Hulk on Hulk

The Incredible Hulk, despite his general admiration for Ang Lee, is disappointed with the new Hulk film:

Let Hulk get this out of way first: Hulk have tremendous amount of respect for Ang Lee. Hulk especially fond of understated grace Lee bring to Sense and Sensibility. And Hulk not forget the many innovations of Crouching Tiger, which Hulk see after Daredevil recommend it. (Daredevil see movie seven times. Hulk still not figure that out.)

But Hulk bio-pic? Hulk not happy at all! Hulk smash Hulk bio-pic!…

Pushing the limit with the mom subject lines

Subject lines from my mom’s last 12 email messages:

Fw: Fw: Some Self Defense Info
Fw: Fw: blonde jokes
Fw: Fwd: Snoring Solutions
Fw: Fw: Detergent is dangerous!!
Fw: Fwd:
Fw: Fwd: The Blond Cop
Fw: Fwd: Fw: Another Funny [635k]
Fw: Fw: The truth about the creation of Adam & Eve
Fw: Fwd: Blessings for you
Fw: Fwd: Big Butt !
Fw: Fwd: you might be a redneck if….
Fw: Fwd: Fw: Hormone Tips

More subject lines from Mom are available here, here, and here.

Clearing something up

Now, there seems to be some confusion about my reasons for doing the Friday guest blogger thing. I’ve already provided a sort of explanation, but let’s see if I can do a better job of it.

I need to spend less time on this thing, especially on Fridays. (On Friday at noon, I have editing deadlines for the day job.) It takes me some time to assemble the paltry content that appears on the site.

So, on Fridays, either there will be no posts, or there will be smart, fun commentary and anecdotes from a writer who isn’t a regular blogger.

If I haven’t arranged for you to take over my site, it’s probably for one of these reasons:

You have your own weblog.

I do not know who you are.

You are not a writer.

I am unaware that you are a writer.

I haven’t gotten around to asking you.

I am intimidated to ask you.

I do not like you.

If you have any further questions, email me.

Now I know how Joan of Arc felt

I got nothing but raves on Carrie Hoffman’s blogging. “She’s on fire,” someone said. Someone else asked if she’s single.

Meanwhile, I got to finish some of the work I’m paid to do, find out that I’m the same height as Joan of Arc’s armor, sit on my ass and eat bridge mix,* and be fabulously entertained.

Thanks, Carrie “Soggy Frog” Hoffman! If I were there I’d take you out for some BBQ.

*Oh, wait, I do that every day.

Writer Movies Revisited

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

I got lots of e-mails from folks recommending movies about writers to me. And promptly felt lame for not having seen most of them.

Here they are, with my commentary, in no particular order:

Shadowlands– about CS Lewis. I never read the Narnia books until last summer, and I’ve been meaning to see this since then.

Wonder Boys – my intuition tells me that this is going to be one of those movies about writers that I hate. But it has Frances McDormand in it so how bad could it be?

Before Night Falls– about the Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas. Hmm. Poetry. Hmm.

The Odd Couple – I’ve been the cranky blogger all day, but, yes, I like this very much.

Big Bad Love – based on the stories of Larry Brown. Many alert Maudlinka readers have recommended this, and they are in the know, so I’ve added it to my Netflix queue, though the description of a “struggling writer” with alcohol problems seems to give it all the horribleness I was talking about.

Misery-this is a great movie, but it has that problem of too many close-ups on the typewriter.

Iris– a pretty good movie, but it’s still got that tortured genius thing, and lots of agonizing typewriter shots.

Il Postino-this is about a writer? I thought it was about the postman. I think Pia only recommended it because it’s Italian and sexy.

Out of Africa– I forgive Pia for recommending this one, and now I can move on.

Adaptation-ugh. This is a quintessential tortured-writer-struggling-alone-with-his-craft-movie, complete with lots of shots of the author struggling to say something and talking endlessly about his so-called craft. And oh! The pain of writer’s block! And deadlines!

Charlie Bubbles– well it’s got Liza Minelli in it.

The Color of Pomegranates-about an Armenian poet. The title seems a little pretentious, doesn’t it?

Sunset Blvd.-this just seems like one of those classic movies I’m supposed to like but won’t. And, oh, it has a faded star in it, which might’ve been interesting to me in 1950, but now I think I’d switch from the movie classics channel to some VH-1 countdown involving Nirvana in the #1 spot, and I wouldn’t enjoy that, either.

Naked Lunch-well, it’s directed by David Cronenburg, who did that awful eXistenZ movie. And it’s based on a book by Burroughs. My guess is that it will make me feel worse than a six dollar burger from Hardee’s.

Thanks for playing the movies-about-writers game, kids!

