Inhuman Swill : Page 218
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

What's my line?

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I just received one of the nicest compliments I've had lately. One of the departing employees, whom I may not see again in an office setting, told me: "You know, out of all the people in this department, if I had to pick the one that was a former Mormon or from Utah, I never would have thought of you. And I hope you understand I mean that as a compliment."

Of course I understood. I understood perfectly. And I'm so pleased I could burst. That was the goal, you know.

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Tomorrow's weather

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As reported yesterday evening by the A&E Biography sign:

MOSTLY CLOUDY
WINDY & COLD
CHANCE OF FLURRIES
SAM WALTON
I've been looking today, and I have to admit I haven't seen him yet. But I think that's because he keeps to the 'burbs.
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President Clinton's Final Days

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If you haven't seen this video yet, and you have a fast connection, you owe it to yourself to check it out. You won't see George Dubya making a video like this anytime soon. (My favorite part is the bit with Kevin Spacey, but I like the ice cream machine almost as much.)

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Waving, not drowning

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Well, well, well. It's been a long time!

I was just looking over my and my friend's journals, marveling at the fact that I hadn't posted for a month and a half, and contemplating this entry when Baldanders AIMed me out of the blue. He had noted my long absence and wondered if I was okay. Strange synchronicity.

Gang, I'm okay. A lot of things have happened that I want to tell you about -- and that I wanted to tell you about as they happened -- but I have this difficulty. I'm rather poor at time management, and a single activity usually comes to dominate my existence. (Baldanders argues that this is good time management, and it may well be.) Right now the dominant activity is writing my memoir; it takes up most of my free time and leaves little emotional energy for anything else. And since my full-time job has to take some kind of precedence it there... Well, you get the point.

I've been to Utah recently, I'm going to California, Arizona, and Florida soon, I've nearly choked to death at a noodle shop on Union Square, I've had a doctor stick an optical cable up my nose and down my throat, I've acquired two more fish, I've finally met my five-year-old son, and I've written about 150 pages since the last journal entry. In fact, it may even be time to post a table-of-contents update to keep myself going (not that I intend to lose momentum at this point:

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Today's weather, as reported last night by the A&E Biography sign:

      MOSTLY SUNNY
      WINDY & COLD
      MARQUIS DE SADE

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Just on the off-chance that you haven't been forwarded this in email (Michael Bishop sent it to me), you must read Michael Moore's plea to Koffi Anan for intervention in the presidential election. Really.

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More Disching

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In all the excitement of slagging Vintage (whom I had previously appreciated for reissuing Fawn M. Brodie's watershed 1945 biography of Joseph Smith, No Man Knows My History), I forgot that there was a beautiful paragraph or two from Disch's 334 that I wanted to share:

"Okay, Mickey, it's your life."

"Goddamn right." These words, and the tears on which they verged, were like a load of cement dumped into the raw foundation of his new life. By tomorrow morning all the wet slop of feeling would be solid as rock and in a year a skyscraper would stand where now there was nothing but a gaping hole.

What's the word for something you've experienced time and again but couldn't ever render into language to save your life?

Yeah.

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This evening's plans

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Salon du chocolat. Never attend a trade show like this without a buddy.

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Time to Disch

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I just finished reading Thomas M. Disch's fine, fine novel 334, in the recent attractive Vintage trade paperback reissue edition. It wasn't until I was almost done, however, that I bothered to read the back cover copy in any detail. Here is how the blurb, written by some anonymous, bitter, and underpaid editoral assistant, ends:

Poisonously funny, piercingly authentic, 334 is a masterpiece of social realism disguised as science fiction.
Disguised? I'm sorry—excuse me while I heave. As if anything worthwhile in literature can't possible be science fiction—instead it's masking itself and is really something else altogether.

Disch is one of those writers who has written plenty besides science fiction, but is this the price one pays for literary respect? A Galilean disavowal of one's unsavory roots? I'm tempted to throw the book across the room, if only for the sake of the poisonous, piercing back cover copy. I'm sorry I gave Vintage my money. I should have just gone back and read my old tattered paperback copy, with it's unashamed proclamation of SCIENCE FICTION right there on the spine.

I bought a similar Vintage edition of Camp Concentration at the same time. Now I'm going to have to go back home and read the back cover of that one very carefully. I'm not sure how they can possibly spin it away from science fiction, but I'm sure they'll try.

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And the winner is...

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Baldanders
To offer my entirely unsolicited opinion, I think the very coolest personal graphic I've seen on LiveJournal belongs to Baldanders. (It was just one of those things that had to be said.)

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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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