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

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I’ve given up on trying to predict this election but here’s what I know for sure-The Republicans will pick up three senate seats (North Dakota, Indiana, and  Arkansas)….They are going to win a lot of seats in the house perhaps 50+ and take control of that body and they are also going to pick up a number of governorships (although not California or New York) which is common for the mid-term of a first term president, that is the other party wins seats.
For the last several months and perhaps going back further, the lazy media have tried to frame this as a wave year….This is the easiest narrative to try to link this to 1994 when both houses of congress went from Democratic to Republican….Of course, there are a number of differences such as having a scandal such as the house bank scandal to run against as well as the number of open seats both of which were present in 1994.
They’ve also tried to spin it into 1980 when Ronald Reagan’s election brought in a Republican senate….Of course, many of those senators were voted out when they were up for re-election in 1986.
The bottom line is Americans have a short attention span, no grasp of history, and demand easy answers to complex problems….They hate government but want it to work for them and provide jobs and ease their anxiety when their debt ridden economy goes South.
Specific thoughts….
1.)    Rand Paul, Ken Buck, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Carl Paladino Joe Miller are clown candidates….No wonder they are trying to avoid interviews….Everything that comes out of their mouths is nonsense and when they are unable to dodge reporters they resort to violence (Recent incidents in Alaska and Kentucky for example)
2.)    Alaska could be a surprise as Joe Miller has slipped in polls and the write-in process is very confused. A Democratic win perhaps?
3.)    The fact Obama has cut taxes for most Americans seem lost on people.  Fear has always ruled over logic in the US and we are seeing that in this election
4.)    Christine O’Donnell is pathetic….The Gawker story was cruel but when you are holier than thou well hypocrisy is a campaign issue and when you are not too bright even worse
5.)    Hard to believe the people of Louisiana will return David Vitter to the US Senate considering his frolicking with prostitutes and the fact his aide who is in charge of women’s affairs badly injured his girlfriend
6.)    On election night, watch Kentucky if Jack Conway can win or at least make it close that’s a good sign for the Democrats   
7.)    Full on Xenophobia, racism, and bigotry against immigrants, Muslims, and gay Americans is making a comeback….Not a good sign  

In the end, not much is going to get done the next couple of years and America will continue its decline in this Post-America Pre-China period in world history.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Bryan Ferry’s voice has become a fragile whispery thing….Now on the edge of cracking, whenever it rises to take a high note one can feel the danger of it not reaching , one can feel the strain….This perfectly suited the hazy quiet almost illusionary music of Ferry’s 1994 release MAMOUNA which is haunted record with Ferry as the chief ghost.
The effect of MAMOUNA was like that of some purgatory scene with Ferry ascendant to hitherto unscaled peaks of jaded decadence and the tired majesty, the world weary romanticism this produced in the vocals and the music was the result….It helped that his ex Roxy Music compadres played on many of the songs-Phil Manzanera, Andy MacKay, and the best of all Brian Eno.
Ferry’s new album OLYMPIA is similar to MAMOUNA….After a number of years of cover version records or records that were partly cover versions, Ferry has put out an album that is all original tracks except for one….His voice is just as whispery and fragile as MAMOUNA but the music is a tad more sprightly and less murky like a cross between MAMOUNA and the last Roxy album AVALON perhaps.
In fact I would say this is one of his best solo albums….Nothing can touch the first five Roxy Music album which are oft imitated classics….However, I do like OLYMPIA more than much of his 80’s work which had the tendency to be a bit too slick….Again, Manzanera, Mackay, and Eno are present and there were stories that was originally meant to be a long lost follow-up to AVALON released under the Roxy name.
Ferry sings with a renewed energy, much more energetic than anything he’s done in a long time….The songs themselves are the best batch he’s come up with in decades….As the first song samples TRUE TO LFIE from AVALON, one gets a sense that Ferry has reached a point in his life where he can match his past to where he wants to go musically in the future.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I’ve waited awhile before I commented on this because the media almost always gets the story wrong originally….That is a story becomes a sensation and the news media in their struggle to frame a message pick a convenient black and white storyline and then shoehorn all the information so it fits this.
An example of this would be Phoebe Prince who committed suicide we are told because and only because of bullying….However, it has been revealed that she had emotional problems dating back to her schooling in Ireland and was disturbed prior to the bullying incidents that occurred in the US.
I say this not to belittle the dead but to show how the narrative gets big stories such as the Kennedy Assassination wrong too all in the quest to make the narrative simple that can fit the viewer’s short attention span.
In the case of Tyler Clementi’s sucide due to this outing allegedly because of the illicit webcamming done by his college roommate Dharun Ravi, the question here is one of intent.
Was Ravi a homophobe who wanted to indulge his hate through this actions or was he just a practical joker?  I think the evidence shows the latter….Granted it’s an evil practical joke but according to his friends he always did things like this and would have taped his roommate even if he’d been heterosexual.
The punishment for such a crime should be whatever the appropriate sentencing is for filming someone surreptitiously which is a crime in New Jersey….I don’t believe that this is homicide….Such claims are overreaction….It seems when events like this happen, Americans always look for someone to be guilty, someone to blame and throw their anger at….Sure Ravi is a jerk but I don’t believe he is a murderer.
As for Michelle Wei in whose room he watched the video, I’m not sure what her crime is at all other than giving a friend a place to stay when he was chased out of his room by a roommate seeking to use the room for a tryst.
There is also talk of this being a hate crime which means they will need to show Ravi had a pre-disposition for hating homosexuals as well as the desire to do that….I think that’s going to be very hard to prove
Myself, despite being fairly liberal in a lot of ways, oppose hate crime laws….Why? well any crime against another person meant to be covered by this law- violence, threats etc. is already covered by existing laws that don’t specifically mention race, gender or sexuality….In effect, more punishment is being created for these crimes…. I’m not sure someone being killed for their wallet is any less of a crime than someone being killed for who they are.
