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).

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Facebook … The Docster’s World in Review … Crash-Bang! … Jimmy Bench-Press … I’m Melting ... DOC says ...


Facebook … a little more than a year or so ago, someone at work (Stacie) convinced me to join Facebook. It was an exercise in futility as the ugly one was pretty much clueless about what to do once he was there. Frustrated at my ineptitude with all things Facebook, I quickly retired (3 days later). But the Godmother (#1 Fan – Michelle Turlock Isler from Texas) has convinced me to rejoin. While I remain as clueless today about this thing as I was when I first joined and quickly retired, I am back with my own Facebook page (which I still have very little idea how to navigate or what to do with). My son Charles (not Charlie) created a fan page for me (which I also have no idea how to navigate, etc.). There are wedding pictures from the event last year (or was it two years ago—yeah, more than a year ago) from my daughter's wedding. I guess there’s some little info and other stuff on the page and I’ll figure it all out sooner or later (probably later), but the ugly one is back on Facebook (which we’ll call brutta faccia (ugly face)).

Please, please, please ... all you amici, if I don’t get back to you with any speed on Facebook, it’s for one of two reason: I haven’t looked in yet and/or I’m still trying to figure this thing out.

For those of you new to Temporary Knucksline, if you want to receive email bulletins alerting yous to new posts (including DOC's charming responses to my posts), contact me at and I'll add your name to our TK list.

The Talented Ms. Horsely was interviewed by Spinetingler Magazine and had some kind words for Johnny Porno and the ugly one his own bad self.

The DOC … for those new to Temporary Knucksline, DOC is a dear friend and a terrific writer who lives in a heavily fortified compound surrounded by an alligator infested moat. He drives a truck (and a tiny little freaking thing he uses when he gives me a ride). He has a big-ass built in pool, flowers and a wonderful wife, Sahara. What he doesn’t have is much patience for liberals, me and President Obama (whom DOC has nicknamed, President Fredo—as in Fredo of The Godfather fame). Mostly he’s just a big curmudgeon with excellent shooting, rhetorical, debating and drinking skills. He’s the highlight of TK post to post (and, yes, if I don’t mention that every 30 days or so, he’ll throw a hissy fit and storm off to the local bar for a week or two without writing). For a little bit more of a snippet on the DOC, see below.

The Docster’s World in Review

Putin vows to “Drag terrorists from the sewer” .
Obama vows to read terrorists their Miranda rights with a really pissy attitude.

Ricky Martin declares he is a homosexual.
This evening’s forecast predicts increasing darkness.

The Cartoon Network now has more viewers than CNN & MSNBC combined.
Or as I see it: The original Cartoon Network now has more viewers than the other 2 cartoon networks combined.

Chastity Bono has requested the courts to change her name to Chaz Bono.
Chaz Stella has requested the courts to change his name to Dan Brown.

Frank Rich of the NY Times, claims Tea Partiers are afraid of women, blacks and gays.
Tea Partiers claim Frank Rich is afraid of perspiration, spiders and bad haircuts.
Frank Rich has requested the courts to change his name to Liza Minnelli.

Enforcing Obama care will require 16,500 additional IRS agents.
IRS Commissioner Shulman said the IRS "will need resources," but that they will largely be acquired to "serve the American people."
Iran claims they are only building nuclear centrifuges so they can start manufacturing those really cool watches with the hands that glow in the dark.

This week CBS will interview Obama courtside as he plays basketball.
(insert your own Main Stream Media / catching, carrying, dribbling / Obama’s balls comment here)
Doc don’t hit no softballs.

According to Obamacare, offspring up to 26 years of age are considered “children”.
Likewise, middle age will now begin at 73.

Crash-Bang! … early Tuesday morning, while we were sleeping soundly, there was a very loud crash with glass breaking and everything else that will jolt you from your sleep. The ugly one and the boss both jumped out of bed and headed for the stairway. I was guessing break-in and went downstairs but couldn’t see anybody … then I walked into the kitchen and turned on the light and there at my feet was everything that was once inside one of our kitchen cabinets … and some broken dishes … and some soda leaking all over … and then the cabinet itself. WTF, I thought. Somebody from Congress must’ve put this thing up … and hadn’t bothered to read the instructions for it either.

