Wednesday, September 11, 2013



- JT Edson

A classic western with a galactic twist...go ahead and use that as a book blurb for this book!

The story has a very standard 'western' start - some drunk drifters looking for trouble lay their hands on a lady! Bad move because out of the crowd comes an unassuming cowboy to save the day. This kind-hearted cowboy, Dusty, takes on all three and whoops 'em. From there we have a quick draw gun fight that Dusty wins. Then he meets up with the lady and her companions for a trek across the country, fighting off the 'bad guys' along the way. Soon enough Dusty and this lady fall in love.
Here is where the galactic twist comes in.
Turns out this lady and her crew are aliens from another planet that have come to study earth. No matter, they still manage to get married and live happily ever after...until she leaves and Dusty is left with only the memories. Which he thinks may be just a dream.
Quite a mash up of genres eh?
It did work though. Edson managed to squash the two story lines together seamlessly. He did drop hints right from the beginning which made the alien twist come as no surprise later on. 

To me it did seem, I don't know, weird. I'm a western fan and a sci-fi fan, but, blending them up like a smoothie just didn't leave a nice taste in my mouth. On the bright side, it is good fodder for 'strangest book you've ever read' kind of conversations. So, I am glad I read it.
This was the first JT Edson I've read, just happened to pick up this book at the fill a box for $5 sale because it had a western cover. Turns out Edson is known for these type of strange mash up books.

What I did find very funny was the name of the hero - Dusty.
Dusty is my fake name. The name I give when I go to Starbucks and they ask to put a name on the cup. I tell 'em, "Dusty".
They have never questioned it, so I assume I must look like a Dusty. I'll take that as a compliment.


Monday, September 9, 2013



I know the title is not politically correct, therefore, what I'm about to say is probably not politically correct either, but, here goes - I'm soooo white!
So white, in fact, that I needed a book to tell me I am. Isn't that just the white way?
This book is a list of, as the title claims, Stuff White People Like. It is set up as a sort of guide to white culture, befriending whites, and a 'how-to' blend in at all white social functions. To me, it was non stop fun and laughter - which is hard to come by in book format. My experience was this: me reading one of the 'likes', laughing, then having to stop and reread the passages out loud to my wife, where we would then laugh together and discuss how true (and sad) all the 'likes' were.
For eg. Camping. 
If you find yourself trapped in the middle of the woods without electricity, running water, or a car you would likely describe that situation as a “nightmare” or “a worse case scenario like after plane crash or something.” White people refer to it as “camping.”
When white people begin talking to you about camping they will do their best to tell you that it’s very easy and it allows them to escape the pressures and troubles of the urban lifestyle for a more natural, simplified, relaxing time. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In theory camping should be a very inexpensive activity since you are literally sleeping on the ground. But as with everything in white culture, the more simple it appears the more expensive it actually is.
Camping is a multi-day, multi-step, potentially lethal activity that will cost you a large amount of both time and money. Unless you are in some sort of position where you absolutely need the friendship of a white person, you should avoid camping at all costs...Once in the camp area, white people will walk around for a while, set up a tent, have a horrible night of sleep, walk around some more. Then get in the car and go home. This, of course, is a best case scenario. Worst case scenarios include: getting lost, poisoned, killed by an animal, and encountering an RV. Of these outcomes, the latter is seen by white people as the worst since it involves an encounter with the wrong kind of white people.
Conversely, any camping trip that ends in death at the hands of nature or requires the use of valuable government resources for a rescue is seen as relatively positive in white culture. This is because both situations might eventually lead to a book deal or documentary film about the experience.
Ultimately the best way to escape a camping trip with white people is to say that you have allergies. Since white people and their children are allergic to almost everything, they will understand and ask no further questions. You should not say something like “looking at history, the instances of my people encountering white people in the woods have not worked out very well for us.”
Now imagine reading 150 of those type of entries. Laugh-fest is what I would call it.
It actually does get a bit repetitive after you've read a good mittful (organic food comes up over and over), but, persevere because you'll run across another jewel that will strike you as laugh-till-you-cramp funny.
Then to top it off there is a test at the end to determine how 'white' you are. I'm just over 50% white...mostly b/c I'm not that big into indie rock and film...but, I feel whiter than white deep down in my heart.
In reality, the title could have been Stuff North American's like, or Stuff Over Educated Middle Class People Like, either way, the entire book took a really hard look at some of the things we do or like that could be simple, but, have turned into expensive complicated things. Yoga in theory is just stretching, but, nowadays it involves mats and classes and expensive pants. It's funny to laugh at the ridiculous amounts people spend on Lululemon pants...especially if you are wearing a pair yourself.
I'm certain this book would be funny for all ages, races, and genders...inclusion and diversity, another white go out to your local book store, buy an overpriced coffee while you are there, and grab this book. Maybe next Sunday after brunch?
Or, the simple and inexpensive way to read the list is to go to the website -


*I listed this as non-fiction, that could be debated.