"Osama bin Laden still has his job. Do you still have yours?"
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.
I was out at a bar in the Village Monday night during Game 5. The game was on TVs all over the place, of course, and I didn't dare voice my real opinion. When I left, it was the bottom of the 11th. By the time I got home, it was the top of the 14th and the game was still going. I was delighted to get to see the end of that one. And since we turned in early last night, I was even more delighted to hear this morning that the Sox had one again. Tied series! Who would have guessed it three games ago? Not the Bronx Bombers, that's for sure.
This photo has already been seen in curmudgeon's journal, but I loved it so much I had to steal it:
To my catalog of spam damages ("spammages"?), let me add another. Early this morning I was combing through my spam filter in Eudora. Even though I've managed to choke the flow of spam into my inbox to a mere trickle, I still have an immense backlog of spam in the junk folder I've been checking through for false positives. The last time I was all caught up on the junk folder was mid-August; by the time shut down all but a handful of my email addresses eleven days ago, 30,000 messages had accumulated in the junk folder. I've been scanning through the subject lines a couple thousand at a time since then, just in case I had missed any genuine and important emails.
This morning I found a genuine and important message in the junk folder, incorrectly classified as spam. It was dated August 22, and it was from Storyteller magazine. This, in part, is what it said:
We're very interested in publishing "The Ice Queen" in our fall 2004 issue. I see from your cover letter you sent it to us quite a while ago. I hope it's still available.I, of course, wrote back immediately and apologized for the extreme tardiness of my response. The story is indeed still available, though I'm sure it's far too late for it to make the Fall 2004 issue. I haven't heard back yet, and I'm waiting on tenterhooks to see if they're still interested in publishing it at all.
Please let me know if it is and, if so, I'll send instructions on how to get it to us.
(Interestingly, the style guide for Science Fiction Weekly reviews specifies that the terms "science fiction" or "SF" are always preferable to "sci-fi." How's that for irony?)
Ella was sitting on the couch with Laura and me last night as we watched Truly, Madly, Deeply on DVD, and the poor pooch had no idea why we were both sobbing so hard. She kept looking up at us in confusion and distress, as if she'd do something to help if only she could figure out why we were sad, and whether or not that meant she should be sad too.
We're never going to be able to watch Old Yeller with her in the room.
This blog entry of Will Shetterly's, which some of you have no doubt already seen, uses a science-fictional conceit to point out what a mind-bendingly weird political landscape we're living in. How is it we arrived at such an unthinkable destination so quietly and quickly?
(I nominate Shetterly's post for a Sidewinder Award, for best alternate-history tale about a snake.)
The brilliant little blog One Simple Question got me thinking about the questions I kept wanted Bob Schieffer to ask during last night's debate:
- Mr. President, you were a C- student in economics at Harvard. What in the world makes you think you're qualified to talk about economics here, let alone set economic policy for the richest nation in the world?
- Mr. President, surely you've reviewed the transcript of the September 30th debate many times. Can you explain why you and your cronies are still harping on this "global test" nonsense when Senator Kerry clearly stated in that same answer that he would never give foreign nations veto power over America's defensive decisions?
- Mr. President, you've made an impressive amount of noise this evening about the fact that you support a culture of life, but you've failed to answer the question of "Why?" Can you explain the reasoning behind your position to the American people?
- Mr. President, when you rail against activist judges taking decision-making power out of the hands of the people, do you ever feel a twinge of irony considering what body finally bestowed the presidency on you? Can you even define the word "irony"?
- Mr. President, what is the last book, other than the Bible, that you have read? Would you recommend it to American readers? Why or why not? The Fart Book does not count.
Over breakfast this morning, I was reading the October 18 New Yorker"The Political Issue." A story by Philip Gourevitch about the first presidental debate, "Reality Check," sucked me in, and I had to share the closing paragraph:
For Bush, to say that the world is not as he describes it is to give solace to our enemies, undermine our forces on the field of battle, and endanger the lives of the citizenry. Even as the Duelfer report made it clear that Saddam Hussein had posed no threat to America, had no capacity to produce a threat, and had nothing to give to others to threaten us with, Bush stood on the stump in Wilkes-Barre scolding Kerry for saying the very same thing. "The problem with this approach is obvious," the President proclaimed. "If America waits until a threat is at our doorstep, it might be too late." Kerry is offering himself as the candidate of change—truth vs. unreality, a fresh start vs. more of the same. We need friends in this dangerous world, he says, and we need diplomacy to try and disarm and contain our enemies lest it should be our burden, otherwise, to destroy them. What Kerry doesn't say—and cannot say—is that when it comes to real threats, like North Korea and Iran, Bush's fixation with Iraq may already have made it too late for any American President to find a peaceful solution. [full article]All I have to say is: chilling.