June 2005 | Inhuman Swill | William Shunn
Inhuman Swill : June 2005

Well, okay

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Your Summer Anthem is Beverly Hills by Weezer

Where I come from isn't all that great
My automobile is a piece of crap
My fashion sense is a little whack
And my friends are just as screwy as me

Your weird, wacky summer will be better than any summer in the Hamptons!

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A certain choleric gentleman

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From Laura Miller's review—yes, review—of Dianetics in today's Salon:

"Dianetics" belongs to a category of books that will be instantly familiar to anyone who's done time reading the slush pile of unsolicited manuscripts for a book publisher. This kind of book is typically an explanation of life, the universe and everything written by a choleric gentleman (often a retired military officer) who has holed up in a converted basement or former kid's bedroom to hammer out his ideas about how the world works -- ideas that have for too long been disregarded by the incompetents and assholes around him. (If you are not familiar with this sort of book, know that you have the slush pile readers of America to thank for that.)
Thanks, slush pile readers of America!
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June's CD mix of the month

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Why we fight

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Someone on my CD mix club mailing list posted a story this morning about how she ran across a stoop sale over the weekend which turned out to be John Wesley Harding's! (His real name, btw, is Wesley Stace, and under that byline he will be reading from his novel Misfortune this evening at Housing Works Used Book Cafe on Crosby Street. [Damn polymath!] Check it out, but show up early.)

Anyway, that post prompted me to post a story about the time I met JWH, which I reproduce here:

I met him several years ago when I worked for an online music company and he came to our offices to do a hosted chat session. I told him that I remembered when he was in Salt Lake City to play a show at the Zephyr Club in 1992, and how I won a copy of Why We Fight that morning from a radio station where he was doing an interview because I knew that all his albums thus far had taken their names from Frank Capra movies. He reminisced about that Zephyr Club show in great detail, and offered to send me a copy of a bootleg video that had been taped that night. "You might even be in it!" he said.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that I hadn't actually gone to the show.

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Scratched my cornea yesterday on a tree branch while trimming the branches hanging over the fence from a neighbor's tree. Found this out when I went to the emergency room this morning because my eye still hurt so badly. Have antibiotic ointment now to squeeze into my lower lid to coat my cornea with. Should be healed in a couple of days, they say, but man it hurts in the meantime.

The triage nurse at Lenox Hill was a real character. Tall, portly, white-haired and -bearded man with a short red-dyed ponytail. So much huge turquoise- and other-stone-encrusted silver jewelry on his hands and wrists it was almost like he was wearing greaves. Necklace of what looked like bone segments around his throat. When I told him how it happened, he said, "Should have stayed inside, man. I always say, work is hazardous to your health."

Pleasant ER visit, as those things go. Sunday morning at 7:40 is apparently a good time to go. Took only about an hour from our arrival until filling my prescription at a pharmacy a few blocks away. We were the only ones in the waiting room when we arrived.

Off to coat my eye with goop.

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Mondo RIAA

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I had heard last week that Mondo Kim's on St. Mark's Place was raided by the RIAA NYPD for trafficking in mixtapes and bootlegs. Five employees were arrested. Kelefa Sanneh's piece in yesterday's Times fills in the gaps in the story informatively and with outrage. Read it while it's still free.

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Fossil dog

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We call this pose the Archaeopteryx.

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Please, parents, as your high school graduate ventures out into the wide world, examine the philosophical leanings of his or her chosen college destination with care and judgment! Provide gentle correction where necessary! Don't let this happen to your child!

"I'm so glad I never attended B.Y.U.  Now, which distillate of the blood of young children shall I drink today in celebration?"

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May's CD mixes of the month

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Western fans of anime and Diana Wynne Jones fans alike, at least in some of the bigger cities around the country, can finally queue up today to see Howl's Moving Castle, Hayao Miyazaki's ninth feature film. You can read my Science Fiction Weekly review here:


There was more I wished I could have addressed in the review, like the very good voice performances (particularly from Lauren Bacall and Billy Crystal), Miyazaki's compassion for even the supposedly evil characters, and what I see as the true nature of Sophie's curse (which many reviewers, I'm sure, will not understand, let alone try to figure out), but there's only so much you can do in 600 words, 300 of which are summary. Still, this was an assignment I was very happy to fulfill.

I saw the English dub of Howl's at a press screening in May, then again this past Monday (with Laura and [info]bobhowe and friend) at MOMA, where the film had its North American premiere. The 400-seat auditorium was full, and as a curator led Hayao Miyazaki to the front of the auditorium, you would have thought the applause that began slowly but crescendoed to a hurricane as people realized who this gray-bearded man was was greeting a rock star or pope. It was like being in church. I haven't felt that way often in the past ten years.

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