Inhuman Swill : Page 67
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Utah writer Christopher Bigelow, in the course of answering the "Four Things" meme, cops to coveting my lifestyle—but then again, not really:

I'm a little envious of his lifestyle of living in big cities like New York and Chicago, not having any kids, letting go of the Mormon rope, doing lots of traveling and drinking, and getting deeply involved in a writing community.... But I suppose I got all that worldliness out of my system as a young adult—well, most of it, anyway—and I'm sure the path I'm on now will lead to more long-term happiness than his....  [full post]
While I suppose I'm flattered in a way, I'm more than a little disturbed by the implication that there's greater long-term happiness to be derived from a traditional and religious nuclear family than from my little family. It's possible that Chris means my lifestyle would not ultimately be satisfying to him, which would be a perfectly fair thing to say, but the way the statement is phrased makes it sound like the objective possibility of satisfaction obtaining from my choices in life is on the slim side.

It probably goes without saying, though I will say it anyway, that I do not covet Chris's lifestyle. I trust he won't be offended when I say that, because I don't intend to offend. I mean only that some of the things he values most are simply not what interest me in life, and I have good reason to suspect that playing patriarch to a Mormon nuclear family would render me dangerously miserable. I'm certain enough that I'm on the path of greatest happiness for Bill Shunn that I feel no compulsion to make major course corrections at this point in my life. Comparing levels of happiness with someone else is pretty much a pointless game.

Of course, what Chris mentions (lightly) coveting about my lifestyle are really just the trappings. He doesn't mention the two things that are most important to me, which are surely two of the things he cares about most: devotion to a loving spouse, and the writing itself. On that score I doubt we're so different.

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Romney has a gay old time

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An amusing article in this morning's Times recounts how the various presidential campaigns are being blindsided by the unexpected sites where their web-buy advertising is showing up:

Visitors to can sign up to find the perfect dating partner, advice on sex and how-to articles on same-sex marriage and parenting.

Over the course of at least two days in August, they may well also have seen banner advertisements about the Republican presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, according to an analysis of campaign Web advertising provided by the Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, monitoring service....

A regular site for advertisers like Jeep and Toyota, was not exactly what Mr. Romney's campaign had in mind when it set out this summer to blanket the Web with messages about the candidate....  [full article]

I found this particularly amusing, not only because I enjoy seeing the Romney campaign embarrassed by association with positions the candidate has since abandoned, but also because John McCain ads have been showing up on my site for the past couple of weeks. Hey, I don't really mind, and McCain probably doesn't care, but those ads are a strange sight below my name.

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Locus pocus

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So I've now heard from three different people that my chapbook got a nice review in the November Locus. Only problem is, the October issue is the one that just came in the mail. Argh.

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Laura Chavoen
The following press release excerpt comes from PR Newswire:

CHICAGO, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Laura Chavoen has joined Imagination Publishing as senior vice president of digital media. She reports to James E. Meyers, president. Chavoen oversees online publishing, all aspects of digital media strategy development and day-to-day operations of Imagination's digital media department. She also is intimately involved in business development activities for new and existing clients.

"Laura comes to Imagination with more than 15 years of big-time digital media and custom publishing experience," Meyers said. "Her experience at companies such as Scholastic, Yamaha, SkyMall, Razorfish and Harper Collins is an exciting addition to the online publishing and digital media capabilities of Imagination Publishing."

Chavoen's arrival coincides with a significant increase in the staffing and resources of Imagination Publishing due to rapid growth in clients' digital media needs....  [full press release]

She's been there nearly two months now. I don't see enough of her, but I'm so proud of her.

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Batten hatches!

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Me to Laura:  "Either the alarm on your iPhone is going off, or the house is about to dive to fifty fathoms."

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Jolly St. Nick is dead, alas

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So I have this other podcast called ScientiFicShunn, which really just consists of fiction readings from ShunnCast but shorn of all the associated chatter. Most of the episodes are downloadable and shareable and so forth.

So Sunday I posted an original, unpublished Perry Slaughter Christmas story for Halloween to ScientiFicShunn, "Jolly Saint Nick Is Dead, Alas." Laura hadn't even heard this one before, and when I played it for her she said, "That was just mean. Funny—but just mean."

But let Boing Boing let me tell you about it. I hope you'll listen.

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ShunnCast #50

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Epidode #50 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill reads an original Christmas story in the Halloween spirit, written by and starring his unsavory alter-ego Perry Slaughter.

See also shunncast.

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Movie review

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Should you jump in the stream, or let this one slip by? My review of Anthony Hopkins's Slipstream.

(Turned out I was closer to Stephen Holden than Roger Ebert on this one.)

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October's CD mix of the month

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In New York City, they had a non-mix mixer. In Chicago, for Halloween, we had Vampires, Mummies, and the Goalie Host. These are the things that terrify me the most.

(The story so far.)

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Old Town


Walking around Old Town, waiting for Laura's Boston marathon training group meeting to let out, distressed at dearth of coffee shops that aren't Starbucks or Einstein Brothers.

Met an 11-year-old, 60-pound wheaten terrier!

Unhappily, realize I am prejudiced against people carrying Bibles. Also, old rich dudes on custom hogs wearing leather slip-on shoes and no socks.

Am relieved the guy in the beautiful suit and hat is talking on cell phone and not to self.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
cheaper than your
local Mormon

Order yours now!

William Shunn