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).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peter Rosovsky’s Blog … Oy vey, the Replacement Refs … TK’s locks of the week ... Placido & Lucianno ...

Amici:

Some really kind words about Stella’s novels over at Peter Rosovsky’s blog, Detective’s Without Borders.
 
And fair warning to any sock puppet hunting Nazis out there … I am sending Peter a copy of Rough Riders (and two thousand dollars). Of course should he decide to review it, any good review will no longer be a “legitimate” review for the simple fact I thanked him for the kind words on his blog in the past, never mind having sent him a copy of RR’s (he should have received an ARC in the first place--my bad), or the two dimes (thousand) … but since I still subscribe to the donut theory, I’m giving myself a pass.
 
And, yes, I was joking about the two large.
 
The coolest things I learned from some of the comments on Peter’s blog was a) I recognized the name of the Dutch super Soccer player of yesterday, Johan Cruyff (that’s his picture up above--for East Coast Don) and b) Peter was also a Strat-O-Matic nut like myself.

Frankly, it’s pretty amazing how kind Peter has been to me considering he lives in Philadelphia where my never ending angst with Philly’s football team (the once proud eaglettes/now the dog killers for signing Michael dog killer Vick) is expressed ad nausea.
 


Replacement Refs ... Now that the frequent flyer flags will be turned over to the competent officials (at least those knowledgeable of the NFL rulebook), football can return to its proper place in American culture. Say what? Did it ever leave? No, not really … and as my Tommy Burns character might say, “And a fuckin’ shame it is, too.”
 
Universally, nobody blames the poor bastards offered instant celebrity and bigger bucks than they’ll probably ever see again in their lives for throwing flags around the workhouses of a multi-billion dollar business. The fact they were scabs was more than anxiously excused by a football hungry public that could care less about workers’ rights (especially union workers). Workers rights? Unions?
 
Football vs. worker rights? Forgetaboutit, no contest ... because nobody cares.
 
Before I wax political on the mess this “lockout” represented, let’s take a look-see at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s apology: "Obviously when you go through something like this, it's painful for everybody," Goodell said on a conference call about 12 hours after the deal was struck. "Most importantly, it's painful for fans. We're sorry to have to put fans through that. Sometimes you have to go through something like that in the short term for the right agreement for the long term."
 
Note he doesn’t mention the fiasco the other night in which one team (Green Bay) was tattooed with a fugazy loss for the rest of their season and whatever playoff implications it might have while the other team (Sea Pigeons) gets the exact opposite benefit. Apologize for that? We don’t do no stinkin’ apologies, the NFL said when they released a statement affirming the “simultaneous possession” instead of the actual interception it was. What was that all about, you ask?
 
That was management sticking it to a) their employees and b) the masses. The NFL was saying: Screw you, everybody who isn’t us. We can do anything we want, even change reality, and if you don’t like it, go watch The Big Bang Theory.

What the picture above reminds me of, however, is this:

 

One ref says touchdown, the other says touchback (interception) … and we say: And whata’ya want from me?
 
Oy vey …
 

Here now, the political stuff … On the other hand, it will remain an interesting phenomenon for me. In an America where workers (union or otherwise) are demonized daily by both the GOP propaganda machine (especially the one selling an “American Dream” while more and more of the so-called middle class join the ranks of poverty) and Democrats remain politically paralyzed to stand up for those they’re allegedly representing, somehow the refs avoided the scorn teachers, firefighters, police and all other municipal workers are met with daily these days.
 
The GOP will tell you the American Dream is alive and well and that you should go it alone (like all of them did?) ... See how Romney the wannabe warrior handled his Vietnam days further below. As for the American dream being so accessible ...

Tell it to the thousands of college grads now living with their parents while seeking minimum wage employment to help pay off their mortgage-like student loans.
 
We’ve become a culture still anxious to swallow the Kool-Aid of an American Dream that no longer exists, anecdotal rags to riches stories aside (especially while the vast majority of people suffer the consequences of not being born into money/opportunity and/or are hard working people just looking to live a comfortable life who aren’t, as Mr. Romney believes, lazy SOB’s looking to milk the government teat for the rest of their lives). Unless you count winning Lotto’s Powerball, the American Dream is a thing of the past for the vast majority of Americans.
 
