Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Blue Grotto … Paul Posluszny … Notorious … Casablanca … The Block Slug …Dorothy Parker …Something else not to punch …


The Blue Grotto ... or the Grotta Azzurra to yous speakers of the true mother tongue. It used to be my favorite place to eat back when I lived in Little Italy many years ago. A friend and I used to snack there a couple times a week back in the day (usually in the early morning hours) on sautéed octopus, braciole and/or veal. The original owners sold the building with the restaurant a number of years ago and this past Friday we went to the newer Grotto to meet up with a couple of Morogiello’s who were in town. Frank, an American Airlines executive (who started handling bags and worked his way to the top), his lovely wife Linda, their son Frank Jr., Dan (a former pitcher on the Baltimore Orioles and a World Series ring bearer), his lovely wife Nancy, and two very good American Airlines clients in from Dallas. Frank always comes bearing gifts and this time he brought me a Paul Posluszny Buffalo Bills jersey. A guy has a name that difficult to pronounce you call him by what he does best—STICK. And should he ever become an enforcer off the field, Paulie Stick. Frank and Dan are a tough show to beat. Their repartee is fast and relentless, but it was Frank Jr. and myself who had the final laugh when we knowingly winked at one another over my beloved new york state buffalo bills getting Frank Jr.’s favorite player, Terrell Owens. It was only a matter of time before I came around, amici. Now I’m T.O.’s 2nd biggest fan (and first fattest). Frank Jr., this is our year, brother! This is the year the Buffalo Bills win their ring! And we start off with a blowout victory of the New England Cheaterfaces.

Notorious ... Early Saturday morning I decided to watch a pay-for-view movie (rather than drop another $30-40 bucks at some dopey theatre where I get nothing but annoyed) and there it was, the Notorious B.I.G., something I’ve been meaning to see for a while. While I’m not a big fan of hip-hop in general and never understood the East Coast/West Coast war, this movie did a good job of filling in most of the blanks. You might want to cover your ears a few times, especially when listening to some of Lil’ Kim’s lyrics (how sexist was that comment?), but if you can get past some of the lyrics and melodrama, you’ll find what had happened to a couple of young men (in the 20’s) turned overnight millionaires as interesting as it was senseless. Big Up(s) to Notorious.


Casablanca ... while we’re on a movie kick, the boss and I watched Casablanca again last night (for god knows how many times now) and the clever lines and Bogie coolness never fail. We laughed out loud and tried to hold back tears and must’ve said another dozen times or so, “What a great movie.” And it was ... and still is.

Dorothy Parker ... I’m in the middle of reading a collection of short stories and poems by Dorothy Parker and it’s tough not to laugh out loud at some of her lines. Talk about cynical wit. Wonderful stuff from a woman (although I’m pretty sure she’d prefer broad) once forced to live with nuns in a monastery. One of the originals at the Algonquin Round Table, Parker survived several suicide attempts before dying from a heart attack in 1967.

Paul Posluszny ... a former Penn State linebacker now starting for my beloved new york state buffalo bills, Posluszny is our new hero at casa Stella. You go get’em, STICK!

The Block Slug ... my new name since the Principessa Ann Marie built a garden, put up fencing slats and built a bench for our front porch. Countless neighbors have stopped by to tell her how beautiful it all looks and to commend her for working so, so hard. One nice older lady walking her dog was outside when I had to make an appearance and Ms. Gene said, “You the husband?” I was afraid to speak and nodded instead. “What do you do?” she asked. “Hide,” I said. Our neighbor Mike (from next door) tried to cover for me by saying, “Charlie’s a rock star. Can’t you hear his drums?” but Ms. Gene was too focused on my response to hear him. “Hide, you said?” she said. I said, “Well, she’s very bossy, my wife, so I try to stay out of her way.” Ms. Gene smiled (I think) and said, “Bossy, huh? Oh, I’ll bet.”

Later in the afternoon Mike (from across the street) said, “Great job on the garden, Chuck” but he was just breaking my shoes. I’ve accepted my role as the Hornsby Street block slug. I am very good at it.

Something else not to punch ... some of yous are already familiar with my ability to break my “Knuckles” on various household and vehicular objects. A couple years ago it was the hood of the Stellamobile that sent one knuckle up close to my wrist and flattened another. I took a couple, three falls down our frozen porch steps this past winter as well as a couple flops in the street, but those were totally unintentional (as was my baptism by fire fall in our bath tub day 4 after we moved in—my ribs were sore for a month). Last week I learned a new thing not to punch while inside a car, especially when there’s been a perfectly good dashboard to nail with straight right crosses that doesn’t yield or break. Last week I chose the rear view mirror to wallop after a minor dose of road rage … and before we knew it, the windshield looked like a spider’s web. The boss said you could look at it one of two ways: “You just burned three hundred dollars, you big dope” orrrrrrrrrrrrr “Say goodbye to those crash cymbals you couldn’t wait to play with.”

A Big Special Canarsie Edition coming in a couple weeks (we're gathering information in the meantime). Those Morogiello boys will be featured along with most of their fellow baseball players from back in the day.