Halloween Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Will the real university of Florida please stand up?

    “The University of Florida has a long track record of supporting free speech and our faculty’s academic freedom, and we will continue to do so,” a statement said.
    “UF will deny its employees’ requests to engage in outside activities when it determines the activities are adverse to its interests,” read an email from an assistant vice-president to McDonald filed with the court documents. “As UF is a state actor, litigation against the state is adverse to UF’s interests.”

    Another university official told Smith: “Outside activities that may pose a conflict of interest to the executive branch of the state of Florida create a conflict for the University of Florida.”

    “Hell no, Ron DeSantis is a big old meanie.”

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Amanda Marcotte

    Man, Trumpers are spoiled children who wouldn’t know a real hardship if it bit them on the ass.

    Tom Nichols

    As toddlers do

    (w/ video of man who threw himself on the floor after being asked to wear a mask)

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    via commentor Germy at BJ:


    Someone bought this spider costume for their dog and let him loose..

    Oscar worthy

    I’ve got tears running down my face.

  4. CSK says:

    Me, too. I can’t stop laughing.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I kinda feel for those girls at the elevator.

  6. CSK says:

    Oh, I know. But the little dog scuttling around in the spider getup is just sidesplittingly funny. I have to tell my sister to get one of those for her miniature dachshund.

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:


    They’ll likely just be subpoenaed to appear as a result of this. The executive can take that up with the judicial.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HarvardLaw92: In all I’ve read about this, I have seen nary a word about legal actions being taken against this action, which surprises me to say the least.

  9. CSK says:

    The word “pompion” is an obsolete form of “pumpkin.”

    “Pompion” also means “corpulent oaf.”

    Now, given that a “pompion” is also orange, isn’t it the perfect term for Donald Trump? He’s corpulent, he’s an oaf, and he’s orange.

    Happy Halloween!

  10. Kingdaddy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The dog is adorable. Scaring people? Not funny. Nor would it be funny if some panicked person harmed the dog. I really hope the video is staged.

  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    Well, this is kind of a bombshell

    The attorney, John C. Eastman, also continued to press for Pence to act even after Trump’s supporters had trampled through the Capitol — an attack the Pence aide, Greg Jacob, had described as a “siege” in their email exchange.

    “The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so that the American people can see for themselves what happened,” Eastman wrote to Jacob, referring to Trump’s claims of voter fraud.

    Of course, Eastman is never saying “change the outcome” because he knows that exposes him. He says “delay” and “let the American people see”. Like they hadn’t been going at it full throated for two months and come up empty.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kingdaddy: Killjoy.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    In the UK trick-or-treat is cordially despised as a vulgar American import, and I agree. But I suppose the peasants must have their festivals, what?

  14. Mister Bluster says:

    A Road Trip where I work with a TV production crew.
    My one time experience with Show Business.

