Inhuman Swill : Page 102
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.
            

Mmmmmmm. Calvados good.

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Pluto in the doghouse

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I find myself unmoved by Pluto's demotion in planetary status, except to be glad. Schoolchildren may be mourning, or so we are told, but science is not a process of codifying public sentiment. If it were, science would still be propounding the "natural theology" of the early 19th century, and evolution would be a fringe theory.

Science is a process of modifying and refining our model of how the universe works, through repeated observation, theorizing, and experimentation. If calling Pluto a dwarf planet offers a better model of our solar system than the one it's replacing—and if you read much astronomy, this can't come as a surprise, since Pluto's planetary status has long been considered suspect—then huzzah. Science works, and I for one have a hard time crediting how anyone, let alone a little kid, could lose sleep over how we categorize a distant ball of ice.

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In this brief wintry clip, Ella demonstrates her rebounding technique:

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Warren Jeffs, fugitive polygamist and FBI 10 Most Wanted posterboy, is in custody.

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She's a butte!

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They're not yet annotated, but I've posted photos, most of them taken by Laura, from our hiking trip down by Coyote Buttes in northern Arizona.

Full set.

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BoobGrab™

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Harlan Ellison™, increasingly irrelevant for years, is now entirely so, as his trademark grope of Connie Willis at Saturday's Hugo Awards ceremony demonstrated.

I would have mentioned this in my upcoming Worldcon report, but I didn't want to gloss over the incident in the course of recording all the good things that happened in Anaheim. This was definitely not one of them.

Harlan Ellison™ was one of my heroes as an angry young college student. I had somehow managed to overlook him until I ran across a copy of Shatterday between my junior and senior years of high school. When I started college, I discovered to my delight why a good university library kicked ass over my local bookstore—more volumes of Harlan Ellison™ than you could shake a fist at. I was sometimes ambivalent about his fiction, but his essays rarely failed to move me. Their articulate rage and vivid conveyance of a forceful personality—practically a force of nature—thrilled me beyond reason. I read everything I could lay my hands on, and I'd be lying if I denied that Ellison's rhetorical style wielded a huge influence on my own later writings about Mormonism. * 

I can still clearly recall the moment when one of the earliest big cracks in my young worldview appeared. It was a Harlan Ellison™ essay in which he spat vitriol all over the LDS Church for its decisive role in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment. I felt that I respected women, but until that moment I had never critically considered the objections to the ERA that I had been spoon-fed at home and from the pulpit. If one of my intellectual heroes disapproved of my people, what did that say about me? Was I really as good, thoughtful, and respectful a person as I believed I was?

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ShunnCast #24

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Epidode #24 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which the soft tissues of the male body are held up for examination and misidentification, revenge is thereby extracted, and a terrible and uncommon sin is revealed to be not so uncommon after all. Plus, frontier prophet weds double sets of sisters!

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=24

See also [info]shunncast.

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That's why I'm a righter

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...or walk the rest.

In a first for me in recent memory, I took a long trip without a laptop. Laura and I went gallivanting around the West for nine days, and I sat down in front of a computer only once, for about ten minutes, the whole time. How liberating it was!

Of course, I had my new BlackBerry 7130c with me for text messaging and limited email access, and that was crucial, but otherwise I was completely unwired. And I didn't come unglued.

We flew from New York to Salt Lake City a week ago Saturday. Dropped off bags at my parents' house in Kaysville, then drove to Roy for locally brewed beer with my sister Sarah and her great new spousal unit Sal. Not to mention their many dogs. But the dogs didn't get any beer.

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August's CD mix of the month

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Tonight is the second anniversary of the New York CD Mix of the Month Club. I will be unable to attend the party, though, because there's just too much still to do before leaving for Worldcon tomorrow.

So, my contribution to the August CDMOM, which [info]lunchboy has graciously agreed to deliver for me, will be How Did They Do That? (a/k/a "The Adverb Mix").

(The story so far.)

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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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