Inhuman Swill : Page 76
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Precious and rare scotches

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Hey, New Yorkers! Like scotch? Have a $120 burning a hole in your pocket? Free tomorrow night?

The Brandy Library's weekly Spirit School features a tasting of precious and rare scotches Tuesday at 6:30 pm. I'll be there along with a couple of friends. Why not give the Brandy Library a call and see if there are any other spots free in the class?

I plan to arrive at 5:30 and enjoy a leisurely cocktail before class. That's what Laura and I did two weeks ago for the calvados class, and it definitely gave us a chance to soak up the ambience of the place. The class itself was a small, informal affair in a tasting room in the basement. We started with a Jack Rose cocktail (calvados, lime juice, and grenadine), then were regaled with the Story of Calvados while tasting 8 progressively more aged calvadoses (sp? calvadi?). Hors d'oeuvres were served between each tasting. At the end, we each were served a large snifter of a super-mega-fabbo calvados as a bonus spirit. That was 10 drinks over the course of the tasting, albeit not full glasses, plus the earlier cocktail in the lounge. We felt awfully good on the way home.

"Spirit sommelier" Ethan Kelley is a great teacher and raconteur, and he told me that the rare scotches class would be a somewhat looser affair than the normal classes, and would focus on learning how to get the best value when purchasing expensive scotch. To that end, we would taste some phenomenal scotches and maybe a couple of awful ones. But he promised it would be fun. I don't doubt it!

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What a long, long day! Laura went to Long Island to partake of Easter dinner with friends and their families, whilst I wrote pretty much from 5:00 am to 10:30 pm—with breaks, of course, for food, playing with the dog, a nap, coffee-brewing, and general screwing around.

Anyway, I took a break from novel-writing today to write a 2,500-word short story entitled "Care and Feeding of Your Piano." Or maybe Perry Slaughter wrote it, I haven't quite decided yet. It's a narrative cast entirely in excerpts from a fictional future product manual. Light, offbeat, and nasty in a way Perry could certainly claim responsibility for with pride.

I never mix writing and alcohol, but now that the story is done I'm enjoying a celebratory Talisker and some nicely atmospheric music. The Talisker bottle has at most two pours left, which means I'm about half a week away from clearing one more of the low bottles from the liquor cabinet in preparation for the big move. Woo-hoo!

Anyway, this story's title is one that's been hanging around in my files without a story attached for maybe a decade. In fact, it's been a title without a story for so long that it feels a little surreal now to be on the far side of the divide. That's all right, I guess. There's plenty more titles and ideas where that one came from.

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Rosario Dawson
I am expanding on my answer to Question 11 in the recent Google Image meme, but not because John Klima is trying to shame me into it. Rather, my respect for him is such that I can't stand the thought of him feeling as if he looks like a tool.

If you had asked me 24 hours ago, I would have said my second-place crush was:

That was then, this is now. Call me fickle, but after my Grindhouse outing with the gang last night, I'm afraid Rosario has been pushed down a notch by:

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I have cast a new novella, "Cast a Cold Eye," written in collaboration with and at the instigation of Derryl Murphy, out upon the postal waters. Sail, little ghost story! Sail swiftly to your destination, and on those leeward shores find fertile soil in which to put down your pulpy roots and bring forth blossoms. Sail, and thrive!

Man, I really need to get out of the office today.

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Peat rose

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I must share part of a letter I've received referring to my podcast and commenting on my many comments therein about scotch:

I'm a Scot living in London and can I first say how much your knowledge of my home country's national drink (Irn Bru excepted of course) shames me? I tend to stick to Talisker myself and very rarely stray from that and a few other tried and tested favourites. Lagavulin—which I think you were drinking with podcast 40—stops me in my tracks. Waaaay too rich for my blood, and I shudder to think that it might be some people's first taste of a malt whiskey. I mean, the way I see it is, there's peat, and then there's Dr Peat's Patented Concentrated Peat Drink, and then beyond that in a place that even peat-eating mammals only talk about in hushed tones there's Lagavulin.
Reading this, I almost sprayed Ardbeg all over the monitor. Which would have been quite the faux pas, it being my office computer.
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Do the Muppet thing

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Do the Right Thing, Sesame Street–style:

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For plenty of Good Free Stuff to read, head on over to the Asimov's web site. All ten of their Hugo-nominated stories are available there for free. There's nothing there I wouldn't commend to your attention, but some my particular favorites are "Kin" by Bruce McAllister, "Impossible Dreams" by [info]tim_pratt, and "A Billion Eves" by Robert Reed.

I'd mention "Inclination" and my fellow Huguloid [info]paulmelko's "The Walls of the Universe" too, but I've done an awful lot of talking about them already.

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Pictures of meme

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Via John Klima:

Plug your answer for each question into Google Image Search. Post the first image that comes up.

1. Your age on your next birthday:

2. Your favorite color:

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ShunnCast #42

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Epidode #42 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill attempts to tie off a few last dangling threads and bring the whole enterprise to a poignant yet thematically satisfying conclusion.

See also [info]shunncast.

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I am sitting in a comfy chair in my local non-Starbucks coffee joint, laptop on lap top, having just finished a grande skim latte and a fresh draft of the afterword for my chapbook. Ben Folds is playing on the stereo.

A body could grow accustomed to this.

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