Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Your Inner Beastie

Today at work, in a tedious, silent moment, Matthew asked a general question, addressing the entire congregation….
"If you could be an animal, what animal would you be?"
I must be 100% honest and confess to you that I forget what most of the people said, [I was too busy morphing into my own beast] I only remember that Matthew himself became a lion.
And so -- it finally came around to me, and I had the answer.
An eagle.
For one thing, I truly admire flight.
Aside from this, I have never seen even one nature show in which an eagle is being carted away in the jaws of some other slavering beast. No.
Usually, they are the ones majestically swooping earthward and snatching up some unsuspecting equivalent of a moving hamburger!
And see -- I LIKE that!
Plus, the whole flying thing in general, the way an eagle can ride the airwaves…. float around forever, over the Grand Canyon say, and not even flap its wings for half an hour -- see, all of that appeals to me.
I want to be an eagle in my next life.
Reminds me of a poem I wrote once…. anyway -- what would your answer be?
What's your inner beastie?


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

A man in Calgary calls his son in Toronto the day before Christmas Eve and says,
"I hate to ruin your day but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough".
"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son screams..
"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer", the father says. "We're sick of each other and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Vancouver and tell her".
Frantically, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone, "Like hell they're getting divorced", she shouts, "I'll take care of this".
She calls Calgary immediately and screams at her father, "You are NOT getting divorced. Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back and we'll both be there tomorrow… until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife.
"Done! They're coming for Christmas - and they're paying their own way."

Have a great Tuesday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Splash du Jour: Friday

A Peahen Complains

Thank God for that sun-roof idea. Those two giraffes
were about asphyxiated before Shem cranked it open.
What angers me most? None of us asked for this.

Follow the ostriches. Follow the emus. Follow follow
follow. If I had hands I would have taken that air horn
and flung it into Ethiopia. We marched like animals.

Granted, nearly anything is better than drowning. But
the noise and smell is killing me. On the intercom I
heard that the Captain sent out a reconnaissance dove.

Rumour is we land tomorrow. Listen up now, Horatio.
Evolve some better tailfeathers! Something with planets
on it -- Something your future daughter cannot resist.

-- © Ciprianowords, Inc. 2010 --

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Signs of Recovery

I refrained from going to a terrific book-reading event tonight.
David Sedaris was at my local Chapters store this evening [the same one Sara Gruen was at a few weeks ago] and I deliberately did not go.
Because I know I would have bought at least two copies of his most recent book,
squirrel seeks chipmunk.
I have looked through this book several times and it is so exactly the type of thing I would love to read.
It has animals in it!
But, for those of you who have been following closely my November Adventures in the realm of book-acquiring, I have already purchased just under 40 books this month. Umm -- that is
I can't keep doing this!
I've got to put a lid on this thing!
Tonight is a hopeful sign -- I had the fortitude to flee the temptation.


Splash du Jour: Thursday

If time is money, then fast food saves both.
-- John Self, in Martin Amis's Money --

Have a great Thursday!
Happy Thanksgiving Day, America!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Message For "C"

This posting is in response to the comment of "C" in my blog of last night.
Regarding my duplicate copies of
White Noise -- ahh, it's too bad -- it would have been a nice friendly thing to do, to give you my extra.
But immediately after work today I went back to the Book Mark store [same guy sitting there behind the till, same chair, cobwebs from his head to the leaning tower of books behind him…] and I explained the situation. He allowed me to browse and select a substitute.
So, since I am really enjoying this crazy Martin Amis guy I am currently reading I found another by him, called
London Fields.
que sera sera -- next time I buy a duplicate book I will keep you in mind.
The way things are going here -- you won't have long to wait.


