Inhuman Swill : Page 15
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Just resting

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Dead squirrel lies prone,
Chin resting on its two paws.
Looks like it's sleeping.

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Flat Stanley in Chicago

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Flat Stanley and I wait for the el train
Back in May as we were preparing to move back to New York, I realized that I had a visitor sitting on my desk. My nephew Mark in Utah had sent Flat Stanley my way, and for months I'd done nothing with him. The school year was soon to end, so Stanley and I headed out for a Chicago adventure. Here's the letter Stanley wrote to accompany him on his trip back home to Utah.


Dear Mark & everybody--

It's nice to see you again. How have you been?

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My dear and generous friends, I want you to meet our good friend Laura Peterson again. I've told you many times before about her amazing dance company, Laura Peterson Choreography. Now Laura and her company have been invited to perform their piece "Forever" at the Kennedy Center on November 15th ... but they need your help to get there.

They're looking to raise $6,000 by October 24th to fund their trip to Washington, to construct and transport a custom stage, and so forth. They're doing this in partnership with the arts organization Hatchfund (formerly USA Projects), which will provide some matching funds. But first there must be funds to match.

The Kennedy Center invitation is an amazing honor. Please help make it a reality. Make a tax-deductible donation now, and help fund a breathtaking evening of dance in the nation's capital. My wife and I have already donated as much as we possibly could, but Laura Peterson needs a lot more help. She's 35% of the way there, with less than three weeks to go. Donate, please. Any amount will help, and will be augmented by Hatchfund.

My wife is also helping out by organizing a fundraising performance and party on October 19th in New York City. If you'd like more information about that, please drop me a line.

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"We"

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"We got our asses kicked yesterday."

Monday morning at a diner in the suburbs,
the words spiral over from the next table.
The men have been talking about work,
and at first I think they mean on the job site.

But of course by "we" they mean the Bears,
and the ass-kickers are Detroit, I realize,
as the sentence stutter-steps around the offense,
drops through an alternate parsing route, and scores.

This "we" that makes such strange linguistic sense,
I still can't wrap my hands around it and tuck it under my arm.
I'm not a part of this "we," this synecdoche,
the "we" meaning "they" meaning "us all."

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Support Laura Peterson Choreography
My dear and generous friends, I want you to meet our good friend Laura Peterson. I've told you many times before about her amazing dance company, Laura Peterson Choreography. Now Laura and her company have been invited to perform their piece "Forever" at the Kennedy Center on November 15th ... but they need your help to get there.

They're looking to raise $6,000 in the next four weeks to fund their trip to Washington, to construct and transport a custom stage, and so forth. They're doing this in partnership with USA Projects, which will provide some matching funds. But first there must be funds to match.

The Kennedy Center invitation is an amazing honor. Please help make it a reality. Make a tax-deductible donation now, and help fund a breathtaking evening of dance in the nation's capital. My wife and I have already donated as much as we possibly could, but Laura Peterson needs a lot more help. She's 28% of the way there, with four weeks to go. Donate, please. Any amount will help, and will be augmented by USA Projects.

My wife is also helping out by organizing a fundraising performance and party on October 19th in New York City. If you'd like more information about that, please drop me a line.

Full entry

4 across

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senior citizens
holding hands like preschoolers
blocking the sidewalk

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September's CD mix of the month

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Back in the New York Groove It's been a long time since I posted a CD mix of the month, but that's because I've been in Chicago and haven't been able to attend the (increasingly irregular) meetings of the CD Mix of the Month Club for several years. But this past Saturday night the club convened once again, so I created a mix.

It was a ton of fun seeing everybody again, and my contribution to September's shindig was this little number entitled Back in the New York Groove. I'm sure the theme is completely undetectable.

The cool thing nowadays is, with Spotify I can actually share the mix with you without violating a bajillion and a half copyright laws—and, amazingly, all twenty-one tracks were available to stream. Check it out below.

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When I showed up to attend the KGB Fantastic Fiction reading on August 21st, the last thing I expected was to end the night in front of a radio mike. But that's what happened.

Rather than greeting me in a traditional fashion when I wandered up to say hello, Jim Freund said to me, "You're on the air at one-thirty."

"Tonight?" I said. "One-thirty A.M.?"

It seems he'd had a guest for his long-running WBAI program "Hour of the Wolf" drop out on him, and he needed a substitute. Well, fair enough. I'd done the show at least five times before, and I'd enjoyed it, so what the hell.

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In case my comment on Paul Cook's ridiculous post at Amazing Stories does not pass moderation, let me reproduce it here.


Mr. Cook, you tip your hand early on, with your risibly shallow reading of Wolfe, that the insights to follow will be, at best, ill-informed.  Romance and intrigue have no place in science fiction?  I suppose Heinlein never included a bit of romance or military dress in his work, nor Asimov any palace intrigue.

Science fiction as you paint it, its precious bodily fluids uncontaminated by any less virile genre, would be a dreary, boring place indeed.  To truly be a literature of humanity and human potential, SF must address human concerns, and the human experience encompasses far more than just racing through space and blasting BEMs.  Tor editor Moshe Feder once passed a useful analogy along to me, that of science fiction as the "universal recipient" of literature, able to take in and incorporate elements from any other genre of fiction.  If science fiction is to represent more than one tiny, narrow slice of human experience, it must be able to represent any aspect of the human experience.  It must, at the highest level, be able to do anything that can be done in any other genre, whether romance, mystery, or mainstream literary.

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My first R-rated movie

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The Star Chamber
Reading this edition of "The Big Question" at Hitfix.com got me thinking about the first R-rated movie I ever saw. The film itself—a Michael Douglas thriller called The Star Chamber—was not so memorable, but the circumstances around my viewing of it are, in retrospect, amusing.

When I was growing up, the LDS Church strongly cautioned parents not to let their children see R-rated movies, so that was exactly the rule my parents established for us. I followed it, too, though not always happily.

I don't remember what it was about The Star Chamber that made me willing to break that rule. Since I was close to turning sixteen, it was probably just time for it to happen. My friend David, who was a little younger than I was, kind of wanted to see it too, so he asked his parents to take us. So, it was time plus opportunity, I suppose.

(I had seen R-rated movies already, but on video at friends' houses, not in an actual movie theater.)

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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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