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

Sunday, December 20, 2015


1.) Got a Lot of respect for Bernie Sanders. He manned up and apologized for the data breach while at the same time pointing out the absurdity of the unfair treatment his campaign received. He also shut a potential Hillary Clinton attack down on this issue. That look on her face when she saw she couldn't make hay out of the data issue LOL Suck it Shitlary!!!!

2.) Hillary Clinton's plan for Syria or as it is also known Marco Rubio's plan for Syria. Also no mention of Putin so far - It's like he doesn't exist.

3.) Even better than the strong statements by the three candidates against Islamophobia was the using of the term "Clash of Civilizations" as a negative....That comes from a book neo-cons always cite by Samuel P. Huntington that posits the theory that the great struggle in the future will be the West vs Islam....I've read it and it's bigoted colonialist BS - one of GW Bush's favorite books supposedly even more than My Pet Goat.

4.) Sanders trying to go on the offense on gun control may have made sense on paper but he opened himself to a valid attack by Martin O'Malley who also went after Clinton who ignored him in response and piled on Sanders. If gun control is your issue, O'Malley has by far the best record. Sanders pointing out he lost his first political race by being too much for gun control is not good because then you automatically assume he won his later campaigns by being against too much gun control (which is true. His gun record sucks).

5.) If there was a debate drinking game that consisted of taking a sip every time Hillary tells a lie, I'd be passed out on the floor covered in my own vomit by this point.

6.) Answers on the Middle East - hollow gibberish from Clinton/O'Malley, a more carefully worded version of what neo-cons are pushing in the Republican Party....Also O Malley is wrong on Somalia....The US has used to drones to kill innocent people, create chaos, and stop an Islamic government coming into power that could stabilize the country.

7.) Sanders exactly right on priorities and regime change causing chaos. Clinton - do both with "moderate" rebels - same nonsense as Republicans say - can't do ISIS and Assad at the same time without causing chaos. Anybody who says otherwise is an idiot or a liar with other intentions.

8.) During intermission, a moment of clarity.... Bernie and Hillary on the Iraq War

9.) The problem(s) with Sanders tuition free college plan 1.) No means testing, people whose parents make 500,000 a year get the same deal as those making 30,000 a year 2.) No work study component 3.) Many analysts have said that Sanders wall street transaction tax won't be enough to cover the costs and what happens if there is another recession?

10.) Sanders dominates the health care issue.... Why is the US the only developed country without a guaranteed health care system? Support single payer...Real contrast to Hillary's tepid incrementalism.

11.)While Sanders answer on law enforcement/police brutality/racism was the strongest of the three, I was disappointed that none of them challenged the question - There is no such thing as "The Ferguson Effect" - Another right wing myth.

12.) Clinton really made a lot of blunders tonight (ISIS right where want them? You can support a country's government and a revolution against that same government at the same time?) We'll see if they hurt her also also a dumb star wars reference in her closing comments and attempts to scare Dems about abortion and gay marriage....O'Malley was often a non-entity but got in a few good answers - espc. liked what he said about encryption laws and refugees....Sanders was really on point tonight starting with ownership of the data breach....Strong answers although "My mother spent her entire life in a rent controlled apartment" is not a particularly inspiring campaign slogan LOL.


(While it seems like Sanders and the DNC have come to some understanding since I wrote this yesterday, my opinion on this still stands)

While I am not a Bernie Sanders supporter (for reasons I've noted on this blog many times before), I think he is a decent guy with a long history of positive social activism in some domestic areas. Once again, we see what corrupt amoral trash the Clintonites are. People have been distracted by the thought of a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz administration but I find a Hillary Clinton presidency just as worrisome.

1.) This was a clear set-up, entrapment. I think the information was deliberately made available and blamed on a software glitch knowing that human nature means a Sanders staffer would look at it (Sanders and O'Malley info was also available at the same time). Not only that but Sanders has fired the staffer who looked at the released data.

2.) Sanders actually has power here. The 2016 election is starting to feel a bit like 2000 and he should threaten to play the role of spoiler and run as a third party candidate ( perhaps on the Green Party ticket) if the DNC really does try to shut him out.

3.) The fix for Hillary Clinton has been in from the beginning starting from limiting debates to far less than the Republicans to airing them at odd times when football or other programs are on to limiting other forums candidates could appear in.

