October 31, 2010

Sunday Book Thread: Monsters!
— Monty

It's Halloween, which means I'm almost obligated to do a horror-themed book thread, and yet I haven't read a horror novel in years and years. The quality of that subgenre has never been particularly high, but the last decade or so has seen "horror" novels become subsumed under other genres: fantasy, romance (as in the Twilight books), sci-fi, what have you.

So while I will link some of my old favorites, the commenters might be better-equipped to suggest new authors.

Let's begin with (inevitably) Stephen King. He hasn't written any actual horror novels in decades -- nearly all of what he writes is either fantasy or sci-fi of some kind. But his early novels are still stellar examples of the horror form. My favorites have always been 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, and The Dead Zone (though again, The Dead Zone isn't really a horror novel). Some would add The Stand, but while much of that book is very good, a lot of it is horrible -- it's a bad book and a good book rolled up into a single mediocre book.

Peter Straub has always been a favorite of mine, and I've never understood why his popularity never reached that of his sometime-collaborator Stephen King. His early novel Ghost Story is a masterful story, and Shadowland is another good read. Straub is simply a better writer than King is, and his horror depends more on atmosphere and pacing than King's stuff. Straub's thrillers are even better than his horror novels: Koko is one of the best thrillers of the past forty years, in my view.

If you like horror in a sci-fi milieu, I've recommended George R. R. Martin's Nightflyers many times in past threads. His vampire novel Fevre Dream is a good one, too.

If you like rather old-fashioned ghost stories, you'd probably like Robert Aickman's Cold Hand in Mine.

If you like the bloody, chunks 'o' flesh kind of horror, you'd probably like Clive Barker's Books of Blood. (One of these stories formed the basis of the Hellraiser films: The Hellbound Heart.)

For more recent stuff, I'd say that Douglas Clegg's Neverland was the best ghost story I've come across.

If you like your zombies, you can't do any better than Max Brooks' World War Z, which is written documentary-style. It's an excellent book even if you're not normally interested in this kind of thing. (Word has it that a movie version of the book is due for release soon.)

I'm not singling out any of Lovecraft's stuff because all you Morons already know that stuff is great, right? But a writer in the "Cthulhu mythos" you may not know is Arthur Machen, who wrote a great story called The Great God Pan. Recommended if you like this kind of thing. Robert Bloch and Clark Ashton Smith have also done some really good stories -- there are lots of collections out there.

Happy Halloween, Morons!

Posted by: Monty at 04:49 AM | Comments (155)
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Sears adopts Zombie-centric marketing approach
— Purple Avenger

Normally staid Sears adopts a ummm...not so "fresh" marketing approach - they're appealing to the undead. That would of course be Zombies.

I like this new Zombie-centric approach. It has good potential for the long haul as the dempression grinds on and definitely works if we slip into something along the lines of James Axler's Deathlands. Even Stickies and other Mutants need to buy stuff, right?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at 03:17 AM | Comments (64)
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October 30, 2010

Not to look past Election Day, but... (tmi3rd)
— Open Blogger

Let's preface this by reminding everyone (as if they needed a reminder here) that they need to get out and kick serious ass in the voting booth on Tuesday.
All of this is moot if we don't get out and utterly crush the Left on Tuesday.

That said, starting Thursday after the election, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) is throwing a bunch of town hall meetings around Tennessee. The schedule and some thoughts are below the fold... more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 07:22 PM | Comments (68)
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Overnight Open Pre-Hallow’s Eve Thread
— Genghis

It was a dark and stormy ONT…

Some mood music:

The Compleat Online H.P. Lovecraft:

In case you need to brush up on your Cthulhu Mythos studies while the stars reel sickeningly overhead. The site apparently contains his entire body of work…if you dare enter. From “The Mountains of Madness

"At the time his shrieks were confined to the repetition of a single mad word of all too obvious source:"

“Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!”

Aw shit…I gave away the ending. Let me make it up to you with a bonus cheerleader below the fold...

Posted by: Genghis at 05:00 PM | Comments (1061)
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The Real Rally To Restore Sanity: Chris Gibson In NY-20
— DrewM

One of many such I'm sure across the country in congressional districts that are about to send Democrats packing in favor of conservative Republicans.


After the speech, Gibson worked the group and seemed to be enjoying himself in the home stretch (being up 9 points in the most recent poll will help your mood).

Due to some mis-communications, the Be the Wave effort here didn't quite work out as planned but there were a few of us there. As always it's good to meet fellow morons.

