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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.

 

Former Dayton television journalist Asa George dead at 34

In Dayton Ohio News, Local News, Media, National News, News Media, State News, Uncategorized, World News on September 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm
Asa George

Asa George, on the set of Fox 45 / ABC 22 News, May 2008. Photo by Gery L. Deer

By Gery L. Deer

Editor, The Jamestown Comet

Former Dayton broadcast journalist Asa George was found dead in her suburban Milwaukee home on September 6 after family members expressed concerns to police regarding her safety. According to a report by the Milwaukee Journal, George’s father, who lives in California, had been unable to reach the 34-year-old for four days and called the local police to check on her.

CBS television affiliate WDJT-TV cited a Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office report stating that firefighters entered the home through a window where they found a badly decomposed female body in a tub full of water. A malnourished boxer dog, two empty vodka bottles and numerous prescription medications were reportedly discovered as well. The body was positively identified as that of Asa George on September 12 after dental records were received from Dayton.

The Journal reported that relatives informed investigators that George had battled alcoholism for several years. Family members reportedly told police that her career had suffered greatly because of her drinking problem, and she had received treatment for it several times.

A press release provided by the West Allis Police Department stated, “Officers, detectives and members of the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating to determine the circumstances surrounding this incident to include positive identification and cause/manner of death.”  Although identification has been confirmed, the medical examiner’s office has yet to release a cause of death pending toxicology results.

Asa George was the cover story for the May 29, 2008 edition of the Times Community Newspapers' "Your Home" magazine, written by Gery L. Deer

Asa George was the cover story for the May 29, 2008 edition of the Times Community Newspapers’ “Your Home” magazine, written by Gery L. Deer

Early risers became acquainted with George in 2004, when she became co-anchor on the WKEF-ABC22/WRGT-Fox45 morning news programs. In 2008, Xenia Daily Gazette columnist Gery L. Deer interviewed George for a special spotlight cover story in the Times Community’s Your Home magazine where she opened up about her life and career.

“I was born in Madison, Wisconsin, but only lived there about a year before moving to Houston, Texas,” she said. “I graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in journalism and then on to the University of Salamanca in Spain where I studied Art History and Spanish.” Prior to coming to the Miami Valley, George worked as a reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Austin, Texas.

At the time of the Your Home interview, George seemed content to call Dayton home. “Dayton has been a great place for me,” George said. “I have grown professionally, and people here have been so nice and welcoming. I love the fact that I get to meet so many people, whether through reporting or at charity events.”

George was an avid animal lover and regularly volunteered for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, doing everything from acting as master of ceremonies at local events to fostering a puppy.  For three consecutive years, she hosted the Furry Scurry and Hair Ball fundraiser events. “Anything the Humane Society needs me to do, I am there for them,” she told Your Home. George was also a great supporter of the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Television journalism can be an overwhelmingly busy job, but while in Dayton, George always seemed to find time for friends and family. “I love to spend time with friends and eating out; sushi is my favorite, and I also enjoy cooking,” she once said.

Other relaxing time, she explained, was devoted to more active personal endeavors such as riding her motorcycle, painting and lifting weights.  “I also enjoy boxing and riding my motorcycle,” she said. “I also love to travel.” George left Dayton in 2009 and returned to Wisconsin where she held her anchor position at channel 58, WDJT-TV in Milwaukee, before she became a freelancer in 2011.

During her short broadcast career, George was recognized several times for outstanding work. In 2004, she received the Nebraska Associated Press Award for General News and in 2006 was honored by the Ohio Associated Press.

IMG_6310Editorial Note: I had the privilege of knowing Asa George, but only for a very short time. She was always pleasant, fun and thoughtful, a credit to our profession. In light of this terrible tragedy, I hope she finally has peace and wish for everyone to keep her memory bright and honor her life. She will be missed.

– Gery L. Deer

Stop the presses. Please?

