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, February 20, 2014


Finished binge watching the first two seasons of HOUSE OF CARDS and here are some of my thoughts as well as predictions for season three.

1.) Kevin Spacey has long been one of my favourite actors and he is great here after a lull in his career.  He fills Frank Underwood with enough mystery, enough menace, enough sexual ambiguity to dominate the show.

2.) In season one, Corey Stoll turned in a great supporting performance as the weak, doomed Peter Russo.  I was sorry to see him die not logically because it made perfect sense to the story but because Stoll was so good at bringing this character to life.

3.) Season one was much more energetic and more in your face.  Frank was following a plan he and his wife Claire had devised after he was cheated out of the Secretary of State position and watching him execute it as it was revealed to us bit by bit was thrilling.  Season two was partly flying by the seat of his pants.  It was tenser (Frank sometimes reacting to events rather than causing them) but also more arcane and more about politics rather than the dark side of the human soul.

4.) The three way sex scene in season two?  It made sense.  We already know Frank is bi-sexual from the Citadel episode in season one.  We’ve seen Frank and Claire romantically involved with other people but we’ve never seen them make love only hold hands and kiss almost chastely.  What about Frank and Zoe?  Well, as Zoe said, Frank gets aroused because he sees her as his bitch, his whore not because she’s a real live girl.  I thought the three way with Meachum the secret service agent made sense as they get closer to their goals, the peak of their power they begin to lose control slightly – Like Caligula or any perverse dictator.

5.) Re: Frank killing Zoe?  It also made perfect sense, one of the few things retained form the original British series.  I never liked Zoe anyway.  She had low morals and was the typical rude, immoral millennial.

6.) Breaking Bad similarities?  Well Walter White rises to badness.  He is a frustrated man who is given the chance to feed his huge ego as well as the catalyst to do so (cancer) and becomes bad.  Frank on the other hand is rotten from the get go.  The provocation of being denied the Secretary of State job pushes him to a new level of badness.  The thought put into the story arcs and their patient execution does mirror Breaking Bad at times.

7.) This show has powerful theme music, pulsating and rising, like a gentler Nine Inch Nails, something off the Fragile perhaps.  I also like how they use different versions of it as theme music for different characters throughout the show.

A few predictions....

1.) Frank will select Catherine Durand as his vice president.  I believe he already hinted at this during his last meeting with her prior to Walker’s resignation.

2.) Orsay, the hacker, will get Lucas out of prison and they will find Rachel Posner.

3.) Frank’s main adversary in season three will be whichever Republican steps up to run against him in the next presidential election (which may not occur until season four).  Raymond Tusk will also still be around as a thorn in Frank’s side.

4.) Jackie Sharp, Frank’s replacement as Democratic house whip, will turn against him possibly aided by Remy Danton.

5.) There will be an international incident that will result in civilian deaths that Frank will have to explain.

6.) Claire will have another affair or continue to see Meachum.

7.) There will be at least one murder directly committed by Frank (and possible Claire).

Friday, February 14, 2014


I’ve always been suspicious about Wendy Davis, the Democrat’s big hope for winning the 2014 gubernatorial election in Texas .

I’ve been suspicious about her ideology.  A cursory glance at her record shows she’s no Elizabeth Warren.  She’s a conservative Southern Democrat who loves oil, big business, guns, low wages, and is not as pro-choice as people think  .  Granted she has to adapt to the state she lives in but Harry Truman said it best  "I've seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn't believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don't want a phony Democrat. If it's a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don't want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign."

Recent revelations about false statements on her personal life undercut her public integrity.  There’s a big difference between being a single mom and putting yourself through Harvard and having a rich second husband put you through Harvard (which is what actually happened).  I also see questions about her fitness as a mother and the end of her marriage to her second husband who helped her greatly in her career as serious.

But what I’m most suspicious of is her actual chances of winning the governorship.  Texas is a great prize the Democrats constantly talk about winning like some sporting event they are not ready for but desire greatly.  The tide is shifting in their favor demographically but we are still about 20 years away from a time when the Democrats could win any higher offices in Texas.

In 2010, Rick Perry, a fool, and clown, still trounced Bill White, the former Mayor of Houston, a former Clinton cabinet official, and a far more formidable Democratic candidate than Wendy Davis.  I don’t see how Davis could do any better and I predict if she is the nominee she will lose to Greg Abbott the Republican candidate by more than ten points.

The big picture is that while Democratic chances to hold on to a senate majority are teetering, a real toss-up, they are definitely going to pick up some governorships.  Barring any unforeseen circumstance, I predict The Dems will win Florida, Pennsylvania, and Maine all currently held by Republicans.  Here’s the problem – there are other states that are very close (mostly because Democrats have not been successful in recruiting first tier candidates or the candidates are underfunded) and are entirely winnable – Wisconsin and Ohio are examples.  Both of these states have governors who may be presidential candidates in 2016.  Knocking one or both of them off would be a major coup.  In addition, Michigan is in a similar situation (without the presidential aspirations of its governor).