And on that note, so much for gun control. An 82 year old Vietnam Vet was found beaten to death after a push-in in our neighborhood one week ago. Pieces of shit that would do something like that deserve two barrels going off at the same time. Guess what Casa Stella is buying for home entertainment next week?

Jimmy Bench-Press … the kind folks at Men Reading Books posted this the other day.

I’m Melting ... that’s right, amici (and you too DOC), there’s a new Knuckmeter and it starts at 335 with an end date of June 1st (me and Marilyn Monroe’s birthdays) ... I’ll be 54 and 299 on my 54th day on this planet. Now, some of yous may say me dropping 36 pounds is like throwing a deck chair off the Titanic but TK says it’s a start that will end at my son’s wedding on 9-11 at 265. I started Wednesday morning by hitting the gym at 4:10 a.m. where I proceeded to ignore the weights and jump on the eliptical machine, then the treadmill and then the stomach and stretching work ...

And I challenge DOC to a day of aerobics ... we can start with these two videos; some love and some sweat:

— Knucks

And the DOC says ....

After I read Horsely's interview I got inspired.
Now, let's see if she has a sense of humor. I would guess she does.

Oh, Charles,

This is getting scary. I would have an intervention if I could find more than 2 of your friends who were sober and not in jail.

Let’s recap your life based on the last Knucksline:

1) You have a new friend – The ever-lovely, Kate Horsley. Did you happen to read her interview? She’s crazier than you, Chaz. She does Medieval-Leper-Dressup. Her mom shoots at the ever-dwindling stockpile of neighbors with a Walther PPK. That’s an excellent choice of weaponry, but it kind of pisses off the block association.

2) You’re going on a diet. Your last diet resulted in you going from 331 pounds to 333 pounds, which I predicted and have yet to receive my ... prize.

3) You have Richard Simmons on your blog TWICE. Even Ricky Martin refers to Richard Simmons as “The Fat Gay Guy”. What will your no-neck buddies at the gym think?

4) You challenge me to a day of aerobics? You find me a gym that has barmaids and we’ll talk about it.

5) You want a shotgun! I don’t even want to go there. I don’t think your employer should allow you to have sharpened pencils.

In summary, you missed your shot. Many years ago you should have gotten yourself a Harley Davidson and a 17 year old girlfriend. At this point, you can only have a mid-life crisis if you plan on living till 106. Not likely for a fat guy who sweats to the oldies.

(Obligatory Political Content Below)

Or you could get a guest membership in Hutari.

These guys are charged with organizing a direct attack against the Federal Government. If you look closely at their mugshots, you’ll realize that these guys probably could not organize an oil change. And yet, Major Hassan is charged with parking in the handicapped zone.

Have a good week, Bluto
Your pal,

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crime Factory ... the Meet that wasn’t ... Aqualis Grill ... Travels with Charlie by the DOC ... Marilyn Monroe ...


Keith Rawson, Cameron Ashley, Liam Jose at Crime Factory have posted their latest issue (#2) and it is available on all formats (PDF, Kindle & Nook and SONY reader). There’s some neat writing in there, including an excerpt from a David Zeltserman book (Killer, p. 12) reviewed here at TK. And there’s an interview between Craig McDonald and Charlie Stella (Cell Mates, p. 15) where the two question each other about their latest books (Craig’s excellent Print the Legend and the other guys’s Johnny Porno).

While we’re on the topic of books, Russel McLean (The Lost Sister—reviewed here), had something nice to say about JP in an interview with Crime Scene Northern Ireland

“… Charlie Stella’s JOHNNY PORNO is the man’s best yet, and I’ve been a fan of his work for years since someone slipped me an arc of CHARLIE OPERA in ’05.”Russel D. McLean, Author of The Good Son and The Lost Sister (From an Interview with CRIME SCENE NI (Northern Ireland))

Pre-Meet ... the DOC and the ugly one: an email exchange

The email conversation between Knucks and DOC that took place on Friday night:

Knucks: feel like filming a power lifting meet?

DOC: Gee, photographing a whole bunch of sweaty, male, steroid abusers. Who wouldn't? What time is it?

