Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In Her Frock Coat and Bipperty-Bopperty Hat

Although I haven't seen an official notice yet, other people have announced it; so I thought I'd let you all know that my story "The Water-Poet and the Four Seasons," which originally appeared at the inestimable Strange Horizons, will be appearing in Prime Books' Fantasy: The Best of the Year, edited by Rich Horton. May I just say WOW. My first reprint! Yay! I can't wait to see the full TOC for this one.

In book news, I just finished Valiant (I know, I know; I'm way behind the curve on this one) and as much as I liked Tithe, Valiant was a step above. Awesome, awesome book. Now I'm reading Hope Was Here. (Yes, I'm still reading Emma, but it's a long book and I need breaks.) I really kind of love Joan Bauer. Her books maybe wrap up a little neatly at times, but her protagonists are so, so wonderful.

It's been awhile since I gave y'all any elephant links of note. This just came out yesterday: elephants know themselves in a mirror. In other words, they are self-aware. I know this is science and all, but I can't help thinking . . . duh? Good to have more evidence, I guess. Also, lots of buzz around this NYT article about rogue elephant behavior, which also points towards elephants as susceptible to trauma, frustration, and despair; not to mention malicious intelligence. Again, not to paint myself as an expert, but this all seems pretty obvious to me based on the reading I've done. F'r instance, they've found that this sort of aggression in young males can be related to the culling or poaching of older bulls in the population; if elder bulls are reintroduced into an area, they act as mentors for the younger ones, teaching them to curb their aggression. But there has been a notable escalation in elephant attacks against humans, as the article notes. Mainly this is true in areas where there's just not enough space for both. Humans think of all land as their own, to cultivate and settle, but there's no universal truth that makes it so.

So . . . is it just me, or does this Borat thing not look in the least funny? I saw him on SNL over the weekend, and on Letterman last night, and at neither point did he make me laugh. (The dude in the background during the SNL open made me laugh at one point, but I'm not sure that counts.) I actually caught a fair amount of Yakov Smirnoff back in the day (I watched a lot of "Night Court"), so maybe it's just that I've seen the material before. So it's conceptual humor, eh? It's not making fun of Kazakhstan, but of the geographically and culturally ignorant Americans who take the act at face value? OK. It seems like a bit of a reach to me, but fine. But while I get the conceptual part, I think they forgot to add in the humor. Peppering one's talk with phrases like "the sexy" and punctuating it with a grinning thumbs-up isn't cutting it for me. I don't know. I'm not really sure why it's rubbing me wrong, but it is.

And finally, I'd like to end on a serious note. Today is Halloween, and you all know what that means. Please, please take all necessary precautions to prevent any undue pain and suffering. I'm speaking, of course, of dogs in costumes. Just don't do it. Pretend your dog is a wolf or some other such beast if you must--imagination is a powerful thing--but do not put him or her in a hat, a wig, or anything with sleeves. Your dog puts up with a collar; asking more is unreasonable and rude. Thank you for your support.


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