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Poetry: A Lost Piece

Posted in 104, bad ideas, blame society, family, poetry, randomness, ranting, whimsy on February 22nd, 2014 by Hannibal Tabu
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I’m working on a fairly big project with my wife, and it required me to take a trip down memory lane through files more than a decade old, or more. Some of the memories might be best forgotten, truth be told — betrayals I’ve chosen to ignore in order to keep the peace, opportunities that ended up fruitless, and so on. Some, however, cracked me up.

This is a poem I wrote in June of 2003. That was an interesting time … anyway, here goes …

Evanescent moment
between locked eyes and locked lips
where everything is possible,
romance is Schroedinger’s cat
and all the wars and tears of all the world
mean nothing compared to us
here
now

“To The Girl My Brother Slept With On Her First Date With Me”
June 22, 2003
By Hannibal Tabu

Simpler times …

Playing (Music): “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston

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Comics: Torturing The Weak And Stupid For My Own Amusement (and Profit)

Posted in 104, bad ideas, blame society, buy pile, comedy, comics, fandom, randomness, ranting, snark on September 27th, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I’ve done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, if I feel like it, after the reviews post, I try to come over to my blog and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s gibberish, but it’s always about comics … let’s see what we get this week!

Actual email I got after my Buy Pile reviews posted on Thursday, September 26th (profanity edits are mine)…

holy f***, we get it, you like transformers. if fables and transformers weren’t on the shelves you’d have to drop the industry entirely. time for a new reviewer.

Hh. My response.

Hello!

Thanks for writing in.

Also, thanks for reading the column, especially (in the last month) the glowing reviews of Saga, Sex Criminals (brand new this week!), Astro City, Batman #23.2, Chew, Lazarus (only on issue #3) and Kill Shakespeare.

Hold on, you might think Kill Shakespeare is too much like Fables. Well, at least there’s the other wildly different comics not involving giant robots or classical literary characters during one of the most diverse and engaging periods in the entire history of comics.

Thanks again for writing in!

Earlier this month, my pal John Layman went to war with … honestly I can’t remember the guy’s name, or what his website was. Anyway, some reviewer wrote up John’s book and said that something happened in the book, something that absolutely did not happen. John went after the guy, demanding an apology. The guy hemmed, hawed, played at “really being a big fan,” and all kinds of foolishness, but would not retract and did not apologize for the actual clearly provable offense. It reminded me of this, even if tangentially, because John’s incredulity at this ill-informed person on the unpaid side of the screen somewhat mirrored my own.

just some of the comics i've reviewed glowingly ... not that some people can be bothered with facts ...

Everybody won’t like what I like. I know that. Some people hate read my weekly column and gnash their teeth that I get paid to do this while their (in their minds) clearly superior opinions languish in perhaps lesser seen corners of da intawebs.

I get it. I’ve felt the same way at times. I’ve echoed Kanye’s thoughts, “damn, these ******s that much better than me?” reading names of new writer assignments and multimedia deals off of Twitter accounts. I remember even staring, gape jawed, at Roger Ebert (spirit bless his soul) when he completely misunderstood the film Biker Boyz. I’ve gritted my teeth when reading licensed properties that saw me through puberty, wishing I was turning in the script and cashing the check so things could be the right way. My way. I understand all of that.

What I don’t understand — and being raised in the south never really understood — is the lack of civility. I may think (and do) that 2 Chainz is the worst thing to happen to hip hop since the word “recoup,” and if asked, I’d be happy to say the same (and have, via Twitter), even directly to him. However, angrily volunteering my opinion, especially with profanity … what’s that supposed to accomplish exactly? Did this guy believe I’d look at the screen and say, “My god … he’s right! Well, time to write up a letter of resignation and stop doing the job I’ve done consistently for longer than my stepdaughter has even been alive!”

