Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Apocalypse: A Survival Guide

Two years ago, I wrote an article called Zombie Emergency Kit based on the CDC‘s Zombie Preparedness page. In the article, I go on in detail about what kind of items people should keep at their disposal in order to survive a zombie apocalypse. I thought for today’s Monday Mayhem feature, I would revisit the topic and add a few more points to the already long list of items.

Emergency Preparedness Kit
Emergency Preparedness Kit

Let me be clear about one thing: If there ever was a zombie apocalypse, I hope I’m dead and buried way before then. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I see a zombie roaming about my property, no amount of convincing will deter me from my main course of action—and that is to run.

Right, but what if you make it through the first wave of zombie attacks? What then? You’ll need to make do with what you have on hand. That’s where this list comes in handy.

Jack Flacco’s Zombie Emergency Kit

  • Water, food, clothing and any other miscellaneous items—your neighbors will have many of these items available once they’ve turned into zombies
  • The only item on the CDC list left untouched: first aid kit (whistle, antibiotic ointment, bandages, face masks, gloves and reference book)
  • Multipurpose supplies (Louisville Slugger baseball bat, golf club, screwdriver, hammer, butcher knife, darts, picture frame wire, shards of glass)
  • Real paper map(s) of the area

Having the supplies is one thing, knowing what to do with them is another.

Finding a place to hide for a few days at a time will be the key. If a one-gallon ration of water per day per person is doable, then hiding in a basement will be comfortable. Food can be hard to find, given much of the supply chain will no longer exist. But if you can muster canned goods from your now-undead neighbor, life will be good. You can live for months in the same neighborhood going from house to house living off supplies stashed in cupboards and pantries.

Be prepared.
Be prepared.

Getting your hands on a first aid kit will also be critical for survival. Zombies love the smell of blood. One nick from a razor could mean death. Make sure you have plenty of bandages and lots of antiseptic. You don’t know what germs will be floating around when the undead walk the earth. My rule of thumb is never to touch your face. Germs tend to live on surfaces for a long time, up to twenty-four hours. Best keeping your hands where you can see them. You never know when touching something can lead to unintended results.

Now comes the fun part. As a means of keeping your friends and family safe, you’ll need a few things. My personal choice, as it should be in any zombie survivor’s bag of tricks is the Louisville Slugger baseball bat. It’s portable, you don’t run out of bullets, and you can make a mess of things from a fair distance. A golf club will do the same thing, but I prefer baseball to golf. Again, that’s a personal choice. A screwdriver, hammer, butcher knife will take care of things as well, however you’ll have to get close to the undead to unleash your brand of justice. Suffice it say, there is no end to the creativity a zombie slayer possesses in the throes of an apocalypse.

Last thing on the list is sporting around a real paper map. Can you still find one these days? If you don’t know where you’re going, you certainly don’t know where you are. Having a paper map will help with finding supply stores that may still hold stock. However, should a good portion of the population have survived a change into zombiehood, it would be better to hunker down in some farm, grow your own food and live the life of a nomad.

In other words, and this is my final advice—stay out of the cities.


What is your strategy for surviving a zombie apocalypse? What supplies would you look for when scavenging for good?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Are We Ready?

A virus can start as innocent as a cough. It can progress to chills and a fever. But unless someone identifies it as fatal, the public may treat it as a simple case of the sniffles.

Are we ready?


If we’ve learned anything from past outbreaks, we would know we’re never quite ready for what would come next when a contagion strikes. Having lived through the SARS epidemic when it hit Toronto in 2003, I saw firsthand what unpreparedness and paranoia could do to a city.

Let’s talk a bit about this for Monday Mayhem.

At the time, I was taking the train in and out of the city. My commute was an hour one way. During the course of the ride, people would come and go, and not a day would go by that the front page didn’t feature the latest SARS mortality rates. The public was on edge. During my rides, a noticeable silence had hit commuters. Many were afraid to speak, as they didn’t want anyone to think they were possible carriers. Who knew if the virus was airborne?

Some riders wore masks, while others sat in different places. The ends of the train, where the single seats rested next to the doors, became gold. They were away from everyone, and the doors would make for a quick exit—just in case. When people boarded, those seats became the first ones to fill.

And if you had coughed, the dirty looks would have carried until the following week where you either had decided to transfer to another car or find yourself another train.

In Canada, SARS had 251 cases with 44 being fatal. That is an 18% fatality rate, the highest in the world. China had 5328 cases, but their fatality rate was an astounding 6.6% (Source: WHO).

Are we ready?


In recent weeks, the Ebola virus has once again resurfaced. Between 1976 and 2012, 2328 reported cases affected regions as far as Juba, Sudan and Orientale Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2014 alone, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have had 759 confirmed cases so far (Source: WHO).

What makes this outbreak so different is its reach. No longer limited to remote areas, it is now surfacing in populated areas where air travel is common. The CDC says the incubation period can be anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and lack of appetite.

The virus works by suppressing the body’s natural ability to clot thereby liquefying organs.

