Time To Kill the Walking Dead

The Walking Dead can be infuriating. Part of me enjoys the survivor story that never seems to stop — but part of me craves a conclusion. Stories have a beginning and an end — they don’t go on forever — and as much as I like the show, I’m ready for the final act.

Think of Walking Dead’s AMC cousins, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Both followed a clear story arc aiming for a destination — and they both featured interesting characters who changed as the series progressed.

Could Breaking Bad still be on the air? Sure. Every week Walt would cook more meth and fend off the latest threat to his empire. Or Mad Men: Don sleeps with someone, gets drunk, loses a big account, has an existential crisis… how long does that stay interesting?

I don’t get the sense that the The Walking Dead knows where it’s going, happy instead rack up big ratings and zombie kills.

Even on MASH, the Korean War eventually ended.

So, I say save the show by killing it. Don’t let it become like the walkers, shambling aimlessly around in the woods for as long as their decaying muscles will carry them.

Having said that, here are the three top rejected Terminus signs:

Terminus: We are here to serve humans.

Terminus: We’d love to have you for dinner.

Terminus: Come for the sanctuary, stay for the B-B-Q.

Reading in the Land of Nod

At a party recently, somebody commented, “Sounds like you do a lot of reading.”

This made me wonder if I was spouting off too much about books and coming off as a know-it-all. The truth is I don’t know much at all, but if the topic happens to be rats, or whaling and cannibalism, Benedict Arnold, or dozens of other obscure things I’ve read books about, then I can actually contribute something to the conversation.

But reading is getting harder, or more accurately, staying awake is getting harder. Time is short, and more often than not the only opportunity to read is at bedtime. This is not very efficient, because you’ll get through a page, or a paragraph, or sometimes even a single sentence and nod off.

Hours later you wake up with the light still on and your book askew somewhere. The same way toast always lands butter side down, your book is never on the page where you left off.

Enter the Kindle.

Many people who love books are resisting e-readers, but one attractive advantage is emerging: they will remember the page you were on. This way, when you pick up the book there will be no searching for the spot where you were  overcome by slumber. Unless the cat came along and walked on the page advance button. Then you are out of luck.

Here’s Your Head, What’s Your Hurry?

cannibalsMaybe you heard about the recent event where the “spiritual ancestors” of New York’s first Dutch settlers apologized for screwing over the Native Americans. A representative of the Lenape people was on hand to “Whole-heartedly accept this apology.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Erromango islanders held a ceremony to apologize for killing and eating the Reverend John Williams in 1839. You can watch a hilarious video of the re-enactment in this BBC story.

These apologies got me wondering: what if the Native Americans had made it very clear to the Europeans that they were not welcome here. And what could make people feel less welcomed than eating them? Maybe if stories about cannibalism spread through Europe people might have had second thoughts about the New World:

“Perilous voyage? I can deal with that. Risk of disease and starvation? Bring it on. Cannibals? Have a good time over there.”

It’s not likely that eating Henry Hudson would have made a difference in the long run. Sooner or later the Europeans would have shown up with enough fire power to take what they wanted —but it’s interesting to consider what would have happened if they’d made a powerful statement right up front: come here and we will eat you.

So why didn’t the Native Americans fight off the Europeans? Hard to say, but it probably didn’t take long to figure out that trade with the whites was lucrative. And who could have imagined what lay ahead?