“I saw six men kicking and punching the mother-in-law. My neighbor said, ‘Are you going to help?’ I said, ‘No, Six should be enough.’” – Les Dawson
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” – Elie Wiesel
“A man only becomes wise when he begins to calculate the approximate depth of his ignorance.” - Gian Carlo Menotti
“If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.” – George Carlin
“All generalizations are false, including this one.” – Mark Twain
“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” – Douglas Adams
“Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.” – John N. Mitchell
“What you perceive, your observations, feelings, interpretations, are all your truth. Your truth is important. Yet it is not The Truth.” – Linda Ellinor
“The unreal is more powerful than the real, because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on.” – Chuck
“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”― Franz Kafka
I fear as I write this, it may already be too late. By the time I am finished, the zombies will have attacked, and there will be very few readers left to convince of the imminent doom.
In the past few weeks, a face was eaten in Florida; intestines were ripped out and thrown at police officers in New Jersey; heart and brain portions were consumed in Maryland; human male genitals were served for dinner in Tokyo; a man ate his wife’s lips so they couldn’t be sewn back on to kiss another man; and for history’s sake, let’s not forget the woman who ate her infant son’s brain and toes in 2009. If those morsels of flesh-eating mayhem aren’t enough to alert you to some sort of flaw in the fabric of normality, check out the bizarre things that have been happening in the past two weeks across the country.
To top the eek factor of the cannibalistic stories in the news, our nation has been engaging in a collective zombie-apocalypse discussion ever since the CDC so brilliantly incorporated zombies into their marketing strategy. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the CDC, in conjunction with the secret illuminati branch of the government, know of this coming zombie apocalypse, or are perhaps even choreographing it.
This ongoing, collective discussion of a possible zombie apocalypse has captured the imagination of the masses, and if you’ve ever heard of The Secret, you know what this collective imagination is capable of. So, let’s face it— if the zombie apocalypse hasn’t already started (which, in my opinion, it has), it soon will.
Many of us are asking ourselves what this zombie apocalypse business is all about, and why people are flocking to the idea like Trekkies to a sci-fi convention. My curiosity lies in why it took so long for people to realize the potentiality of and fear for a zombie apocalypse, as I have been having nightmares about it for years.
I’m not a rocket scientist or student of Freud, but I feel confident assessing my irrational fear of zombies. The thing that scares me most in life, aside from snakes, is people. People are freakin’ scary. Zombie apocalypse movies give me nightmares because they resemble my greatest fear: hoards of evil, mindless, soulless people whose only desire is to consume, as quickly as possible, every resource (in the case of zombies, non-zombie flesh) in sight. I imagine my general sense of sucking at life also contributes to my zombie nightmares. I break almost every piece of electronic equipment I touch. I start fires unintentionally (but don’t have the confidence or know-how to actually start, say, a grill or campfire). I have very few, if any, practical survival skills, and positive thinking only gets me so far before “reality” sets in. If the zombies start attacking, I will be in trouble.
Listening to these responses made me even more certain that the zombie apocalypse is right around the corner, because in order for there to be a zombie apocalypse, there has to be zombies. These people are ready. The apocalypse isn’t even full blown, and there are already willing participants. To top it off, the Oxford dictionary explains that a zombie can be conceived of as a dull or apathetic person. Likewise, Adele Nozedar notes in her book, Secret Signs and Symbols that “the term zombie has come to mean a person who carries out certain actions automatically without seeming to apply any conscious thought or decision making process.”
I know why zombies have been giving me nightmares for at least a decade, but why have zombies entered the collective mind of America as the monster of the year? Is it all because of the CDC’s propaganda? The concept of a zombie as an animated corpse or otherwise “husk” of a person under the influence of a sorcerer has existed for centuries; the concept of a zombie as an undead monster with an insatiable desire for brains has existed since the late 1960s; the zombie as a diseased, crazed, living freak is more recent, and the idea of a zombie as a dull or apathetic person must have existed at least since prescription drugs became so popular. So what is propelling this zombie-apocalypse compulsion right now?
Author Stephen T. Asma looks at the history of monsters in the mortal imagination in his book “On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears,” and asserts that the monsters we conceive of and insert into our popular culture (i.e., through movies) parallel societal conditions of the time.
So, perhaps the constant threat of “bioterrorism” made us choose zombies. Perhaps all the dead or wounded warriors with missing limbs in our recent wars remind us of the decaying, undead corpses. Perhaps those aimless individuals who do nothing but stare at their cell phones or televisions compel us to resurrect a monster in their image. Maybe our fears of dwindling natural resources coupled with our complete inability to stop consuming everything in sight make us sympathetic to the zombies. All in all, a zombie apocalypse seems like the perfect metaphor for the state of our society. Zombies survive on the flesh of the uninfected living, but they consume the edible ones so rapidly that their own demise is imminent. They will eat their way through all the eligible people, and there will be no way to renew the resource of non-infected human flesh. Zombies can’t eat zombies, and people can’t eat money.
