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).

Monday, December 30, 2013

Grading our Buffalo Bills … and the other Up-tempo Offense … How it should be done … the Playoffs …

Amici:

Another football season has come to a premature end for my Beloved New York State Buffalo Bills. It’s one more sub-mediocre end of season disappointment, especially for a team with enough talent to at least make the playoffs. What I fear most for the Bills is our management. It is not only “arguably” the worst in the league, it is, in fact, the worst in the league (i.e., results). Our yearly trip to Toronto is an aberration. Football fans with the gelt will travel anywhere to watch their teams play (I used to fly to Buffalo and San Francisco to see the Bills). Why Canadian Bills fans gets so much attention is a travesty. Between hiring loser coaches while pick-of-the-litter coaches were available (i.e., Lovey Smith), treating a rookie QB as if he’s the second coming (one who can’t get a bruise), and adhering to an offensive game plan that has been a proven loser within the franchise for decades, makes us the longest running (non-playoff team) joke of the league.

Nothing is worse than playing a home game (usually in December) in Toronto (and usually losing). It is nothing less than a travesty. This year we gave one away to the worst team in the league at the time (Atlanta—a southern team that was butchered by the cold weather in Green Bay just one week later—but they beat us in the controlled environment of the Toronto Dome, where Canadian Bills fans rooted for the other team).

Hey, Mr. Wilson, WTF already?

Our history speaks for itself … the last 3 seasons, we’ve finished 6-10 … it was worse before that. We have to go back to 2004 to find an above .500 record, and that was 9-7. There is parity in the NFL like never before, which to us at TK suggests that in most situations, coaching is what makes the difference.

Last year we let go of one no-huddle devotee to hire another, except this one came from the college ranks with a .500 performance level at Syracuse. He believes in an up-tempo offense, even with a rookie QB and his back-ups, which led us to another 6-10 record.

Our highlights …

 

And Evelyn sporting the cap …

 
Yes, us, the fans. Now for the grades.
 
 
 
Offense (C-) … EJ Manuel may have all the potential in the world, but if our organization is going to continue treating him like he’s a future Joe Namath, we’ll be doomed yet again. Like the Jets, our receivers aren’t very dependable. Unlike the Jets, we have two backs that rival all other combos. One is nearing the end of his career (Jackson), while the other seeks a 70 TD run on each and every carry (Spiller) … and while sometimes he breaks something big, he often barely gets back to the line of scrimmage and/or loses yardage (and then gets up limping).

Oh, how I wish Bill Parcells could coach this talent … even for just a single season … even just to get our players to quit the ESPN friggin’ drama of chest beating and limping ...

QB’s … Thad Lewis and EJ Manuel should have a genuine competition next season. Manuel needs to “develop”, but he won’t do so from the bench. Statistically, he and Lewis are close to even. Manual may be our future, but not if he’s going to spend half the season nursing injuries that one has to wonder about (i.e., how injured was he really?). Let them compete and the better man start the season. TK says: right now Lewis is the more effective QB, but we have to develop Manuel or jettison him for someone better. We have to know what the story is and he has to be on the field for us to figure it out. Legitimate injuries are one thing, but we have to wonder how legitimate they were (or if the Bills brain trust, those morons, were looking to protect him during another bust season).

Backs … Two great running backs, one near the end of his career and the other becoming a prima donna. One can only hope they aren’t ruined or gone before our QBs get up to speed.

TE’s … are big and immobile, but they can cause trouble (when they catch the ball and don’t fumble it). We can use more athletic TEs.

WRs … are so hot and cold, they need to be put on notice. And Stevie Johnson should be traded ASAP, before the rest of the league figures out he’s more a pain in the ass and a bust than a buy.

OL … is good to solid, even playing backups, and no excuse for our poor overall offensive performance. There we can look to play calling and the up-tempo game plan that doesn’t allow for the communication you get in a huddle/you can’t get on the line of scrimmage.
 
 
Defensive (B) ... we’re solid and getting better game by game. Mike Pettine was a wonderful steal from the Jets. His blitz packages gave us a chance in almost every game.

DL … improved quite a bit this season, but that had more to do with Dareus playing better and the play of both Searcy and Lawson (great improvements there), plus our true star of the DL, Kyle Williams. How Mario Williams made the all pro team is a stunner to TK. His 13 sacks, no matter how many were the results of good pass coverage, seems to be the ESPN highlight by which we judge good defensive players these days. Phooey, TK says. The guy was a stiff against the run yet again (finished with almost half the tackles of each of his fellow linemates), and his pressures weren’t all that great either. If anything, it was Pettine’s blitz packages that brought pressures. If he’s getting $100 million, the true star of the Bills’ defensive line, Kyle Williams, should be asking for $300 million. That said, our DL is close to rock solid.

LB’s … great improvement there, even with our new star, Kiko Alonzo, slacking off a bit at the end of the year. Alonzo showed signs of being the 2nd coming of Shane Conlan, but fell a bit short closer to the end of the season. If he gets better, he’s what the Bills can build their defense around. Our other LB’s (Hughes, Lawson, Bradham and Powell) all performed well enough. Their further improvement can only further strengthen a solid defense.