4.) The head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, is a real piece of shit. The poster child for why the two party system sucks. One of the worst stories is when President Obama tried to have her removed as DNC head after Democratic losses in congressional, senatorial, and gubernatorial elections, she threatened to scream "anti-semitism" if he did this.  Here is a petition calling for her immediate removal as DNC head

5.) If I was still a registered voter in the USA, I would register as a Republican for the primaries vote for Rand Paul to send an anti-war, anti-surveillance state message then vote third party in the general. I've said it many times - The US two party system is not true democracy. It's a duopoly of power maintained by corporate money and the military/industrial complex and by freezing other parties out of the political process.

In addition, a few interesting details that have leaked to the press from Bernie Sanders lawsuit against the DNC.

1.) The exact same firewall glitch occurred last month and was caught by a Sanders staffer who alerted the vendor responsible. It wasn't fixed and of course happened again this month.

2.) A near exact situation happened in 2008 between the Obama and Clinton campaigns - No one was disciplined and the story never reached the media.

3.) The Sanders campaign has alleged their data was viewed by other campaigns. Why aren't they in trouble?

4.) The contract between Sanders, the DNC, and the computer vendor requires a 10 day warning before cutting off access which isn't being followed in this case (there is no provision for immediate cut-off due to misbehavior).

Saturday, December 19, 2015


The penultimate moment for me in the second season is when the character of Mike Milligan, a gangster out of Kansas City expertly and naturally played by Bokeem Woodbine, recites the poem Jabberwocky while on his way to commit violence.  For me that perfectly tied together the elements of Fargo, both seasons plus the movie.

These elements are the matter of factedness of the northern midwesterners, the elements of violent crime, the hapless losers - Jerry Lundegaard in the movie, Lester Nygaard in season one, the Blumquists in season two, the solid heroes, the spacey secondary characters (something season two excelled at), the so it goes weird encounters, raining fish and UFO's and of curse the dry humor which occasionally veers into absurdity and slapstick.

Season two was considerably better than season one to me because the narrative flow of two made better sense, felt less bumpy, and featured bigger, more dramatic characters and events.  Woodbine's Milligan was the best but I also liked Nick Offerman as a local attorney and the brief appearance by the always brilliant Bruce Campbell as Ronald Reagan.

Fargo also did something very interesting - It resolved most of the mob war storyline in the second to last episode and spent the last episode in sort of a pronounced meditation on life and death.  Ted Danson's speech at the end on why he is creating a universal language reminded me very much of Tommy Lee Jones monologue at the end of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.  I also liked the final fate of WoodbineMilligan which was a nod to the finale of THE SHIELD.

With a formula in hand, we'll see where season three goes especially since it is going to take place timewise following season one.  It would be nice to see some variations - perhaps a flawed hero or anti-hero like Walter White.



The bad news - The Smiths were snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (As were The Cars, Nine Inch Nails, Kraftwerk, and Chic).

The good news - Cheap Trick will be inducted this year!

There are bands that just make you feel good when you listen to their music - No thought needed. They just fill your veins with melodic goodness and Cheap Trick for me is one of those bands.

The secret to their success is not the recognition for all the radio hits and association with AOR as well as the most commercial of new wave acts, but rather that Cheap Trick is a power pop band and a very good one. Never a scene with a strong sense of identification beyond the musical influences especially The Beatles (which were strong indeed), Cheap Trick broke out from the local Illinois power pop bands and the clubs they played in.

It bears repeating that their most immediate influence is and was The Beatles. George Martin even produced one of their records - My personal favorite ALL SHOOK UP.

Although they went off the rails for a bit in the late 80's early 90's into AOR soft pop nothingness, they recovered in time to see their influence everywhere and to make several good independent records in the last decade or two (most notably ROCKFORD).

The elements of a good Cheap Trick tune - The catchy traditional structure with breathless verses and gigantic choruses, Rick Neilsen's crunchy guitars, Robin Zander's totally committed forceful yet enthralling vocals like McCartney straining to sing "Oh Darling". In the 1970's and early 1980's, Neilsen was the primary songwriter although that changed with time.

Sometimes a band's sound is everything. Cheap Trick's sound at their peak (which they have been a lot in their career) was perfect, Beatle-y bursts of hard rock glory but they wouldn't have been able to do it without the great songs....

So many classic Cheap Trick songs but here is my Cheap Trick song masterlist

World's Greatest Lover

I'll Be With You Tonight

She's Tight

Heaven Tonight

Next Position Please

Dream Police

He's a Whore

High Priest of Rhythmic Noise

On Top of the World

Stop This Game


Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Some thoughts on today's Republican Debate....Some very clear divisions in foreign policy in the Republican Party. My comments as always  are objective based on performance, I'm not supporting anyone

1.) Most interesting moment of the night - Marco Rubio admitted, whether it was a mistake or not, that the US in fact did create ISIS, arming it. He said "The US had no other choice".

