“He’s been great,” Lehman says. “He’s very creative. He’s also dogged about expanding the senator’s vocabulary.”
Case in point: Talley says he keeps trying to get the word “hobgoblin” into a speech.
The speechwriter is also into the ghost detective scene.
Talley began going out with the Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group while clerking for a judge after law school. The group would explore old plantation homes or abandoned insane asylums armed with thermal cameras, electromagnetic field meters and digital voice recorders to search for signs of the supernatural...
On a foggy evening in early December, Talley takes me to the Holy Rood Cemetery in Northwest Washington to show me how to hunt for ghosts. He has come from the Hill, and his black trench coat and suit combination makes him look like he was a lobbyist for the undead.
Infocult has not yet perused Talley's work.
Infocult: describing the world as it falls into the Gothic, one shadow at a time.
Formless and ancient things from the depths of our planet move beneath Los Angeles, unexpectedly setting fire to sidewalks and burning whole businesses to the ground.
This splendidly Gothic language is aimed at the body of petroleum slopping under the city of the angels. Or:
Sliding around beneath the surface of Los Angeles is something dark, primordial, and without form. It seeps up into the city from below, through even the smallest cracks and drains. Infernal, it can cause fires and explosions; toxic, it can debilitate, poison, and kill.
The article really enjoys itself.
The city ‘is really just a giant scab of petroleum-fueled activities,’ an impermanently sealed cap atop this buried monstrosity.
A man killed his 25-stone father and then ''carefully'' dismembered his body and ''neatly packaged'' the body parts in plastic storage boxes which he used as a television stand, a court has heard.
Nathan Robinson used a Stanley knife, hacksaw and saw to cut up the body of William Spiller at the flat they shared in Stedman Road, Bournemouth, Dorset...
''Mr Spiller's head had been removed, cut off, and was found within another box within a filing cabinet in the bedroom"...
''Mr Spiller was a large man - 6ft 5in, he weighed in excess of 25 stone in weight - hence I say when his body was cut up and dismembered, it would have taken time and effort. Armed with a Stanley knife, small hacksaw and a saw, it would have been a messy business.''
How was the alleged act discovered? Both cinematically and pragmatically:
[Nigel Lickley QC, prosecuting] said a neighbour who lived below the pair noticed in the afternoon of that day that a ''pink liquid'' was dripping through the ceiling of his bathroom.
The prosecutor said this was diluted blood as Robinson cleaned up the crime scene with a steam cleaner which he went out to buy after killing his father.
Britain: home of the Gothic, and where the Gothic is sometimes right at home.
Chinese Gothic: police arrested a group who disinterred corpses for use in "ghost marriage" rituals.
The suspects exhumed a woman’s body from a village grave in Shandong province in March and sold it to a middleman for 18,000 yuan (HK$22,760), Shandong Radio and Television reported...
There have been other, recent examples:
In 2009, a grieving father from Shaanxi paid a team of grave robbers 33,000 yuan to find a suitable bride for his son, who had recently died in a car crash. They were later arrested for exhuming the remains of a teenage girl who had killed herself not long after failing her college entrance exam.
And in 2011, a Shaanxi man murdered a pregnant woman in order to sell her body to a family pursuing a ritual ghost marriage for 22,000 yuan. He was later sentenced to death.
There is a market economy to this:
The lead suspect, identified by the surname Wang, said the fresher the bodies, the more they were worth.
“Years-old carcasses are not worth a damn, while the ones that have just died, like this one, are valuable,” Wang said in a clip aired in the news broadcast...
And a disturbing gender aspect as well:
The custom of ghost marriages requires a woman’s body be buried alongside a newly deceased bachelor so that he won’t be alone in the afterlife. It may date back to the 17th century BC and is mostly practised today in rural areas of Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Hebei and Guangdong provinces.
It's like a cross between the ancient habit of burying servants with dead rulers and widow self-immolation.
Police have issued a statement on their national website entitled “Evil Clown Phenomenon”
Not only have les flics just given away a terrific band name, but they also demonstrate just how far this pitre meme has gone. Even other civil authorities have taken a hand:
On Thursday, the village of Vendargues, population 6,000, near Montpellier issued a decree warning that “individuals or groups of people aged 13 or more” are banned from dressing up as clowns on streets and in public spaces on October 31st and November 1st.
Some of the cops even have a taste for cinema:
This followed a warning last week from Pas-de-Calais police in northern France that “clowns inspired by Texas Chainsaw Massacre are not welcome outside schools.”
While others are minding anti-evil-clown vigilantes on social media (yes):
Police have warned would-be anti-clown vigilantes, who have also created Facebook pages, not to take the law into their own hands.
When will French nationalists denounce the Evil Clown Phenomenon as another vile American import?
One Der Spiegel article ramps up the classic zombie banking concept to see the entire global capitalist order as zombified. Call it the zombie system.
The condition of the industry is now so dismal that experts are using metaphors from the world of horror films to describe it. "Zombie banks" are those that are being kept alive artificially with government bailouts and, like the zombies in Hollywood films, are wreaking havoc throughout Europe. They are too sick to lend money to the real economy but healthy enough to speculate with financial investments.
The article doesn't develop the zombie theme much beyond that passage and the title, although it does have some nicely dark passages, like this hint of architectural fright:
Harvard economist Larry Katz rails that US society has come to resemble a deformed and unstable apartment building: The penthouse at the top is getting bigger and bigger, the lower levels are overcrowded, the middle levels are full of empty apartments and the elevator has stopped working.
Greenspan's policy of cheap money became a sweet poison for Wall Street, the chief ingredient of the dangerous debt cocktails brewed up by the wizards at London and New York investment banks...
The zombie-nomics meme just keeps shambling on, feasting merrily on our brains.