Friday, May 18, 2018

A Rabbit's Tale

Oreo (2007-2018)

  I never had a rabbit until I got married. One Easter Kathy said, “Come on. We’re going to get a rabbit.” We headed to a pet store in Scotch Plains and got a dwarf Polish rabbit we named Buster. Buster was all black and had a cage he stayed in but was smart enough to use a litter box and had the run of our apartment in back of Phil's barbershop in Hillside New Jersey. Buster nearly came to a bad end one evening when I came home from having my wisdom teeth taken out to find Buster had chewed through all the power cords on my computer. I eventually calmed down and Buster moved with us from New Jersey to Iowa. He was a friendly sort but when we got Queenie the beagle he was scared of her and would stay in his cage whenever she was around. One day we woke up and Buster was dead. There was no warning and we assumed he had a heart attack in the middle of the night.

  Our next rabbit was a big brown and white Dutch rabbit named Pogo. Our neighbors had gotten him from the high school and were moving so we took him in. Pogo was never scared of the dogs and had the run of the kitchen where he would hang out with the boots in the boot tray in the winter and sneak around to steal pieces of Queenie’s dog food (Queenie was a notoriously slow eater that would eat a little of her food every hour or so). One day in 2007 we woke up and Pogo was dead just like Buster.

  Within a week Kathy got a black and white Dutch rabbit from the local Earl May store. The new rabbit was named Oreo and was slightly bigger than Buster. While Buster was a homebody that was scared of the dogs and stayed in his cage and Pogo was content to hang around in the boot tray, Oreo was a rascally type that would roam all around the kitchen and beyond. Our house has a stairway that leads upstairs from the kitchen. If the door was left open, Oreo would scamper upstairs and hide in a bedroom under a bed. He rarely chewed on wires and had an affinity for staying under the bed just out of reach. I always had to get a baseball bat or a cane and chase him from under the bed, after which Oreo would hop at top speed down the hall and back downstairs to his kitchen area.

  Oreo was never afraid of Queenie and Tuffy and shared the kitchen with them happily. He did have a beef with the kitchen broom and would attack it whenever it got too close to him. For such a gentle fellow Oreo was surprisingly fierce when confronted by the kitchen broom. One day Kathy was substitute teaching and took Oreo with her for the kids to play with. Oreo was a big hit but never went back to school because Kathy found the kids couldn’t concentrate with a bunny nearby.

  A couple of years after we got Oreo, Queenie and Tuffy passed away within weeks of each other and I was suddenly dogless. I was depressed and spent a few minutes each day putting Oreo on my lap and petting him until he would get bored and start scampering around. Oreo was a good substitute dog and just the friend I needed. Oreo got along good with Daisy and Baxter when we got the beagle puppies a few weeks later but the little beagles were so rambunctious we were afraid they would stampede Oreo so we split the kitchen in half with a three foot fence and reduced Oreo's running area in half but he didn't seem to mind at all.

  Oreo had a diet of rabbit pellets and hay and plenty of treats. One of Oreo’s favorite parts of the day was when I made my sandwich to take to work each day. As soon as I went to the kitchen to make the sandwich, the beagles and Oreo would start running over to me. I would give Oreo some bread and lettuce, the beagles some bologna, and everyone would get some cheese. Kathy would always have a packet of cranberries to give Oreo as treats. I like grapes and so did Oreo. When I had grapes to pack for lunch I’d make sure to give Oreo a grape as a treat. He liked them so much that I’d give him a grape or two at night and if I used all the grapes for Friday’s lunch on my way back home from work I would stop at the store to get some more so I would be able to give Oreo his treat.

  At Matt’s high school graduation party one of the parents saw Oreo and told me how he had a pet rabbit who lived in a hutch outside that just loved twigs from apple trees. I started mentioning how Oreo got grapes, cheese, lettuce, etc.… when the parent saw our apple tree outside. We went outside and picked out the perfect twig from the apple tree, cut it to the perfect size, and brought it in to give to Oreo. Oreo took a look at the twig, sniffed it once, and treated the twig with the disdain a food critic might display towards a Whopper.

  We knew Oreo was a pretty old bunny but he was as active as ever (except for not sneaking upstairs through the back steps). I picked him up on most days to give him a few pets and could tell he was getting a little bony and losing his body mass. Earlier this year I found Oreo laying on his side more than a few times having what looked like convulsions which he would recover from once I gave him some pets.