2.) I'm not sure what planet some of these people live on (In particular Rubio, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Chris Christie) talking either as if Russian involvement in Syria doesn't exist or if it is going to be very easy to enforce a no fly zone with Russia already in Syria. As Rand Paul said "If you want WWIII, here are your candidates". Also as Paul once again reminded everyone, Hillary Clinton's policy on Syria is exactly the same.

3.) Kasich threatening to punch Vladimir Putin was unintentionally hilarious and reminded me of rumors in the 90's that Kasich was gay, the reason supposedly both Bob Dole and George W. Bush skipped him as Vice Presidential picks. Kasich also made a comment about ISIS "We need to be able to penetrate these people " LOL.

4.) Ted Cruz had a good night. In particular, he did something really clever - He co-opted Paul's issues (not supporting regime change or surveillance overreach) while still talking tough and presenting himself as the right compromise. That's a winning approach in today's Republican primary. He also did good job on grabbing immigration away from Donald Trump

5.) Cruz also did a good job attacking Rubio on immigration. Poll after poll shows conservatives view this as the number one issue and Rubio is hurt by his seeming moderation and supporting a compromise amnesty bill despite attempts to appear tough on it now.

6.) Jeb Bush should just get out of the race now to spare himself further humiliation. Time and time agin, Trump made him his bitch winning every exchange and crushing his manhood. I was surprised by the end of the debate that he didn't force Bush to put on a French maid outfit and serve him sandwiches.

7.) A very telling moment the split screen caught - Paul openly laughing out loud when Trump said he was going to shut down the Internet.

8.) Christie once again lying about being appointed a US attorney on September 10th 2011 and also some of the claims he made about loved ones on 09/11 are not verifiable. He's becoming downright Gulianiesque.

9.) A strange moment - Ben Carson asked about experience and being ready to be commander in chief of the US military talked about running a scholarship program in the past as comparable.

10.) Paul is the only Republican candidate who has any modicum of sanity on foreign policy and national security even more than a lot of Democrats. Time and time again, he made great points especially about regime change (and thumped both Trump and Christie hard - a bridge closure insult, I've been waiting for that!) but no one seemed interested in engaging him maybe it's because his poll number are so low and they cant be bothered or they know arguing with him is like hugging a tar baby. In the end, you are the one who is damaged in the argument.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


While the ending of the first season of SCREAM QUEENS might have gone in a different direction than the absurd parodying of the rest of the season, this collection of jokes on the slasher film genre as well as sending up such topics as the young girls capitalist beauty myths, the concept of "safe spaces, and the wretchedness of fraternities and sororities was never anything more....It's a show of comic moments and the odd bit of slasher film goriness not great but filled with clever scenes.

And when I said moments, there were so many - Deaf Taylor Swift, the Candle Blogger, the goat scene, the TV dinner king, The Beatles teacher, the neck brace and my favorite the battle between the ice cream man and the killer mascot.

So the ending might have been from a different type of show with the killer getting off and the morally twisted sorority girls getting put in a insane asylum but I feel that is beside the point.

One could actually the view the plot (wherein it seems like everyone is guilty of at least one murder) as part of the satire - So ridiculous as to be a joke.

Also kudos to Jamie Lee Curtis as the horny, deceptive dean- She was very good.


On the 100th anniversary Frank Sinatra's birthday, I would say that Sinatra sang with the most ease of any singer I've ever heard. He truly was the smoothest of all. There is a power in his voice that is not the product of a visible straining that is discernible in even the best singers. No one did it with as little seeming effort as Frank Sinatra.

Which isn't to say it's not there. Rather it is all very seamless. No missed notes, no vein popping exertion and of course great material from only the best songwriters.

A good example is Fly Me to the Moon wherein a deceptively loose jazzy band jousts in a friendly way with Sinatra has he rides them home with unexpectedly powerful moments of vocalizing.

But one can't Talk about Sinatra without addressing his pop culture persona - The violence, consorting with mafia figures, the love affairs etc. The image perpetuated by shows like Saturday Night Live of an angry, vain Sinatra.

