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, January 28, 2010

THE LATEST LITERARY CARE PACKAGE I WILL RECEIVE....

The latest literary care package that will soon be on its way to me….

THE JOURNAL OF ALBION MOONLIGHT by Kenneth Patchen
TIME WILL DARKEN IT and THE FOLDED LEAF by William Maxwell
WORLD LIGHT by Halldor Laxness
THE GIRL LEFT BEHIND and THE SEA AND POISON by Shusaku Endo
THE PEOPLE WITH THE DOGS and DARK PLACES OF THE HEART BY Christina Stead
MY BROTHER MY EXCUTIONER by Francisco Sionil Rios

THE PROBLEM WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA? HIS MANAGERIAL STYLE

After the usual rhetorical brilliance of President Obama’s State of the Union speech, the question is will this change anything? And the answer I think is not really….In politics, appearance is everything and the image of a steadfast and resolute chief executive who cares and is attempting to do the right thing should be enough.

It would be if that was the problem but the problem is not the president’s identification of the most pressing problems or his new or original policies the problem is his style.

A cool and cerebral president is a welcome relief in the areas of international relations and public discourse. However, in the area of public policy and getting legislation passed this has proven not to be such a good thing.

Basically, this administration's way of pushing policy is to say they want something, rely on the legislative branch to craft a bill and then either embrace it or slink away from it if the end result is unpopular....It sometime seems like the leadership part is being left to others.

Say what you want about George Bush but if he wanted something no matter how evil and twisted it was he was there every step of the way talking to the general public and pushing bills through congress.

I think President Obama really has to work on using the heft that goes along with the office of the president less sparingly....He needs to use the bully pulpit more aggressively....He doesn't have to be more emotional necessarily he just has to be determined and not so removed....He cannot take anything for granted.

I've read that President Obama did not answer Sarah Palin's accusation about death panels immediately because he thought it was too ridiculous to be believed....Shades of Michael Dukakis there.

President Obama is right to focus on major substantiative policy changes in areas such as health care or bank regulation….This is the time for Roosevelt type action in reaction to a public crisis not Bill Clinton-type incrementalism.

But bold actions call for bold words….It is time for President Obama to answer back every charge and to personally manage legislation through the house and senate….It is time for a hands on president.



DESPERATION THY NAME IS YANA PART 2

Awhile back I wrote this about a number of wrong numbers and SMS’s I was receiving

http://rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.com/2009/12/desperation-thy-name-is-yana.html

Well there’s more to the story….As the calls and SMS’s persist I have discovered through talking to some of the people that call that Yana is in fact a DJ at a local radio station and she has been giving out my number as a number to meet her….All the people calling me want to meet the sexy voiced Yana.

Problem is I have yet to find what radio station it is as no one can ever seem to give me that number….I will keep you posted on what I found out

Sunday, January 24, 2010

THE CONAN O'BRIEN/JAY LENO CONNECTION TO WHY NOBODY LIKES MIDDLE MANAGERS PLUS SURVIVOR AND JAY LENO SUCKS

Everybody hates middle managers….They are the ones who generally have to do the dirty work….They do not have the luxury to remain above it all and they are not so authoritative they can avoid a reaction, a public reaction or argument, from subordinates against unpopular decisions.

They carry out the decisions while senior management hides and tries to have it both ways….Appearing to empathize with employees all while giving the original directives….They also have to continuously CYA from subordinates who want their job.

The skills used to cling to power and overcome continuous attacks on your work performance and authority translate well to the TV show SURVIVOR….The two winners who IMO most epitomized what the game is about had strong middle management type interactions with the other survivors….These were Richard Hatch of the first one SURVIVOR BORNEO and Brian Hiedek of SURVIOR THAILAND….Lex Van Den Berghe of SURVIVOR AFRICA who came in third also was a good example of this.

Ferreting out who is against you, backstabbing, making phony alliances, and just not telling the truth in general while appearing like a nice person on the surface are the skills of a corporate flunky such as a middle manager.

I bring this up because of the current debacle with late night television….I’ve never liked Jay Leno….He always struck me as the modern day equivalent of Bob Hope a mean nasty guy telling stale jokes whose robotic approach to comedy makes him like an old fashioned Borsht Belt comedian….Every joke he tells should be accompanied by a rimshot.

The public Leno, the nice guy, the friendly host, is a fa├žade….During the first late night wars when Leno shafted David Letterman and forced Johnny Carson into retirement, much of the blame according to the book and movie THE LATE SHIFT was assigned to his pushy manager Helen Kushnick….She has passed on and now we see the handiwork of real Jay or “vintage Jay” as Letterman commented the other day in the current proceedings.

