Inhuman Swill : Page 172
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Bob Howe sends me an utterly demoralizing article from the January 4 San Francisco Chronicle about the persecution and prosecution of peaceful protesters:

Quarantining dissent: How the Secret Service protects Bush from free speech In a May terrorist advisory, the Homeland Security Department warned local law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on anyone who "expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S. government." If police vigorously followed this advice, millions of Americans could be added to the official lists of suspected terrorists. [full article]
Personally, I think the Secret Service should focus more of its time and energy on pretzels. I mean, pretzels are a proven threat to the president. Dubya has more reason to fear the average pretzel than any yahoo with a sign. The Secret Service should cordon off all pretzels and not allow them within five miles of the president. I would feel safer if they did.

And while they're at it, they should get those pesky peanuts and potato chips too. After all, there's more evidence of complicity between this Axis of Snackses than there's ever been of the same between, say, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. It should be obvious that pretzels, peanuts, and potato chips have long conspired to provide a criminally delicious and satisfying snacking experience, particularly in concert with beer. I say round up all these salty scalawags and sequester them in Gastrointestinal Bay, quick!

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Women who can kick your ass

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One of those increasingly puerile countdown programs on VH1 asked the question recently: Why are we men so attracted to women who can kick our asses?

I don't know, but I know that I'm married to one. If I ever doubted it, I can now point to fresh evidence. Laura has joined a roller derby team. They practice in Brooklyn.

Not only that, but her roller derby team's "corporate" sponsor is the Hell's Angels.

And Laura's roller derby moniker is "Hell's Belle."

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There's a new series called "Parking Lot" on the cable network Trio. Loosely based on a short documentary from the '80s called "Heavy Metal Parking Lot," which was shot in the parking lot outside a Judas Priest concert, the series interviews hardcore fans and other bystanders hanging around outside various odd events.

Last night's episode visited parking lots outside a Motörhead concert, a Cher concert, and a science-fiction convention—I-Con 22 at SUNY in Stony Brook, NY, to be exact. Bob Howe and I happened to have dropped by the con for half a day to have lunch with Scott Edelman, and all three of us ended up being interviewed at length by the TV crew. A few snippets from our interview were interspersed through the I-Con segment, amongst conversations with pookas, plushies, and one precocious little girl in angel wings who couldn't stop using the word "inappropriate."

Anyway, if you get Trio and want to catch it, the episode is running again this evening at 9:30 pm EST:

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Year's Best Science Fiction

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My short story "Strong Medicine" is going to appear in the next annual edition of The Year's Best Science Fiction*, edited by Gardner Dozois and published by St. Martin's Press. The book comes out in July.

I'm speechless.

But not so speechless that I can't remind you that you don't need to wait for the book to read the story (although I hope you'll still pick up the book). It's still available for free perusal at Salon, with the viewing of a short ad.

Damn. Wow.

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Danger: Reading material

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For some reason, I've been more prone to paper cuts lately than usual. A lot more. Two nights ago I was sorting through the mail, separating ours from the stuff for the folks upstairs, when I accidentally slid the edge of a magazine across the webbing between the third and fourth fingers on my left hand. I think my wedding ring helped guide the incision, because the edge of my ring aligns perfectly with it.

That one bled like crazy, but it wasn't as bad as the one I got the week before. I had a manuscript in my shoulder bag. I reached in for a book and sliced two of my fingers on the manuscript, just below the cuticles. There was one diagonal cut on my pinky but three neat red slits running parallel to one another on my ring finger. I looked pretty funny the rest of that week, typing with two bandages around the tips of fingers on my right hand.

I now view reading material with suspicion. I wonder if George W. had a similar experience.

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Menus at work

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We all know that food deliverymen will stuff menus into any crevice where people might pick one up, but today I saw the most remarkable example of this phenomenon I've spotted yet. In the elevator in the building where I work, a few menus from a Vietnamese restaurant were crammed beneath the edge of the control panel.

I hate to reward behavior like this, but I admired the ingenuity and chutzpah this took. So I grabbed a menu. And Vietnamese sounds awfully good for lunch.

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Just heard on the radio

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"One is not as important as the other, but they're both equal."

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Okay, this isn't a real headline, but I kinda wish it were.

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Help buying ein Buch

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Every so often I check to see if there are any used copies available of a 1995 German edition of Fantasy & Science Fiction that contains a translation of my story "From Our Point of View We Had Moved to the Left." I have a copy myself, which Gordon Van Gelder kindly sent me, but my father, who served in Germany both as a missionary and as a soldier, would very much like a copy.

Well, today I found a copy:

Ein neuer Mensch: Die besten Stories aus The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction #91

I tried to buy it, but apparently the seller won't ship to the U.S. Here's the message I got when I tried to check out:

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Can't offer much comment on this:

Mormon temple clothing up for auction on eBay

That will do.

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