Team Glenn …for those with honor

He sure has balls for a Chinaman. Oh wait…he’s Korean. Whatever. What he is, is the kind of person I’d like to have at my side when the worst happens. When the horde is gathering and the body parts are flying—no matter what emotions may be racing through his adrenaline-hyped body—he remains practical, strategic, capable…and caring.

Even though Glenn isn’t really real, his innate ability to simultaneously make me smile and feel completely safe makes this young man a keeper on my post-apocalyptic wish list of companions.

Who is Glenn? He is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. Like the tormented character of Shane Walsh and the squirrel-tossing badass Daryl Dixon for both of whom I’ve already expressed great affection, Glenn is a character who has won my heart.

Continue reading Team Glenn …for those with honor

Team Walsh…only a fool would join

Every time I see him I am reminded of why opening up your heart to anyone is at best a calculated risk, and at worst a fool’s errand. He is strong and capable, but simultaneously tormented and weak. He is—despite his claims to the contrary—too human for his own good.

The fact that he is not really real should keep me from feeling too sad, but it doesn’t…because I am in love with Shane Walsh.

Who is Shane Walsh? He is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew.

Continue reading Team Walsh…only a fool would join

The Thankful Dead

By Yours Truly, with an assist from the other half of my brain RC Murphy

When we look at the world around us today, there is plenty to dampen our mood or scare us into near emotional paralysis. Wars. Human rights abuses. Wacky weather. Government meltdowns. Corporate greed. And all that beyond whatever may be happening for us individually at work, at home, in our relationships.

But still there is plenty to be thankful for. (Yes, tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S. and we’ve purposely chosen to run with this now even though the idea has been percolating for some time.)

Anyone who knows either Renee or myself knows we are huge fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead and Commanders on the Zombie Survival Crew, so some of you may be able to guess where this is going.

Continue reading The Thankful Dead

When Obama got Osama

There was a moment tonight as the news of Osama bin Laden’s death began to spread like wildfire and Wolf Blitzer and John King traded adjectives to mark the momentous, historic, memorable occasion that I was sorely tempted to break into a rendition of “Ding, dong, the witch is dead.” The thought made me giggle. The giggle made me snort. The snort made me cry.

I put out a few tweets on Twitter expressing my belief that while bin Laden’s death is an achievement, it does not end the global war against terrorism, and that I found it somewhat creepy that people were dancing around to celebrate a death.

And my tweet stream blew up.

I quickly realized that I was in a minority –that while most of my fellow Americans (at least those in my tweet stream) agree bin Laden’s death is not a complete end, most really saw nothing wrong with celebrating the death of another human being.

The fact that I found the death chants creepy unleashed a rather spirited debate with my fellow Tweeters.

I was harangued, unfollowed and insulted by several people who called me a few rather interesting names because I was unwilling to break into song over the death of a mass murderer.

Yes, bin Laden was evil. Yes, bin Laden had the blood of thousands on his hands. Yes, he cared nothing for the countless lives he destroyed with his plans for a better world. He was an evil man….a homicidal hatemonger who ranked up there with some of the nastiest men to walk this earth in the last 50 years.

But I didn’t dance when Milosevic died, I didn’t sing when Hussein was sent to the gallows, and I did not celebrate tonight.

Beside my unwillingness to mark bin Laden’s passing with either celebration or mourning he certainly doesn’t deserve from me, what bothered me most was celebration for a war that has not ended.

Global terrorism, with or without bin Laden, remains a security threat to nations around the world, especially the United States. Celebrating bin Laden’s death should not replace acknowledgement of the cold hard truth that the “war on terror” is far from over.  

One person tweeted: “Why can’t people take this moment to celebrate?” Another pointed out that the news made people happy and that the country needed some good news.

I began to feel like a cop pulling up outside a frat house to stop a party.

Bin Laden was more than just a figurehead – he was a battle-tested mujahidin with charisma and intelligence who served as an inspiration for thousands of young men around the world over the last few decades. His death is most certainly a major loss for Al Qaeda.

