“Poems For Profit” : Josh Frankel Disperses The Verse

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Sometimes, all it takes to appreciate the ludicrousness of something is to nudge that something in a different direction, to shift it ever so slightly so that what should, by rights, be blatantly obvious absolutely is. 45 degrees here or there can sometimes be all it takes to restore focus to something that somehow loses it when it’s front and center.

Case in point : the collector mentality, especially the comic book collector mentality. The kind of “thinking” that compels people to drop ridiculous sums of money for cheaply-made periodicals that are essentially disposable by design, and then to not even engage with them on the level people who paid a quarter (or less) for them did, which is to say — the collector doesn’t read that “holy grail” comic he (and yes, it’s almost always “he”) just dropped a huge chunk of his life savings and/or year’s…

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Film Review: Gridlock (dir by Sandor Stern)

Jake Gorsky is a tough New York cop who flies a helicopter and who gets results …. HIS WAY! He’s also played by David Hasselhoff and, as a result, you never look at him and really buy the idea that he’s a tough New York cop who gets results …. HIS WAY! Instead, you just assume that he’s the Hoff, cheerfully making his way through yet another silly made-for-TV movie.

In Gridlock, criminals have blown up all of the bridges leading out of Manhattan! The entire borough is gridlocked! Why would they do this? Are they hoping to make a quasi-philosophical statement, like Bane in The Dark Knight Rises? No, of course not. (That, to be honest, didn’t even make sense when Bane did it.) Instead, it’s all a part of a plot to rob the Federal Reserve. How are they going to escape if they’ve blown up all the bridges out of town? That question is never really answered, or if it was, I was too blinded by the Hoffness of it all to notice. I assume that Mr. One (Miguel Ferandes) and Mr. Two (Gotz Otto) have a plan. I assume that there’s also a reason why almost all of the bad guys are bald. For that matter, many members of the police are bald as well. You know who isn’t bald? The Hoff.

Anyway, it turns out that the Hoff’s girlfriend, Michelle (Kathy Ireland), works in the Federal Reserve. She gives tours to tourists who presumably flock to New York to see “where they keep all the money.” Michelle is trapped in the building while the robbery is taking place. It’s up to the Hoff to sneak into the building, rescue Michelle, and prevent the robbery. This leads to a scene where the Hoff uses two bags of nickels to take out some henchmen. Woo hoo!

Of course, while watching this film, you have to wonder how the crooks possibly thought they could get away with robbing the Federal Reserve. I mean, let’s just ignore the fact that they blew up all the bridges out of town. How are you going to launder that much money? We’ve all seen Breaking Bad. We all know Walter White ended up with a pile of money that he essentially could never touch. It’s hard not to feel that it would have been smarter for these crooks to just rob an ordinary bank. It also seems like there should have been a simpler way to commit their crimes than to blow up every bridge in Manhattan. How can these criminals be so smart and so dumb at the same time?

That said, you’re not really watching a film like this for the criminals or even the plot. You’re watching it because it features David Hasselhoff doing his thing. I wouldn’t exactly describe David Hasselhoff as being an actor with a particularly wide range but, when it comes to projecting an odd combination of earnest sincerity and mocking self-awareness, it’s hard to think of anyone who does it better. Much like William Shatner, the Hoff always leaves you wondering whether or not he’s actually in on the joke. Did David Hasselhoff realize he was appearing in a silly Die Hard rip-off (“Die Hard in an office building …. wait a minute, that’s just Die Hard!”) or did he earnestly call his agent and say, “Baywatch isn’t challenging anymore. I want to play a copy who doesn’t always follow the rules!” One gets the feeling that both possibilities are true.

Anyway, Gridlock is a made-for-TV movie from the 90s, which means no blood and no cursing. A lot of guns are fired but hardly anyone gets shot. I’ll give it a 6 out of 10, just for the Hasselhoff of it all.

Artwork of the Day: Hanging Around

by Erin Nicole

This little fellow, or maybe his relatives since I took this picture two years ago, shows up in our backyard a lot, usually in the middle of the night. On this day, I happened to catch him out in the afternoon and he was so surprised to see me and my camera that he almost fell off of his branch. I’m not going to say that this is a great work of art or that it’s even the best picture that I’ve ever taken but I’ve still always liked it and I felt our neighborhood devourer of tics deserved a chance to welcome all of you to the month of June.

Possums may look fierce and they may hiss but they’re actually harmless and good to have around. They eat tics, do not get rabies, and are not aggressive. Everything you’ve heard about possums playing dead to get out of confrontation is totally true. Don’t try to make a possum into a pet, though. Just let them do their thing.

Hanging Around is probably not the most original name that I could have come up with for this picture but I don’t think the possum would mind.

Music Video of the Day: Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye by Annie Lennox (1990, directed by Ed Lachman)

Annie Lennox sings Cole Porter!

Actually, Annie Lennox wasn’t the only rock star singing Cole Porter in 1990. She was one of 20 artists to appear on the compilation album, Red Hot + Blue. The album was the first to be put together by the Red Hot Organization and the money made from it was donated to the battle against AIDS.

Cole Porter originally wrote the song in 1944. The song, which quickly became a jazz standard, is sung from the point of view of someone who is happy when they are with their lover but who, at the same time, is heartbroken when they’re separated. Lennox used her cover of the song to pay tribute to the filmmaker Derek Jarman, who would die of AIDS-related illness in 1994. In fact, Jarman was originally meant to direct the video but, when he became too ill, he was replaced by Ed Lachman. The home movies that appear in the video are of Jarman as a child.