Archive for creepy

The Book Booth: Halloween Edition


Smiling Pumpkin image from Bustle

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Halloween Edition

Today is the day. All the ghosts and goblins and witches will invade our neighborhoods, demanding candy and other goodies. The full moon has just passed, adding to the overall eerie night. Be careful opening that door! You don't know what creepiness might await you...and just what is that rapping noise coming from the attic?

Still haven't carved that pumpkin? No worries. The folks at Bustle have you covered with these spooky literary ideas.
Literary Pumpkins

For those of you planning to attend a Halloween party tonight and you're stuck for a costume idea, check out these suggestions that are also from Bustle.
Literary Halloween Costumes

Of course you could go to a Halloween party dressed as one of the GOP candidates, any of which could scare you nearly to death. Clown makeup would be a must. Perhaps not so over the top as Pennywise in the novel It. But you certainly would induce coulrophobia among the other guests. In any event, politicians have always been on the receiving end of many an insult. Here is some of the best insults by authors for their political foes.
Writers Insult Politicians

And if visiting haunted homes is your idea of a great vacation, there are plenty of literary ones to choose from, including Shirley Jackson's and H.P. Lovecraft's. One hope Cthulu doesn't answer the door.
Literary Haunted Houses

Although it would be very cool to visit Middle Earth, one really cannot in the physical sense. But if one could, it sure would be handy to have a map annotated by J.R.R. Tolkien.
J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth Map

So you woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across your head, made your way downstairs and had a cup, looked up and noticed you were late...and made the bus in seconds flat...But you forgot your book! No worries! The French have solved that pesky problem. HT to good friend Caleb for the link.
Get Your Short Stories Here!

The Library of America does beautiful reprints from the best in American literature. Christopher Carduff was hand-picked by John Updike to edit Updike's works. Here Carduff chooses the top ten from the authors works for Publishers Weekly. Oddly, he did not mention Couples, which was something of a breakout novel for Updike. But he did pick my favorite, Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.
The 10 Best John Updike Books

It is something quite remarkable and good that we currently have a President who loves to read and read fiction. Here is the interview (part 2) that President Obama had with novelist Marilynne Robinson.
Marilynne Robinson Interviews President Obama On His Reading

We note the passing of the much admired novelist Paul West, who has struggled with health issues for some time now. I very much liked his The Very Rich Hours of Count Von Stauffenberg, his richly imagined narrative of the man who attempted to assassinate Hitler. The New York Times has the obituary here.
Paul West Has Left Us at 85

Finally, some book decorating inspirtation. Buzzfeed recently featured these beautiful rooms which prove Virginia Woolf's dictum that books do furnish a room. Enjoy.
How Books Complete Rooms

Have a happy, safe and very spooky Halloween! And by all means let us know what books have given you the chills on these autumn nights.


The Book Booth: October Chill Edition



From: Boing Boing

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: October Chill Edition

Fall is in full stride in our little town. The trees are shedding their vibrantly colored leaves, we have the occasional rainfall and in the evenings, there is a chill in the air. Our furnace is once again engaged in the nighttime. And Halloween is right around the corner.

So if you are in the mood for eerie reading, Flavorwire recently offered up the most creepy settings in horror fiction, including titles from both the modern novels and the classics. I might have added Wuthering Heights, but that could just be me.
You Want Creepy?  Here It Is!

Edgar Allan Poe was the 19th century master of the macabre. Here from MentalFloss are nine celebrities performing The Raven for your edification. Be warned. There is a reading by Shatner...
Quoth the Raven

If you'd rather indulge in science fiction and fantasy, author Ann Leckie, whose new novel, Ancillary Mercy, has just been released, picked her favorite novels for Publishers Weekly. She makes some interesting choices and her number one pick is Frankenstein.
The 10 Best Science Fiction Books

Ever see the graphics of a book cover, well, move? Check this out. Henning M. Lederer animated the illustrations for over fifty books and the results are pretty stunning. The ambient music is also fun.
Retro Book Covers Animated !

I've just been introduced to the ElectricLiterature site and it is pretty cool. If you haven't read it before, I think you'll enjoy. Especially the retelling of the Odyssey by Jeff Bender. Good stuff.
Electric Literature!

If it hadn't been before, the graphic book is now approved by academia! In fact Nick Sousanis was recently awarded his doctorate for his dissertation Unflattering and had it published by the Harvard University Press.
Graphic Book Makes It To The Harvard University Press

The author tour and bookstore readings have been a staple in the publishing industry for a long time. But things have changed and nowadays, they are not as routine anymore. Author Noah Charney, who recently completed a tour of his own, explains why at the Atlantic Magazine.
Author Tours and Bookstore Readings a Thing of the Past? 

Once upon a time...ah, the opening line. There are many great ones, ones burned into our collective memories. The Telegraph featured thirty of them recently here. There are a few that I would have added, but no matter. These are good.
The Opening Line (30 Great Ones!)

Finally, to lighten the mood, Buzzfeed had some jokes that all book lovers will understand right away. Enjoy.
Book Jokes

Please indulge yourself in a warm drink to take off the chill. Get comfortable and enjoy a good book this weekend. And please let us know what books that have you enthralled.