Well I prefer to listen to the music and separate that from papparazzi. If you want to say something positive about Sinatra other than about his music, look at his history in regards to civil right sand standing up to racism. He was well ahead of the curve there forcing Las Vegas to desegregate their hotels for entertainers who performed with him such as Sammy Davis Jr and Lena Horne who could perform at a place like The Sands but had to go to a hotel reserved for black people to sleep. This was a time, even after black entertainers could sleep in the same hotels, when a swimming pool would be drained after Davis had swum in it or all the sheets and pillowcases burned after Horne had slept on them.

And then there's this

Of course Sinatra did later perform at Sun City in apartheid era South Africa and backed Ronald Reagan but he was the type of person who took things personally and he never got over the snub of JFK after helping him campaign for the presidency in 1960.

Frank Sinatra was a complicated public figure who also made a few great films not THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY but also THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM and the criminally ignored SUDDENLY pulled from distribution after its too close parallel with the assassination of JFK.

Ignore the caricature, listen to the records, appreciate the voice of a master.


Thursday, December 10, 2015


If platitudes were pennies, President Obama would be a rich man after his non-noteworthy speech. Aside from that, there were two big problem with what he said. 

Obama San Bernadino speech fail #1 - It's a given that most sane people see tackling the gun issue as equal or greater problem than domestic terrorism but using the No Fly List to manage this is nonsensical. The post-09/11 No Fly List is a disaster full of arbitrarily selected names done in secret. The news is full of horror stories of innocent people who somehow ended up on this list and there have been many lawsuits most noticeably by the ACLU against the government on this.. People stopped from boarding flights in the past due to being on the list include Senator Ted Kennedy, Congressman John Lewis, and the guy who ran Ralph Nader's 2004 presidential campaign. The whole thing is silly - Based on the idea that terrorists would book flights under their own names LOL. I say scrap the No Fly List and start over with a list based on hard intelligence not arbitrary random criteria, secondhand gossip, and where people have traveled (unless there is a clear pattern).

Obama San Bernadino speech fail #2 - It was disheartening to see a tired, worn out Obama repeat that right wing trope about Muslims having to do a better job of condemning terrorism and policing themselves. Nobody asks that of any other group. When some white gunowner goes crazy and shoots up a public space, the opposite happens - People blame other things - mental health, absence of religion etc. It's also disheartening because it continues to perpetuate the false notion that all Muslims in the world are exactly the same, a sort of hivemind like the Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I live in Malaysia, have visited Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, and an area of the old Yugoslavia where there were a lot of Muslims. In addition, I've taught Arabs, Africans, even Chinese and Russian Muslims and I can say that they share common religious rituals as Muslims but each one has retained their unique culture. My response to Bill Maher and other discredited idiots' point that surveys show Muslims around the world support stoning of women , sharia law etc. is that surveys in the USA show large numbers of Americans believe the president was born in Africa or that the moon landing was fake. People will tell surveys anything. What counts is how people behave.

Monday, December 7, 2015


The fiftieth anniversary of The Kinks fourth album FACE TO FACE which is their RUBBER SOUL in that it opened the door to the greater masterpieces that followed (SOMETHING ELSE, VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY, ARTHUR OR THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE). It was their first record that was totally composed of Ray Davies written songs and finds him exploring voice and his lyrical persona to its fullest at that point in their career with his trademark touches - empathy for the British working man and keen observation skills. A varied musical and lyrical style on tunes like Dandy, Too Much On My Mind, Holiday in Waikiki, Rainy Day in June.

But most importantly reissues come with four extra tracks that are even better than anything on the original version of FACE TO FACE - I'm Not Like Everybody Else, Dead End Street, Big Black Smoke, Mr Pleasant.

It is also the fiftieth anniversary of The Byrds second album TURN! TURN! TURN! (The title track was the number one song on the day I was born) And what is frustrating is appraisals I have read of the record in the last day or so mention Roger McGuinn (as they should) and some David Crosby but I have not read one mention of Gene Clark. Of the five original tunes on TURN, three are by Clark and they, along with the inexcusably omitted She Don't Care About Time (ended up as the Turn single's b side), are the best tunes on the record along with the title track.

This lack of respect shown to Clark, truly rock history's least appreciated and most unjustly ignored genius, is typical despite a documentary last year on his life and reissues of all of his solo records. Oh well the global Clark cult is very vibrant and active (just check out their Facebook page).

I wrote more about Clark here....