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

I used to eat only natural foods, but then I heard that most people die of natural causes.
-- Cipriano --

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Severe Case of MBBD

<-- This photo is proof that I am suffering from MBBD.
Multiple Book Buying Disorder©.
On Saturday evening I met a co-worker at a bookstore downtown, The Book Mark on Rideau Street.
From this rendezvous point we then proceeded to a nearby Guinness Emporium to sink back a pint or two. Or three.
He snagged a real nice hardcover Tropic of Cancer and I picked up this Don DeLillo book, White Noise.
Hmmmmm……. which DeLillo did I get, right?
Aren't there two of them there in the photo?
Well, that's just it.
See -- I paid the bill at the bar that evening, and when I wasn't looking, my friend put his share of the tab into White Noise. I came home and put the book on my shelf [alongside the hundred other books I have not read yet] and today at work he asked me, "Did you find that money?"
When I got home tonight I checked that new DeLillo and sure enough, it was full of moolah. But as I placed it back on the shelf I just happened to notice, right there at eye level……. another copy of the same book. I bought it about two months ago.
Should I seek therapy?
I am buying so many books I'm forgetting that I already own what I am buying!
Is there any known cure for such an affliction? Any remedy for such literary gluttony?


Splash du Jour: Monday

Have a great Monday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just Because...

Occasionally I will post a song just because I love it so much.
And tonight I have been listening to this one over and over -- something about it really moves me. It's from one of my favorite artists, Alan Parsons.
The song is called Blown By The Wind. From his 1996 CD, entitled On Air.
Wishing you a terrific weekend.
-- The Cip


Splash du Jour: Friday

People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.
-- Salma Hayek --

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Splash du Jour: Thursday

…About me and reading (I don't really know why I tell you this -- I mean do you read that much?): I can't read because it hurts my eyes. I can't wear glasses because it hurts my nose. I can't wear contacts because it hurts my nerves. So you see, it all came down to a choice between pain and not reading. Not reading -- that's where I put my money.
-- John Self, in Martin Amis's Money --

Have a great Thursday!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Age of the Money Mart

Then I clanked next door to the place where a caged chick cashes cheques around the clock but seems to keep half your dough as commission for this fine service. Actually it's more than half, or feels that way by now. It goes up all the time. One day I'm going to come in here, write a cheque for fifty quid, slide it over, hang about for a while, then ask: 'Come on -- what about my money?' And the caged chick will look up and say, 'Can't you read? We keep all that now.'

Why does it say he "clanked" next door?
Because this is describing the actions of John Self, the anti-hero protagonist in Martin Amis's [1984] novel Money. And if John is not in the act of drinking booze, he's in the act of at least carrying it somewhere… as is the case, above.
He is living a life of unbridled hedonism -- I have just started the book but it is already proving to be one of the downright funniest things I have ever encountered in fiction.
John Self is a brilliant [or as Amis would call him, a "brill"] lunatic… with enough money on hand to not worry in the least about how he rids himself of it.
Which brings me to the very issue I feel like discussing tonight.
The evolution of The Money Mart©. The very fact of it.
The above citation from the novel made me think of my own questions that have festered for so long…. I see these places everywhere! And I don't UNDERSTAND them.

<--There is one just down the street from where I live, and I drive past it all the time…. and amazingly, there are nearly always PEOPLE IN IT!
Sometimes a line-up!
I don't get it.
I could understand if they were serving hamburgers at the cashier end of the thing!
But, when all is said and exchanged... what are they selling?
Money? And charging you for it?
It does not make sense to me.
Haven't any of these people in the queue ever heard of a BANK?
Umm… where you can store your money for a very minimal fee [if any] and have the added advantage of writing your own cheques [sometimes free of charge] and having the added bonus of even a credit line to draw upon? And maybe even earn some interest on your money in the meantime?
Why would any rational human being even go to a Money Mart at all?
It sometimes gives me the shivers and/or heebie-jeebies to just drive past one!


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply.
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why.
He said you look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do.
So I took off my hat I said imagine that, huh, me working for you.
-- © 1970, 2002 Five Man Electrical Band --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

The universe is a million billion light-years wide, and every inch of it would kill you if you went there. This is the position of the universe with regards to human life.
-- Martin Amis --

Have a great Tuesday!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Splash du Jour: Monday

So much of a child's life is lived for others… All the reading I did as a child, behind closed doors, sitting on the bed while the darkness fell around me, was an act of reclamation. This and only this I did for myself. This was the way to make my life my own.