It’s not just the “more honey with flies than vinegar” issue (which I had to learn and strive to apply all the time, another reason I talk about the work, not the people, because I don’t know them). It’s basic human decency, the fundamental idea of going out in the world without trying to start a fight that serves no purpose and returns no profit. I write these reviews for three reasons: I love comic books, I get paid to do this, and when I do it lots of people take a look at what I’m doing, which is all good for a writer. It’s a business relationship and I do try to approach it in a professional manner. Any effects of antagonism upon people are purely accidental, but my laughter at their reactions is often quite genuine and intentional.

It’s not like hate mail even bothers me — I kind of love it, because I don’t really know how to process the admiration of others. Bad wiring somewhere in my head, I guess. I know what to do with unprovoked hatred, though. Black guy, survives growing up in the south, that’s a very early lesson. In laughing at it, I still can’t comprehend the thought pattern that goes into it … which brings us here I suppose.

To be fair, I don’t understand much of human behavior. I am able to write characters due to observation, but most people I know don’t even know why they do things. Most of that kind of foolishness, generally, has the common decency to stay out of my inbox. Funny old life.

Playing (Music): “Speechless” by Lady Gaga

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Life: Improbable Cause

Posted in 104, baby, blame society, children, daughter, ella, life, randomness on August 1st, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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I was in Target on Sunday with my toddler. I was grabbing some water for her as we headed to Kenneth Hahn Park for some kind of cook out to celebrate the wedding of a family friend. She was smiling and playful, hugging me from the cart as she normally does, the familiar stream of non-sequitur babble that is the lingua franca of the pre-K set serving as her soundtrack.

Honestly, I’d gotten side tracked. I swung by to see if I could find a set of behind-the-head headphones after breaking my best pair, a birthday present from my wife, while I was at the laundromat, before we got a washer & dryer at home. I’d ended up somehow in the paper products aisle of the grocery section when I needed to find those tiny little bottles suited for little hands.

As I passed overpriced Tupperware, I noticed an elderly Asian woman was reaching for those cube-esque boxes of tissues on the top shelf. She wore some kind of light blue and white polyester jacket, was maybe five foot one, and was having quite a hard time straining for an object just beyond her reach, like many of our dreams.

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I didn’t think about the very real perception issues Questlove discussed, I didn’t think about being an hour late to the event (I had no belief they’d even started grilling the chicken, honestly, and I turned out to be right). I simply said, “Can I help you, ma’am?”

She didn’t look. It’s possible she didn’t understand, or didn’t believe I was speaking to her, as she kept reaching, straining on tip toes, an aluminum walking cane hanging from her left elbow that reminded me of elderly relatives in snowbound parts of the country. I asked again, closer now, my arm near the shelf, and she said “Oh … okay.”

The box she’d been reaching for had torn plastic, so I reached past it and got an identical box, then handed it to her. “Is this all right?” I asked, kneeling slightly and speaking in the quiet tone that southern streets had shown me you should speak to somebody that much closer to the other side. She smiled and nodded, and said, “Thank you.” I smiled, responding, “Happy to help,” and reached back for my plastic red and white cart without another thought about it.

My toddler clasped her arms around me and said, “Daddy!” (she’s started doing that because I believe she senses “baba” — the word we settled on for our blended family — isn’t echoed enough in the “real” world for her) and I patted her back, not thinking much about it, making my way along the store’s wall towards the possibly overpriced flouride-enhanced water.

Maybe my littlest girl saw something that’ll stick with her — two people from very different cultures just being civil for the simple reason that there was no reason not to. Handing an old lady a box of tissues doesn’t change any of the horrible and sometimes illegal things I’ve done in my past (and believe me, there are many), nor does it qualify me for some special consideration as one of the angels. I’m just a tall dude who grew up in Memphis who saw something that needed doing, something that didn’t cost me anything and that (spirit willing) didn’t call down the wrath of Rule 285 on me (again).

Some days later, I’m reminded of an Arthur Ashe quote my friend Geoffrey Thorne posts fairly often: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

I’m trying, you know? I’m trying.

Playing (Music): “Pedestal” by Portishead

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