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

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I was a kid and then a teenager during Jerry Brown’s first stint as governor….When he finished his second term in 1982 (and lost a race to be a US senator), I was in the 10’th grade.
What I recall was that Brown turned into a bit of a joke….His dating Linda Ronstadt….His being dubbed “Governor Moonbeam” (which was later regretted by the columnist Mike Royko who had given him the name) due to his desire to purchase an emergency satellite system….His quixotic runs for the presidency….His problems with the medfly infestation (including the perception he had delayed spraying and this had resulted in more crop damage).
But that’s the past….Over the next few decades, Brown started over working his way up from the bottom including stints as the Mayor of Oakland and the state attorney general….He is now running for the office of governor again 28 years since leaving the office….My first thought is what a joke!  What a retread!
But I don’t think that now….In fact Jerry Brown could be just what California needs….A public servant who is knowledgeable about the ways of government.
The government under attack by the tea party is the federal government….The state government even libertarians acknowledge we need….California has a multitude of grave problems number one being there is no money, not in the state’s coffers, not on the horizon, yet there are scores of services and programs that need to be funded so what to do?....How can California avoid complete bankruptcy?
The other night Jerry Brown debated his Republican opponent Meg Whitman….I can’t stand Whitman….She is a totally empty pants suit….The idea of excessively wealthy people who haven’t even taken the trouble to vote in the past essentially buying an office is disgusting to me….Whitman, herself, strikes me as a “Let Them Eat Cake” royalist who donated money to Princeton while her two thuggish sons run amok there using the N word beating up a female student essentially making Prince Harry and William look like the kids on Little House on the Prairie ….I also don’t care much for the way Whitman treated employees at E-Bay which is probably where her kids learned that behavior
The debate was a complete disaster for Whitman’s campaign….She looked disheveled and unsure of herself and talked only in generalities….Two answers that hurt her-Budget-Brown spoke of specifically how he would go about the process of cutting the budget ….Whitman instead spoke of being tough offering nothing but platitudes…Brown zinged her on her tax cut plan for the wealthy and she didn’t answer him back….Immigration-Brown supports a pathway to citizenship….Here was the chance for Whitman to score a couple cheap points as she opposes this but instead she wimped out talking instead about border security.
Meg Whitman is a corporatist-part of the new royalty….I’m beginning to think what this society really needs is a new French revolution-Bring out the guillotines!  Off with their heads!  

Monday, September 20, 2010


SHAZAM, the second album by The Move, is pop schizophrenia at his best….This was band leader Roy Wood’s finest moment showing his and the band’s versatility despite consisting of only six songs
Side one is made up of three Wood originals - HELLO SUZIE, BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER, CHERRY BLOSSOM CLINIC REVISISTED….SUZIE is a raucous Cheap Trick rave-up complete with iron lunged vocals….DAUGHTER is a beautiful and McCartneyesque….CHERRY BLOSSOM is a re-done version of an earlier hit CHERRY BLOSSOM CLINIC now blown-up from a three minute pop song to a Who style performance piece with spoken word and instrumental interlude.
Side two is made up of three cover versions – FIELDS OF PEOPLE, DON’T MAKE MY BABY BLUE, LAST THING ON MY MIND….FIELDS is a Byrds-type freak-out meandering into psychedelic territory….DON’T MAKE MY BABY BLUE re-makes the Mann/Weill Brill building creation into something off of PARANOID by Black Sabbath…. MIND, Tom Paxton’s country standard, is somewhere between the two approaches heavy but with passionate vocals and some harmonies on the chorus.
The end result is a truly unique album….Following The Move’s first album which is full of clever late 60’s pop and great singles, this was the next step and showed that anything, any song or melody can be retain its full popiness despite whatever genre and instrumentation it is done up in….SHAZAM is also the high point for a band that was never popular in the USA but regardless had a lot of musical influence on the years to come.
The Move made two more albums (which unfortunately introduced the insidious Jeff Lynne) and then morphed into ELO (a band I have never liked).  Wood did make BOULDERS and a couple of other interesting, eccentric pop records.  


