Inhuman Swill : Page 224
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Kid A

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So I bought the new Radiohead album at Tower Records for $13.99 on the way to work this morning. I've listened to it several times now, and I still haven't figured out how I feel about it.

It certainly hasn't grabbed me and shook me up and set me down again to collect all the contents of my pockets like OK Computer did three years ago. This album is very different. I want to say it's not as good. I want to say it's so different that such a comparison doesn't matter.

Whatever I end up saying, I'm going to try to make up my own mind and not let the reviews I will inevitably read put words into my mouth. That happens sometimes, and I'm not proud of it.

(You know, it just occurred to me that Kid A reminds me in some ways of Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized. OK Computer reminded me of nothing so much as Dark Side of the Moon. At least every Radiohead album is reminscent for me of some astronomical touchstone. That kind of consistency is worth something.)

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Between me, safe in my seat on this bus,
And the decadent majesty of the salmon-red cliffs of eastern Utah,
A ghost landscape stands sentinel,
As if etched into the glass by a cadre of capering goblins.
The residue of a hasty window washing—
Loops and whorls of dirt left untouched, uncleansed,
Unrepentent, at the bottom of the glass on each fluid upstroke—
It sparkles, gritty and salt-sharp in the oblique sunlight,
Like a series of pearly solar flares,
Or a graph of the desert's pulsebeat,
Or spectral negatives of a washed-out sandstone arch,
Photographed in stages over eons of time—
Snapshots from a child-god's flip-book—
Frothing, leaping, peaking, then falling back into the ground
Like fountains of earth,
A time-lapse planetary signature
That will melt and return to dust
With the next unlikely rain.

Originally published in Sunstone, February 1994
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So I commented to Laura at about 8:00 pm last night that we were having a perfect and quintessential New York evening. She had come uptown to meet her friend Liz for some skating training in Central Park, but, rained out, she and Liz went to Starbuck's at 70th and Amsterdam instead. I was at the office a little late, so I wandered over and met them there, and then Liz's boyfriend Jim wandered by, and it was a real . . . well, I hate to say it, but it was kind of a "Friends" moment, a real New York yuppie moment, hanging with our gang at the coffehouse, wandering in and out of each other's evenings like characters in a harmless sitcom.

Laura and I grabbed some soup at a nearby restaurant (Soma Soup—they have a fabulous cheeseburger soup on the menu, and yes you read that right), and we were descending into the subway station at 72nd and Broadway when I mentioned this sentiment to Laura. She was having a brainstorm about e-business, and she completely agreed with me.

Thirty minutes later, we stood outside the gaping doorway of her sixth-floor walkup apartment in the East Village. The metal door was crumpled at the edge, and it stood open. Laura went in—I held her back and entered the living room, then bedroom, first. This was no easy task, since most of her possessions had been dumped onto the floor, in both rooms. The living room floor was covered with CDs from the shelves and purses from inside the coffee table's storage space. The bedroom was littered with clothes, sewing supplies, and costume jewery. The drawers from the dresser were lying everywhere, and the contents of the shelves in the closet were all over.

A quick inventory showed that the television was still there, although it was lying face down on the floor. The DVD player I gave her for Christmas was gone, and so were any plans of watching the Dark City DVD that I had bought from Urban Fetch just that day. The VCR was gone. The portable MiniDisc player/recorder I gave her for the 100-day anniversary of our first date was gone. The digital camera she gave me for my birthday last year was gone. The stereo receiver and the 5-disc CD player were still there, and still functional, but the cordless phone/answering machine combo was gone. One of Laura's suitcases from the bedroom was open on the living room floor. Half a stick of butter on the floor in the kitchen indicated that the fridge had been opened.

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Getting medieval on my ear

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Just got back from the doctor's office, and through the miracle of medieval medical science I can hear again!

I am, as Dr. Kong terms it, "a little waxy." "I am too," he said. "Some people have no wax at all. It's amazing. But you and me . . . like a beehive."

I try to swab regularly, and when things get a little too clogged, I use some Debrox ear drops to dissolve the wax. (It makes a pleasant little cracklings sound in the ear, like Rice Krispies, and the drops sometimes foam right out of the ear canal.)

Last Friday morning, though, I was swabbing and I guess I went a little too deep in my left ear. Tamped the stuff right down, like tobacco in a briar pipe. Even the Debrox, applied twice a day since Friday, didn't make a dent.

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Inhuman Swill

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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