  Last Monday, Oreo didn’t come out of his cage for sandwich time and had that raggedy look that I’ve seen all too often when an animal is near death. I was hoping I was wrong but I wasn’t. When I came home from work Oreo was laying on his side in his cage. I didn’t know if he would be alive the next morning but he was still laying on his side. He didn’t come out for sandwich time but when I gathered my sandwich and grapes and fruit for lunch there was Oreo hanging out by the refrigerator. I gave him a grape but he didn’t eat it. When I came home Oreo was hanging out by a window with his head on a little shelf and not moving very much and not eating. On Wednesday Oreo didn’t come out of his cage but Kathy took him into the backyard for some fresh air and it seemed to perk him up a bit.

  Oreo stayed in his cage on Thursday morning and passed away that day in Kathy’s lap. We buried him in the backyard. His eyes were still open as we put the dirt over him. I was really close to Oreo. He was with me through some big moments like leaving every job I've had in Iowa, the deaths of Queenie and Tuffy, and the arrival of Daisy and Baxter. I cleaned out his cage this past weekend and it still sits under a shelf in the kitchen. I see it every time I go in that room and think of my friend. We took down the divider fence that separated Oreo’s part of the kitchen and I think about him when I involuntary get ready to hurdle the fence when I realize it is no longer there. Oreo was a great bunny and an even better friend. I miss him now and will miss him for a long time to come.

This video from 2010 is the only one I have of Oreo to go along with the hundreds of pictures.

Friday, May 11, 2018


  My favorite toy is without question my iPod. I use it to answer emails, listen to music or podcasts, trade stocks, play and study chess, and more. I am never very far away from this device which connects, entertains, and informs whenever I am in need of connection, information, or entertainment. At least I wasn’t very far away from my iPod until four Saturdays ago when it was in my jacket pocket while I took Daisy and Baxter on our 9am walk while Kathy was playing in a pickle ball tournament in Ankeny. When we started on our walk the early morning rains had subsided but a half block into the walk there was a slight mist which tuned into a drizzle after two more blocks and a torrential downpour as we reached the halfway point of our walk.

  The rain got even worse as we made our way back home. I was listening to music from my iPod’s Napster app while my two beagles and I got our waterlogged selves home. I took off my coat, dried off Daisy and Baxter, and emptied my pockets as I got out of my wet clothes. My wallet was soaked. I took out all my cash and cards to dry and went to turn off my iPod but it wouldn’t turn off. Even though I have a waterproof cover for my iPod it had gotten soaked from being in my coat pocket and was stuck and unresponsive to the on-off switch, touch screen, or the volume and home buttons.

  I put the iPod in a Ziploc bag of rice like I have seen and heard others do. Kathy soon arrived home and we took our normal Saturday morning trips to the local thrift stores for additions to her Christmas candle collection. I figured my iPod would be dry soon enough so I took it with me along with its bag of rice home. About a half hour in I noticed the iPod had seemingly turned off so I reached into the bag of rice and pressed the home button to see if it was responsive. The iPod lit up but would not respond to the ‘slide’ command so I could enter my password and worse seemed like it was getting really hot. I closed the Ziploc bag but after another 24 hours in the rice bag the iPod would no longer turn on.

  If you are thinking I was too hasty in turning my iPod on I would agree with you. Luckily, when I purchased this iPod (my 4th) from the Wal-Mart I bought the extended warranty so on the Sunday after my soaking I went to the Wal-Mart's Asurion website and started an on-line chat with a service representative. The rep efficiently diagnosed my problem and sent me an email containing all the information I needed to bring the iPod to any UPS store and the device would be packed and shipped for repair at no charge. I left the iPod with Kathy on Monday and I went to work for the first time in years without my iPod.

  The drive in to work wasn’t so bad. I listened to sports radio instead of podcasts. At work was a different story. I have a work computer I used to check emails but there was no music or podcasts unless I wanted to try to set up my apps on my work computer which I was not going to do. I was much more distracted than normal without any music or podcast to provide background noise for me. The drive back home wasn’t much better with the sports radio stations providing regurgitation of the morning sports talk discussions.

  When I got home from work I walked the dogs with Kathy and didn’t miss my iPod until I got back home. If I wanted to do some chess puzzles or check on the scores I had to be in front of my computer because I had no iPod. At night I was having a hard time getting to sleep because I’m used to listening to music or white noise on my iPod which I no longer had.

