THE ABSENT - out now!


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


Out Now


My first book of poetry available through Amazon and other online booksellers

Friday, October 23, 2009


I am of a generation that just missed the glory days of THE SOUPY SALES SHOW….The Soupy Sales I saw growing up in the 70’s and 80’s was a brilliant ad libber to be sure but confined to game shows and afternoon talk shows.

It wasn’t until I got older that I discovered what an edgy, dangerous comic Sales had been….His famous Children’s show of the 50’s and 60’s was, like The Three Stooges in the past and Spongebob Squarepants now, as much for adults as it was for kids….In addition to the famous incident when Sales, angry about working New Year’s Eve, asked children to take the green paper with pictures of presidents out of their parents wallets and send it to him and he would send a postcard from Puerto Rico, Sales was also famous for adult double entendres which might or might not go above the head of kids (Sales later denied the double entendre story and said it was an urban myth).

Watching videos of him at his heyday one sees an unpredictable energetic comic….A big influence I think on Pee Wee Herman and also on David Letterman, Tom Green, and others who try to do things outside the box.

There’s a lot of good Soupy Sales stuff on YouTube I’m happy to report….

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Theodore Roethke’s poetry is deceptively simple….This perhaps caused me to overlook him when I came across his work before.

MY PAPA’S WALTZ ,which I used last year in my Year 9 English class to explain metaphors, is one such poem….The image of the drunk father with his rough appearance beating time out on his son’s head at first seem like such a shop worn unimaginative clichéd scenario but Roethke’s restrained use of language and the rhythm of the words perhaps also imbued with an integrity of a scene that may or may not have been autobiographical.

Roethke images don’t slice, cut, or penetrate….They ingratiate themselves with your brain rubbing up against literary pleasure centers like a purring feline.

JOURNEY INTO THE INTERIOR is really just a collection of metaphors describing the complexity of self-examination….”I could do that you think” but I’m sure many musicians think the same thing about the early music of The Beatles….INTERIOR comes to a really interesting ending by the way.

THE RECKONING uses accounting imagery for a soul imbalance something I have done myself in poetic writing….THE WAKING and THE GERANIUM are examples of plain spoken homilies on life’s value and existence.

ELEGY FOR JANE shows that Roethke can produce emotion in the reader….I love the last line of this poem about a student of his who died in a horse riding accident when he acknowledges that he has “no rights in this matter” as he is neither “father nor lover”

Here are three of my favorite poems of his all on one page THE SURLY ONE, I KNEW A WOMAN, and IN A DARK TIME

And here’s a Theodore Roethke page with bibliography….

Friday, October 16, 2009


One module that is always included in the Business Communication courses I have taught is meeting management/ effective communication for meetings.

My observation is there are several common mistakes made in the organization, running, and planning of meetings….

1.) Going into a meeting without a clear objective….Having formal meetings to kick ideas around without first having arranged the frame work for the proceedings or just having a meeting “because we haven’t had one in awhile” (as an old employer of mine used to do)….Meetings are meant to solve problems and and introduce policy….Other than that they are a waste of time….There should always be time for feedback at the end.

2.) Ineffective Time Management….Spending too little or the usual problem too much time on one single issue leads to a meeting that is not effective as objectives are not met….Meetings need a firm moderator with the ability to move it along at the right pace.

3.) Calling last minutes meetings for non-emergencies….Participants in meetings should always be given a fair amount of warning unless it is an emergency otherwise you will have a distracted and frustrated audience one they realize the meeting could have been scheduled for another time as well as non-attendance from those unable to get away from prior commitments.

4.) Too many meetings….Management in all businesses have to meet on a regular business….This is how they communicate important information to each other and also how they discuss the future of the business….However, the rank and file of any given business or other entity be it school, government agency, etc. should not be meeting too frequently….If there is, there’s very likely a problem somewhere

5.) Meetings as time wasters….Once, when a meeting ended slightly before the time it was scheduled to, the manager started doing some silly teambuilding games that took even more time and we ended up getting out later.

What do all of the above situations have in common?

The absence of an agenda clearly stating the order of topics….You can go so far as to include goals in your agenda as well.

The agenda of a meeting should always be planned and written well in advance.

Time management is one of the if not THE most underrated part of management and meetings are one of the most abused areas….Running successful meetings is one of the indicators of how successful a company is in other areas….