    When I met my friend Joe in the fall of 1973 I had just been laid off my first job in the landline telephone industry and he had recently graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Communications from Southern Illinois University. I had moved Into a basement room of an old house where I shared a kitchen and a bathroom with three other tenants. The rent was $50/month that included heat, water and electricity and trash pick up. Private line telephone service was available but the tenant had to pay for that. Carbondale had been wired for Cable TV a few years earlier but since my unemployment was $50/week a telephone or cable TV subscription would have cut into my beer money. Besides my new neighborhood bar that I frequented had a pay phone and the TV was hooked up to cable and got at least 10 or 15 channels.
    The old house was at one time a single family two story dwelling that years earlier had been chopped up into rooms like so many other homes in town to rent to college students in the ’60s as the enrollment at SIU exploded from 3500 in 1950 to 20,000+ in 1968 when I allegedly attended classes there. The entrance to the basement was from the outside in the rear of the house so when I first moved in I didn’t pay much notice to the long ramp that ran from the city sidewalk up to the front porch. Like a lot of other off campus student housing a ramp to an entrance meant that at least one of the residents was in a wheelchair.
    I hadn’t lived there very long when I met Joe at the bar with the pay phone and cable TV. He lived on the main floor of the old house where I rented. We ended up closing down the pub on a nightly basis. Usually his full time live in attendant and a few other tenants of the Green Mansion as we called it were there and we would spend the hours talking about the news of the day with the owner John an older Greek fellow who hated Nixon more than the rest of us put together. I wasn’t at the bar the day Nixon resigned but I heard that John bought the house a round for the first and only time. To give Joe’s full time attendant a break those of us frequenting the bar would take turns accompanying Joe home at night and throwing him in the sack. This was my first experience assisting someone who was disabled. I quickly learned Joe’s limitations and how to do the things for him that he could not do for himself.
    Joe was stricken with the polio virus as an infant. As a result of the disease he was never able to walk. He spent his entire life in a wheelchair. The muscles in his back had atrophied due to the virus. He had several of his vertebrae surgically fused together so he could sit up straight. He had limited use of his arms. Since his left arm was stronger he had the joints in the thumb and forefinger of his left hand fused together into a permanent c shaped “claw” as he called it so he could lift a coffee cup or a beer mug. He could not use a knife to cut up food but he had a fork and a spoon with handles that were modified so he could feed himself once the food was diced. Sandwiches were a big item since when they were cut in half he could easily lift one without using any tools.
    Many times people would meet Joe and ask if he was injured in the Vietnam war. More than once I heard him reply: “Nothing as romantic as that.” Others would assume that he had some sort of spinal cord injury with the resulting paralysis. If anyone with his disabilities could be considered fortunate the fact that he had full control over his bodily functions and that he was sexually active would support that notion.
    Joe had a van that was not rigged for him to drive. It was equipped with a ramp at the side door so he could be pushed up into the back and sit in his electric wheelchair behind the driver and front passenger seats. There was also a wooden platform built just below the windows of the rear doors that was used to sleep on. We talked about a west coast trip. We decided that it would be a survey to see what the status of wheelchair accessibility was along the still unfinished Interstate Highway system. Before we could set upon our journey Joe had to train me in all the fine points of attendant care. Make coffee. Drag him out of bed in the morning. Get him on and off the throne. Clean him up. Get him dressed. Breakfast with more coffee. At night it was the reverse. Undressed and transfer from wheelchair to the bed. And be sure to plug in the charger for the two 6 volt car batteries that powered the chair.
    Once we decided to go our itinerary was straightforward. We would be on the road for four weeks. Leave home mid February 1974 and return mid March. We would sleep in the van. When we got to California our first stop would be Thousand Palms just outside of Palm Springs. Tommy King lived in Thousand Palms. He had recently visited friends in Carbondale when Joe and he met. We would then travel to San Diego to visit a former college roommate of mine who was living in La Jolla. Next was to drive California State Route 1 along the Pacific coast to San Francisco and stay with two sisters, the aforementioned friends of Tommy King, that Joe knew. Suzy and Lucy had recently moved to The City from Carbondale. Unfortunately we did not keep a diary or a log of our travel so my recreation of the trip is the best that I can recall. Joe and I did retell the story many times so while I can not claim 100% accuracy of events I’ll be as close as I can remember to what actually happened. Our first day out got us across southern Missouri on US Route 60 to a junction with Interstate 44 near Springfield, Missouri and on to the first travel plaza on the Oklahoma Turnpike. Four hundred miles was a good run for the first day as we did not leave home till about noon.
    The second day ended at a rest area on Interstate 40 in the Texas panhandle in the vicinity of Amarillo. The third stop was at a campground just off the Interstate in New Mexico where we cleaned up and charged his wheelchair. Next travel break was at a rest area on I-17 north of Phoenix. We had turned south at the I-40/I-17 junction at Flagstaff. Joe was interested in Arcosanti. An experimental community established by Paolo Soleri. Although activities began at the Arcosanti site in 1959, that area, some 70 miles north of Phoenix was not yet open to the public in 1974. We did make our way to Cosanti, the gallery, studio and residence of Soleri just east of Phoenix that was open to the public where we spent several hours.
    Thousand Palms, California was just 260 miles west of Phoenix and we got there in time to find a campground and a 7-11 that sold beer and had a payphone. There were several listings with the last name King in the phonebook and I called them all but no one was related to a Tommy King. All Joe knew was that Tommy King lived with his mother in Thousand Palms and that he had a job cleaning pools in Palm Springs. We weren’t on a schedule so I figured that we could spend the next day touring the neighborhoods of Palm Springs looking for a pool cleaning truck parked in front of a house. That’s just what we did for at least six hours. Up one street and down the next. I suppose if either one of us had thought of it we could have checked the Yellow Pages for pool cleaners and asked if someone named Tommy King worked there. But a good idea like that never entered our beer soaked brains. Finally it was time to stop the search for the day. I returned to the same 7-11 with the payphone that we had stopped at the night before to get more beer. Joe was disappointed. “It’s too bad we just can’t do something as romantic as drive 2000 miles and surprise a friend with a visit.” he said. I parked and just as I turned to look for some cash in the console between the two front seats I heard a voice through the driver’s window: “Hello Joe.” It was Tommy King!
