Inhuman Swill : Page 119
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Meme via [info]holyoutlaw: Search Wikipedia for your birthday, minus the year. List three neat facts, two births and one death in your journal, including the year each occurs.

Neat Facts:

  • 1040:  King Duncan I of Scotland is killed in battle against his cousin and successor Macbeth.
  • 1994:  Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, the terrorist known as "Carlos the Jackal," is captured.
  • 2003:  Widescale power blackout in the northeast United States and Canada.

Two births:
  • 1771:  Sir Walter Scott, Scottish historical novelist and poet (d. 1832)
  • 1851:  Doc Holliday, American gambler and gunfighter (d. 1887)

One death:

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I popped uptown today to have lunch with my lovely wife Laura and a few of our friends. I met Laura and Anand outside their office, but we were nearly frustrated in our attempts to reach the next rendezvous point by the Mitzvah Tank convoy rolling down Fifth Avenue with a police escort. There were at least twenty of those RVs, probably a lot more, festooned with signs announcing the presence of Moshiach, happy Lubavitchers waving out the windows from inside. I did not realize the parade was today. The line of tanks scrolled off so far down the street we couldn't count them.

We waved back jauntily, and Anand called out, "Hello, chosen people!"

Lunch for me was curry don with duck, served piping hot. I am now sleepy. I wish Moshiach would come and slap me awake so I can get some work done.
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Out getting mashed

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I'm a little late to the party, but the album in heavy rotation on my headphones this week is American Edit, a mashup of Green Day's American Idiot by Dean Gray (second-level nom de plume of Party Ben and Team9). If you haven't heard it, you can defy the Warner Bros. injunction and grab the tracks here. Hey, Billie Joe Armstrong thinks it's cool. (And here's a complete list of the samples used.)

I'm also listening a lot to the new Secret Machines album, Ten Silver Drops, which they've released in its entirety on iTunes a few weeks ahead of the street release.

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No fish story

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The New York Times is reporting:

Scientists Call Fish Fossil the "Missing Link"

Talk about deep time! I am in awe.

(I move that Tiktaalik roseae be nicknamed "Darwin Fish.")

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Weekend update

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I keep meaning to post a quick overview of what we've done since the start of the weekend, but as I put it off the list of things to mention becomes longer and the task of reporting more daunting. I'll just plunge in, like a dog into April snow.

Friday evening, as I mentioned before, Laura and I went to a stage production of Fahrenheit 451. At the theater bar before the show, Laura ran into an old coworker of hers and her new husband, who were there to see the same play. (There are three theaters at 59E59.) A lovely time was had catching up, and everyone in the impromptu party seemed to enjoy the show immensely.

Saturday Laura and I braved the wilds of New Jersey to call on [info]asphalteden and his multiadjectivial bride. (Don't worry! They're all appealing and impressive adjectives.) The evening's debauchery has been ably touched on elsewhere (WWMD, indeed!), but let me add that Laura and I were so full by the time we left we could barely walk. Good thing there are trains.

Sunday was a whale of a day. It went well for Laura, but for me it was one step forward, two steps back. We had a perfectly delightful time with Ella at Astoria Park in the morning, but in the early afternoon, while Laura was out and I was trying to get my Fahrenheit 451 review written, there was a colossal misunderstanding with the bathroom fixtures, and a rather unappealing tide began encroaching on the hallway. The worst part was, just as I was slapping down a towel to keep the foul brew from engulfing the pantry, the toilet gave a satisfied gurgle and suddenly the contents all drained away. It was as if the porcelain god were flipping me the bird.

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Groovy dog

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Groovy Dog
Little did we suspect, but it would appear that our own [info]ellapup has been secretly stealing studio time, and her self-released psychedelic hippie folk revival tribute album will be shipping any day now. I am fortunate enough to have discovered this (thanks for the tip-off call, MasterCard!), and I have a first look at the photo shoot that will yield her album cover.

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Laura and I attended the Godlight Theatre Company's production of Fahrenheit 451 this past Friday evening at 59E59. What did we think? Laura loved it and urges all you New Yorkers to go see it. As for me, my review is now up at Science Fiction Weekly.

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The left is for sale

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A new old story has gone online for purchase and downloading at Fictionwise this morning: "From Our Point of View We Had Moved to the Left."

This isn't just my first published story; it's probably the most political story I've written, and forgive me if I consider it also to be my most prescient. It made The New York Review of Science Fiction's recommended reading list for 1993, and the good folks there called it "a political fable about near-future America as odd as its perfectly appropriate title."

It's on sale for 15% off the already low price of 76ยข, so grab a virtual copy now!

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It makes me sick to my stomach to read the words of America's brilliant and articulate founding fathers and to contemplate the treatises our newest King George would write were he ever to take up quill and ink for more than declaring war on feckless dictatorships, signing away American civil liberties, and doodling on the Constitution during Cabinet meetings.

Still, it's important to understand how far we've fallen as a nation, so let me be the umpty-umpth patriot to link to...

What Would the Founders Say? by Hume's Ghost

...and ask aloud why these comparisons aren't being made on the front page of the New York Times and all the rest of the toothless Fourth Estate.

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Steinbeck the SF writer

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I just read the first chapter of East of Eden—yes, Classics Clubbers, I'm grateful for the extra reading time this time around—and to me it read like science fiction. The world-building in that chapter, with its careful portrait of the seasonal and climatic cycles of the Salinas Valley, is wonderful and beautiful. Especially this paragraph:

The floor of the Salinas Valley, between the ranges and below the foothills, is level because this valley used to be the bottom of a hundred-mile inlet from the sea. The river mouth at Moss Landing was centuries ago the entrance to this long inland water. Once, fifty miles down the valley, my father bored a well. The drill came up first with topsoil and then with gravel and then with white sea sand full of shells and even pieces of whalebone. There were twenty feet of sand and then black earth again, and even a piece of redwood, that imperishable wood that does not rot. Before the inland sea the valley must have been a forest. And those things had happened right under our feet. And it seemed to me sometimes at night that I could feel both the sea and the redwood forest before it.
Rarely does a "mundane" novel give you that sense of deep time. I am delighted, and eager to continue.
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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

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William Shunn