Gibson in case you have forgotten, is highly decorated retired Army Colonel (who, oh by the way, also has a PhD. from Cornell) who is running to unseat Scott Murphy (who flipped from no to yes on health care).

I saw Gibson a few months back when he announced he had secured the GOP nomination for the run and he's become a much better candidate since then. Today he gave a gracious and upbeat stump speech which hit all the right conservative points (without a TelePrompter!). Naturally the crowd loved it and the smell of victory was in the air.

It's not done until it's done though. Bill Clinton is coming in on Monday morning to stump for Murphy and the Gibson people plan to have strong prescience at the event. Still, I think if you are a Democrat and you aren't up by at least 5 (maybe even 7), you are probably in big trouble. Murphy isn't anywhere near that.

I had a chance to speak to one of the guys from his campaign and he says their internals are showing the same 9 point lead the most recent public poll shows. Low keyed optimism seemed to be the order of the day. He said the turning point was when their TV buy went on the air (Murphy had way more TV ads originally) to compliment the building campaign of what Gibson described as "neighbors talking to neighbors". The campaign guy also said they had good support from the NRCC, which is good to hear. I was worried they were late getting here or were going to skip it when Murphy was thought to be up big.

Gibson is a bright, personable and ambitious guy (that's not a knock, you don't make Colonel and stand on the threshold of a seat in Congress by laying around). It'll be interesting to see what, if any, impact he has in coming years.

In the meantime, one more Republican seat in the House come Wednesday morning is a damn good thing.

What's up in your local races?

Posted by: DrewM at 11:15 AM | Comments (437)
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A Brief Respite From Election Concerns: Let's Worry About China Instead
— Geoff

While we've been preoccupied with the latest election polls and candidate gaffes, the rest of the world has been ambling along. And Gregg Easterbrook, taking note of some of the more hostile ambling betwixt the US and China, tries to convince us that China is no threat at all:

China should not be our next whipping boy
But in the main, there has never been a superpower relationship like the one between Washington and Beijing — mainly constructive, mainly cooperative, neither side positioning to destroy the other.

The world’s largest public works endeavor — the $75 billion South-to-North Water Transfer Project in its early stages in China — could be smashed from the air in a day by United States precision-guided bombs. China is building the project because Chinese leaders assume they will never go to war with the United States. That’s what we should assume too — and not make China into a distant whipping boy for our own domestic problems that U.S. leaders are afraid to face.

Apparently Mr. Easterbrook can't conceive of a China that may believe that they can dispute American air power over their country. But what has China been up to lately? Well, in the past week: more...

Posted by: Geoff at 10:24 AM | Comments (118)
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RIP Pontiac
— Purple Avenger

GM's agreements with Pontiac dealers officially expire Oct 31.

Courtesy of the GarageBlog, one of the primary reasons this patient died on the table was producing a long series of mediocre vehicles so damn butt ugly, they looked like well...a Pontiac Aztek.

ugly car pic
Seriously, I'd rather be seen driving a clapped out smoke belching Trabant than be seen in an Aztek. At least the clapped out Trabant has a certain panache. That fugly car just looks wrong, almost like it was styled by some prop design reject who escaped from a $10,000 low budget Elbonian knockoff of RoboCop.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at 09:11 AM | Comments (181)
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Plotting Up Predictions of GOP Gains in the House
— Geoff

A lot of predictions of GOP gains in the House have been floating about. Without any ado, here's a graph of the predictions published in the past month.


I'm sure this is no surprise to anybody, but I thought it would be nice to be able to see it. On a t-shirt. In liberal coffee houses and at rallies for Democratic candidates.

Posted by: Geoff at 08:50 AM | Comments (51)
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College Football Saturday Thread
— Dave in Texas

What the hell have I got left? The Longhorns are up against the Baptists. The Cowgirls are 1 and 5. The Rangers got their asses handed to them in the city by the bay.

Dark times.

And being number one in the rankings is like a death sentence. It's as bad as being the most recently promoted Taliban head honcho in North Waziristan, always listening for that odd sound from the sky, before the lights go out.

Oh well. Miss BCS, all smiley and cutes.


Poise is important, in cheerleading.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 08:01 AM | Comments (100)
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Open Thread
— Monty

Slow Saturday as we hoard our stength for the week ahead, and look forward to the festivities on Hallowe'en. Let's put on a blues soundtrack while we look pensively out over the dead leaves being blown to and fro by the dry wind.