  I hadn’t realized how dependent I was on this little device. The next morning I get my old iPod out of storage. I had replaced it because it wouldn’t charge unless I held the cable just so but to my relief I found that the Apple cable from my latest iPod would charge the old iPod just fine except for having to reseat the cable every so often. I took my iPod to work and was able to listen to podcasts and music once again in my car and at my desk. This iPod is three years old and very slow compared to my new iPod but functional nonetheless. I could listen to podcasts and music and check email but the apps for getting scores and trading stocks kept on crashing. I expect this was due to the apps being obsolete and the underlying web services not compatible with the older operating system on this iPod. I had been doing some chess puzzles on my Chessimo app every day but the old iPod didn’t have any record of my progress over the past year so I decided to wait until I got my repaired iPod back so I could restore my data. I was frustrated at the limitations of the old iPod but happy I had it to give me music and podcasts to listen to at work and the commute.

  I finally got my repaired iPod back from Wal-Mart on Wednesday which was 26 days after it got soaked. I restored my data and am now back enjoying my new iPod’s blistering speed and am even back to doing my daily regimen of Chessimo puzzles. One thing I haven’t done is use my iPod to listen to music to help me get to sleep. After a week I started sleeping better without the music and got in the habit of leaving my iPod downstairs at night. It took some time to resist the temptation to check the sports scores and email in the middle of the night but I am now in the habit of not using my iPod at night and have no desire to resume my old ways. The month without my new iPod has me thinking it had become more of a necessity than a toy and I want to make sure that it stays a toy to be enjoyed instead of a device I have to have ready at all times.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Movie Review - Avengers : Infinity War


Avengers : Infinity War is Marvel Studios newest record breaking hit...

  I went with Kathy to see the Avengers : Infinity War in our local movie theatre for the Saturday afternoon matinee. Most of the opening weekend matinees I’ve attended have had attendance in the single digits but Infinity Wars played to a packed house which leads me to think this movie is on pace to the biggest super hero movie gross of all time.

  The movie follows three separate plots of ‘mini-teams’ that are trying to thwart the quest of Thanos to collect the six infinity stones and become the ruler of all reality. Thor and a part of the Guardians of the Galaxy are on a quest to create a weapon worthy of killing Thanos, the rest of the Guardians team with Iron Man, Dr. Strange, and Spiderman to fight Thanos on his home planet of Titan, while Captain America leads the rest of the heroes to battle Thanos’s army in Wakanda to protect Vision and his ‘Mind Stone’. The first third of the movie sets up the teams in their locations and provides some funny character interactions. The rest of the movie is devoted to the battle and the star of the movie, Thanos.

  Make no mistake, Thanos is the star of the movie. We hear him repeatedly explain that the reason he needs the infinity stones is because he is the only being that has the will to bring balance to the universe by killing half the life in it. In the comics Thanos is in love with the personification of death and wants to kill every living being as an offering of his love. I have to say I like the half-measured Thanos better. Thanos tells Tony Stark how his homeworld had more people than resources but his calls to eliminate half the population went unheeded and everyone (except Thanos of course) died but the worlds where he eliminated half the populations are flourishing. The movie even gives a flashback to how he adopted his daughter Gamora while having his troops bring ‘balance’ to her world by killing half the population which includes her mother.

  Josh Brolin and the Marvel CGI team combine to make a fine Thanos. He was menacing and powerful enough to beat the Hulk in combat but was relatable enough to show his relationship with his daughter Gamora. At a point in the movie he has to prove his love for his daughter (in a twisted Thanos type of way) and is able to show it in a way that made me believe that he really believes killing half the universe is the only way to save it. In this way he is no different than other Marvel galactic beings like Ego, Galactus, and Eternity who have the proverbial 10,000 feet view of all things celestial.

  The CGI for the Marvel films just gets better and better. Spiderman’s new suit with mechanical extendable arachnid legs was especially cool. Tony Stark’s new nanotech embedded Iron Man armor that can generate any number of weapons and shapes made him believable as someone who could go toe to toe with Thanos. After taking a beating from Thanos, the Hulk doesn’t want to take over for Bruce Banner anymore which led to a number of ‘almost-Hulk’ transformations. Doctor Strange was another beneficiary of the improved CGI. His mystic powers are very dependent on CGI and the Crimson Bands of Cytorrak seemed to crackle in his hands.