WI GOP may allow cameras next: Poll watchers already allowed 3 feet from voters


cameras in faceImage via

voter intimidation voter suppression

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill this year that let poll observers intimidate get within thirty-six inches of the voters they are hovering over monitoring. Nothing like having the rabidly right wing poll police breathing down your neck while you try to make private choices in what used to be a country that believed in democracy. Now Wisconsin may allow cameras. Now they want their "observers" to be able to record your personal information, too.

Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog on the original law:

The law would allow observers to stand 3 to 8 feet from the table where voters announce their names and addresses and are issued voter numbers, or from the table where people register to vote.

Gee, who could possibly mind if a total stranger, a fanatic extremist partisan with fervently opposing views, overheard your name and address? Or scrutinized and challenged your vote? What could possibly go wrong?

breathing down neck, intimidateImage via

Here's a video of Rachel Maddow explaining the original law in full back in April:

Clearly, that's not enough Dem harassment for Wisconsin Republicans. Now the election bullies observers would be able to unnerve their fellow citizens not just with their presence, but also with cameras and video recorders. If Americans exercising their voting rights happen to rub the monitors the wrong way, then hey, chill them to the bone. Document them. Record them. Use your cameras as weapons. Make them as uncomfortable as possible. Terrify them. Try to suppress their votes by causing them to avoid the polls in order to avoid the poll watchers.

Via the Green Bay Press Gazette:

Wisconsin officials may lift the ban on camera usage by election observers.

The state elections board will meet Monday to vote on proposed changes to election observer rules, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The Republican-controlled Legislature proposed the ban reversal.

Election observers have been prohibited from shooting photos and video at the polls for the past eight years.

If the ban is lifted, cameras can start being used during the August primary. So much for your privacy, Wisconsinites.


This is going from "creepy" to downright scary.


Capitol One Creepy Stalker

Capital One Creepy

Creepy Stalker

Please welcome our new guest contributor Dee. Dee is a freelance writer and passionate political junkie, living in the Central Plains with her husband and three furry puppies. She is a prolific tweeter as @DAbitty, and occasional blogger at MyLittleBits

Hey Grrrl, It’s “Bob,” your friendly Cap One Rep, I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by, is this a good time?

Yes, this could happen if you are a Capital One card holder. According to the latest contract update recently sent to customers, they claim the right to “contact you in any manner we choose.”  Calls, emails, texts, faxes, and yes, “personal visit” whenever and wherever they please.

You may think the 4th Amendment protects you against this sort of thing, but not necessarily, as LA Times Business Columnist David Lazurus reports:

Indeed, you'd think the 4th Amendment of the Constitution, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, would make this sort of thing verboten. Apparently not. "It sounds really invasive, but I don't think it's a violation of your 4th Amendment rights," said Daniel E. Kann, a Santa Clarita lawyer who specializes in illegal-search cases. He explained that the amendment applies primarily to searches and seizures by law enforcement, not civilians. A credit card company, in theory, could reserve the right to visit your home or office without a court order, Kann said. But he emphasized that there are laws against harassment, not to mention stalking, and Cap One could be held accountable under such statutes if, say, it took to inviting itself over for dinner or hanging around your cubicle.

Capital One’s creepy ‘customer service’ doesn’t end with merely a visit, no, the company’s contract update also says: “We may modify or suppress caller ID and similar services and identify ourselves on these services in any manner we choose.” They must have found the best stalkers available to help devise this new policy.  Lazarus goes on to explain:

Cap One is saying it can trick you into picking up the phone by using what looks like a local number or masquerading as something it's not, such as Save the Puppies or a similarly friendly-seeming bogus organization. This is known as spoofing, and it's perfectly legal. As I've written before, the federal Truth in Caller ID Act makes it a crime to use a phony number or caller ID message to commit fraud or cause harm to others.

But it's not against the law to engage in what courts have called "non-harmful spoofing," which includes businesses wearing digital disguises to penetrate a consumer's phone defenses. Such corporate spoofing is employed primarily by telemarketers. It's weird, to say the least, for this practice to be so publicly adopted by a major credit card issuer.

Lazurus spoke with a representative from Capital One, here is the explanation he was given:

So what does Cap One have to say? Pam Girardo, a company spokeswoman, told me that Cap One isn't quite as much like Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction" as the company's contract lingo might suggest. "Capital One does not visit our cardholders, nor do we send debt collectors to their homes or work," Girardo said. The exception to that, she said, is when it comes to big-ticket sporting goods. Cap One has partnerships with makers of gear like Jet Skis and Snowmobiles. "As a last resort, we may go to a customer's home after appropriate notification if it becomes necessary to repossess the sports vehicle," Girardo said. So Cap One is saying it's more "Repo Man" than "Fatal Attraction."

I asked Girardo about the spoofing. What's up with that? "Actually, we want our calls to display as Capital One on caller ID, and that's the way they are programmed," she replied. "However, some local phone exchanges may display our number differently. This is beyond our control, and we want our cardholders to be aware of that potential occurrence."

Oh but that’s not exactly how the contract reads, it claims the right to “modify or suppress” caller ID, “in any manner we choose.”

Even giving Cap One the benefit of the doubt, as David Lazurus does, and they aren’t as stalkerish as the language in the contract implies, it no doubt seems to me a bizarre over-stepping of the bounds of corporate power. However, that could be just me.

Click here to read David’s entire LA Times article. Watch David explain in the video at the link.