-- Lynne Sharon Schwartz --

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My New Home

This evening I read the following passage in a work of fiction. It's from The Conversations at Curlow Creek, by David Malouf:
It was one of the many contradictions of Adair's existence that though he was by nature a man who would have liked nothing better than to see the sun rise and set each day on the same bit of turf, he had spent all the years of his manhood, thirteen to be precise, in one foreign army or another far from home -- if by home one means not four walls and a roof, with a fire and a chair before it, but the place of one's earliest affection, where that handful of men and women may be found who alone in all the world know a little of your wants, your habits, the affairs that come nearest your heart, and who cares for them.

Of all of my siblings [five of us in total] I am the one that has settled furthest from the nucleus. Atomically speaking, I am, far and away, the furthest flung electron. And I find that as my parents have now both passed on, the idea of "home" has indeed shifted a bit, for me.
There was a time when going "home" for Christmas etc., had a certain inimitable feel to it. I still have the desire to go back to the place where I grew up, and all that, but now I feel just a little bit more as though I am imposing myself on others. As though I am a guest. In someone else's "home".
As the only one of us five that have never married nor produced offspring, there is a tendency for me to sometimes feel as though I am in the way.
But GOD, I love my family, every one of them.
They are constantly inviting me to spend time with them, in their "homes".

When I first read the above passage tonight while drinking ten gallons of coffee at Starbucks, the part I loved best was where Malouf's narrator mentioned "home" as being "the place of one's earliest affection."
I agree and I disagree.

Thanks to the wonder of Google Maps, the above photograph is the very house I most think of, as "home".
I grew up there, on Argyle Street.
I could not believe that I so easily found it tonight, with a simple search.
The truck in the driveway? I do not know who owns it.
But that green building behind it?
That was once my "home".
And yet -- it isn't my "home" today.
There is an inner closet wall in that house -- up in an area that will never have reason to be repainted -- that says, in scribbled pencil "I was here."
I wrote those words in November of 1972, when I was nine years old.
The current tenants [whoever they are] walk past those words of mine every day, not knowing that they exist. And if they ever found them, they would not know who put them there.….
[How precociously prescient of me, to use the past tense "was".]

My point is -- I agree with the idea of home being "the place of one's earliest affection."
But what is said next in the Malouf excerpt is even more important.
For me, the above building, the "four walls" of it represent "home" only insofar as my parents are still alive in it, inviting me for a visit.
This place here, where I am typing these words tonight, basically saying to you, my blogger friends, "I am here"……. this -- this is my new home.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Reading is an act of interiority, pure and simple. It's object is not the mere consumption of information… Rather, reading is the occasion of the encounter with the self… The book is the best thing human beings have done yet.
-- Lewis Carroll --

Have a great Thursday!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

-- Ernest Hemingway --

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Splash du Jour: Monday

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. It was the experience of mystery--even if mixed with fear--that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms--it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man…. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.
-- Albert Einstein --

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

My Rescued Orphans

One person's garbage is another person's treasure.
Well, maybe in this case "garbage" is too strong of a word… at any rate, I capitalized on what other people did not want, this weekend.
I went to the 49th Annual Rockcliffe Park Used Bookfair and I picked up a total of 32 books for $68.50. That's an average of $2.14 per book.
And I mean, these are gorgeous, lovely books! Some of them are hot off the press, like Martin Amis's The Pregnant Widow, which I was going to buy at full price.
I think I paid $4 for it here!
Wow -- some real beauties were to be found -- let's not call them "used".
Let's call them…. "previously loved." Discarded by original owners. Nabbed up, literally adopted by me -- and I have cleared out an entire shelf of old slip-cased National Geographics to make way for these lovelies.
My shelf issues are at a critical Stage of Displacement… in other words, if anything is to go on, something else has to come off.
My question tonight involves first editions.
One of the most awesome books I snapped from the Realm of Obscurity was this pristine edition of John Steinbeck's
The Winter of Our Discontent.