That said, I have spent a lot of time thinking of alternative solutions to survival in the pre-apocalyptic “real world,” and have concluded that should the incidences of flesh-eating, zombie-like behavior escalate, I will not “join ’em.” The best way to survive any situation (zombie apocalypse included) is to decide you want to live. If it gets to the point where “living” means giving in (“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”) and becoming “undead,” I’ll take person number three’s advice and end my own life. I will never choose to be a zombie. Will you?
It’s a couple hours after sundown and a short, old man in a black suit is about to enter a grocery store. He’s had a particularly difficult week, today being the worst of it, and he wants some comfort food before heading home to wind down. He selects a cart and begins to shop. The store is relatively empty of shoppers, which pleases him.
As the old man selects his items, he notices a periodic resistance from the cart accompanied by an awful skidding sound. One of the front wheels is sticky and keeps locking up. This frustrates him. He jostles the cart a bit to loosen the wheel, but instead it locks sideways completely. Now, the resistance and noise are continuous. His frustration rises to anger. The black tie around his neck feels tight, so he tugs at the knot and unbuttons the collar.
Rather than trade the defective cart for a better one, he opts to try ignoring it. He just keeps pushing, keeps shopping. The old man assures himself that he only came for a few things and it shouldn’t take long. However, the wheel is all he can think about, now. He strains to move the cart forward and the sound is loud, almost painful to his ears. Other customers have noticed it and peer at him inquisitively. He paws sweat from his spotted, bald head. He is embarrassed by their damned sideways looks, this damned sideways wheel. He grinds his false teeth, stifling rage. He blames it all on the wheel. To him, it is an injustice that Chance stuck him with this cart. Nonetheless, he elects to keep pushing.
Though long past his projected time, the old man finally reaches the checkout. A young girl stands behind the register, tall with dark skin and long hair, probably too young to know anything. “Hello,” she says, meekly. “Find everything alright?” He says nothing while placing his items on the conveyer belt. He thinks the question is inane and not worth answering. Can’t she tell he doesn’t have time for this nonsense?
The cashier takes brief, derisive glances at him as she scans and bags his groceries. He can feel her ridiculing him. Who is she to judge? She probably didn’t even finish school. She has no right. Damned young people, do they think they know everything? The old man curls his lips in as his brow furrows into a stark V. His face is flushed with barely contained fury.
Quietly, the girl asks, “Do you have–”
“Why in God’s name are you whispering?” He barks at her. “Speak up!”
Wide-eyed and startled, she clears her throat. “Do you have your discount card?”
The old man thrusts a hand into his jacket pocket and grabs his keys before slapping them down on the conveyer. There are over a dozen various store cards attached to the key ring. She picks them up cautiously with her thumb and pointer finger and sighs discreetly while searching for the appropriate card. After scanning it, she hands the keys back. His total isn’t affected at all.
He glares at her. She did that on purpose, he assumes, just to push his buttons. She knew that it wouldn’t save him any money, but she made him get his card out anyway, just to make his night worse. Why is this happening to him? It just isn’t fair. The old man is now seeing red. He stuffs his keys back into the jacket pocket and takes out his wallet. He withdraws a few bills and slaps them down. “Here, take it!” He shouts. “Hurry it up!”
“Sir,” the cashier starts, carefully picking up the money and opening the register. “Please lower your voice. You don’t have to yell like this–”
“Don’t tell me what to do, you moron! Now, give me my change!”
Without another word, the girl calmly presents his remainder. The old man snatches it from her hand and stuffs his bags back into the cart. The girl watches him with a look of deep concern as he struggles to push the cart to the exit. The loud noise from the skidding wheel can be heard throughout the whole store. A few registers down, a young male cashier with short, blonde hair and glasses turns his head slowly as the old man passes by, flinching as the wheel grinds and screeches against the waxed tile floor. Having no customers in his line, he waits a moment before walking over to the girl.
“You know, you could’ve had him kicked out of the store for the way he spoke to you.”
“Yeah, I know,” she says, removing her name tag and apron.
“Why didn’t you tell him that your shift was already over? Your light was off before he even came into your line. It’s not like he could’ve argued.” The boy pushes his glasses up and scratches his stubbly neck.
“I felt bad for him. He looked really upset and I wasn’t in a big rush to get out of here, so I thought I’d cut him a break.” She reaches below the register to retrieve her purse. “I just wanted to help, but now I feel like a doormat.”
“I told you. Stop being so nice and you won’t get walked on so much.”
She smiles at him sadly. “You might be right after all. See you later.” The girl walks to the front desk to clock out.
“See you,” the boy says, starting back toward his register. He sees a tiny elderly woman standing there with her groceries already loaded onto the belt. “I apologize, ma’am. I didn’t mean to keep you waiting.”
“Oh, that’s quite alright, dear,” she says, smiling. “I haven’t been here but a moment.”
