Inhuman Swill : Page 220
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Babe the blue OX

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For you BOX fans out there, I just got a very nice email from Rose Thomson, who tells me that they'll be playing February 17th at Mercury Lounge. Appropriately, one can get there by taking the F train to Second Avenue.

Of course, just my luck, I'm scheduled to be in Arizona for a friend's wedding reception that day. I missed the last Babe show, January 18th at the Knitting Factory, because I was in Los Angeles. I wonder if I can convince them to abandon this strategy of only scheduling shows when I'm out of town?

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What's my line?

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I just received one of the nicest compliments I've had lately. One of the departing employees, whom I may not see again in an office setting, told me: "You know, out of all the people in this department, if I had to pick the one that was a former Mormon or from Utah, I never would have thought of you. And I hope you understand I mean that as a compliment."

Of course I understood. I understood perfectly. And I'm so pleased I could burst. That was the goal, you know.

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Tomorrow's weather

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As reported yesterday evening by the A&E Biography sign:

I've been looking today, and I have to admit I haven't seen him yet. But I think that's because he keeps to the 'burbs.
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President Clinton's Final Days

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If you haven't seen this video yet, and you have a fast connection, you owe it to yourself to check it out. You won't see George Dubya making a video like this anytime soon. (My favorite part is the bit with Kevin Spacey, but I like the ice cream machine almost as much.)

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Sweepin' the employees away

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They say that into every sunny day must come a few clouds. Last Tuesday, a week ago today, a few huge thunderheads descended on One Lincoln Plaza. I escaped sudden death in the storm in a couple of senses, but I still caught a fatal dose of pneumonia.

Laura and I went on vacation to California last week, so that she could compete on the PBS game show MasterChef USA, hosted by British superchef Gary Rhodes. On Tuesday, we returned to our hotel room to find a message waiting. It asked me to call my boss at Sesame Workshop.

It was six in the evening, Pacific time, so I called my boss at home. "Bad news," he said. "Today our department was slashed to the bone. Management decided to change their business plan,

and they're going to outsource most of the Web site work from now on. Out of forty people they're only keeping nine permanently."

I sat there numbly on my rock-hard queen bed, waiting to hear which group I was in.

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Waving, not drowning

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Well, well, well. It's been a long time!

I was just looking over my and my friend's journals, marveling at the fact that I hadn't posted for a month and a half, and contemplating this entry when Baldanders AIMed me out of the blue. He had noted my long absence and wondered if I was okay. Strange synchronicity.

Gang, I'm okay. A lot of things have happened that I want to tell you about -- and that I wanted to tell you about as they happened -- but I have this difficulty. I'm rather poor at time management, and a single activity usually comes to dominate my existence. (Baldanders argues that this is good time management, and it may well be.) Right now the dominant activity is writing my memoir; it takes up most of my free time and leaves little emotional energy for anything else. And since my full-time job has to take some kind of precedence it there... Well, you get the point.

I've been to Utah recently, I'm going to California, Arizona, and Florida soon, I've nearly choked to death at a noodle shop on Union Square, I've had a doctor stick an optical cable up my nose and down my throat, I've acquired two more fish, I've finally met my five-year-old son, and I've written about 150 pages since the last journal entry. In fact, it may even be time to post a table-of-contents update to keep myself going (not that I intend to lose momentum at this point:

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Today's weather, as reported last night by the A&E Biography sign:

      WINDY & COLD

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Just on the off-chance that you haven't been forwarded this in email (Michael Bishop sent it to me), you must read Michael Moore's plea to Koffi Anan for intervention in the presidential election. Really.

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More Disching

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In all the excitement of slagging Vintage (whom I had previously appreciated for reissuing Fawn M. Brodie's watershed 1945 biography of Joseph Smith, No Man Knows My History), I forgot that there was a beautiful paragraph or two from Disch's 334 that I wanted to share:

"Okay, Mickey, it's your life."

"Goddamn right." These words, and the tears on which they verged, were like a load of cement dumped into the raw foundation of his new life. By tomorrow morning all the wet slop of feeling would be solid as rock and in a year a skyscraper would stand where now there was nothing but a gaping hole.

What's the word for something you've experienced time and again but couldn't ever render into language to save your life?


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This evening's plans

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Salon du chocolat. Never attend a trade show like this without a buddy.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

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William Shunn