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, October 16, 2014

Lucy Crown: A Novel … Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth … A Very Special afternoon in Tampa Bay …

Amici:

 

Lucy Crown, by Irwin Shaw … I read this one about 2 weeks ago, but didn’t get the chance to review it before our mini vacation. In the summer of 1937, Lucy Crown, a wife and mother, has an affair with a college lad and is caught by her son (the college lad was hired by Lucy’s husband to watch after and insulate the boy from his overprotective mother). It’s a kind of coming of womanhood (for lack of better terminology) … Lucy has been a subservient, beautiful wife to her husband, Oliver, and a very devoted mother to her sickly son … Oliver isn’t a bad guy/husband. He’s doing what most men did back in the day (run things, including his wife’s life). Lucy ultimately becomes bored with her role in her own life … getting caught by the husband is one thing, but getting caught by their son is a nightmare that upends the applecart in more ways than one … although Lucy personally grows from her affair with the college boy, she rejects the scorn she knows she’ll have to endure from her husband and son (but it is her son’s scorn she most fears) … when she agrees to return to her husband after the affair is revealed and discussed, it is only under the caveat that their son isn’t in the mix (he’s to attend boarding school, etc.) … he’s to remain out of her life. It’s a pretty harsh condition, but the husband has been weakened by the surprise of the affair and he agrees to the terms. What follows, although the novel starts long after the incident (and we regress back to it) makes for very compelling reading.

Flash forward through the Second World War and, well … you know the deal here, amici … NO SPOILERS … it’s a wonderful read that TK VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDS … and we’ll be reading a lot more of Irwin Shaw in the near future.


 
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan … a topical book (New York Times Bestsellers list for I don’t know how many weeks, but it was a pretty significant number) … let me start by saying I had (and have) absolutely nothing vested in the religious arguments surrounding this book and/or the topic (historic Jesus, the man), but it is what I found exceptionally interesting—the account of Jesus the man (not the messiah). The author uses a boatload of sources (see his endnotes and bibliography). Truth be told, I have no idea what is or isn’t valid. I take the author’s word (he’s a Ph.D in religious study and an expert on the New Testament). I wasn’t looking for proof of anything while reading. Having zero belief in gods of any kind, I found Aslan’s presentation interesting. (i.e., “Yeah, makes sense to me. And good for Jesus” … (because according to Aslan, Jesus the man was one righteous dude; the kind of revolutionary (and/or) radical I could support; he spoke for those in need and against those who would subjugate others)).

The Jesus presented in Zealot is a human with liberal thoughts about the age old problem of rule by oligarchy. In his time, that oligarchy would’ve been the Roman Empire and its Jewish lackies. Aslan goes on to explain and detail how and why the Roman Empire became the Holy Roman (Christian) Empire through neat tricks of the spin trade (what most of the New Testament appears to have been).

So it goes …

What I may find even more interesting is the reaction to the book by believers (those who will read the book) … I say “may find” because I know of only a few Christians (for example) that have read the book. Far too many, I fear, are put off by right wing (i.e., FOX NOISE) spin condemning the book as an attack on Jesus by a Muslim (see videos below). Even self-professed liberal, Bill Maher, takes issue with the religion of Islam … but Bill can and does get a bit hysterical at times, and he's often way too sure of his hypocritical self for me.

I borrowed the book from a Christian co-worker who is very open minded and hasn’t bought into the extremist Born Again version of Jesus (i.e., that the Bible is the word of God, no matter how contradictory and/or absurd its stories may be). I look forward to hearing what my wife thinks, if she reads it. She’s a cherry picking believer of Christian faith, and although she doesn’t accept the Catholic Church and/or its rulebook hypocrisy any longer, she likes the new Pope (because he’s not the same as the old Popes) and she does occasionally attend mass.

Another co-worker who is a Born Again Bible thumper, refuses to read the book and claims, upon reading the following paragraph (which is part of the last paragraph of the book), that the author “is just another Muslim looking to slam Jesus and Christians.”

Oy vey …

Lifted from the last paragraph: “… the one thing any comprehensive study of the historical Jesus should hopefully reveal is that Jesus of Nazareth—Jesus the man—is every bit as compelling, charismatic, and praiseworthy as Jesus the Christ. He is, in short, someone worth believing in.”

It’s a shame my Born Again friends (and they are friends) refuse to accept the above as a possibly valid perspective of Jesus. To the blind faithers there is but one Jesus (the Christ) and all the tall tales in the Bible, no matter how contradictory and/or absurd, and/or factually wrong, are validations of an omnipotent being spun into eternity by the Roman Empire 2000 years ago.