 
White collar and other non-union workers (other have-nots) take issue with public and private unions because their tax dollars fund their salaries and benefits and they aren’t happy with (or don’t need) the returns (i.e., childless couples having to kick into an education system). How absurd is that? Instead of seeking the same benefits for themselves, they vilify others in the same economic boat. What they must believe is that all those taxes lead to an incredibly high standard of living union workers get to enjoy (SARCASM INTENDED), where 7 out of 10 public employees get LESS than $30,000 per year in retirement.
 
Imagine, the nerve of those greedy MF’ers … $30K a year!
 
 
Oy vey, vey iz mir
 
The point being, I found it interesting (and sad) how refs seeking the same things that teachers, firemen, policemen, etc. seek (i.e., better wages/benefits, etc.), rather than being vilified, were glorified (at least until the first flags are thrown). No, I didn’t want to see them (the refs) demonized or flogged … what would have been nice is to hear the same sentiments repeated on behalf of teachers. You know, what so many of us common folk were saying: That those greedy multi-billionaire MF’ers … now they have Thursday night football revenue on top of everything else and they can’t grant a few concessions to people essential to their product (i.e., those doing the actual work) making peanuts by comparison?
 
Imagine that kind of radical talk being repeated on behalf of teachers and other municipal workers? And if it’s taxes vs. multi-billionaires you want to respond with, here’s an idea. End the goddamn idiotic wars we’re fighting for no good reason under the sun and use some of that money to support workers here rather than defense contractors.
 
Frankly, it’s about time somebody does more than tell them how they’ll put on comfortable shoes and walk the picket line ... it’s time somebody (a third party?) sticks up for them.
 

Speaking of Presidential politics ... at least we know this much about Mitt during the Vietnam years. His church conveniently shipped him off to France after he protested in favor of the war while in college. While some of our 50,000+ were getting killed in the jungles of Vietnam, Romney was writing loves letters in the sands on France’s beaches.
 

As for Mr. Obama ... the fact is, for all his charisma and possible good intentions, Mr. Obama has been an abject failure to labor, unionized or not. The middle and lower classes, which one can now argue are pretty much one in the same, has taken the brunt of the burden while the top 1% has never benefitted so well (certainly not under Bush—something the GOP won’t dare mention because it blows their “Obama is a socialist theory” out of the water).


But here’s what you’re all waiting for, admit it ... Knucks’ kiss of death/locks of the week.


If you took the Knuckmeister last week (6-8 on games we picked), your pockets are feeling more empty than full. Fear not, with each new week of football (competent officials or not), we’ll offer you tickets to financial paradise ... or certain ruin.
 
Choose wisely, amici ...
 
Thursday night we like the Wes Cravens over the Brownettes of Cleveland.
 
The Choketriots will be an angry team coming into Buffalo this week ... and we’ll probably have to go with our third string running back (Choice), but he’s better than anything the Cheatriots have running the football ... Super Mario breaks out and down go the Choketriots to a 1-3 start.
 
49’ers will be pissed off too ... and the Moonachie Green team won’t be able to respond. 49’ers big ... over the Y-E-T-S, Yets, Yets, Yets!
 
The Sea Pigeons looked awesome and although they deserve a loss, we doubt it’ll come to the Ramettes. Sea Pigeons in a close one.
 
The Panthers aren’t close to what I had thought ... the Falconettes by 10.
 
Vikings and Lions ... wow, who would’ve thunk it? Pick’em.
 
The Chefs over the Chargers? Divisional rivals are always tough. Another pick’em.
 
Titans at the Texas Two Steppers ... might be closer than we think, but Texas wins.
 
Begalis over the Jags by 4.5 (just make believe the replacement refs are still calling the game) ...
 
Broncettes rebound against the still celebrating Raiderettes ...
 
Skins at the Bucks ... pick’em.
 
The Aints aint’ goin’ nowhere it appears. And the Pack HAS TO BE PISSED OFF. Green Bay by 7-10-14-20?
 
And in the feature game of the week, take the Moonachie Blue team in a crushing revenge game (from last year’s losses) over the Philadelphia dog killers ...
 
Cutlerettes at the Girls ... we like the girls ... at least the cheerleaders ... another pick’em but we’ll be rooting for the Star-heads.
 
—Knucks
 
For all the crybabies out there ... from Turandot, Placido Domingo Non piangere liu ...
 
 
And here’s Louie in a live performance. I saw him sing Calaf in this opera three times back in the day. Like I said, crime paid ...
 
 
 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Review: The Day I Left … Take a Knee … TK’s Locks of the Week … Gampa Charlie!

