Monday, October 21, 2013

Sparks, Nevada: More Senseless Death

Perhaps the most remarkable quote to filter out of Sparks, Nevada today – where some troubled middle school kid shot and killed a math teacher, then himself – is the mayor's observation, "This is just an isolated incident."

The mayor was almost certainly speaking through shock and confusion, and maybe even grief. And the incident itself was indeed isolated. Armed hordes were not invading.

But in a nation armed to the teeth and lovin' it, the shootings were not unusual. And not so isolated.

In Colorado, where I now live, an almost certainly deranged gunman [*] didn't yell, but opened fire in a crowded theater. That same calendar year the state supreme court said it was okay for university students to pack iron on campus.

In Michigan, where I'm from, state lawmakers passed a measure allowing concealed weapons in day care centers – day care centers! – and other supposedly "gun free zones."

In America, it seems, there are no gun free zones.

You can legally take a loaded weapon into a bar, in some states. Loaded guns, loaded patrons – an outstanding combination.

Not even the slaughter of innocents in Connecticut last year has fazed the pro-gun crowd. We continue to reap what we sow.

Next shooting, any minute now.

[*] The guy is nuts. I'm talking about Holmes. No doubt about it. But legally? That's another matter. For the courts to decide, as they say. For the courts decide as a legal issue, not a psychological one. Which in itself is nuts.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Washington Redskins: A Modest Proposal

The Washington Redskins football team are under renewed pressure to change their name to something, uh, less racist.

The name has long been criticized as insensitive. But in a USA Today poll 79% of respondents said they liked the name, and that it should not be changed. (Whatcha wanna bet they were mostly white?)

The team began as the Boston Braves in that hard-bitten depression year, 1932. They became the Redskins a year later, and kept the reverential nod to Native American heritage after moving D.C. in 1937.

Now a possible name change is on the table again, and the idea appears to be gaining traction. Newspaper columnists, even conservative ones, are writing cerebral, well-reasoned arguments about why a name change is in order. Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell observed, "I don't think anybody wants to offend anybody."

What are these people – milk-toast bleeding hearts? They're missing the point.

I hereby propose that all sports teams, from those in pint-sized Pee-Wee leagues through the professional ranks, begin a take-no-prisoners campaign to adopt names that challenge our thinking at every level.

It's all fair game! Why impose any limits of taste and decency? How about a team, maybe a basketball team, called the Miami N-Words? There's nothing to fear, except offending some limousine liberal.

This is America, after all. And the billionaire white men who own the nation's pro sports teams can name them whatever they please.

Maybe some rich guy can field a team called the the San Diego Wetbacks, or the Detroit Ragheads! How about the San Francisco Fag-bashers? The Kansas City Bible Thumpers? The Dallas Klansmen?

If some sob sister objects – too bad. You don't like it? Leave the country!

In fact, I'll hold the door for you. Meanwhile, I'll be rooting for America's Team: the Washington Rednecks.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

E-book: Promotional crud

Getting a book published is, in many ways, a huge ego-stroke. No doubt about that.

But if you want anyone to read the damned thing, you have to do a lot of promotional legwork. This is particularly true when the book is put out by a small press. Or, as in my case, a micro-press.

Praise from a Future Generation, my 2007 book about the earliest, "first generation" critics of the Warren Report, recently appeared in an e-book edition. I noted that little factoid in a recent post here. But Lung is not exactly a high-traffic blog.

A few days after that post I talked about the book, via telephone, on a segment of Black Op Radio. This is weekly program out of Vancouver, hosted by Len Osanic. You should listen to the archived interview. I blab on for about 45 minutes. Things began at kind of a slow pace, but once I warmed up it went pretty well.

Some people really love doing stuff like that. I'm not one of them. This was a necessary evil. I had some talking points with me, written down on 3x5 index cards, to keep me "on message," as they say. They also served as prompts to get me talking again when we hit a conversational lull. They helped a lot.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

E-book: Praise from a Future Generation

As of today – October 1, 2013 – my book Praise from a Future Generation is available as an e-book.

Praise from a Future Generation is a nonfiction account of the earliest critics of the Warren Commission and its report on the 1963 assassination of JFK.

The book first appeared as a hardcover in 2007, published by Wings Press of San Antonio, Texas. It has not exactly been a best seller – but then, I never expected it to be.

I must admit, this is a case of the shoe being on the other foot. Elsewhere on this blog I have railed against e-books as something just shy of a crime against humanity.

Now, self-interest asserts itself.

The e-book version of Praise from a Future Generation has been a long time coming. Wings first approached me about it more than two years ago and I dutifully began yakking about it here. Then one delay led to another. But...that's all water under the bridge.

You can find both the hardcover and the e-version on Amazon.