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

Monday, March 23, 2015

REFLECTIONS ON THE GONG SHOW


The recent death of Eugene Patton more famously known as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine one of the most surreal and beloved denizens that existed on the Gong Show reminded me of how truly insane this show was even by today’s standards.

Watching the host, game show pioneer Chuck Barris, creator of the Dating Game and the Newlywed Game, mock the very genre he was part of through his put-on persona, enthusiastic and sarcastic at the same time, always ridiculous, was monumentally satisfying.

You see The Gong Show’s contestants may been mostly talentless but they were never boring and occasionally you’d see someone with talent – albeit an unpolished living room sort of talent, unglamorous and real.  The sense of humor which Barris and the three celebrity panellists/judges wielded never seemed excessively cruel (although I did love it when Barris would say “I liked you but then again I liked” and then would mention something bad like paper cuts or mold or jockitch).  Rather, it was part of the show’s unrelenting tone of crazed hilarity.

In addition to contestants such as two girls who sucked popsicles suggestively and a group called The Worms who wriggled on the ground as if having a seizure, The Gong Show also had regulars such as Gene and the Unknown Comic whose shtick wasn’t just wearing a paper bag but also insulting Barris (“Chuck, do you have any nude pictures of your wife? “No” “Would you like to see some?”). 

One interesting thing is that David Letterman was a panellist early on in his career. Reflecting on the how The Gong Show viewed itself, it’s deliberate skewering of showbiz it was part of and its lack of restraint and totally nutty surreal humor  must have influenced David Letterman at some level....Would we have Late Night with David Letterman and The Late Show with David Letterman without The Gong Show?


Friday, March 20, 2015

MY STRUGGLE:BOOK TWO MAN IN LOVE BY KARL OVE KNAUSGAARD


I gave the benefit of the doubt to the first volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard multi volume autobiographical work MY STRUGGLE due to the style which was Proust-like enough in its efficiency of recall that it kept my interest.  My review is here http://rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.com/2014/11/my-struggle-book-one-by-karl-ove.html

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the second volume MAN IN LOVE.

The love in the title isn’t what I expected.  Knausgaard does go through how he met his second wife, the mother of his children, which is a rather tawdry and unappealing romance as his wife was in a relationship with a friend of his first and also spent time in a mental institution.  Kanusgaard’s first marriage is hardly mentioned at all.  However, he spends as much time talking about his kids and about writing as he does his relationship with his wife (other than his two wives no other women are mentioned).  The love in the title is everything in life, not just the opposite sex.

Unfortunately, unlike his first volume, Knausgaard has nothing of consequence to say about anything he loves.  His kids are annoying but ultimately worthwhile.  Writing is a series of anecdotes.  His wife is difficult but he loves her. 

I was particularly not impressed with his ruminations on writing.  About the best he has to offer is the writer is chained to his social class.  Knut Hamsun was a farmer so his view of the worlds skewed by that.  What nonsense!

His musings on philosophy are shallow worddrool on time and the like.  Also a problem in the first volume but here he indulges himself even more.

The bottom line is if you are going to write a series of books like that, you need to have an interesting story to tell and not babble too much about unconnected philosophical thoughts.  Knausgaard fails on both counts.        


  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT INDIA'S DAUGHTER


While I think the documentary INDIA’S DAUGHTER was well-intentioned, it has some serious flaws. I agree with the article linked below. You can’t separate the problem of rape in India from class and economic oppression. It’s not a stand alone problem. Also I agree with feminists in India who have criticized the film as being patriarchal (the title) and also felt a little condescending in a “white man’s burden” type of way. Overall, I found it an oversimplification....However, those problems pale in comparison to a really big one. While the director denies this, numerous witnesses have spoken up that the rapist who talks on camera was paid money for the interview. That is completely unacceptable and I believe it violates the law as well! If that was the case, criminal charges should be filed.



Also I’ve seen a lot of outrage online about the comments of the rapists’ defense attorney in the documentary. His comments are indeed ugly and reprehensible but that is the job of the defense attorney – to get his client off or at least avoid the death penalty....If you are offended by this, I would like to tell you a story....In the US state of Arkansas in 1975, a man was charged with raping a 12 year old girl. The defense attorney who represented the man was able to get a reduced sentence by impugning the integrity, sexual history, and behavior of the 12 year old girl as well as having evidence excluded on a technicality (including the girls bloody underwear). In audio tapes of an interview conducted after the trial, the attorney laughed about getting her client off and the fact he passed a polygraph. She said “it made her lose her faith in polygraphs”. Ugly? Disgusting? And who was the defense attorney in question? Why Hillary Clinton of course! I think if one feels so strongly about defense attorneys, then we can all agree Hillary Clinton is not fit to be president but that’s a topic for another post.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

MUSIC ROUND-UP - MARCH 2015


Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – CHASING YESTERDAY

I thought that Noel Gallagher’s first solo album was the most consistent record he’d ever made. I like Oasis, specific songs especially, but they never made a consistent record. His new record is maybe not quite as good songwriting wise as his debut but more musically adventurous (if that is a description you can use for Noel Gallagher’s music ) Great songs – The Girl With X Ray Eyes and The Dying of the Light.

