Bill Maher: so many drugs, so little time

I know that weed is legal in many places these days, including my own state of Michigan, but whatever Bill has been smoking please take it away from him. After a series of hoaxes over the years Stan Lee finally died, for real, like permanently. Instead of a short word of respect, or keeping his mouth shut, Bill decided to talk shit about guys reading comic books and bitching about comic movies. When he was called out on his stupid behavior, he again took the low road and even quoted the bible, his favorite book, to make the argument about being an adult.
I would like to point out that I like Bill, I have always liked Bill, but I think that Donald Trump becoming president broke that man’s brain. How much did he smoke that night, that week, after the election? Was he buying bad shit, or really good shit, like really good my brain no longer functions shit? As someone who grew up reading comics, I can say that in some ways, yes comics can be childish. Big guns, big tits, superheroes with painted on suits, the list can go on and on, but isn’t what Bill is doing no different than the high school antics of the stoner kid making fun of the other kids at the bottom of the totem pole for being nerds? A man died whose legacy will out live most of ours, including Bill’s. With everything that is happening in the world defending his shitty comment was at the top of his list along with having his secret fuck buddy Ann Coulter on the show. Seriously, let’s dive into this one. Bill has never been married, no kids, smokes weed god knows how often, takes nothing seriously, and caters to women who are out of his league. But he says guys reading comics are immature and need to grow up. Like most stoners Bill didn’t bother doing his homework for his monologue either.
There was a list of literary works that he claimed were never criticized for their merit. For starters some comics have won literary awards including Sandman and The Watchmen, that’s just for starters. To get back to the literature let’s start with Moby Dick, a book that was criticized for having the narrator of the story dying at the end, leaving the reader asking the question “if the narrator just died, then who is telling the story?” Shakespeare was thought to have been losing his mind when his last piece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written because people didn’t know what the hell it was supposed to be. Great literature, like comics, has been criticized over the years for being improper or immature pieces of trash. Hell, nobody read The Great Gatsby while Fitzgerald was alive. Of course, Bill wouldn’t know about any of this, he just slapped his retort together like he did with his original comment, straight out of his ass, read off of some fresh toilet paper.
Bill, you lost your damn mind. It was going to happen eventually; all the great ones lose it in the end. Over the last two years you tried to recover, having Jordan Peterson on as your own personal Dr, Phil moment but not listening when he asked you the question “how do you accept the Trump voters when their party loses?” You have been so caught up in Trump’s pubic hair that you don’t see the forest for the stump. There is no destination in your thinking, the current plan has no goal and you are riding the wave of a tsunami not knowing how to get off the board. In your frustration you resorted to the lowest of the low, acting like Trump, belittling those who you think are inferior to yourself. What you don’t realize is that one day, not long from now, you’ll wish you had a hero to sit by your bedside keeping you from that horrible act of trying to suck your own dick one last time.

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Typing like Kerouac

Today was the first time i ever stepped into a Hobby Lobby store. I had loathed the place after the supreme court ruled in favor for them in the ability to discriminate against their employees, but i digress. Sarah needed to pick up some items for a project so i decided to make the most of it and do the same thing. on YouTube a man named Joe Van Cleave had been tinkering around with figuring out a way to run a roll of paper through a typewriter, in order to writing a constant stream of consciousness. he had played around with several forms of paper and created devices to hold the roll of paper. I took the “fuck it” approach and rolled it into the carriage and plopped the paper on the table. a few feet of paper later i i was running into few, if any, issues with the set up. I an using an old Royal 1930s desktop KMM and the weight alone is enough to move the paper how it deems fit. The machine is a beast and works long after many typewriters f a younger age have seen their demise.

I have been a fan of Kerouac for a few years now, truly reading his works in the past couple of years and learning about him and the rest of the beat generation. After On the Road I went onto The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. Kerouac lived a life that would surprise most being the young good looking man that he was. His style of writing was as tough on his mind as his drinking was on his body. endless hours spent behind the typewriter drinking coffee and taking whatever drugs were available to keep him awake. the life of a writer is not an easy one and it can only become harder when one decides to take the path never traveled before. today I continued on that path and started to write a book that had my attention long ago. the rough draft needs to be written and this is the way I decided to get it done. the paper won’t be changed until it runs out. 50 feet stands between me and a break. I don’t have the option of devoting weeks to finishing the piece or the majority of a day for that matter. it won’t turn out like On the Road, a steady stream of thought placed on paper, instead it will be broken up and continued when time allows. maybe, one day, when the chance arrives, i can take that break and torture myself doing something that most people would never dream of doing.

