Inhuman Swill : Page 169
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Roger Ebert relates the following anecdote in one of his reports from Cannes:

During the screening of [Australian film] "Human Touch," I had the misfortune to be seated next to a pathetic creature who was receiving e-mail messages on his pocket device, and replying with taps on his clever little keyboard. The tiny screen was bright green in the darkness. I asked him to stop. He said, "I have to do this." I said, "Then you have to leave." He continued to tap away. "The director is sitting right over there," I said. "How do you think he feels?" "I don't care how he feels," the cretinous man replied. "Stop it, goddamn it!" I said. He stopped for a while, and then took a little peek at his screen from behind his hand. "Why don't you go outside?" I said. He did. He was the only person who left the full house; his electronic masturbation had blinded him to the film's greatness.

After the screening, I mentioned the incident to ["Human Touch" director] Paul Cox.

"If he had started typing one more time," said Cox, a genial and philosophical man, "I would have ripped his bloody toy from his hands and smashed it to bits beneath my feet."

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My best line this week

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"I don't think he has an attitude problem. He just doesn't have a human interface."

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24 the 24th

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Damn, I did finish the third part of the temple report last night, but then I completely forgot to watch the season finale of 24 on DVR. That was supposed to be my reward! I wonder if Jack Bauer saved the world again.

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A ghost is born

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Listen to the forthcoming Wilco album here in its entirety:
(Thanks to [info]baldanders for posting a link to the article that prompted me to go looking for the album in the first place.)
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Barking sheep

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Laura and Ella and I spent last weekend in western Massachusetts, at the country home of our friends Liz and Jim (yes, Liz and Jim of merry temple adventurers fame). Their house was fabulous and we had a terrific time. But one image in particular stands out in my mind.

Ella is a very furry dog, furry and fluffy and soft. Her coat, of course, makes her look much fatter than she really is. The country house is situated on a little lake, and when Jim and I took Ella walking in the back yard, she was bold enough to venture out into the lake until the water was to her knees. When she came back to shore, the fur was plastered to the bottom six inches of her skinny little legs.

Swear to god, she looked just like a sheep. I wish I had a picture.

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Today at The New Republic Online, Alan Wirzbicki writes an interesting article about the significance of Tom Clancy's name on the cover of Gen. Anthony Zinni's new book Battle Ready:

from Paperback writer When Ph.D. candidates of the future write the literary history of the Bush presidency, the day that a Republican administration became the bad guy in a Tom Clancy book will surely stand out as a cultural Rubicon crossed.  [more]
I enjoy pointedly hyperbolic statements like that one. Does Tom Clancy wield as much influence on public opinion as Wirzbicki asserts in the article? I doubt it. But as one indicator on a political barometer, there may be something to his argument.
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'Alma Baptizes at the Waters of Mormon' by Arnold Friberg (detail)
[ THE STORY SO FAR:  In Part One, five intrepid adventurers embarked on a tour of the new LDS temple in Manhattan. In Part Two, they visited the baptistery and Creation Room of the temple, and learned very little about what actually goes on in them. And still the tour grinds onward. . . . ]

A clash of symbols

Our next stop on the tour was the Terrestrial Room, although Brother Creigh never did refer to it by name. This was a high-ceilinged, very bright and spacious chamber just down the hall from the Creation Room, and painted all in eggshell white. The light came from teardrop-shaped fixtures suspended from above. Several rows of theater seats were arranged in gently curving arcs before a sumptuous ruffled curtain hanging inside a proscenium arch at the front of the room. The room might have functioned as a particularly high-class playhouse or cinema.

"This is the next room to which the visitors come for instruction on their visits to the temple," said Brother Creigh, "and again it's very symbolic. The high ceilings indicate that we're moving more and more into the presence of the Lord, while the brightness of the room is symbolic of the light of Christ that's shed forth upon the earth."

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R.I.P. Hell's Belle

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Hell's Belle a/k/a Delia Pain
Hell's Belle is dead and living in Austin.

Yes, sadly, it has been discovered that a roller-derby chick in another city has already taken the name Hell's Belle and has prior claim. This was missed in the original title search, and meant Laura had to come up with a new moniker.

We'd been thinking the matter over, and coming up with nothing but lame alternatives, for several days when Laura posed the problem to our friend Jim last Friday evening. By Saturday morning he had handed Laura the solution:

Delia Pain
It was a unanimous winner.
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[ THE STORY SO FAR:  In Part One, five intrepid adventurers entered the building that houses the new LDS temple in Manhattan to take one in a month-long series of public tours of the renovation. After a brief look at the portion of the building where regular Sunday services take place and the viewing of a slickly produced video presentation, the group prepared to brave the secrets of the temple proper. . . . ]

All ye who enter

Brother Creigh halted our unwieldy group near the third-floor elevators. "It looks like there are too many of us to ride down in one load," he said. "We'll fit as many on as we can, but if any of you are athletes you can feel free to take the stairs and meet us on the first floor."

Only in a Mormon temple is an athlete defined as someone who can successfully walk down two flights of stairs. Yes, Brother Creigh was cracking a little wise, but since the average age for temple workers and patrons is on the elderly side of senior citizen, the implication of his joke was more true than he had probably intended.

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The religious policeman

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The Religious Policeman is a fascinating blog from Saudi Arabia that [info]bobhowe turned me on to. Here's a sampling from Friday's posting:

Here's a little test, to see if you've been paying attention to all of this blog so far. Match the act, and what should happen next.
1. You take part in a political meeting in a hotel. 2. You are an adult male and you have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

a) Someone writes a flattering newspaper article about you.
b) You go to prison

If you answered 1b and 2a, well done, you have the mind of a "Muttawa", reward yourself with a shawarma, a smoke, and a snooze.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

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William Shunn