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).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

To Serve Them All My Days … Ayn Rand … 1 2 3 … Political Blogs … The Lock of the Week …DOC Says ...


To Serve Them All My Days ... another one recommended for me to read (with extreme prejudice) by the old ball and chain.

R. F. Delderfield’s
well told account of what happens to a working class English lad who suffers shell shock after three years in the trenches of World War I ... he arrives at a private school searching for work ... a wise headmaster takes him on and a life of humane servitude begins. Between Pow-Wow’s (David Powlett-Jones’ nickname) war experiences, what he’d lived through as a child (when his father and brother were killed working a mine) and the various people he meets, the women he comes to love, the personal tragedies he suffers and the crazy world around him, the protagonist comes to realize his purpose in life was to teach (and eventually become headmaster himself) at the fictional Bamfylde School (supposedly in North Devon, in the south-west of England).

The book spans WWI into WWII and is a bit of a history lesson besides a very pleasant read. This one is long and it took me a full week but was well worth the effort.

Ayn Rand ... It was suggested by conservative bloggers that I read a few of Ayn Rand’s writings (novels and essays) and I’ve started with The Fountainhead. I’m only 150 pages in and although the extremes are clearly defined and somewhat exaggerated, I’m finding the read fascinating. Not so unlike some of my favorite existential reads (those of Camus and Sartre), but I have to admit that when I bought the books (I purchased two—this and Atlas Shrugged), I was embarrassed {insecure moron I sometimes am} to ask where her stuff was (based solely on an assumption that as a liberal I should be ashamed of myself for daring to read her). I had watched a few You Tube interviews with her {one with Mike Wallace from 1959 and another with Phil Donahue in her later years} and I found her mostly arrogant and intolerant). So far shame on me. I’m pretty sure I don’t agree with her underlying theme but for now the book is reading just fine and her characterizations have been intriguing. Stay tuned ...

1 2 3 ... the freckled one and myself weren’t anxious to see the updated, newfangled version of The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3 but there we were doing the pay-per-view thing last weekend. It wasn’t as good as the original with Robert Shaw and Walter Mathau but it wasn’t terrible; today we figure that means good enough to fork over the $4.99. Denzel Washington and John Travolta star in the remake and both do a fine job. It’s just hard to get beyond the cleverness of the original and the believability factor becomes an even tougher nut to crack when dealing with the modern version. Worth the fazools if you’re bored and there’s nothing laying around you’d rather read, but we’ll always suggest you read.

Wild & Crazy Buffalo ... what a town, amici ... last week the owner of the Tennessee Tuxedos went whackadoo and gave the finger (single and double versions) over and over to Bills fans and players from the visiting owner’s box. Bud Adams’ Tuxedos thrashed my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills (the start of another LOCK OF THE WEEK streak, by the way, Knuckfans). The 86-year-old Adams issued an apology a couple of hours later, saying he got caught up in the excitement of the moment. Well, we certainly know how that can happen so we forgive the old curmudgeon (and will be interviewing him for the curmudgeon ticket if he’s still around in 2012).

Until then, however, since Bud thought our fans and players are #1, one of us thought the same of him.

Political Blogs ... they’re loaded with passion, I can tell you that much ... and where there is passion, there is danger; one can easily be offended and/or offensive. Wars of words often drip with sarcasm, contempt and cruelty. They can also be revealing and interesting.

And, of course, they can be an enormous drain of one’s energy and an incredible waste of time. Smarter people than me restrain themselves from posting political, but like most vices that are bad for you, I’m too often right there in the middle of it.

I post comments on conservative and liberal blogs alike. I have been insulted and have insulted in return (that is not to suggest I’m always the victim—just sometimes—but I am certainly guilty of seeking verbal provocation and/or knockouts when responding to something I found particularly offensive). The finger pointing never seems to end and tolerance makes an abrupt exit.
As most of yous are aware, such blogging can get ugly fast. Person A says X. Person B responds with Y. Sides are taken. Person A says something he or she thinks is clever but Person B finds personally offensive. Person B then responds in kind. Person A has to go one better. Person B feels the same way. Name calling (if it hasn’t already started) begins ... threats (direct or indirect) get issued ... and what had started as a debate becomes chaotic childishness during which nasty things are said that aren’t meant but are very hard to forgive or take back.

