Monday, October 31, 2011

Splash du Jour: Monday

So you see, when war comes to one’s village, one’s doorstep, it isn’t tragic and impersonal any longer. It is just an excuse to vomit private hatred. That is why I am not a great patriot.
-- Daphne du Maurier, The Scapegoat --

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All By Themselves

This is the most adorable lip-sync video I've ever seen.
I love how intense the girl gets with the piano solo, while her friend continues to play the violin when there is no violin part. Ending with suicide by self-inflicted pen wounds and assisted strangulation.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Aliens on the Move

Some of you may recall my former raw footage of messages from outer space, seen from my balcony vantage point.
Well, seems that during the night, the Aliens have begun construction of something resembling a place to land. An arrival terminal, if you will. Obviously they would have access to their own materials, but, [and this is just like what they would do] trying to be subtle and sneaky about it, they've opted for common Earth wood. Planks and boards.
That one gate-like opening in the front does scare me, though.
What if this is not an Arrival Pad -- but a corral in which unsuspecting human beings will be herded and experimented upon.
All I know is that even though it's Halloween weekend, if I'm walking around out there I'm not going to be diverted by or even listen to anything with big buggy-eyes or an antenna sticking out if its head!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday

I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed and won. To me they have always been matters of riddle and admiration. Some seem to have but one vulnerable point, or door of access; while others have a thousand avenues, and may be captured in a thousand different ways. It is a great triumph of skill to gain the former, but a still greater proof of generalship to maintain possession of the latter, for man must battle for his fortress at every door and window. He who wins a thousand common hearts is therefore entitled to some renown; but he who keeps undisputed sway over the heart of a coquette is indeed a hero.
-- Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When You Aren't Working

Tonight as I sat at Starbucks I couldn't help overhearing the conversation of two people that had obviously just met for the first time.
Maybe they met online or something.
Was I eavesdropping?
No, I was trying to zone them out and finish my Saramago book, but the woman portion of them was talking SO LOUD -- it was driving me crazy.
Anyhoo -- so much of the talk revolved around what they "do".
And by "do" I mean -- for a living.
I don't do much dating.
And by "much" I mean…….. any, really.
But if I did, I think this is one of the things I would be least interested in. What the other person did during the work-time hours of the day.
I would be more interested in what they loved to do when they are not working. After all, isn't that what dating is all about?
I would be more likely to ask the person, "What is it that you love to do when you aren't working?"
Isn't that what her and I are going to be doing most of the time, if any of this "works" out?
Not working?


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Throughout his life, Albert Einstein would retain the intuition and the awe of a child. He never lost his sense of wonder at the magic of nature's phenomena-magnetic fields, gravity, inertia, acceleration, light beams-which grown-ups find so commonplace. He retained the ability to hold two thoughts in his mind simultaneously, to be puzzled when they conflicted, and to marvel when he could smell an underlying unity. "People like you and me never grow old," he wrote a friend later in life. "We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born."
-- Walter Isaacson, Einstein

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Splash du Jour: Monday

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

-- Steve Jobs --

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Steve Jobs Biography

I am writing this from the actual bookstore, actually from the Starbucks section of the place, where I am enjoying a serious caffeine buzz from my third grande bold coffee!
I can't help but notice the signs all over the store announcing the release of the Steve Jobs biography. This particular store here will be opening an hour and a half earlier than usual [tomorrow] to handle the influx of rabidly slavering book buyers! I don't think I have heard of such hype since the last Harry Potter book, or maybe a new Stephenie Meyer release.
I, for one, am extremely interested in reading this Jobs book, but I don't think I want to pay full price for it. Nor wait in a queue to get it. I think I will wait until I find it at some sort of reduced-rate sale. I read Isaacson's book about Einstein and conclude that he is a fabulous biographer.
As an avid Mac-user and overall Apple devotee I am saddened by the untimely death of Steve Jobs. It is so sobering, as I am nearly as old as he was… it just does not seem right at all that someone so involved with life should have been taken from it.
I will definitely be reading this new book, the question is only a matter of when.
How about you, dear reader friend? Does the new Steve Jobs biography interest you at all? Will you be in a lineup somewhere tomorrow, nabbing it?


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Two Needed Shout-Outs

Hello, dear Blogfriends.
I've had a week of advancing the technology in my apartment. Thanks to my dear friend who visited me [without whom none of this would have been possible] I succeeded in taking a giant leap into the 21st Century, media and entertainment wise. It would be a long and possibly boring story, but suffice it to say I have the most incredible sight and sound system here now, along with effortless access to ENDLESS music and movies.
Other than the necessity of going to work, I'm never going to want to leave my place! Admittedly, I'll still sit at Starbucks for a bit after work, but beyond this -- I have the perfect penthouse environment here. Why would I want to be anywhere else?
Thank you, Trev.

