Saturday, September 29, 2012


Last night my wife and I stopped at the Half Price Bookstore in Mesquite. She was wanting to buy a gift for a friend. While she was shopping I wandered over to the fiction section. I normally gravitate to my three favorite living authors Douglas Coupland, Dave Eggers and David Mitchell.

I pulled out a hardback copy of one of Coupland's books, jPod. It's one of the few of his works I haven't read although it's been on my wish list for awhile. When I opened the cover I was stunned to find what appeared to be his signature in the front cover. It was addressed to "Sam of Austin." The inside cover even had a post-it note with the name Sam on it. By all appearances it looked like the typical situation where a writer is given a stack of books to sign to specific people. Somehow or another this book had made its way from Austin to Dallas.

I was super excited. Here was a signed edition of a book by one of my favorite authors. Half Price Books had it priced at $7.99. I hadn't planned on buying any books that night but I got that one quick. When we got home I immediately went online to find photos of Coupland's signature. Sure enough it looked exactly like the dozens I found via Google. It had his distinguishing X mark as well.

You see, Douglas Coupland is one of the most important post-modern novelists of the late 20th and 21st century. He is the man who coined the term "Generation X" which is often applied to those of us born in the mid 1960's through the mid 1970's. Generation X, his first novel, became a major benchmark in observations of our particular little subset of society. GenX was a satirical reaction against the over labelization of culture.

Coupland, a Canadian, has also become world renowned as an modern artist. His books and artwork are amazing. He's been one of my touchstone authors since at least 1992 when I was first exposed to his work.

And by sheer dumb coincidence I have come into a signed edition of one of his works. I asked my wife how could Sam have let this out of his possession? She said maybe Sam got a divorce and his ex pawned the book to Half Price or maybe Sam died, who knows? I whispered "Sam's dead." I just wanted to buy the book and get out of there before Half Price Books realized what they had missed.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Yes I'm mad.

I'm mad because documents released this week show the CIA admitting they were wrong about WMD's in Iraq. It's nothing we didn't already know but now it's official. Now it's on the record. And all the CIA basically has to say is "oops."


4,486 Americans died because of that oops. And you know what? No one will be held accountable. George W. Bush will continue to live his cushy live in Preston Hollow. Dick Cheney will continue to live in his Halliburton retirement funded bunker. Rumsfeld will continue to mumble nonsense to himself wherever he finds himself.

There will be no prosecutions, trials or even a simple investigation. 4,486 brave American soldiers dead and no one will be held accountable for the fact that they were sent to Iraq on false pretenses.

They have congressional hearings for steroids in baseball but not for faulty government intelligence that led us into war?

Remember the reason we went to war was because we were told without a doubt, by Colin Powell on the floor of the UN Security Council chamber, that the Iraqis possessed weapons of mass destruction. Even Powell has offered various mea culpas the past few years for what he admits were "faulty intelligence."

I was called Un-American and unpatriotic for opposing this war in 2003. I was called a nut for believing it had more to do with oil and Halliburton than WMDs.

You say this is all old news and I need to get over it? Tell that the the loved ones of 4,486 young Americans who died trusting their government.

Maybe we should think about that number, 4,486, the next time we are tempted to jump on the war bandwagon.

Maybe we should think about that when the party that stoked that war fever asks us for their vote.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Fiesta de Propaganda

Why bother watching the political conventions? Both the Republican and Democratic conventions are nothing but propaganda festivals filled with exaggerations, distortions and downright lies. It's high time the networks stop broadcasting these ridiculous pep rallies. They do nothing to serve the political process in America.

If people aren't informed enough about the candidates by now then that's due to laziness. If you want a better introduction to the candidates watch the upcoming debates. But don't waste your time watching the Pharisee and Sadducee conventions.

In fact, let's ban political parties altogether. Good ideas are often rejected simply because it came from across the aisle. After all, "Obamacare" was the invention of the Republican nominee. It's worked quite well in Massachusetts. But because it's now associated with the Democratic Party it's become toxic to Romney and he's gone to great lengths to distance himself from his creation.

I guarantee our economy would have improved much more quickly if both sides had agreed to work together. But the GOP didn't want Obama to get any credit and obstructed at every opportunity. And the Dems would do the same thing if a Republican was in office. Let's ditch them both.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Sure, labor unions have sometimes evolved in troubling ways. Like most institutions of man they have often become corrupt, selfish and self-destructive. But a couple of things to remember this Labor Day is that without labor unions the United States may have come close to experiencing a revolution, similar to the Russian Revolution, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Tensions were high due to the excesses of laissez faire capitalism. Violence and worker unrest was common across the nation. But concessions earned by labor unions took away the incentive for all out revolt by the working classes. These same concessions may have also prevented more revolutionary fervor during the Great Depression as well.

Because of labor unions we have...
  • Forty Hour work weeks.
  • Paid overtime.
  • Workman's Compensation in case of workplace injury.
  • Due process in termination.
  • Eight hour work days.
  • Minimum Wage.
  • Vacation days.
Yes, the excesses of labor unions may have contribued to the near collapse of the American auto industry a few years ago. But overall they have been a great for our nation and today I salute them.