Inhuman Swill : Page 86
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

If ID10T then stop

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Remind me never to try explaining Boolean logic to lay colleagues again.

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Exploding news

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Gawker is reporting a "huge explosion" at Times Square, in front of the Conde Nast Building. I hear sirens.

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Bad news for Starbuck's

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From the New York section of this morning's Sun:

Mormons Make Inroads on Upper East Side

I'm just thinking of all the poor coffee vendors on the Upper East. How many of them do you think stock Postum?

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Nebula final ballot

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As many other folks have pointed out, SFWA has released the final ballot for this year's Nebula Awards.

No surprise that [info]paulmelko and [info]mabfan and Jim Kelly and I all made it since there was no first round of voting in our category! But apparently the jury declined to add an additional work in our category, so the four of us now duke it out. I call dibs on rayguns!

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Laura and I went to our new accountant last night for some desperately needed good news about our taxes. His office wall is loaded with bowling trophies and plaques. Two of the plaques commemorated "11 in a Row" achievements. The scorecards were reproduced. The one I could read had a spare in the first frame followed by 11 strikes, for a score of 290. (The only other way 11 strikes in a row could have been scored would be 11 strikes followed by nine or fewer pins in the third ball of the 10th frame, which also would have given him a higher score than 290—assuming, of course, that he didn't gutter the ball. But I digress.)

It may be completely irrational, but this helped me feel that our taxes were in good hands.

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Along came a snifter

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We didn't originally mean it to be a substitute for our Valentine's Day jazz-and-wine date. It just worked out that way, since I was stuck in Dallas all day on the 14th trying to get home to New York. (And unable to post to LiveJournal from a Neptune Networks kiosk, because for some unfathomable reason they consider this LiveJournal page to contain adult content. Not all of LiveJournal, mind you. Just the posting page. But that adventure is another story.)

So on Monday night, Laura and I ended up doing two things we've always wanted to do, and got them both done at the same time: taking a cheese class from Artisanal, and taking a spirits class from Brandy Library. The two birds were killed with a single stone called "Scotch Whiskey & Whey" at the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center at Tenth Avenue and 37th Street.

The instructors were Jon Lundbom from Artisanal and Ethan Kelley from Brandy Library. They were both excellent, engaging teachers, and they had selected a set of six pairings of scotch and cheese for us each to sample at our little benches. For some of you, reading this list will make your eyes glaze over; for the rest of you, reading this list will make your eyes glaze over, if you know what I mean.

  1. Berkswell, Great Britain, sheep's milk
    Balblair 16 yr., Northern Highlands
  2. Livarot, France, cow's milk
    Bunnahabhain 12 yr., Islay
  3. Gouda, Netherlands, cow's milk
    Bruichladdich 15 yr., Sauterne cask, Islay
  4. Isle of Mull Cheddar, Scotland, cow's milk
    Ledaig Sherry Cask, Isle of Mull (probably 4 yr.)
  5. Valdeon, Spain, mixed milk (cow/goat)
    Cragganmore 13 yr., Distiller's Edition, Port Pipe Finish, Speyside
  6. Bayley Hazen Blue, Vermont, cow's milk
    Ardbeg Uigeadail, Cask Strength, Islay (probably 8 yr.)

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Serving suggestion: drink

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I am never one to sneer at people with too much time on their hands. I am one, after all.

So please understand that I present this link to these "Lost" food labels with all due respect and admiration.

The serving suggestion on the beer is a touch of genius (though it would be funnier if it were on Kool-Aid).

(Via Laura.)

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Shaggy dog story

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There is a literary agency directly above me, on the 13th floor of this office building. (And thank god we're in a building that's not afraid to admit it has a 13th floor!) Sometimes when the 12th floor men's room is occupied, I go up to the 13th floor, and inevitably I see, through the glass of the agency's door, a little spaniel of some sort lying on the floor, asleep. I never see any people.

On my most recent visit to the 13th floor, though, I saw people in the office but no spaniel. This is not a story about mysterious happenings on the 13th floor, but it is a story about a runaway spaniel, and I was reminded of it by the absence of the agency dog. This happened this past Saturday night, as Laura and I were on our way to a wedding celebration.

We had just left the house. It was cold and dark and windy and wet out, and when we reached the corner a brown and white adult spaniel of some sort, probably a Cavalier King Charles, was wandering around. Its person was not in evidence.

"Hello, little puppy," said Laura, bending down.

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Aw, rats!

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You always wondered what really goes into Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell food, right?

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NYRSF reading, Tuesday, March 6th

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I will be guest-curating the New York Review of Science Fiction reading for Tuesday, March 6th. I'm very pleased that our readers that evening will be Lauren McLaughlin and Andrea Kail.

Lauren McLaughlin spent ten years in the film industry, writing the films Hypercube, Specimen, and Prisoner of Love and producing American Psycho, Buffalo '66 and several others. After a brief stint writing the flash animation series "Maatkara" and the award-wnning "Chi-Chian" for, she abandoned her screen ambitions to write fiction. Her first novel, Cycler, is due from Random House in the fall of 2008. Her short fiction has appeared in Interzone, Year's Best SF, Sybil's Garage and Salon. She is also at work on a science fiction musical about transhumanist love. Her website and blog are available at

A native New Yorker, Andrea Kail is a graduate of the Dramatic Writing Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. She has spent 20 years working in New York's film and television industry and is currently the script coordinator at "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." Her first story is set to appear in Issue 6 of Fantasy Magazine, and she was recently named a first-place winner in the Writers of the Future contest with a story that Robert J. Sawyer has called "a knockout" and "Hugo-caliber." Andrea has been advised to say, should anyone ask, that, yes indeed, she is working on a novel.

The reading series is held at the South Street Seaport Museum's Melville Gallery, 213 Water Street in Manhattan. Doors open at 6:30 pm, reading begins at 7:00 pm. A $5.00 donation is suggested.

Should be a great evening. I can't wait! Please come!

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

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William Shunn