Posted by: Monty at 07:16 AM | Comments (104)
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Giuliani Endorses McMahon
— LauraW

Eh, it's something.
It still bothers me that all the while Blumenthal was questioning her individual business decisions, McMahon never went *really* negative on Blumenthal and brought up the livelihoods he has wrongfully destroyed over the course of his career. Now it's too late for that.

Negativity is poisonous and probably not a good idea this close to Election Day. A lot of people don't want to wind up their campaigns on a negative note.

But never, Linda? Not even once?

Posted by: LauraW at 04:28 AM | Comments (107)
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Rally Thread
— Gabriel Malor

If you're unfortunate enough to be watching today's Rally for Hipsterism in D.C., feel free to talk about it here.

Comedy Central is "strictly prohibiting" filming on the Mall, something not remotely legal:

PJTV’s Washington Bureau chief Richard Pollock inquired with the Comedy Central’s senior vice president of corporate communications Steve Albani about receiving credentials. Albani claimed that Pollock would not be given credentials because of limited supply, and as such there would be no room on the “press riser” for PJTV’s camera and crew. When Pollock said that he’d be fine with filming not on the press riser, Albani said that filming would be “strictly prohibited” between 3rd and 7th streets on the National Mall (ground zero for the event).

Off to a great start, Jon.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 03:41 AM | Comments (1053)
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October 29, 2010

Stuff Jefferson Said, 3rd Edition, Revised*
— DrewM

It's funny because it's true.

This, along with the notion that there was every really a period of pure objective journalism, is one of my personal pet peeves. When people (usually liberals) say stuff like this what they really mean is, "it's so mean and unfair when you conservatives fight back. Why can't you be "a good conservative"? You know, like Gerry Ford?"

Added bonus....Jake Tapper is getting drilled by liberals on Twitter over ABC News' decision to have Breitbart do commentary on Tuesday night. Their tears are like a lovely appetizer for Tuesday's main course!

*If you're new and don't get the reference, well, just ask in the comments (or read this)

Posted by: DrewM at 05:30 PM | Comments (220)
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Overnight Open Thread
— Genghis

Now with 100% less "The Warriors" content!

Here be some Jimmeh (The Page, not the Carter kind. Even I'm not that cruel) crooning about Skiffles, which were presumably a precursor to modern-day Skittles:


Posted by: Genghis at 04:48 PM | Comments (717)
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FoxNews/Opinion Dynamics' Final Generic Congressional: 50 - 37
— Ace

And Obama falls to a new low on a Fox poll (I think), at 41/50.

Good poll.

We'll see about those four scenarios. If the country really is in this much of a mood to punish Obama and the Democrats, then we really might be looking at possible victories for McMahon, O'Donnell, DioGuardi, Fiorina, and, hell, even Len Britton in Vermont (challenging the vile weasel Pat Leahy).

Thanks to JE.

Posted by: Ace at 03:28 PM | Comments (234)
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Hey, Remember that Northeast Firewall?
— Slublog

Is the wave traveling north? New polling suggests that the two Maine congressional races are much closer than anyone imagined. Let's begin with Maine's first congressional district:

Republican challenger Dean Scontras has moved slightly ahead of incumbent U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, although they remain in a statistical dead heat in their 1st Congressional District race, according to the fourth and final wave of The Maine Poll.

Scontras, an alternative-energy entrepreneur from Eliot, received 45 percent of respondents' support compared to 41 percent for Pingree, in the poll conducted Wednesday and Thursday for MaineToday Media by the Portland research firm Critical Insights.

This district went Republican during the 1994 wave, and Pingree has been dealing with some controversy lately regarding her fiance's private jet, a controversy that has extended into Massachusetts.

A few weeks ago, Republican Jason Levesque was 13 points behind incumbent Democrat Mike Michaud. Not any more.

Republican challenger Jason Levesque has overcome a double-digit deficit and pulled to within striking distance of Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, according to the latest results of The Maine Poll.

The poll of the race for Maine's 2nd Congressional District shows Michaud with the support of 44 percent of respondents and Levesque with 40 percent. That left about 14 percent of respondents who were still undecided.

He's got a little more ground to make up, but could be helped by the strength of Paul LePage, the Republican gubernatorial candidate. He's facing two candidates, Democrat Libby Mitchell and 'Independent' Eliot Cutler.

In the past two days, four polls have been released in the race for Maine's governor, and the numbers have been pretty consistent:

Rasmussen: LePage 40%, Mitchell 26%, Cutler 26%

PPP: LePage 40%, Cutler 28%, Mitchell 24%

Pan Atlantic SMS
: LePage 37%, Cutler 31%, Mitchell 22%.

