Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Ever wonder why the very first amendment of the Bill of Rights is the right to free speech, etc.? It's because the founding fathers were familiar with being unable to have their own thoughts and opinions in the face of a fascistic government. They wanted to ensure that people who disagreed with their government could make their voices heard without fear of official reprisal.

That means that one of the finest duties of a proud American is to be a voice of dissent. If you see your government acting poorly, it is your right and duty to point it out as loudly as you can without being punished for it by said government.

"I should do what that guy says because he is president of the United States." If you have ever had that thought, I highly suspect you're not a proud American, no matter how much you think the opposite is true. We're Americans because goddammit. We see wrongs being committed, and we point it out. Good guys don't see social injustice and stand by and say nothing. We say shit. Our government is wrong, and I'm saying so right now.

I've been asked why I love westerns so much. I can only point out that I agree with Bill Hicks. Here's what he has to say on the matter: "But like so many kids brought up on a steady diet of Westerns, I have always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero--that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. And in my heart of hearts I still track the remnants of that dream wherever I go in my endless ride into the setting sun."

I have those words on my bedroom wall. It makes me tear up every time I read them.

These fucking Nazis--and I refuse to call them alt-right because they are fucking Nazis--are now running our country. Friends, loved ones and even those who disagree with me, you all can agree that America is based on the idea of freedom, yes? Here's a clue that freedoms are being trampled on: whenever someone uses the word "ban." When that word is invoked, it means someone's freedom is being infringed upon. Every other word out of Donald J. Trump's stupid fucking mouth is the word "ban."

He is unAmerican. He is taking freedoms away. He is shitting all over the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Fuck. I hate to say it, but everyone who says that he's not *my* president is trying to hide from our situation. He *is* our president. That's the fucking problem. We need to change this.

I am a proud American. I think I would be no matter where I was born in the world. Bill Hicks also joked that he was a proud American because his parents fucked here once. But I love this country and everything it says it stands for. All that shit is bullshit, of course. This government has a habit of trampling all the wonderful things we're supposed to be, and it's been doing that for at least 50 years. Maybe more.

I've disagreed with every single fucking president we've had since I've been politically aware (ie. since Bush I). Even Obama was wrong. Obamacare should have been free for everybody within our borders. Would you pay a bill when you had to call the police to come save you from home invaders? Would you pay a bill when you had to call the fire department because your house was burning down? Do you think you should pay a bill because you have cancer and want to live? Or maybe when your house was burning down your body got covered in life threatening burns? Healthcare should be a fucking free service, just like the PD and FD. Obama was wrong. He should have pushed harder. Just like any American president should have but never will because insurance is a big fucking business.

A very close friend of mine is in the habit of saying that the government is in the business of "polite fascism." For as long as I have known him, he is correct. This time he is wrong. The days of polite fascism are over. Welcome to the era of actual fascism. Trump has already tried to ban actual, real, legal Americans from reentering their home because they're not the right color. They're not the right religion.

That is wrong. That is unAmerican. That is against everything that built this country.

I stand against every president we've ever had. But Trump has my special interest. I will stand against Trump for as long as I have breath. For as long as he's in the White House. For as long as he has a breath to utter his crazy and evil bullshit.

I believe in freedom of speech. I believe that Trump has the right to say the horrible things he's said. But he's in a position where he can enforce that shit. That's got to stop. That's why it's OK to punch a Nazi. Because a Nazi will humiliate you. They will mark you. And then they will put you in an oven if you are lucky. Otherwise they've got a mad bastard who would be very happy to run inhuman experiments on you.

Here's the thing that sucks: there is nothing civil we can do about this. Trump has the executive branch. He has the legislative branch. He almost has the judicial branch.

I'm almost a pacifist. Like, a pussy hair away from it. But maybe--just maybe--it's time to water the tree of liberty . . . not with the blood of patriots but with the blood of tyrants. Those who claim to be patriots.

