If you think oil-spill pollution problems are bad in America, and its many fine-dining establishments, then you should read about how frighteningly bad these pollution problems are elsewhere, namely Russia. Trust me; most of you, even a lot of you Russian people (thanks for Tolstoy, by the way, and that birthmark guy, and those dolls inside of dolls inside of dolls), have no idea just how bad things are.
But yay! -- the world can't rightfully blame America the most for this one. But, I mean, not yay, because it's bad for, like, everybody -- especially Russians. Yes, I know the Kardashians and those Jersey Shore creatures are still our fault. Sorry, world.
The above link will take you to a little on-line quarterly called The 2River View. Don't worry -- there's no porn or anything; just poems and some photography. A poem of mine is in the Winter 2012 issue, which is available now. You can also actually hear me read the poem; and, while you're listening (if you do), you might note that I had a cold and that, whenever there's a long pause, that was probably when I turned my face away from the phone to take a breath. Breathing is fun.
I'm only a little ways in, but I can tell you this: The Tree of Life is more than just a beautifully imagistic exploration of "why" I should like to comfort Jessica Chastain; it is also a beautifully imagistic exploration of why the universe should like to comfort her.
Hey, when a little literary mag requests that you call in a reading of your poem by way of a voice-mail message, try not to flub a line and shout "Aw, shit!" just before you hang up. Luckily, in my case, the editor had a sense of humor.
There is more than one way to do this, and all of the ways can be fun. First, though, you must select a cat. Now, just so we make sure you're not doing something crazy here, take a few minutes to consider why you’ve decided to 'skin' a cat instead of, say, give it room and board, or let it continue to spray in your den. “Am I just doing my part to keep cat numbers down in this region?" you might ask yourself. "Has this particular animal wronged me in some way? Is it because I’ve already got plenty of squirrel- and coon-skin caps? Have I recently found that I’m allergic and that I’d rather skin a cat than sneeze and have itchy eyes around that cat? Did I promise myself over a year ago: ‘If it takes me more than a year to decide on a name for this cat, I will skin it’?”
When all the smoke of this questioning has cleared, you may begin to have second thoughts, like: I've been meaning to get another leather couch anyway, or, Say,if I just move the litter-box over a few inches, she might go right into it! These thoughts are perfectly normal, and so is the act of simply returning the cat to the boy next-door and saying, "I saw one of your signs in town." But if, for any reason, you still feel that you absolutely need to skin a cat, it may interest you to know that there are three tools I personally use—aside from a common chef’s knife—in this process:
1. A pillow (for the cat's comfort).
2. My Morgan Freeman voice (for further soothing the cat).
3. A nail gun.
Everyone is different, however, so you may decide to use something else in place of a nail gun. Perhaps a staple gun, a few sharpened tent poles, or a 100-pound granite slab. (This is for stabilizing the cat.)
Remember, as you gather these tools and move about the house in your pre-skinning fervor, that you should have always in your eyes the look of one who'd never even think of skinning a cat. Cats can sense things, you see, and there’s perhaps nothing more inhumane than needlessly terrifying a cat before you skin it.
When you’re ready to start, begin by petting the cat and softly saying things like: “You’re such a good kitty-witty,” or “I could never skin a cat like you,” or “I assure you, Mr. Wiggins, this knife is only used for jack-o'-lanterns.”
It is at this time that your cat will try to deter you, with adorable purring and meowing (sometimes even purr-meowing) and full-body stretches that can increase his or her length (fore-paw to hind-paw) to around eight feet. These feline wiles have been evolved over hundreds of years to escape skinning, and to win little pieces of deli-style ham. You must be strong. But, since you're about to skin the poor beast, one little piece of ham isn't going to make much difference, right? It can also be a handy distraction...which allows you to remember how annoying your dog has been lately, with his blatantly-contrary style of not barking and his need to be fed (every day!), and how he's due for a bath!
It was written in cursive, and went exactly like this:
My dog's name is Snowy. He is a snow dog he likes to jump and play in the snow. He was in a sled race with some other dogs. He was in two sled races and he won them all. I was taking him home that night and when I was walking with him I noticed that his foot was bleeding. So I picked him up and took him home. I took out my first-aid-kit and put a bandage on his foot. The next day his foot wasn't hurting him anymore. That night he was laying on the carpet and I was sitting in my chair reading my newspaper I read an article about a sled race. After I read about the article I read the rest of the newspaper. And then I went to bed. The next morning I got up and ate breakfast I gave Snowy some dogfood. After we ate I took my dog over to the sled race. The race was over and Snowy was sad because he didn't win. We went back home and went to bed. The next day we got up and ate. And then Snowy went out to play. He was out there for a very long time. I went out to look for him. When I found him he was laying down with his foot in a trap. I put my hand up to his nose he was dead.
And the point of the story is: What in the hell was wrong with me?!
This is Buddy. I just threw him a two-day-old Grands! biscuit, after first tearing it into three pieces. Most fair-sized dogs would usually swallow each piece down pretty quick, right? Well, Buddy picked up the first piece, the second, the third, and then he looked up at me with a mouth full of biscuit (no chewing yet!) and seemed to be thinking:
All right, what else you got? 'Cause I can fit more in here. You saw me carrying that huge bone I drug up from the back pasture, didn't you? You know that was no normal-sized bone, right? I saw you lift it that one time. It was two-cats-long, at least. And it weighed probably eight and 1/2 cats. It was like -- I mean, what was that? I sure as heck don't have any bones that big. Bones... Can't imagine I'd be able to do that cute little hoppy thing I do with a Brontosaurus femur inside me. I'd probably have arthritis all the time and be real sad. By the way, what's arthritis? Is that even a thing? Did I just invent language? Oh, and could you get me some more biscuits? -- 'cause these are all wet now.