But most importantly hate crime laws often have built in restrictions on free speech….For example in Canada one cannot challenge the veracity of the holocaust….Do I support challenging the veracity of the holocaust?  No but I certainly believe in someone’s right to so just as I believe the right to burn the US flag, sell pornography showing consenting adults etc.
Hate Crimes are an overreaction for past ills that went uncorrected during less enlightened times in American history….The answer in a country where the staggering ignorance of the tea party gather members steadily is not legislation it’s education and a lot more of it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Much of the appeal of groups like the Tea Party in American politics is based on the sense that America is in danger of losing something….It is hard for them to define further what they mean…. “America is losing what made it great”….”America is losing its exceptionalism”
This is why so much of their language is couched in the idea of taking the country back….Of course, as has been pointed out many times before, “back” means exactly what?  Back to times before worker’s rights (the five day work week, minimum wage, vacation leave etc.), civil rights and an end to Jim Crow and other racist laws as public policy, women right’s, better healthcare, environmental protections, etc….I think we can agree we all live in a better time now as far as the life of the average American.
No, what they are talking about is the work, wages, and lifestyle of the American worker….Where are the jobs? And what about the high salaries Americans are used to? And what about the things I am told I should buy, a house, a new car every few years?
Well the hard truth is  this time in American history encompassing the post WWII boom up until the 80’s when it started to go south then briefly (and I would argue artificially)restored by the dawn of the Internet age and now back to where the economy logically should be –no jobs, bankrupt, stagnation of wages for those who are employed.
My argument is that the American way of life was always artificial- a form of smoke and mirrors in which the wealthiest part of the population through their establishment of corporations and other entities that employ people allowed Americans to lived a life that was artificially propped up by unusually high wages and financial tools such credit instruments that allowed you to buy a house you really couldn’t afford under normal circumstances.
However, at some point the bottom line became more about profits and less about people (I would say it was around the time of Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980)….Trickle down which was always partly illusion anyway dried up and those high paying jobs that gave Americans an inflated, artificial lifestyle started to be sent overseas to Third World countries with lower wages and without worker protections or environmental protections.
All that was left was the life style which Americans continued to indulge in using debt and instruments such as credit cards to satisfy what they saw as the American dream (defined as conspicuous consumption) until that bubble burst too in 2008.
The bottom line is that life is gone forever and is never coming back….I am one of those who believes that nations, civilizations have their time in the spotlight and then others take over….This next century is going to be about China and maybe India too and the US’s decline will be either quiet and peaceful like Britain’s in the last century or violent filled with strife from people who want to recapture what they perceive as America’s glory years not grasping that that time is gone forever….The worst case scenario would be like post-war WWI Germany.
So how does the Obama administration fit into this?  I think they grasp that Americans were powered by a larger than life standard of living that is now on the way out….This standard of living was why Americans felt they didn’t need national health care and other governmental help programs….It was also why Americans tolerated a regressive tax system that taxes input rather than output….This kind of tax system is guaranteed to make it harder to raise one’s standard of living but it doesn’t matter when there is a lot of money around.
I think the Obama administration sees that the future of America could be very third world in terms of wide spread poverty and a true end to those parts of America which can realistically be preserved unless they can come up with some kind of hybrid that includes European programs such as national health care that can provide a safety net for the US public.
Of course, the tea party rejects this….Not just because in their mind it goes against American individualism and is socialism  but also because many of the Tea Partiers are wealthy people….The Tea Party is not a working man’s movement it’s a movement of millionaires seeking to hang on to their cash and give nothing back to the society in which they or their families became wealthy to begin with….The last gasp of selfish US capitalism and this ugly movement is also bringing out those just below the surface –the racists, the xenophobes, the religious bigots, the religious fanatics, the sexists, the authoritarian fascists....The kind who really do want to "take America back" and not in a good way.
If these people are given power and a voice due to a nostalgic public who believes that they can go backwards in time then America really will be lost.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Here’s the odds-on list for who is likely to be the recipient for this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature
Tomas Transtromer, a Swedish poet, is the most favored….Transtromer writes poetry in which there is much beneath the surface….Adam Zagajewski another poet from Poland is fifth on the list….His style is somewhat similar to Transtromer’s….If anything, Zagajewski’s style is even more spare and powerful.
The poetry collection TEN THOUSAND LIVES by Ko Un(second place on the prospective Nobel List) is an attempt to record the people this South Korean poet has met in his life….Considering this collection of poetry was started in jail where Ko Un had been sentenced at the time due to criticizing the government(he was later released), there is a level of detail that one would expect from someone with time to spend searching their mind for every small detail and this level of detail is very skillfully put to use-classic descriptive verse.
An Australian poet, Les Murray, is also on the list….His poems are messy, overflowing with detail.
I don’t care much for the prose writers on the list-Don DeLillo is an awful, mechanical writer, Cormac McCarthy writes potboilers somebody has mistaken for literature,  and Phillip Roth is the written equivalent of a Woody Allen film-the East Coast elitist (often Jewish) as narrator….All three stink IMO.
There are many great Japanese writers….However, Haruki Murakami is not one of them….He is very western in his obviousness – A wannabe Kurt Vonnegut.
I’m a fan of Thomas Pynchon especially GRAVITY’S RAINBOW-An amazing book….William Burroughs but with an actual story and less drug dreaming….However, I think he’s too far outside what the judges are used to….Hard to imagine him winning the Nobel lit prize
So the poets are it this year….Good luck to all of them