All right. I'll get back to my dick jokes and booze haze. I just had to get that off my chest.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


I've been taking care of my grandfather for a while. He has not been himself for about a year. He is conscious. He knows who I am and my grandmother and my brother (although he thinks there are two versions of my brother). I love him. He raised me in place of my mom and dad.

He lives in my living room now. In his chair. Watching TV and reading books I lend him.

He thinks there are two versions of my brother. He thinks that there is a flight ban in America. He's right. American citizens are being prevented from coming home because our president is a racist who feeds off of the racist dickheads who voted him into office. My grandfather would not want Muslims in our country, but he currently believes that Americans have been banned from coming home. He's right.

I hate that my country is banning Americans from coming home because of their religious beliefs and the color of their skin. WE ARE AMERICANS. There is a melting pot. But when we refuse our own citizens from coming home? There is no melting pot. If you believe American citizens should not come home because they have a different background, THEN YOU ARE UNAMERICAN. Maybe the dickhead in the White House has forgotten what is on Lady Liberty's pedestal.

I'm off topic. My grandfather believes there is a ban on American transport. He's deathly afraid that I'm going to fly out of country. He wants reassurances that I'm not going to fly out of country.

And I give it to him.

It pains me. I don't want to lie, but it reassures him.

I told him I'm not going anywhere. He was happy. It made me feel awful as I walked away from him.


I have always been fascinated by the past and old structures around me. Remember the time that I found a cabin in the woods filled with cages? And a gas tank full of water? Well, probably not. I did that when I was in college, and very few people follow me now from back then. But I did a popular local story at the time that earned me an honorary award from the Chicago Tribune at the time.

Never mind.

I recently read a book by David Morrell. I love Morrell's work because I love every book from him that I read. Sometimes I have my doubts, but he always wins me over. Each and every time. The book is called CREEPERS, and it lives in my heart like very few other books do.

There is a reporter with a mysterious past who hooks up with a group of urban explorers to infiltrate a fancy hotel that has been locked down for decades to see what still remains inside. And they may not be alone. It's a great thriller. One of Morrell's finest achievements. I love it so much. But it speaks to me specifically because I love history. I want to know more about the past of my area. If such a hotel existed around me, I would want to see the secrets it holds. And I would take only pictures, leave only footprints. I respect the way of the urban explorer.

I work in the Loop. There is a lot of infrastructure below my feet every day I go to work, and I would love to see it all. I want to see the maze of a walkway from building to building, even though the government mostly owns the walkway now, probably to protect important people as they move to and fro in Chicago. The same for the private owners of the space below the skyscrapers they own.

If you want to know more about what is under the Loop, you should read this. It's awesome, and it makes me want to explore the sealed off tunnels below the streets I walk on to get to work everyday. The infographic alone is worth clicking that link.

But forget that for a moment.

When I was a kid my dad and first stepmother had me for the weekend. We went to a water park that is ten minutes from were I live now. I hated it. I hate water slides and being submerged under water for whatever reasons.

Shortly after I was there the water park closed down. It's still there. No one ever tore it down. They just abandoned it. But it's still there.

For years I've kept this in the back of my head for a setting I want to write about. But after reading CREEPERS I want to visit this place. I want to see what it looks like now. I want to bask in the glory of the past.

I know how attentive Mr. Morrell is to his research. I feel with a great deal of certainty that he went urban exploring for research. He just can't say it for legal reasons, as urban exploring is technically a crime. This knowledge makes me want to become an urban explorer. The past turns me on. I want to see living examples.

I want to see what this water park looks like now. I can see the infrastructure that I remember as a child riddled with plants and trees and broken pools and more. A forgotten piece of history waiting to be discovered before some corporation tears it down to build something else.

Some of you may recognize my pattern. My theme. The past is never as far behind us as we imagine. There are still remnants barely holding on. All we have to do is find them and embrace them.