<-- The thing is PERFECT!
One of my favourite arguments I like to muster in any sort of literary environment is, "Who is a better writer, Steinbeck or Hemingway?"
You'd be surprised at how this innocent [yet devilish] question will turn the calmest of folks into raging piranhas. It's a downright barracuda of a question to drop at your next gathering!
Anyhoo -- my answer is always Steinbeck.
I just love him. Yes, better than Papa.

So, as you can imagine -- the only disfigurement on the dust jacket of this book was from the bit of drool that fell from my mouth as I slapped the thing into my book box.
And now -- my question...
I have since wondered if this is a FIRST EDITION.
My research has revealed that the book was published in 1961 by The Viking Press.
With this very dust jacket on it.
My book is a 1961 Viking, but nowhere in it does it SAY "First Edition".
My fellow Bookovores [<-- should be an official tax-exempt cult]… can you please help me on this conundrum? Do first editions always have to declare their... Firstness?
Is it possible that I may have nabbed a first edition for $3.00?
In which case I will be very content, this winter? Should I be setting aside a special exalted place on my shelf for this serendipitous gem?
Or should I just place it amongst the other rescued orphans?

Saturday, November 06, 2010



Exhibitionism in nature is just that, natural. Your
observation has no effect, one way or the other.

You might drive in the very opposite direction
this morning -- hating the world and all planets.

Glaring, not saying the words. Feeling them burn
holes in your soul is punishment enough, today.

Imagine that before you were, and after you shall
be, a torrent over a lip of rock tells misty secrets.

c. Ciprianowords, Inc. 2010

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Our secular and scientific culture has not replaced or even challenged these mutually incompatible, supernatural thought systems. Scientific method, skepticism, or rationality in general, has yet to find an overarching narrative of sufficient power, simplicity, and wide appeal to compete with the old stories that give meaning to people's lives. Natural selection is a powerful, elegant, and economic explicator of life on earth in all its diversity, and perhaps it contains the seeds of a rival creation myth that would have the added power of being true - but it awaits its inspired synthesizer, its poet, its Milton…. Reason and myth remain uneasy bedfellows.
-- Ian McEwan --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn't frighten me.
-- Richard Feynman --

Have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Meeting Sara Gruen

Last Tuesday I mentioned that bestselling author Sara Gruen was going to be in my neighborhood. Well, tonight was the night and I was there.
Sara began by sharing some vignettes of her experience with meeting the bonobos from the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa -- then she read from her latest novel [Ape House] and fielded questions from the audience.
She spoke very lovingly of the bonobos, and recounted a fascinating incident between her and Panbanisha [to whom she dedicates her novel]. When Sara first met Panbanisha [a Congolese bonobo ape] she showed some photos. Pictures of Sara's dogs evoked no response from the ape. But when Panbanisha viewed images of Sara's children in a bathtub, surrounded with soapsuds, the ape spelled out on the lexigrams "Babies/washing/bubbles".
They immediately established a friendship, and when Sara left, Panbanisha "said" to one of the scientists "Where's Sara? Build her nest. When's she coming back?"

Sara Gruen was so interesting and down-to-earth and lovely.
Overhearing the conversation between her and the two ladies ahead of me in the lineup to meet her -- I learned that the movie version of Water For Elephants is due for release in April of 2011. It will be starring Reese Witherspoon and Sara will have a cameo appearance in it.
When taking the photo above [with yours truly in it, spoiling the shot]…. Sara said to the photographer [a Chapters worker]… "OK, say 1 - 2 - 3 and then snap it!"
She then turned her face towards me [a wonder-filled moment, I assure you] and then whipped it back on "3".
"It's the only way I can look natural," she said.
This is when I spelled out, on my lexigram thing --> "Natural/yes/very".

"You cannot have a two-way conversation with a great ape, or even just look one straight in the eye, close up, without coming away changed."
-- Sara Gruen --


Splash du Jour: Tuesday

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Splash du Jour: Monday

That's what lying had done to the world. All the lying that people had been doing since the dawn of time, all the lying they were doing still. The price everyone paid for it was the death of trust. It meant that no two humans, however innocent they might be, could ever approach one another like two animals. Civilization!
-- Michel Faber, Under The Skin --

Have a great Monday!