The corporation I work for had its annual Community Service Day, which is sort of like being sentenced to a day of hard labor to assuage corporate-white-hegemonical guilt. Sort of. Actually, it is nice to do something—in this case painting, gardening, and sprucing up a school in the Bronx—to feel like you’re fighting back some of the City’s chaos (much like Batman! POW! Take that, chaos!), although there were some moments as I was out in the heat sweating my body weight in water I couldn’t help feeling that in a few hours after we leave the chaos, the tags, the discarded dime bags will all return. Still, the afterparty (free food, free beer) was good. Pictured here: Me in my uniform for the day. That stain looks like I gave birth to a mudbaby, doesn’t it? Update: I put that shirt in the laundry, and the stain remains, but I think I can see the smirking face of Christ in it. Photo by Phil “T-1000” Langer.
Sometimes this job is a little too Lord of the Flies. Only part of this is because many of my co-workers are quite young and seem like they are trying on adult roles, and the shoulders are sometimes too big, the hemlines drag on the floor, and the big, corporate words seem ill-suited to be coming out of their bright, cherubic faces. More of it is the feeling, especially when I am in a meeting, there we are all playing at a job, gathered around a table as if around a game board, Parcheesi, Clue, or — more analogous to the assignments we carry out — Chutes and Ladders. Our actions are scripted: the seemingly uptight marketing person opens the proceedings, usually in a serious tone, announcing a wish or a dream (about the smallest things sometimes, such as a four words of copy and a picture); the visibly disgruntled art director or designer will usually bemoan something — the client, the deadline, the last job, his/her iPhone service; then the visibly distracted copywriter may or may raise his/her befuddled head from a really interesting doodle to speak — if so, then it is either to make a wisecrack of no consequence to the actual meeting or to mock the clients’ expectations; then the seemingly secretive delivery manager, who all the while works quietly, diligently on her laptop on what? — a personal blog? secret reports about the designer or copywriter’s little comments to the PTB? job applications? — speaks up at the end of the meeting like the winning detective in Clue, or a blackjack dealer announcing she has a hand that trumps all other others — i.e., the project deadline — sparking worry in the marketing person’s mind and at the same time confirming the designer and copywriter’s grumblings. All these actions, mannerisms, even our dialogue seem to have been written long ago, possibly by men in suits in smoke-filled rooms in the ’50s, possibly thousands upon thousands of years earlier — picture a circle of Cro-Magnons around a fire, grunting how best to dress up the latest buffalo hide and present it to the neighboring tribe chief so as not to cause another big rumble in the jungle.
The Lineup has been released on its own recognizance. Is at large. Be on the lookout. Years ago now, it seems, AsininePoetry.com contributor and Thrilling Detective op Gerald So approached me to see if I wanted to become a cohort in his latest caper. Working with crime-writing pros Patrick Shawn Bagley and Anthony Rainone, I recruited such powerhouse poets as Super Sarah Cortez, Graceful Graham Everett, Dandy Daniel Thomas Moran, and Clever KC Trommer. Then I got my old pals Elric of Pennsylvania and JC of LI to find the right artwork and do the right design, respectively, for the cover. I owe them many, many beers. The result of all this is a pretty slick-looking piece that is now on sale here. Hint. Hint. For $6.50. Cheap! Find me at my desk, and I’ll give you a discount.
The latest of Asinine Poetry is online, as is the latest podcast featuring the talented Slimbabwe. Check ’em out.
A humidish summer day, the sky threatening rain. At the Asinine Offices, I spent the morning going through the much-neglected slush pile and rejecting more than 50 poems (this never feels good, except when it’s people who have obviously never been to the site). I also uploaded part two of Slim‘s excellent guest-hosting of the Asinine Poetry podcast, which is now online.
Hulk movie not good. Puny director. Studio smashed half of movie before hit screens. Movie feel choppy. Movie feel smashed! Puny villain. No motivation. Hulk . . .
Ahh, enough of that. I guess I’ll go Mr. Fixit from here: Where is Rick Jones when you need him? No doubt spacing out in the Negative Zone. Or maybe he’s signed exclusively to the ill-fated Captain America movie or the ill-fated Avengers movie. I say “ill-fated” because I don’t want them to get made — I believe some stories work best in a certain medium, and it’s a damned shame when they get told outside of that medium. Don’t think of me as a purist. Sure, many stories work better in the medium in which they were created. For example, Underdog — better as an animated cartoon than as a comic book or a live-action movie (for which Jason Lee should finally be euthanized — put out of his misery already). But other stories work better in a new medium — Moses, for example, much better in a movie played by Charlton Heston than in that awkwardly written, contradictory text in which he first appeared. In any case, why complain? Corporations are as corporations do. If they think there’s a profit in it, they’ll strip-mine it, the hell with integrity, nostalgia, or quality. But you knew that already.
Speaking of mixed media, and back to the new Hulk movie, The Incredible Hulk, is a reboot of sorts of the unwatchable 2003 motion picture Hulk (which, by the way, suffered from the great bane of superhero movies — plot reductivism, e.g., villain involved in hero’s origin; bleh). That movie did not make enough movie, so the creators of the new Hulk decided to go back to the unwatchable ’70s TV series starring Bill Bixby. And they threw in some meager easter eggs for the fans — since Marvel is getting all Dr. Doomy on Hollywood now, I guess they can. Best thing in the movie: How much William Hurt in a toupe looks exactly like General “Thunderbolt” Ross. Who knew? Of course, he’s pretty 2D, but Ross always was.
In any case, if Rick Jones were around, maybe he could have fleshed the Holk’s character out a bit, so he wouldn’t seem like such a King Kong retread in this movie. The Hulk is a lot like King Kong, but he’s more like Frankenstein’s monster. And a smidge more of that pathos could have helped this movie. Oh, and those excised 70 minutes would probably help. A lot. Wait for the DVD.
The Millennium Falcon in repose, after a long ride, getting lost in Bedford Stuy, and finally finding Prospect Park via a smoother, less-trafficky new route.