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).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

General Fun Stuff … and the DOC says -- make that RANTS!


Preview Review … We’re reading the Talented Miss Highsmith by Joan Schenkar and finding it absolutely fascinating. With three of Ms. Highsmith’s non-Ripley books on deck (“Strangers on a Train”, “Deep Water” and “The Price of Salt”), we’re going to postpone a few other reviews scheduled here for another few weeks. Highsmith was a list-maker, religious, horribly anti-Semitic (unless she needed someone sexually or for her career who happened to be Jewish), equally racist, sometimes petty and always thinking in terms of the next piece of writing. Her mother-daughter issues and purposeful deception of character are both scary and intriguing, as is her attempt to “cure” herself of her homosexuality. She also wrote for a number of comic books (for years, although she tried desperately to hide it), jumped from bed to bed (woman to woman and sometimes tossed in a man just to test “it” out) ... and she refused to learn how to type from fear of becoming a secretary. She had self esteem issues that ranged from delusional to self loathing. She was religious and often read the Bible before bed. She felt her lack of success (there was never enough for Ms. Highsmith) artistically and financially was punishment for her being a drinker and a lesbian.

She was tough and gruff and cheap and vindictive and above all else, extremely talented. Her story, albeit not very nice, is fascinating. This is a very tough book to put down. After reading the Ripley series (and loving 4 of the 5), it is easy to see some of the author in her most famous character. Seriously, amici, this is a GREAT read.

Upcoming Reviews: a few more by Highsmith interspersed with Sandra Ruttan's Lullaby for the Nameless and David Zeltserman's Killer.

Christmas Spirit … the son (Charles, not Charlie) sent me this: "This makes me angry when I think of the bitter cold sweeping the East." Click on the link here: Huffington Post reports: Amid the recession and the cold winter months, Cynthia Magnus made a shocking discovery at the H&M in Manhattan's Herald Square. It wasn't a sale on the season's hottest trends--it was garbage bags upon garbage bags of unsold merchandise, most of it slashed with razors to ensure that no one would ever wear or sell it, the New York Times reports.

Unbelievable. These stores would do Ayn Rand proud. If we can’t sell it, we’ll destroy it and those in the cold be damned. I guess it works … it would certainly help decrease the surplus population.

Next time we go to Walmart is never.

Jon Stewart on Terrorism 2.0 ... Funny, funny stuff and he doesn’t let Bush or the Republicans off the hook either.

One for O’Reilly ... The babbling baboon (and world class buffoon to boot) makes a point. The other day he ranted about the hypocrisy of treating terrorists like criminals. The buffoon argued, rightly (probably for all the wrong reasons): Why is it okay to use predator drones on terrorists/criminals to kill them without providing the due process we’re so willing to give them here (after they try to kill us)? Would we have taken out KSM if we could have with a drone? If so, why are we giving him a criminal trial? Or, to be more absurd about it, why aren’t we giving all those we kill over there with drone strikes trials first? And what about all the collateral damage we do using predator drones? Do the innocent killed in such bombings from the sky enhance our system of democracy to those we’re so anxious to befriend in the Middle East or does it also provide poster fodder for future Taliban and Al Qaeda recruiting?

Hey, it’s a valid argument. Knucksline prefers whacking them with drones and putting them through military tribunals but we understand the desire to use criminal courts. We politely disagree with the idea of due process when dealing with terrorists. We don’t think foreign nationals automatically deserve what we provide American citizens through the court system. Sometimes you have to suspend the constitution when dealing with an emergency and/or a crisis situation. Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus during the Civil War and Grant did the same in three states against the KKK (certainly a terrorist organization). We doubt either would have had a problem suspending certain constitutional rights to foreigners caught in the act of attempted murder (much less those who planned the murders).

Still, if we’re going to kill them willy-nilly over there (and too bad for the collateral damage), why are we dicking around with criminal trials here? It is as absurd as those on the left demanding criminal trials so we can “convict and then kill them.” Might that be a rush to judgment or are we to believe everything the government (any administration) tells us is true?

For some polite conversation with a guy who got me to change my mind about feeling "safer" if KSM was tried anywhere but New York (although I still have selfish reasons to wish otherwise), check From The Home Office out ... a left wing blog that doesn't spit at you for disagreeing.

Jobless Claims ... Oooops, they’re still climbing ... while we very justly lay the blame for the financial crisis at the doorstep of Bush and his incompetent administration, there’s no ignoring the fact that after giving the store away to Wall Street once in office, the Obama administration hasn’t done a thing yet to correct the mistakes that brought the crisis on (where's the missing oversight regulation?); Obama took care of Wall Street at our expense. But that just leads to the next segment ...

The New Smart ... makes a lot of noise (in the form of never-ending hissy fits), expresses violence (“It makes me want to punch someone in the face.”), which is actually pretty laughable, but it is mostly just sarcastic and arrogant; if you don’t agree with the politics of denial, you’re not smart enough to warrant politeness.

We here at TK have nothing more against the Democrats than we do the Republicans. We don’t think there’s enough of a difference to support either party. While some might say Ralph Nader cost Gore the election in 2000 and thus gave us a war in Iraq we really didn’t want (and they may be right), they neglect to acknowledge the support the Democratic Party gave to that war at the time (including the current Secretary of State, who was too busy to read the intelligence reports before voting for the war). We think both parties are a sham to the American public (taxpayers and illegal’s alike) and that so long as there is blind support of either party (for whatever reason--lesser of two evils, etc.), nothing really changes. It is a rigged deck against the American worker and the sooner people abandon both parties at the voting booth, the quicker genuine change will come.