Amici:
In Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov plans and botches the murder of a miserly money-lender, killing her half-sister as well. By the time he meets the police detective, Porfiry, he’s haunted by guilt and is quickly going mad; hell hath no fury like manic guilt. From immediately after the murder to his ultimate confession, Raskolnikov has to live with a feverish paranoia that ultimately wears him down.

Roskolnikov’s fever born of paranoia is what I thought often of while reading Jason Korolenko’s fine debut novel, The Day I Left. Unlike Dostoyevsky’s dulusional (he believes special people are entitled to murder) protagonist, Jarrod Nelson isn’t plotting murder for the sake of the greater good. If anything, he’s living with guilt and insecurity we can all relate to. He’s left his home in Arizona to study abroad in Paris. He’s also left his girlfriend and an ailing father. And since he’s fallen in love with a woman he’s met in Paris, his French teacher’s sister, Jarrod is far from homesick. This is the background to a page turner that will keep you engaged from start to finish. When Jarrod’s teacher’s sister asks him to spend some time with her brother, the trouble that ensues quickly turns into a whirlwind, somehow leaving someone dead. Or does it? Jarrod is called home when he’s told his father fell from a ladder ... while home he learns his ex-girlfriend is pregnant. He returns to Paris against the wishes of the woman he loves ... but things aren’t always what they seem to be in this novel, and it is upon meeting the detective investigating the murder victim (no spoilers here) when the Raskolnikov-like mania comes to mind; the mania Jarrod experiences reveals a little bit more with each passing scene. What is it that happened that night? Why did it happen? How could it have happened?

The Day I Left is page turner that will keep you rooting for Jarrod to find love, a way out, then himself. A fine debut by a writer with international flare (most of the novel takes place in Paris) and solid insight into the mania we each, every one of us, carry somewhere within our tortured souls.


Here he is doing a “safety dance” ... featured on Huffington Post and at several other joints ...




From the conservative website where I wax Plutonian poetic and the discussions sometimes get heated and are equal parts informative and frustrating, a fellow lefty there (Todd) posted this a few days ago:

My favorite “Quote of the Day,” dedicated to Charlie!!

In other political news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a four-year high recently, making President Obama the crappiest socialist in history.

Obama a socialist? Is the GOP still trying to sell that horse shit?  Really? He’s been a lot closer to Bush on steroids thus far to this captain cannoli ... and I often suspect that Romney’s real angst has to do with Obama having been the President Romney only wishes he could be (and probably would’ve tried to be, had he not grabbed his ankles for the sake of the extreme right).


Taking a knee ... Coach Schiano said the right thing regarding the now infamous “taking a knee” debacle; he “coaches his players to play the game until they (refs) tell them it’s over.” Sounds good and certainly makes sense. The problem, of course, is the brass balls it took to spout that line of shit one week after his offense took a knee!



Frankly, I can ONLY see taking a knee within the following formula: a game is point-wise “out of reach” versus the time remaining on the clock. The Moonachie Blue Team had 5 seconds left to play, so Schiano was perfectly within his rights to have his defense try and jar the ball lose and/or hope the QB-center exchange went awry—it’s not like it doesn’t happen (just ask the Moonachie Blue Team—miracle in the Moonachie Meadowlands Part I). Had the game been a two score deficit, then no, it wouldn’t make sense to fire off the line of scrimmage. The problem, for me, wasn’t what happened on the field against the Moonachie Blue Team. I see nothing wrong with playing the full 60 minutes and trying to win the game. The problem was Schiano’s bullshit press conference after the game where he claimed he coaches his team to play until they’re told the game is over. Really? So what happened at the end of week 1?

The best way for this stuff to end is with an edict from on high; Goodell needs to tell all teams to play the full sixty minutes, no half-speed kneeling. Take all the knees you want, but expect both lines to fire out and at least fake the effort they’re paid to make.

Or do what the assholes in MLB baseball suggest from time to time. Instead of throwing 4 balls to walk a better, have the pitcher say, “We’re walking him.” The losing football coach can say, “Okay, that’s enough. We quit.”

Oy vey ... but at least that discussion leads to this one (the one you’ve all been waiting for) ... the kiss of death prognostication that has bankrupted almost as many people as Wall Street, the Bush & Obama administrations combined ...

Knucks’ NFL picks of the week!


Knucks Locks of the Week ... Last night … we went against all the football minds and took the Moonachie Blue team to win (not crush) the Pantherless of Carolina (maybe they should stick to making rice) … Big Blue looked in mid-season form … and seem to get better with each week.

