Friday, February 29, 2008

Keep Your Fingers Crossed...

Got some pitches into some big publishers this week; keep your fingers crossed... That's it. What? I've been busy; deal w/it! ;)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Press Release

I sent out the following press release Friday via my publisher, in hopes to get some media attention to this issue:

NIU Grad and Author Calls for New Approach to Campus Shootings and Pledges Book Sales to NIU Memorial Scholarship Fund

CHICAGO, Feb. 22 -- On February 14th, the anniversary of the official release date of his book "God is a Woman: Dating Disasters," comedian Ian Coburn prepared to celebrate the book's success. He then heard of the tragedy at his alma mater and wanted desperately to both offer support and bring attention to what he believes is the cause of these tragic shootings. Ian has pledged all personal earnings from book sales between February 14th through the end of March '08 to the NIU February 14th Memorial Scholarship Fund (several of the stories in the book take place at NIU and Ian hopes they will serve to remind us all of what a fun and great campus it is to attend). He asked that we release this statement on his behalf:

"I am drained from these shootings, the feeling of helplessness they bring, the fear they create which hangs over every campus like a dark cloud, and the net cast out for causes which always comes back empty of solutions. Instead, it is filled only with speculation, blaming everything from video games to guns to the lack of legally concealed firearms to mental illness to Godlessness to the Internet. Shooters share three traits: they are unhappy, they blame others for their unhappiness, and they don't know how to express or deal with their problems within socially acceptable norms. It's not just shootings among youth that's on the rise; it's drug use, alcoholism and violence in general. More and more, our children are growing up in a culture of irresponsibility and blame (as an educator I have witnessed this first- hand), and are being taught that their community is responsible for their unhappiness. They are not learning how to function properly in their community or how to deal with their shortcomings. Whatever we do, little ears are listening, little eyes watching, and little minds forming. If you lose the Presidential election, the other guy cheated; 26,000 Patriots fans are contesting the Super Bowl, blaming inaccurate timekeeping for the loss; when schools punish student misbehavior, parents intervene by threatening to sue and schools renege; the most influential Presidential candidate plagiarizes and shrugs it off; simple games like tag are being outlawed because some students aren't as skilled as others. The erroneous message is that you don't have to learn to function within your community; rather, the community will change to cater to your needs and whims. In an increasingly complex world we are robbing our children of the tools they need to cope. The battles I fought on the playground and in school built my character, enabled me to deal with my shortcomings, and prepared me to face the realities of life and disappointment, leading to my successes. It is our culture to where we need to turn our studies to find a solution to shootings. An exceptional response strategy is not the solution. NIU taught us that; they are to be commended on their strategy and quick response but even that proved ineffective to stop bloodshed. I don't know if this statement will make a difference or circulate; I only know that I had to make it."

Ian Coburn is available for interviews and additional thoughts on the subjects of school shootings and the topics of his book. You may learn more at and contact him directly at or via Firefly Glow Publishing at 773-477-7528.

So far I haven't received any interest from the media but I have had a few bloggers re-post and contact me, a few listed below. So, hopefully word will spread and we will work toward solving the problem. We can't keep having people killed in these shootings but if we don't look at the real issue, it will continue to grow as a cultural problem.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Culture of Selfishness and Blame Responsible for Shootings Like NIU?

I am an NIU grad, class of '94, and I'm drained. I'm drained from the most recent campus shooting--this time at my school; I'm drained from feeling helpless to do anything; I'm drained from feeling sad that what should be the best times in young peoples' lives is tainted by the dark cloud of a potential shooting--it menacingly hangs over every college and high school. And I'm drained from watching the dragnet searching for blame and speculation that is always cast out into society when a shooting occurs.

Jack Thompson blames video games. (I don't know who this guy is but as far as I know, there has been no evidence that Steven Kazmierczak, the shooter at NIU, played video games.) In a Chicago Tribune survey by Eric Zorn that asked readers to offer reasons for these shootings, one reader stated all acts of violence are done "by children or grandchildren of the 60's generation." Another blamed legal abortion because it sends a message that death is okay. Another blamed all increase in violence on the Internet. Another blamed discrimination and people being picked on by others. Finally, one blamed American men and asked, "What is wrong with American men?" Experts and part of the public blame guns, as well as the ease with which one can purchase illegal firearms. Other experts and a different cross-section of the public cite the inability of people to carry their own concealed firearms as the cause. Some blame mental illness.

Let's actually look for the potential cause; the common-denominators in all these shootings, shall we? Instead of just pulling stuff out of our asses. What do all these shooters have in common? They are not all mentally ill. They have not all been picked on or discriminated against. They did not all buy their guns illegally. They are not all men. Hm. Must be something else. What? What do the shooters have in common? Three things: they are unhappy, they blame other people for their unhappiness, and they don't know how to express themselves properly within acceptable social norms. Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Where are they learning these traits? Um, from society, schools, and parents.