The ladies at Wendy’s and what they like to dance to

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

I live next door to Wendy’s, which is a handy place to live. I eat there all the time because I like convenience. Mostly it’s seemed like a typical fast food place, but just recently, I went through the drive through with my Missy Elliott cd, Under Construction, playing kinda loud. When I got to the second window, I noticed that the woman left the window open after she gave me my drink, rather than closing it while she bagged my food. Soon enough, there were three Wendy’s ladies in the little space, all of them dancing and singing along as Missy put her thing down, flipped it, and reversed it.

I was back again, a few days later, with my Salt n Pepa cd, Hot, Cool & Vicious playing. Again, same effect. The ladies were dancing to “Push It” and I was pleased.

Then, today, it was dinnertime and I thought I’d play a little R.E.M. for the ladies–I skipped to Shiny Happy People because it’s so danceable and rolled down my window. I got my drink. And — argh– the woman closed the window. No dancing today.

Sadly, the ladies only seem to like hip hop.

Everyone loves novelty gifts

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

Here on E-Bay you can bid on a diploma from the University of Pimpington.

How shocked They will be to hear that they have to call you Professor of Pimpin’! Your beautifully and professionally designed diploma gives you all rights appertaining to the Fine art of Pimpen’. You deserve this. Make everyone realize what you already know.

In old photos, the people look like aliens

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

I’ve always loved pictures of dead people because they look like nobody I’ve ever seen, like just a hundred and fifty years ago, the people were of a different species. I wonder if it’s the clothing, or the technology, or just that we’ve evolved ever-so slightly that it’s detectable to me. The women, in particular, interest me because of how hard-looking and tough they seem when everything you read suggests delicacy and femininity.

Anyway, I have always liked looking at daugerreotypes, and happened upon the website for The Daguerrian Society, where you can view lots of wonderful examples. Here’s one of my favorites:

alien from the past

It’s not the Green Tom Show

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

Someone said my cranky personality was coming out in my posts so here’s something that I’m happy about —

Next Monday night begins the run of The New Tom Green Show, which means that Tom’s been all over my tee-vee, on Conan and David Letterman and even with the women of The View. Lots of Tom Green is always a good thing. I can’t get enough of him saying the word “fabric.”

I’m about to sue everyone who calls their luggage “carry on”

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

So Spike Lee has won his suit against Viacom over the “Spike TV” thing. You can read about it here:

The filmmaker Spike Lee, whose movies include “25th Hour,” “Jungle Fever” and “Do the Right Thing,” won an injunction against the name change last week, arguing that Spike TV was an infringement on his name and reputation because viewers would associate the channel with him. The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court yesterday rejected a motion by Viacom to lift the injunction.

His next move is to sue the punks with spiky hair, and also the railroad.

It’s not often that you find a restaurant where all the waitresses are over three hundred pounds

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

I know everyone can’t wait to visit me in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but there’s so much to do here that many of my many many visitors say to me, “Carrie, this groovy town has such a nightlife! And so many record stores where I can find all my favorite indie bands! There’s so much that I don’t know what to do in my limited time here! Will ten days even be enough?!”

First, I tell them to calm down. Then I tell them that the first place to go is Leatha’s Bar-B-Que, which you can’t miss because it’s right by Wal-Mart. Leatha’s has the best barbecue pork ribs I’ve ever eaten, and you know they’re good because Leatha’s daughters have clearly been eating them and will chide you for not finishing your plate.

Eat at Leatha's

Lisa Glatt

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

When I was going through the slush pile for the Mississippi Review Prize last fall, I was sort of amazed at how many entries seemed to come from beginning writers (which is why I advise all good writers to enter these contests). But I happened upon one story that blew me away. And it was so good that when I was asked to read the final ten finalists, narrowed from hundreds, it was still the best.

The story–“Geography of the Mall”– won the prize and the writer, Lisa Glatt, teaches in California. I’ve just learned that she has a novel, A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That, coming out next year.

Glatt seems to write dark and gritty stories about young girls and sex. Some of the grittiness and heart in her work reminds me of everyone’s favorite New Orleans resident, Pia Ehrhardt.

Glatt’s prize winner begins with a teenager giving a man a hand job in a shopping mall parking lot while on break from her yogurt store job. Here is an excerpt from another Glatt story,
“The Clinic that Ella Built”:

This is where I talk to the girls who come to us itching and burning and foul. This is where they stand, thirteen and pregnant, twelve and misinformed, thirty and oh so sorry.

I am a hand attached to a clipboard that is coming at her from inside a tiny window. I am nails and cuticles and a white gold wedding band. This is where Kate Carter signs her name on a dotted line, so quickly that the signature is barely hers.

Kate is famous here, returning month after month with various problems. Syphilis in February, condyloma and genital warts in April, and then, in July, the first of three unwanted pregnancies. The first one was immaculate, she explained. I haven’t been with a boy in months, she said, straight-faced, looking right at me.

Then it’s a miracle, I said.

An e-mail from my cousin

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

Email from my cousin:

As most of you know by now, we are moving this weekend. I wanted to give you all the first opportunity before I put an ad in the paper. I am selling the armoire, couches, and Ethan Allen end table in the Family Room…..In addition, I am selling the two barstools as we won’t have a need for them in the new house.