  The actions scenes were also great. The battle featuring Thanos’s ‘war dog’ army against Wakanda was the lengthiest battle. It was fierce enough to rivet me to the screen but didn’t distract me with cutting back and forth in each mini-battle like ‘Transformers’ movies tend to do. Even the non-battle scene of Thor restarting the planetary forge in order to create his Thanos-killing weapon was exciting. As if that wasn’t enough the interactions between Tony Stark, Dr. Strange, and Spiderman along with Rocket Racoon and Thor were hilarious without being the sort of out of character interactions looking for laughs that creep into many Marvel films.

  There was nothing techinal about Avengers:Infinity War’s acting, special effects, of film-making that I didn’t like and yet I left the theater disappointed. Why? Lots of characters die the extremely unsatisfying death of turning to ash with a bare minimum allowed to utter a few last words. The first few deaths were shocking but after awhile I was pretty numb to it all and it is obvious that not many if any of these deaths will carry through past the next Avengers Movie scheduled for next year since lots of the newly dead actors and characters are scheduled for future movies. The death scale was so rapture-like with cars and helicopters crashing in New York as half the world’s population turns to dust that the only solution will have to be either an ‘alternate-reality switch’ or a ‘changing of the past to wipe out the entire Infinity War future so it never happened’ plot device.

  Avengers: infinity War is a great film but spending 2 and a half hours watching with no resolution and more questions than answers makes me think it a mediocre movie despite all the great components.As a youngster I always preferred DC comics to Marvel comics for this very reason – a DC comic ened with a conclusion while a Marvel comic always made me feel like I was missing out if I didn’t read the last issue or I would never find the resolution if I didn’t have a quarter to spare the next month. I’m Ok with leaving our characters in the wind like Captain America and his crew at the end of ‘Civil War’ or the Hulk after ‘Avengers : Age of Ultron’ but a year long cliffhanger with such a down ending is too much for me. I’m sure the Marvel universe show runners have it all figured out and the next Avengers will likely break all the records that Infinity Wars set but I would rather have had an extra half hour added to the film to make it a three hour movie and resolved the Thanos conflict once and for all or perhaps even ending this movie before Thanos kills half the universe and start part two with it. This ending seems very much like ‘the Walking Dead's’ much maligned fake ‘Glenn’ death and I could have done without it.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Worldwide Leader

  When I was growing up I could only get sports news from the 2 minute reports on the all news stations every half hour, the five minutes of sports reporting on the local nightly news, and the newspaper. In the 1980’s cable television brought the 24 hour sports network ESPN onto my television and I could get the scores and highlights on their SportsCenter show. Not long after the first all-sports radio station WFAN opened shop in New York with score updates every 20 minutes.

  For the next 25 or so years, ESPN continued to grow, merging with ABC before being swallowed by Disney where it currently resides as a large division in that monolithic company along with the Mickey Mouse, the Star Wars franchise, and Marvel Comics. The station is a major player in live sports with major investments in Major League Baseball along with college and pro football. All the same the station has been losing cable subscribers, suffered falling ratings on its properties, and faces competition from other all-sports networks like Fox Sports that bids up the costs for on-air personalities and broadcast rights to live events, any number of apps and internet sites that instantaneously provide live scores and highlights, and the growing world of podcasts and websites devoted to both general sports opinions down to specialized takes on individual sports teams.

  One of ESPN’s bellwethers was the SportsCenter franchise which bred a number of on-air personalities viewers would tune in to see. The show garnered high ratings and advertising fees and was shown with different hosts for hours on end and repeated overnight in a loop. As time went on Sports Center became less and less relevant. Top personalities were paid more to work elsewhere and left the company. Ratings and advertising fees have plummeted. What happened? Technology happened. Where once upon a time Sports Center was the only place to go to get highlights the internet has allowed other media outlets to have highlights available immediately and no one needs to wait for Sports Center to show highlights. Even ESPN is its own competitor in this regard. I can see highlights on ESPN’s website any time I want and never have to wait for a television show to bring them to me. The demand for immediacy is something the ESPN realized and even pioneered with their ‘Bottom Line’ showing continuous scores on ESPN2 in 1995.

  The decline of SportsCenter has led ESPN to try many new formats for their flagship show and so far most have failed to stem the ratings decline as more and more people get their information from the Internet. The Scott Van Pelt midnight SportsCenter has been a ray of hope with improved ratings and a loyal following in its midnight time slot.