Reach back. Hold on. Love. Understand.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


I really hope that there's an afterlife. I can't stand the thought of suddenly not existing anymore. Sure, my meatbag will still be there, but only the worms and bugs are going to enjoy that. Or, if I am extremely unlucky, the wild beasts that find my body will enjoy me. Of if I'm killed by a serial killer, he or she might enjoy me a little too much in a way that I would probably find unacceptable. But I won't be here for that. If there's an afterlife, I get to go on a brand new adventure.

But I'm pretty sure that I cease to exist when my body dies. I'm not proud of that belief. I don't want it to be true. The very thought of not existing scares the shit out of me. I can't get my head around it. It reminds me of a thought that used to keep me up at night when I was a kid: what was here before the universe? Oh yeah? What was here before that? And what about before that? It scared me because I'm scared of not knowing important things.

On my commute into the city this morning it occurred to me again. I tried to wrap my mind around someday being in a state of not existing. I tried to think about what that would be like. To be here one second and then to be wiped from existence in the next. Much like my night thoughts when I was five, I could come up with no satisfying answer. No answer that put my mind to rest.

And then I realized something. Unless reincarnation is the correct answer, each and every single one of us walking the planet now knows exactly what it's like to not exist. Maybe it's somewhere locked in the part of our brains that scientists tell us we never use. We supposedly remember everything in some part of our brain. Maybe we remember what it was like to be a baby. We just can't access it.

Maybe we remember being born, but we just can't access it.

Maybe we remember floating in the diaphanous placenta of our mothers' wombs, but we just can't access it.

Maybe--somehow!--we remember the moment our father's sperm connected with our mother's egg, but we just can't access it.

We all know, deep down in some forgotten part of our brains, what it was like to not exist. We've done it for millions and billions of years. We just can't access it. But we'll learn all about it again soon. Hopefully not too soon. But eventually.

Let's have fun while we're here. Let's choose love over hate, because this is probably the only life we get. Why waste it with negativity?

Goodnight, fuckers and non-fuckers.

Friday, January 27, 2017


One of the things I miss about working in the suburbs is the fact that I never had to worry about making my train home after work. It's usually not a major concern, but every once in a while I have to run to get my train. If I miss it, I'm stuck in the city for a whole fucking hour before the next one is ready.

I had to run for my train tonight. I was so pissed because I'd spent the day working up a good buzz due to my company providing free beer and pizza for us. Running totally fucking killed it. I had to ride that train sober because of the physical exertion.

I work in the repair department of a telecom company. I'm in the queue until the pass off to on call happens. It happened late today because a lot of shit was fucked up. I got a call at 8:05, and I had to take it because we didn't do the pass off yet. I got out at 8:20. 8:25 is the latest I can get out of work and make my train. I had to run for at least two blocks to make my train.

I'm OK with that. I'm not in the best of shape, so that sucks, but I can live with it. Except . . . well . . . I had a lot of free beer tonight, and I had to piss. Badly. My back teeth weren't just floating, they were fucking drowning. I had to make a decision tonight: make my train or take a forceful piss.

I chose to make my train. Holy fuck, that run was painful. When I got to my train with 5 minutes to spare, I rushed to the bathroom on the last car and pissed longer than Tom Hanks did in A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN.

I was so late for my train that I had to get a seat on the second level. While I was up there, I realized that just about everyone with me had a beer from the News Room. I'd put that at 95% of the people on the second level. I didn't realize that many people needed a beer for the ride home. I'm very proud of my fellow commuters.

But fuck. On my run I thought I was going to piss my pants. Like, a lot.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


(This entry to be read to the tune of this song.)

My body has been consistently trying to kill me for the last few years. You would think that my literary estate would be at the front of my mind. Well, I put it off and put it off and put it off because I had faith that somehow I would survive. What a fucking stupid idea. I'm surprised 2016 failed to take me.

But I got it done a few months ago. So yeah, if that blood infection virus thingy killed me, my literary estate would have been secure. There's that.