Secondary … we started out decimated by injuries and finished very strong. The Bird Man Of Buffalo, Jairus Byrd, remains the anchor in the secondary, but just about everyone else improved game by game. We’re young there, and if we continue to improve, we may have a defensive dynasty just about the time our management figures out head coach Doug Marrone needs to go … and that’ll be the next installment of another blown opportunity by the worst management in the NFL.

Special teams … Outside of kicker Dan Carpenter, we’re a disgrace.

Overall Grades: Mike Pettine (Defensive Coordinator) B+; Nathaniel Hacket (Offensive Coordinator), D-; Danny Crossman (special teams) F- … Doug Marrone (head coach) D- … = Overall a big C- (which is sub mediocre, EXACTLY what we are).

 
Oy friggin’ vey …


 
But, hey, wait a minute, TK, yous say. “Chip Kelly runs a true up-tempo offense and he came from the college ranks and his team finished 9-7 and is in the playoffs.”

A few qualifiers, TK, says: Kelly’s team finished 4-12 the year before, so they had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. They also play in the worst division in the NFL, and they have the best running back in the NFL. “Better than Adrian Peterson, TK? Are you nuts?” yous say. “Yep, for what he delivers as a total package,” TK says, “we’d rather have McCoy than Peterson.”

“So, what else?” yous say. “That’s a pretty flimsly excuse for Kelly’s success, especially if it’s all about parity and coaching being the difference (your words, TK).”

Well, he may well be a good, or even a great leader (that’ll take some time to discern), and he may well do great things with this team in the playoffs and their future, and if that’s the case, we’ll tip our hat to him, but his statement about “not being concerned with time of possession, just points” seems not only arrogant, it’s naïve (and he certainly seemed to have learned from prior mistakes by going into a huddle at the end of the Dallas game last night).

Only time will tell what his college offense will do in the NFL. The league has certainly changed the rules to enhance scoring (it’s been doing that forever, it seems, the next step no doubt being one foot in bounds like the NCAA). A passing offense (for the potential of Pass Interference calls alone) seems to be the way to go, but the bottom line is what is making Kelly’s offense so “seemingly” (remember, statistics are for losers) powerful, at least against the weaker teams they play, is their running game, and that is enhanced by their spread formations (which the better defensive teams in the NFL may not have much trouble stopping).

And that’s when we’ll learn whether or not Chip Kelly’s statement about time of possession holds any validity. When an offense controls the clock and a defense stops them enough times to exhaust the Eagles’ defense (which has happened this season – see their loss to the Chiefs—KC had the ball for almost 40 minutes in their 26-16 win). We’ll know a lot more once they play the Saints and/or whomever (if anyone) comes after them.

At this point, it’s nothing but big ups to what Kelly did manage to do with the Eagles. Benching Vick was obviously the smartest move he made. Foles has proven himself to be a smart QB. Their defense, at least against weaker offenses, rises to the occasion. The next few weeks are the true test, but there’s no denying that Kelly made a VAST IMPROVEMENT with his team. Then again, his record in college wasn’t too shabby (46-7) vs. Doug Marrone’s 25-25. There's history there, and once again our brain trust ignored it.

 
So, even if the Eagles get decimated in the first round of the playoffs, Chip Kelly gets a B. His grade can only improve with each step he takes starting next weekend.


 
How it should be done is pretty obvious … going in and out of an up-tempo scheme seems much more sensible than living (or dying) in one. My Bills were first taught this lesson vs. Washington in that super bowl fiasco … when Joe Gibbs gave Marv Levy yet another coaching clinic (going in and out of a no-huddle and making fools of us). Since then, it’s been Tom Brady/Bill Belichick who do it best. For the Bills, they need to establish a foundation from a huddle, where communication can be restored, before they develop QB’s into a one-way system. Keeping the defense from making substitutions was the excuse for our up-tempo fiasco this season. And how’d that work out for us?

The Bills need to learn how to walk before they can run. Once they establish an offense that can grind, they can develop one that can fly. Keeping our defense on the field longer than necessary is just dumb. Playing exclusively on the fly did nothing for us yet again. We are what our record says we are … sub-mediocre.