I can only hope we are ready.


What precautions have you taken to prevent the spread of germs in your household?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Walking Dead: Lessons Learned

From the very first day when The Walking Dead premiered on AMC, I fell in love with the show. It brought together two main themes I enjoyed reading about yet seldom saw on the small screen. First, zombies. How can anyone not like these beasts of the undead? They’re virtual Tamagotchi. Second, a dystopian future. Who can say tomorrow will be all unicorns and rainbows? I can’t. That’s why for Monday Mayhem I’d like to explore the lessons I’ve learned from watching The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead Cast
The Walking Dead Cast

I have friends of mine who wonder what could possibly attract so many viewers every week to a show about monsters eating the insides of a person’s head. The whole premise is silly. So, I usually ask:

Me: “Have you ever seen cop shows?”
Them: “Yes.”
Me: “Ever see The Silence of the Lambs?”
Them: “Yes.”
Me: “Did you like it?”
Them: No answer. [Of course they did.]
Me:Hannibal Lecter eats people’s brains. He’s worse. He’s human. He should know better. Zombies don’t know better. They eat because it’s in their nature. They can’t help themselves.”

Here is my first lesson. The Walking Dead is not about zombies. Surprised? For you fans who just started watching the show, it’s about people who are stuck in an incredible situation and don’t know what to do next. Every facet of society they once enjoyed no longer exists. They’ve lost everything. Whatever they believed prior to the apocalypse is gone. Even rudimentary things we currently take for granted like running water, clean undergarments, electricity, bread, ice, a comfortable place to sleep, a safe place to live, movies, theaters, concerts, restaurants, ball games, museums, the smell of fresh cut grass, the sound of beautiful music have disappeared. Gone. Never to return.

Yet in that misery, lies hope—my second lesson. The survivors of the dreaded destruction of humanity hold on to that single shred of light. That if things should not return to the way it was, they would cling to the anticipation that one day they will once again enjoy their lives in peace and understanding.

The wall of zombies
The wall of zombies

Unfortunately, my third lesson tells of an otherwise different tale. In the midst of hope comes betrayal. Loyalty means nothing to the survivors. If two should leave for supplies and one comes back, the crowd should question who is next. If anyone shows any signs of a change, no matter how subtle, they will die. Either by that which renders them a walker or by the hands of their closest friends. They will die. It’s a certainty. No one is safe. No one will escape. Should there be an argument between survivors and the group exiles a member, that member will die. The sad reality is that friendships are of no importance in a future where society has collapsed from its fundamental moral pillars.

For in those days, there will be no friends. Only those to take advantage of.

The final lesson? As brutal and as honest as The Walking Dead is, it’s all fiction. We don’t know what the future holds. You know why? Right. Because it hasn’t happened yet. We’re in yesterday’s future. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Should we worry about what might not happen? No. But we should prepare. You can peruse the list that I had grabbed from the CDC site featured in my Zombie Emergency Kit post. That’ll tell you what to do in case the zombies come after you.

In the meantime, The Walking Dead will start a whole new season in October. I really hope everyone’s just as excited about the event as I am. It promises to be a game changer. I can’t wait.


If anything, what have you learned from the show The Walking Dead? Would you recommend it to your friends?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Emergency Kit

Here’s something you may not know. The CDC has a Zombie Preparedness page dedicated for when society falls apart and the zombie apocalypse takes over. I kid you not. It gets better. They even have a checklist of items one should gather prior to the occurrence of said zombie apocalypse.

CDC's Zombie Attack Banner
CDC’s Zombie Attack Banner

For Monday Mayhem, I thought I’d run through the list and provide you some insight into the value of some of those items. The CDC prepared the list as an all-hazards. In other words, if you have the items listed, you’d be able to survive a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or any other natural disaster. The thing is a zombie apocalypse is not a natural disaster. There are no guarantees of survival. But there are ways to increase the odds of living through it until such time a person finds a boat and heads to a deserted island off the coast of Hawaii. Or Fiji for that matter. Or Costa Rica.

Below is the CDC’s list. Let’s have some fun and tailor it specifically for a zombie infestation/infection, shall we? First, I’ve included some sarcastic helpful comments in [square brackets highlighted in royal blue]. Second, my very own list follows. You’ll notice my list is a tad shorter. What can I say? I’m a minimalist.

All-Hazards Emergency Kit

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day [A typical family of four would need 28 gallons per week (4×7. Unless you live in Utah where you’ll probably need 70 gallons a week). Since the zombie apocalypse will last longer, it’s not enough. Best start planning to buy a pool and fill it with drinking water.]
  • Food—nonperishable, easy-to-prepare items (minimum 3 day supply) [Again, see my comment above. Three days? Sure, if you’re planning to stay at a Disney resort. Quick solution: buy a farm.]
  • Flashlight [In the old days people knew how to make fire with sticks and use those sticks as torches. Not needed.]
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) [You’re kidding, right? Like there’s gonna be a radio station left with humans running it. Logic, people. Logic!]
  • Extra batteries [No flashlight. No use for batteries.]
  • CDC's Zombie Attack Poster
    CDC’s Zombie Attack Poster

    First aid kit (whistle, antibiotic ointment, bandages, face masks, gloves and reference book) [I happen to agree with this. Beside, you can use the face mask to spook the zombies (paint a pig snout on it).]