So no disrespect to Roger McGuinn....I recently discovered he has a Twitter account and tweets often and answers questions (which is very very cool) so I sent him a question - What is his personal favorite guitar part you played on a Byrds song? His answer - Eight Miles High intro,break,and outro....I always say The Byrds are my favorite American band of all time and my 7th or 8th overall. McGuinn may not be the greatest guitarist of all time but he is one of the 2 or 3 most influential and also his sound is immediately recognizable - One of my favorite musicians of any style or genre.

Saturday, December 5, 2015


I was reading about Tashfeen Malik, the wife or fiance of Syed Farook and co-shooter in the San Bernadino terrorist attack. What jumped out at me was the assertion that she "breezed through" her K-1 Visa screening process and was able to enter the USA relatively quickly.

In 2006, I became curious about what I would need to do if I came back to the USA and brought my wife with me. I knew the law had changed after 09/11. I spoke to the local US embassy but was advised that unless I was planning to move back to the USA permanently there was no point in beginning the process....But I did find out some things about the process - Basically all applications for spouses of US citizens now go to the Department of Homeland Security first where it can take up to six months before being approved only then does the application proceed to US immigration for an additional multi-month period of time.

I feel that this new step and the DHS in general has made America less safe. When you have new layers of bureaucracy, the potential for new cross departmental arguments and screw-ups, you have less security, not more. More holes in the system that potential threats can slip through. The jewel in the DHS's crown the TSA has never caught one terrorist (according to the ACLU and many other watchdog groups) they have however been implicated in many cases of sexual assault and baggage theft. They are only good in creating the illusion of security, nothing more.

Back in 2006, I read through all the applications my wife would need to fill out and there was very very little about personal beliefs, religion etc. And a lot about my financial status - how much money do I make, how much is in my bank account, do I own any property?. Of course those are important. More so though for a European country with a real social safety net - America's is flimsy at best.

I am curious to know if Tashfeen Malik "breezed through" her application because Syed Farook, a US citizen, made 70,000 a year and owned his own home?

Compare that with Malaysia....When I was going through the application process for Permanent Resident status, I was interviewed by the police (which is standard). They asked very few questions about my financial status and a lot about my beliefs and who I was. This made perfect sense to me.

Truth is the DHS did not catch Tashfeen Malik and they would not have caught the 09/11 hijackers either. It's become the go to big statement of Republican bravado for presidential candidates to say "On my first day in office I will do this and I will do that". But if I was president I would submit a plan to close down the DHS within 60 days and revert it's duties back to immigration and the FBI. It' s annual budget is 55 billion dollars a year(!) It's a white elephant, a boondoggle, it doesn't keep America safe. In many ways, it makes America both less safe and less free.

Friday, December 4, 2015


Last year, Ben Affleck courageously stood up for Muslims on Real Time with Bill Maher after a number of bigoted statements about them by Maher and Sam Harris. I have addressed the problems with 09/11 liberalism that targets Muslims here

I would like to take this further. During this discussion, Harris, who is truly a fool, a poorly disguised Zionist who makes an idiot out of himself every time he opens his mouth, stated that Liberals ignore Muslim violence and instead focus on incidents that happened years ago like "an attack on an abortion clinic in the 90's"

The amazing stupidity and duplicity of that comment considering not only the recent shooting at a Planned Parenthood center by a Christian extremist that resulted in the murders of three people but also the daily harassment (often violent) abortion providers go through on a daily basis in the USA. Here's a list

The truth is the so called "New Atheist" movement is a sham. A creation of those with other hang-ups who choose to couch them in atheism and those who seek to push a xenophobic, pro-Israel colonialist often Islamophobic philosophy. They burn with a scary need for conquest that brings to mind religious invasions in centuries past.

Their patron saint is drunken bi-sexual colonialist Christopher Hitchens who left his first wife when she was pregnant and supported the Iraq War. I wrote more about my specific disagreements with Hitchens here

Maher increasingly spends the discussion portion of his show complaining about Muslims, tarring them all with blanket assertions like his repeated accusation that since polls he has read (but never cites by name) show large groups of Muslims globally believe in Sharia Law, stoning people etc. (even in Muslim countries where these types of practices are not the law) there are no good Muslims. Of course, this theory if applied to other groups of people - the large numbers of Americans for example who believe President Obama is from Kenya and a Muslim, or believe the moon landing was fake etc then I can assume there are few good Americans. He rarely says a peep about religious persecution in America, how in areas of the South they still teach evolution as myth and creationism as fact. He never says anything about abortion rights and seemed almost dismissive about marriage equality. Maher who has described himself in the past as a Libertarian but whose liberty related beliefs largely seem to consist of smoking marijuana and spending time with black hookers (something he is well known for in Hollywood).

