The Weekend Approaches: 1491, Current Movies, and Farmers Markets

The latest Star Trek movie (what self thinks of as the “teeny-bopper Star Trek”) opened today, self saw, after a quick check of the local Century 20 movie listings. Alas, self feels no inclination to see it. Neither does she feel moved to see Matthew McConaughey in “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” (How far he’s fallen, from the excellent “A Time to Kill”!). And, of course, self’s already seen “X Men Origins: Wolverine” last weekend with hubby, and even though hubby enjoyed it much, self thinks it was a really boring movie.

She’s been trying with all her might to get hubby to agree to see “Fighting” because, notwithstanding all the people who say that Channing Tatum can’t act, self maintains that he can. She’ll never for the life of her understand why Abbie Cornish, in the movie “Stop-Loss,” expressed preference for Ryan Philippe’s character when she was already betrothed to Channing’s character. This was a thought that occurred to self within two minutes of first laying eyes on Channing (perhaps they should have cast someone less good-looking, someone like Jason Schwartzman, or maybe even Seth Rogen — that is, if Seth Rogen had cared to stretch and take on a dramatic role), and she has never found occasion to revise that opinion. Of course, afterwards it was revealed that Ryan and Abbie were seeing each other in secret, and then it turned out to be a very good career move for Abbie, for then she moved in with Ryan and, and — once again, self digresses.

In another truly hopeful sign (that summer is just around the corner), today is the first day of the San Carlos Farmers Market. It fills self with inexpressible joy, simply to know that there are yet more farmers markets opening, with more sure to come as the year progresses. Self hasn’t checked, but the Redwood City Farmers Market should be starting pretty soon, if it hasn’t already.

Ah, summer: self’s favorite time of year. Time of the popcorn movies, and the farmers markets, and the barbecue grills, and the thoughts of warm beaches, and being able to go around the whole day in a T-shirt, and having all that time to read . . .

Speaking of reading, self is almost to the end of 1491 (thank God, for she doesn’t know how much more of these reading-until-2 a.m. binges she can endure!). Now, author Charles Mann is going around asking selected anthropologists and archaeologists whether, if alive in 1491, they would prefer to have been a citizen of Europe or a member of a Native American tribe. Mann says it’s the kind of question that irks these learned gentlemen, for they consider it a form of “presentism” (How self’s vocabulary has grown since beginning this book!) — which is the fallacy of judging “the past by the standards of today.” Well, OK, but after having expressed their reservations, they all went ahead and declared their choices anyway, and according to Mann, “every one” of them would have preferred to be a Native American (Mann calls them “Indians” throughout the book, but self just can’t wrap her mind around that word, she doesn’t know why).

The next book on self’s reading list was to have been Sebastian Barry’s A Long, Long Way, but the library shows all five copies currently checked out, boo.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Charles Tan: “A Retrospective on Diseases for Sale”

What puzzled many experts were the vectors the company used to transmit its products. Upon confirming your order, you would wake up the next day, infected with the disease. There was no need to check your mailbox for any packages. Diseases for Sale had a money-back guarantee on its efficiency. This immediate and inexplicable transportation baffled governments who were hoping to earn income from transportation taxes. Savvy industrialists similarly wondered how they could duplicate the same delivery model for their own businesses. The less innocent failed in their attempts to divine the company’s secret method of delivery, and this is arguably why Diseases for Sale lasted until the 22nd century, outliving its copycats and derivatives which only succeeded in reverse-engineering its earlier commodities but not its services. The most popular theory was that the email confirming your purchase orded included an encrypted psychosomatic code, which activated various proteins in the human body that replicated the effects of the disease you ordered.

    from Charles Tan’s “A Retrospective on Diseases for Sale,” in Philippine Speculative Fiction, vol. IV, edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Nikki Alfar. Read the complete story here.

Charles A. Tan is the co-editor of the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler and his fiction has appeared in publications such as The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories and Philippine Speculative Fiction. He has conducted interviews for The Nebula Awards and The Shirley Jackson Awards, as well as for online magazines such as SF Crowsnest and SFScope. He is a regular contributor to sites like SFF Audio and Game Cryer. You can visit his blog, Bibliophile Stalker, where he posts book reviews, interviews, and essays.

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