Please let me know if you are interested by this weekend!

It was so thoughtful of her to give me the first opportunity to buy her overpriced furniture, especially when everything I own is made of particle board. What should I buy first? Two bar stools?

On the lack of good movies about writers

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

A friend and I were talking recently about how we’ve never seen a good movie about what it’s like to be a writer. There are plenty of movies about writers, and about the literary scene in general, but they tend to create “types” of writers — the shut-in, the eccentric, the angry drunk. And the movies make writing this important act of self expression, where the writers sit at typewriters and agonize over their words with lots of balled-up papers next to trash cans on hardwood floors. The writer’s whole life becomes overtaken by what’s actually just a small part of our lives – they talk about their “work” endlessly with other characters.

The Coen Brothers’ movie Barton Fink parodies this, of course, and is a brilliant movie, but it’s not really aiming for representation of what it’s like to be a writer.

In the end, I think my friend and I decided that a good movie about a writer would probably have nothing to do with writing. What do you think? If anyone can think of a good movie about a writer, let me know and I will post the results and my responses here.

To continue with the Miami theme

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

Some DJs on Spanish radio in Miami prank called Fidel Castro:

Posing as an aide to Chavez, Ferrero told those he reached with the Cuban government that Chavez had left a suitcase with “sensitive documents” at a hotel when he and Castro were in Argentina recently.

After several minutes, Castro said he was “informed and fine” with the matter of the suitcase at which time Santos got on the line and started berating Castro — or someone who sounded like him.

“Are you fine with the s— you’ve done on the island, assassin?” Santos said. “You fell for it just like Hugo Chavez.”

That prompted a profanity-laced tirade from Castro in which he called the radio host several names.

Thanks, Maud

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Hoffman.

Thanks to Maud who was nice enough to let me take over her blog, and was then even nicer to say a bunch of flattering stuff about me.

She had to, though, since it seems that she’s my long-lost twin. Or my literary soul sister. Or, well, something that is entirely too similar:

Me and Maud realized we were both from Miami.

Then we realized we were both from the same area, Kendall.

And further, that we both went to Sunset High, though we weren’t there at the same time.

And we shook our heads in disbelief to learn that we’re both five feet tall, a height we share with the common hippopotamus (measured to the shoulder), and Joan of Arc’s armor and Mr. Five by Five.

So there you have it. Me and Maud!

Introducing Carrie Hoffman

Carrie Hoffman is a gifted and versatile writer.

Fidelio Street,” one of her short stories, has been nominated for the Best New American Voices anthology and is a finalist in Fiction‘s Non-Solicited Competition.

Longer and more contemplative in tone than some of her online works, the story is from the perspective of a young woman who married her husband when they were both 21 and believes he is having an affair with the neighbor. The evidence: he touches the neighbor. He watches her through the window as she walks outdoors in her silky robe. He spends too much time across the street, at her house. He buys useless kitchen gadgets from her.

Meanwhile, the protagonist is left to tend to the husband’s dog and sister, even though she’s not sure she’s dealing with either of them the right way. In the end the marriage rolls on, kind of like a can pushed down the street by the wind.

Todd Zuniga has heralded Hoffman’s “sharp voice and knack for brevity,” which are never more evident than in the story of hers I read first, “Luck“:

Our baby was born with a pelican bill, full of fish. Our baby smelled dirty, like the dirty ocean. We were sure it was a mistake. The baby should have come straight from heaven, as we expected, but instead it came from a filthy shore with dark sand, murky waters, and a litter-strewn boardwalk….

Hoffman’s work is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, and has appeared in McSweeney’s, Pindeldyboz, Eyeshot, Opium, Hobart, Dicey Brown, and elsewhere.

Also, she draws alien bumblebee people, and she’s cute and thoughtful. If you’re friends with her and you get pregnant, she might draw some of her characters on onesies and send them to you.*

Her Zulkey interview establishes that Carrie’s parents don’t know she’s published anywhere, “so keep your mouth shut before [she] get[s] a phone call.”

Carrie recently received an M.F.A. from the well-regarded Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. She’s an Associate Editor at Pindeldyboz. She grew up in Miami, like me, and graduated from my high school some seven or so years after I did, but unlike me she went to a really impressive school for her undergraduate studies. Now she lives and teaches in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She will begin work on her PhD in the fall.


Continue reading…

Some Carman

Sometimes I just sit around thinking that it’s too bad there aren’t more writings by Sean Carman in the world, because the man is too funny and smart for his own good, even though he, like me, is an attorney.*

Well, somehow I missed five different humor pieces of his that appeared on the Comedy Central site in 2001 and early 2002.

*Except that Sean’s still an attorney, and a good one, while I up and left the practice of law some years ago and just keep my name on the bar roster in case–and I type this while biting my tongue–I ever have to practice law again.