But the organization didn’t die tonight. There are cells, entire structures, in other parts of the world that operate independently, some within a series of Al Qaeda command levels and others outside them. They are unlikely to take the news of bin Laden’s death lightly…and neither should we.

War cry.

Sometimes it’s funny what speaks to you. Not funny, ha ha. Just…odd.

In late 1993 it was a bridge.

Not just any bridge. The 16th century bridge in Mostar, a concrete victim of the wars that ripped apart Yugoslavia in a bloody mess that struck horror through the hearts of people around the world.

Why the bridge and not the scores of people dying? Honestly, I can’t quite say for sure.

When I traveled to Yugoslavia for the first of many visits in 1981 it was still Tito’s land. Sure the “great” man had passed the year before, but the ugliness that would consume Marshal Tito’s Yugoslavia had yet to overwhelm the country. One of my fondest memories (keeping in mind I was all of 10 years old at the time) was sitting near the Mostar bridge after an adventure in a restaurant bathroom that ended with my mother’s wet shoe. She had slip-stepped into “the hole” during a desperate bid to outrun the water cascading down the walls. (If you don’t know what I mean? Two words: Turkish toilet.) That memory still makes me smile.

When the Bosnian War claimed the Mostar bridge over a decade later, I was incensed. I was also still young, passionate and naïve. So I took action.

I hand-wrote a petition to then U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton begging him to take action to stop the carnage. I begged (forced) friends and family to sign my letter (I think the final count was 33 signatories). And then I faxed it off to the White House from the office of a local congressman.

I haven’t thought about that youthful adventure with the White House in years.

But last night, as our current President Barack Obama invoked the memories of the Bosnian War and the human costs of delayed and, in some very memorable cases, ineffective action (think: Srebrenica)  I found myself nodding at the television screen.

Obama said:

As President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action


And I agree. All these years later I still believe that people of good conscience have a duty to their fellow man to intercede when possible to prevent atrocities or human rights abuses on a major scale.

At the same time, I find it galling that this standard of intervention is applied by the international community selectively. What about Iran? What about Burma? Or North Korea? If we look back over the 15-plus years since the end of the Bosnian War how many dozens of examples could we find of governments brutally repressing the aspirations of their people without really trying all that hard?

As it happened I wasn’t the only one thinking it. @TechSurgeons and I began a short conversation on Obama’s Libya defense and I almost fell over when he tweeted:

@jterzieff I think “international community” just means France & wonder why he didn’t have a stronger reaction when Iran crushed its revolt.

So I guess the question is what is our standard for intervention? Because we need one folks, we really do. Do we need to intervene militarily every time a government calls out its troops to crush the people? Does the international community have the chutzpah to stand behind that every.single.time?

Is Libya our new standard? If yes, and it’s applied equitably around the globe, then – and only then – Mr. President, you have my support.

It scares me to say that. Violence almost always results in more violence. The deaths of so many innocents. Blood on all of our hands. But what’s the alternative?

If anyone has any ideas, I’ll gladly listen ….

Social Media leads 21st Century Global Revolutions

Hosni Mubarak should have given me a call on January 25. His mistake.

But if he had, I would have told him something Joss Whedon already made perfectly clear in Serenity: “you can’t stop the signal.”

Actually if Mubarak had called Beijing, Tehran or Rangoon he would have heard much the same message. Sure governments can still limit communications capabilities, but the measures are temporary stop gaps at best. Time and time again over the last two years, popular uprisings have found ways to sidestep official controls and use the Internet to get their messages out to the world.

The message hasn’t always achieved the desired results – think crackdown Iran, think crackdown Burma – but as we have seen in Egypt and across the Arab world over the last month, technology (and social media, in particular) is the revolution weapon of choice for the 21st century. There is real power there.

