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Zombies, the lamest monsters

In Books, Entertainment, Movies, Opinion, sociology, television, Uncategorized on October 20, 2014 at 11:28 am

DIH LOGOHalloween is upon us and, once again, zombie-mania continues to reign supreme. From so-called, community “Zombie Walk” events to AMC’s season premier of the “Walking Dead” boasting the highest-rated cable television show in history, Americans certainly seem to be zombie-obsessed. But why; what is it about an animated, decaying corpse that seems to capture people’s imaginations and gets them to shell out millions of dollars in search of the next big zombie fix?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word, “zombie,” has its origins in West Africa, but the concept of the animated corpse most likely comes from Haitian folklore. Legend suggests that the dead are raised by magical means to walk the earth again and do the bidding of the one who performed the revival ritual, as a sort of creepy slave.

Zombies first appeared in American popular literature as early as 1929, then shortly after, actor Bela Lugosi, famous for his portrayal of “Dracula,” starred in the film, “White Zombie,” which introduced the familiar personification of the creature. The modern American zombie pop-culture most likely took hold after the release of George Romero’s 1968 film, “Night of the Living Dead,” although they were never actually referred to by that word in the movie.

zombiesZombies in modern tales aren’t usually created by magic, but science. Today’s authors have penned a more realistic origin for what has become known as the “zombie apocalypse.” In most current story plots, a rogue virus escapes to the population, infecting everyone and turning them into, essentially, zombies. Instead of one or two slave zombies on the loose, entire populations of walking dead murderously meander across the globe, destroying civilization as they consume the living for sustenance; right, whatever.

Really, except for the fact that they’re pretty gross to look at and can sneak up on people, as far as monsters go zombies are probably the lamest (pun intended) and least scary creatures ever dreamed up. Think about it – re-animated dead people, hobbling along with one foot dragging behind them and moving so slowly, any granny on a walker could whiz past. What’s scary about that?

These monsters have no motive for being bad and there is no end goal or desire for world domination. They’re just hungry. They wander the night, aimlessly, hoping only to happen upon a fresh brain to consume.

And would someone please explain why they even need to eat anything? They’re dead! What possible nutritional value could there be in anything for a zombie? And why are they bleeding always? Does it need to be pointed out again, they’re dead – there shouldn’t be any blood pumping.

Add to that killing them is really a piece of cake, depending on which version of zombie lore you adhere to. In the modern, “Walking Dead” style, all you need to do is smash in their heads or decapitate them or something. But, according to Haitian lore, the goal was not to destroy them but to release these poor souls from their magically-induced, wandering purgatory and there were several methods available to do that, like pouring salt on them.

In any case, zombies are just not all that intimidating compared to vampires or werewolves (ignoring the Twilight-styled, sparkling, Calvin Klein model types). And yet, inevitably, story protagonists nearly always get caught by the marauding zombies and get their brains eaten. Really, how dumb does someone in a monster movie need to be to actually get caught by a crippled, decaying dead guy?

So, here is the best possible advice for escaping zombies – run! Or, just walk fast; it’s not that hard to get away from zombies. Just be sure to sacrifice the comic relief character first, giving you extra time (not like you need it).

If for some reason the zombie gets too close, and yes, that will be because you are really, incredibly stupid, just grab the arms and pull them off – how hard can it be? They’re dead and decaying, right? Hopefully the zombie fascination will diminish soon, leaving room for even more ridiculous obsessions, like brooding, teenage werewolves. Oh wait, that’s been done already too. Oh well. Happy Halloween!
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is a production of GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing. More at gerydeer.com.


Police officers are people too

In Crime, Dayton Ohio News, history, Local News, National News, Opinion, Politics, sociology, Technology on October 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm

DIH LOGOWith so much attention over the last several months focused on the tragic shootings at the Beavercreek Walmart and in Ferguson, Missouri, the police are being vilified in the media now more than ever.  As these issues play out in the court of public opinion, people must remember the importance of police and that these men and women are, after all, only human.

Regardless of what people think politically or racially about the situation at the Beavercreek Walmart, without hesitation officers went in to protect the public. What happened next is a tragedy for certain, but irrelevant to this particular discussion. The point here is that the police put their lives on the line because that’s their job.