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I’m not sure how to even begin to describe this book but here are a few key plot details….

Our hero sells athletic shoes called “jump shoes” for a living that give people the power to leap small distances….One night an ambulance shows up at his house without being called and takes away his wife who is apparently healthy….This being Japan and the novel being one of the most extreme and surreal neither he nor his wife think to stop the paramedics and argue with them why they are taking her away….

The rest of the book involves him attempting to find his wife in the labyrinthine hospital she’s been taken….While clues are given at the end, we never really find out what happened to her….Instead, we have a character called “The Horse” who is am literally walking and adopting the physical motions of a horse….A young girl who is constantly sexually aroused but whose bones are melting so she becomes more and more a blob of jelly….Another character has a disease that makes her turn into cotton and she is eventually knitted into a quilt to be used by her daughter….All the patients in this hospital are sexually active and sneak away to hotels where they are unknowingly taped in action….These tapes are sold by the hospital as erotic accessories

Aside from the odd deviant sex and peculiar incidents (the hero becomes the chief of security for the hospital during his search when he accidentally kills the old chief of security), there is not much here….

This is not the first book I’ve read by Kobo Abe but THE BOX MAN had a clearer structure, had a better foundation for its surreal explorations, and a message….This book is just weird….Fun for those who want a reading experience that makes absolutely no sense….I guess the message in the end is something along the lines of each patient embracing his or her disease but it’s so jumbled it’s hard to figure anything out.

The end of SECRET RENDEZVOUS which finds the hero permanently lost in some kind of maze seems too easy….I would expect more from a book that is so self-consciously bizarre.


Been listening to the back catalogue of The Fall the last week partly inspired by finally hearing their latest cd IMPERIAL WAX SOLVENT….I won’t say I’m the biggest Fall fan but I do respect their fidelity to a certain style of recording and their ability to maintain their integrity while having prolific output.

Or I should say HIS fidelity as Mark E. Smith is really The Fall….My recent Fall listening binge brought to mind some similarities between Smith and Bob Dylan….

They both rattle off their poetry as lyrics over band backing without worry over such melodic niceties as singing or middle 8’s or traditional verse chorus structure unless you count mentioning the same phrase every fourth or sixth line….

Dylan was lucky to be backed by The Band among other talented sidemen on his best albums including BLONDE ON BLONDE and HIGHWAY 61 REVISISTED….They at least injected some drama into dull arrangements which is almost like spoken word when one gets down to it.

Now, I’m definitely not the biggest Dylan fan….In fact aside from great poetry, I’ve always found him a curiously regressive creature who peaked early and produced crap ever since….I never liked his voice and didn’t really like anything he did after the 60’s….

Smith on the other hand while using multiple sidemen over the 30 year 30+ album/cd career of the Fall still continues to produce a bizarre original sound….He’s never lost track of what he’s about unlike Dylan whose a good poet but very very overrated when it comes to every other part of his music….


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Let me get this straight….David Letterman had sex with women who worked on his television show and he wasn’t married at the time….Hey, I got a news flash for you….Sometimes rock stars have sex with groupies!!! I mean duh!

This non-story shows us a couple of things….It must be a slow news week and the right wingers who hate Letterman because he went from one of the most inventive television personalities of all time (not to mention the funniest) to the same but with a social consciousness horrified by what the criminal Bush administration had done to America.

The way he handled this whole thing-up front, no BS showed real integrity and bravery….

I’ve blogged about Letterman before and he is till my hero….

I am just waiting for the Sarah Palin sex scandal and you know there will be one….Someone so obviously hypocritical embracing abstinence and her own failure as a mother as well as her “slutty flight attendant look” as Letterman said….I can’t wait until the pictures come out of her with a caribou or some other nonsense….The contrite apologies, the sex tape and the further crumbling of conservativism of America into a political ideology no one takes seriously anymore even those who claim to believe it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Let me start off with several obvious truths….

1.) There is no such thing nor was there ever such a thing as death panels in any of the various versions of the health care legislation before Congress….Sarah Palin and other right wing minions have been attempting to strike fear into Middle America with these baseless charges….They are disreputable scoundrels….Here’s a fact check…. ….The real death panels in America are called insurance companies and they sentence people to die every day by refusing or denying coverage.

