Stuff and Nonsense

An English word that has always annoyed me (though I’m guilty of using it, too) is the word “stuff.” It’s one of those catch-all terms that has more meanings than the old woman in the shoe had children. Some of its usage is understandable, e.g., rescuing a wounded warrior is the “stuff of greatness.” Used to refer to a pile or collection of unnamed articles, it makes sense. What child has never heard his/her mother say, “pick that stuff up off the floor?”

What irritates me is when the word “stuff” is used when being precise would be just as easy and much more exact, e.g., “Let me get my stuff” when “let me get my tennis racket and balls” is much more communicative.

Okay, so maybe a kid doesn’t know the name of kale when he whines, “I’m not going to eat that stuff.” Until recently, I wouldn’t eat it, either. On the other hand, when a reasonably intelligent adult asks, “where’s the stuff I need to clean the floor?” then “stuff” becomes nonsense. It would be much easier and plainer to ask, “where’s the mop and broom?”

As a verb, “stuff” makes perfect sense when referring to placing a large amount of “stuff” into a tight space. Santa Claus “stuffs” the children’s stockings, and they pull out candy, fruit, and small toys the next morning. Mom “stuffs” the turkey with dressing. ‘Nuff said. An encyclopedia (who remembers those?) was “stuffed” with valuable information.

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a bit quirky about the word “stuff.” There are times when, as a noun, it refers to an unknown substance, and that makes perfect sense. “What’s that stuff Emily’s got in her hair?” We don’t know what it is, and we have to call it something. Okay, “stuff” will do. But on other occasions, it’s just plain laziness, e.g., we learned a lot of “stuff” in her class. Why not say, “we got a great deal of information in her class?”

Well, excuse me. There are only 24 hours in a day, and I have a lot of “stuff” to do.

J Hamilton

On a more serious note: Let’s work toward ending child abuse. When you purchase a copy of John D’Amico’s book, THE WALLS TALKED BUT NOBODY LISTENED a portion of the proceeds goes to non-government programs for battered women and children. Link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_16?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+walls+talked+but+nobody+listened&sprefix=The+Walls+Talked%2Cstripbooks%2C291

THE MORAL DILEMMA OF BEING A ZOMBIE

With the new revelations about what really constitutes a “zombie,” comes the question of co-existence between the “living dead” and mortal society. The constantly heard phrase, “you can’t kill a dead person,” raises the question, “what do we do with criminal zombies?”

In studying the phenomenon of the “living dead,” the research team at Morgan University uncovered the only known ways of destroying zombies—prolonged exposure to fire or water. “It’s interesting that two of the basic elements—fire and water—are the only known means of destroying these beings,” said Dr. Clifford McShane, professor of the Grosbeck Chair at Morgan.

As more and more publicity has been generated in the pulp press about zombies, hate groups are beginning to pop up all over the nation reminiscent of similar groups that have historically oppressed minority people. Nancy Palmer-McShane, associate professor of philosophy at Morgan, commented, “Our research points to the fact that when a person undergoes the transformation from mortal to zombie, their basic character does not change. Therefore, a kind and benevolent person who transforms remains kind and benevolent. The converse is that when a hardened criminal transforms, that zombie has even greater power to do mayhem in the world. They leave no evidence such as fingerprints or DNA at crime scenes. This has been an investigative nightmare leaving a lot of cases unsolved.”

For highly principled zombies, this situation presents the moral dilemma—do they take the law into their own hands and seek out these criminal elements for destruction? The novel following THE NAKED ZOMBIE tackles that problem as a group of zombies in Los Angeles become alarmed by the rising rate of unsolved crime spreading across the city and the nation.

Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves revelations

Remember back a few years ago when novelist Anne Rice liberated the vampire? The old Bella Lugosi image of the vampire had become a cliche with the same book/movie being rewritten or remade over and over again. Then came INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE that freed up the genre to be creative resulting in excitingly fresh stories like the TWILIGHT series of books by Stephenie Meyer. Thank you, Anne Rice, for making it possible; and thank you, Stephenie Meyer for taking the theme to the next level.

So now is the DAY OF THE ZOMBIE, based on characters from the recently published eBook, THE NAKED ZOMBIE, available at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/58636. Except in rare cases such as expressed in Edgar Allan Poe’s PREMATURE BURIAL, real zombies do not come crawling out of a grave. They do not look horrifying as a rule, but rather look just like the mortals they once were. As Brian (aka Basil) says in the forthcoming novel, DAY OF THE ZOMBIE, “Zombies, my friend, are those for whom the magic pinions and wizard wheels keep on turning. As to Poe’s question regarding the location of the soul, let me assure you that we have no idea.”

J Hamilton

Your common garden variety zombie

In the soon to be released novel, War of the Zombies©, the central character, Brian Evans, explains it all to a documentary film maker.

He says, “Look. History is replete with accounts of real zombies—not those B-movie and pulp novels about decomposing bodies rising up from the grave to devour men’s brains. That’s as fantastic as the Tin Man traveling to OZ in search of a brain.

“From the time of pre-recorded ancient Egyptian history, we see the idea of the living dead in the form of mummies, some of which were reported to rise up and walk in order to protect the Pharaohs in their journey to the afterlife. It was fearful to them back then, but it was also an accepted truth.

“Plato gave us the idea of the astral body that Judaism and Christianity interpreted as the soul. This body lay somewhere between the intelligent mind and the physical body. You cannot count the number of testimonies of people who report having left their bodies to travel into Plato’s astral plane. Those, obviously, are the ones whose astral body or soul returned to their physical beings and lived to tell the tale.

“Then there are the others. A few individuals who get separated permanently from their astral bodies, but the mind lingers on. Those are the real zombies. If you consider the biblical idea of the human being composed of body, soul, and spirit (the intellect, if you will), then the strange line from Hebrews 4:12 takes on a whole new meaning. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Simply put, the soul and spirit of some unfortunates get separated without causing the physical death, as we know it, to occur.

“In more modern times, Edgar Allan Poe became obsessed with the idea of being buried alive supported by case after case of the phenomenon he did not quite understand. In The Premature Burial he writes, To be buried while alive is, beyond question, the most terrific of these extremes which has ever fall to the lot of mere mortality. That it has frequently, very frequently, so fallen will scarcely be denied by those who think. The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? We know that there are diseases in which occur total cessations of all the apparent functions of vitality, and yet in which these cessations are merely suspensions, properly so called. They are only temporary pauses in the incomprehensible mechanism. A certain period elapses, and some unseen mysterious principle again sets in motion the magic pinions and the wizard wheels. The silver cord was not for ever loosed, not the golden bowl irreparably broken. But there, meantime, was the soul?

“Zombies, my friend, are those for whom the magic pinions and wizard wheels keep on turning. As to Poe’s question regarding the location of the soul, let me assure you that we have no idea.”

To learn more about the transformation that creates a zombie, answers can be found in the first novel, The Naked Zombie, now available as an eBook at Smashwords.com.