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Forced to Go Low Tech

This weekend had me with moments of childish fits and tantrums as my phone was out of commission. By itself the Samsung Galaxy 3 I carry is out of date and running slower each day. Each time my apps update the machine runs slower to the point I finally deleted the Facebook app and Twitter. Honestly, I wanted Twitter gone because of Trump’s tweets. While one could point out I don’t have to follow that fool, there is no other good reason to use twitter other than seeing what the twitter in chief has to say.

That night I sat at a Royal KMM typewriter that I left at my girlfriend’s house and started to write a story that I have been running through my head for months. While zombie books and economic collapse are prolific in post-apocalyptic fiction I have often wondered how to write a book pertaining to global warming. The problem of a long-term event taking decades to happen left me with a puzzle on how to write a story to fit the event. Typing out the first few lines I think I figured it out and continued until I had three full length, single spaced pages sitting next to me. A modest start but the plot was beginning and the world starting to take hold.

Saturday morning, I left my house without bringing a charger and by the end of the day I refused to run home to retrieve one. I spent the night at my girlfriend’s place and the next morning retrieved my charger from my car to use it while riding with her out of town to visit her family. Five minutes down the road the cheap Aldi product broke leaving me with a dead phone for the rest of the day. I tossed the charger in the back seat throwing a fit and stuffed the phone in my pocket.

An hour later my thinking had reverted back the 1980s. a time when there was no cell phone and the homes we were visiting still have landline phones on the wall. We talked about books and shared oven baked cookies.

With my new job, adapting to the work environment and slightly different schedule has left me off of Facebook the majority of the time and with Twitter long gone I don’t receive annoying notifications in the early hours of the day from our demented president. Running around in earlier hours and trying to change my schedule to fit everything I was doing before has become a challenge. I missed my podcast schedule last week and finally recorded the next episode for Top Ramen today. This blog hasn’t been updated as I would like it to be and my writing schedule has been sporadic at best. Although I will say that the rough draft for my zombie book (as if the world needs another one) Last Call was finished last week. It needs a lot of work but I hope it will offer something different in the market from the carbon copy material that is out there now.  Game Over is still being edited and I’m hoping for an April release, it would be nice to have something out before summer and show something for my time spent on it over the winter months.

The upside to being closed out of the internet loop is not being bogged down with Trump news and being able to reclaim some sanity in my life. There is too much going on, too much news every fracking day, and too much commentary to keep up with what is happening. I have three trump podcast I’m subscribed to and not enough time to keep up with what is happening. At the moment, I’m thinking about unsubscribing to all of them just to clear my head. There was a time that I could turn on some jazz music, place a sheet of paper into my typewriter and start tapping away into a story until I became lost in another world. That is something I need to reclaim. The phone at the moment only has Instagram on it for my short fixes of connecting with the worldwide web. Facebook I currently don’t miss and if anything, I simply need to stick with my author page that has been neglected for weeks.

A project that I started last weekend is an old task that I hope will improve my writing. Many writers of a time long gone, learned their craft by sitting down at a typewriter and copying the works they admired most. Hunter S. Thompson would type out, from start to finish, The Great Gatsby and For Whom the Bell Tolls. He believed there was a rhythm to their writing and wanted to tap into that. Plus, there was the joy of trying to connect with how it might have felt to write those great American novels for the first time. A journalist who befriended Hemingway later in his life, learned grammar and sentence structure by copying Hemingway’s short stories over a weekend in an attempt to keep his journalism job. The practice worked and he later wrote Papa Hemingway in Cuba.

I didn’t read Gatsby for the first time until last year and since then it is one of the only books out of the 176 I read that year which has stayed with me. The writing style, the story that still speaks volumes today, and the fact that it was unsuccessful in the market spoke to me about how a great piece of literature could be overlooked until decades later. Again, I’m forcing myself to go low tech for the sake of improving my writing. The world is massive, with too much to take in. Stepping back and clearing my slate is a much-needed task if I’m going to be able to focus on what is important in my life. I’m thankful for the new job that I have, the security it affords, and while I wonder if it is a mistake to close my windows to a world that appears to be falling apart, I can only admit that as a small fish in a vast sea, there is little if anything I can do about it except continue on my path and maybe write something that might make a difference for those that read my stories.