Secondly -- I have also been reading some terrific books.
An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin. This novel was a surprisingly good read. I say "surprisingly" because Mr. Martin wears so many hats other than that of author, the tendency to have misgivings [as I did] about this particular one fitting his head is [I think] forgivable. But this book, a sort of romantic comedy about the inner intricacies of the art world, the foibles of its practitioners, from collectors to patrons, buyers and sellers, and the artists themselves -- it all works. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable, believable, humorous, well-drawn, never-boring journey.
After this, I devoured Jose Saramago's final novel. It's called Cain.
It sincerely saddens me to realize that no more work shall flow from his mind and fingers. This book is a classically Saramagian irreverent look at several events of the Old Testament, following the imagined adventures of Cain, son of Adam and Eve and legendary slayer of his brother Abel. Much as he did with the New Testament in The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, Saramago cuts a swath through accepted orthodox renditions of biblical legends. Some readers may find his ideas sacrilegious, [or blasphemous] while others [like myself] find them illuminating, in the sense that they make one realize the unreasonableness of a literal interpretation of most aspects of the Bible. For instance, Cain points out to God and Noah as the ark is under construction that such a monstrous wooden Titanic would not physically raise itself [would lack buoyancy] when gradually surrounded by cumulative rain water. God then realizes his blunder and employs 300 angels to set the completed ship on the ocean when the time is right.
Written in Saramago's inimical unconventional style, this book is a gem. I highly recommend it. Both of these books I have mentioned were sent to me as a gift from my wonderful reading partner.
Thank you, Lynne.

So, a night of thankfulness here at my new up-to-date apartment as I watch and listen to a surround-sound David Gilmour concert in high-definition…


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday

The lord had made some very bad choices when it came to inaugurating the garden of eden, in this particular game of roulette everyone had lost, in this target practice for the blind no one had scored.
-- Jose Saramago, Cain --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

The most amazing thing about this clip is not so much the second drop shot by Dolgopolov, but moreso the fact that I totally fully agree with what the announcer says at the end there!

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Splash du Jour: Monday

"Where's Patrice these days?"
"Nowhere. He was a bit too interested, wouldn't you say?"
"I don't know him that well."

"Plus, I'm thirty-three, he's forty-five. And when I'm thirty-three, he'll be fifty-five, and when I'm thirty-three, he'll be sixty-three."

I laughed. "You don't plan on aging?"

"Why would I?"

-- Steve Martin, An Object of Beauty --

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Becoming Shelf-Actualized

I've spent a sizable chunk of my first day of holidays IN my books.
As in, moving them.
See, on Monday morning I have an appointment to get Cable-TV installed here.
[Wow Cipriano! Welcome to the world!]
Recently, Canada scrambled their free TV channels. The very channels I have relied on for news etc., my entire life. Hence, my [new] TV screen immediately became just a big snow storm and/or ant fight -- I'm not sure which it is. All I know is that I can only watch it for maybe an hour or two, it's totally boring stuff!
So I finally bit the bullet and called up the Cable people.
Monday's the day!
However -- I've always known that the cable connection thing is behind my bookcases. So today I started with the far one, hoping that the connection was in back of it.
No such luck.
Moved everything out of the second bookcase. What the hell? It's not there either.
Three's a charm?

Now, my friend and I [tomorrow] are going to saw holes through my beloved book racks so that cords can fit through, threading their way to the new Samsung, yonder. I will also have new "cable" internet as opposed to my DSL I've had for fifteen years now, plus a better phone plan.
So -- big changes in store at the Bookpuddle Headquarters.
No more ants fighting in the snow. I will actually have TV channels to choose from! How amazing! Incidentally, I probably won't even watch much of the shows available to me. I'm not much of a TV viewer. I prefer reading.
But today I had some hands on experience with how much of a pain in the *** the moving of books can be!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Splash du Jour: Friday

I seem to have a real comedian theme going here at Bookpuddle headquarters lately.
Let's see, I'm reading a novel by Steve Martin.
Drinking wine by Dan Ackroyd.
What's next? George Carlin potato chips?

Have a great Friday!
I'm on holidays after today! Wheeeee!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday

I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a method of settling international disputes.
-- Ernest Hemingway 1935-1961--

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Forgive My Blah[g]

Dear faithful Puddlers out there:
Please forgive me for recently being fairly blah when it comes to blogging.
Recently, he says?
[Will you please hush while I am sincerely apologizing?]
I am not down and out, per se, but just down for a bit. I think I will come back to a place of more regular blogging, but I do realize that lately I have not even been doing book reviews and stuff like that.
Bookpuddle has become more of just a…. puddle -- with no book in it.
And yet I've been reading some real great stuff.
For my current absence from more meaningful bloggitry, I officially offer the following awesome excuses:
-- too much hamburger in the bloodstream.
-- too much tiredness after my workday.
-- lack of oxygen to the brain.
-- not enough hours in the day [or night].
-- my financial portfolio has taken a real beating due to the recession.
-- way too much hambu…. oh wait, I already said that one.
-- receding hairline. My forehead fast becoming a fivehead [see above photo].

