neither do I believe that maps or globes or atlases are going to be defunct because of the advent of GPS systems.
The only place I think that books are perhaps suffering a decline in sales is in the realm of the purely informational.
I'm referring to encyclopedias, dictionaries, phone books [when's the last time YOU bought one?].... that kind of jazz.
Ask any guy that's out there in his faux-leather Oxfords [meanwhile, his car is leaking oil on your driveway] trying to unload a $3,000 set of Britannicas lately!
Because seriously, you can find all of this stuff online!
But who wants to read the latest Margaret Atwood or John Irving ['s about 8 more days till his new one is available here in Canada, not that I'm rabidly x'ing the days off on my calendar or anything...] who wants to read Nabokov on a Kindle?
You want a BOOK!
You want to feel it, smell it, shove it in your armpit, KISS IT now and then, rub it on your..... [I better stop there!]

OK, so how do you know if you are addicted to books?
I ought to be an expert on this topic, so here goes...... just off the top of my head now, not even trying....

1) Do you sometimes avoid otherwise meaningful social interaction to read just one or two..... or three...... more chapters? OK, let's be honest. A hundred and eighty more pages?

2) You leave the house and you are halfway to wherever you are going and you realize you do not have your book with you.
Do you have an a) panic attack, b) spastic seizure, c) brain aneurism, d) coronary event,
and/or e) just drive directly into the nearest bridge abutment?
Perhaps a), followed by b), c), d) and ending in e)?

3) Is the single greatest physical fear in your life losing your eyesight? And not because you can only SMELL hamburgers now when you eat them, but because you will now have to learn Braille?

If you have answered yes to any one of the questions above, you are a Book Addict.
I answered "yes" to all three.
Let's face it.
You and I.
We are exactly the thing whispered in the ears of those who not only orchestrated the "intervention" but personally drove us to The Treatment Center.
Each of us is a -->

Splash du Jour: Monday

From Einstein: His Life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson:
His distracted demeanor, casual grooming, frayed clothing, and forgetfulness, which were later to make him appear to be the iconic absent-minded professor, were already evident in his student days. He was known to leave behind clothes, and sometimes even his suitcase, when he traveled, and his inability to remember his keys became a running joke with his landlady. He once visited the home of family friends and, he recalled, "I left forgetting my suitcase. My host said to my parents, 'That man will never amount to anything because he can't remember anything.'"

Can you imagine?
Not amounting to anything! [Interesting that he forgot his suitcase, and yet years later, recalled that he did this!]
Anyhoo -- I just offer the above paragraph as my way of encouraging all of you absent-minded types out there who sometimes may feel that...
... Dammit! I forget what I was going to say, now!

Have a great Monday!
Happy Thanksgiving Day, Canada.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Show Me The Monetary!

Of all the lineups at the Mall Food Court this afternoon, the Subway one was the longest, yet it was into this queue I seemed to gravitate.
Truth is, I love a good sandwich.
And you know, I can't always eat hamburgers.
Actually, most of the time you can find me at Manchu Wok, or maybe Thai Express, or Teriyaki Experience... but this afternoon, there I was in the Subway line.
The sandwich guy behind the glass asked the girl in front of me for her order.
As he started to prepare her sandwich he asked the next question all Subway artists are trained to ask... "What type of cheese?"
"The monetary," she said.
He quickly glanced at me and we both smirked.
"Excuse me?" he said.
"I'll have the monetary cheese," she clearly repeated.
He and I were sharing the proceeds of an all-out inner guffaw now!
But of course, he knew what she meant, and commenced spreading some shredded MONTEREY cheese on the sandwich.
We all shuffled up a space, and he [still smiling] asked me what I wanted.
I ordered.
"What type of cheese?" he asked me.
"The kind with the dollar signs on it," I said, and we both lost it a bit there.
But the girl in front of me, who overheard it all, was completely oblivious.
She just sort of turned and looked at me as if I was from the planet YourAnus or something!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rhyminineinstein: A Saturday Poem


They say time is related
to the place where you are.
Let’s consider the case
of the exploding star…

Now long, long ago
died a star in a blast.
Though you’ve not seen it yet
the event’s in the past.

But only so far
as you’re stuck here on earth,
for elsewhere in space
you’d be watching it’s birth.

Now hold on a minute,
my thinking’s all screwy.
Back up to that part
where the star went Kablooey!

You see, light has to travel
through the eons of space,
so it takes mighty long
to reach the eyes on your face.

So when did it happen?
Just now, or just then?
If I’m farther away…
Does it happen again?

