Inhuman Swill : Commerce
            

The King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT
Good morning, Accidental Army! With only 13 days left until The Accidental Terrorist's official release date, I figure it's time to give you your marching orders—er, marching suggestions, really—about how and where to purchase a copy of your very own.

Yes, the print versions of the memoir will be widely available through online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more. You preferers-of-pixels can pre-order the ebook now for Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, and more.

But if you'd like to support the book and support a local business in your own area, I would urge you to follow this link to Indiebound.org and place an order with your nearest independent bookstore:

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781941928561

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[Amazon customer support chat session in progress]

Me: Thanks for the help.

Amazon: awesome and tell me, is there anything else i can do to make you smile today?

Me: You could tell me a joke. Otherwise, that's all.

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Shamrock shuck

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Laura and I go to McDonald's together, on average, once a year. Like many of you, I'm sure, we've both been lovers of the Shamrock Shake since childhood. It was hard if not impossible to find a McDonald's in New York City that carried those minty cold treasures, so one of the upsides of moving to Chicago was the realization that the advent of the St. Patrick's season once again meant Shamrock Shakes within reach of our greedy little mitts.

Still, we didn't intend to embark on Shamrock Shake Quest 2010 this past Sunday afternoon. My plan was to dedicate the full day to a small freelance programming project I'm working on, but a minor eyeglass-frame emergency derailed that. (Turns out it screws with one's ability to effectively view through progressive lenses when one of your earpieces breaks off.) We rushed down to Lincoln Square to order a pair of replacement frames. It was only as we were returning home that Laura spied the happy gospel proclaimed from a McDonald's sign on Western Avenue.

"Shamrock Shakes are back!" she exclaimed.

"Shall we stop?" I asked.

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Having watched Valkyrie recently, I've been thinking about the intersection of art, commerce and religion. I know, that's probably not the kind of discussion the filmmakers intended to provoke, but here we are. Germany started it.

Every so often a big kerfluffle flares up in the media or the blogosphere about what famous entertainer is or isn't a Scientologist, and why. Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Isaac Hayes, Beck, Chick Corea, Edgar Winter, Chaka Khan, Mark Isham, Greta Van Susteren—we're supposed to avoid giving them money so we don't inadvertently support their reprehensible "church." Leonard Cohen, Paul Haggis, Jerry Seinfeld, Courtney Love, Gloria Gaynor—once were Scientologists, but now they're on the okay list. Neil Gaiman—wait, what's the controversy with him? I'm not supposed to read him because his relatives are Scientologists?

Frankly, keeping score like this is ridiculous.

As much as I dislike Scientology, discriminating against artists because of their private beliefs is a losing game. I hate the fact that there were Crusades, and a Spanish Inquisition, and institutional coverups of child sexual abuse, but that doesn't mean I'm going to deny myself the work of Catholic writers like Graham Greene or Tim Powers, or Catholic filmmakers like Kevin Smith. Will some of the money I pay for their stuff end up in Vatican coffers? Possibly, but I'm not naive enough to think that any of the money I give or receive is pure. We live in a pluralist society. We can't help the fact that our money is going to circulate through parts of the body politic that we don't like. The only judgment we can really make is how we respond to the art, how pure and universal and human it is, how ennobling or demeaning or thrilling or dull, how free from or full of agenda or polemic.

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Every time I get cash at a Citibank ATM, I misread its farewell message as follows:

Thank you and goodbye. Especially goodbye.

Of course, it really says, "Especially thank you," but I never realize this until I'm already out the door, having obligated the uppity machine with a hasty departure.

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I've been an eBay user since 1998, but today I posted my very first ever item for sale: a signed copy of The Heidelberg Cylinder by Jonathan Carroll.

I really don't know what I'm doing, so I'm curious to see how this goes.

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Today's celebrity sighting

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Miguel Ferrer (most recently seen as the mid-level drug dealer arrested in San Diego by Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman in Traffic). I spotted him entering an apartment building on Columbus as I returned to the office from my esophageal X ray. The radiologist told me to drink copious amounts of water today and tomorrow or else suffer severe constipation as a result of all the barium I swallowed. I'm curious now to see whether or not I will set off the theft-detection devices at Tower Records. I'm sure Miguel Ferrer could care less.

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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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