Friday, March 25, 2011

Walt Whitman Prepares to Drive His Family South for Spring Break

Out of the driveway endlessly driving,
Out of the garage, the annual trek!

To the beach we drive! To sands democratic!
To palm tree,
To Waffle House.
To humidity and sand
And that musty, slightly cockroachy smell.

Of the slightly cockroachy smell, I sing!
Of the smell of motel rooms not properly ventilated,
Of rooms where someone has recently smoked!
Or recently done god knows what.

And the smell of too much chlorine, I sing this as well.
The smell of swimming pools, the smell of headaches.
You smell it, too, do you not, fellow citizen?
Ay, for it has seeped up the elevator shaft of the motel,
And it has crept down the hallway
And it has passed unchallenged down the hallway,
where the ice machine snores like a sentry dozing.
And now the smell has entered our room.
It loafs. It invites itself.
It is in our clothes
Ay, even in our underwear.
Do you smell it, too, fellow citizen?
Or am I just nuts?

Of the Interstate I sing!
Black unspooling river.
Of lanes closed and lanes clogged,
And of Mack trucks looming ominously in rear-view mirrors.
I see you, Mack truck driver, and I say we are as one,
Pilots of our fates alike, captains of the road.
Strong of arm and clear of vision,
Though you are more buzzed on Red Bull than I.

I sing of drive-through fast food and the need for a rest stop.
I sing too of the lack of rest stops when we most badly need one.
O! Rest stop 27 miles ahead, your array of white urinals awaits me,
Like a platoon of porcelain troopers at attention,
(Each one made in Kensosha, Wisconsin.)
But, fuck, I don’t know if I can wait that long!

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then. I contradict myself.
You’d contradict yourself, too, if you were as stressed out as I’ve been lately.

I sing of being stuck in the slow lane,
Stuck behind a slow-moving Presbyterian church van.
See! How even now on my left the Lexus does pass me.
See how I am passed by the Element and Vibe.
See the Escalade, see the Volvo laden with camp gear and two bikes strapped to its tailgate rack.
And the kid in the back seat giving me the finger, as he too passes me.

O! kid in the backseat giving me the finger, where are you going at such high rate of speed?
Bound across rivers, surging and masculine.
Bound across fields, fertile and prone.
Are you going to Hilton Head or Biloxi or Sarasota?
Wherever you go,
I hope it rains there all week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

(Probably Not) Coming Attractions

[After Anthony Lane]

The following film projects, having halted production, will not be coming to a theater near you any time soon.

Criminally Delicious
Steve Buscemi plays a New York mobster and foodie who must conceal his love of baking from his criminal cronies. But when his recipe for a Dutch apple breakfast puff qualifies for the national finals of the Betty Crocker Bake-Off, his secret is threatened—with hilarious consequences. What will he do when he is asked to fly to Miami to “whack” a gangland rival on the very day of the Bake-Off judging?

The Indecision
Hoopster Lebron James takes a star turn in this film, loosely based on “Indecision,” Benjamin Kunkel’s 2005 novel of existential distress, as a dithering NBA star unable to decide where he should “take his talents to.” Paul Rudd co-stars as the high school social-studies teacher James hires to advise him on geography, and Rosie Perez as the league executive they both love.

The King’s Leech
The court of King Edward VII grows alarmed by the King’s inability to say no to a commoner who continually hits His Majesty up for loans of twenty pounds and sixpence until payday. The social order is nearly overturned when the commoner moves into a spare bedroom in the royal palace and begins hosting stoner parties for his loser friends, but the courtiers are eventually revealed as snobbish boors when the houseguest helps cure the King of hiccups, saving him from embarrassment at a state dinner honoring the Prince of Bohemia.

Dude, She Digs My Beard
Seth Rogen, playing a fleshy and unkempt underachiever grown weary of fending off the advances of intelligent and stunningly attractive women of his own age, embarks on a troubled relationship with an intriguing older woman who may be displaying signs of early onset dementia. Co-starring Dame Judy Dench.

Tranny Hall
Woody Allen returns to his roots with a reimagining of his 1977 classic, directing Jason Schwartzman as a whiny New York writer who begins an unlikely romance with a reserved WASP of indeterminate gender (Cynthia Nixon). New York Magazine reports that the famous lobster-boil scene had been replaced by one in which Nixon’s character discusses with her life coach her vegan diet.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Recommended Non-Reading

I just finished my annual Mardi Gras read of Walker Percy’s novel The Moviegoer, about which you can find more here. In honor of the occasion, here's an incomplete list of books I might have read if I hadn’t been busy reading The Moviegoer.

Van Halen: A Visual History
Morey Amsterdam’s Benny Cooker Crock Book For Drinkers
Chicken Soup for the Soul: NASCAR
Lord Jim
Thirty Years of the Rockford Files
Women Who Love Cats Too Much
The Remarkable Millard Fillmore
Suzanne Somers' Sexy Forever
Jesse Ventura Tells It Like It Is
Cooking for Mr. Latte
Dennis Rodman's Bad As I Want to Be
Basic Plumbing With Illustrations
Belly Dancing for Fitness
Become a Better You
Turn the Beat Around: The History of Disco
Dr. Phil Getting Real