The Playoffs … my son, Dustin, a boy after my own heart, especially regarding picks 12 & 13, posted this on his Facebook page:

My playoff rooting guide:
1. Panthers
2. Bengals
3. Chargers
4. Colts
5. Broncos
6. Packers
7. 49ers
8. Chiefs
9. Saints
10. Seahawks
11. Eagles
12. The apocalypse
13. Patriots

TK is using this guide:
1. 49ers
2. Panthers
3. Chiefs
4. Bengals
5. Packers
6. Colts
7. Saints
8. Seahawks
9. Broncos
10. Chargers
11. Eagles
12. The apocalypse
13. Patriots

—Knucks

Our Buffalo Bills yearly end of season music …
 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A GREAT Movie … Grind Joint (a GREAT book) … David Rawding … What TK is reading now … Granddaughter pics … and Momma Stella turned 84 …

Amici:
 
 
Una Noche … a truly wonderful and heartbreaking film by Lucy Molloy (above) … a brother and sister are inseparable until the brother (Elio) falls in love with a friend (Raul) … when Raul (a self-serving, selfish, SOB, womanizer) gets himself in trouble, Elio follows suit (in attempt to help his friend/love) … and his sister (Lila) can’t stay behind … narrated by Lila, the streets of Havana are vibrant with both desperation and passion. The shooting of this film is magnificent. There’s no shading of the dictatorial system within Cuba, but this is more a story about people, and it’s an amazing story inspired by a true story. What we see is what we should already see; people are the same everywhere, no matter the political/military system.

Sheila O'Malley says it best: Havana jumps off the screen in a visceral way. You can smell it, feel it, like a living presence. Raul complains at one point, "The only things to do here are sweat and fuck." The entire atmosphere is jagged with rampant sexuality, street harassment, open prostitution, and cruel jokes. Every interaction takes on a sexualized tone, bordering on violence, which Lila finds tiresome. It takes a lot of energy to bat that nastiness away. You can sense the exhaustion.

SUPER HIGHLY RECOMMENDED …




 


Woodrell, Sallis … two of the best ever … not too shabby company …

 

 

David Rawding’s, This is Power is up for an award at EXTRACT(s) … read it here …  David S. Rawding has a BA in English from The University of New Hampshire and an MFA in Fiction from Southern New Hampshire University where he teaches creative writing as an online adjunct professor. David’s children’s book, Lucas the Traveling Crab won the New Hampshire Literary Awards’ Reader’s Choice Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature in 2011. David’s short fiction has been published in Barnstorm Literary Journal, Steel Toe Review, Black Lantern Publishing Magazine, and Forty Ounce Bachelors. A New Hampshire native, David is currently exploring The American West. In addition to his professor work, David works as a fly fishing and rafting guide in Alaska.


 
Reading now … The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson … a Pulitzer Prize winner, this one deals with another communist regime, that of the whackjob “dear leader” Kim Jong Il … I’m halfway through this novel and it is an intriguing read.  Stay tuned, amici ...


 
The Principessa Ann Marie found me a Rangers jersey with my co-favorite New York Ranger, Chris Kreider. Ryan Callahan is the other one … even a 4X was a tight fit, so the boss is putting me on the Afghanistan diet starting January 1 … oy vey


Some granddaughter pictures ...

Our Little Mermaid from Halloween (her mommy knitted the costume) …

 

Opening some gifts in Delaware …

 

With her Uncle Tony …

 

With her Aunt Nicole …

 
 
Momma Stella and her 84th birthday … (with another special guest appearance by the Principessa Ann Marie) …

 
We walk into her room bearing food and cassata (cannoli to yous nons) cake … we sing: Happy Birthday to you, etc., but her new Christmas/birthday gift (a 55” television, because she’s going a bit blind) is blaring loud enough to hear in Arkansas … and she’s out like a light. So, I wake her up and we sing it again, leading to …

MS: What the hell did you bring now?

Me: Food, Momma! Shrimp, Irish meatballs the size of marbles, and hard as rocks, antipasta, lasagna with that special Irish Kool Aid gravy, peppers and onions without the sausage that weren’t so good either, and breadsticks!

MS: (at Annie) Oh, Annie, I’ll never eat all that.

Me: Betting odds begin at 15:1.

MS: Go shit in your hat.

Annie: Ignore him Hope. Happy birthday.

MS: Thank you, honey. I love you. I want you to know that.

Me: And me?

MS: You go scratch your ass.

Me: (grabs the remote) What’s on?

MS: Here he goes. Put that thing down. There’s no games on tonight.

Me: (finds ESPN) You’re misinformed, Momma.

MS: Put channel fifteen on. They’re playing the Godfather marathon.

Me: Don Corleone, how many times you gonna watch that movie?

MS: It’s better than the stupid Bills.

Annie: Good for you, Hope.

Me: She has a point.

Annie: (Dishes out the grub). You want the shrimp first, Hope, or the lasagna?

Me: You can drink the lasagna after the shrimp. Trust me on this one, Ma.

Annie: (at me) Keep it up, you. I’ll dump it on your head.

MS: (laughing) Go’head, Annie, do it. I’d love to see that. Dump it all over his head.

Me: I sense hostility from you two.

MS: (remembers something) Charlie, who was that broad who used to live near you again?

Me: (at Annie) Now, please tell your sister she’s the one talks like that. I get it from her.

Annie: (laughing at my mother) I’m gonna have to, Hope.

MS: (at Annie) What’s he talkin’ about, this stupid ass?

Me: You gonna watch the Rangers tomorrow night?

MS: Yeah, sure. Up your ass with the Rangers. And the Bills. So, there. (Gives me an 84 year old raspberry).