But then there's other stuff. What happens to my Twitter when I die? My Facebook? My bank accounts? My PayPal? Everything else? Honestly, one of my biggest quandaries was this: if I died, who would know? My family. Some close friends. No one else.

I took some time to write it out, and it made me feel odd. Right now, as I stand (or hover like a madman above this glowing electronic device that could possibly blow the kneecap off of the world), when I die there will be someone who will have my passwords. They will post something to my Facebook. And then they'll write something else to link to that Facebook post for the Twitter people.

I have written you all a message from beyond the grave. That's some Future Mystic Bullshit for you right there.

When I was a kid I remember my grandparents taking me out to the middle of nowhere to show me their tombstone. Both of them are still alive (for now), and they have their tombstone already. Their names are on it. Their birth years are on it. All it needs is their bodies under its ground and their death dates. How fucking odd is that?

That's what it feels like to have an envelope on my night stand that says, "In the event of my death," on it.

The very thought that the world will continue to work after I'm gone is obscene. Dammit, I'm the only one who matters, right? The world is supposed to end with my death. Nothing matters after I've breathed my last.

It's a weird thought that occurs to me every once in a while. In my heart of hearts I know that I'm a small cog in the giant machine of life, and when I die there will be a fresh part to take my place. But dammit, there's an indignant part of me who insists I'm vital to the continuation of existence. That part of me is fifteen years old no matter how old I get.

Here's the bad news: everyone reading this right now is going to die. Here's the good news: everyone reading this right now is going to die. Life is a snake constantly eating its own tail. Or, if you prefer your philosophy to come from an HBO show, time is a flat circle.

We all have that adolescent asshole living in our psyches. But we also know that (s)he is an asshole.

Is there an afterlife? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure that our energy leaves our body and gets recycled into the universe. I don't mean to say that our consciousness survives. I don't think it does. I think whatever we were gets eaten by the worms. They take that energy to make more worms. Until some fisherman digs them out of the ground and uses them to capture fish. That energy goes into the fish. And then it goes into the fisherman and his family. And so on and so forth.

One thing seems certain: we will all be a fisherman's shit before we become something else. Life's cycle takes a while before we become something bigger again.

Sweet dreams.

Monday, January 9, 2017


You look up at the clock and see it's getting late. More importantly it's time for your pain medication. This will obviously help you sleep tonight. You hit the button. "This is Nurse [name redacted]. How can I help you, [your name here]?"

"I think it's time for my pain medication," you say.

"I'll let your nurse know."

That could mean that your nurse will show up instantly. Or maybe in five minutes. More likely in 15 minutes. If you're lucky. Surprise! You're lucky. She's here in less than five. She has your shot. It is glorious. It takes a moment to take hold because you've been loaded up with Dilaudid all day, but when it hits, it comforts. It feels like a burning gas in your chest and head. You want to close your eyes. You start to drift off. Soon you're asleep.

For maybe ten minutes. "Knock, knock," says a nurse. And you're awake again. Fuck. She apologizes, but she's here to check your vitals. She puts the blood pressure cuff on one arm and puts the pulse monitor on a finger on the other arm. She puts a thermometer under your tongue. It takes five minutes, and it's over. "I hope you get some rest," she says. You hope so, too. It takes a moment to get back into the groove, but you do. After maybe a half-hour you start to drift off again. Ah. Sleep is finally upon you. It takes you under.

For about five minutes. "Knock, knock." It's another nurse. This one is here to take your blood sugar readings. She asks you which finger, and you volunteer one that hasn't been punished too badly. She fucks up the first time, because this is her first night shift. But that's OK. Blood sugar tests are the least of your pains. She gets it right the second try. "Sleep well," she says. And it's over. It's harder this time, but you finally start to drift off yet again. You fall asleep. It is glorious.