2.) Of course racism is a factor in how President Obama is being treated….I have never seen a president talked about with such a lack of respect by people who really matter not even Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal….When Rep. Joe Wilson shouted liar during the state of the union, it was the actions of a white Southern male of a certain generation who is not comfortable with a black man in a power position….The equivalent of calling a black man “boy” to degrade him and make him less than human….The Republican party only likes black people when they have effectively been neutered or made “white” so to speak such as Clarence Thomas….The way they talk about the first lady is also disgusting and speaks volumes about what passes as political debate from the right wing these days.

3.) I still think President Obama is very lucky to have the enemies he does….When they are not getting caught with their pants down, they are following Glenn Beck a known schizophrenic who has to take behavioral medication….It’s a good thing if he becomes the voice of the Republican party….Good for the Democrats that is.

Now the bad news….

The Obama Administration so far has been hampered not by their policy goals which are correct and why I voted for him in the first place but rather by their priorities….

I totally agree the health care system needs to be reformed but with unemployment at 10% and economic growth continuing to be sluggish does it have to be now?....A reinvigorated Democratic party fresh off spearheading a recovery would have a lot better chance of getting health care legislation through Congress.

The bill that is taking shape is filled with exceptions, compromises, and pandering to the special interests….When weakling Senator Max Baucus caved in on the public option, the bill ceased to have any heft at all….What’s the point of this? Other than getting a bill passed….But if it’s a nothing bill then it is really just a hollow action

And that is my criticism of President Obama and his administration….He plays to the camera a bit too much in a way that is more like showboating and less like getting to work….His failed pitch of Chicago for the Olympics in 2016 was nothing short of a disaster….I don’t understand why this was even on his “To Do” list….Who gives a you know what about the Olympics when there are so many other more important problems?....It looks like he does not have his priorities in line.

I think it is far far too early to call him a failed president as some are doing and I still have “hope” (if that is not too clichéd a term) for his administration….Foreign policy wise he has hit all the right notes and I think he’s been great in that area.

But I also think he needs to sit down with his senior advisors and his cabinet and figure out what is important and remember why he was elected in the first place….Clinton had the same problem and was able to rebound after 1994 with a better agenda to push for….Let’s hope Obama can do the same.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


 “When, three years back, the villagers had their once in a lifetime chance at big money, they all jumped at the opportunity, never realizing they’d be turned into puppets….The former village swarmed with car salesmen, bankers, insurance agents, landscapers, travel agents, promoting overseas tours, real estate agents touring land in Hokkaido no one had ever seen, and even shadier types of entrepreneurs. They coated the town like ants on sugar. The one time farmers with their bulging moneybags were easy prey for the invading hordes….Reality soon set in….”

There are a number of stock literary plot elements in DISTANT THUNDER by Wahei Tatematsu….The farmers who used to work the soil for generations struggling to find a life outside of farming….The plain spoken hero who is filled with integrity….The friend who can’t adapt and does a terrible thing….A lengthy marriage scene that wraps up all the plot details and features the death of an elderly character representing rebirth.

However, because the level of detail is so precise (especially about tomato growing which is what the main character does for a living) this is never predictable or stilted.

Mitsuo, the hero, in his early 20’s works in his small greenhouse which is all that is left of his family farm since his father sold out to land developers….His mother works in construction and various other odd jobs and his father’s elderly mother watches TV at home all day.

There is a nice comparison here between the small strip of land Mitsuo owns and the giant apartment building next door which was built on the purchased land….The character of his father who has left his mother after selling the land and now is living with a bargirl is well drawn….If you provide for your family your whole life and never have a moment for yourself, is this behavior selfish for an older man?

The scenes with Kojii, his doomed friend who is lost in post-farming Japan despite the fact his parents still own rice paddies have a certain poignancy.

I really liked the scenes between Mitsuo and the woman he marries Ayako ….She is as earthy and down to earth as him and their sex scenes are beautifully written saying just enough and not too much.

In fact, Mitsuo and Ayako’s sex scenes and many other parts of day to day life are implicitly linked to farming or, as it all that is left, growing tomatoes….This book is successful in every area of writing but linking it all to the cycle of growing and working the soil is done perfectly.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Today I uploaded to You Tube videos of me reading three of my poems....The poems are GOD'S GETTING TIRED, THE WORLD IS FULL OF THE MENTALLY RETARDED, and THE BURDEN OF EXISTENCE IS NOT THAT HEAVY....

I'm interested in all comments you leave on youtube....Here's the links