We live in a culture that tells people if you're are unhappy, it is someone else's fault, not your own. If you're fat, it's the fault of fast food restaurants; better outlaw trans fat. Over 24,000 Patriots fans have signed a petition asking the NFL to review the Superbowl because they claim the clock should have ran out before the Giants scored the final touchdown. It's not Belichick's poor coaching (going for it on 4 & 13 instead of kicking a field goal and airing the ball out four times with 3 timeouts and 30 seconds left on the clock) or the Giants good play that won the game; it's not the Patriots fault they lost, it's the guy who runs the clock who cost them the game. If you don't win the Presidential election, the other guy clearly cheated (forget that if you had just won your home state you would have won--I voted for Gore, so shut up). Remember, whatever we do, whatever we say, little ears are always listening. Little minds are always taking it in and forming personalities and rationale with the information.

We have created a culture of blame and selfishness for our children. Dodgeball, kickball, and tag have been outlawed in some schools because some kids aren’t as fast as others or get picked last, so it’s unfair. (I was bad at physics and chemistry; other kids were quite good. Shouldn’t those courses have been outlawed to keep things fair?) About ten years ago at Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, Illinois—an all-girl prep school—a student council member mooned cars from inside a school bus on a field trip. The school kicked her off the council and suspended her. Her father, an attorney, threatened to sue and she was reinstated both in school and to the council. I worked for four years at the Latin School of Chicago, a prestigious K-12 prep school. I protected kids from strangers during recess in a public park and directed traffic after school. The school has a rule that you have to let every child play in your game at recess if they want, no matter how that child behaves. I watched kids try to play football, soccer, catch, and so forth, only to have one trouble-maker constantly take the ball and run away with it or kick the football whenever it was put down for the next play. Kids had to spend lots of their valuable recess minutes repeatedly chasing one kid. When they complained, they were reminded they had to let that kid play, that was the rule. If kids were picked on, teachers immediately interfered. During traffic, some parents and some neighbors would park their cars in the middle of the street, park on sidewalks, run the stop sign, curse at me when I made them follow the rules and be safe, and even complain to the school that I did not let them park wherever they wanted for however long they wished.

What message are we sending our kids? That they should not have to learn to live within the rules of their community; rather, their community should bend to their wills or whims. If they are unhappy, it is the community’s fault. If you’re not fast or athletic, don’t work to get better or find a different game to play; no, just make everyone else stop playing the game they love. If you make a mistake, you shouldn’t be held responsible; no, the community should be held responsible. Our children aren’t learning how to interact or socialize in a real-world format.

Simultaneously, we teach instant gratification and unrealistic expectations. Many schools hold contests in which every entrant wins. You may not be the best but you might be the most improved or the most creative; they make up all kinds of awards to be certain every child receives one. Everyone is an overnight success. Dane Cook, for example. In reality, Dane Cook has been a standup for years and invested his life savings into his website before the Internet was big. He took risk and worked hard to become an “overnight success.” We buy and push self-help books that promise us The Secret or how to work just four hours a week. My book God is a Woman: Dating Disasters is a book of my funny misadventures with women as a touring comedian. I wrote it while working at Latin (that’s called paying your dues, another reality of life kids aren’t learning), and added dating advice after each story because there are so many bogus dating advice books out there, someone needed to take a stand. They preach manipulation, telling you how to change your guy if you’re not happy (because your unhappiness is clearly his fault), or promising you they can get you into any woman’s panties, no matter how you look, what you earn, or no matter how big an ass you are. I felt it was high time someone gave some good advice: your happiness is your responsibility, no one else’s, and you can have all the things these books promise precisely as they promise, but not by practicing their advice.

Suddenly, kids hit high school and college. The rules of real-life apply, not the bs ones that have been socially crippling their characters for years. They find themselves unprotected and without a parachute for the first time (that’s the only real “overnight” event in life). How do they react? What should they do or say? They’ve never dealt with disappointment. They’ve never had to work out problems, let alone their own problems. They’re unprepared, making them far more likely to snap when they aren’t instantly gratified and far more likely to feel overwhelmed. It’s only natural they blame other people for their unhappiness; that’s what they’ve been taught and it’s totally acceptable.

Is this why there’s been such an increase in shootings? I can’t say for sure but it seems very likely and reasonable. Teens and young adults aren’t just expressing unhappiness via shootings; other crimes, drug use, and violence are all up, and most likely related to the same cultural cause. Perhaps we should be studying these factors and looking for real causes and solutions to the problem, instead of just randomly picking things out of thin air. Who is to blame for our culture and children’s behavior? Aside from them, that’s easy to answer, just look in the mirror. We’re to blame; we are society. The day you start buying and pushing books that tell you how to be successful by working hard and smart, is the day you can point the finger. Until then, put it in your pocket, swallow hard, and blame yourself.