In Children and Family, Entertainment, Media, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology, Technology, television, Uncategorized on December 18, 2012 at 10:41 am

mic1DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

Following the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, I’ve debated whether to weigh in as yet another part of the media’s relentless armchair quarterbacking of the tragedy. When I finally decided to write about it, I thought I’d take a slightly different approach. Even though I am a part of the machinery of the American press, I believe they deserve a scolding.

From the moment the news hit the wires that a gunman had opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary, the press has been relentless in its coverage. Every media outlet has surpassed the necessary “news” aspects of the story, as each tries to scoop the other with grotesque detail, or by displaying the most painful tale from surviving parents and children.

None of this is necessary. As Newtown tries to begin what is certain to be a long and difficult recovery from these events, it has become a media circus. Completely oblivious to how invasive and unwelcome they are, television news programs are broadcasting remotely from every open parking lot, thrusting microphones and cameras into the faces of grieving parents and neighbors.

If the pointless commentary by coffee mug wielding morning show hosts isn’t enough to make you sad for the state of our news agencies, factor in that both sides of the gun control debate are using this awful event as a pulpit for their ridiculous agendas. Other commentators suggested the shooting would distract the public from the Fiscal Cliff debate. Apparently, the ignorance of such an unprofessional media just continues to flow. Politicizing such unspeakable tragedy is reprehensible and, for lack of a stronger word, moronic in the highest degree.

Additionally, when the media gives exploiters a platform, they are just as guilty. While the American press has the responsibility to report, they also have an equal liability to know when enough is enough and let respect and good taste outweigh greed for ratings gold.

No matter how many guest experts are interviewed or what level of speculation goes into the motivations of the troubled man who pulled the trigger, or even how many cameras are shoved into the faces of survivors, we may never know the real reasons why these things happen. Endlessly debating the issue on morning talk shows will do nothing more than provide a better plan for the next unstable loner to do it more efficiently.

As the days and weeks pass, the frenzy will die down and Newtown residents will be left to deal with things on their own. Unfortunately, because of the nature of this event and our country’s twisted fascination with mass murder and other horrific crimes, the families will be faced with constant reminders in the media, books, online, everywhere. They will have something in common with those who lost loved ones in the Twin Towers on 9/11. They will forever be forced to relive that day over and over because of the public’s sick thirst for grotesque detail.

From my point of view, this will happen again; not because of guns or some madman’s quest for power but because our nation aggrandizes the killer and the event. It’s likely that there are more mentally ill people out there who see an act of deadly aggression as his or her only way to get noticed and distort that undying craving for attention into an internally-driven martyr complex.

Those who guard our schools, theatres and malls need to be on the alert, now more than ever. Thanks in no small part to the media’s continuous exposition, somewhere out there, sitting quietly in a dark room, the next shooter is deteriorating into madness and admiring the mayhem of this most recent horror.

Make no mistake – I do not blame the media for the acts of a madman. But I do blame them for their lack of good taste and journalistic judgment. We are lucky to have a free press, but there is a point where complete coverage becomes blatant commercialization and exploitation of tragedy.

 

 

The Key To Identity Theft Prevention Is Preparation

In Business, Economy, Education, Opinion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on June 19, 2012 at 7:35 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

Apart from locks and security systems, one of the most basic things we can do to keep our homes and families secure is to take steps to prevent identity theft. When the bad guys get hold of critical private information it is not hard for them to start using your information to their benefit.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft is the act of using personally identifying information, like name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

The crime of identity theft may be perpetrated in various ways, from renting an apartment to opening a credit card. The thefts may actually go unnoticed for some time, often until the victim notes some kind of anomaly in his or her bank statement or credit report. Sometimes the victims do not find out until they are contacted by a debt collecting service.

So what can you do to prevent identity theft? Probably the single most effective weapon against this type of crime is knowledge. Knowledge of the methods used by these criminals to steal your information as well as a better awareness of your own records and personal financial information can help you beat many forms of this crime.