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Confessions of an Atheist Prepper

I have had people in the past ask me how what got me involved in the prepper (survivalist) movement? While many reasons are religious based and involve practices taught to them by their faith, I can only attest to a partial truth in that answer. I did grow up during the 80s and while baby boomers and a few numbers of Gen Xers can remember the nuclear drills that schools did back in the day, I can still recall in detail putting a book over my head and thinking this was somehow going to protect me from the radiation and intense heat that would strip the flesh from my bones like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. The drills were ridiculous and even one kid in my class asked the question on how to not look once you saw the light when a nuclear detonation happened?  As he pointed out once you saw the light your retina was already burned. The drills and precautions done during that time were pointless and amounted to nothing when the real event came upon us and fortunately for us it never did.

There was something else that happened when I was in middle school. The administration at St. Monica’s had gathered together and tried to figure out what issues the future generation might have to be prepared for. Out of nuclear war, plague, over population, or devastating asteroid, climate change ended up being the winner of the conversation. Our class learned about gardening solar energy, and peak oil, an issue they were hoping might happen sooner than later in order to counter the effects of climate change. Global Warming was the term we heard back then until the Bush administration changed the term to make the effects sound more natural and less dangerous. Regardless there was an importance instilled in me about the future and what science said was coming.

During that time my parents were doing a lot of things around the house that were also prepper related. Buying large amounts of canned goods and storing them away, canning their own vegetables, growing a garden, attempted bouts of hunting that ended with throwing the deer in the bed of the truck after hitting it in the road. Most of these activities were for the purpose of saving money and instead resulted in the hobbies being quickly dropped due to the time and energy involved in them. I was seeing and learning these things as I grew up but the thing that turned me off from it for a long time was the religion aspect that was tied to it. With every event, news story, political concern, and scientific study there was a reference to the book of revelation or the apocalypse. During the cold war, we faced nuclear annihilation and that was God’s plan. After the fall of the Berlin wall it changed to the Iraq war and the battle of Armageddon where Saddam was the anti-christ and America was the Christian warriors who were fighting for the side of good. I remember my mother worried about Saddam’s chemical weapons and destroying the planet, an irrational fear told to a child and something that a more intelligent person would have found to be ludicrous. Still this was the world I was growing up in and no matter how many times the end of the world didn’t happen there was a push by the religious right to find the next big thing. I became tired of this and other aspects of religion as I grew older.

Going to catholic schools there were several times that what I was being taught and what the school did were opposites of each other. While the teachings of the new testament were prioritized as the most important aspect of the bible, the school and church were run under old testament rule. When I pointed these things out and argued against the things I was seeing I was told that was not how the real world worked and not to question authority. Wasn’t that exactly what Jesus did? Question the old rule of the Jewish state and try to change minds to a better world? And why was I the only one who was trying to practice what was being taught?

I never went back to the catholic church after graduation feeling no need or desire to connect myself to an organization that blackmailed people with threats of where they would be after they died. I later married into a Methodist church where I thought there might be a resemblance to the teachings I was taught but that fell to the wayside after a pastor complained about a person calling the church asking for help, then demanded that the parish donate to the church so that they could install air conditioning. I quickly left the church after that.

For a few years, I found a home in Buddhism and practiced that philosophy for a while until there was an issue with what the “true path” was. I still find meditation handy and feel disappointed with the organization of a philosophy whose teacher stated, “Everyone can find enlightenment in their own way, this is what worked for me.”

Since then I have found a comfort in atheism. After all of the ridiculous stress and anxiety that came with being the member of a world ending religion seeing a reason and logic behind what was said had a comfort, the book of revelations would never offer. What was the point of doing anything when those around you were constantly saying “this is the end.”

With science, climate change came back into view. Because the effects of this event continued to come into play over long periods of time it didn’t have the effect for the churches to claim it as part of their world ending religion. The end of days has a very specific short term time line for any idiot to follow. Climate change on the other hand is an event that takes years if not a century to show its full effect. While religion depends on events like solar eclipses and other events that can be predicted through science to legitimize it, a long-term event like climate change is something that churches or religion in general have not only been unable to fit into their dogmatic role, but also denying its existence regarding it as a threat to their own existence. I can’t help assume that not only do the leaders of these churches know that climate change if real but that they deny it for the simple short minded reason that it will cost them money in the end. The shell corporation knew that climate change was real in the early 1970s and even taught their staff members about it to figure out what to do in order to stay in business while not destroying the planet. In the 1990s they changed their tune and started a campaign to deny the existence of climate change and not reduce the use of oil but figure out more ways to extract it in more costly ways.

