Inhuman Swill : Page 130
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Pigeon-holed as movie critic

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My review of the new animated movie Valiant for Science Fiction Weekly is live at SciFi.com. The film purports to tell the story of the celebrated homing pigeons that saved thousands of lives during WWII.

Caveat emptor:  My original grade for the movie was a C+, but apparently the text of my review contained too much that looked like praise to editorial eyes. That's fine because I did spend a while deliberating between a C+ and a B-. But as The Unemployed Critic wrote of Valiant at imdb.com (more succinctly and successfully than I put it), it's "good eye candy that suggests a stronger, more enthusiastic time than it actually provides."


Update:  The B- grade was an error, as Brian Murphy has clarified below. The review has been corrected to reflect my original C+.
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[info]asphalteden jogged free a brief memory that hadn't surfaced for some time, so I thought I'd rescue it from the comments section of another entry and put it here, front and center.

I was a developer on WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS back in the early 90s, and I still can't forgive Microsoft for the fake ad they faxed us once that had a picture of Cary Grant running from a plane in North by Northwest and announced the "WP Developer Point-and-Shoot" program, whereby consumers could receive a free copy of Word by delivering a dead WordPerfect developer to Redmond, no questions asked. Okay, it was funny. But still.


UPDATE: Found it!
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I can't help it. When someone sends me an email that says:

Kindly advise a good time to contact you along with your contact information.
I want to respond:
My dear Good Time, should you choose to contact me along with my contact information, you would find me ever so responsive and earn my eternal gratitude.
Simplicity and clarity, for God's sake! Why is it so hard to write, "When can we call you, and what's your phone number?"
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Hey there, all you WordPerfect users aspiring to write short fiction! For you maligned folks and you folks only, I've added a new feature to my inexplicably popular manuscript formatting instructions.

I created a set of WordPerfect templates and macros that let you easily create a properly formatted short story manuscript and update the word count as you type with a simple keyboard shortcut.

Downloading, installation, and usage instructions here.

(For you eager users of Microsoft Word, I'll get to you soon. I'm far more comfortable in WordPerfect, which I've been using faithfully ever since version 4.0 for DOS, and even so, the programming and page-building took quite a bit longer than I expected.)

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You often hear cited as fact that Mormonism is the fastest-growing religion in the world. Peggy Fletcher Stack does a fine job in a recent Salt Lake Tribune op-ed piece of sorting out the evidence that this is untrue:

Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more than 12 million members on its rolls, more than doubling its numbers in the past quarter-century. But since 1990, other faiths—Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God and Pentecostal groups—have grown much faster and in more places around the globe.

And most telling, the number of Latter-day Saints who are considered active churchgoers is only about a third of the total, or 4 million in the pews every Sunday, researchers say.

For a church with such a large, dedicated missionary corps constantly seeking to spread its word, conversion numbers in recent years tell an unexpected story....   [full article]

What a flippin' relief!

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More reasons I love Roger Ebert

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From Roger Ebert's print review of Deuce Bigelow: European Man Whore:

The movie created a spot of controversy last February. According to a story by Larry Carroll of MTV News, Rob Schneider took offense when Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times listed this year's Best Picture Nominees and wrote that they were "ignored, unloved and turned down flat by most of the same studios that ... bankroll hundreds of sequels, including a follow-up to 'Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,' a film that was sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic."

Schneider retaliated by attacking Goldstein in full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. In an open letter to Goldstein, Schneider wrote: "Well, Mr. Goldstein, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won. I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind ... Maybe you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who's Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers."

Reading this, I was about to observe that Schneider can dish it out but he can't take it. Then I found he's not so good at dishing it out, either. I went online and found that Patrick Goldstein has won a National Headliner Award, a Los Angeles Press Club Award, a RockCritics.com award, and the Publicists' Guild award for lifetime achievement.

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At Fantasy Book Spot, you can find an interview with "writer's writer" Richard Bowes, a friend and workshop comrade. The occasion is the release of his new "mosaic novel" From the Files of the Time Rangers, which I've read in a couple of different drafts, and which I urge you to seek out and pick up. Beautiful, beautiful work.

(Also, don't miss his short story "There's a Hole in the City." There is indeed.)

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Neighborhood threat

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About an hour ago, the police blocked off a section of East 32nd Street just west of the building where I work. They were turning pedestrians back at the yellow tape, and there was vague talk of some kind of threat, maybe at the subway station on the corner (though, thinking back, the blocked-off section didn't seem to include the 32nd Street entrance to the 6 train station). There was no call to evacuate, but with the boss out of town most of us decided to leave the office anyway. I'm home now, but can't find anything on any of the news channels or web sites.

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Memo to Rick Santorum

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Fuck you, you dissembling fuck. I heard you this morning on Morning Edition just as I was leaving for work, bloviating about how the reason the question of where our species came from is important is because if it was just random chance then there's no necessity for morality. Let me tell you, sir, that the atheists and evolutionists—not necessarily equivalent sets, mind you—I know have more morality in their fingernail trimmings than you have anywhere within a ten-meter radius of your wizened little heart. Small-minded, bigoted twits like you may not be able to envision a reason to treat each other well absent some authoritarian patriarch in the sky, but that's only because you can't even bring yourself to treat others well after your professed pal J.C. set the example. Compassion and tolerance are so much more important when life on this tiny rock is the only life we'll ever have, but your only idea of compassion is to force the 14-year-old girls you've rendered ignorant into bringing more hungry, poverty-stricken babies into the world, and your only idea of tolerance is to slither your way into one of the most powerful posts in American government and then whinge endlessly about how so-called Christians like you aren't allowed a place in the public discourse. I may not believe in God, but I do believe in evil, and you're its simpering mug. Eat primordial soup and die, but I mean that in only the most compassionate way. Fucker.

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In a Past Life...

You Were: A Friendly Jester.

Where You Lived: South Africa.

How You Died: Typhoid fever.

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