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Sheree and I went hunting zombies last night, and wound up finding a werewolf. It started yesterday morning. “Want to go shoot some zombies tonight?” asked my wife cheerfully. “Sure,” I replied. “You take the Browning and I’ll take the Beretta. But remember to aim for the head because those suckers never die unless you shoot them right in the brain. Sure: they’ll fall down. But that’s just to fool the zombie slaying newbies. As soon as you turn your back, they start to move. And by then you’ve put your gun down and are forced to defend yourself with, like, a pool noodle or a garden trowel or something.” Sheree looked at me with tired eyes. “I meant ‘shoot them’ with a camera,” she said. “…ah,” I quipped cleverly in reply. “Well…I guess that’ll be alright too.” Sheree had found an Internet site announcing that a group of people were going to make themselves up like zombies and create an undead procession through a south side bus terminal. And that is how we came to be sitting in the Dodge Magnum, staking out a bus terminal on Halloween night, as autumn darkness pooled around us. “Wouldn’t it be a cool story if a couple of photographers went out to photograph zombies on Halloween night…and if they think the zombies are just gonna be people dressed up, but the zombies are real ACTUAL zombies…and they get their brains eaten?” I asked my wife, more or less to entertain myself as we passed the time. “Only in your world, dear,” she said, half listening. (In her defence, Sheree may have been texting one of her 6,432 friends…and, let’s be honest: most of the things I say require only half attention anyway.) “And how about if the husband was sitting in the car telling his wife a story about a couple of photographers waiting to photograph a zombie walk only the zombies turn out to be real and even though the husband has already talked about the idea, the wife has paid no attention to it…at all…and they have to defend themselves using only their cameras because the short-sighted wife made the husband leave his guns at home?” “…what?” asked Sheree, looking up – face bathed in the soft glow from her Blackberry. Her eyes were all squinty, which is exactly what happens when she is trying to figure out what the hell I just said. I cock my eyebrows enigmatically and try to sound like Boris Karloff. “Never mind.” She sighs and, as I continue to tell myself stories about brain eating zombies, I realize my wife has dozed off. I keep my eyes peeled for the undead: brain-eating or otherwise. Nope. No zombies. Time passes. Still no zombies, just soft regular breathing from my wife next to me. “Some zombie hunter she turned out to be,” I sniff to myself. “Good thing one of us is awake. We could wake up tomorrow with our brains all eaten.” I continue looking hopefully out the window when a skinny kid, maybe sixteen or so, lumbers by with a couple of friends. He sees me in the car and nods. I nod back. Then, for no reason at all, he gives me the finger. He’s jabbing it sharply into the air and his face contorts into something that is not even remotely socially acceptable. …huh? I sit there for a moment, wondering what a middle aged guy, sitting in a car waiting patiently for zombies to show up, could possibly have done to get this kid to flip him the bird. Briefly, very briefly, I consider stepping out of the car, breaking the offending digit off and feeding it to him. Not that I would do it, of course…probably. To make a long story just a little less long (particularly since I seem to insist on writing all this shit on a photography site) Sheree and I didn’t actually see any zombies. (You just can’t count on brain eaters to be punctual, I guess.) We wound up at Edmonton’s Halloween Alley – a neighbourhood that celebrates the night in style. We had a blast…it was a photographer’s dream. One of the houses had crafted a “tunnel of terror.” “Enter our Tunnel of Terror,” growls the distorted voice from a ghetto blaster hidden under a tarp. “You may enter…but you will only go in once…because no one ever leaves. Bwaaaahaaahaaa!!!” This sounded like either really shrewd marketing or a lose/lose proposition for me. Besides, I've just seen plenty of people leaving...usually they're giggling or slapping each other on the back in that people have when, together, they've stared into the Abyss and survived. I decide it's just marketing, shed any trace of good decision making, and enter the Tunnel of Terror. Sheree and I have designed Haunted Houses for clients, so I had a pretty good idea what to expect. There were creepy (and may I add ‘inexplicable’) sounds of chains being dragged and a significantly constipated mammal somewhere in the distance moaning hopelessly as they sought relief. A wall of masks was along one dark wall – and I just KNEW one of them was going to move. Sure enough, it did – and something actually grabbed my arm…which is a mega no-no in haunted houses because the arm grabber usually gets punched ouFrancisco Juarez