The bottom line is Leno was a given a lot more time to make THE TONIGHT SHOW work when he took it over originally….And in fact he didn’t begin to beat Letterman in the ratings until Hugh Grant came on more than a year after he took over….In addition, he had much stronger lead in shows unlike Conan O’Brien who was stuck with Leno’s crappy prime time shows as his lead.

I would like to see celebrities boycott Jay Leno’s THE TONIGHT SHOW….It’s time we said no to this weasel-like behavior which is polluting America….It’s one thing to say “business is business” it’s another to screw over people in your day to day life.

I’m a huge David Letterman fan but now have a lot of respect for Conan O’Brien as well….His comments on his last TONGHT SHOW were gracious especially about not being cynical….Here’s hoping Letterman and O’Brien (once he signs with another network and gets a new show) thrash Leno in the ratings.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE MUSIC OF THE BAND....

The fact that drummer/singer Levon Helm was the only American member of The Band is a fact that I think a listener to their music who didn’t know this would have a hard time believing.

That’s because this group of Canadians plus Helm reflect much feeling for American culture and history not to mention the earthy arrangements and beautiful vocals….Helms had a nice rough sandpaper-y voice and Bassist Rick Danko was able to move back and forth between an uncertain quaver and hitting the high and low notes but the my favorite singer of the three was Richard Manuel whose beautiful falsetto conveyed all manner of sad emotions-loss, uncertainty, sympathy, loneliness….He is one of the greatest singers I’ve ever heard.

Bruce Springsteen and other American based rockers who spin their tales of America lack an authentic feel….With their deliberately raspy voices and endless collection of flannel shirts, they just seem like posers….Not to mention their mediocre music.

The music of The Band was not necessarily based on roots rock but quite inventive largely due to the keyboards and synth work of Garth Hudson….His presence on keyboards is a bit like Keith Moon on drums for The Who as it dominates many of the songs.

There has been some controversy in recent years as to how much of The Band’s catalog guitarist Robbie Robertson really wrote….Their music certainly had a collaborative feel with voices and instruments falling into each other overlapping, drowning each other or harmonizing in a deliberately ragged way….I love how the sounds run together on the first two Band albums....The three songs Richard Manuel wrote on their first album are classics....Too bad he didn't write more on subsequent recordings.

And yes it’s true that their first two albums MUSIC FROM BIG PINK and THE BAND were their best….The former contained their best musical arrangements and sound and the latter their best songwriting but STAGE FRIGHT and CAHOOTS are decent albums….Every Band album had at least a few classic songs.

My favorite Band songs – In A Station, Lonesome Suzie, Unfaithful Servant, Whispering Pines, Sleeping, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, We Can Talk , Hobo Jungle






Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2666 BY ROBERTO BOLANO

There are three quick thoughts have come into my mind since finishing 2666 by Roberto Bolano….

1.) The five parts of this book would make even more sense told backwards….That is to say part five is first and part one is fifth.

2.) The parts of this book feel like raw ingredients prepared for cooking but not actually added together yet….Each one in its own separate dish or bowl on the kitchen counter waiting to be combined.

3.) The last part of the book is full of clues-to what? Well I don’t know….There are hints that this could all be in the head of the reclusive writer character or that he doesn’t even exist at all or the truth as we are told in the story is very different from the reality

In any event 2666 is the first work of literature written in the last forty years that actually feels like a classic….That is more than navel gazing, smug irony, implausible situations, lack of understanding of the real world and all the other problems have befallen the modern literature.

I can understand why it took Bolano five years to write this book….It’s more complex then I can ever explain here….The plot concerns a reclusive German writer, a group of academics seeking to find him, a college professor assisting them in their search in Mexico, his daughter, a black reporter, various policeman and the writer’s family members….The linking factor is the fictional town of Santa Theresa in Mexico(where all the characters end up) which is a stand-in for the real life town of Cuidad Juarez which is infamous for the hundreds of murders of young girls that occurred there in the 90’s up to now which are still largely unsolved.

The Santa Theresa murders are the subject of the fourth and longest section of the book….They are gruesomely catalogued for hundreds of pages.

I am going to think about this book for awhile….Since finishing it a couple of hours ago, I’ve thought it is either a dark dark joke, a put on of some kind or one of the best summations of the nature of the fabric of reality I have ever read.

I could easily be completely wrong about either or both of those….