TK recommends this book but ONLY if you have an open mind. TK respects your right to not have an open mind on this subject (or any other). We here certainly are certainly closed-minded about a few things ourselves (i.e., no more designated hitters, both major political parties in America, etc.) …


 

Tampa Bay … turned out to be a very exciting 4 days for the ugly Knuckster and his Principessa … Saturday night’s game vs. the Ottawa Sanitationals was a 2-1 loss in a dopey shootout (I’m closed minded about those too), but it was my first hockey game in 25+ years … and I saw lightning inside the building (I kid yous not) …



My wife knew what they were, but I was kind of dumbfounded. “How do they do that?” I said. “What are Tesla Coils for one-thousand, Alex,” she said, and then I said, “What the fuck are Tesla Coils, Alex?”

On day two we spotted Brian Boyle in a Champions sports bar … and then we watched my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills get waxed by the New England Cheatriots.
 
Day three we hooked up with Judy and Andy Pereiro. Judy and Ann Marie attended and graduated nursing school together and have remained great friends since. Andy drove us to their castle north of Tampa and I had a brief romance with their dogs (boxers) Buster and Milo (Milo couldn’t stop kissing me, but seriously, can yous blame him?) … Andy handed off a ton of cigars for me to enjoy back here in Jersey. After a quick dinner at our hotel restaurant, we all went to the revenge match-up from the playoffs a year ago (Bolts-Expos) … it’s a little bit different when our starting goalie is around … not to mention our new bolstered defense (Anton Stralman made an incredible save). Our Bolts scored a TD and kicked and extra point against the Expos of Montreal (7-1) … Steven Stamkos scored a hat trick … and our guy, Ryan Callahan, had an assist (from his knees—one of Stamkos’ goals) AND Cally scored his second goal of the season (in just 4 games).  Victor Hedman scored a goal and had 3 assists (4 total points) by game’s end. It was a classic blowout.
 

 

Day four we met up with Tony and Mike Liberti and toured Ybor (I keep mispronouncing the place, calling it Eye-bor rather than E-bor) City (but I’ve mentally started a new crime novel because of Ybor City). We ate and visited a cigar store where the woman rolled them (that's actually her above) on the scene … and I purchased some Cuban flag espresso cups … and later we enjoyed some very special company before heading off to watch the Bolts take on the New Jersey Deviled Eggs …

What special company yous ask?  Well, Tony Liberti is originally from Rochester, New York, and was neighbors for many years with the Callahan family.  Yes, THAT CALLAHAN FAMILY. It was a beautiful reunion between former neighbors (Tony, his son Mike, and the Callahan clan (Donna, Mike and their eldest son, Mike) … Ryan was preparing for the game later in the evening) … Both the Callahan and the Liberti clan were about as nice as people can be. Mr. Callahan (the big guy) had my wife and myself in stitches with tales from Rochester. Donna Callahan is a former literature major with a feisty 99 year old Mom (born in Milan, Italy). Very cool people and a very cool few hours were spent in terrific company. Tony and his son never mentioned anything about meeting up with the Callahan clan while we were in Ybor City, and when he wanted to cross the street to the restaurant near our hotel (in the rain), I kept thinking: This guy has more energy than most teenagers! We were in the restaurant talking and Tony kept looking at his watch (and then I’m thinking: this guy is gonna call his bookie for the lines tonight) … but then in walked the Callahan clan and it was a pleasure to watch their reunion with Tony and his son, Mike (who is a devout Bills fan).  Anyway, it was a great last day of the vacation topped off with that incredible reunion and the chance to meet the family of our favorite player.

Oh, the game … right. Well, we lost that one but Evgeni Nabokov really played well in goal (spotting Ben Bishop for the night). We hung out at our room afterward and enjoy Tony and Mike’s company for a few more minutes before saying goodbye (and encouraging Tony’s son to get back to writing a book he’d started before his computer broke down). My ongoing words to Mike Liberti are these: If a former window cleaner, street meatball like myself can pursue a dream and get it done, a young stud with a ton of energy can do it blindfolded. So, you go Mike Liberti!  Write that book!

And look what the Principessa and Nonno caught for Evelyn Amelia Stella ...


The Thunderbug ... Evelyn Amelia is the THUNDER!
 
—Knucks

Ben Afleck vs. Bill Maher & Sam Harris



The now infamous Fox-Aslan interview (could the woman doing the interview be any more dense?) …



Where comedian Bill Maher made an ass out of his arrogant self …



I know, I know … yous want music … so here (how could I resist this one?) ...