Inhuman Swill : Page 134
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.
            

If there's one thing you can rely on pedestrians to do, it's to not walk a straight line. Just try to pass one from behind and see.

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Laura reports I was laughing in my sleep last night. I have no memory of the dream, but of all the things I could have been doing in my sleep, that one boded well for the day.

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Supernovak

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A couple of weeks ago, Laura and I went to a taping of The Daily Show. Before the cameras rolled, Jon Stewart was taking questions from the studio audience and had been riffing on Robert Novak for a while. Laura whispered that I should ask a question about intelligent design, but I couldn't think of one until just moments too late. So here's what I would have asked Jon Stewart had my brain been just a trifle quicker:

"Is Robert Novak better evidence for evolution or intelligent design?"

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Legionnaire of space

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Jack Williamson's new novel, The Stonehenge Gate, is out, and he insists it is his last.

I learn this from an article [info]bobhowe points me toward, in the Albuquerque Tribune. It's a delightful piece to read (despite the fact that one paragraph is worded carelessly enough that you might assume there have only ever been two Grand Masters named by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America—Williamson and Robert Heinlein).

Part of the reason the article is so delightful, of course, is that Williamson, at 97, has been writing since nearly the dawn of modern science fiction. His first short story was published 77 years ago, in 1928. He was one of my earliest SF reading discoveries, as well; a family friend gave me a copy of The Legion of Space when I was at that impressionable age. I had the honor of joining him and six or eight other folks for breakfast one morning at the 1997 WorldCon in San Antonio, and I don't think I could have been more awed had I been sitting there with God. I don't think I said two words. If I have a writing career half as long as his, I'll count myself fortunate. Even if he's really done, it's a wonder of the universe that he's been doing it so long and is still with us.

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Stem cells for Michael Brecker

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I'm surely not the only jazz aficianado here who nurtures a deep love and admiration for the music of Michael Brecker. He's been one of the most in-demand session saxophonists of the past 30 years, recording with the likes of Steely Dan, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Dire Straits, Billy Joel, Todd Rundgren, and literally dozens if not hundreds of others. But it's his jazz work, both as a leader and a sideman, where he's proven himself an all-too-rare innovator among modern tenor players.

He's fairly upbeat in a New York Times article from last week, but there's no getting around the fact that Michael Brecker will die without a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant:

Mr. Brecker, 56, was recently found to have myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of cancer in which the bone marrow stops producing enough healthy blood cells. His doctors say he needs a blood stem cell and bone marrow transplant, a harrowing procedure that will be possible only if Mr. Brecker finds a stem cell donor with a specific enough genetic match for his tissue type. So far, they have been unable to find one from the millions of people on an international registry for bone marrow donors....

Fellow musicians have been spreading the word in music circles, urging people to be tested to find a possible match for Mr. Brecker. There was even a rumor circulating that a match had been found, which turned out to be false....

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Yet another facelift

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I was starting to get a little bored with the black-black-black version of the web site—way too self-consciously NYC, and besides, it could get a little hard to read after a while. So I've redone things a little, taking a liberal dose of inspiration from my current LJ styles.

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Via conscientious objector [info]fjm. In the end I suppose it was nobody's fault, but the temptation to assign guilt remains great even today.*


Elite Reader You have a Geek Lore rating of 80%
Sure, fans aren't Slans, but you're definitely something special. Your knowledge of speculative literature has to be pretty damned impressive to achieve this score. Long may you flip those pages!
My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 99% on Geek Lore
Link: The SF/F Opening Lines Test written by winternight2 on Ok Cupid
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More reasons to despise AOL

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As if there weren't enough already.

So I installed the latest upgrade to AOL Instant Messenger the other day. Now, I'm no naif here. I've done this enough times to know that, after an AIM upgrade, you have to go back into your preferences and manually set them back to what they were before the upgrade or else you're going to get the damn AIM Today window popping up every time you sign on.

So, the upgrade done, I went into my preferences and turned off the AIM Today popup. Then I restarted AIM.

AIM Today popped up.

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Lies we tell children #146

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When Laura and I are out walking Ella and a kid asks us what kind of dog she is, sometimes we say, "She's not a dog, she's a bear!"

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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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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

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William Shunn

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