Some reoccurring motifs in 2666….Dreams, crime (especially murder), insanity, people missing limbs, people vanishing into thin air, characters engaging in sexual relationships for convenience only, people unable to help others in need





Saturday, January 2, 2010

THE ENGLISH USE OF ADDRESS AS IDENTITY IN PROSE, POETRY, AND SONG LYRICS PLUS CURRENTLY READING JOHN BETJEMAN

Currently reading the poetry of John Betjeman and reflecting that English prose (books as well as song lyrics) effectively use address as identity, part of the country or part of London as explanation of personality….American writers don’t do this in the same way….They feel the need to explain their surroundings or talk about a larger entity like the South….When the British do this it does not seem obscure to the non-English….One knows instantly what they are talking about within the context of what is written.

Sociologist and linguist Basil Bernstein wrote “Forms of spoken language in the process of their learning initiate, generalize and reinforce special types of relationship with the environment and thus create for the individual particular forms of significance” ….I agree!

British writers in prose and song lyrics link a place to some immediate feeling….This lifts that place from historical or geographical reference point only and makes it a character….One is not limited by their knowledge of the place used as in this narrative device…. Think of Waterloo Station and “Waterloo Sunset” by Ray Davies as an example.

I would also say that much of my favorite American writing is often about the rootlessness of American life, the transitory migratory life caused by economics or just by some twisted version of the pioneer spirit or the desire to get the hell out of America....Even a writer like Thomas Wolfe (whom I admire tremendously) who is closely identified with The South often deals with that part of the American existence and factors that make it worse-The work for materialism life etc.

I would say the difference is the British relate it to a universal experience we can all share in whereas American writers more kind of expect you to go with them and they will tell you about their world....Both approaches have their merits but I like the shared way kind of produces a sense of consciousness (of an audience for starters but also maybe something more global).

By the way, John Betjeman had a sly sense of humor to compliment his otherwise streamlined poetry….Like a less literal, less cranky Philip Larkin (although I still like Larkin’s work better) or a less pretentious Auden, Betjeman work also made good use of different rhyme schemes….There is a musical sense to a lot of his work.





Friday, January 1, 2010

MY PREDICTIONS FOR 2010....

Here are my predictions for 2010….Let’s see where things stand one year from now


1.) Israel will launch a raid on suspected Iranian nuke sites which will be a disaster with much collateral damage and a failure to complete the mission….This will be the beginning of the end for Israel both as a state and a world power….Obama will publicly break from Israel’s policies.

2.) The GDP of the USA will rise perhaps by 3% but unemployment will also rise for a high of 13% by the middle of the year but then will drop slightly by the end of the year which will also cause Obama’s approval ratings to rise slightly back over 50%.

3.) During mid-term elections, the Democrats will lose three seats in the US Senate but they will also gain three different seats for the same total as they have now 60….This will be complicated by the health of Robert Byrd at the end of the year

4.) The Democrats will also lose between 8 and 12 seats in the House of Representatives but not enough for Republicans to reclaim the house.

5.) The Republicans’ efforts will be hampered by internal struggles between the tea party movement and the Republican Party structure which will result in unelectable extremists beating party candidates in primaries and then losing in the general election.

6.)Senator Jim DeMint’s hold up of the nomination of Erroll Southers as head of TSA will become a major issue.

7.) The US will become further bogged down in Pakistan and especially Yemen….This will detract from de-escalation efforts in Afghanistan and especially Iraq….There will be an uprising/revolution/coup in at least one of the US’s Mid East autocratic allies (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia etc.)

8.) There will be some resolution about the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden….By the end of the year he will no longer be on the most wanted list. However, there will be at least one major terrorist event in either India, Europe (France), or the US….More likely India or Europe.

9.) Cap and Trade legislation will not be considered by the US Congress this year.

10.) George Clooney will win his second Academy Award.

11.) Roger Federer will win at least two grand slams and further cement his position as the greatest player of all time….Juan Martin Del Potro will rise in the rankings to either #2 or #3….Andy Murray and Andy Roddick will drop.

12.) Tiger Woods will win at least one golf major and in one year’s time no one will care about his sex life.

13.) Roman Polanski will be extradited to California and make some kind of plea agreement that will involve jail time.

14.) Labor will narrowly hold on in the UK and Gordon Brown will serve another term as PM (My British friends tell me I’m wrong about this).

15.) The latest trend in social networking software will be a website which pulls together all your information from the Internet and you can view all your different sites simultaneously (For example Facebook, My Space, various blogs etc.).