Buckets vs. Cowgirls … crybaby Schiano will catch the wrath of the girls after the ass-whooping bestowed on them by the Sea Pigeons last week. Romo fakes taking a knee and tosses a long TD to cap the romp …

Jags vs. Andrew Luck … what it pretty much comes down to … until Maurice Jones-Drew is up to speed, this one goes to the Rookie in a shootout …

My beloved New York State Buffalo Bills vs. the Brownettes of Cleveland … another dose of whoop-ass, compliments of Super Mario’s breakout game. Bills big.

Moonachie Green vs. the Dolphinations … the circus tent begins to fold as the Fish have some fun at Rex Ryan’s expense.

Chefs vs. the Aints … aint no contest this week … the stat-machine Brees has become finally gets a break, but it’ll be much close than most expect.

Bengalis vs. RG III … great game and the one I expect to be flipping channels to during the Bills game … not sure who prevails but it should be fun.

Rams vs. Cutlerettes … “look out” blocks galore, that’s all I have to say … and all the Bears offensive line should be saying to that piece of shit QB behind them … Cutler yelling at his offensive lineman was friggin’ comical by the end of the game last week. Could he have thrown better passes to the defense? Highly unlikely … frig him already. Go Rams, big!

49’ers vs. Vikingless … forgetaboutit … no contest. My super bowl pick (49’ers) in an easy one.

Lionesses vs. Tennessee Tuxedos … Lions in a cakewalk.

Falcons vs. Chargerless … forgetaboutit … Philip Rivers returns to form and the Falcon DB’s feast on him.

Dog Killers vs. Cardinalis … Go Cards! How lucky can the dog killers get? The Cards were pretty lucky last week themselves … one of them has to run out sooner or later.

Steelers vs. Raiderettes … healthy or not, no contest. The Raiders are going backwards again.

Texans vs. Broncettes … if Payton is half as bad as he was last week, this will be a blowout. I don’t expect that, but the Texas Two-Steppers are the better team (and my other super bowl pick).

Choking Cheatriots vs. the Wes Cravens … this one may put the Bills atop the AFC East alongside the Fish … Go Cravens!

Packers vs. Sea Pigeons … I actually look forward to this one … who wins is anybody’s guess.

And for the really important news … guess who’s going to be a Gampa! Charles and Leslie Stella are pregnant … so am I, but I won’t be giving birth. The little Stella is due mid-March and the sonogram has already shown a Bills tattoo on “its” cute little ass …

That’s what I’m talking about!

—Knucks

Tristan and Isolde Prelude ...

 …

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cugino David ... Book Reviews (Authors, Sidor & Bird) … Shakedown .99 cents … Sock puppets: Much Ado About Nothing …

Amici:



My Cugino, David Francis Calderazzo (he look eye-talian or what?) ... he’s been in The Sopranos and Mobster Confessions and others ... he’s done theatre (Glenn Gary Glenn Ross), (Danny and the Deep Blue Sea) and others ... he’s been in films ... The Legacy of Colonel Santillian and others ... he’s done internet shorts, The Bar and others ...

He’s a handsome devil, he’s got a beautiful woman, daughter and now a granddaughter ... forgetaboutit, who’s got it better’n him?



Here he is in Vegas ...



Here’s his resume on IMDb ...

Here’s a page with some of his videos ...

David is my Bobby Genarro (Shakedown) should Mr. Scorsese ever wanna do another mob movie with some local flavor …

Book Reviews:



Pitch Dark … Steven Sidor’s latest thriller is exactly that; a page turner that melds the occult and extreme violence … Christmas’ll never be the same in northern Minnesota (where the Vikings once held home field advantage before they started playing in a gym) … and the Larkin family, once victims to a rash of what appeared to be random violence at a diner, are just trying to get by running their motel during hard times … but there are some crazies out there, occult worshipping whackos with as much regard for life as gangbangers on meth … the rock they’re after has been pinched by a woman (who pinched it from her boyfriend—who was hired to pinch the rock in the first place—from witches) … the pinch-fest ends in a horrific blood bath but not before Vera picks up the Larkin kid hitching along the road and brings the gateway to hell to the motel. No spoilers here, except to say you’ll be turning pages as fast as you read them. Sidor mixes horror and crime and comes up with another winner.