I love my Mommy!

—Knucks

This when they were a great band (their first two albums), before they left the blues they stole from original artists with no shame, for which they should never be forgiven … Led Zeppelin …



I saw them many times, amici … and they NEVER sounded very good live … stick to the studio versions.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Two Movies … The Doc’s Christmas Card to me … my Christmas Card to him …

Amici:

 
Not Fade Away … okay, so the similar backgrounds with David Chase has now entered a new dimension for moi. This 2012 movie directed by Chase, with James Gandolfini, opens with a kid staring at a set of Rogers drums in a music store window. I did that (and eventually worked two jobs so I could buy a set of Rogers). I remember reading where Chase was influenced by the Ernest Borgnine movie about the black hand (the original mafia), Pay or Die ...
 
 
And when it was on Million Dollar movie 5 nights/afternoons in a row back in the day, I watched it every day it was on, and I’m pretty sure it had the same intriguing effect on me … Not Fade Away is a fun movie that becomes sad when you realize how close to Gandolfini’s death it was released. A group of kids form a band and try their best to make it big … they do all the things that drive parents crazy (like quit college after just two years, wear their hair long, wear Beatle-boots, etc.) … and there’s the romance and the realization of sex (and all its dirty secrets) … I was drawn to it from the opening scene because of the Rogers drums …
 
 
I stuck with it because it was a well-done storyline … definitely worth the time, amici.
 



And then there was this foreign flick ...
 
 

Unforgiveable … this 2011 French-eye-talian flick was interesting as well, but when a pooch was brutally killed, I wanted to hunt down the producers and director and, well ... I was stunned (and it was meant to stun) … I paused the movie, caught my breath and continued on. It’s a movie, so we’ll assume the dog wasn’t killed. I’m not sure if that kept me pissed off or not, but the movie never really took hold afterward for me. I watched it because of the location more than anything else. It takes place in Venice. I really can’t say … some nice storylines, for sure, but I never could let go of that dog’s death scene.




 
The Doc’s Christmas Card … for the record, amici, the Doc is a dear friend (make no mistake) and proof positive that left wing nut jobs (what most call me these days) and tea party psychos (what I call most tea partiers these days) can get along? Well, at least we can pepper each other and still smile about it. With that in mind, the Doc’s Christmas card to me (and yous) amici … followed by mine to him (and all a’yous) …
 
First, from Doc to me:

Feliz navidad, Chaz,

Sorry I’ve been out of touch, but I’ve been spending most of my waking hours trying to sign up for FredoCare. Call me crazy, but I want my Social Security number and all my bank information posted on a network with no security and run by Acorn to make the Bamster look good. I like to live on the edge.

Aside from being a season of giving it looks like this will also be a season of hard decisions. Will Duck Dynasty be able to survive after pissing off the seven gay guys who are hard core viewers? Will A&E give up the only top 10 cable show they have ever had to placate the gay community. Will the Robertson family go along with suspending the man they describe as the “patriarch” of their family? Will Duck Commander come out with a campy, rainbow themed line of camo?

Personally, I have never watched the show. I don’t watch “reality” shows. I have my own “reality” show running 24/7 and I don’t care to interrupt it by watching someone else’s screwy little view of reality.

If I’m not mistaken, the premise of the show is that these “ZZ Top”-coiffed, Louisiana good ol’ boys have a $400 million duck call company that gives them more money than they could ever spend. Good luck to A&E as far as holding out a few bucks in front of them to roll over on pops.

I’m sure any other cable channel will pick up the Duck Boys and let them quote the bible all God damned day if they deliver 9 million viewers. If MSNBC could get 9 million viewers they would have Rachel Maddow twerking with the whole Duck Dynasty clan. Now there is a revolting thought that will take days and copious amounts of adult beverages to get out of my head.

Merry Christmas to you, Knuckster and the Principessa, and all the amici out there, yearning to be free. May our president stay safe on his 112th vacation. Fredo, wear your little sissy helmet while you pedal your girlie bike down the mean streets of Hawaii.

Here is my favorite Christmas song. (1942) Nobody sings Christmas songs like Bing.
 



And one just for me. White t-shirts have never been the same!
 


My warmest Christmas wishes to all

The Docster

 
My Christmas Card to the Docster …

Happy Holidays, MF’er,

As you know, I’m in the middle of yet another painful football/hockey season, but hopeful that America will feature a new national holiday, Edward Snowden Day, because isn’t it high time we learn that the propaganda our illustrious leaders spread (and have been spreading forever) about all those “socialist” countries applies to us equally? I mean, have you ever noticed, Doc, that the countries with the most to hide seem to be the ones who spread the most bullshit? North Korea, Russia, the United States …

But speaking of the Duck Dynasty controversy, personally I could care less what those toothless wonders spew … you watch that shit, you should probably have your head examined anyway. I don’t believe in censorship, so I don’t agree with pulling their fiasco of a show. People should watch what they wanna watch, end of story. I do wonder if A&E didn’t put them up to that bullshit anyway. It probably gets more attention now than ever … kind of like flies to shit.