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Interesting article by former US poet laureate Robert Pinsky on THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER-two poems by William Blake….I’ve written about Blake before here  

Much of William Blake’s poetry is contrast between the reality of what he sees and his religious or otherworldly inspired imagery which I theorize is the result of mental illness….I think William Blake’s writings show many of the signs of someone who suffered from some type of schizophrenia or other mental disorder that damages perception and produces hallucinations.

You can see that in the first CHIMNEY SWEEPER poem….He starts by talking about the hard scrabble child labor life of the chimney sweep and then switches into dreams of angels and freedom….Although both of these poems are much more in the “real” world then much of his other work.

Great poetry is often a mix of the real and the illusionary….A description of something using tools like metaphor working jointly with bold, hallucinatory language-That which makes it poetry to begin with!
Not a huge Blake fan but do respect and recognize his influence in the way he melded these two modes of expression in his work.        


First off, I must admit I was slow to get on the Rafael Nadal bandwagon….I viewed him first as a clay courter and didn’t initially pick up on the fact of his extraordinary will or in the ability to make major refinements to his game based on surface in order to win.
He is however an amazing champion and has a level of intensity and desire unmatched in tennis….He is the most competitive tennis player, perhaps the most competitive athlete I’ve ever seen.
By winning the US Open and completing the career slam (he has also won the Olympics), Nadal goes from being a very good player, the new Borg perhaps, to serious consideration as one of the greatest of all time.
I made this list awhile back   I would now put Nadal at #4….Considering he is only 24 (perhaps the really amazing part of this), I would imagine he is going to win a lot more slams and the big questions becomes can he win all four in the same calendar year?....He is after all the first man to win the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open back to back – three different surfaces….When Rod Laver won his two grand slams in the 1960’s, it was three grass court slams plus the French.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


All the pictures shown here were taken by me....
Cambodia-Wow!....Day one was free and easy and day two  found me in the city of Phnom Penh the capital….It is crowded….Old roads that are too small for all the cars not to mention the motorcycles and bicycles….Our tour took us to the Imperial Palace which is a beautiful building part of an incredible compound….The uselessness of royalty, the basic meaningless of saying one person and his relations are god-like enough to rule over other people is forgotten about in seeing the beautiful rendering of the Ramayana that adorns the wall surrounding the royal compound….

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was next and it was one of the most disturbing experiences I have ever had….A high school that was turned into a torture center/prison by the Khmer Rouge and then into a remembrance center featuring many of the torture instruments that were used on people, the cells they stayed in and most disturbing of all the photos of the victims which were methodically taken and recorded….Also on display were paintings of many gruesome torture scenes done by one of only seven people who survived Tuol Sleng.

Day three found us on the road to Siem Reap….It’s a five hour drive not because of distance but because of  the lack of a freeway that makes the driving slow….We stopped at a rest stop wherein young kids attempted to sell me fruit other things and beg off me….Beggars are a common sight here and were advised by our tour group leader not to give them anything as they would all attack you at once like piranha.
Here are some fried spiders for sale….

Siem Reap, Cambodia’s second largest city, is much more modern than Phnom Penh….It is cleaner and and has newer looking roads and buildings….I believe this is due to the nearby proximity of Angkor Wat and other historical sites  and the tourists they attract….Although tourism is currently third as far as industries go in Cambodia with agriculture being first and manufacturing being second, it is fast growing and definitely the engine that drives Siem Reap.
I actually preferred Angkor Tom the capital city of ancient Cambodia to Angkor Wat the largest city….The remains were better preserved.

Also here’s the Ta Prohm temple which was used in the first TOMB RAIDER film….