The Wendy Davis abortion show created an unrealistic hope that she could win the Texas governorship.  That in turn might lead to her sucking up all the oxygen, all the available resources (especially financial ones) for these very close races.  Winning the governorship in Wisconsin against the loathsome Scott Walker is doable but only if a lot of money is put in there and better candidates found.

Davis is a media candidate that cannot win.  By all means, register voters in Texas, make the campaign push but let’s focus on the Democratic races for governorships that can be won not to mention the tight Senate races.  Republican senate seats in Georgia and Kentucky could be flipped this year.  I think there’s a better chance of these two things happening than Davis winning the Texas governorship.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Sid Caesar was a genius, an originator, a pioneer.  He was one of the three or four most important people in the development of television comedy and perhaps the most important person in the development of television sketch comedy.

The simplest way to honor him is to note how different comedy would have been without him.

No Sid Caesar means no Saturday Night Live which copied much of YOUR SHOW OF SHOW’S format.

Also no Carol Burnett Show, no Chapelle, no Fridays.

The careers of Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen, Larry Gelbart and all the other TV and movie comedy writing titans who started out as Ceasar writers would have been very different.  Consider everything they did in movies and TV and imagine what it would be like without them.

Watching a few of his sketches today “Happy Birthday” “The Clock” The German General” and one thing I notice is how well written they are with brilliant set-ups and enough space left for Caesar and his often equally brilliant co-stars Imogene Coca and Howard Morris among others to let it fly, to improvise.  Caesar himself always seemed on the verge of total lunacy, one foot in crazytown, with a face that told the whole story as an epic battle.

I also think of IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD “I fell in yellow”.

RIP Sid Caesar....A Giant! (And in this case it’s not hyperbole)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Gardens and Villa’s  new release, their second, DUNES occupies the same space sonically as Bear in Heaven’s excellent I LOVE YOU IT’S COOL my favorite record of 2012.

The vocals are a bit more faceless than Bear’s which is the only bad thing I can say about this record as it is deeply hooky and crisply produced evenly divided between slow steady rhythmic burners such as Domino and Chrysanthemums and 80’s sturm and drang nostalgia fare sashaying along on mechanical drums such as Colony Glen and Echosassy.

Bullet Train is an example of the Gardens and Villa template at work.  A steady chorus gives way to a slight raise of temperature in the vocals and arrangements on the chorus.  The addition of a guitar on this song helps as well.  A piano and a flute are also featured on other tracks.  The bass on Echosassy mimics New Order. 

The Bear in Heaven comparison stops at the amount of edginess in I LOVE YOU IT’S COOL that is missing in this record’s pleasant synth-pop retro updates.  Still, it flows seamlessly, no bumpy spots, a satisfying listen.  Has 2014’s best record come out so early?

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Maxine Kumin, who won the Nobel Prize for Poetry for 1973, was a busy poet snatching whatever she could from memories, things she’d read or experienced, popular culture, nature and creating a poetry of movement, words and sentences running into each other hanging uncompleted to take up where left off on the next line.

I feel she was at her best when she wrote about mortality, about living as a cycle in conjunction with other things, the planet, people, animals etc.

In some of her later poetry, once she had moved to a farm, I felt she lost it a bit.  Advice to any city poet – Don’t start writing about the joys of rustic living unless you actually come from there.  It’s a talent killer!

But enough criticism....She was an awesome poet.  Here are two of my favorite poems by her

IN THE PARK – A big poem full of an understanding of what death, mortality means to us – The bear as death!

THE REVISIONIST DREAM – A very moving poem about Anne Sexton’s suicide (One of my favourite poets)


Bombay Bicycle Club – SO LONG, SEE YOU TOMORROW

SO LONG, SEE YOU TOMORROW, Bombay Bicycle Club’s fourth album, could be considered a follow-up to the band’s second album FLAWS with pianos and various other keyboards replacing the acoustic guitars.  This is a much bigger album than FLAWS in scale though with epic emotional performances on the level of their third album A DIFFERENT KIND OF FIX.  A very good record from a band who only seems to be sustaining their inspiration.


I have written before that I consider Maximo Park’s first album  A CERTAIN TRIGGER to be one of the best records of the last ten or even 15 years.  Haven’t changed my opinion on that even though their fifth album TOO MUCH INFORMATION is a mixed bag. INFORMATION contains a number of good tunes (Lydia, The Ink Will Never Dry, Her Name Was Audre, Drinking Martinis) but also some clunkers.  Generally, the faster tunes are better than the slower tunes.  The up and down recording career of Maximo Park continues.

Arthur Beatrice – WORKING OUT

On their debut WORKING OUT, Arthur Beatrice stakes out a vast musical territory between the overly sensitive semi-acoustic hipster pop of today and a powerful, moody, and gorgeous Prefab Sprout influence from the 1980’s and 90’s.  The second one is bigger here. Favorite touch – How the vocals of Orlando Leopard and Ella Girardot interplay with each other.  An enjoyable debut.