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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Been reading the reader submitted stories of unemployment, a weekly series, in Gawker

Brought back memories of my own experiences with unemployment….Had a few periods of unemployment although the one that had the most effect on me and the longest was in the late 1990’s.

I had been terminated from a job for what I considered unlawful reasons.  An administrative law judge agreed with me and awarded me unemployment benefits and the threat of a lawsuit was enough to get my former employer to settle with me out of court (for a very small sum).

At the time I was burned out on working, had been working since I was 16.  The jobs I had were soul destroying. I am not a lazy person and always believed in working but that being said I didn’t feel depressed at being out of work for several reasons 1.) I had some resources and always found a way to pick up temporary employment to stave off homelessness and starvation 2.) I felt completely fed up with a society that demanded labor, any kind of labor, for sustenance even if the labor was not something you were interested in or good at.

I couldn’t make a living as a writer.  I accepted that but I guess I needed a break.

For me, this break which lasted from early 1997 to mid 1999 (broken up by periods of temporary employment) was ultimately a good thing.  It gave me a much needed breather from work, a mental health break so to speak.  It also gave me a healthier attitude about working when I did finally get a full time job again.  I learned not to get too emotionally invested in a job, not to try too hard in a job where you are neither going to get promotion nor a sense of self-value.

But many cannot afford this luxury.  I was fortunate in that I had a spouse who was working and did not have any children.  In addition, I’ve always believed in living slightly less than my means.  In other words, never buying something I can’t pay for and trying to maintain a surplus at the end of the month when salary is reconciled against debts.

I was poor as a young man and barely eked out a living in my early 20’s but that sort of living is a rite of passage.  Too much misery kills character but a smaller amount will build it.  I can recall sleeping in my car once or twice in between room rentals, going to Sizzler with a few friends and finding a sympathetic waitress who allowed us to share one all you can eat salad bar between us.  If you’ve been hungry, you appreciate food better.

Truth is when you have worked hard and society has encouraged the idea that in and of itself  is enough, and you find yourself down and out, unemployed, it only hits you harder like some kind of mean cosmic joke.   

I don’t have any great enlightenment to offer on this other than I think dog eat dog quasi- capitalism as practiced in the USA is evil and kills the human spirit.  I’m thinking the rest of the US is maybe also in the process of coming to this conclusion spurred on by these tough economic times and the actions of the selfish rich and Wall Street parasites.


Monday, January 21, 2013


Is it too early yet to say ARC by Everything Everything is the album of the year?

It certainly accomplishes all the things a second album is supposed to accomplish – Keeps what made the first album great while adding a greater musical proficiency and improved songwriting and sound.

MAN ALIVE, Everything Everything’s debut record, was IMO the best record of 2010.  An explosion of jerky, spastic energy, over the top vocals, and deep tunefulness.

ARC is not as immediate but after listening four or five times in the last week, I would have to say it is a better record.  Like a professional athlete who bursts through and then has to work on upping his game, they have the same energy as the first record but use it more sparingly.  The songs are more complex drawing the band’s instinctively catchy nature into lengthy grooves.

LOST SIRENS is composed of tracks recorded during what will probably be the last New Order album WAITING FOR THE SIRENS CALL.

My initial thoughts on this record were where’s Peter Hook? He can be heard on a few of the songs but a lot of the time he’s buried in the mix.  Is this revenge taken by Bernard Sumner and others for his leaving the band?

If you are a New Order fan such as I, this is a nice record, great fun(especially like “Sugarcane”a distillation of all that is great about this band) although Hook’s diminished presence makes it feel more like Sumner/Johnny Marr’s side project Electronic than New Order….That’s not necessarily a bad thing! 



Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I wrote this earlier today on my poetry blog
Taking a little break from poetry yes but working on editing THE STRONG AND THE WRONG my third book in a series of six.  The first two, CRIPPLED HEARTS and THE ABSENT are still for sale on Amazon and other onlie booksellers. More info about them here

I hope to see THE STRONG AND THE WRONG published by the middle of the year or earlier.


 At the heart of The Strong and The Wrong are dual themes.  The first one being if one lives in a society or is a citizen of a country whose actions they disapprove of and they are not in a position to affect change, it is a valid form of protest to leave.  This is discussed in reaction to general American policy and then specifically the USA’s actions in the world following 9-11.  The second theme is travel and relocation to a new land (in this case Malaysia) not just open you up to new experiences but also new ways of thinking that might help you erase old negative ways of thinking.

The Strong and The Wrong could be described in three parts.  The first part is the dark history of America’s intervention in the affairs in the twentieth century as told from the narrator’s viewpoint.  This and his impending marriage to a Malaysian woman lead him to try living in Malaysia.  The majority of the book deals with adapting to life and culture and work in Malaysia.  The last part deals with the narrator learning about Buddhism.  While not necessarily embracing it has his own personal philosophy, he learns much from it and comes up with his way of dealing with life.

The Strong and The Wrong is neither a travel book nor non-fiction nor an adventure novel nor post-realism doggerel.  It is a simple story of wherever you go you take yourself with you but it also possible to replace pieces of yourself with where you go.  


