Thursday, October 23, 2008

Blake Snyder: Save the Cat (Tips on Screenwriting)

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder was really a random place to find something that has a strong racist twang. Tartarous the Noble was reading the latest rage in screenwriting when he came across this passage (second paragraph):

The passage in question says: Well, God and aliens don't mix, why? Because it's two sets of different kinds of magic. It's Double Mumbo Jumbo. And if you don't believe me, try substituting the word "Allah for the word "God" and see if your brain doesn't melt.

So Blake Snyder assumes there are no Muslim American screenwriters reading this? How offensive to block out an entire possible audience. And why would our brains melt? Allah and God don't mix? Or is it East and West don't mix?

Is it the Kipling theme: "East is East and West is West, and never shall the twain meet?"

Then say it a more clear way rather than just saying "your brain will melt".

This from such a popular screenwriting book is a shame.

PS: Since I got such biting responses about how Mr. Snyder was not racist. I also received this from another reader via email. A short short lesson on the difference between what is a racist act and who is a racist person. Fits perfectly in this discussion and the rabid response I got from another commentator proving me how nonracist Snyder is. What I care about is how racist that particular line is -- not anything about Signs or anything about how the writer's soul is beautiful. Watch this vid! Thanks reader!

And this analysis of Shyamalan and Hindu cosmology in his film Signs was recommended by another brilliant reader: America Loves Shyamalan by V.G. Julie Rajan

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Uzbek Pop Music

This one is my favorite so far... Miss Talibonita is a bit ignorant. Is Uzbekistan just like the U.S.? Uzbeks play basketball and become cheerleaders? Or is it that music videos are the same wherever you turn? But this is a cute song... a duet about first love. Of course, the video was chosen because the "crush" is a teacher:

And then this... what a cute little boy duo! Is that a trailer park out there in the steppes? Miss Talibonita just wants to bite their little 8 year old "mamadana" cheeks! They dream of driving cars and taking cute girls out but alas, they cannot even read yet! Yes those are the lyrics.

OMG! Further youtube investigations produced this... the little boys were doing a funny remake of this video... (now it makes sense!). In this song the boys are illiterate in the earlier one the boys haven't read yet. Okay, is there an illiteracy problem we have to address? It is a very cute song!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mongol by Sergei Bodorov Release on DVD Today!

Mongol is being released today on dvd!!!

One wonderful reader sent me gorgeous photos of Mongol! Thank you anonymous reader who loves Mongol! Here they are:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ramadan Photos

Photos from

Ramadan in its most American form -- a table setting in Massachusetts does justice to my experience of iftaar-breaking as a prolongued Thanksgiving (turkey-as-optional).

Just before where she was and where she will be, the girl with the heart stitched onto her dress is a breath of stillness at the center of such blurringly active spirituality.

My favorite prayer mat as a little girl was my green slim mat which had come from a shopping trip in Mecca. Mother was in her abaya and a strand of curled hair had slipped out. The heat had made her face red and moist. She was laughing with the prayer mats rolled under her arms. I tried climbing up to her lap, but slipped on layers of black silk. My father slipped a cold Pepsi (which we pronounced Bebsi) into my hand and the world was beautiful even if I couldn't reach my mother's lap.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Zarif Design

Founded by the dark-eyed beauty, Zolaykha Sherzad, Zarif Design is not just about creating small revolutions (fabric for men are now redesigned for women) it is also about re-infusing energy back into the cultural crafts such as weaving and embroidery. She's reinvented the Uzbek chapan (coat for men that Karzai made famous) and taken a turban to make a blouse for women. Viva La Feminist Resistance! A self-proclaimed bridge between here and there, Sherzad's visual interpretation of Reconstruction Era Afghanistan is reaching the world.

(Designer Zolaykha Sherzad with Afghan children in Kabul)

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Perhaps one of Miss Talibonita's favorite CenAsian dishes is manty/mantu (Afghan Uzbek version): Meat Dumpings. In her spare time, in between power teaching, writing, and editing... she loves to cook. This two level steamer can fit two Thanksgiving turkeys! For her Eid guests, she steamed up four platters of manty as her main dish! It took her four hours to make this (she was on her own working her little Uzbek fingers to the bone!!!) Here is the famous pot:

Miss Talibonita will not share her own manty recipe because she is jealous with her recipes (they have been handed down from father to father in her family!). Here is a sneak peak at the manty on the first rack:

And here are the manty after three plates were filled:

Here is a manty dish from
It is not what Miss Talibonita goes by (she prefers to steam the manty longer and to jam pack her steamer like a 3rd world train), but it is a good version:

For Dough:

2 cups water
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

For Forcemeat:

2.2 lb lamb or beef
2 large onions
Pinch of salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1. Mix olive oil, salt and water together. Work up flour into thick dough. Cover with a napkin and let it stand for 10 - 15 minutes. Cut the dough into balls about the size of walnut. Roll each ball to make thin round flat cakes

2. To make forcemeat, cut the lamb or beef into small pieces or mince it not too finely. Cut a little bit of fat from lamb into small dices. Shred onions. Mixed thoroughly, add salt, spices and a little water

3. Put a ball of filling (approx 1 tbsp forcemeat) on each square piece of dough and shape to make a big dumpling. To do that you’ll need to fold the dough over the filling to make a half moon, pinch the edges and draw the 2 points together to make a purse

4. Lay Manty on the ranges of a double boiler in such a way as to have no contact with each other, splash cold water over them and place over the lower section of the boiler and steam for 40 – 45 minutes