The gay community will eventually have their way and be true equal partners under the law (as it always should have been), but not because of the morons from Duck Dynasty … because it’s the right thing to do (and most people, no matter how hard the tea party tries to make believe it’s 1776, continue to be educated, whether they want to or not, and they find their way to the present, 2013). Until everyone in America is equal under the law (i.e., all men are created equal), you gotta give some more thought to that Snowden national holiday, no?

As for Obama, you call him Fredo, I call him Bush III & IV, so meh …

I am curious as to why you didn’t bring up our Marxist Pope. I think he’s great! He recognizes the gay community, the poor, and the inevitable collapse of capitalism. I know you’re religious (like the Principessa, who LOVES the new Pope), but this guy has to be putting a twist in your panties. He speaks for the have-nots while your people (the tea party) blames them. So who do you put your faith in, sir, a pill-popping, blubberized, white guy (Rush Limbaugh) or a truly compassionate man of the people (Pope Francis)?

Think Dickens, Doc ...



I won’t get into your eye candy/rocks for brains from Fox Noise, Megyn Kelly. What a walking, talking, ditz that moron proved to be … did you see her, Doc? Santa “just is” white? Really? And do Reindeer really fly? And her “recant” … she was kidding … yeah, right … and I’m skinny.

Happy holidays to you and yours, Doc, although your choice of Bing Crosby almost made me upchuck my 7th slice of pizza tonight. See my favorites below …

—the Knuckster

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all yous and yours, amici!

Deano!



Hey, Doc, Big Sexy says over here with your Feliz Navidad!


Friday, December 20, 2013

The Diamond Collar … Book and Movie Reviews … Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays (whichever floats your boat) ...

Amici:


The Diamond Collar … yeah, baby, that’s what we’re talking about … James “Head” Giuliani is featured in the new reality TV show on the OWN Network (yep, Oprah’s network) … a former enforcer with the Gambino crew, James’ life was transformed the day he discovered an abused and abandoned Shih Tzu tied to a parking meter on 13th Avenue in Brooklyn. His show, The Diamond Collar, airs this January 17, at 10:00 p.m.

We’re having a Diamond Collar party at Casa Stella the night of the premier … book early … reservations required (there are only so many chairs in Casa Stella) …

Listen to me: This show will make you laugh, cry and appreciate the power of redemption.

 
 
 
Mission for Vengeance … Eight years before this novel begins, there were five people involved in gun-running; four men (Miner, Getterman, Metz and Farret) and a woman (Lena). Each had a role, and were caught, but managed to skip town … all but one, Farret (who’s gone off the deep end with paranoia and is sure the others had set him up).

The story jumps between first (Miner) and third-person … Farret is back, seeking revenge because he thinks he was set up by the others to take the fall. Miner is about to be married and is waiting for his betrothed … but now he has to find Farret before Farret find Miner, et al … Rabe portrays Farret’s increasing paranoia brilliantly.

It’s all about vengeance … and you know what (too many names to list) said about vengeance, amici, right? When contemplated revenge, dig two graves. Personally, I think that’s a crock of shit, but it’s popular so we’ll go with it for now.



 
The Book Thief … a real fine read by Markus Zusak that I was way behind on … saw the movie first, which I wish I hadn’t, and then read the book on my wife’s Nook (my kindle is so much less aggravating). Having DEATH provide the narration of Liesel’s unfortunate life was a stroke of brilliance that made me jealous as a writer. “Damn,” I thought. “There was a way to tell the thesis, you moron.”

Liesel goes through WWII as a foster child after watching her brother die starving and cold on a train, and then her mother leave for the camps because she was a communist. Between those two horrible events, she sees one of the two gravediggers at her brother’s burial drop a book and she goes back to pick it up—the first of the books she steals. Her foster parents, the Hubermann’s, are wonderful characters; the father doting and adoring, while the mother is the disciplinarian with a golden heart. There’s Max, the Jewish boxer who finds his way back to Hans Hubermann for help (he’ll hide in the basement and teach Liesel about writing books someday, amongst other things) … no spoilers. You could always see the movie, which was good, but not nearly as good as the book. I really enjoyed this one. Highly Recommended. Get it here.

 
 
Shadow Dancer … an IRA activist is forced to become an informant for the MIS or go to jail and give up her son … her history includes being a young girl (in 1973) who skated on a family errand and sent her younger brother to the store instead, where he was killed by a stray bullet. And it’s a family affair; she’s got two brothers who are IRA activists as well … I enjoyed this movie and was genuinely surprised by the end.


 
Reading now: The Beat Generation and the Angry Young Men … another Stark House Press delight … featuring Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Carl Solomon and Chandler Brossard (among others) with Colin Wilson, J.P. Donleavy, John Osborne and John Wain (among others) … and there’s another section … criticism and commentary … a total treat.