One thing you can do is to closely monitor your personal information, such as credit reports and monthly bills, to uncover any problems as soon as possible. Identity thieves depend on the inaction of their victims. Unless the total on a bill is outrageously high, often people just pay it, without scrutinizing the contents.

Another preventative measure against this kind of crime is to be mindful of where your old paperwork goes when it is thrown away. When disposing of any paperwork containing personal information, be sure to shred the documents completely – especially medical files, checks, and credit card statements.

Most people get credit card offers in the mail on a regular basis and just toss them into the trash. This is also something that could lead to an identity theft problem. Criminals will often scour trash for these papers and open credit cards in your name using those documents.

Also, be sure when buying online to use only secured websites and ask them about their security before buying anything if it seems questionable. If you notice anything suspicious on any credit reports, bank statements, or other critical documents, contact the creditor or company as soon as possible.

For those who enjoy making online purchases on a regular basis, create a ‘dummy’ email address at Yahoo or Gmail specifically to be used for these transactions. Retailers often sell email and other contact information to marketing companies which then flood inboxes with junk mail. Some of the incoming messages may come from illegitimate sellers using personal information to obtain passwords and credit card information. Using a different email address allows better control over incoming junk mail and limits the chances of clicking on a link that might inadvertently open the door to an identity thief.

If you have already been plagued by this kind of criminal action, you are not alone. First, contact the authorities. Most police departments now have an identity theft division or someone designated to help with this kind of crime.

Be ready! Keep, readily available, a complete list of all credit cards, online accounts, checking accounts, and so on, including any PIN numbers, passwords and customer service contact information. If something should happen, you can shut down these accounts quickly before more damage is done.

Stay diligent and continue to monitor your private information closely for several months. There is no way to really say how long the effects of identity theft can last.For more information on how to prevent identity theft or what to do if you think you may have been a victim, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at http://www.ftc.gov.

 

Empty Promises Headline 2012 Presidential Campaign

In Business, Economy, Education, Jobs, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on June 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines
 

Remember when good oratory skills and talk of “change” at least seemed like a good start? The concept might have made a great slogan for candidate Obama’s election run, but there’s very little about it that would apply to his presidency. But would Mitt Romney have been able to achieve any greater success given the same circumstances? Probably not.

The president’s dismal job performance numbers and Romney’s complete lack of connection with those bringing home anything less than a seven-figure salary leave both of them a mediocre choice in November. So far, even the media can’t figure out what to say about these two.

In recent weeks, some of the biggest campaign headlines focus on relatively pointless issues like how much Obama is outspending Romney in advertising or the former governor sending hecklers to an event where the president was campaigning. It’s all fluff and no substance – again.

If something doesn’t happen to really define these candidates, the country may see a repeat of the 2008 election when many Americans were just tired of “W” and hisWashingtoninsiders. Most were happy see him gone but neither did they want a left-wing, America-downing liberal or even another Republican crony. So, who better to put in the White House but an untested, junior senator from Illinois?

As they say at Wrigley Field, “Swing and a miss.” Instead of the hopeful changes promised by the Obama camp, the country slipped deeper into recession and near depression-level unemployment which, incidentally, has yet to return to pre-Obama numbers.

But wait, there’s more. Challenging the president this fall is another millionaire – yes President Obama is a millionaire several times over – the Massachusetts Mormon, former Governor Willard Mitt Romney. Here’s a man so rich and out of touch he seemed in one speech to actually believe that every housewife has two Cadillacs and a summer home inCalifornia.

Why is Romney so out of touch? It might have something to do with that silver spoon sticking he always seems to be gagging on. Despite his profession of “humble beginnings” and being a “self-made man,” he attended Stanford, Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, and finally Harvard.

Given that kind of background, it’s highly unlikely he has any idea what it would be like to have to stand in an unemployment office or apply for some kind of welfare assistance after a layoff. But financial extremism is a problem for both parties in this election.