I am not even sure how that last point really affects things, but I have a suspicion that it does. Please stay with me.
Do not adjust your set.
Do not delete me from your blogrolls. I know you've been considering this rash move!
Bookpuddle will return with astute reviews of books, the sheer caliber of which, will make Harold Bloom look like a complete doofus.
Trust me -- this is all I can say.
In the interim though, I…. I have a few more flowers to eat here.
-- Cip


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

I've yet to be on a campus where most women weren't worrying about some aspect of combining marriage, children, and a career. I've yet to find one where many men were worrying about the same thing.
-- Gloria Steinem --

Have a great Tuesday!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

A Nutritious Breakfast...

Observe, if you will, how quickly my Ragdoll cat Jack muscles in on my bowl of ice cream the very second my back is turned!

For some reason I craved ice cream this morning and so this was my breakfast. And not just any type of ice cream, this is Breyer's Pralines and Cream flavour. Breyer's is the Mercedes Benz of the ice cream world, and this bowlful was the perfect start to the long weekend.


Friday, October 07, 2011

For The Love of Thirst

WARNING: The following blog is yet another instalment in the continuing series entitled TTDMYITATA©. [Things That Don't Matter Yet I Talk About Them Anyway.]

I'm finding it difficult to believe that real people drink as much booze as the characters tend to do in the recent novels I've been reading.
Don't get me wrong, I ain't no teetotaller. I like a beer [or two] as much [or usually more] than the next guy! But the amount of straight-up hard liquor being consumed in my current and previous novels -- it's downright violating the limits of my belief-suspension. Characters are just drinking at all possible moments of the day and night. Do people really do this?
Admittedly, some do -- but here is what makes it sort of unreal for me:
When the motive given for such drinking is….. thirst.
I can't locate a precise example right now in my book, and I've returned the other one to the Library already, but like, so often a scenario is presented such as, "Hey Mac. You thirsty? Let's have a drink."
Now if the two guys crack open a Sprite or pour some lemonade or even a glass of water -- see, I would get that! But to sit down and have a scotch on the rocks? Or pound back several snifters of brandy, etc.? Slug back some Jack Daniels? How in the world would that ever quench someone's "thirst"? The equivalent, lung-wise, would be to light up a big fat Havana cheroot because you "need some fresh air"!
Can you imagine the struggle advertisers would have if they had to sell alcohol based on THIRST needs?
SCENE: Husband and wife literally baking to death on a beach. He turns to her, "Mmmmm, honey, I'm parched. Pass me another tumbler of straight tequila!"
Yep, this is how we all want to spend a sweltering July afternoon -- sitting in sunshine drinking moonshine!
My conclusion is this: In novels, whenever someone drinks straight liquor for "thirst" reasons we are in the presence of an author that is not only using a wrong word, but doing a disservice to verisimilitude.
But one more point that is very important --> None of what I've said above applies to beer. Let's face it, beer is like 90% water. Drink three or four in a row and you will immediately be releasing the proof of this. Beer is thirst-quenching, and it's also very healthy for you, especially in ridiculously large quantities.
Secondly, nice drinks that are mixed with stuff also count as being thirst-quenching. Things like pina coladas, daiquiris, mojitos, a Collins or a Singapore Sling etc.
But give me a break. Straight undiluted liquor?


Splash du Jour: Friday

The only thing that makes life endurable in this world is human love, and yet, according to Christianity, that is the very thing that we are not to have in the other world. We are to be so taken up with Jesus and angels, that we shall care nothing about our brothers and sisters that have been damned. We shall be so carried away with the music of the harp that we shall not even hear the wail of father and mother. Such a religion is a disgrace to human nature.

-- Robert Ingersoll --

Hey, have a great Friday!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Wow! And I thought my cat was too negative all the time!