Truth be told all it takes to galvanize international support and drive a movement is a few enterprising individuals. In the case of Egypt the tweets and Facebook updates of a small group of Egyptians sparked a massive worldwide explosion of support with the #Jan25 and #Egypt hashtags that overwhelmed the social media airwaves virtually non-stop until Hosni Mubarak announced his departure on Feb. 11.

Bloggers picked up the call. Journalists covering the protests tweeted instant updates. Major media outlets continue to produce in-depth packages on the influence of social media and the Internet. And when the Egyptian government attempted to shut down those inside the country, Internet giant Google stepped in to lend a hand. Google teamed up with Twitter to run a voice-to-tweet service that allowed Egyptians to call into international numbers and leave voicemail messages that software then translated into tweets with the hashtag #egypt.

And while it is most certainly people – not technology – that drives the campaigns, social media has emerged as potent weapon.

“Egypt made a radical maneuver, ultimately counterproductive, trying to cut access …but when you are willing to dismantle your country’s entire communication network in an attempt to quiet people you are really scared,” says John Perry Barlow, political activist and fellow emeritus of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Barlow, like many observers, believes technology is causing a paradigm shift in traditional power structures.

“We’re witnessing revolutions that are self-organizing, without central leadership, and that is all a direct result of technology.”

Social media is now being used by protesters in Bahrain, Libya, Iran, Jordan and elsewhere to reach out across social and economic boundaries to build broad coalitions of diverse people united around a common cause.

In countries with mammoth ruling systems in place, like Libya or Syria, shutting down the Internet – at least partially or temporarily – can forestall large public movements. And while Chinese authorities have been able to fight off massive political unrest by pushing rapid economic development for millions of Chinese, activism and unrest are growing there too.

As we’re seeing in Libya not all ruling systems will be as mature about stepping down in the face of the flood as the Mubarak regime was. Leaders like Muammar Gaddafi will fight – unfairly and with little regard for the lives being destroyed – to cling to the old systems.

But for every individual that falls, dozens more around the world will pick up the call and blast the information across the Internet keeping the eyes of the world on any abuses perpetrated against people raising their voices for change ….and that is a power greater than any gun, goon or jail cell.

Walking like an Egyptian!

Today is a day for celebration. Tomorrow the work begins anew.


And while the people of Egypt have a long road ahead of them to continuously push for reform and work to dismantle a pervasive sub-culture of official corruption and impunity within the ruling systems, they also have great cause to dance in the streets.

They have done what few would have believed possible one month ago. With amazing grace, determination and demonstrations of love towards each other, the Egyptian nation put aside internal differences to band together. They fought off physical challenges. They fought off political challenges. They stood. And stood. And stood.

And by failing to allow the situation to disintegrate into the bloodbath many feared, Egypt has set the example for the Arab world.

No longer will political leaders be free to act with impunity. No longer will the “Arab street” be viewed unfairly by Western pundits as a symbol of chaos and fear.  No longer will the people of the Arab world have their spirits crushed by the grind of greedy political systems that function only to repress.

Is everything in Egypt now suddenly roses and daisies? No.

The country’s economy needs work. Reform of the judicial system and security forces is paramount. And it’s human rights record? Ai yai yai, abysmal doesn’t even come close. Favoritism, nepotism and the entitlement of the few? Yeah, that’s going to need work too.

But today is a day to celebrate.  


Egypt has spoken …. Damascus, Amman, Sana’a, Tehran, are you listening???

Not quite the stalker I hoped for…


Not by choice I have been relatively quiet lately here on my blog … and I thought it was about time you all learned the truth. [I have omitted names to protect the innocent from being targeted.]

Just about two months ago, a crossbow-wielding zombie-killin’ actor jumped on my blog and left a comment alongside his The Walking Dead cast mates to join my crazy zombie crew, unleashing pandemonium in my email inbox and twitter DM stream.

I noticed an immediate uptick in the hits on my blog. Yeah, big surprise, right?!? Not… He is a “Saint” after all.