 
Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays (whichever floats your boat) … and how ‘bout those Buffalo Bills & New York Rangers! Right now, the two teams are indistinguishable, except one of them loses on ice. Oy vey …

—Knucks

Deano!






Thursday, December 12, 2013

Some Movie Reviews … Megan Kelly … The Marxist Pope is Time’s Person of the Year … Mia Culpa … New Budget “Deal” … Some Fun Facts …

Amici:

 
From IMBD: While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. Under the stairs in her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.

From TK: I enjoyed the movie but wish I’d known about it before (I live a sheltered life) … so the wife explained it’s based on a book she read a while back … I have since borrowed her Nook (which I hate compared to my kindle) and I’m enjoying the book much more than the movie? With DEATH as the narrator, it’s an interesting read (and movie).


 
From IMBD: Paradise: Love (German: Paradies: Liebe) is a 2012 drama film directed by Ulrich Seidl. It tells the story of a 50-year-old woman who travels to Kenya as a sex tourist. The project is an Austrian production with co-producers in Germany and France. It is the first installment in Seidl's Paradise trilogy, a project first conceived as one film with three parallel stories.

From TK: One of the toughest movies I ever watched. Watching Urlich’s vacation/adventure turn into an emotional/personal horror story was like taking a slow boat to hell … yet I continued watching and the picture has obviously stuck with me. I didn’t know that it was part of a trilogy, but I am very interested in what comes next in Paradise.


 
From IMBD/Wikipedia: It is the real story of Giorgio Perlasca (Luca Zingaretti). Perlasca was born in Como and grew up in Maserà, province of Padua. During the 1920s, he became a supporter of Fascism, fighting in East Africa during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, and in the Spanish Civil War (Corpo Truppe Volontari), where he received a gratitude safe conduct for Spanish embassies from Francisco Franco. He grew disillusioned with Fascism, in particular due to the alliance with Nazism and the anti-Semitic laws that came into force in 1938. In December 1944, Perlasca audaciously rescued two boys from being herded onto a freight train in defiance of a German lieutenant colonel on the scene. Swedish diplomat/rescuer Raoul Wallenberg, also present, later informed Perlasca that the officer who had challenged him was none other than Adolf Eichmann. In a period of some 45 days, from 1 December 1944 to 16 January 1945, Perlasca helped save over five thousand Jews - about four times more than the more famous Oskar Schindler.

From TK: Not nearly as well directed as Schindler’s list, but the things you learn … it is incredible what this guy managed to do with nothing more than his balls. It’s always good to learn, amici …


 
Un Amor … Two teenage friends fall in love with the same free-spirited girl. On a business trip 30 years later, she returns to town, reawakening old passions. Nothing earth shaking, but I enjoyed the back and forth (youth to adulthood) telling of the tale. Good enough to spend some time with.


 
 
 
 
TIME MAGAZINE’S PERSON OF THE YEAR … Jorge Mario Bergoglio (a.k.a., The Pope) …

This week he’s against fracking … my man!  We can hear Sarah Palin's teeth grinding from Fords, N.J.!

You Go Pope!


 
The New York Rangers have become my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills on ice … and it’s all my fault, amici. I could’ve been a Bruins fan and ruined their chances, but nooooooo, not me! I had to remember the first hockey game I ever attended (with Father Scavo and the altar boys from St. Jude at the OLD Garden, when the Rangers lost to the St. Louis Blues) … I remain the kiss of death. I turn on the game tonight and 40 seconds in, Lundqvist gives up an easy one. Oy, friggin’ vey … update: we went to the diner for dinner and now they’re losing 3-1.

Mia Culpa! Mia Maxima Culpa!


 
The new budget deal everyone seems to be creaming in their pants over (yes, I know, I’m disgusting) excludes an extension of unemployment benefits … that should go over big with families dependent on the money over the holidays. The estimated $25 billion the insurance would cost the U.S. Government is much better spent on war?

 
2,235 American military personnel have been killed and over 17,500 have been wounded since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom)

It is estimated that over 30,000 Afghan civilians have been killed since 2001.

A record-setting 349 veterans died by suicide in 2012, compared to 310 who died in combat.

The VA estimates that approximately 22 veterans will die by suicide every day, that’s one death every 65 minutes.

Over 2,000 current and former service members have died by suicide in the last decade.

And here’s the financial breakdown:

FY 2013
$7.2 Billion per month x 12 = 86.4 billion
$1.7 Billion per week
$238 Million per day
$9.9 Million per hour
$165,030 per minute

FY 2014
$6.6 Billion per month
$1.53 Billion per week
$218 Million per day
$9.1 Million per hour
$151,670 per minute

Total cost for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: $4-6 Trillion

[SARCASM INTENDED] Well, since it’s worked out so great, I guess we should let people in need of a partial paycheck eat rocks, because Lord knows, 13 years in Afghanistan has been such a wonderful investment. Well, for the defense contractors (the one statistic up there we don’t have … how much profit they “earned” off the deaths and maiming on all sides).


