Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

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

Right now Shakedown (Kirkus & Booklist *starred* reviews) available on Kindle for $.99 ...

Friday, August 14, 2009

QB VII … Johnny Porno … “Hey, get a load of fatso” … Michael Vick …VJ Day and a few fitting tributes … and Patti Abbott's Forgotten Book Reviews

Amici:


QB VII I didn’t enjoy this one nearly as much as Trinity but it was a fast read. Mostly I had issues with the melodrama Uris created leading up to the trial of a Polish national who’d been swept up into a fictional nazi concentration/extermination camp and ordered (or willingly) performed experimental surgeries on healthy Jews without anesthesia and obviously against their will. I never saw the miniseries and am glad not to have. This was a medium investment in time and although it wasn’t unpleasant, there were passages in the first few sections of the book I thought too melodramatic (the scene where eventual author {Abe Cady} of a book that slanders (or does it?) the Polish Dr. is shot down and severely injured while flying a combat mission seemed childish. It isn’t a waste of time by any means, but I felt somewhat let down after Uris’s Trinity. Then again, anything to do with WWII or the Holocaust (whether it serves as educational device or a reminder of just how insane any people can become) is worth the investment in time and energy. Part IV, the actual trial for slander, was pretty gripping and as it turns out, Uris himself went through a slander trial. From Wikipedia: The novel is loosely based on a libel action brought against Uris himself by Dr Wladislaw Dering, a Polish physician who worked at Auschwitz, in relation to his previous novel Exodus, which resulted in Dr Dering being awarded a half-penny damages, the smallest possible amount at the time. (Costs of £20,000 were awarded against him).


Johnny Porno is up on our new publisher’s website (Stark House Press). You’ll find it much more affordable than the hard covers from the past (which equates to ordering dozens while the ordering is good). I love the cover the way it is right now and I’m playing with doing a few readings from the book as teasers to post here and on my dopey website … but the question remains will a reading by the ugly one entice readers …



or send them running for the hills?




“Hey, get a load of fatso” … for those of yous Honeymooner Fans out there (you had to be able to recite most of the show’s lines on command where I grew up), there was an episode called “The Bensonhurst Bomber,” where Nortan’s friend is supposed to say “Get a load of fatso over there” (so that Ralph can deck the guy (a set-up) and scare some bully he’s supposed to fight in the poolroom). Last night the ugly one was confronted with a bully on the Staten Island train who pushed his way through a turnstile and made some comments to which I answered in kind (a general dopey cursing fiasco). But then the bully said, “Hey, fatso, lose some weight while you’re at it.”




What’s up with the fat comments (the ugly one wants to know)? I mean, yeah, I’m fat, but so what does that have to do with the price of eggs? Of course the Principessa Ann Marie was pretty much clueless as to what was going on since she can't hear anything (deaf nurses, great idea) and was just walking along as if the yelling behind her were leaves blowing in a light breeze. She later said, “But you were smiling at him. I thought you were friends. I thought, Charlie met an old friend of his. You looked like you were having fun with each other.”

The bully told me to take the first punch and that he would annihilate me if I did. I offered him the first two shots (this went on for a while—shades of “My uncles is a marine.” “Oh, yeah, mine is a General” etc.), but when I invited him to the parking lot where we wouldn’t have to put on a show for all the commuters and he could fight instead of talk about it, he informed me that he would say I “attacked him”. I told him my stop and suggested he meet me there or just go away. Then I said, “See you later, whacko.”

He got off at his stop (I assume) but it was two stops before mine. He was clearly nuts and will probably talk more trash if we walk into each other again (like tonight on the way home--something to look forward to, I guess), but if so, I will request he refrain from calling me hurtful names. I mean, I could’ve talked about the dopey Italian horn he was wearing (at our age, that’s more than a little silly), or the fact that he seemed dumber than he looked, but the only name I called him was my favorite when dealing with jerkoffs. To wit: I called him a jerkoff.

And, of course, this morning the wife greeted me with, “Good morning, fatso.”

To which I replied (using hand signals): “You’re number one.”


Michael Vick … this is a tough one for the ugly Knuckster … yeah, everybody deserves a second chance, but there are some crimes that should preclude those chances (namely, torturing dogs to amuse oneself). So, the Philadelphia Eaglettes prove they are the most despicable team in the NFL for signing Vick and there’s just no sympathy here for a guy who was making $100 million and blew it with his own stupidity and at the expense of a lot of innocent dogs.

And before a flood of e-mails arrive telling me how we forgive murderers (never mind how this government gives mass murderers new names/identities/homes (Gravano, Bulger, et al)), understand that we at Knucksline place more value on dogs than we do on some humans.