I railed at the “Unnamed Secret Government Agency” in my tweets as the assaults intensified and The Walking Dead slowly but surely overran my life … with some help from the Unnamed Secret Government Agency’s army of #zombietermites






But over the next few days I noticed the same IP address hitting my blog every few minutes, hitting on that same post repeatedly, over, and over, and over, and over, and …. You get the picture.

At first I laughed. Then I got creeped out.

My TBFF suggested I put it out on Twitter and see if we couldn’t identify the “loser” who was living on my blog.

So I did.

Nobody responded.

The IP address kept hitting that same page over and over and over again.

Another Twitter friend DMd to ask me what was going on. I didn’t realize at the time that this person also happens to be a tech-genius. She did some digging and came back with some disturbing news …

The IP address?

Belongs to a government agency…unnamed by the information we could find.


Yep. You read it right …. I actually did bring the unnamed secret government agency down on my head with a little help from you-know-who.

[After an initial, and rather amusing, bout of panic that included me swearing quite profusely and running around in circles another tech-wizard friend pointed out that it was probably just an automatic program that latched on to a key word and I could definitely un-board the doors and windows.]






I checked a few days ago and it was still happening with frightening regularity. Now that I have written this post (and am preparing to hit publish) I just don’t have it in me to go and check again.

If I disappear in the days or weeks following publication I will leave it to my beloved Zombie Survival Crew to come and find me. Please?


Challenging China



I’ve been a bit silent here as the news of the first week of a new year washed over me in a literal flood. From the tragedy in Arizona and the floods in Australia, to the referendum in Sudan and political assassination in Pakistan.

Each and every one of those stories worth a blog post (or three) on their own.

But this morning as I did my daily news search one story jumped out at me — an interview/profile of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng – and I just had to comment.

It wasn’t his tale of official intimidation and abuse that grabbed my attention. Sadly, beatings and electric shocks to the genitalia in custody are hardly enough to surprise regular China watchers anymore. Nor was it the fact that this individual – known for defending the defenseless – has been repeatedly placed under detention….again, hardly surprising in the criticism-phobic corridors of power in Beijing.

No, what got me was that this interview was conducted by The Associated Press eight months ago in the condition that it not be released unless Gao was able to secure asylum in another country OR he disappeared again. As it turns out the interview took place during a brief period of time that was Gao’s only taste of freedom in the last two years.  

This story comes just days after Chinese authorities made it plainly clear that they no longer feel the need to sit through human rights lectures from Western officials. Apparently Beijing feels it has enough economic and soft power on the international stage to begin flexing muscle in this arena despite an abysmal record. And, of course, this comes just a few short weeks after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo – or rather, to an empty chair representing Liu.

The truth is that “Western officials” haven’t the political will, the moral authority or the legal grounds to really challenge Beijing significantly. But that doesn’t mean any individual, group or country should stop trying ….

Beijing needs our markets as much as we need their products (and investments) and there is little doubt politicians could do more to place public pressure on China and keep the spotlight fixed on Beijing’s record. As China continues to edge out from the protectionism of yesteryear and becomes more comfortable with the worldwide engagement and interconnectedness of the new global reality, Beijing will loosen the reigns…in the meantime we all have an obligation to continue to speak for individuals like Gao and Liu as long as Beijing views them as a threat.

A Vato for all Seasons




First time I ever laid eyes on Anthony Guajardo he was covered in tattoos and calling everybody “puto.” Little did I know at the time that beneath The Walking Dead grime of a character named Miguel dwelt a young actor with a heart of gold.


As many of my regular readers know, Anthony has since come onboard as a co-captain of the Zombie Survival Crew, issuing video dispatches from the ZSC Command Center for the brigades.

The truth is there’s a lot more to this intelligent, engaged teenage actor from San Antonio, TX than zombies and temporary tattoos. I asked Anthony to make an appearance here to talk about something besides walkers and share his hopes for 2011.

Somehow I convinced Anthony to take me on essay style in a battle to the death of his fingers …. He gets points for bravery, especially after what happened to IronE “T-Dog” Singleton when he decided to take on the crew!

Continue reading A Vato for all Seasons