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Unless you are educated in metaphor, you are not safe to be let loose in the world.
-- Robert Frost --

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Splash du Jour: Monday

Agnostics may yearn for God or paternal or spiritual sustenance or transcendence, but agnostics remain waiting. We are like Keats's youthful lover chasing the young woman on the Grecian urn in suspended Attic time, not catching or holding what seems never to stop eluding us.
-- Michael Krasny, Spiritual Envy --

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

On Ultimate "Meaning"

<-- I'm reading a fascinating book about agnosticism.
The author hosts the most listened-to locally produced radio talk show in America, Forum with Michael Krasny.
He is incredibly intelligent, a Ph.D in twentieth-century literature, and the book is about his journey as an agnostic, toward a desired attitude of faith, or… believerism.
What I find particularly interesting is how Krasny repeatedly expresses his "envy" of people who have faith, those who live their life according to a sure confidence in God. His perspective is extremely interesting to me, especially since I myself was once the very type of person that he currently "envies".
As a former believer myself, I don't knock people that can be this way, I guess -- but I find that I am set up differently nowadays. I simply cannot
envy anyone who continues to willingly believe in something that is ultimately unverifiable.
Today as I was reading, for a while I stopped as a thought really accosted me. I had to pause and give it its fair moment through my mind.
And it was this, basically --> I think that people in general want to attach too much meaning to existence, and this is what leads to so many deceptions about reality.
That was the thought, and I really mused on it. That whole "all things happen for a reason" idea and all that follows in its wake -- I totally do not buy that.
I dislike that cliche.
I literally believe [this is where my musings trailed off to, I'm afraid] that a huge asteroid the size of the moon could strike the earth at any time and literally wipe all life from the planet, and indeed, shove the earth right out of its orbit to go trailing off into some other galaxy where it no longer has any atmosphere on it and has a core temperature of Absolute Zero -- and yet, no force or influence would prevent such a thing from happening. So, as I contemplate such things -- an entire sort of PERSPECTIVE, or grouping of corollary musings sort of overshadows all of that and helps me to understand that while life [our individual life and also our corporate life as a species].... while all of it is incredibly significant -- the very transient nature of it [in reality] -- if nothing else the impermanence of it [both individually and corporately] actually HELPS me to make sense of what is, currently, our predicament. Much less an asteroid destroying all of us in an instant, but in my own life, I could find out tomorrow that I have a terminal illness that will have me dead before Halloween rolls around. I hope that such a thing does not happen, but if it does, if it did, does this mean my life was meaningless? Most would answer, "No, your life was very meaningful. You were a blogger," etc.
But I would answer.... "Well, it may have been meaningful, but it was certainly less meaningful than you or I or anyone else thought it was, if for no other reason than the fact that if I lived longer, it would have been potentially MORE meaningful."
So....... how MUCH meaning are we supposed to attach to a "life"? Is it judged by "time spent doing it" or "achievements" or "benefit to others"? I mean, what is the CRITERIA?
We love to attribute meaning everywhere when it [in reality] is really not "in" those places. A person could say their life had meaning because they raised one extremely successful child, etc. But what if it could have had more meaning if they had raised two such children? Secondarily, what of the person that raised none? <-- Is that life "meaningless" therefore? Of course not. Or rather, the meaning of their own life has to be located in other ways.
But that scenario in itself simply shows that there is no MEANING across the board..... the "meaning" is to be found in individual, very subjective criteria.
As I mused more and more upon it all I began to feel that this is very much another base-idea that has given rise to religion. Because what religion proposes [Christianity at least] is that it knocks every single person down to an essential level and alleges that whether you've raised one or two children or none at all, whether you've developed the cure for cancer or became the President of the U.S.A., whether you went door to door in a campaign to raise funds for homeless [and incidentally... doorless] people in your area, or whether your meaning in life was to ride your bicycle a real lot..... no matter what your own "meaning" is -- you are wrong about it, because your one true meaning is to find God, give your life to Jesus and stuff like that. In other words, this is why you are here and alive, to serve God from a faithful heart. Religion is able to sell this idea so successfully because people want an ultimate meaning. Adherence to a religious code can assuage or even displace that inner desire for meaning.
I maintain though, [and this book so far has helped me to solidify it, although I am not sure this is the author's intention] that there is far less meaning to our lives than we tend to think there is. Admittedly, the meaning for it is what we ourselves give to it. Hence, there are many meanings, but not A [any one] "meaning".
In my opinion, this is where religion can inadvertently do us a disservice, because it tries to tell us there is but one ultimate meaning.
Listen to the author speak about this book by clicking on the book cover, above.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Unraveling The Mystery...

So I brew some coffee, go out onto the balcony, look down and see this.
Some sort of cryptic scrawling on the baseball circle [no diamonds here] across the street. From my 14th floor vantage point [technically it's the 13th]… but now that I mention "superstition" and all -- yeah, I'm thinking -- this looks a lot like crop circles.
What exactly is this? A message left by aliens during the night?
Or is the answer closer to home? More earthbound?
The efforts of ancient caveman artists finally surfacing after yesterday's torrential rain? Early Cro-Magnon depictions of spermatozoa trying to penetrate a prehistoric ovum?
As I thoughtfully sipped my coffee I decided upon favouring the latter idea.
The Flailing Flagella Theory©.
But seriously. Will we ever know?