A Fitting Tribute … over at Dave Terrenoire’s blog (A Dark Planet), he’s posted a tribute to a man who died with his uncle on Iowa Jima. Today is one half of VJ day (international dateline issues). It is a fitting tribute to true heroes (not the plastic ones who start wars without ever having fought in one—like some Presidents and their cronies {to include Obama with Bush because ramping it up in Afghanistan after 8 years of WTF makes about as much sense as attacking Iraq for 9-11}).

Some of yous remember when I found my father’s brother’s burial spot in Epinal, France. Frank Stella ran off to join the Army in the summer before the last year of the war in Europe. He married his childhood sweetheart and found himself a replacement for the famous Easy Company (of Band of Brothers fame). He was wounded three times over his six weeks in combat before being killed on January 26, 1945 during an artillery barrage (the day after the Battle of the Bulge was officially listed as ended). He received a few medals prior to and after his death.

I never met Uncle Frank Stella. He was dead before I was born. He had apparently been the apple of my grandparents eye (my old man was the proverbial street kid) and my grandmother lost it when her son was killed; Adelaide Stella (for whom my sister was named) later died in a sanitarium. My grandfather (whom I was named after, Carmelo), never spoke of his son again. It was one of those Sicilian traditions that makes no sense to me, but they had their ways. “What was done, was done,” my grandfather used to say.

Frank was supposed to become a pharmacist but he enlisted instead. My mother’s family used to live in the building my grandfather owned on the Lower East Side and she remembered coming home and hearing the news, “Frank Stella was killed.”

“It was such a sad day, Sonny,” she said to me. “I’ll never forget it. He was such a nice guy.”



As listed in the November 1944 "mug shot" identification roster for Co. "E", Frank N. Stella's hometown address during World War II was:

"34 Downing Street, New York City, NY"

On page 76 of the book THE FURNACE AND THE FIRE: The Story of a Regiment of Infantry, Vienna, Austria 1945, under the listing "These Gave Their Lives", is the following entry:

"Pfc Stella, Frank N. KIA 26 Jan 45 at
Ohlungen, Fr (Co E)"

On page 135, the same book, under the listing of "COMBAT ROSTERS", there is the following entry:

"STELLA, Frank H. [sic - N.] Pfc CIB, GCM,
CAM. R New York, N.Y."

CIB = Combat Infantryman Badge
GCM = Good Conduct Medal
CAM. R = Campaign Rhineland

As you know, Stella is eligible for retroactive award of the Bronze Star Medal because he was awarded the CIB (Combat Infantryman Badge). Because Stella participated in action against the enemy in the Bois D'Ohlungen, and the vicinity of Schweighausen and Neuborg, France, as of 10 January 2001 Stella became a recipient of "THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION (ARMY), FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM IN MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST AN ARMED ENEMY".

Additionally, Stella is entitled to a second small bronze battle star to be worn on the ribbon of the EAME Medal (European-African-Middle Eastern Medal) for participation in the Campaign Ardennes-Alsace.

Frank N. Stella is buried at Plot A, Row 32, Grave 14, Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France.


Here’s to Dave’s uncle and his uncle’s friend and my uncle too.


—Knucks

And over at Patti Abbott's blogsite is a "forgotten book" I reviewed ... The Boy who Followed Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith ...


And the DOC says ...

I hate to say it, fatso, I mean Chaz, but I tend to agree with you on the Michael Vick issue.

You know on the sports thing I agree with Papa Hemingway. Just going on memory. . ."Boxing, bullfighting and auto racing are sports. All the rest are just games."

Yeah, Vick served his time and he should not be disqualified from any job at McDonalds that he can pass the test for. Giving him a job that puts him in front of the American public just marks another low for our society.

Going back to my mantra... Every country gets the government they deserve.

Hell, Chaz, the Bengals turned him down. The NFL's first All-Felony Team wouldn't touch him. This means the 2 major factions of the Bengals, the "Gun Carrier Squad" and the "Wife Beater Squad" both thought that the dog torturer was a bad idea. I only hope that in all their home games Michael Vick can throw a long bomb into the stands and not have to worry about hitting anybody.

In general, Americans have to learn to trust their gut.

"Yeah, he paid his debt, but I'm still pissed, so fuck him".

It's not all about the law, but justice. . . and occasionally retribution.

Uncle Frank,

Thank you for your service. Charles is not exactly a flower on the family tree, but you could have done worse. Rest in peace.

Respectfully,
Doc