Shaken and Stirred
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brains taste like yams
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There may be those that say we are an uncivilized people, that humanity tinkers on the brink of something just awful -- but those people don't get good Chinese food by delivery often enough. Good Chinese food delivery even in Lexington, Kentucky. That is civilization.

Today we got all the stuff we have to get for Mexico, except the stuff we still forgot. Such as camera batteries and film, extra outlet adaptors, and um, the other stuff I haven't remembered we forgot yet. Did find my passport though, and that's always nice. (Not that it is strictly necessary, of course, but it does make things faster and I'm firmly of the belief that one should use their passport whenever possible, just for exercise.)

Things, things, things of the day.

First, Andy Duncan's freaking brilliant story "Zora and the Zombie" is up at Sci-Fiction right now. Go read it. Be a little sad that Andy isn't reading it to you, but very glad that you are reading it. It's a story about what Haiti might have been and what it was perceived to be, and it's quite funny and also very spooky, and if Zora Neale Hurston is one of your second-tier obsessions as she is mine, you will love it even more.

In other news of greatness, the Mountain Goats have a new album out and the Washington Post did a story on them, or I should say him--him being John Darnielle.

"I play an acoustic guitar, but I am not one of those guys with an acoustic guitar," he's said, further explaining, "I play the kind of punk rock music that has existed since the time of the great painters in the caves at Lascaux."

It is an apt description of the music, much more than the ones I've managed in the past. The new album, though, sounds fantastic:

chronicle of life during wartime where spycraft, surveillance and shadowy figures in uniform serve alternately as metaphors for love and as reminders of a seemingly apocalyptic moment. "The signal is always totally unreadable," runs one line. "We comb through the carpet for clues," says another. These might refer to a love affair gone wrong, but when Darnielle starts singing about "guys in biohazard suits come to keep your pretty things from danger," the backdrop begins to seem at least as geopolitical as interpersonal.

All I can say about this one is: I bet it lives up to the hype.

In case you pick your candidate for President by astrology, the New York Times is on your side, with banal pronouncements of vague personality traits that can be equally good or bad. And guess what? The frontrunners have the most favorable fortunes.

Lynda Barry has a great cartoon of poodle makeover.

The LA Times (which has that weird subscription thing for arts coverage so no link) has a depressing column about how few movies are made of original scripts these days, which is making the screenwriting site/mailing list rounds. An excerpt:

"Screenwriting has become a means to an end instead of an art unto itself and it's killing the movies," says Scott Frank, who recently adapted "Minority Report" for Steven Spielberg. "Writers, myself included, are doing scripts to make money, get a chance to direct, change their reputation or enjoy the security of pre-validated material. We're not writing a script because we have an idea in our head that we can't stop thinking about."

Writers are human - they like to see their work up on screen, something that is far more likely if they're involved with a project that is a top studio priority. "You can show your unpublished poems to our wife and kids, but with a film, it's really hard to have a soulful ownership of something that didn't get made," says Akiva Goldsman, who won an Oscar for adapting "A Beautiful Mind." "With an adaptation, the studio has more of a psychological and fiscal investment in the project, so everyone is more likely to keep going till they get it right."

Yes, it's sad and true. Original scripts become writing samples and most people just realize that they'll probably never sell. But hey, they might get you a job adapting something. It is a troubling situation.

I know I promised Captain Marvel today, but it's on hold till tomorrow.

earworm: "Possibly Maybe," Bjork

rec: Andy's story and Zora's books

namecheck: Andy "Yams! Yams!" Duncan

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