Knucks: Way too early for you, my man. I have to be there for 10:00 a.m. but it's only 10 minutes from my house ... well, if you're driving, probably 50 minutes from my house. It should be over quickly ... lifting starts at 11:00 and should be over by 2:00 ... which means drinks at 2:05 ... I need a camera guy ... my cousin left me for a good looking broad ...

DOC: The snarky comments weren't necessary you know. I can be there by 11:00 or earlier. I don't want you to get your panties in a bunch waiting for me, so give me the address of the gym. Dave [DOC’s GPS] can get me there! I never filmed before, so you're going to have to give me instructions.

Knucks: What a putz ... the wife will take our car if I can get a lift. Or I can meet you there (I'll drop the wife off at the ferry). I need to be there for 10:00 a.m. (weigh-in, etc. ... how can you miss that?) If you can make it to my place for 9:30, then I can let the wife have the car. If you can't make it before 9:30, I'll meet you there (at the gym); the address is: THE APOLLON GYM is located at: 160 Talmadge Road Edison, NJ 08817 Phone: (732) 985-8576

DOC: Okay. As a favor to Ann Marie, I will be there at 9:30. That's probably AM right? I was specifically trying to miss the weigh-in. That's got to be a queasy event. I'll have to go out tonight to get an appropriate outfit. I don't have anything suitable for fat, sweaty men's affairs.

See you in the morning, Doc

DOC: Hey Chucky

Let me know if you got this email. My email went down right after I sent it and I didn't hear any sarcastic remarks from you, so I'm not sure it went out. Doc

Knucks: Ann Marie thanks you. We just got back from the gym (early weigh in but I didn't weigh in -- I figure I'll be lighter after I, well, you know, [paraphrasing] use the bathroom in the morning). I thank you ... You're the best, buddy ... pal o'mine.

DOC: What could possibly be in the weight class above you?
Redwood trees?
See you in the morning

The Meet that Wasn’t: It was the worst meet I’ve ever participated in; completely unprofessional except for the main spotter (the owner of the gym where it was held--he knew what he was doing and his gym is a fine one--Apollon Gym). That said, charging people to watch $8.00 and not providing seating was pretty bad. The fact the federation (APA) didn’t provide chalk for lifters was more than unprofessional (I purposely left mine home because anytime I’ve brought it to meets in the past, it wasn’t necessary). Then there were the spotters ... requested to help from the audience (beyond risky and there were two near accidents). To top it off, they inflated the weights and nothing will piss off power lifters more than inflated weights (although most others didn’t seem to mind). They used spring collars that weighed no more than half a pound each and counted them for the lock-collar weight (five pounds each); so the 375 I was credited with was really 366 (which I do routinely in training, so the net gain for this meet was minus $128.00). This was a total waste of money (the entree fee was way too high) and more importantly, the time invested cannot be bought back. Never, ever, ever APA again.

To top it off, our camera’s memory was “full” so we didn’t film anything (which is just as well, because it was a pathetic event). There was one highlight, a 17 year old kid who had perfect form and lifted more than impressive weight. I hope he won best lifter because he deserved it.

DOC will be reporting on the meet (and other things, no doubt) just as soon as he finds the time; unemployed for about a year now, he’s become a very busy man (signing autographs and sharpening his knives).

ON DOC and TK Reviews ... TK gets a lot of reviews, amici ... most of them very complimentary to the curmudgeonly Docster (his fan club is ever growing) ... we were hoping to post his picture alongside the ugly one (with beers in hand) but the camera was a bust ... this is something we’ll be working on in the near future.

Here now, the DOC's version of it all.

Travels with Charlie – Chapter 2 – The Edge of Darkness

With 4 hours sleep and a pot of coffee coursing through my veins my Nissan Sentra and I arrive at Casa Stella at 9am. The Chazmeister is standing on the porch and I expect to hear, “Great to see you, Doc. You’re a real pal for giving me this ride.”

Instead I hear,

“Well how the hell am I supposed to fit into that thing?”

I respond with my usual cheer, “Last time I brought my truck and you couldn’t fit your fat ass into that, so I figured at least I’d get some decent mileage on this trip.”

And so began our journey.

Charles is dressed in his usual high fashion… everything has a buffalo on it. As he is trying to muscle his way into the front seat I have a disturbing thought. I always assumed that signified the Buffalo Bills. Maybe it’s the size!