For about five minutes. "Knock, knock." This nurse wants to take blood samples. As if you haven't given up enough of your blood since you got here. She can't take it from the arm with the IV in it, so you offer the other arm, the one with the collapsed vein because it's been pierced too many times. It takes her about five minutes to find a viable blood vessel, but she gets it after slapping the shit out of your arm. It takes her a couple of pokes before she gets two giant test tubes full of your blood. "Now rest up," she says. And she's gone. Holy Christ, please let that be it. You don't know if you can take anymore of this. There's just barely enough Dilaudid in your system to get you moving toward sleep again. But you succeed.

And maybe it's just five minutes. If you're lucky it's fifteen minutes. But that's when your IV starts beeping, and your eyes snap open. You try to figure out how to get it to stop, but there are so many buttons, and there's just no way. Finally you give in and press the button for the main desk. "This is Nurse [name redacted]. How can I help, [your name here]?"

"My IV is beeping."

"We'll get someone there as soon as possible."

It's never as soon as possible. If you're lucky it's 15 minutes. If you're average, like me, it takes a half an hour. A nurse shows up, apologizes and shuts that fucking machine up.

Blissful silence. No more nurse interruptions. It's the dead of night. You can finally fall asleep again, except . . . you can't. You're wide awake now. You look to the clock, hoping that it's time for your injection of pain meds. Nope. You've got two hours to go.


You try to sleep. Nothing. You try to fantasize. Nothing. You try finding something boring on TV, and while that's not a challenge, it still doesn't help. You keep looking at the clock, and the arms never seem to move. What the fuck? You close your eyes, hoping you can pretend to sleep hard enough that you actually fall asleep. Nope. Nothing helps.

And then it happens. The glorious moment when it actually *is* time for your pain meds. You hit the button. "This is Nurse [name redacted]. How can I help you, [your name here]?"

"I think it's time for my pain meds."

"I'll let your nurse know."

This time of day? That's a 20 minute wait at least. This time it is a half-hour. The nurse apologizes. She says that she wanted to double-check with the doctor to make sure you're supposed to get this shot. And then she gives it to you. It is wonderful. It takes a moment to hit you, but when it does you feel on top of the world.

And you finally--FINALLY--fall asleep.

If you're lucky, you get two hours of sleep. More likely you get one hour. Or something in between. One way or the other, it's only a matter of time before this happens: "Knock, knock." It's a nurse. She wishes you a good morning, but she's here to check your vitals.

And the cycle continues.

Hospitals: dedicated to make sure you enjoy nothing since the beginning of time.

*The title of this episode of GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS comes from this song. In case you couldn't surmise that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


I'm really quite proud of myself for this one. When I was a kid I was a huge fan of TV westerns (still am, in fact). In the back of my head, all of these years, was the idea that all of my favorites happened in the same world. It helped that most of them aired on CBS, so it was within the realm of possibility.

A few years ago I got to indulge this idea. I originally wrote the Zimventures to amuse those who know the real life Cris Zim. Now that I'm posting them, I finally get to share my dream project with a wider audience.

The third Zimventure happens in just such a world. I crossed-over the following western TV shows for this one: GUNSMOKE, WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, MAVERICK and RAWHIDE. It is populated by such wonderful characters as Matt Dillon, Paladin, Bret Maverick, Rowdy Yates, Josh Randall and many, many more. For those who might not like that kind of thing, I have thrown in a few more crossovers: BACK TO THE FUTURE, I COME IN PEACE, QUANTUM LEAP, ZARDOZ and IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA. That's right. All of these properties crossed over into one Zimventure! And it's an epic! I'll try to post these every day. For now, here is the prologue.

PS: Here's my fantasy. It will never happen, of course, but in my heart of hearts, this is what I want to happen. I wish that someone important at CBS will read this and realize how well I know these old west characters. They will suddenly want me to relaunch all of these series, all interconnected, for TV. How awesome would that be? I don't expect that to happen, but it would be nice. Anyway, after the prologue we have 16 chapters and one interlude. I hope you enjoy!