—Knucks

Or maybe Megan Kelly was trying this? The Queen of the Night … Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte



Same opera, the overture … they tell me it was used in a popular cartoon …


Thursday, December 5, 2013

RIP Mr. Mandela … Kill the Boss Good-by … Detroit … A R.W.W. Greene … So Long Football … Chris Kreider … EAS … Momma Stella and the Marxist Pope ...

Amici:

 


There’s nothing anyone can add to what this man went through and accomplished over his tortured life, but there a few of his quotes that seem particularly appropriate to me these days.

For those who think we’re stuck with a two party system: "It always seems impossible until it's done."

For those who don’t believe it takes a village: "A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of."

For my writer friends seeking their first publication: "Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do."

For those thinking about skipping college for the short money: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

RIP Mr. Mandela …


 
Peter Rabe’s Kill the Boss Good-by … a possible precursor to gangsters with mental issues (somebody say the Sopranos?) … well, maybe not, but close enough for jazz … the intro by Rick Ollerman is wonderful, as usual, and Rabe doesn’t disappoint. I first read him compliments of Mr. Ollerman when he convinced me to try the Italian novel by Rabe, The Silent Wall, reviewed here. It was wonderful. This one is half of the Starkhouse prize (there’s a second novel they publish along with Kill the Boss Good-by I’ll be reading next week. In Kill the boss, Tom Fell, the boss gangster, has lost it—his sanity ... and he's MIA (in a nuthouse) when the story begins. Another gangster (Panda) is grooming himself to take over … and he does by the time Tom is out. Tom isn’t so crazy that he can’t beat Panda, but then the warnings from the hospital aren’t heeded and Janice (Tom’s wife) becomes concerned. So does his right-hand man, Cripp. And so do the guys Tom reports to … so what happens is, well … read the book and find out. I can promise you this much, there won’t be a Soprano ending to it. You will have closure.

 
 
 
The courts have permitted Detroit to file for bankruptcy and it appears to be yet another vicious blow to municipal union workers. The estimate value of pension post-bankruptcy is as low as $.16 on the dollar. How would you like to learn that about your retirement? The city was mismanaged? So was Wall Street and they were bailed out carte blanche.

 
So, the question becomes: will this President find a way to restore the other $.84 cents to union workers shafted by bad management and the courts, or will he do what he usually does for union workers, which is nothing?

I doubt the shafted workers will want extra money to give themselves bonuses the way the CEO’s on Wall Street gave themselves bonuses. I suspect they’ll take whatever this President can do for them. So far, this President hasn’t done squat for anybody outside of Wall Street.

 
Oh, right, the auto workers; he saved their jobs … well, he should get credit for that (up to a point), most auto workers were protected from the bailouts, but so was management (even more so, since they were permitted to reward themselves with big bonuses for fucking up). The bottom line is, like the white collar workers President Obama ignored on Wall Street and everywhere else, other workers were ignored as well. Many of those who supplied GM, et al, took the brunt of the burden … see link: Biden will no doubt be seeking plaudits from the working class types who populate this prototypical Middle American community. There are some waiting for his arrival, however, who likely want to give him a piece of their mind. You see they worked for Delphi, the primary auto parts supplier for GM. They were not members of the United Autoworkers Union. Obama's auto bailout, as this short video produced by Let Freedom Ring, where I am a senior fellow, explains, didn't work out so well for them.

 

Obama didn't stand by them. Obama didn't bail them out. Instead, he cut them loose, costing them their pensions, their health benefits, and their life insurance. By some estimates, close to 20,000 Delphi employees were harmed, not helped, but harmed by what Obama did.

Yes, this is what our new Pope is referring to, make no mistake. Capitalism has sought its natural level and greed has won out—it couldn’t happen any other way. The forming of a two class system began the minute Ronald Reagan was inaugurated ... and NONE of those who followed him, neither Republican nor Democrat, did anything to change the direction of our current income gap. Welcome to the third world.

Richard Wolff on Detroit:




 
And while we’re on President Obama … let me get this straight: Not only did he take a $400,000,000 million job out of the country (while Americans continue to suffer from high unemployment), he gave the no-bid job to his wife’s friend from college? Didn’t he ever hear of amazon.com?

And after his wife’s Canadian friends screwed it up, he authorized another $100,000,000 for the same friends of Michelle to fix the problem they created?

 
Holy Corruption, Batman!

Still think this emperor has clothes?

Vote Green, Socialist, Communist, Libertarian … whatever floats your boat, but quit kidding yourself (or stop dicking around) with either major party … useless as tits on a bull to working men and women.

If you think it’s impossible, remember Mr. Mandela: "It always seems impossible until it's done."
 
 
 


 
The NFL ends last week. I just can’t take it anymore … my beloved New York State Buffalo (by way of Toronto) Bills managed to blow an easy one against yet another southern team come north to play in a dome in another country. There’s no excusing this absurdity. The Bills’ players don’t like it, way too many Toronto fans wind up rooting for the other team, and it’s just dumb as rocks. So, as of last week’s double fumble to blow yet another easy one, it’s officially HOCKEY SEASON at Temporary Knucksline.