I let Charles drive because he knows the way. He says it’s 10 minutes away. 25 minutes later we are pulling into the lot. I don’t even ask. The gym is dirty and cold. It’s full of men who are 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. I notice that I am the only guy in the joint with a neck. They’ve noticed it too and they are not impressed.

The event begins and it is actually pretty interesting. At first I am a little queasy. The only weightlifting I’ve ever seen was on Youtube and those clips usually end with the lifter’s arms shattering with bones sticking out in all directions. We didn’t have any Youtube moments.

I keep asking Charlie, “Shouldn’t you be warming up?”

He replies, “Yeah. Later.” Eventually he goes in the back to warm up. Ten minutes later I look back and there is the Chazmeister leaning on some exercise machine jabbering with some other muscle head. No weights, no sweat… not exactly a Lance Armstrong moment. Now I am supposed to be there to photograph Charlie at the event. He pulls out the camera and turns it on. The screen says “Memory Full”. He proceeds to blame the Principessa and puts the camera away.

It’s almost time for his event and he starts taking off his sweats. This involves more sweating than his warmup. And lo and behold under the sweats he is wearing his singlet. A singlet is basically a camisole for weight lifters, but this is so much more. I know the size tag in the back has a buffalo on it. I am standing next to the Michelin Man wearing a bright blue teddy. I pray to be blind, but it doesn’t work. He’s still there.

After that my memories are a little fuzzy. The Chazmeister lifted 325 pounds, then 375 pounds, but buckled at 385 pounds. He won a 1st place trophy in his division and we returned to Casa Stella where he swallowed a pizza. I just drank heavily and remembered Apocalypse Now.

The singlet…the horror…the horror.

Aqualis Grill ... aunti Annie (a.k.a., the Principessa Ann Marie) has several hundred nieces and nephews (Irish, you know) ... one particularly bright and amazing niece (among many bright and amazing nieces) married a Greek fella who happens to be a master chef ... and the restaurant where he does his cooking (and yous can watch him on the video) is the Aqualis Grill in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Jody is the niece and John (see video) is the Master Chef.

Aqualis Grill
Fort Greene's Newest Mediterranean-inspired Seafood Restaurant
(718) 797-3494
773 Fulton St (South Portland Street)
Brooklyn, NY 11217 40.685792 -73.973177

Check out the reviews for this joint ... they’ll all GREAT.

Marilyn Monroe ... Kate Horsley has a great blog across the pond but very accessible via Al Gore’s invention ... all one need do is click on the link and you’ll find Marilyn Monroe’s last thoughts before the candle in the wind was extinguished. It’s a terrific read, amici.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shane Conlan … Saturday Meet ... The Godmother ... From Joke to Toilet Paper … DOC says ...


Shane Conlan … this was one of the best linebackers I can remember and he starred for both Penn State and my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills. I remember two things most about Conlan; his hit on Icky Sticky Woods in a Playoff game against the Bengalis of Cincinnati (when he nailed Icky in the middle of his chest on the goal line and sent him backwards—a great play nullified by some dopey personal foul in the secondary 15 yards from the play itself) and his interception(s) against Vinnie Testiverticles & Miami in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl.

Conlan didn’t miss many tackles; he was human Velcro—once he grabbed someone, they were going down. I was severely disappointed when the dumb as wood Bills organization let him go to the Rams toward the end of his career, but they paid the price for that move (and have been ever since, it seems). Anyway, here’s to one of the best linebackers I ever watched play the game of football the way it was meant to be played.

What got me thinking about Mr. Conlan was a scene I wrote for the sequel to Charlie Opera (no title yet)… Charlie Pellecchia had bought one of the dancers he drives for a Conlan Bill’s jersey and says to her when she answers the door wearing it: “I hope you’re wearing something underneath that thing.”

The ugly one tries to compete against younger men of equal girth (and probably a lot more muscle) … I’m going to lift in the New Jersey Open, an APA meet this Saturday. Cousin Jason (the weight loss coach) will be bringing his girlfriend along for the spectacle known as “a boring as watching grass grow power lifting meet.” It takes place in Edison (of Thomas) fame, New Jersey and it will be the last one for a while … training for the cancelled meet begins again in earnest in June (the meet is End of July-start of August).