Outside, the old man finally reaches the pavement. He is tired and sweating from his outburst, as well as the exertion from pushing the broken cart. His car is parked in the space closest to the door. Not much farther to go, now. But as the cart crosses onto to the macadam, the resistance is increased. He struggles harder to move it, and a sudden pain ignites in his arms, shocking him. The old man pauses for a moment, hoping it will subside. It doesn’t. He damns the wheel for causing this. He feels mocked by its persistence.
Gathering up strength, he gives the cart a great, desperate shove. Suddenly, the wheel becomes unstuck and the cart shoots forward, throwing the old man off of his balance. He grips the handle to keep himself from falling, but one hand slips free and the cart tips over sideways, taking him to the ground with it. His groceries leap out of their bags and scatter, and pain shoots throughout his whole body. His mouth cracks open with a moan, which rises to a bitter yell. He stops and winces; even yelling is painful, now. The old man struggles to get back onto his feet.
“Hey!” He hears footsteps approaching from behind. Someone grips him under each arm and helps to hoist him up. “Are you okay?” she asks. He turns to see the cashier girl, out of uniform. This close, she stinks of cigarette smoke.
“No!” he says. “I’m not! I just want to go home!”
“Okay, then.” The girl crouches down, gathers his groceries off of the pavement and rebags them. She tips the cart back onto its wheels, and sits the bags neatly inside. “There you go. Would you like help getting these into your car?” She smiles warmly.
He stares at her for a moment, feeling disarmed. Why is she helping him? “Yes,” he says. “If you would. Please.”
The girl is closing the trunk as the old man closes his driver side door. He situates himself in the seat, still in quite a lot of pain. He puts the key in the ignition and turns it. He thinks about the countless times he’s listened to this particular engine start, shopped at this particular store, driven down this street and back home to his wife. He thinks about how ordinary everything felt before, and how there won’t be any lights on in the house when he gets there. He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and squeezes the steering wheel to feel the engine’s vibration.
The old man glances over at the girl, who is pushing the cart to the store entrance. The wheel locks up on her. She stops, peers down at it, and gives the wheel a light kick before rolling it smoothly back inside.
Oscar Lowe, a young nursing home assistant, feels alone amid the crowd of college students. But he soon falls for beautiful, brainy Iris, a medical student, and finds himself swept up into her quirky world, specifically when it comes to family. Iris’s brother, Eden, is emotionally detached and believes that he can heal people by the power of music, and he’s willing to go to devastating lengths just to prove it. Can Oscar and Iris determine Eden’s next move before things take a turn for the worse?
For Anna and Francesca, leaving childhood is an exciting time. New curves and more passionate imaginations have taken over, and there’s nothing the girls want to do more than to headlong into womanhood. But after a stunning blow to their friendship, the girls separate only to find their sexuality taking them down roads they never thought they would travel.
A truly gripping selection of horror stories, this book features classics from noted writers like Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, Christopher Fowler, and Neil Gaiman, just to name a few. This collection will surely chill your blood and it is recommended that you read it with the lights on!
Andrew Dahl is thrilled to be a new recruit for the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid. However, he soon learns that there are three rules that constantly seem to run their missions:
1)Every mission involves some confrontation with hostile aliens.
2)During these missions, the captain, chief science officer, and handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive.
3)One low-ranked crew member bites it.
Needless to say, these low-ranking crew members–including Andrew–try their best to not get picked for these missions. But then Andrew finds some crucial information that completely transforms his coworkers’ understanding of what these missions are really all about.
Think you know American history? Think again! The weird “facts” we thought were true–all that nonsense about hatters getting mad off mercury, woman had teeny-tiny waists, people bathed once a year–are exposed in this laugh-out-loud collection of debunked myths and legends.
Renouned chef Marcus Samuelsson shares the rags-to-riches story of his life. It starts with his humble beginnings as a young boy orphaned through tuberculosis and soon leads us on a journey of adoption, new cultural surroundings, and a whole lot of chicken-cooking. From early on, there was no doubt what Marcus would be when he grew up.
Amanda’s lost her exotic husband to another woman and it’s now time for her to heal. She knows she needs an escape and decides to do so through a lovely beach vacation. The relaxing atmosphere seems like just what she needs…until she is approached by an older divorcee who gives her all of his attention. Is this the opportunity to move on she so desperately wants and needs?
When Nick’s wife, Amy, disappears on their 5th wedding anniversary, all fingers point to him as the killer. And with dangerous daydreams filling his head, he can’t blame them. But as tensions rise and new secrets come to surface, Nick finds it harder and harder to prove his innocence, even with the help of his twin sister, Margo, who stands by his side.
Xanthe has her abusive past-master’s name spanning the space between her shoulder blades. Japanese student Yoshiko feels too old for her spider web tattoo. Zairah is a trainee lawyer who now sees herself fiercer than the Mickey Mouse on her hip makes her feel. These three women, each with a tattoo representative of a past life, are ready to move on.
Fabrice is an alluring tattooist with the ability to cover their old markings with exquisite new ones, all the while carving barely-noticeable marks in their minds. All of the women become victims to his artful snare; only one can guess his true intentions.
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