Becoming an atheist didn’t change my view on the end of the world, it focused my attention to the one route it was proven to take that religion was denying. Sure, there is still fear of nuclear holocaust and another world war considering the current administration in office, but if I had to put my money on anything, climate change is the one circumstance that won’t change even if other events don’t happen first. A hundred years from now, if we don’t have a nuclear holocaust, world war, or plague that wipes out half of civilization, the earth will still be warmer, the seas levels will rise, and a good portion of the species on the planet will be gone. Out of all the ridiculous situations that we consider to be a threat to our way of life we ignore the one that is in our face and currently happening.

These days our government distracts us with things that are less likely to occur like terrorism from a threat that will cost their donors money. Terrorism is one of the issues that can promote while making a profit. To wage war on climate change is anti-climactic and while it does save the planet the enemy is hard to see and the positive effects of the efforts are difficult to measure over time. During war, bodies can be stacked and counted. Saved lives are harder to measure. How does one estimate lives saved from doing something that some would argue “might happen.” This argument was made at the end of WWII to justify the use of the atomic bomb against the civilian cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The White house argued the lives saved was greater than the lives lost to end the war early. History would later show that not only was this assumption false but the reasons were more sinister than that.

Al Gore tried to bring the issue of climate change to the forefront and succeeded for a short time. His efforts were overshadowed by the Bush administration’s war on terror and soon Gore was forgotten and his push to change light bulbs was thrown to the wayside. Gore’s attempt to save the world backfired like Jimmy Carter’s attempt to change the American psyche.

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A Vision of the Future

When I imagine what the world will look like, specifically my area of Michigan, I see a drastic change from the world we have today. Some of the things we no longer have include supermarkets, a large number of cars, and less people. There will be some resemblance of our current normality. Local governments will have more power compared to state of federal. Roads will still be around. Electricity will be available to those that can figure out a power source. Libraries will be the main source of knowledge and entertainment.

Economically, the main stores will include reuse merchandise. Items that can stand the test of time and be fixed by a steady hand. This won’t be the electronics that we have today. Cell phones won’t be around. Home phones will return as the norm, for a while. The post office will send correspondence if it is still around after a republican administration. With a return of a reliance on the post office will come a return of earlier technology like the typewriter. Some people as about ribbon and how to get more? The bright side is that ribbon is a fairly easy product to make, also if the ribbon is still in good condition it can be reinked and used several times over. I can’t think of any modern technology that has that ability.

We will see a line in human history marking when humans stopped building tools that were reliable and sturdy. The quality of tools will mean more than how pretty they are.

Slate records and the hand crank Victrola will be items of luxury. The mechanically inclined will be the most valuable people to the general public. They will be the gateway to an easier life and a reminder of the world we once had. Communities will have to return for the sake of the population at large. Neighborhoods will no longer be boxes to hold your stuff, instead everyone will rely on sharing of goods and supplies to get by. Festivals will no longer be a place to sell and buy goods, instead a place to share and enjoy one another’s company.

Acoustic music will be the norm and making those instruments will become a new craft, revived from the local need. Old hand crank or foot pedal sewing machines will be a sign of luxury again. I don’t know if money will survive. People might think it was a nice idea and some will hold onto it thinking it is special while it is not edible and doesn’t serve any purpose besides existing. Festivals and local customs will be dictated by the seasons. Blueberries and other crops will become a focus point and become more than just a garnish in a salad. The first two R’s in reduce, reuse, recycle, will finally be used. While these items are saved and restored for future generations, life will be easier than if they had disappeared along with the rest of civilization. Mechanics will be the wizards of the future, speaking words like Metric and Inches as if it was a foreign language only they can understand. Life will become more simple while becoming more dangerous with people dying from diseases we consider a hindrance these days. In the end, everywhere will become a small town. Jobs will no longer be the concern on people’s minds. With the fall of banks and corporations the only job people will have is to survive. In order to survive people must work together, and hopefully remember the mistakes of the past and not repeat it in the distant future.

