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Around the Horn

I’ve seen a few things recently on-line that are interesting, but about which I don’t have enough to write an essay. So:

  • From the Language Log, Arnold Zwicky writes about Two and Threes, specifically about the figure of speech taken from the real estate joke that the three most important things are location, location and location. The thing I find interesting is that it translates well to other topics now (the three best things about I, Robot were the visuals, the visuals, and the visuals), but only as a referent to the original joke. That is, no-one would use the figure with two things, or with four; it would make just as much sense on its own, but it would be wrong.
  • According to a a New York Times article, not only is the great Henry Selick doing the sea monster for The Life Aquatic (with Steve Zissou) but he and TLA(wSZ) director Wes Anderson are co-directing an animated adaptation of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl. Now, I’m not a huge fan of Mr. Anderson; I’ve only seen Rushmore, which I liked, but not enough to seek out The Royal Tenenbaums. But I will seek out Mr. Selick’s stuff wherever it may be. James and the Giant Peach was beyond brilliant, and Monkeybone was brilliant, if not beyond. I vaguely remember enjoying The Nightmare before Christmas a lot, and I keep meaning to see it again. Oh, and I’ve never seen the short Slow Bob in the Lower Dimensions; does anybody have a copy? Are any of the MTV shorts on any of the Selick DVDs? Anyway, I’m guessing Fox will be after Mr. Selick’s next, something called Coraline.
  • Via supergee, a good take on Alexander and gay-ness. The point that calling somebody ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ can be useful but doesn’t encompass the whole realm of attraction is, I think, right on the money. I myself have developed a pash for two men and about a zillion women; I’m scarcely bisexual, but when I call myself straight, am I somehow denying those two crushes? This is all in addition to the point that in Alexander’s culture, a long-term exclusive male friendship that involved kissing, embracing, and sleeping together was considered normal and distinct from family duties such as marriage and procreation (much as in Victorian England, women were expected to have ‘sisterly’ relationships of great physical affection that weren’t considered in any competition with their conjugal duties).
  • In case I never get around to writing about States’ Rights and Federalism, the Chrononautic Log has a provocative take. The issue is complicated; in an email to one Gentle Reader I said, among other things, “Should we allow the states to become farther apart, legally, to have serious border issues, then that's bad for the country as a whole, and bad for blue states as well. It's not really a big deal when the highways have fireworks shops and tax-free liquor stores at the borders, but it's different if it's unlicensed handguns and whorehouses.” I’m still thinking the issue through; it’s always possible I’ll actually write a note on it later.
  • Does anybody have a good book on the Plymouth Pilgrims to recommend? There are a few references in God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible that intrigued me, and also made it clear how little I actually know about them. I’m primarily interested in their politics and theology (to the extent that those are different), rather than a struggles-in-the-new-world book. Why they left, what they believed, what the English and Dutch thought they believed that sort of thing.

    Thank you,


Anyway, I’m guessing Fox will be after Mr. Selick’s next, something called Coraline.

Something called Coraline? Would this have any relation to the Neil Gaiman book of the same name? I can't decide whether I think that would be a good thing or a bad thing. I usually don't like to see books I really enjoy get turned into movies, because the movies always disappoint...

Yep, it's the Neil Gaiman book. I believe I saw that Michelle Pfeiffer will be playing the mother (and/or the Other Mother), but I can't confirm it. I'm ambivalent as well, but if anybody is going to make that movie, it had better be Henry Selick.


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