 
And last week saw my 2nd favorite Ranger, Chris Kreider (the kid I pulled for since I started watching hockey and Tortorella (the moron), kept sending him back down to the minors), he scored his first ever hat trick against, guess who? Right, Tortorella … and we’ve now signed the King until he’s 39 … so Go Rangers!




My granddaughter ... Evelyn Amelia Stella ...

And for those who don't use Facebook, here's Momma Stella and the Marxist Pope ...

Me: Ma, I’m so psyched. The Pope is a Marxist!
MS: The hell are you talkin’ about?
Me: Pope Frances. He’s a Marxist.
MS: What’s a Marxist?
Me: Well, according to Rush Limbaugh, anybody who gives a fuck about anybody else.
MS: Watch your mouth, you stupid ass.
Me: Limbaugh is a douchebag. Basically, he’s calling the Pope a communist.
MS: Isn’t that what you are?...
Me: No, ma, I’m a Bills fan.
MS: What?
Me: I’m a social-democrat, but you can call me a socialist. Limbaugh would say I’m from Pluto.
MS: (looks at me like I have 6 heads) Moron, what are you talkin’ about?
Me: You like Pope Frances?
MS: I love him. He’s a real Pope. He cooks his own meals, drives his own car, pays for his meals.
Me: And he roots for the Buffalo Bills.
MS: Alright, shithead, enough with the Buffalo Bills.
Me: All I’m sayin’ is, the douchebag, Rush Limbaugh, called Pope Frances a communist.
MS: So, fuck him, Rush Birnbaum.
Me: Limbaugh.
MS: Whatever.

I love my Mommy!


—Knucks

Since work is the subject these days … Largo al factotum …



John Lennon … Working Class Hero …


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Marxist Pope … Inside Job … Capitalism (exposing the myth of the market) …

Amici:

 
This year at Thanksgiving, my son Dustin said, “Why can’t you make a million dollars first, then blog about politics? You insult both parties.”

This is a smart boy, yous ask me, but I explained how being a millionaire a) probably isn’t in the cards for me as a writer or a word processor, and b) it definitely isn’t a priority in my life. Simply put, life is too short to hide behind potential book sales.

Now, that isn’t a knock on those who pursue millions. More power to them. I don’t condemn people for chasing their goals, whatever they might be. My beefs about our economic system aren’t attacks on America and/or the rich. They are criticisms one can reject, accept or contemplate. The Richard Wolf video near the bottom explains how our economic system needs to be challenged (what I believe). That doesn’t make me (or Richard Wolff) enemies of America. It makes us people unwilling to accept with blind faith what’s been shoved down our throats over the course of our lifetimes.

As far as alienating potential readers for sharing my politics, so it goes. If someone chooses not to read a writer (me) because of his (my) or her politics, I can only guarantee this: I won’t be cutting my wrists anytime soon.

What was it Al Capone said? “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.”

With that in mind, and with Pope Frances’ recent comments on the tyranny of capitalism, let’s get ready to rumble …

Pope Frances, a guy I’m liking a little more every single day, says unfettered capitalism is tyranny. Of course he’s right, but not only that, he managed to make the mouth that roared (Rush Limbaugh) accuse him of being a Marxist. Now that, amici, is way cool, and about as dumb a statement as they come. Marxists don’t believe in the wealthy sharing their wealth out of beneficence. They believe the wealth was disproportionately gained (i.e., construction workers who build a skyscraper were ripped off via a one-time only salary while property values increase to the exclusive benefit of investors who never stood a chance of falling off a 30 floor construction scaffold, etc.). But I digress …

The same way we’ve been taught throughout our younger school days that Native Americans were “savages” that had to be horded onto reservations, or the way we were NEVER told that our government violated EVERY SINGLE TREATY TO THIS DAY with Native Americans, we’ve also been told that capitalism was/is the system by which ANYONE can climb the heights (never bothering to mention at who’s expense they might be climbing those heights). So it goes … but just when you thought Tea Party Republicans would be celebrating the never ending incompetence of the Obama administration and how his screwing the pooch on his signature legislation will most likely make the next two elections (2014 & 2016) close races (if not Democratic disasters), one of their most prominent spokespeople manages to insult and potentially alienate the Catholic vote.

Way to go Rush … even my dear wingie friend, Doc Nyland (a Limbaugh devote) said, “Yeah, I like this Pope, even if he’s a frickin’ Marxist like you (meaning me).”

This after Doc visited Monday afternoon into the early evening, showcasing his latest way to make fun of me, by doing his imitation of eye-talians when Ann Marie came home. “Hey, Annie, how the fuck you doin’? I haven’t seen you in fuckin’ forever.”

In the meantime, this Pope has won me over … he seems like a guy who practices what he preaches, and seeing the world for what it is, a victim of capitalism run amok, makes him the numero uno Pope in my book.

Go Pope Frances!

 



 

And then there’s this on Capitalism run wild …




—Knucks