  The biggest change for SportsCenter was the rebranding of the 6 pm SportsCenter as ‘SC6’ starring popular personalities Jemele Hill and Michael Smith discussing sports, politics, and popular culture in order to hopefully goose viewership. The ratings continued their slow decline. This downward trend wasn’t accelerated or halted by the firestorm surrounding Hill’s tweets calling the President a white supremacist and pointing out that boycotting the NFL may make the league take a different stance on players kneeling during the national anthem. Hill has since left the SC6 show and ESPN had moved the format back to its traditional roots and the ratings still haven’t changed from its downward trajectory.

  The problem with SportsCenter is its offerings are just too general. A baseball fan can watch the MLB network for round the clock highlights and there are NBA and NFL networks for basketball and football fans. The world is more and more specialized and that goes for sports viewers also. Any format driven by sports news and highlights cannot get the numbers of the past since there are more and better options for purely football, basketball, baseball, or even tennis and golf fans. The only way shows like SportsCenter can hope to thrive again is to be personality based like the SC6 experiment but this approach takes time to develop an audience and find the right personalities and even then, a successful personality be very expensive to keep since they will be sure to get big offers to switch networks at the whiff of success.

  ESPN’s other major initiative was the launch of their new morning show ‘Get Up’. This was originally supposed to be a show featuring Mike Greenberg of ESPN’s popular radio show Mike & Mike fame. Greenberg was given a new contract of 6.5 million dollars a year but as the show got closer to its premiere network stalwarts Jalen Rose and Michele Beadle were added as hosts. The ratings for the show have been tepid. I’ll give ESPN credit for trying. I like Jalen Rose a lot but I’m driving to work during his morning show and listen to his podcast on my drive home if I can download it when I’m working.

  If you caught the last sentence you are not alone. ESPN also understands that the online world is their path to the future. They had a head start in podcasting when Bill Simmons set up a number of podcasts under the ‘Grantland’ project but never figured out how to monetize it and frittered their lead away when Simmons left the company. Now their podcasts are increasing in number and have the same ads that most other podcasts have. Under new president James Pitaro ESPN is launching a streaming service that will generate revenue irrespective of cable subscribers. The purchase by Disney of 22 Fox regional sports networks will buttress the streaming service. The two regional networks I get from Fox as part of my $200+ monthly cable\phone\internet package from Mediacom gives me Timberwolves and Pacers basketball, St. Louis Blues hockey, and Cardinals and Royals baseball. If I was a fan of any of these teams I could easily see pitching ESPN $5 or more a month to see my teams play just like I pay $15 a year to MLB so I can hear the radio broadcasts of the Yankees (as well as every other team).

  Live sports is one of the proven ratings grabbers in the digital age because it is live and doesn’t translate to being viewed on demand after the fact and by making the Fox purchase ESPN has gained a major foothold in this area beyond their high priced national sports packages. Shows like SportsCenter and Get Up will always have their place at the network as signature pieces but by making their move in the digital space ESPN has shown that they are ready to get on with the future and continue their leadership in sports programming.

Friday, April 20, 2018

TV Review - The Walking Dead Season 8 Episodes 9-16


  AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ concluded its eighth season Sunday night with the end of the ‘All Out War’ saga that pitted Rick Grimes and his hardy band of zombie apocalypse survivors against Negan and his group of Saviors over the past two and a half seasons. The show has been in a rating decline for some time but after talking to a number of fellow viewers I believe the decline is not as severe as previously imagined since many of my fellow viewers don’t watch the show week to week like me but binge watch a half season at a time. I agree that the show is no longer the pop culture phenomenon of a couple of years ago and I also believe the show is way more popular than the ratings would suggest.

  I thought the show had become slow moving in seasons six and seven but started to pick back up in the first half of the current season with the war between the baseball bat wielding Negan and his Saviors against the combined communities of the Hilltop, Alexandria, and the Kingdom taking full flight. Part of this feeling may have been because I watch a show week to week that may well be intended to be binge-watched. This past half season saw the show return to the terror of trying to survive attacks of flesh eating zombies.

