Inhuman Swill : Page 132
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

He's a clown, that Michael Brown

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FEMA chief Michael Brown is recalled to Washington and replaced by Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad Allen as head of on-site disaster relief efforts in New Orleans. It's not enough, and it's too late, but it's something.

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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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Divine retribution

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If there's any truth to the notion that either Hurricane Katrina or 9/11 were punishments visited upon America for her sins, then the sin in question was, in both cases, allowing a clueless, spineless bully like George W. Bush to become president. 2005. 2001. I wonder if he's fiddling with the locks at Versailles as we speak.

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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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Laura and I have been culling great numbers of books in preparation for our anticipated move (still months down the road). As I was going through boxes, considering each volume in turn, I ran across my hardcover copy of Dave Wolverton's space opera The Golden Queen (recently republished as part of the two-book omnibus Worlds of the Golden Queen under Dave's more successful pseudonym David Farland).

I opened the book to hunt down a particularly memorable passage, and happened to turn directly to it. I read aloud to Laura:

Everynne closed her eyes and let her mantle connect to Lord Shunn's personal intelligence via telelink. She watched his attack progress—silver fliers swept through the sky in a wedge, shooting low over the forest toward the gate, dropping a barrage of explosives along with canisters of chlorine gas, which was particularly toxic to dronon. As soon as the fireballs began erupting over the treetops, Lord Shunn's attack force moved in.

Under cover of the trees, long-range laser weapons were nearly useless, so Shunn's forces all wielded only incendiary rifles. No human could bear the weight of the armor needed to ward off an incendiary blast, so Shunn's men were protected only by gas masks and lightweight heat-resistant combat fatigues. The men ran forward in loose formation, moving cautiously. Since the battle was meant only as a diversion, they were not in a hurry to engage the vanquishers.

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Coming attractions

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When the mail came on Friday and I spied the October/November issue of Asimov's in the pile, I opened it immediately to the last page. I didn't necessarily expect to see it yet, but it was there nonetheless:

COMING SOONmind-bending new stories by Robert Silverberg, Stephen Baxter, David D. Levine, Wil McCarthy, Liz Williams, Chris Roberson, William Shunn, Paul Melko, Jack Skillingstead, Bruce McAllister, Allen M. Steele, Carol Emshwiller, Michael Swanwick, Paul J. McAuley, Neal Asher, and more!
So cool. Congratulations, Paul!
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A not exactly burning question

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I wonder if dogs get ice headaches.

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And they smear it all around

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I've always been fascinated by the continuum where language, thought, and sensation intertwine, and how it's possible for them together to create in essence a subjective reality. For instance, how is it that words alone, spoken in a movie like The Aristocrats, can induce such phyiscal spasms of nausea?

This is not to criticize The Aristocrats, a movie I thoroughly enjoyed, and which had me laughing until, in pain, I couldn't catch my breath. If I didn't already love Bob Saget after his guest appearance on Entourage, his rendition of the joke would have made me a convert. It certainly made me forget Full House. And Gilbert Gottfried. I never thought I'd say this, but damn.

Not Howie Mandel, though. That guy's just not funny, even with a shaved head.

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I'm okay, you're okay

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Our own [info]crabwalk has created a Hurricane Katrina check-in site:

http://www.katrinacheckin.org/
Accessibility has been spotty at times, but overall it seems his web host is handling the traffic better than mine did in '01. Check it out, and, you Louisianans, check in.

Good on you, Josh.

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Making monkeys of Americans

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[info]bobhowe calls my attention to an article in today's New York Times about a survey commissioned by a couple of Pew trusts which finds that "nearly two-thirds of Americans say that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools."

John C. Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum, said he was surprised to see that teaching both evolution and creationism was favored not only by conservative Christians, but also by majorities of secular respondents, liberal Democrats and those who accept the theory of natural selection. Mr. Green called it a reflection of "American pragmatism."

"It's like they're saying, 'Some people see it this way, some see it that way, so just teach it all and let the kids figure it out.' It seems like a nice compromise, but it infuriates both the creationists and the scientists," said Mr. Green, who is also a professor at the University of Akron in Ohio.

Eugenie C. Scott, the director of the National Center for Science Education and a prominent defender of evolution, said the findings were not surprising because "Americans react very positively to the fairness or equal time kind of argument."

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William Shunn

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