Congrats to everyone who supported Kyle Carey’s Kickstarter campaign … she made it with a few coins to spare and will soon be heading to Ireland to record her second album … and here’s something from Kyle you can find on Youtube … a gorgeous voice, amici …
Blade of Dishonor, Thomas Pluck. Tough love between tough people … Rage Cage Reeves loves his granddaddy, a WWII vet with a missing leg and enough experience to know his way around … he’s taught his grandson, a veteran of the Mideast fiasco, a thing or two, especially about fighting … he’s quick-witted and unapologetic … and he’s a terrific character throughout this adventure that circles around a sword everybody wants … and then there’s Tara, a Foghat fan (Reeves call her Danica Patrick when they first met and that image stayed with me throughout the novel), an ambulance driver with some interesting history herself … and it all leads Reeves to Vegas, and then Japan and a death battle to get/retain the sword. There’s the Yakuza and a few Ninja in the way … and someone (Takehiko) who wants that sword as a point of honor:
His boss’s face showed no such amusement. “You are making a grave mistake, Mr. Sloane,” Takehiko said, removing his glasses. He slipped them in his pocket. “Altering a business deal. I thought you were a man of your word.”
“I am,” Butch said. “So what makes you think I’d let your family have the Honjo Masamune after all these years?”
Takehiko smiled. “My oyabun says I favor my grandfather. I wouldn’t know,” he said. “You stole him from me.”
“Like he stole the sword,” Butch said.
“It belongs to those capable enough to possess it,” Takehiko said. “My grandfather will not rest until I avenge this dishonor. You should take the money I have been generous enough to offer for what is rightfully mine.”
“It’s always the brats who stayed home who make war about honor,” Butch said. “Your grandfather was a beast on two legs. He didn’t get half what was coming to him.”
“I see his cut took your leg, Mr. Sloane,” Takehiko said, showing teeth. “Don’t make me take the rest.”
There’s even an eye-talian pizza guy (Chickie) who uses the Italian slang of my youth (Stronzo, Cafone, etc.) … although my Neopolitan grandfather used to call me Stronzo (he pronounced it “Stroonz”) and I answered to it as if it were my name for a while.
Dialogue driven, action packed, some amore, and some back and forth history about Butch’s war experiences lend a nice historical touch to this adventurous novel. Blade of Dishonor is a fast-paced ride loaded with great dialogue—a three part dynamo.
Congrats, Tommy! … One of the nicest, most generous people you’ll ever meet … Tommy Isler wins best CEO award … he built his company from the ground up (for real) … and he doesn’t take advantage of his workers … he does the right thing, something Wall Street can surely learn from … Congrats, amico!
Tommy and Michelle (the Godmother) visited us on their way to Bouchercon Albany a month or so ago … here we all are (I’m the fat guy) … famiglia.
Another Boston Championship … oy vey … the Red Sox won the series two nights ago … and I’ll have to hear about it (over and over and over) from all my MFA pals up in New Hampshire (which makes no sense at all about them being Boston fans … I mean, New York is, like, Let’s Go Mets and everything, right?) … but before I have to eat my humble pie again, a word to the Chest Beating, bearded team from up north.
Call me el Dinosauro (or however it is pronounced and/or spelled), but I can’t take the chest beating that has apparently gained nationwide acceptance. In fact, there will be a new clinic on how to do so. The clinic is called “Chest Beating For Fools 101” and I’ll be teaching it … but we will not only feature cheat beating home runs, we’re going to jump a few steps ahead (to what is inevitable, let’s face it) … that’s right, amici, for just $20,000 dollars in unmarked bills, we’ll teach all a’yous the following: how to chest beat for singles hitters … doubles … triples … blooper singles … infield hits … bunts … getting hit by a pitch … walking … walking on four pitches … reaching base on an error … and substitute chest beating for those beaned and knocked unconscious.
Oy vey … did yous see the chest beating by Johnny Gnomes/Gomes (or however the F it's spelled) after his world series winning blast in the 7th inning of game 4? What’s that, the game wasn’t over? They still play nine innings and permit the home team to bat in the bottom of all the innings? He didn’t win the series with that homer? There were still a few more games to play?
Seriously, it makes me sick to watch … which is why I turned to hockey for true team play and a lot less horseshit bravado. Yeah, hockey players celebrate after a single goal, but they don’t beat their chests (at least not yet or that I’ve seen), and they don’t act as if it was ALL THEM. They celebrate as a team. I’m sure ESPN will get to the NHL sooner or later, but for now it’s a nice break from all the “Look at Me!” nonsense in the other three major sports. Watching some seven-footer “dunk” in the NBA just doesn’t impress me … nor does an NFL defensive tackle making a play on 1st or 2nd down with 59:30 remaining on the clock. Not that it would impress me at any point before the last play of the Super Bowl … it’s just dumb.
That’s Bill Mazeroski’s bottom of the ninth, World Series Winning home run vs. the Yankees in 1960 … yeah, he’s happy … notice the joy and the huge lack of “Look at me chest beating” ….