In a secluded town in Michigan’s
Upper Peninsula, there’s this monster that walks upright on two feet, like a
man, and sometimes even looks kind of like a man (only dirtier, from all
the peat moss it gathers for local nurseries).This elusive creature is known as The Peat Moss Monster Man of Northern Michigan.
It lives in a ramshackle, cabin-like nest in the woods (the townsfolk simply
call this “The Lair”), and sometimes it emerges not so mossily and seems to be
drinking a Budweiser.A clever mimic,
it even communicates, reciting lines it has no-doubt overheard at the nursery, or when venturing into town for a haircut: phrases like "I'm not a monster, dammit," and "Just a trim, please, Bob." But its
accentuations are so garbled and strange that clearly they can be nothing but
the call of a moss monster: The Peat Moss Monster Man of Northern Michigan.
When it’s all cleaned up, it
often finds its way to church on Sundays.People whisper, “Hey, it’s The Peat Moss Monster Man of Northern
Michigan,” or “Get this: The Peat Moss Monster Man of Northern Michigan thinks
that just because it’s all cleaned up it can find its way to church,” but it
ignores them and tends to its mate and two female offspring, the shy and
atypically pretty Peat Moss Monster Women of Northern Michigan.They spend most of their time inside The Lair, however, when they're not working at the local Hooters; and, even
though the townsfolk are hopelessly attracted to their ample bosoms and wavy
blond hair (and how they're always curiously devoid of moss), the way they
“speak” plainly solidifies their moss-monster standing.This label doesn’t bother them, though, as
far as I can tell, but it has been known to infuriate their Peat Moss Monster
Airedale Terrier of Northern Michigan.
I'm not here to review the film; plenty of smarter people have already done that. I'm just here to talk about Antje's character, Nadia, the baddest bad-ass in Pandorum. The film could have tried to develop her more (and everybody else) while giving us less uninspired-mutant footage, but what we do get of Nadia is pretty cool for what it is. She's a scientist who can't remember her brother's name; she needs to find some shoes, and a comb; she's pretty good with a blade, and would rather not chit-chat when she's trying to survive; and, last but not least, she has a superpower: She gets hotter the dirtier she gets. At one point she's totally covered with stuff (what you'd have, perhaps, if you made a stew out of old coffee, blood, ground-up raw pheasant, and the ooze inside of a grasshopper's mouth). Her eyes glow out of that filth, though, and you think, There's just no way she's dying, even if the screenwriter wants her to.
The reason I mention all of this now is because Antje Traue is playing Faora in the new Superman film, Man of Steel. I'm both excited and worried about many aspects of the production, but not about Faora. With Antje playing her, I feel pretty safe saying she'll definitely give Supe a run for his money, and make me love to hate her, or hate to love her, or just plain love her (as a "friend," of course).
man shops in a supermarket.He picks up
Clorox, cottage cheese, a head of lettuce, and hot dogs, and there's a lot of
suspense building already, because what's he going to make with
man sits laughing on the floor in one corner of the supermarket.He has wet himself, but that's not why he's
laughing.CUT TO: A mountaintop in
Tibet, where another old man is laughing.He has wet himself too.(See?We're all in this
car chase through the streets of Turin, Italy.It's going on inside a boy's head.This boy is really our man at age six.He's in a cart being pushed around in the same supermarket, but back in
the seventies (NOTE: Use the CU footage from 12 Monkeys that shows the
man makes his way to the checkout line, a beautiful young woman with EYE CANDY
stenciled across her shirt stops to pick up Clorox, cottage cheese, a head of
lettuce, and...hot dog buns.
another car chase, but with Hot Wheels, to illustrate how small and
insignificant we are.Follow this chase
with a montage of pretty Hubble photos of the universe (NOTE: Have Terrence
Malick write a V.O. for this, to be performed by Morgan Freeman).
man's checkout girl needs a price-check on the hot dogs.Our man offers to run back and see for
as the beautiful young woman realizes she got hot dog buns but no hot
a few minutes of subplot about a robot that assembles Hot Wheels cars.Show, very simply, through a quick series of
flashbacks inside of flashbacks inside of flashbacks, that this robot used to be a human man, and that he/it is the
beautiful young woman's father!
beautiful young woman gets to the hot dogs before our man gets there.There aren't any left.CUT TO: The old man laughing in the supermarket
(he's pretending the hot dog in his mouth is a cigar).Seeing no hot dogs, the beautiful young
woman hurries away just as our man gets there to check the price (somehow make
all of this less annoying than what happens in Serendipity).
the parking lot, our man and the beautiful young woman, putting their grocery bags into their
cars, finally see each other and smile.
Hot Wheels assembly robot rolls up out of nowhere and shoots our man in the
back with a laser-sighted pistol.It
immediately becomes clear that our man is not a man at all, but a cyborg.(NOTE: Show some exposed wiring and
beautiful young woman runs up and says, "Dad, what did you do?!I was going to marry him!"
robot father says, "You already did." Duh, duh, duhhhh.
The rest of the film will be about the hot-dog industry.
(NOTE: Show the
entire movie in the trailer for the movie.)