It's great to see resistance growing against Canada's slavish following of the U.S. war machine. Franciso Juarez was speaking in Toronto Oct. 28/06 to a rally which was one of 37 city protests in Canada. (This grab is from an earlier interview) We need more brave Canadians like this! Half of all Canadians want troops pulled out of Afghanistan: Poll David Staples, CanWest News Service, Tuesday, October 31, 2006 EDMONTON - Canada is on new and shaky ground in the Afghan conflict. An unprecedented number of citizens are wavering in their support of the battle, something that Canada's most prominent military historians say never happened in previous wars. In some recent polls, about half of all Canadians said the federal government should pull the troops from Afghanistan. Such open talk of leaving never occurred during the Boer War, the First or Second World Wars or the Korean War. "It's a different country now and I'm not sure I'm all that happy about it,'' says University of Calgary military historian David Bercuson. "Public support for the war is a news issue in a way that was not the case in earlier wars.'' Canadians are so lukewarm about Afghanistan that the issue has transcended the usual divide in our politics. In the past, English-Canadians generally favoured joining in with the country's major allies to fight foreign enemies, while French-Canadians generally were against doing so, says Pierre Martin, a University of Montreal political scientist. But with the Afghanistan conflict, English-Canadians have also started to question things. "This is unusual ground for us,'' says Prof. Kim Richard Nossal of Queen's University, author of The Politics of Canadian Foreign Policy. "Quite clearly what we're seeing is some serious difficulties in terms of sustaining public support, and not only in Quebec.'' Support for military action by Canadian troops against al-Qaida and the Taliban has dropped from a high of 80 per cent in the weeks after the 9/11 attack. This summer, as Canadian troops began dying in larger numbers in Afghanistan, polls pegged national support for Canada's role in the war at between 40 and 50 per cent. Support is lowest in Quebec (below 40 per cent), but it also dipped below 50 per cent in several other provinces. Canadian armies suffered far greater losses in previous wars, with hundreds of men killed in single engagements (such as the Dieppe raid on Aug. 19, 1942, where 907 soldiers were killed), but never before has there been such a resulting dip in support, Bercuson says. "What is happening here now is we've got 42 people dead in Afghanistan, and people are saying, `It's time to go home.' The Canada of 1942 would not have thrown up its hands the week after Dieppe and said, `It's time to go home.' People rolled up their sleeves and they said, 'Well, I guess we're going to have to try harder.' '' So why is the attitude so different now? It's clear that Canadian society has changed dramatically since the Boer War (1899-1902) and the First World War (1914-1918). These wars were the last time that large numbers of Canadians showed unbridled, flag-waving enthusiasm for war, says war historian Des Morton of McGill University. At that time, the vast majority of English-Canadians were either born in Great Britain or had parents or grandparents from Great Britain. Many still identified strongly with ``Queen and Empire.'' Nossal says his students today are puzzled by the notion Canada should spend money and lives in a war as far removed from the Canadian experience as Afghanistan is, but this wasn't the case with English-Canadians in the early 1900s. "If you're a good Imperialist, you would see a defeat for the Empire in one place as a defeat everywhere,'' Nossal said. Only French-Canadians were against joining in the Boer War. They saw themselves as victims of British Imperialism, Martin says. Many of them identified with the enemy, the Dutch Afrikaners, and saw the conflict as a British imperialistic adventure. In the end, a volunteer force of roughly 8,000 Canadians fought there, with 244 men dying, half of them from disease. The same pattern of anglophone support and francophone resistance developed during the First World War. Quebecers resisted even though it was largely fought in France, the mother country of French-Canadians. There had been little migration from France to Quebec since the 1760s. Family ties between the two places were weak, Nossal says. "Many in French-speaking Canada simply didn't see this as a war that involved Canadian interests.'' English Canada supported the war even after Canadian troops were slaughtered in the trenches (60,000 Canadians died in the First World War). "There was never any notion that, `Well, we should bring the troops home,' '' Nossal says. "If in 1916 you actually say, `We've now lost 25,000 men, it's time to come home,' then what you've essentially said is that you'
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