Tommy Red

Tommy Red
The Progressive Killer

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, February 10, 2010

The First Words on Johnny Porno ... Blaming the Left? ...

Amici:

More good words on Johnny Porno ... from the goodfellas at Men Reading Books: "While Stella points to George V. Higgins as inspiration, I see comparisons to a couple of my favorite contemporary authors who I think also excel at dialogue, George Pelacanos and Richard Price. Through Stella, you can practically smell the garlic on the breath of the wiseguys trying to intimidate, strain to hear cops jerking each other around through hot dog stuffed faces, wince at the lunacy of an ex-wife going off the deep end, and nod approvingly when someone does a decent thing for Johnny. Why Stella’s books aren’t flying off the main table at the front door of Barnes/Noble and Borders is, in itself, a crime." —East Coast Don

Read the entire review here.


"Mr. Stella is a natural. As soon as I finished Johnny Porno I gave the book to my son so we could both be wiser-guys. Now I'm going to find all his other novels. He's a true master." —Dow Mossman, The Stones of Summer

First words ... Johnny Porno received its first endorsement ... and then later in the day its first knock. The endorsement came courtesy of Dow Mossman, author of an American classic rediscovered by a filmmaker and fan of the book. The Stones of Summer, John Seelye, from The New York Times Book Review called: “A marvelous book... it burns with a sacred Byzantine fire, a generational fire, moon-fire, stone-fire.”

The Stones of Summer received its rediscovery when Documentary filmmaker Mark Moskowitz turned literary sleuth in a marvelous tale of a vanished novelist. His documentary, Stone Reader not only revived book sales, the film won several awards. The Stones of Summer subsequently sold more than 300,000 copies. Check out this trailer.



Needless to say, the ugly one is currently reading The Stones of Summer and has reordered the documentary (I inadvertently ordered a VHS version and have to return it for the DVD). This coming of age novel has brought back some funny, awkward and intense memories from my youth, including an argument I once had with two friends on the way to St. Jude’s catholic school. Both kids (Joe Gaetani and Joe Kane) were a lot smarter than me (while that isn’t a difficult concept to imagine, they really were very smart kids) and they were discussing how babies were made. In my devout ignorance, I refused to accept that such a thing as sex was involved. Fucking was a word, yeah, I knew that much, but I had no clue it was something real, like ... intercourse?

“No fucking way your father did that to your mother,” I said with extreme prejudice. “No fucking way.”

I couldn’t imagine my parents doing the wild thing.

I still can’t.

It was probably a few years before I accepted the facts ... but reading Dawes Williams’ (the protagonist in The Stones of Summer) trials and tribulations is putting a genuine smile on my face. The rights of passage young boys go through with puberty, their battles with adults as they came to find them fallible and those first awkward steps into adulthood are a genuine treat to revisit. I’m half through the novel now and looking forward to reading through to the end over the next few days.

Ed Gorman had passed Johnny Porno along to Mr. Mossman (they’ve been lifelong friends) and we’re honored to have such kind words from such a literary figure.

Yes, so honored, in fact, we'll post them again.

"Mr. Stella is a natural. As soon as I finished Johnny Porno I gave the book to my son so we could both be wiser-guys. Now I'm going to find all his other novels. He's a true master." —Dow Mossman, The Stones of Summer



Now for the knock ... Momma Stella has defended her sonny boy in pretty much all of the dopey things he’s done. When he was arrested for an assault and she found out a few years later, she said, “That’s because you never got enough sleep.” At 80 she continues to warn him to “be careful driving” when it rains. Momma Stella was also supportive of his crazy ideas and endeavors (pretty much everything except that fantasy connected life he lived for 18 years) but especially writing. When Dad looked at him as if he had three heads (upon telling Dad he was going to try and write a book), Momma Stella said, “I like that, sonny boy. You should do it.”

That said, Momma Stella isn’t a big fan of her sonny boy’s inability to get through a page or two without “all that cursing and sex.” One of our best reviewed books to date was Charlie Opera and Momma Stella had this to say about that one: "It was good, sonny. I couldn’t wait to finish it. But do you have to put all that dirty stuff in there like that? All that cursing...it was too much.”

Well, apparently Johnny Porno was no different for her. Momma Stella stopped cold (as of Sunday) after Chapter 8 (part of which was originally a short story I thought fit a character in the novel). Momma Stella had this to say about Johnny Porno: “My God, Sonny ... every other page is cursing and sex. It’s too much. Maybe I’m getting too old. I like that Johnny guy, but I need a vacation from it for now. I’m sorry.”


The culture of immigrants (Mom was born in Italia) brought up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan aside, Mom was never a big fan of the mob. Her first cousin (Gasper “Gazut” Calderazzo), was one of Chicago outfit killer Tony Spilotro’s Las Vegas desert victims (one of the holes in the desert) after being sent by New York to pick up some of a casino’s skim. Spilotro met Gazut at the airport and proceeded to drive him to the desert where Gazut was killed and buried. His brother Aldo identified the body a few weeks later. Jimmy “the Weasal” Frattiano’s book, The Last Mafioso, inaccurately states that it was Aldo who Spilotro killed. It wasn’t. It was his brother, Gasper (Gazut).