All in all, I thought Cambodia was  wonderful….It has its ugly spots and it’s fair to say that it has not yet really recovered from the three year genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge or the years before that when US dropped 214 tons of explosives on the country or the decades long civil war in the years after  but I was most impressed by the people-they were reserved yet warm and always polite in a genuine way unlike say what a Western tourist faces in Thailand where people are also polite but always sizing you up for how much money they can get out of you.
I would like to go back to Cambodia and see it at my own speed rather than as part of a tour….It’s truly a great place.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I’m going to Cambodia for a five day tour/vacation….I’d originally planned to go to Vietnam and Cambodia but couldn’t afford to go to both and figured it would be easier to see what Cambodia has to offer in a shorter time vacation like this and catch Vietnam when I have more time (and money)

Cambodia brings to mind the great misfortunes-genocide and other unimaginable horrors in the minds of Westerners….Lately, it has been explored and rendered cute like so much other previously inhospitable terrain by cooking shows who create a lightweight atmosphere as they rub noses with whatever fear factor food they can dig up from the locals.

The Cambodian genocide (which by the way is the direct result of the US carpet bombing which allowed the Khmer Rouge to get into power) didn’t cause the US to break off relations with the Khmer Rouge….In fact, for a number of years after the Khmer Rouge were deposed and their crimes know the US recognized them as the legal representative of the people of Cambodia rather than the actual government.

Angkor Wat I will also be seeing….This is one of those world wonders I’ve always wanted to visit….Angkor Wat fun fact- It was originally meant as worship for the Hindu god Vishnu and translated means “city that is a temple”

More after my trip….



My wife had surgery a couple of months ago to remove two benign growths on her thyroid….The hospital where this occurred was Perak Community Specialist Hospital.

The surgery went well and there was no complications….She was required to stay two additional days after the surgery which is customary in this case.

However, the hospital stay was horrible-rude nurses, being shifted around from room to room three in all after paying for a single room , and the worst thing was the construction that was going on the whole time my wife was attempting to rest after her surgery….They were renovating the floor-something that should be done when there are no patients around….Instead you have the sound of hammering and power tools going in constantly not to mention the workmen walking in and out of your room while your wife lies ill in bed having just had surgery.

I felt a reduction in our bill was due….They refused but advised me to make a complaint which I did….Nothing has happened despite following up so I officially give up but needless to say I will never use that hospital again.

Here’s my original complaint letter….

Dear Sirs,

My wife xxxxxxx underwent surgery at your hospital July 07, 2010 on her Thyroid. Acct#xxxxxx

I would specifically like to complain about several issues and request a partial refund on the room charges.

The main issue I have is with the construction that was going on all day during her stay. This involved drilling, hammering and all types of racket as well as workers going in and out of her room while she was trying to sleep after her surgery. I think that this is extremely unprofessional and no way to run a hospital. To make matters worse, she was also moved around three times during her stay and one nurse on her floor was particularly rude.

If you are going to do a massive renovation such as this, you should close the hospital ward temporarily. It is ridiculous to expose sick people recovering from operations to this type of environment.

Considering the uncomfortable room and what a terrible time she had there after her surgery, I am expecting a partial refund of the room rate I paid which the clerks at the payment office refused to grant me at the check out time.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


It is understandable that one would write off the music of Spandau Ballet….They went from being a synth pop band from the New Romantic/Blitz scene to a top 40 pop group to adult easy listening- the kind of music one might find on movie soundtracks.

However, Spandau Ballet did have two strengths going for it….Gary Kemp, guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter, developed into a Burt Bacharach crafter of exquisite singles….Tony Hadley, the vocalist, had a powerful voice that could overpower a song and then lessen to the barest pulse to convey the rise and fall of emotions.

I was not a big fan….I liked their singles but didn’t buy their albums-pleasant but disposable pop….I have however developed a newfound appreciation of their music largely due to my wife who is a fan.

In particular, the 2009 reunion album ONCE MORE which finds Spandau Ballet going the Eagles route-new acoustic based with string arrangement versions of their hits….This setting perfectly suits Kemp’s pop standards much more than the 80’s studio foppery of the time….Hadley’s vocals are to notch as well.

I don’t think this new version works as well on GOLD (My favorite SP song) or on TRUE which is so ingrained in the collective conscious….However, all the other versions here are tremendous especially their first single as a band TO CUT A LONG STORY SHORT which is transformed from a herky jerky example of early 80’s new wave agitation to a breathless intense mood piece.