Besides, if I wanna see some chest beating … there’s always the above … where Jayne Mansfield seems to have gotten the best of Sophia Loren … Madonna mia ...
Our current state of Politics … well, from the right, there’s no excusing this kind of insanity … we now know where the latest honorary Saint of the Tea Party, Ted Cruz, gets his from--his dad. That’s him (Cruz Sr.) either squeezing a fart out or making another insane point, like his psycho comments from last year, which included a desire to send President Barack Obama "back to Kenya."
The website … and pretty much everything else.
And from the Democrats … well, unless you’re determined to live in denial, there’s no way to classify this President as anything other than an incompetent. Yeah, he’s a nice guy with a nice smile, a better line of shit, and a very nice family … he’s intelligent and he can even change voices depending on which crowd he’s speaking/preaching at, but Democratic loyalists should probably skip this section of the blog because the only thing worse than accepting the fact they were duped by Obama’s readiness for the job is having to read about it … and our first mixed-race President has stumbled and fumbled at pretty much every important issue of the day.
The Bailout … he ignored the workers who were let go wholesale while bailing out Wall Street without a single stipulation to their $800 billion dollar package … “You ruined your company and the economy? No problem, here’s $800 billion … and don’t forget to give yourself a huge bonus for your efforts.”
Unions … he not only reneged on his 2007 campaign promise to put on some comfortable shoes and walk the picket line when collective bargaining was threatened, he pulled the same no-show during the governor of Wisconsin’s vote of confidence election (Obama ignored the guy who was union busting) … considering the amounts of dollars unions threw into his kitty for both elections, that took some balls, Mr. President. You did Wall Street proud, no doubt.
The Wars … he took way longer than necessary to get out of the one he claimed was the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time … and we’re still in the other one … and we’re all still wondering what the fuck for.
Benghazi … you can blame Hillary (and she deserves it) … and you can blame whomever else you can find as a strawman, but it was his administration that was responsible (the buck stopped there whether you want to make excuses or not) … absolute incompetence.
ACA website … there isn’t an excuse under the sun short of sabotage by Ted Cruz, et al, that will make this debacle go away. He had how long to get this right? I’m sure Hillary is cursing a blue streak these days. Between the ACA website mess, NSA’s spy-gate, and Benghazi, she watches her chances in 2016 go from a shoe-in (after the Tea Party whack jobs shut down of the government) to what will be a very tight race (should Christie survive the Tea Party assault during the nomination process). Right about now, if Christie survives the lunatics on the right, I’d say the fatso from Joisey may well win.
Of course all of this could’ve been avoided had the President tossed a few Democratic blue dogs under the bus way back when he had a super majority (Ted Cruz eat your heart out) … this could’ve been universal health care … but Obama, for whatever reason(s), let them talk him down to what has become legislation ready-made to pick apart … from exemptions to a website that doesn’t work to people losing their current coverage. There’s just no word other than incompetent to describe this fiasco.
And for the record … the other side of the aisle would probably been even worse (there’s no escaping that 47% parasite comment by Romney … not to mention putting his dog on the roof of his car), but I’m no longer sure just how much worse (or possibly less worse). There are other parties out there waiting for their chance and although we all assume it’s a pipe dream, if liberals head to the green party and wingies hold their ground, there could be the political revolution this country needs … actual representation for the people by the people … in the meantime, it’s just two sides of the same coin … and it has nothing to do with the people’s best interests.
RIP Lou …
A friend from back in the day passed last week. Lou Montella was a year older than me, so my friendship with him was kind of in-passing when we were younger, but it was strengthened big time through e-mails. We had a fun email crew started by Joe and Tom Cerami and Lou … I was there for ballast, no doubt. We used to pick on one another’s teams and had general fun talking about the old days. Lou and Tom were devoted Yankee fans … Joe and myself are Mets fans. It was always good fun and it will be missed.
What I remember most is how encouraging Lou was to me with my constant weight battles … “You can do it!” he’d write … “cut back on the bread and macaroni” … “when you get hungry, write something” … "no more pizza for dessert" ... Lou tried his best with me.
Lou was very close with the great TE, Jeremy Shockey. Lou asked me if I’d be interested in writing Jeremy’s story and offered to pay my way down to Florida where they were hanging out. I told Lou the truth, Jeremy was too big a name to be searching for a small timer like myself. It was Lou’s way, to look out for his friends (even his email friends) and I appreciated it no end.
Tom was the closest with Lou from our email crew. They were lifelong friends who played on the great Canarsie baseball teams of the past.
I asked Tom if it was okay to mention Lou on today’s blog. Tom wrote me to say: I would mention he was someone everybody wanted to be around. He was a true leader, always was smiling and making people laugh. A true friend in every sense of the word. He will be missed. It may be too sappy, but it's exactly how I feel.
Joe and I echo Tom’s sentiments … and we all send our best thoughts and deepest condolences to Lou’s wonderful family.
Some more of Kyle Carey …