  If I want to see people fight and argue I can watch any police or lawyer show but The Walking Dead gave me three solid episodes featuring zombie terror in the half season. In the half season opener the late Simon from the Saviors gave the order to massacre the mysterious trash people from the garbage dump. Trash leader Jadis was the sole survivor but had to escape from the reanimated zombies of her trashy companions. The 4th episode showed the Saviors attacking the Hilltop and cutting many of the residents with weapons dipped in zombie guts. The wounded were all placed in the main house of the Hilltop where they died and reanimated, eating survivors and spreading terror in their wake. In the 6th episode, Rick and Morgan are captured by a group of renegade Saviors and brought to a dive bar headquarters but the bar is soon overrun by a zombie horde. In a great battle scene, Rick convinces the Saviors to cut them loose to help fight the zombies which they do until the zombie danger is clear whereupon Rick turns into Savior-killer and as a bonus we get to see Morgan trap Jared (the most sadistically vile of all the Saviors) in a room with zombies and hold him through a conveniently placed gate while Jared is eaten alive! Most of the zombie action in the show over the past few years have been battles against a few straggling zombies suddenly appearing in the woods or a swamp or a sewer but these three zombie attacks were superior in their sense of menace and the actual destruction involved.

  I spent the weeks leading up to the conclusion of this season by reading the comics from issue 1 to the end of all-out war in issue 126. I didn’t have to buy any of the comics since they can all be seen on YouTube under various channels. Except for the death of Rick’s son Carl (who is still alive in the comics 50 issues past the end of the war) the show was reasonably faithful to the comics although it seemed to lurch and stagger between iconic comic scenes as if the showrunners spent more time hitting the iconic moments without reasoning out how to logically get from one point to the next. This led to inanities like Aaron sleeping outside in the woods outside the all-female compound of Oceanside to solicit their help in the war, never mind that Rick’s group had previously stolen all their guns and Aaron’s traveling companion (Enid) just shot and killed their leader. The plot conveniences (the oceansiders arrive just in time to save the Hilltop community from the saviors with dozens of Molotov cocktail explosives) were a small price to pay for the iconic zombie action that makes this show must-see television for me.

  I thought the showrunners and writers did a great job in showing Negan in a human context as opposed to the buffoon-like character spouting one-liners in season seven. Negan repeatedly passes up opportunities to destroy the allied communities, instead opting to make examples in order to bring the communities into line to pay their protection ‘fees’. His second-in-command Simon massacres the trash people and leads an insurrection against Negan which he puts down with a mixture of smarts and savagery. The show conveyed the idea that Negan really thinks he is saving the world by taking it over.

  Meanwhile the show paints Rick as a beloved and respected leader by his people but he does plenty of shady stuff in the War. When held prisoner in the dive bar by the Saviors he tells them they will be welcome in his community and gives his word saying, “A man’s word gotta mean something”. And it does until he gets the chance to stick his hatchet into as many Saviors as he can once out of danger from the zombies. In the climactic scene of the war, Rick asks for ten seconds of Negan’s time to invoke the wishes of his dead son. This gives Negan pause – just enough pause for Rick to slit Negan’s throat with a shard of glass.

  I really liked the juxtaposition of Rick and Negan ‘trading places’. Just as in the comics, Negan is held prisoner, the Saviors head back to their sanctuary to rebuild, and the stage is set for the ‘time jump’ from the comics where our survivors have established a medieval civilization of sorts until the next major threats come along. Without Carl, I see no reason to have a lengthy time jump and hope Season 9 can continue in the current timeline with conflicts between the existing communities (already Maggie at the Hilltop is plotting to kill Negan) and one yet to be discovered (there ares still the mysteries of the pantsuited-Georgie who trades knowledge for vinyl records and the helicopter that does random flyovers). This season and specifically the last half season has given me a renewed thirst for the show and I hope it won’t change from its newfound terror orientation when season nine appears in the fall.

  To mark the end of a great season I am going to pass along some of my favorite snippets. These YouTube clips will probably be taken down before long so enjoy them while you can!

Best Mass Kill

This category was very strong with the massacre of the trash people and the Hilltopers dying and reanimating for a midnight snack but the winner is Jadis's zombie puree using what may be the only working trash grinder left in the world.

Most Devious Double-Cross

This season saw the double crosses of Simon, Dwight, and even Eugene against Negan but my favorite was Rick giving his word to the Saviors before flipping his kill switch.

Best Fight

  Rick and Negan had two epic battles but the winner is Negan and Simon going 'Fight Club' for the leadership of the Saviors.

Most Idiotic Moment

  The entire episode of blind Father Gabriel and Doc Carson on the run was ridiculous and Aaron camping out at Oceanside even more so but Eugene's escape by projectile vomiting his mac & chess & sardine dinner on Rosita may well be the most idiotic scene ever captured on film!