I am a feminist.  I believe women should be paid equally as men for any jobs they are hired for.  I believe women should be free to serve in the armed services and I believe women should aspire for any corporate or political office that a man can.

I think these are universal principles that anyone living in American should share.  If you don’t, I think you are living in the wrong country.

This being said, I think feminism in the West lost its way in the 1970’s.

I happened to be in India at the time of the recent horrific gang rape of a student on a private bus.  It was front page news.  The issue of the powerlessness of women in a patriarchal society is and will be the social issue of this century.

But in America priorities were lost.  Now I don’t want to make it sound like I am demeaning certain issues.  I am pro choice(although against abortion personally) and support gay marriage.

But if you look at a majority of working American women of a certain generation facing sexism, wage unfairness, sexual harassment, and the glass ceiling, I bet you issues such as these would be secondary.

The feminist movement was I think at some point in the early 70’s hijacked by elites, by wealthy socialite women who didn’t care about pocketbook issues because they weren’t reliant on a wage to keep their family fed.  They weren’t a sole earner for a family, a single parent perhaps or have to take jobs while running a household.

These wealthy women took on more boutique issues, more social issues that have less meaning to working people than issues relating to work itself.  I am fond of the famous Ralph Nader quote disparaging this kind of “Gonad Politics” and I also feel this kind of thinking handicapped the Democratic Party somewhat in the 70’s and 80’s.

Patricia Ireland who was President of the National Association of Women (NOW) from 1991 to 2001 was bi-sexual and had a husband and a female partner. Ireland proclaimed that gay rights were part of what she was fighting for under the NOW mantle Now I’m not indulging in homophobia here.  I support the same issues taken on their own   What I’m saying is these issues would be better fought by gay rights organizations that’s why they exist.  NOW should have stuck with workplace and paycheck equality issues.  A world hunger organization shouldn’t start protesting for nuclear disarmament.  Both are worthy issues but when focus is lost, the mission is lost. 

In addition, kookier trains of feminist thought began to appear equating marriage with rape and being very anti-sexual in general holding up pornography as one of the main threats facing women.   If you think pornography is one of the biggest threats facing women then you don’t live in reality.

On the other side of that discussion reproductive rights are a valid issue and one I support but the whole notion of “sexual equality” is a misnomer a shady way of importing liberal thoughts about dating and I think perhaps for male patriarchy to imbed the notion of promiscuity as a norm in the minds of women.

It will be interesting to see what happens in male dominated societies like Iran (where for example there are a greater percentage of female doctors per gender than male doctors) as women demand more personal freedom, a greater say in the political process and more access to economic independence.  I think we could see a better model – the fully equal female with conservative dating habits intact.

In America, the issues of women’s rights is has been linked (incorrectly and to the detriment of women in my opinion) with sexual behavior.  Women are different from men in that regard.  Breaking it down to the animal definition, men have the need to spread themselves far and wide.  This dominates male behavior not matter how civilized we are.  When a woman tries to behave like a man in this way, she is playing into his hands.  We do live in an overly sexualized society and I think the worst aspect of that is the increased hypersexualized expectation on women and on very young girls-which is very sick IMO!

Or maybe I’m just too conservative.  I don’t know.  I have conservative taste in women and maybe that motivates my thoughts.  All I know is there is still much work to be done for workplace equality for women in the USA.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013


My thoughts on President Obama’s nominations for Secretaries of State and Defense, and CIA Director….
I’ve always liked John Kerry.  He’s been on the good side of many issues with a reasonably progressive voting record in the Us Senate.  His only weak spot is Israel but he was among the first in the Senate to denounce the Reagan policy of aiding the Contras in Nicaragua and Central American imperialism in general.

I voted for him in 2004.  I think he would have been a better president by far than George W Bush and maybe better than President Obama.  I think he is a man of principle who served his country admirably.

However, at this late date, making him Secretary of State seems more like an emeritus appointment rather than a harbinger of any big changes in the way the US sees the world diplomatically.  A good appointment but I don’t expect much.

Chuck Hagel on the other hand by the very nature of his appointment seems certain to shake things up.  Hagel has publicly broken with neo con thinking and does not now view the Iraq War as something the US should have ever entered into.  In addition, he has indicated that he is a senator for America not for Israel.

But the message that Obama is trying to send with the Hagel nomination isn’t about Israel and neo conservatism – a lot of this is show he is still on board with Israel centered foreign policy.  There is nothing in his voting record or history to debate that.  It’s about Iran.  This signals an end to Iran war talk and it’s a message that Israel should heed.

I know the Hegel nomination is all symbolism.  I am a realist but this is good symbolism

There is a theory that all the hubbub about the Hagel nomination is in fact a distraction from the truly controversial pick of the three – John Brennan as CIA Director.

During the Bush years, Brennan supported torture and wire tapping without warrant among a whole host of horrifying unconstitutional evil policies.  More recently, he is the architect of the Obama drone program which he described in 2011 as not causing any civilian deaths.

The man is a liar, a scumbag, and a war criminal.  He should be in jail with Bush, Dick Cheney, and Obama himself.  This only reinforces what we know about Obama – He is an imperialist albeit a craftier one who picks his spots.

So the score is a silver star of the Kerry nomination, a gold star for the Hagel one, but a black demerit for the Brennan pick.