While the liberal left whines about conservative campaign funding from big business, the president is filling his war chest with least as much from the millionaire actors and studio execs inHollywood. Well, at least both parties are getting their cash from people who make a living off the public while pretending to be what they’re not.

 It’s likely that the 2012 election will come down to two things – the economy and jobs – something neither candidate has much to crow about. However, no one can really be congratulated for that. Many experts suggest that the economy would have eventually recovered in a natural progression without sinking billions of tax dollars into the problem.

However it plays out, in order to reach the voters, Obama and Romney will each need to stop the mud-slinging campaigns and tell the public how they will make things better. So far, all they’ve done is rail against each other. Without some real substance and a plan to get behind, the undecided voter will be stepping into the polls simply to choose the lesser of “who cares.”

Don’t Believe Everything You Read. Seriously, don’t.

In Entertainment, Local News, Media, Opinion, Politics, psychology, television, Uncategorized on April 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

For reasons I still can’t totally understand, many people insist on believing whatever they read on a printed (or digital) page, regardless of how inane or baseless the material may seem. Generally the topic or tone falls in line with the reader’s interests or personal opinions and if it strikes them just the right way they fall for it, bait, hook and headline.

For example, while I appreciate the loyalty of my readers, I always encourage them to explore for themselves whatever topics I present and not simply take my word for it. An op-ed (opinion-editorial) column like mine offers one or two viewpoints about a particular topic but always has a ‘slant’ to it. For the author, the column can serve several purposes.

Some op-ed columnists are simply trying to put a voice to a particular viewpoint and provide food for thought to the reader. Others are doing everything they can to sway public opinion, by whatever means available to them, even by misrepresenting the facts.

Talk radio personalities and television news commentators offer the broadcast version of a written editorial column, usually with a much wider reach and, thus, a larger audience. Broadcast celebrity opinionists (my word for them) have one goal which is to please the advertisers by increasing ratings.

Banging on the desk and yelling, playing sound bites out of context and using as much spin as possible, these over paid blowhards ply the mushy brains of audiences with a lot of self-appointed authority. That authority is false but accepted by the masses, leaving them unable to tell the difference between fact and sensationalism.

Eventually, the Internet provided yet another outlet as audiences took to the computer screen for their news and information. So much pseudo-journalism has flooded the web that many now question the legitimacy and accuracy, not to mention the political slant, of modern news agencies. Take blogs for example.

The word blog is a shortened form of web log. Blogging started out simply enough as the ramblings of disgruntled workers or bored housewives who found an audience for their personal diatribes in the vast wasteland of the information superhighway. Over time, the number of blog followers has begun to surpass broadcast news and print journalism.

Depending on the content, a blog can attract millions of readers worldwide. According to the website InitialTraffic.com, the official blog of The Huffington Post was the most visited blog website of 2011 citing millions of hits for the publication. Other blogs have become mainstream resources, having transformed from op-ed material to news and video content.

Competition for subscribers and high-volume audiences is fierce between media outlets and some will do whatever it takes to keep advertising and subscription revenue coming in. It’s important that readers know the difference between opinion, editorial, news and sensationalist content. But how do you tell the difference?

An article or broadcast story that can be considered ‘news’ will provide the reader with the who, what, why, when and how of a topic, giving you the information without commentary or speculation. An opinion or editorial piece will include conjecture or literally offer the writer’s views in an attempt to slant the story or alter public perception of the topic.

In my columns, I generally cite the facts of a current event, a quote by a politician (in its entirety, so the context is clear), express the concerns of fellow citizens or I will base the work on a historical reference of some kind. The idea is to provide the solid, factual basis for whatever argument I wish to make.

For all of the chatter online, on television and on the radio, your local newspaper, in my opinion, is still your best bet for accurate news coverage regarding events immediately affecting you and your family. Online or in print, it offers a ground-level look at the day-to-day happenings without the ‘noise.’ Whatever your choice for news and commentary, be an informed reader.

 

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In Uncategorized on March 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm

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