And of course he never speaks about violence against Muslims in America, rather he encourages it with his hate filled rhetoric (What Affleck spoke up against). Maher is also a huge supporter of Israel which is not surprising considering he is half-Jewish, a fact he tries to hide and will only discuss sheepishly if he he can't change the subject.

Whether it's Maher's relentless demonization of Muslims, Harris's dishonest, "thought experiments" where he says things like torture is okay or Israel should commit genocide against the Palestinians then denies it afterwards and whines like a baby after getting called out for his BS hiding behind the cover of "I was just saying", or Richard Dawkins with his many sexist, racist, tone deaf statements, this is not what atheism means to me.

I am an atheist because it is not logical to believe in a God and there is no scientific evidence a God exists not because I hate one group of people or I despise religion and I need a framework to attack it. Truth is many people in my life have faith be they Hindus or Muslims or Christians. Even though it is not for me, I do think religion can be a very positive force in one's life as long as it is not all consuming ( I guess you could say that about a lot of things).

Rather my atheism is an extension of tolerance and openness....Something the new atheists are lacking in spades. Too often the so-called "new atheism" seems like the non-believers version of the Westboro Baptist Church.



"Finally we took over the studio" John Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970.

It's been 50 years since the release of RUBBER SOUL. Though not my favorite Beatles album, it is a great, great record in and of itself and was really where they started to flex their muscle in the studio and set up the even greater works to follow.

One thing I've always felt about SOUL - While the hits (Drive My Car, Michelle, In My Life) are all classics, the deep cuts are equally brilliant - Wait, The Word, Run For Your Life. Two of George Harrison's best - Think For Yourself and If I Needed Someone (Interesting discussion on the latter in Roger McGuinn's twitter feed the other day).

In particular, I have always liked Wait - Lennon and McCartney singing different parts of the same song. One aspect of The Beatles that I really liked an felt was underused on later records (which is understandable since it was all in their own worlds at that point).

Also interesting to note, and I have to give credit to Rolling Stone's appraisal of RUBBER SOUL for this observation, htttp://   ,a lot of the female protagonists in the lyrics of the songs have a feminist bent - Female driver, woman unavailable to see male because she's busy with her own life, woman has to go work and leaves male asleep in the bath.


Just read an interesting article about online companies for temporary/permanent employment agencies that are aiming to do what Uber has done with those who need rides and drivers - That is give prospective employees and employers a platform to interact directly taking a cut.

This reminded me of working for temporary agencies several times when in between jobs in the 1990's. Generally they were awful jobs and the agencies were run by foul, dishonest people but I did meet a lot of eccentric weirdos which is always good for inspiring one's writing.

Lot of stories but one that comes to mind. I was sent to a company in the San Fernando Valley that distributed sportswear and athletic equipment for a couple of months in 1998. I was assisting a Marketing manager, an obese lesbian - very stereotypical (short hair, rode a Harley superbike to work). She also raised snakes as a hobby and kept their photos all over her cubicle. Once she went away for the weekend to some kind of motorcycle event in the desert and hooked up with a guy. Somehow he got her phone number at work and called a couple of times until she finally lost it and let him have it in a loud enough voice the whole office heard "I'M JUST NOT INTO GUYS. I DIG CHICKS!"

Temp agency employment - good times!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Earlier in her career, even after her shift to Atlantic Records in 1967, Aretha Franklin' s recordings often seemed like Gulliver struggling after being tied down by the Lilliputians. Her voice being Gulliver and the repetitive rhythm and blues arrangements, already formulaic, as well as the nagging, smothering backing vocals being the Lilliputians.

By 1970, she'd found a way forward.  THIS GIRL'S IN LOVE WITH YOU is my favorite album of Aretha Franklin's even more so than I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVED YOU or LADY SOUL because she takes a lot of chances here and shows impeccable taste in her choices of covers.

Her versions of The Dark End of The Street and Let It Be (recorded before The Beatles had released their version) are strong and her version of Burt Bacharach's This Girl's in Love With You (changed from Guy) is the definitive one IMO. I also prefer her version of The Weight to The Band's original. It just has more melodic vocal drama. I even like her Son of a Preacher Man a song I've never really cared for.

But the centerpiece of the record is an unusual but still powerful reading of Eleanor Rigby in which Aretha becomes the spinster character and states I AM ELEANOR RIGBY. It's weird but rocks and Franklin nails it. There are also a number of standard R&B fare which she sings the hell out of.