Critical Insights: LePage 40%, Mitchell 21%, Cutler 21%.

What could help Levesque is that, according to the Pan Atlantic poll (a well-regarded Maine pollster) LePage is well ahead of his opponents in the second district. He's also ahead in the first. The Maine GOP also has a great get out the vote operation this year, which may help Levesque as well.

The latest polls have given Cutler supporters a little surge of hope that their guy can pull ahead. Nate Silver isn't so sure, and I agree with his analysis. If Cutler had started to move a couple of weeks ago, he would be in a position to win this race. Now, though, he simply has too much ground to make up in too short a time. There just aren't enough undecideds out there and there's no guarantee they would all break his way next Tuesday.

Maine's polls close at 8 p.m. If one of the two congressional districts goes red in this deeply blue state, it could suggest the Democrats are going to have a long, difficult night. (Yes, I changed it...you sickos)

Posted by: Slublog at 02:31 PM | Comments (105)
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Marco Rubio: You Did See The New Rasmussen Poll, Right?
Ace: ...
Marco Rubio: What?
Ace: ...
Marco Rubio: I Can't Hear You
Ace: Phuh. Can You Give Me One Second of Quality Time With My Ball-Gag, Dude?!

— Ace

Rasmussen has Rubio at the Big Five-Oh:

Rubio: 50

Crist: 30

Meek: 16

As Wesley W. Wolf, 1932 champion Olympic javelin-thrower, observed, "Gentlemen, let's not start chucking each other's sticks just yet."

That said-- here's Nigella Lawson in a clingy dress making pudding. more...

Posted by: Ace at 01:53 PM | Comments (162)
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Flashback: Remember Post-Election Stress and Trauma Syndrome in 2004?
— Ace

Laura is giddy with schadenfreude and recalled this old psychiatric diagnosis.

Are you ready for PESTS 2?

The symptoms vary region to region and person to person, but the general diagnosis is the same: severe disorientation, melancholy, a need to be around like-minded others and a lingering fear that the country is going to hell in a handbasket.

Howard Menger, a film technician in New York, woke up with PESTS on the Wednesday after the election. He called his old friend Jerry in Ohio, who'd been the best man at his wedding, and left this message:

"Just calling to make sure, for the sake of me and my family and people around the world, that you didn't vote for Bush yesterday. Give me a call and reassure me."

By Sunday, he hadn't heard back. "I have a gut feeling," he says, "that it might be the end of a 10-year friendship."

Thanks to rdbrewer and I think someone, here's another sydrome we should be aware of:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which an unskilled person makes poor decisions and reaches erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to realize their mistakes.[1] The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. This leads to the situation in which less competent people rate their own ability higher than more competent people. It also explains why actual competence may weaken self-confidence: because competent individuals falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. "Thus, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others."[2]

That's kind of half the problem with liberals in both office and the media, right there.

Posted by: Ace at 01:20 PM | Comments (142)
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Obama: Devices On Cargo Planes Meant For Jewish Organizations In US
— DrewM

The Religion of Peace strikes again.

President Barack Obama declared Friday that authorities had uncovered a "credible terrorist threat" against the United States following the overseas discovery of U.S.-bound packages containing explosives aboard cargo jets. Obama said both had been addressed to Jewish organizations in the Chicago area.

The disclosures triggered a worldwide alert amid fears that al-Qaida was attempting to carry out fresh terror attacks.

The events "underscore the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism," the president said. The packages both originated in Yemen, but Obama did not explicitly assign blame to al-Qaida, which is active in the Arab nation and long has made clear its goal of attacking the United States.

The Christmas Day Bomber, the Time Square bombing and now this. Depending on your enemy to be incompetent is not a winning strategy for the long term.

BTW-According to Gibbsy, Obama won't be altering his schedule tonight or over the weekend, so the campaign stops are still on.


Posted by: DrewM at 12:26 PM | Comments (212)
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Now That Crist Is Barely Pulling Any Republican Support, His Advisor Steps Forward And Says He Wouldn't Caucus With The People of Flordia At All, But With Democrats
— Ace

That chicken could not be reached for comment.

“Crist is going to caucus with the Democrats,” Mr. Morgan said. “I don’t think there’s any ifs, ands or buts about it. It would be, in a very tight year, almost like a Democratic pickup in a solid Republican state.”

Crist and Linza Mussarky really, really are afraid of updating their resumes, aren't they?

Posted by: Ace at 10:37 AM | Comments (460)
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