Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Friday, May 16, 2014

In the Loop … The Complete Short Novels of Chekhov … NHL Playoffs …


In the Loop ... hilarious movie about the politics of politics … Obviously what the HBO show VEEP ripped off (and they do it well), but the movie (In the Loop) is a dozen times more hilarious because of the non-stop verbal jousting amongst and between polls in the UK and back across the pond. The issue is war … and the spin (and spinners) are all mixed up … and what a cast! James Gandolfini, Peter Capaldi, Samantha Harrington, Tom Hollander, Chris Addison … forgetaboutit … I laughed out loud a few times.

All five novellas are all worth the read, but my favorite remains Three Years, the story of a man confused by lust and love and a life of money he wants to rebuke. Leptev comes from money and old ways (and a family struggling to maintain its old ways), but falls for a beautiful young woman who first rejects his offer of marriage, but then feels terrible for the way she hurt him (and is also concerned with her own future) and reconsiders and marries the much older Leptev. It is a life of misery for both, especially once the reader is introduced to the much less attractive but independent woman Leptev had been involved with long before meeting the beauty. Constant clashes with his class and passionless marriage are the emotional adventure Leptev experiences … a wonderful read. Also wonderful, was The Steppe, which deals with the travels of a nine year old boy and the life lessons he learns from the many characters he meets along the way. My Life features another man struggling against the wealth of his own family (and the perks that come with money) as he rejects his nobility and works among the peasants … but he too falls for a beauty who is much more fickle (La Donna Mobile?) about what she wants than what she’ll stick with. This is supposedly Chekhov’s most autobiographical work and it is a beauty. The Dual features an array of characters, including a self-righteous scientist, a well-meaning but confused doctor, and a hedonistic drunk. The problems that arise over a woman and clashing ideals is often humorous. The Story of an Unknown Man is the weakest of the novellas and features a spy and potential assassin (oh, my), a Playboy and a woman deceived by the Playboy. Still worth reading.

Anything Chekhov is always recommended … get it here:

NHL Playoffs … okay, so the Rangers made it to the semi-final round … something they’ve done as recently as 2012-13 (with Ryan Callahan) … that year his stats (without diving in front of pucks/blocked shots, diving to make a pass, hustling to make a back-check … all the intangibles hockey fans love to see from their players, especially their captain) looked like this:

Season: GP = 76; Goals = 29; Assists = 25
Playoffs: GP = 20; Goals = 6 (tied for the team lead); Assists = 4

The Devils were the better team in the semi-finals (or the better team in that series) and took the Rangers out in 6 games.

And there’s this:

Whether the Rangers continue winning or not during this playoff year, one thing is undeniable so far: They’d be in no better shape without Martin St. Louis … or Rick Nash (for that matter) …

For Ranger fans who bought into the corporate talking points about Callahan being “too greedy”, Sather stated it was the “no trade clause” Cally’s agent was seeking that killed the deal. That’s called loyalty, amici, not greed. The man wanted to stay.

But one has to wonder how often the Ranger organization takes stock of some of its recent trade blunders … unless Rick Nash puts on a show vs. the Expos (and in the final should they make it), one has to wonder what the hell his net worth is … $7.8 million a year? Really?

And I’ll just bet their burning over Marian Gaborik’s scoring resurgence ….

My wife, who has remained a Ranger fan, is showing empathy (next week's book review featuring The Empathy Essays, by Leslie Jamison) with my reaction to this asinine trade and is giving me some sympathetic looks as the Rangers move into the next round of playoffs, because she knows how much this bothers me that a) Ryan Callahan isn’t there and b) I can’t root for the Rangers.

And so, amici, I hope the Expos sweep the Rangers in 4 …

On the left coast, I’m rooting for Dustin Brown (Captain) and his Kings … because he reminds me of Callahan … and wasn’t it great when they two shared the same line in the Olympics (along with David Backes)? The meat line!

As a unit, David Backes, Dustin Brown and Ryan Callahan define truculence, not grace. That’s right, amici … the three of them play the entire game, not just offense, and certainly not only when they have the puck.


Snake Oil Salesmen (Glen Sather) of the world, take gas. Tell’em, Tom …

A Waits song redone by The Boss … (we were there for this, me and my doll, at Moonachie Blue/Green Stadium) …