Inhuman Swill : Page 209
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Any given eyeball

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Laura and I were just channel-surfing before bed, and we stumbled across Any Given Sunday on one of the Cinemax channels. Now tell me, have you ever seen a player's eyeball pop right of his head during a professional football game? I'm not sure that's ever happened even in an XFL game. Jesus, I'm going to have nightmares tonight. Thanks, Oliver.

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Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb

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I find this news brief from last week's Onion strangely relevant to the situation with my book....

Terrorism Storylines Being Added To TV Shows As Quickly As They Were Dropped LOS ANGELES—Less than two months after frantically excising any allusions to terrorism, network executives are scrambling to add terror-related storylines to TV shows, sources reported Monday. "We're working around the clock to squeeze in a special episode where a Libyan with ties to Al Qaeda threatens to blow up the D.A.'s office," said Law & Order producer Dick Wolf, who on Sept. 15 scrapped an episode of the NBC drama in which a character utters the word "bomb." "We've got to stay on top of this thing." Next week, Spin City, which last month pulled an episode featuring a shot of the World Trade Center, will air a "very special" one-hour episode in which Mayor Winston is infected with anthrax.
My timing, as usual, is piss-poor. But perhaps the next submission will benefit.
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American Spirit

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American Spirit
Laura smokes all-natural American Spirits...

...the "Cigarette of Salmons."
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Wrong holiday, but...

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four-leaf clovers
So, when Laura and I were in Utah a week ago, we went hiking on Mount Timpanogos on a trail called Timpooneke. I stopped to tie my shoe by a tiny waterfall, and I found not one but two four-leaf clovers:

Laura had a copy of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections in her pack, which turned out to be more than suitably large and dense for pressing the clovers in until we returned to civilization.

Today may be the wrong holiday for it, but what the heck, the world's upside-down anyway. Happy Halloween.

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I shoulda known it

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Luke Skywalker
Turns out that I am...

This should not have come as a surprise. Somehow I knew I wouldn't turn out to be Han Solo, like [info]reefa did.

Of course, being clean-shaven now, I really do look like that.

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It's very strange—the last few years, the only time I seem to get myself clean-shaven is on Halloween. A couple of years ago I went as a Mormon missionary, last year I was Elmo, and this year I'm Harry Potter. I only pull out my true face as part of a costume. Weird.

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Today's hate mail

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Reasonable-sounding shit (that's the only word for it) like this gives me genuine hope for the timeliness of my book, if not for the state of the human race. The fact that this man believes he is being rational turns my stomach. If this is not the most offensive thing anyone has ever said to me, then surely it ranks in the top three:

Elder Shunn—

I came across your website by accident a few weeks ago and was surprised to find such a detailed account of your mission and experiences. (I had initially heard about the episode while I was on my mission in England, but never learned anything more about it and assumed that the story was just another Mormon myth). After finding your website, I went ahead and printed the entire account and took it with me on a recent business trip—from which I have just recently returned.

I have to admit that I really enjoyed reading about your experiences and was very impressed with your writing style and ability to articulate feelings that only a 19 year old missionary could fully appreciate. Saying that, I was also very disturbed by how it all ended—and what you seemed to learn from the whole experience.

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The earth moved

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Laura and I were both jolted awake very early Saturday morning by what sounded like something slamming into the house. The west wall of our bedroom shook and there was a deep rumbling sound. Laura's first words were that a truck had backfired, but after a window rattled a few moments later we were both up and out of bed. I was afraid someone might be trying to get into the house. Laura thought the boiler in the basement had exploded. (Strange noises had already kept us awake long into the night—we were running the boiler for the first time this year.)

We checked out both possibilities, but found nothing amiss, so we went back to sleep. It wasn't until Saturday evening that we discovered we had been awakened by an earthquake. It was a 2.6 that struck at 1:42 am. The epicenter was on the Upper East Side, near the Queensboro Bridge, but it was apparently felt most strongly here at the Queens end of the bridge, in Long Island City and Astoria. According to the Times:

Given the hour that yesterday's earthquake rattled the streets, many people were asleep and never noticed it. Some of them refused to believe it had even happened.

Yet in Long Island City, a number of people very much felt the movement and dashed out of their apartment buildings and businesses. They looked fretfully toward the sky, fearing missiles were being fired upon the city....

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I thought I'd throw together a poll, just because I can. I know the results won't be scientific, and they will be skewed toward geeky types, but I'm asking all the same:

Poll #8532 Missionary Man Poll #1

Open to: All, results viewable to: All

Would you buy a big fat book about a conflicted Mormon missionary who eventually gets himself arrested and charged with hijacking, even given the recent horrible hijackings in the United States?

class='LJ_PollAnswerLink' lj_pollid='8532' lj_qid='1' lj_posterid='17832'
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You bet!
6 (75.0%)

Yes, but only because I know the author
1 (12.5%)

I'd have to see the cover art
1 (12.5%)

Not a chance
0 (0.0%)

Do you think the general public would be interested in buying it?

If such a book were offered for downloading as a 700-page PDF file, what is the most you would be willing to pay for it?

class='LJ_PollAnswerLink' lj_pollid='8532' lj_qid='3' lj_posterid='17832'
View Answers

Mean: 11.43 Median: 10 Std. Dev 4.20

0 0 (0.0%)
1 0 (0.0%)
2 0 (0.0%)
3 0 (0.0%)
4 0 (0.0%)
5 1 (14.3%)
6 0 (0.0%)
7 0 (0.0%)
8 0 (0.0%)
9 0 (0.0%)
10 3 (42.9%)
11 0 (0.0%)
12 1 (14.3%)
13 1 (14.3%)
14 0 (0.0%)
15 0 (0.0%)
16 0 (0.0%)
17 0 (0.0%)
18 0 (0.0%)
19 0 (0.0%)
20 1 (14.3%)

What is the most you'd think the general public would be willing to pay for it?

View Answers Mean: 10.17 Median: 10 Std. Dev 5.70
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Second, editor mail

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Today, after only minimal prodding, I received a long-promised sheaf of the rejection letters my agent has thus far received on Missionary Man. What a maddening collection! I'll share a few. I'm not naming any names, but these are all from major publishing houses, ones you will have heard from if you pay attention to stuff like that.

Some of these come from as long as a year ago, when various incarnations of a partial manuscript were circulating under the old title.

First, the positive rejections, which are possibly the most maddening of all.

November 13, 2000:

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn