THE ABSENT

THE ABSENT
THE ABSENT - out now!

CRIPPLED HEARTS

CRIPPLED HEARTS
Out Now - For sale on Amazon and other onlne book sellers

SOLIDARITY WITH THE FLESH EATING MOSAIC AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju

SOLIDARITY WITH THE FLESH EATING MOSAIC AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju
Out Now

THE RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT NINNY AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju

THE RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT NINNY AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju
My first book of poetry available through Amazon and other online booksellers www.rajbooks.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

FINAL THOUGHTS ON DAVID LETTERMAN


I guess to some extent we live vicariously through the entertainers we like and we do this because we admire them and we admire them because we relate to them in some way....I related to David Letterman’s attitude and sense of humor and would say he definitely had an influence on me, the way I saw the world, as much influence as an entertainer can have anyway.  I hate pretense, I hate Hollywood, I like absurdity and non sequiters and finding humor in real life things. 

I remember before VCR’s in the late 70’s when I was about 11 or 12, my father would sometimes stay up and watch the Tonight Show and he would tape it using a tape recorder and I would listen to it the next day after coming home from school (I wasn’t allowed to stay up on school nights).  That was the first time I heard David Letterman as he was Johnny Carson’s fill in host.

It of course helped later when I was in high school that he had first a great morning show that only lasted a few months but set down many of the blueprints for what he would do later and then his NBC show which was his finest hour.  It also helped that he surrounded himself with kindred souls and/or staff writer creations such as Bud Melman, Chris Elliott, Al Frisch ( who hasn’t been mentioned much since he retired in the late 80’s but who was just as much a deconstruction as Melman) not to mention Paul Shaffer and Andy Kaufman who was Dave’s best guest in IMO .

His finale tonight was self-deprecating and not very sentimental.  Just a solid show, the kind he could probably do in his sleep at this point and that was enough.

I wrote this when I first heard about Dave’s retirement and I think it sums up more in detail my feelings about his career.





Tuesday, May 19, 2015

SATURNS PATTERN BY PAUL WELLER


There are a handful of artists I perhaps like more than Paul Weller (such as Elvis Costello, Squeeze, The Beatles) but Weller rivals all of them in the amount of good music he has put out and in his continued relevance and consistency today.

There is nothing artistically groundbreaking on his newest record SATURNS PATTERN.  It’s a trim 43 minute workout through Weller’s sound as filtered through all the British musicians who came after and copied him.  My favorite songs are the softer moments in particular the McCartneyesque Going My Way.

When Weller does rock out, it sounds like every British band you’ve loved of the last 30 years and that is not a bad thing in this case because they are all mimicking Weller.  In particular, this time around the sound is more Stone Roses than Small Faces

The last song on the record, the eight minute These City Streets, contains the line “We’ve still got a way to go” repeated like a mantra at the end.  I am glad a guy who has made as good music as Weller still feels this way and is not jaded.  Very few new music releases are as looked forward to by me as one from Paul Weller.



THOUGHTS ON THE FINAL EPISODE OF THE FOLLOWING PLUS THE FOLLOWING FINALE - MY VERSION


Don't see the final episode/season finale of THE FOLLOWING as a resolution (except Ryan's family/friends are now safe) as much as a cliffhanger and a set-up for the Season Four that is not happening where undercover Punisher Ryan wreaks havoc on the wealthy serial killer organization.

Other complaints are they should have definitively killed off Theo - no need for him anymore. Instead of the old "He fell off a bridge/building into water and is believed dead".  Also we were teased prior to the finale that one of the big stars would be killed and none were.  And no appearance by James Purefoy as Joe Carroll?  Inexcusable!  

I think at least a one shot two hour movie if not a six or eight episode of The Following (Ryan vs the wealthy baddies) is called for. 

Overall, I would have written a different ending.   Here is the plot synopsis for the FOLLOWING final episode if written by me....

“Theo and Daisy kidnap Gwen instead of going after Gina.  Theo discovers Gwen is pregnant and taunts Ryan with this.  He also renigs on his deal about delivering Ryan to the wealthy serial killers.  Ryan eventually figures out where Theo and Daisy are hiding.  In the raid, the wealthy people’s gunmen show up and Max is killed in a shoot out,  Theo is also killed after a protracted fight with Ryan but after he’s dead Ryan discovers he’s already killed Gwen and cut her open.  The only other person alive is Daisy.  However, instead of arresting her, Ryan starts acting funny.  He looks in a mirror and we see in fact he is now completely  Joe Carroll.  He starts talking like Joe and kills Daisy and cuts out her eyes like Joe did to his victims then he takes off but not before Daisy tells him about the existence of the wealthy people organization.  We see Lisa alerting Eliza about what was happening then Eliza puts down her phone and we see her in her apartment office talking to Joe Carroll who is alive – The execution was  phony and Carroll was smuggled out of prison by the secret organization.”   





Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WIRE BY WIRE


Here’s an earlier post where I discuss the stages of Wire’s career

Wire’s last few records have been brilliant.  They have found a second or third wind after periods of inactivity.  WIRE’s vibe is more mellow than the two records that immediately preceeded it CHANGE BECOMES US and RED BARKED TREE

Wire’s new self-titled record is the circle coming round and meeting itself.  The influence of Wire not only on punk and new wave and modern indy music but also on shoegaze is apparent.  The music on this record reminds me of such late period shoegaze hybrids as the Engineers.

Shifting is the most radio catchy single the band has come up with since Ahead in 1986.  Overall this record has a clean, relaxed sound but they also get back to their noisy agitated style on the longer tunes Sleep Walking and Harpooned .

Is this how aging agit punk pioneer s age?  It’s a fine role model they are setting.  In Manchester and Split Your Ends Wire rock out but are reflective of their past.

Nothing left to prove, Wire are now content to just produce great songs and lock in an out of quieter/faster grooves.  I hope they keep this up!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

WHY I BELIEVE SEYMOUR HERSH ON THE BIN LADEN RAID


It's amusing to see all the Obamaites attack Sy Hersh on his recent story about the killing of Osama Bin Laden the way Republicans attacked him in the past over other exposes he wrote.  There has been very little "hope and change" in the last seven years on the government transparency front.  

Hersh is a reporter of tremendous integrity who broke the My Lai and Abu Ghraib stories among others .  He is not a reporter who is motivated by partisan politics.  I've read the Hersh article and I've read the attacks on his story (Vox, Politico and others).  Most of the attacks seem to center around the fact Hersh uses a lot of anonymous sources. So what?  Many of the greatest breaking news stories of all time  (such as Watergate) would not have been written without anonymous stories.  Hersh does have some “on the record” sources such as Asad Durrani.

Hersh's article makes perfect sense to me for three reasons 1.) I always found it hard to believe US forces would have be able to enter Pakistan like that without the covert approval and assistance of someone within the Pakistani government 2.) "The treasure trove of intelligence" Bin Laden left behind? Nothing much came of that. 2.) The part about Bin Laden being buried at seas sounded like bad fiction to me. 

The one thing I would like to see investigated further is Hersh reports that Saudi Arabia was involved in keeping Bin Laden under wraps and funding his life. Considering the 09/11 reports' redacted pages allegedly implicate Saudi Arabia (and Israel), this is definitely worth its own investigation. 

The original article Hersh wrote about the OBL raid lies can be found here http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n10/seymour-m-hersh/the-killing-of-osama-bin-laden


Monday, May 4, 2015

TV NOTES - JOE CARROLL'S DEATH ON THE FOLLOWING, ALSO ORPHAN BLACK AND THE AMERICANS


The death of Joe Carroll on last week’s THE FOLLOWING may be the death knell for the series, assuming Carroll is really dead, as it is very close to cancellation already but that was the best death scene in a TV show I've ever seen (even better than Gus Fring's) and the best execution scene in a TV show (granted, a limited category). The episode as a whole was one of the show's best. If the intent of those running the show is to keep Joe Carroll alive in Ryan Hardy's mind tormenting him and perhaps twisting him into someone evil (which they've done a bit even before his execution) well that would be awesome, far darker than almost anything I've seen on TV before.... RIP Joe Carroll - great TV villain, More Joker than Hannibal Lecter, fab, fun, scary performance throughout by James Purefoy.




A bit late to the party I know but the last few weeks I’ve started watching and enjoying the TV shows ORPHAN BLACK and THE AMERICANS. BLACK is a clever statement on women’s bodies and who controls them couched in exciting action sci-fi plotlines about cloning. Tatiana Maslaney who plays all the different cloned versions of herself is great. I especially like Helena the psycho Ukrainian assassin clone....THE AMERICANS is even better. Not a political show (I actually root for the Russian spies) more about marriage and trust in a crazy situation. Shades of BREAKING BAD in the relationship between the Jennings and their FBI neighbor who doesn’t know he’s chasing them. A lot of the missions they undertake remind me of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE- Love the crazy disguises....Also the early 80’s setting - great new wave soundtrack!



Saturday, May 2, 2015

A PROPOSAL FOR THE US GREEN PARTY


Looking back on who I voted for when I lived in America, I probably voted for Green Party candidates more than any other both in local California elections and in presidential elections when Ralph Nader was the Green’s candidate.  

2016 presents a unique opportunity for the Green Party.  Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee would drive away independents and nonaligned progressives even more than Al Gore in 2000. 

As of right now, the frontrunner for the Green Party presidential nomination is Dr Jill Stein who was also the 2012 presidential nominee.  Nothing against her politically or ideologically but to take advantage of this opportunity the Green Party need a more forceful candidate.  Stein is a weak public speaker, like a local candidate (school board or county supervisor maybe) rather than a presidential one. 

Here’s my suggestion – The Green Party should recruit former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold as their candidate (although he may run again to reclaim the senate seat he lost in 2010).  Feingold’s record on income equality issues is equal to Warren, Sanders etc. and he is better than both of them on foreign policy and surveillance state issues (Only US Senator to vote against the Patriot Act).  He was a leader on campaign finance reform during his time in the senate (McCain/Feingold).  He would have to adjust a few of his beliefs but I think it’s doable.