Mom used to say about her cousins, “Those boys never got enough sleep.”


Blaming the left? ... Most of yous know how TK feels about the true liberal cause in America; that those liberals in the Democratic Party are cutting their nose to spite their face by continuing to support a party that ignores them at every opportunity. This fine snowstorm morning the boss and I watched Morning Joe (between shoveling) and although the old ball and chain was swept up in the Scarborough mystic (remember, even though she's a devout blind faith Democrat, she dreams about this guy ... oy vey), the ugly one was sitting there very confused by the line of shit Joe and his gathering were spewing (including the two guys who co-authored Game Change).

Wanna know why there’s been no change we can believe in yet? According to this collection of geniuses, it’s the liberal left of the Democratic Party. Yep, that’s right ... the single bone the Fredo Administration has thrown the left so far has been a “proposal” that it will repeal don’t ask/don’t tell and THAT is what is stalling change we can believe in? Yeah, right ... sure.

Excuse me for not holding my breath on that one. At the rate this White House achieves success, I (and many gays my age) may be long dead before don’t ask/don’t tell is actually repealed. Hopefully, when it finally is repealed, it'll be alongside another bill that allow gays to marry who they want, adopt who they want and share medical benefits equally (since they'd be able to die for their country without having to hide who they are and all [sarcasm intended]).


Anyway, the point being, how is the left at fault in Fredo’s sweeping stall of setting new policy? If I’m not mistaken, the Democratic left has backed down at each phase of the game(s). Single Payer proved nothing more than talk and died long ago at the hands of Blue Dog Democrats (not even Republicans). The fact of the matter is Fredo not only adopted George Bush’s economic policy of bailing out big money and excusing their paying taxes (yes, DOC, that $38 BILLION tax break to bailed out corporations continues to be cause for violent revolution in my obnoxious opinion), he’s kept on the Bush and Wall Street team of financiers who created the mess in the first place and hasn’t managed to pass a single piece of oversight legislation since the crisis (i.e., NOTHING HAS CHANGED).

Remember how Fredo campaigned that doing the same old thing (when McCain had proposed more tax cuts) was dumb? Well, explain to me the difference between “proposing” tax cuts for the rich (McCain) and what Fredo did (actually provided tax cuts to the rich -- $38 BILLION worth)?


DOC accused of us selling out the other day and using quotes from JD Rhoades blog. JD is a hell of a writer (his last book, Breaking Cover was one of the best reads of last year for the ugly one) and a devout Democrat. Yet, we feel his type of dedication to the Dems is one of the main reasons his party ignores his cause; the relentless blind faith, overzealous attacks on irrelevant wingnuts is nothing more than beating a dead horse (while preaching to a choir more happy with Bush bashing than initiating actual CHANGE) and protecting the sense of complacency his party already suffers from (to the point where they ignore the left). But when JD makes a good point, we’ll point to it. The hypocrisy of Sarah Palin and her movement regarding “teleprompters” and the use of the word “retard” goes beyond the usual nonsense on the right and tells volumes about just what the Republicans have to offer as solutions to our collective problems—making fun of Democrats.

Sound familiar?

The hypocrisy of Palin’s absurdity (never mind her absolute cluelessness) should serve to wipe out any credibility she may have. JD nailed her on it (providing many of the significant details/examples of the hypocrisy of the extreme right). While TK feels JD spends far too much energy fighting wingnuts and their cause (while the house he defends crumbles around him), it is a free country and TK defends his right to make the same mistake the Democratic left makes over and over... which is to assume the Dems are the only alternative to the other party.

We say that pointing out how Ross Perot or Ralph Nader (or every other third party) has never won, and therefore shouldn’t be supported at the voting booth, undermines the true liberal cause. Why limit yourself to two corrupt parties that serve one cause (that of corporate greed)? If the left broke off for just one election what would be the worst that could happen? The Republicans would win, perhaps, but has there really been a difference between the two parties thus far since Fredo’s victory? And let’s face it, if the left went someplace else to vote, the Democratic party would have to realize (or be subject to future losses) that the left isn’t there just to call wingnuts names.


In the meantime, the Dems need Sarah Palin to lead the charge in order to scare independents back their way ... and ...


The GOP needs to muzzle Sarah Palin before she does more damage than they can control with independents (the only ones who can vote them back into power).


And I guess true liberal third parties need an absolute depression before their base of voters wakes up and realizes that playing the short game (voting the lesser of two evils) amounts to nothing more than pissing into a hurricane. The picture above was a reality in California last year when Hoovervilles sprung up because of job losses and foreclosures. Tent Cities were a reality all over again as recently as February 2009. And who got rewarded for them? Remember that $38 BILLION TAX BREAK FREDO GAVE BAILED OUT COMPANIES? You think maybe some of these people (below) could've used some of that gelt?


It isn’t just the executive branch that needs to be replaced ... it’s all of Congress and the Senate. Both parties need to be voted out of office at the next several opportunities. And for liberals who talk about all that fear mongering on the right, it seems they’re caught in the very same dilemma by voting the same way--afraid if they don’t support the Dems (who ignore them), the GOP will return to power.

TK says there just isn’t enough of a difference to support either party. How about voting our conscience ... wherever it points.

Pre-order Johnny Porno here.

—Knucks