In Loco Parentis … Nigel Bird’s latest on kindle is well worth whatever the small investment. A teacher of young kids (Joe) has a lot to deal with, including some personal issues about fidelity, drugs and a married woman … but there’s also the profession and kids he loves, and when one of the kids he loves is being abused at home and the school system’s bureaucracy isn’t willing to deal with it, Joe does. The ripple effect (with the aid of a friend who’s moved in) is immediate and well worth the read to find out what happens next. Most impressive is the author’s writing. It is a rock solid staccato style that keeps the pace moving and the interest fiercely alive. Bird has a touch of the hilarious Charlie Williams and the sometimes brutal Alan Guthrie, a winning combination for anybody. This kindle book should be in print, but it isn’t, so it’s a great deal for just a couple fazools. In Local Parentis is terrific, start to finish.



Shakedown … .99 cents … less than a fazool? Are you kidding me? I kid yous not. Edited by Peter Skutches (the maestro), cover picture by Anthony Caliendo, book cover design by David Terrinoire and electronic format by Rick Ollerman.

Buy it here …




Dana King on Rough Riders ... more than kind review here, amici, especially because we at TK happen to think Mr. King is the top of the mob writing game right now (and should be acknowledged as such).




Much Ado About Nothing … there’s been a ton of lengthy, time consuming reading/writing by some very fine people about the latest crime fiction craze: amazon reviews, etc. … apparently some authors duked (shit) on other authors with fugazy reviews while enhancing their own with fugazy accounts (so-called sock puppets). Frankly, I think crime fiction authors need a much better scandal before we start signing pledges to be impossibly reverent. I know of NO AUTHOR (no matter what they claim/who they are), who hasn’t breached at least a FEW OF THE mentions in Joe Konrath’s Writer’s Code of Ethics, a very well done smack in the chops at overzealous righteousness.

Sorry, but I can’t get worked up about this nonsense. My response remains: who gives a shit?



Ultimately, if you let that nonsense get under yours skin, then this will too … my review is better than yours … another fascinating and laughable concept some authors grasp and hold onto for all their worth; knocking the shit out of reviews they disregard or denounce for some incredibly subjective perspective of “legitimate” or "genuine" (i.e., usually having to do with a good vs. bad review of their own work). I suggest they read the same link above (Konrath’s Code of Ethics) and then turn the statements into questions for themselves.

While a NY Times review is worth more to an author than one from the Bloomfield Gazette (because of circulation/exposure), the NY Times review is no less subjective than the one from the Bloomfield Gazette. It is impossible for it to be less subjective … THINK ABOUT IT. It makes no difference how intelligent/incoherent and/or experienced/inexperienced and/or articulate/sloppy an individual reviewer might be … it’s still the opinion of ONE READER. Whether the reviewer has an agenda (good or bad) is something only the reviewer can answer, thus making the review itself all the more as significant/irrelevant as the next.



I call them (reviews) donuts. I'd like them ALL TO BE DELICIOUS BUT THEY AREN'T (NOR CAN THEY BE) Some of them are delicious and some taste awful (guess which ones are the good ones/bad ones)? Neither is any more or less “legitimate” than the next (unless, of course, the check I wrote to my kids to write the review hasn’t cleared yet).



When I first got into this business I was told (by my first agent) how hard it was to get reviewed well by Kirkus. I was lucky with them over 5 books and then they disappeared from my life. Publishers Weekly has been an on-again off-again relationship for me (they love me not, they like me, they adore me, they like me again, they don’t like me, like, don't like) … oy vey, what do I do? Because they are published without a name to the review, I try to give them less weight than the review I get from Booklist, Library Journal, but what I really do is kid myself. There is no more or less weight (outside of exposure) for any given reviewer's opinion. I have no idea why PW likes me one book, doesn’t the next. I have no idea why Booklist is consistently good to me. I wish there were names assigned to all reviews but there aren’t. And just because some authors review for Publishers Weekly (and I have to assume all the others) means gotz (shit). If they have a positive agenda or a negative one, how the FOCK can anyone control that?  They can't, right.  So, book to book, review to review, good vs. bad, I try not to kill myself when the review is negative ... and I try not to stick my chest out when they're positive. The fact is not everybody is going to like (never mind love) any author's work ... nor is everybody going to hate (never mind not dislike) any author's work.



Some authors refuse to review because of the headaches of disappointing/pissing off other authors. I can understand that and have had my own set of headaches for not kissing the asses of those who felt slighted. So it goes. I review books I enjoy. I won’t provide a bad review because I feel this business is tough enough. Does that make me guilty of being less than honest (for not providing bad reviews)? Only if you require blood in the water, but make no mistake, I’m fine with keeping the water clear of blood.