But President Obama is so much smarter than the last guy, you might say. Maybe, but the boring facts are pretty hard to deny ...

Corporate Welfare: Bush was for it before he was against it. Obama was for it … again and again and again. Who benefits? Wall Street, et al.

Tax Breaks for the Wealthy: Bush was unashamedly for it. Obama was against it (before he gave those who borrowed OUR TARP money a $38 billion tax break). Who benefits? Those who borrowed OUR TARP Money (Wall Street, et al).

Financial Regulation (a/k/a Fiscal Oversight): Bush was against it. Obama was for it but hasn’t done a thing about it. Who benefits? Wall Street, et al.

Gay marriage: Bush was against it. So is Obama. Who benefits? Those against it.

National Health Insurance: Bush was against it. Obama was for it (before he was against it). Who benefits? The Insurance Companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc.

Blackwater: Bush was for them. Obama is even more for them (gave them a bigger budget). Who benefits? Blackwater.

Iraq: Bush was for it. Obama was against it (but we’re still there).
Who benefits? Halliburton.

Afghanistan: Bush was for it. Obama is for it (with extreme prejudice). Who benefits? One of life’s mysteries.

Guantanamo: Bush was for it. Obama is against it (but it isn’t closed yet). Who benefits? According to Democrats, terrorism.

Criminalizing Terrorism: Bush was against it. Obama is for it. Who benefits? We think terrorists (but we could be wrong).

Outsourcing: Bush was for it. Obama was against it before his legislation ignored it. Who benefits? Wall Street, et al.

So, yous tell us ... is this the change we were all waiting for or just more of the same old same old?

It isn't that we're picking on Obama and his Dems ... but unless we're mistakenly naive (as opposed to not smart), they are the ones driving the car right now.

Not to worry about voicing your opinions to us via email, amici, we won’t curse you out if you disagree. Hell, we honor everybody's opinion here at TK ... even that wild and crazy DOC.

Write us at


And the DOC RANTS ...

Geez Chaz,

Six freaking pages! What happened? Did JD Rhoades kick you off his blogsite again?

I’m going to keep this short, because I have to go out and shovel more Global Warming snow.

Ms. Highsmith:

If she wasn’t such a talented writer she could have been head of Homeland Security having met the stringent qualifications. You know... being a lesbian with no background in security.


Is not the devil. Instead of making more efficient nuclear bombs, Walmart keeps China and India busy competing to make the best $3 dress shirt.

...and no, they shouldn’t be destroying clothes, but I’m sure there are a lot of homeless people who wouldn’t wear Walmart fashion.

Jon Stewart (does not let Bush off the hook):

Jon Stewart will barely admit that Bush is not president anymore. Personally, I’m getting tired of the excuse of “the incompetency of the past eight years”. That worked in February, maybe March. It’s now a year into the Immaculate Conception and things are worse. What will be the excuse in 2011? “The incompetency of the past 11 years minus 3”?

Fredo... there is a reason there is a desk in the oval office. Sit at it and read something besides the issue of GQ with your mug on the cover.


He’s a little too fair and balanced for my taste, but at least he features some of my favorite progressive thinkers like Laura Ingraham and Dennis Miller. I think the use of the predator drones should be enhanced. I would like to see their range expanded to San Francisco, Seattle, DC, the upper west side and any Starbucks in their field of view.

If the war is worth winning, there will be collateral damage and that is why you permit “Stars and Stripes” to cover the war and not the New York Times.

Now for the rapid fire...

Corporate Welfare:

Right now Ford should be raking in the dough (and paying major taxes), but we’re propping up two losers. Why? Once a car company has “bankrupt” attached to their logo they’re finished. Who wants a 5 year warranty with a company that could be dead in 6 months.

Tax breaks for the wealthy:

About 50% of American citizens don’t pay any taxes at all, so who are you going to give tax breaks to? Everybody should pay something, even if it’s only $100. That way, when a politician suggests a tax increase it affects everybody. It’s too easy to vote for tax increases when it won’t affect you. Every citizen should have skin in the game.

Gay marriage:

We don’t begrudge you the rights...Just don’t call it marriage and don’t forget that alimony is also part of marriage.

National Health Insurance:

We wasted a year on it already and if we get it prices go up. Is this what you wanted? How about you pay out of your pocket for your whiny “I have a sore throat” doctor visits and we have insurance for catastrophic events.

Blackwater and Halliburton:

These guys have particular skill sets that are not found just anywhere. We tried using AccounTemps in Iraq and we’re still receiving the body parts by mail.


We’re a “cowboy” nation in the best sense of the word. We don’t think “rape rooms” are funny. We kill you for that, but we don’t need boots on the ground. You’ve got 17 palaces? Well, next week you’ve got 16 and the week after that you’ve got 15 and the bombs just keep getting bigger. You let us know when you’re ready to talk.


Fredo said there are 100 Al Qaeda members and we now have 100,000 troops? At this point we need a scalpel. The Army is a broadsword. I’d even let the Bamster declare victory and pull everybody out. Imagine the party he would throw for that.


Jihad is tough. These guys need a place to relax. The NY Times has already assured them that we are not going to actually harm them. We used to scare them, but it seems that even scaring them is considered too cruel. It will be in the 70s tomorrow in Cuba. How is it by you?

Criminalizing Terrorism:

It’s not my first choice, but we might be able to make it work. HOWEVER, I want them to be in General Population.

“Mohammed, this is Bubba... he’s your date for the prom.”

I’ve heard that Attica is nice this time of year.

Happy New Year