Inhuman Swill : Page 109
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Millions of awards

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I learn via Jeff Ford ([info]14theditch) that Rick Bowes won the voting in the Million Writers Award for Fiction! Way to go, Rick!

And of course, though it's old news by now, Jeff himself won an Edgar over the weekend for his excellent novel The Girl in the Glass. Congrats, man!

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The Colbert non-report

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Tim Grieve in this morning's Salon War Room:

What Colbert did to the president and the press corps is news: He didn't shoot anybody Saturday night at the Hinckley Hilton, but he laid them out in just about every other way imaginable. It was as an "Emperor's New Clothes" moment played out with George W. Bush and his court forced to watch, and you ought to have seen it and talked about it and read reporting and analysis on it by now.

It's not your fault if you haven't. The Washington Post had a few not-quite-getting-the-point mentions of Colbert's act, but Colbert didn't get half the ink the paper spilled on appearances by George Clooney and Morgan Fairchild and other celebrities at Bloomberg's after-party. The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller wrote almost 1,000 words on the annual dinner this year, but not one of them was "Colbert."

The correspondents' dinner, Bumiller wrote, is "supposed" to be a time for the president "to make fun of himself in an effort to establish his regular-guy credentials and ingratiate himself with the press." That's apparently what Bumiller's reporting on the dinner was supposed to be, too: one more chance to show what a swell guest Bush would be at our next backyard barbecue. Colbert didn't play along—he didn't stick to the story line—so he didn't get the laughs in the room, and he didn't get the attention his message deserved in the press.  [full post—ad view may be required]

If you haven't watched the video yet, go back and do so. Then do a search on "Colbert" at the Times site and see what you come up with since April 29th. It should be a historic moment, being probably the first time in six years that anyone's told Bush to his face what an asshat he is.

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Police state on Steinway

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Walking to the subway just before nine, I could see the smoke from this Greenpoint warehouse fire, still rising in a thick column way off in the distance.

Random bag check in the Steinway Street subway station. I didn't get picked, but as always I was prepared to refuse and walk to a different subway station if stopped.

Update:  Via IM, Laura tells me: "I saw a guy with the words to his privacy rights printed on a bright yellow messenger bag and at the bottom of the words, in red big letters it said, 'I do not consent to this search.'" Nice.

Update the second:  A great Newsday photo of the smoke plume from that warehouse fire.

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Today I am part of the Brain Parade at Meme Therapy, along with Alastair Reynolds, Neal Asher, and Jeff Duntemann.

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Electronic copies of two more new old stories have gone on sale at Fictionwise this week:

These are the last two stories that will go up at Fictionwise for this time being, and they bring the total number available there to fourteen.

The user icon for this entry is taken from the illustration that ran with "Two Paths" on its initial publication in Science Fiction Age over twelve years ago.

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Stephen Colbert has balls of steel. He not only roasted the president to cinders at the White House Correspondents' Association banquet while the man sat stone-faced scant yards away, but he did it without losing much composure in front of an audience almost pathologically unwilling to laugh. Watching Colbert soldier on in the face of such hostility, for something like twenty minutes, is painful and almost unbearable. But he was brave and brilliant:

Colbert's monologue
At least Helen Thomas was willing to laugh, bless her soul. And willing to appear in Colbert's "audition tape" for the job of White House press secretary:
Colbert's audition tape
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The avocado album

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The new Pearl Jam album Pearl Jam comes out tomorrow. People are lining up around the block at the Tower Records at Broadway and 4th, where a midnight purchase of the new disc will also get you a free ticket to a secret Pearl Jam club show at Irving Plaza an "undisclosed location" this Friday.

We've known about this show for a few days now, and tempting as it is we finally decided that we're just too busy already this week to try to squeeze in a day-long wait on queue and a long night at Irving Plaza. Sigh. That would have been something.

But hey, there are compensations. I preordered my copy of the new album a while back, direct from the band, and it JUST NOW arrived in the mail, along with a bonus live disc of a 1992 New Year's Eve show at the Academy in New York City.

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Presented without comment, except to say that it takes a long time to load, here is the New York Times' interactive New York City homicide map, mashed up using Ajax apparently.

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Me! me! therapy

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Three blokes from England (well, one's Canadian, really) run a great little SF blog-and-podcast combo called Meme Therapy. They interviewed me for the blog, and the result has just gone live:

I recommend their podcast as well. I've begun listening to it, and these three fellows really have a terrific interplay. They have a lot of fun arguing about new ideas and old books. It's like attending a particularly stimulating and entertaining panel at your favorite SF convention. The RSS feed is here:

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N is for nice things

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[info]curmudgeon told me to list 10 things I like that start with the letter N. The first couple will be easy, but after that? I'll definitely be giving my neurons a workout. Here we go:

  1. New York City. I don't love everything about this place, certainly, but the movie Quick Change (one of my very favorites, which is finally out on DVD and which I watched again last night) reminds us that it's almost as much fun to hate New York as it is to love it. I've been here going on 11 years now, and I can't picture myself as happy anywhere else.

  2. Novels. Big ones, small ones, fat ones, small ones, mainstream ones, mystery ones, classic one, skiffy ones.

  3. The N train. True, we recently moved just far enough that we're closer to the R now, but the N runs elevated in Astoria, and I used to love those panoramic views of morning Manhattan you'd get, with the sun shining right on it from the east.

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