  • Medications (7 day supply and medicinal dispensers if necessary) [And after the seven days when the supply runs out, then what? That’s right, you’ll be looking for a refill. Here’s a better idea: rent an apartment above a pharmacy now. Then when you need the stuff, it’s only a few steps from home.]
  • Multipurpose supplies (wrench, pliers, plastic sheet, duct tape, scissors, matches) [Now we’re talking, although I don’t know if this stuff’s for an emergency or used to clean up a crime scene.]
  • Sanitation/personal hygiene items and bleach [Bleach? I just answered my own question above.]
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies) [Do you think it’ll really matter once everyone’s dead? Here’s a thought, you can use the papers to make a fire to keep you warm at night.]
  • Cell phone with charger [Who comes up with this stuff? Say it with me: no electricity, no cell phone service.]
  • Family Disaster Plan (family and emergency contact information) [My family’s plan: stay indoors. They can’t eat you if they can’t see you.]
  • Extra cash [Bahaha!!! Okay, okay, okay. Raise your hand if you’ve heard of the barter system.]
  • Emergency blanket, extra clothes, sleeping bag (1 for each person) [And what happens when you’re nicely tucked away in your sleeping bag, and you wake up with a zombie standing over you? Simple logic isn’t difficult to master.]
  • Map(s) of the area [Let me guess, use Google Maps on your cell phone.]

Jack Flacco’s Zombie Emergency Kit

  • Water, food, clothing and any other miscellaneous items—your neighbors will have many of these items available once they’ve turned into zombies
  • The only item on the list above left untouched: first aid kit (whistle, antibiotic ointment, bandages, face masks, gloves and reference book)
  • Multipurpose supplies (Louisville Slugger baseball bat, golf club, screwdriver, hammer, butcher knife, darts, picture frame wire, shards of glass)
  • Real paper map(s) of the area


How did I do? Did I miss anything on my list?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Death’s Cure

Back in June last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement denying knowledge of any virus that may reanimate dead tissue. O-kay. Further, they denied knowledge of any virus that would cause zombie-like symptoms. Right. This is my Monday Mayhem post and—I’m sorry, I have to keep from laughing. Give me a second. Ahem…


In an email to Huffington Post, David Daigle, the American health agency representative wrote: “CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms).”

Did you catch that? They’re saying they don’t know of a virus or condition that could reanimate dead tissue. They didn’t say it wasn’t possible. Seriously, what goes on behind those doors of the CDC?

You know, another fellow also believed in the reanimation of the dead. He was an obsessed scientist with the idea he could create life. He had an assistant who would provide him with the raw materials. He’d harvest the dead parts, sew them together and call the result human. But nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m talking of course of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his inept assistant Igor. His ideas were commendable. Take the dead and breathe life back into them. Nothing short of a miracle, really. The results, however, told of a different story. A story of a scientist gone mad who wanted more than anything than to play God. His creature became one of the first known zombies in classical literature.


What makes Frankenstein’s story unique, or rather the lesson we can learn from the monster tale is “no good deed goes unpunished.” (I put it in quotes because it’s a famous saying. Didn’t know what else to do with it). In his zeal to create life out of nothingness, the good doctor didn’t stop to ask if he should. Thus, he created a walking corpse with barely enough intelligence to scour a frying pan.

The most horrific events to have happen to humanity have always been because of good intentions.

Getting back to what the CDC didn’t say. They didn’t say dead tissue reanimation isn’t possible. This leads one to conclude, albeit speculation based on evidentiary inference, that the CDC is studying dead matter reanimation. Yeah, this is the stuff that keeps me up at night.

What if it were true? What if we had the power to eradicate death? Then what?

Imagine a world where no one died. There would be no need for life insurance. Funeral homes would go out of business. All that cemetery land could go to house the living instead. We’d have more money for the economy, since mandatory retirement would disappear. We’d have less social programs. Terminal illnesses would be a thing of the past. And there would be no need for half-price Tuesdays for seniors.

Ah, can you hear the wheels of good intention churn?

If no one dies, how are we to feed everyone? When the cemetery land vanishes, where is everyone going to live? Will there be enough jobs to go around? And the big question: If we eliminate death does this mean we can eliminate aging? Because if we haven’t eliminated aging—we’ve got a major problem.

After about a hundred years, guaranteed we’ll have a real zombie apocalypse on our hands.

Comedic genius George Carlin once said:

“You know what I think they ought to do with those Miss America contests? I think they ought to keep making the losers come back until they win. I’ll tell you, that would get a little spooky after about thirty five years or so, huh?”

What do you think? Are we on the road to creating a Frankenstein monster? Should the CDC open its research facilities to third party monitoring?