With questions like that
I just want to holler,
Hip hip hooray!
We’ve created a scholar.

But the next time you sing
that old nursery rhyme,
remember that space
is related to time…

And as sad as it is,
you’ll just have to be honest.
That twinkliest star?
Well, it could be the gonest.

c. Ciprianowords Inc. 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

He Would Throw Stuff

Today I started reading what is quickly amounting to a fascinating book!
I cannot put it down.
Einsten: His Life and Universe.
By Walter Isaacson.
I'm only at page 32 of a possible.... 551.
But I already can tell, this thing is going to be good!

[By the way, according to Einstein, if I quit blogging right now and commenced reading at just slightly faster than the speed of light, I would actually finish this book before I even started it!]
One thing that is really amazing to me is [don't laugh] umm...... how much I myself am like Einstein.
I mean, personality wise.
He was a loner, like me.
Every day, for him, was a bad hair day! Just like me!
By the way, it is completely NOT true that he flunked math in school.

But [seriously now] I am finding that there are so many areas in which I am LIKE Einstein.
The guy was a bit of a nutbar.
As early on as page 12, I was totally identifying with him. Because [when I was a youngster...] I also liked to throw things at my younger sister when I was angry.
Albert Einstein threw stuff.

He was also, at least as a young child, prone to temper tantrums. "At such moments his face would turn completely yellow, [I can relate]... the tip of his nose snow-white, and he was no longer in control of himself," Maja [his younger sister] remembers. Once, at age 5, he grabbed a chair and threw it at a tutor, who fled and never returned. Maja's head became the target of various hard objects. "It takes a sound skull," she later joked, "to be the sister of an intellectual." Unlike his persistence and tenacity, he eventually outgrew his temper.

As did I.

A few years ago I wrote a small biography about my own father, after he passed away.
In it, there is an excerpt about my own childhood personality which can effectively illustrate and verify that I am indeed, in at least this one way, quite Einsteinian.
So, having said all of the above, if you are perhaps so bored out of your own skull that you are ready to jump off a roof -- you are welcome to read of my anger-induced lapse of better judgment
--> HERE.

Splash du Jour: Friday

Is this the image of a god?
My tooth for yours, your eye for mine?
Oh, if Revenge did move the stars
Instead of Love, they would not shine.

-- Verse six of The Earth Forgives, one of The God's Gardener's Hymns in The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood --

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Very Anti-Burger

This evening [in a Starbucks near me] I finished reading Margaret Atwood's latest doomsday book.
The Year of the Flood.
Do I think you should read it?
Yes, I do.
I am not going to write any sort of official review of it here, I will direct you, later on, to a really terrific posting -- but I just wanted to drop by and suggest that this is a significant, enjoyable, bleak, and masterfully crafted work of art.
Do not stumble over that word "bleak".
If any well-written dystopia about the demise of civilization is ever anything but horrendously bleak, well, it's probably quite unrealistic.
We're talking about THE END OF THE WORLD HERE!
And one thing I found especially horrid in this new work of Maggie's, is that in her particular armageddon she even attacks the entire realm of hamburger!
That's messing with the sacred!
In these pages we find the world of the SecretBurger, [one word] made from pretty much whatever fell into the grinder that day, even humans!

In an undated future and unspecified land [even though it is quite obviously Somewhere U.S.A.]... a religious cult called God's Gardeners gather converts, and preach about the coming pandemic! This group, led by the ever-wise Adam One are something straight out of Harrowsmith magazine. They "don't eat anything with a face."
They talk to bees. Are opposed to all forms of modernized technology.
And, most amazingly [unlike real cults] their predictions and dire warnings COME TRUE!
The world is devastated by plague.
Many of these God's Gardeners survive the plague, in one [overall plausible] way or another... along with more than a desirable amount of carnivorous villains, to make survival all that more interesting.
Let the games begin!
What happens in a dog-eat-dog world, when the heroic survivors would never eat a damn good hamburger, much less, a dog?

For former readers of Atwood's Oryx and Crake, let me just say that I found this book to be a much more enjoyable read. Enjoyable, in the sense of...... just all-around better! I initially thought it was a sequel [if anything, maybe it ends up being a prequel?]... but, regardless, you do not need to take a massive refresher-course in Oryxandcrake-ism to read The Year of the Flood.
It's a terrific book, and let's face it, coming from a die-hard carnivore who as early as this very morning made himself a breakfast that contained four strips of bacon and two chicken embryos, that's saying something!