—Knucks

You know what all that sock-puppet bullshit reminds me of ... at least some of the lyrics to this gem by the Stones ...



Friday, September 7, 2012

Football is back ... best line at the DNC ... Shakedown … Sarah’s one liner … Pavarotti vs. Ayn Rand/Paul Ryan …

Amici:



How ‘bout those Buffalo Jills!

Ah, football is back ... that bella time of the year when I can ignore MLB even more than usual. The other night the wife looked at me and said, “You’re like a big kid the night before Christmas.” Maybe ... but only if Santa can bring me a couple more wins than last year.



How ‘bout it, big guy?



The Moonachie Blue team took a punch in the gut (the Stella kiss of death predictions are alive and well, it seems), but this Sunday we learn just WTF both my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills and the Moonachie Green team are all about ... the Y-E-T-S, Yets, Yets, Yets field their clown act at 1:00 p.m. against a very much improved Buffalo defensive line. Will Stevie (can’t stop himself from taunting penalties) Johnson continue to swim on and off Revis Island at will? Will Tim Tebow come in to fake a run and throw a bomb? Will Mark Sanchez crumble under the pressure of Tebow? Tune in Sunday and find out.



DNC ... it’s all a big show and the Dems put on a much better one than the GOP ... MUCH BETTER ... and although I slept through the President’s speech Thursday night (literally, I hadn’t slept at all the night before), the line of the night (and the convention) came from John “always had a film crew following him while he was in Vietnam” Kerry: “Ask Osama Bin Laden if he’s better off now than he was four years ago.”



I know it’s a bumper sticker line, but since this country (both parties) remains committed to the absolute horror show that is the Afghanistan war (the GOP nominee didn’t bother to mention it during his speech), maybe Kerry’s line will serve as a reminder for us to get the hell out of there already. Maybe ...



Shakedown goes ebook next week ...



Shakedown will go on sale next week sometime for $.99. It’s our attempt to become big time entrepreneurs ... to strike it rich ... to bring home the fazools ...

Actually, it’s our attempt to lure ebook readers into buying the other Stella crime novels that are priced $2.00 and $3.00 (mostly because I can’t figure out how to make the $2.00 a $3.00 book). I’m technically challenged, you see ...

But we love the new cover ... designed by the efforts of my son-in-law, Anthony Caliendo and author, book cover designer, David Terrenoire.


Here’s the synopsis: Get married, have a kid – it's not much to ask. Unless you've got to first divorce the mob. And Bobby Genarro only thinks he has, in this brutal, funny, shrewd new crime novel from Charlie Stella, "who," says the Chicago Sun-Times, "may just be the best crime writer you've never read."

For three months now, ex-bookmaker Bobby G has been heading down the straight and narrow. He's got the girl – pretty, and willful, Lin Yao, a video-grapher with a black belt in karate – and he's bought the ring. He's also safely stashed away a tidy, slightly tainted retirement fund. Then his old boss, a captain with the Vignieri crime family, flips and rats on his Mafioso associates. And Bobby's past begins catching up with him.

"To get down to brass taxes," as the phrase-twisting enforcer Tommy Agro puts it, the family figures it's due, say, two percent of Bobby's take. Intelligent, combative, a bit of a smart-ass, and stubborn, Bobby resists persuasion, even when he's facing Agro's muscle, a former offensive lineman who bench-presses five hundred pounds. Soon, though, Lin Yao is facing an Irish goon freelancing for the Vignieris, and before you can say the Mott Street Shadows the wiseguys' shakedown is escalating as fast as Stella's rapid-fire dialogue into warfare with a Chinese gang in the Heart of Little Italy.



Tweet-tweet … Saint Sarah was at it again, this time commenting on Kerry’s line using her name. Sarah tweeted: “Diminished Himself By Even Mentioning My Name”

It’s good to know she’s starting to get it, eh?



Currently Reading: Steven Sidor’s, Pitch Dark ... couldn’t put it down when I parked at work this morning … was almost late (and I get there 45-60 minutes early just so I can read) … excellent, Mr. Sidor is, as always … some scary stuff.


—Knucks

The King of the High C’s, Luciano Pavarotti vs. Ayn Rand/Paul Ryan … (from Andrea Chenier) … I got to see Pavarotti sing this twice back when I could afford it (let no one kid you, crime pays) …