Inhuman Swill : Page 204
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Severian

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Severian, the Siamese fighting fish we've had for a year now, is growing sluggish and wan. He also has what appears to be the start of a tumor growing on his left side. He spends a lot of time sitting on the bottom of the tank, or resting in the leaves of one of the plastic plants, breathing very slowly. I fear he is not long for this earth.

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TOMORROW'S WEATHER
MOSTLY SUNNY
MILD
DAVE THOMAS

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Ex-Mormon community

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If it appeals to anyone here, I've created an ex-Mormon community. It's called, creatively enough, [info]exmormon.

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Santa's little helper

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I hope those are the sounds of contented deep sleep I'm hearing from the other room. I hope I'm not busted.

We live in a three-floor house. Laura and I occupy the main floor, and we have a neighbor upstairs and one downstairs. The upstairs neighbor and we share a common entrance, since this used to be a single-family dwelling. We often hear him coming home late at night in the entrance hall, right on the other side of our nailed-shut bedroom door (we sleep in what used to be the house's living room), and prowling up the stairs to his apartment. The downstairs neighbor has his own entrance, but we share a common storage area in the basement, a narrow hall that runs the length of the house.

Well, down in that narrow hall is where I've been hiding Laura's present from Santa all week. Santa had me pick it up for him at Home Depot, him being busy with other things and not having much room in the sleigh and all, and asked me to stash it until the big night. I rearranged some boxes and nestled the big blue carton back in a niche, disguised it with some artfully placed bubble-wrap, and then stacked chairs on top and in front of it.

Tonight Laura was feeling tired and a little ill, so I read to her from Watership Down until her eyes grew heavy, and then I lay in bed beside her reading Black House to myself for another hour, until I figured she was good and asleep. Then it was time for Santa's little helper to go to work . . . since Santa had called frantically earlier in the day to report that he'd be just a little too busy to manage the transfer of the big box from the basement to the room we use as the living room.

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Listen up

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So I woke up this morning and had a lovely walk with my wife Laura to the Akropolis Meat Market on 30th Avenue to pick up a nine-pound cut of prime rib for Christmas dinner tomorrow. Then I escorted her to the train station so she could go to work. I bought a bottle of triple sec for my famous cosmopolitans and carried everything home. Where a pretty raw cry was waiting in my inbox to pop up and slap me. The subject was "Listen up":

FOR ONE THING UNLESS YOU HAVE A MISSING LOVED ONE FROM SEPT 11 YOUR OVER BLOWN STATEMENTS MEAN NOTHING....WE AS FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE TO FEEL THAT WE ARE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO FIND OUR FAMILY....SO IF THAT MAKES YOUR LIFE ALITTLE HARDER......WELL WHO GIVES A FUCK!!!!!! MY HUBBY'S NAME WAS —— ———....REMMEBER THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Apparently she's responding to one of the two or three essays I've written about the experience of creating the survivor registry. I wrote back with a generic and unemotional expression of sympathy for her loss and a wish for the new year to bring comfort. What else could I do? I mean, her comments aren't fair exactly, but any distress I felt as a result of the 9/11 experience is certainly orders of magnitude less than what she's still feeling for the loss of a husband. But the thing is, we all lost something that day, and we all have a right to talk about it in public forums—her, me, you, and anyone else. I hope yelling at me made this poor woman feel better, but it almost certainly didn't.
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"Two for Las Vegas"

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Got a phone call from a fellow at Film Garden Productions on Friday. He gives me the following airtimes for the episode of Two for Las Vegas featuring Laura and my wedding:

Tue 15 Jan 2002, 1:00 pm Tue 15 Jan 2002, 7:00 pm Wed 16 Jan 2002, 2:00 am Thu 17 Jan 2002, 1:30 pm
All times are Eastern Standard, and the program airs on the Travel Channel. Check your local listings in case of last minute schedule changes.

(God, I've always wanted to say that!)

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There and back again

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Well, after a lovely Caribbean dinner and scintillating conversation, we hied ourselves off to the movies for three hours. And...

I'm sure I'm not saying anything here that no one else has said, but IT SUCKED. I mean, it bit the big one. It stank up the joint. It ran up the bellrope and joined the Choir Invisible.

Oh, it had some nice moments, and a few good lines. Some spectacular visuals. But the director was not content to settle for subtlety of emotion when things could be amped up to 11, or 12, or 20. And the screenplay completely failed to respect the wisdom and intelligence of the characters, and the grace of Tolkien's language. I understand that cuts have to be made in a novel to translate it to the screen, but not these cuts, not these. Peter Jackson has misunderstood The Lord of the Rings, has disrespected it, has broken it up into pieces to feed the masses like stale Communion. I'm going to try my hardest not to see the next two films.

I don't feel strongly about it at all.

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The Ring goes south

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Two loaves of pumpkin bread just came out of the oven, and I'm off to the city! Lórien, ho!

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Flight to the Ford

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I finished rereading The Fellowship of the Ring last night. What a relief! I'm a slow reader, and I really thought I wasn't going to make it in time. I really thought the Black Riders had me there at the Ford!

I'm going to a 10:00 show tonight with my friends Bob and Ken, after a dinner of lembas and cram—sorry, wait, Caribbean food at Negril. Laura didn't want to go on opening day, so she and I will see it later this week.

I feel like a little kid. This must be what it's like to be seven and looking forward to seeing Harry Potter.

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Gyroscape

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I live in Astoria, Queens, which has the largest population of Greeks anywhere in the world outside of Greece. There's a statue of Athena, a gift from the city of Athens, in a park just a few blocks from here. It seems absurd that when I want to buy a Greek gyro, I should have to act like an ignorant American and say "jye-ro" instead of "yeero."

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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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