    The next day Tommy King suggested that we visit Idyllwild up by San Jacinto Mountain west of Palm Springs. The bar that we ended up in was busy for a weeknight. We met two other folks who were traveling from New Jersey that offered to put us up at the house they were staying at that belonged to a friend of theirs who was gone on a vacation. After sleeping in the van for several nights we couldn’t turn down the offer. There was a fellow in the bar who I noticed was circulating among the customers and introducing himself with a handshake. He came around to me and extended his hand. “My name is Anthony Mazzola. I work for Wolper Productions. We are here to film a TV series called “Primal Man” and we need a few people to help with building sets and running errands. Would you be interested?” Well damn, I said to myself. I didn’t have to think about it too long and after I checked with Joe to see if he would mind sticking around for a day or two so I could pick up some extra cash I told Anthony Mazzola I’d take the job. He gave me directions to the location and told me to meet his brother Richard in the morning who would tell me what to do.
    I found the site not far from town. When I came around a bend on a gravel road it opened up to a large clearing in the woods. This was definitely the real thing. Many trucks with trailers and vans of all sizes. Some were carrying equipment and others were living quarters for the cast and crew. There were lots of people. 100? Maybe more. I don’t know where I first heard that for every one person in front of the camera there were many others behind the scenes. There was a caterer’s truck that had tables set up next to it with food for all. There were animals on the set with their handlers. One of the scenes was to depict an attack by one group of prehistoric men on another. I saw actors on the sidelines rehearsing how they would fight each other. One task I remember doing was building a fence. The only other thing that I recall for certain is that at one point I was told to stay where I was so I would not walk into a shot. A few minutes later someone else asked me why I was standing where I was not doing anything. I told them that I had been warned not to walk into a shot. “Oh, Ok” and whoever it was turned back and left me alone.
    The second day I took Joe to the set. I figured if there were objections to him being there I could collect my pay and leave. No problem. Joe got to see how the animal handlers worked. For dogs it turned out to be a piece of meat the trainer held in his hand off camera to get the animal to follow directions.
    Anthony Mazzola told us he got his start in the movie industry playing in World War II movies made after the war. He was a child in the crowd scenes that were set in bombed out European villages when the American soldiers arrived to liberate the towns. When Anthony Mazzola’s brother Richard found out that we were traveling to San Francisco he invited us to stop by Bishop, California to see a shoot there where the actor Janos Prohaska (the Cookie Bear on the Andy Williams TV show) would hunt a Siberian tiger.
    I think I was paid $25 or $30 for the two days. Joe and I decided we needed to head to San Diego if we were going to get to San Francisco in good time. And we needed to adjust our road time if we were going to stop at Bishop. We met my college roommate for a few hours in La Jolla and then headed north to Los Angeles. Joe wanted to see if we could find the Everest and Jennings wheelchair factory somewhere in the vicinity of Los Angeles. We found the place and when we got inside and Joe asked for a tour an employee said that there was no formal tour available but he would give Joe a brief survey of the plant. I would not be able to accompany them. I went out for gas and coffee and returned an hour or so later. One of the things he learned was that the producers of the Ironside TV show approached E+J to build a wheelchair for Raymond Burr that would have him sitting where he was at eye level of a 6 ft actor. Ultimately the idea was not feasible at the time. It never materialized. Thirty years later a wheel chair was built that lifted the occupant to that height. Joe actually got to use one as a loaner when his chair was in for repair.
    On to San Francisco. The Pacific Coast Highway, California State Route 1 is about 500 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco. We took two days to make the drive. Stopped at some rest area along the way overnight. There is nothing to compare to dozing off in a sleeping bag on the floor of a Ford Econoline van to the sound of waves crashing against the cliffs below. I will not attempt to put into words the majesty of that road as it traces the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. I can not do it justice.
    We made it to San Francisco and had no trouble finding the apartment building where Joe’s friends the sisters Suzy and Lucy lived. They let us have their living room. They both had jobs so we would wait till they left for work before we started the morning routine. One of the things Joe was determined to try was to see if he could get a Cable Car ride. As bum luck would have it the employees of the San Francisco Municipal Railway that operated the streetcars, busses, trolly busses and the cable cars went on strike just days before we arrived. We did all the other touristy things. We visited Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park, the Cliff House and the San Francisco Zoo that was just two blocks from where we were staying.
    After five days it was time to begin our return trip to the midwest. We decided not to make the drive to Bishop and the Primal Man filming as it was too far off the beaten path and I wanted to get as many miles down the road on the first day headed back home. Looking at the map today I’m thinking that we took Interstate 5 out of the Bay Area south to Bakersfield. From there headed to Barstow picking up Interstate 40 and on to Needles, the Colorado River and Arizona. I had already put Joe in the sack as we approached Needles late that night. The radio was on and a news bulletin came over the air that I will never forget. “There has been a plane crash just outside the airport at Bishop, California. The plane was carrying the cast and crew of the television series “Primal Man” produced by Wolper Productions that had just completed two days of filming near Bishop and were returning to Burbank. All 36 people aboard the plane were killed.”