  
Dutch Uncles – O SHUDDER

For the Dutch Uncles fourth record, they seem to have gotten back somewhat to the sound of their first album (One of the best records of the last ten years).  The nervous angularity is older, wiser in application and still has more recently added keyboards in the mix but is much more energetic and down to Earth than their second and third records.  Highlights – Babymaking, Decided to See, In N Out, Be Right Back.


Carl Barat and the Jackals – LET IT REIGN


The irony of the reunion of the Libertines is this record is perhaps the closest to the Libertines music of any of Barat or Pete Doherty’s different band projects and solo recordings.  Barat is really making an attempt to sound like Joe Strummer and a Clash influence is all over this record.  Best tunes – Victory Gin, Summer in the Trenches, Beginning to See.

   

Monday, March 2, 2015

HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON THREE - ONE LAST THOUGHT


One last thought about Season Three of HOUSE OF CARDS – In the time leading up to Claire’s leaving Frank, we see her using Frank’s old rowing machine and several times sitting in the Oval Office.  This could be symbolism for how she is in her husband’s shadow or could it mean she wants the Oval Office for herself?

Could we see Claire competing with Frank for the presidency in Season Four?  That would be something!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

A FEW THOUGHTS ON HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON THREE


Just finished HOUSE OF CARDS Season Three. Overall,  I was a bit underwhelmed.  This season had a lot fewer dramatic highpoints than the first two and felt more like a transitional season between the first two more action packed seasons and next year’s potentially powerful fourth one.

It felt far less dark and complex and more trivial and about the daily grind of politics both being the president and campaigning.  Frank and Claire Underwood felt less like Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and more like Bill and Hillary Clinton or dueling Lyndon Johnsons.  

A few thoughts.... (SPOILERS below)

1.) I was surprised to see Doug Stamper at the beginning of the season.  I’d figured they would kill him off after the cliffhanger at the end of last season.  He is a repellent ugly character and making him even more a focal point was a mistake.  It was also anti-climatic to have him kill off Rachel as he should have done that last season.

2.) I also didn’t get the writer character Thomas Yates except as a potential homosexual liason for Frank (which he doesn’t follow through on when he has the chance).  It seems like the point of the character was for the audience to have eyes on the Underwood’s relationship but I don’t pick up any extra insight into that.

3.) I don’t understand Claire and Frank’s falling out.  They have done and been done much worse and Claire was equally on board.  I have a hard time believing she would bail like that.

4.) Frank himself was not so infallible this season.  Many times he was reactive or not in control.  In particular when dealing with the sinister and clever Putin-like Russian President Petrov.

5.) Regarding Petrov, Lars Mikkelsen turned in a really deep, multi-layered performance as the deceptive Russian leader who outfranks Frank several times.

 6.) The disappearance halfway through the season of Majority Leader Mendoza I can only assume is because the actor got another gig as it was handled really awkwardly.  The victim of a speaker fee scandal no one mentioned before, one day he’s there, the day he’s gone

7.) The appointment of the feckless Donald Blythe as Vice President was a nice touch.

I am not going to make any predictions for Season Four as the ones I made last year were almost all totally wrong (Only exceptions were Frank getting involved in an international incident and Remy and Jackie turning against Frank).  http://rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.com/2014/02/a-few-thoughts-and-predictions-on-house.html



   

Sunday, February 22, 2015

WHY I WAS WRONG ABOUT INTERVENTION IN LIBYA


I’ll be the first to admit when I am wrong and I was wrong at the time about the US/ United Nations intervention in the Libyan civil war.


Why do I feel this way?  Because Libya has been turned into an anarchy state like Somalia which might have been the intent of the neoliberals and neo conservatives to begin with.  This means the oil flows with no one to collect revenue and monitor and also Libya becomes a convenient source to blame for the next false flag attacks.  We already saw Libya mentioned during the Charlie Hebdo false flag incident.

Libyan society has vanished as if washed away by a tsunami.  Two rival government claim power (One made of Ex Quaddafi associates and the other an Islamic group called Libya Dawn) and there are also numerous well armed groups in the country under one Islamic banner or another.

This is a set-up – for further US intervention and for a target for blame when the US and Israel commit more phony terrorist attacks on the citizenry to further eat away our rights and sow discord in the Middle East in order to allow US/ Israeli hegemony.

I won’t be fooled again.  US intervention post-World War II has been a disaster and I should have known Libya would not be any different.