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A Message to a Young Writer

As I stand at work and type this I wonder what advise someone could have given to me at a young age to make sure I didn’t end up where I am today, and by that I’m not referring to being a writer or working some second shift job for $12 and hour. Instead I am referring to being a mediocre writer with little experience in a field I still have a lot of ignorance about. I am still learning as one should always do. The mistakes I made is not using the time I had to the best of my ability. This is why I write this to you, young writer.

Do not question your passion and don’t let others do that for you. If this is what you are drawn to or have a craving for, feed that beast. Eat everything. Read anything you can get your hands on. Make friends with like-minded souls who share your interest. Practice. Every word you write, every page you throw in the trash or delete is another step to writing that final work. Learn your craft. A master is someone that never stopped practicing their art.

Work every job that comes your way and treat it like a new experience for the first time. The conversations you have, the relationships you build are all tools added to your arsenal. There is no job too bad, boring, petty, dangerous, or loathing that you can’t walk away from without learning something. The writer shares with the world how they view it. There is no substitute.

Read the classics and hate them. Hate them for being so damn good. Hate them for being difficult to understand. Love them later when you are ready. Cling to those books that had you hooked and figure out why you love it so. What was it that sucked you in and became a part of you? Find those pieces and never let them go.

As a writer, there is no such thing as a useless subject. You may not use everything but if you know what you are writing about it will show through your work.

Find your voice. Use your craft to figure out who you are. When you find your voice, others will listen.

Be patient. Writing does not come quickly. There is no shortcut. Books are never finished in the first draft, edits are not done one time through, covers do not draw themselves, and promotion is half of the battle. Always doubt yourself and have confidence in your work. Listen to those that know more than you. Accept criticism and ignore the trolls. Always have in mind the next project. One book will not dictate your success or failure. You reach your destination by always moving ahead.

The most important thing I could leave you with is this, never stop learning. The world is a living and breathing place. Move with it, breath it in and be a part of it. stories change, markets change, your life will change. Don’t let yourself be left behind.

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Michigan Tunguska

Last night there was a green meteor spotted, streaking across the sky with a loud explosion heard in some areas. Buildings shook and the sight was captured on film in several states. I didn’t see it. it was reported to have happened around 1:30 am and I was in bed an hour before that, not that I would have been outside at 1:30 in the morning in the middle of winter. I did find video footage on Youtube after I heard about it. the images reminded me of the meteor that exploded over Russia in 2013. Those videos are also available on Youtube for those that are curious. The only reason I mention the Russian event is because of the explosion heard last night. In Russia, windows were blown out of buildings with car alarms hollering for miles around. People were injured from the broken glass, filling hospital emergency rooms in some cities. These things are rare events and while they can be destructive like the Tunguska incident in 1908, the odds of something like this happening to a major city are equivalent to the same person being struck by lightning, winning the lottery, and finding Jimmy Hoffa’s corpse. Still, it’s exciting to know that the universe might have it in for you at any random time.

My choice of books has changed this week, switching to David Sedaris and his older work, Me Talk Pretty One Day. The essays were easy to connect with as somebody who went to speech therapy as a kid. I knew exactly what Sedaris was referring to about the odd situation it is for a kid to be taken to the side like that and told you’re different, and not in a good way.

The fog is thick outside as I write this. The temperature is 45 degrees and the snow has been melting for two days. Tomorrow we are supposed to have thunderstorms. I can’t figure out if this is winter or not. It’s not the winters that I remember as a kid. We haven’t had enough snow in recent years to build a snow man if one was so inclined. Living in Michigan it is expected that we have harsh winters and yet the snow I remember seems to be north of us. It’s always north of us and continues to move higher on the map as the line for expected snow fall migrates. I won’t be surprised when they say it is another warmest winter on record.

My days have been busy organizing my books and figuring out what I will keep and what will be donated. The room empties out as I fill boxes with titles I know I will never get to. Even if I did they would be as an audiobook and not the physical thing. It is amazing to see the subjects I collected over the years, seeing how my thinking had changed and the things I once considered important. Titles on Buddhism and eastern mythology filled one box, spy novels from the cold war era filled several others. I couldn’t tell you how many times I found a book and asked myself what the hell was I thinking? While shopping for used books, I expected myself to be extremely bored for the majority of the rest of my life. That’s the only answer one could have for the number and type of books I have on hand. Almost have of the books I have will be donated this week, then comes some organization for the rest of the house. Things are shaping up and tomorrow comes mapping out the garden. Stay tuned.

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