  15. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    And I suppose running around begging for “a penny for the guy” is more cultivated?

  16. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    You’re a superb storyteller.

  17. Mister Bluster says:


    I am humbled by your kind words.

  18. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    It was a great story, and you told it extremely well. I speak as a professional wordsmith myself.

  19. CSK says:

    Those of you who follow the Red Sox will be saddened to learn that Jerry Remy has died. He was 68, and leaves his wife Phoebe and three children.

  20. Mister Bluster says:

    Here are two web pages with information about the tragedy.

    Check-Six (dot) com
    In late May of 1974, producer Jack Kaufman announced that the film of a Siberian tiger hunt, a re-creation of man’s ancestors stalking a tiger through the snow, was recovered from the burned wreckage of the plane, and would appear in the third segment of “Primal Man”.

    GenDisasters (dot) com

  21. Mu Yixiao says:

    I rent out my spare rooms for extra income–monthly, with a 2-week notice.

    A renter gave their notice, citing a Nov 4th move-out. I accepted, said that the 4 days would be pro-rated, but if they moved out before the end of the month (less than the 14-day required notice). We’d be cool.

    She brought a police officer to the house tonight under a “keep the peace”, in order to inform me that she would be moving out tonight.

    There’s no peace to keep. I’m happy to see her go.

    She could have just moved out and left a note saying “I’m gone”. My reaction would have been “Okay. Let me know where to send your deposit return.”

    WTF is wrong with people?

  22. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Did the cop grasp the fact that there was absolutely no threat to the peace?

  23. Mu Yixiao says:


    I’m friends with the Police Chief, and I messaged him with a “WTF??”

    His response was “[officer] thought it was odd.”

    I’m not afraid that the police will do anything (they all know me). I’m just baffled by Renter’s actions.

  24. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I assume that means the cop thought the renter’s complaint was odd, which indeed it was. Does she have a guilty conscience about something, and this was a preemptive strike? In any case–good riddance.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: The highest compliment I ever received from a JC English prof/teacher was, “You tell a good story.”

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: She was paranoid that a landlord might try to use the law to take her for more money. I’ve known really scummy landlords over the years, they invoke obscure clauses in rental agreements/the law with the sole goal being to screw people out of money by getting them into court. Obviously she has too. If it’s a fait accompli most judges will just say, “Sucks to be you.”

    Don’t take it personal.

  27. CSK says:

    I’ve been a professor of English myself. We know whereof we speak.

    You do tell a good story.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Well thank you. (as the OHB most humbly bows)

  29. CSK says:

    Je vous en prie.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You misunderstand “academic freedom.” It’s not about academics being free to make assertions about things they can argue and prove; it’s about administrators being free from hearing things they don’t want to hear.

    (From an argument I first made in about 1998, IIRC.)