You may donate to the NIU February 14th fund here:

I am donating all my proceeds as an author from now through the end of March (a dollar a book) to the fund. Several of the stories take place at NIU and I hope they will serve to paint a more accurate, welcoming picture of the school and its true nature. Also, fifty percent of sales of any of the other products on my site will go to the fund until the end of March, as well. I don’t have money in hand to donate, so this is a good way for me to do it. I commend NIU and DeKalb for their quick response and warnings to students. I am only sorry that they ever had to implement their prearranged strategies and pray they never have to again. Condolences to all those involved and their families.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Obama "Changes" Things... Yeah, Right

Obama promises to change politics, to be different, to do different things...

He has aligned himself with the Kennedy family, perhaps the largest and most old school political machine. He is calling for Clinton to release her income tax records because she lent money to her own campaign. Yup, sounds like he'll change a lot; definitely not politics as usual. The real question isn't will Obama change things; it's how gullible is the American public? Pretty gullible...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Clinton or Obama? Will a Leader Please Step Forward?!


It was Super Tuesday yesterday; how exciting... not! I didn't vote, not because I don't have a candidate but because I hate the whole primary process. It's stupid and misleading. For example, they make a big deal about Iowa and New Hampshire. Who cares? The South decides the winner in the actual election; we've all seen that. The South remains united, the North is all over the place. No democratic president in the last forty years, with the exception of Kennedy, has been from the North. Run your candidates and take your chances; don't have a "pre-show" to see who will win, especially when your data is stupid. For example, Obama won a lot of states that traditionally vote Republican. Dems and experts are like, "Oh, he won those states and we need those states." Yeah, that's good reasoning... especially given that there wasn't a Republican candidate on the ticket! If they follow that reasoning, most likely all those states he won will vote Republican in the general election (you know, the real one), and we'll have a Dem Congress and a Republican Pres. (We need a Pres. to match w/the Congress, meaning we need a Dem because Congress will certainly be going even more Dem in the general election. If we don't have that match, little will be accomplished and we as citizens just can't afford that!)

I live in Illinois, so I guess I'm supposed to vote for Obama. Why? Because this is his home state. Oh, that's a great reason. Actually, I'm against Obama and it's because I'm from Illinois. Obama ran pretty much unopposed here, because the Republican candidate for Senator, who was a solid challenger, dropped out of the race when his ex-wife revealed he liked kinky sex and suggested a threesome. Ooh, clearly Jack Ryan couldn't be a good leader, then! So, a last second fill-in was chosen, Alan Keyes, who is a nut and offered no competition. Obama spoke a good game about all the things he was going to do. He looked like he might actually be a leader. But no, before he does or learns anything, he runs for President. If he gets in, he won't be able to do anything because Congress won't respect him and will be jealous. He has failed to deliver on his promises to Illinois because of his campaign. I didn't vote for him so that he could run for President; I voted for him to be an Illinois Senator. Once he's proven himself with a few terms, if he wants to run, great. Right now, I have nothing by which to gage him, except for the fact that he isn't doing his job and has broken that promise to Illinios, already. That's not a good trait. Also, he seems hungry to be President; impatient to wait until he has more experience or afraid he will screw up and taint his record. I don't want an impatient President or one afraid to make a mistake.

Obama also has flipped personalities. He used to talk about the issues; now, he just shrieks, "Change... change... change... I'm exicted... change!" Who makes the least change in government and the status quo? The candidates who scream about "Change!"

Gotta go with Clinton; has the experience, has paid her dues, shows extreme patience, both with her husband and in her own policital career.

Truthfully, neither is a leader. Once again, no leaders are running, just politicians. Politicians want to see their names in history books; leaders write history.

Colin Powell and Al Gore, where are you guys? You are the candidates we need! Scratch that; you are the leaders we need!

Monday, February 4, 2008

NY Giants World Champs!

Yesterday's Super Bowl shocked the hell out of me. Not just because of the Pats loss and poor, arrogant coaching calls (going for it on 4 & 13 instead of kicking a field goal and airing it out with 30 secs on the clock and 3 timeouts), but even more because of the title "World Champions" bestowed upon the Giants. How annoyingly arrogant.

I watched baseball dub World Series winners "World Champions" for years, despite the strength of teams in places like Japan. Finally, they did away that title after Japan won the real world title in world-wide contest a few years ago. Hell, the U.S. didn't even make the playoffs! In fact, Canada--who cares about baseball about as much as Bush cares about the economy--beat us!

In sports like basketball and football, though, our winners are still "world champions." Really? We've been getting killed in world basketball tournaments, mostly because half of what happens in the NBA is called and our fundamentals are so bad. Guess what? Running from half-court with the ball or even the key, into a slam dunk is actually traveling. In football, some Canadian teams might very well give us a run for our money. They play a much tougher game there (to be expected from the folks who invented a sport like hockey and whose national sport is lacrosse). The goalpost is at the front of the endzone and is unpadded; you hit it hard, you just go down. The field is like 20 yards longer. You only get 3 downs, not 4. Defense lines up a yard off the ball, not on top of it, making it much harder to run. You can hit the quarterback. You can bump receivers. Plus, if we had to play in Canada in the winter... well, when Green Bay is considered Florida, you've got trouble...

When will we stop the arrogance of calling our teams "world champs?"