No one is suggesting that police officers are perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination. It does, however, take a particular kind of individual to work as a police officer, at any level. There are those who suggest, however, that the majority of cops are just muscle-headed, former military or high-school football jocks looking to legally exercise their aggressions and bullying nature. Those people need to watch less television.

If a police officer seems detached or cold when he or she is speaking to you it’s because they don’t know you or your intentions. They are constantly on guard, and that’s the way they need to be or they could endanger their own lives or the lives of people around them in a given situation. Keep in mind that badge on their chest may be respectable to everyone else, but makes a pretty good target for the bad guys.

police1Are there racist, misogynistic, and anti-gay police officers? Of course there are, as much as with any other profession. Prejudices, regardless of how liberal one pretends or tries to be, are normal, and not always outwardly racist or violent. But condemning the entire body of those who protect and serve because of the actions of a few does not make one a liberal or progressive thinker – it makes he or she just as prejudiced as they believe the police to be.

The average person avoids interaction with police officers wherever possible. Most Americans only encounter one during routine traffic stops. But they are always there doing their jobs, and for surprisingly little reward, all things considered.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, as of May 2008 (the most recent, confirmable data available), the average annual wage for police and sheriff’s patrol officers in America was just under $53,000. How many people would willingly put their life on the line for fifty grand a year? Many officers work 10 to 12 hour shifts and smaller departments around the country remain understaffed due to budget cuts and a lack of qualified applicants who prefer big-city jobs.

As for overly-violent and aggressive officers, unfortunately, they exist too. Hopefully, as video surveillance and smart phone technology becomes more invasive, any officers who exert excessive force – above and beyond what is necessary to defend themselves or subdue a suspect – will be discovered and properly disciplined.

On the occasions when the cops are the bad guys, that’s a tragedy, and labels the rest with a bad rap. Once again, remember, police officers are people to, with all the same weaknesses and temptations afflicting every other man and woman since the models first came out.

Even so, the police are not the enemy. Most do their jobs with honor and can be depended upon to help in any time of need, by any citizen.

Final thought: Where guns and emotions are involved something bad will always follow. A little girl cries in the dark after learning that her mother won’t be coming home from her police duty tonight after being stabbed trying to save an old lady from a mugger. A sobbing mother grieves the death of her wayward son after learning he was shot by police when he stabbed a police woman during a failed robbery. No one ever wins. On both sides there is always tragedy.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing. http://www.gerydeer.com

McAfee offers new product for lower energy costs, cleaner indoor air

In Business, finances, Health, Local News, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on October 10, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Dayton, OH - Forecasters predict a repeat of last year’s severe cold this winter bringing with it higher energy costs for homeowners. To prepare for the arctic blast, people may seal up windows and doors to keep out the blustery weather, but forget how much heat can be lost into attics and crawl spaces because of leaky ductwork.

Sealing up the house also traps harmful contaminants inside, complicating asthma, allergies and other respiratory illnesses. But one Miami Valley company now offers a UL-certified solution that helps to both increase heating efficiency and maintain cleaner indoor air quality.money-houseMcAfee Heating and Air Conditioning now offers Aeroseal, a patented air duct diagnostic and sealing technology. “Duct leaks are commonly the root cause of uneven heating, high energy bills, and poor indoor air quality,” said Greg McAfee, president of the award-winning HVAC company which has served area residents and businesses for more than two decades. “By using Aeroseal technology, McAfee can ensure that all the duct work is sealed properly, improving these areas for concern throughout the home.”

The Aeroseal process works first by using specialized software that allows the technician to accurately measure the duct leakage. Then the escaping air is put under pressure and causes polymer sealant to stick first to the edges of a leak until the leak is closed.

“Aeroseal was recently named one of the top 23 most important energy conservation technologies for consumers by The Department of Energy,” McAfee added. “While there are various duct-sealing methods available, Aeroseal is the most effective because it can reach all leaks, even ones hidden behind walls and under insulation. We are offering this unique process because it can help homeowners improve air quality and furnace efficiency, saving them money and offering peace of mind.”

For more information about McAfee and Aeroseal, call (937) 438-1976 or visit www.mcair.com.


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