At this point I will now direct you towards a REAL review... one that is not only erudite and contains actual quotes and stuff, but is just, in about 14 different ways, about 17 times better than what I have written, above.
Read Isabella, at --> Magnificent Octopus!


Splash du Jour: Thursday

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wednesday Evening Cat Porn

Why am I posting this?
Because I think he is beautiful!
My son.
Sir Jack.
Or, as he is known across the river,
Monsieur Jacques de le Blanc Pelage.
[I've recently forgiven him for this former posting of his!]

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business. This minding of other people’s business expresses itself in gossip, snooping and meddling, and also in feverish interest in communal, national and racial affairs. In running away from ourselves we either fall on our neighbor’s shoulder or fly at his throat.
-- Eric Hoffer, in The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

There are some forms of religion that are bad, just as there's bad cooking or bad art or bad sex, you have bad religion too.
-- Karen Armstrong --

Have a great Tuesday!


Monday, October 05, 2009

Armstrong In Town...

No, not the guy who walked on the moon!
No, not that guy that rides bikes!
Not the trumpet-player.
The ex-nun scholar-woman theologian that has written fascinating books about religion!
<-- This is her new one, and Random House graciously sent me a review copy!
[Thank you, Jessica!]

The Case For God.

And in just a little over a week's time [Wednesday the 14th] the author, the scholar, the legend -- Karen Armstrong will be giving a lecture just down the street from me, at St. Brigid's Church.
I am very much looking forward to this. I already have my ticket purchased!
I've read many of her books, and she is just incredibly astute, wise, and experientially brilliant, when it comes to "religion."
I am still immersed in Margaret Atwood's dystopia [incidentally, I saw Maggie at the same church two weeks ago... I'm on a real author-groupie roll here...] so I have not started Karen Armstrong's book, but I just randomly flipped through it a minute ago.
This excerpt from the Bible sort of caught my interest, it's on page 85:

There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests, but everybody thinks of other people's interests instead.

This is from the Apostle Paul's advice to the Philippians. Chapter 2, verses 2 to 4.
The comment I want to make has absolutely nothing to do with Karen Armstrong's subsequent erudition in this book.
I merely looked at the Scripture and thought about it.
I conclude that it is a bit nutty.

There was a time in my life when I would have read this Scripture and immediately felt an obligation to be "self-effacing" or whatever.
Would have begun considering how important everyone else's "interests" are in comparison to my own.
But nowadays, my brain is no longer in NEUTRAL!

At least if these verses were suggesting that other people's interests were EQUAL to my own... OK... you've got my ear... but then Brother Paul throws in that last word "instead".
"Instead" means I am actually supposed to sort of jettison my own interests, I guess.
In my opinion, that is a recipe for lunacy.
Imagine the mileage that a secretly self-interested minister could get with this one verse alone!
Practically speaking, this verse needs a lot of footnotes. And if you read the rest of Philippians, the footnotes simply aren't there!
Even in theory, [and all conceit aside] there are tons of people out there in the world that just plain are not "better" than I am.
For me to tell myself that they are... well, that is called schizophrenia.
Sorry about that Paul and/or God!

Splash du Jour: Monday

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Just Add Water...

I must admit, I was surprised.
I just failed the Starbucks VIA Taste-Challenge.
I am writing [and posting] this from the very Starbucks where I have just been astounded to find that I could not tell the difference between Starbucks brewed coffee and their new INSTANT coffee. [Called VIA].
The barista handed me two samples and I swished these around for a while. They both were so similar, but in the end I guessed that the second one was the instant coffee.
EHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! <-- Annoying sound of game-show buzzer!

So, in other words, this new instant coffee tastes so good you can't tell the difference from professional brewed stuff!
And you can now make it at home in.... well, an INSTANT. Just add boiling water!
My prize for guessing wrongly was this dollar-off coupon which I shall promptly use!


Saturday, October 03, 2009

Fall Leaf Falling: A Saturday Poem

Fall Leaf Falling

There was a big fall maple leaf on your back.
Orange. You thought it was the last thing you said.
I was just a little bit behind you, and I still am.
Four seconds ago you turned with your cute What?
And I said Nothing, watching that thing crabwalk
down your black fleece vest -- down down.

And in that interim, between its life on a tree
and its journey on you, I saw everything. My
own fall for you, so similar -- Upside down.
right side up -- upside down -- right side -- and my
little chuckle had nothing to do with your wit. Funny
as you are. I laughed because this is exactly --

c. Ciprianowords Inc. 2009

Friday, October 02, 2009

Splash du Jour: Friday

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
and things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art; to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow --

Have a great Friday!