Most times people apologize to one another and can move on. Sometimes, obviously, they do not or cannot. Most blog debates (for lack of a more accurate term) start off neutral enough. Obviously, if the blog itself is conservative or liberal and you’re coming from the opposite direction, you should be prepared for the attack. As soon as sarcasm and or insults appear, the knives are unsheathed. Unfortunately, also unsheathed are the anonymous cowards, male and female, who go for cheap shots they don’t want associated with their “good” name(s).

My advice (for what it is worth) to those who run blogs is this: If you really want “debate” on your site but aren’t interested in opposing viewpoints (especially from those who can go punch for punch with the best/worst of your sarcasm), either preclude those commentators you don’t want or ask them politely (or otherwise) in personal emails (or otherwise) to abstain from commenting; tell them to go away. If you choose to refrain from censoring commentators, then realize that you’ll be leaving yourself open to comebacks that may upset you; there will be commentators who ride you like white on rice and those same commentators will be ridiculed by those on your side of an argument. In that case (non-censorship) I highly recommend keeping oneself in check and doing one’s best to refrain from name calling and/or sarcasm. Nobody likes to be called names (whether it is dumb, stupid, elitist, wingnut, moonbat, ass hat, etc.). There’s really no percentage in insulting people, but once you do, you shouldn’t be shocked when it comes back in spades.

On the other hand, you can do what we do here at Knucksline (doesn’t that sound official?): we simply preclude comments. Although anyone is free to email me directly with a beef or otherwise (and many of you do), the reason I don’t have comments is to preclude debate; I have neither the time nor the desire to deal with whack jobs such as myself.

Which is why we have DOC, the superstar of Knucksline (it is in his contract that we repeat that (bold/italics) at least once every six months). DOC revels in poking fun at the ugly one. The ugly one thinks DOC is one of the best writers he knows and can’t help but laugh like a fool just about every time he reads that first response email from the right wing loon after each new post.

Besides, if we ever permitted public comments, never mind the acorns from the tree in our yard that continue to bombard casa stella’s deck, roof and gutters ... the political organization might burn the joint down.

What’s the moral to this story? In a nutshell: Proceed at your own risk.

The Lock of the Week ... that’s right, amici, when you win 4 out of 5 weeks in a row, no matter what that cranky SOB (spelled DOC) says, you’re hot. And right now, the ugly one is scorching. The Bills have begun to reorganize ... they fired the head coach ... T.O. went ballistic on the sidelines and didn’t bother chasing an intercepted pass (after it went through HIS hands) ... what does it all mean? The same two things that President Obama has accomplished so far ... Jack and Squat (see the new SNL skit below).

We’re playing the Jacksonville Feelines ... we’ll be getting points ... lay them and take the Jags in another route of my beloveds.

A Happy Birthday shout out to Charles (not Charlie) Stella ... the type-A Stella brat turns (I think) 27 on the 19th. He’s running marathons (and had one of his calves tattooed with the distance to prove it—you’d think they’d learn, amici). He works full time and is doing his MBA evenings while preparing for his wedding next 9-11 to the lovely Leslie Sharpe of Delaware. The two are living in sin in the meantime and have one beautiful daughter {my granddaughter} (Lola, a Boston Terrier who seems to have rocket fuel for blood).


And the DOC says ...

Well, thank you very much for the kind words, Chaz.
I just hope the amicis realize why I inherited this bully pulpit.
It's not just because I buy you food.
(And after your constant whining about the sausage
on the pizza,we know that is not going to happen again)

It's fairness!

It is because I can engage in debate with a fine, American, conservative, patriot and with some bottom-feeding, tree-hugging, panty-wearing, flag-burning, half-a-commie, left winger like yourself and treat both with equanimity.

It's having an open mind and treating everyone with respect!
I can walk to the manger where Sarah Palin delivered her first child then turn around and go down to the wine cellar and pet the nine headed hydra that guards the coffin where Nancy Pelosi sleeps. All the same to me!

It's yin and yang, buddy boy.
We're all children of God... even the liberal scum.

Peace, Brother

The DOC just wrote me regarding the video below:

Good job, Chaz,

Except you posted the response without the Joe Biden reference,
so the video doesn't make any sense. How do you find your way to work every day?

So, here it is, amici:

Hey Chaz,
You might want to put this after my schtick in case
some people don't remember.

The videos really jazz up the blog.