Speaking of weight ... DOC’s prediction on the April 1, 2010 Knuckmeter seems to be a lock. If yous remember, I started the weight loss at 331 back in January … DOC guessed 333 … I’m now 333.5. I was supposed to be something like 250.


Blame the wife and her Godzilla portions …

#1 Fan ... she’s in Texas and she enjoys mob fiction/stories and we’re gonna give her (Michelle) a name—The Godmother. I can’t tell yous how much she’s done for the ugly one over the last few days alone, but it’s been huge. While in Tahoe for their spring break (instead of New York, for which she apparently gave her husband some grief), she took these pictures some of yous Godfather fans might remember from the scenes in Tahoe.

Michelle even put up the Johnny Porno book cover and our book trailer on her Facebook page and we can’t thank her enough. We met at Murder by the Book in Houston, Texas. Fan mail means a lot, especially to writers in my league, the little league, where we work full-time jobs (sometimes more than one) to pay for an addiction we can only find gratification from in the form of fans and reviews. Too often what we hear is the following (at work and everywhere else): “You’re a writer, what are you doing here? You’re any good, why you working. How come the Times don't review you?” etc., etc., etc.

Hey, what can we say, Schadenfreude is the food by which self loathing cynics live and breathe. So, Knucks says, thank you to all who send fan mail (or just kind words) to the writers of your choice ... and to those who get their rocks off trying to lift themselves by putting down others, TK says, “Fuck yous and the horses you rode in on.”

Thanks, Michelle. People like you cancel all those others out with a single email.

Health Care ... The Health Care Bill has gone from a joke (to those on the left) …. to the greatest invention since toilet paper. I know, I know, we’re not supposed to go here (politics) anymore … but here’s a quick comment and then we’ll yield the floor to that wild and crazy DOCster.

I’ve heard a few democrats put it this way (Nancy Pelosi being one) [paraphrased]. We’ve spoken for the American people instead of the insurance companies.

And here are some of the facts: The Insurance Companies, neither through competition or anything more than lobbying, have managed to gain 33,000,000 customers without cost controls while the same bill will lock in billions of dollars in monopoly profits for pharmaceutical companies (the same companies who spent millions of dollars pushing for its passage). Litigation that will ultimately trickle down to the middle class in the form of costs, was ignored regarding tort reform. The fact it is being mandated we purchase insurance not only sounds ominous, it turns the idea of cost control on its head. I can see it now: “Sure we’ll cover your pre-existing condition. We have to. It’s the law, but your premium has just gone from $5,000 per year to $25,000. Can’t pay it, no problem, we’ll spread the joy for you. Just take a seat.”

Now, some of yous might wonder, how can a guy who wanted single payer be upset with that last bit about spreading the joy, but the answer is simple: single payer wouldn’t be concerned with profit. As it stands now, insurance companies are (and have to be) concerned with profit. Just like the banks this government gave all our money to almost two years ago aren’t going to be “decent” about lending us back OUR money or lowering interest rates, neither are insurance companies going to be “decent” about our cost of living expenses. And neither is this government going to “oversee” this problem (the way they never bothered to “oversee” Wall Street—nearly two years down the road from the great bailout/sellout), so I have a suggestion what they do with those 2700 pages the next time they run out of toilet paper …

Okay, DOC, the floor is all yours, brother.

No, wait, something tells me DOC needs some love right about now (with all them Dems giving him the business after passing healthcare).

Here now the love.

Hey, that guy’s fatter’n Knucks ...


And the DOC says (Oh, Lord, he's lost it now) ...

Hey Chazman,

Way to go just jumping out in front of that whole Healthcare business! I guess in the next few months we can expect Knucksline to take a hard stance with those pesky Japanese over that Pearl Harbor ruckus.

Did you hear that they forgot to put in the provisions for children with pre-existing conditions? Geezus! They campaign on this for a year and a half and they had no idea what was in (or out) of the bill. They forgot??? People complain that these morons never had a private sector job. They couldn’t hold a private sector job.

Now that the Dems have passed the bill all on their own they are miffed because the Repubicans haven’t spoken out against all the people who are “supposedly” threatening them. The Dems are getting spit on and called the “N” word. Of course there’s no tape of this. I throw my cigarette butt out in the street and 2 hours later there are 4 Youtube videos of it, but at a rally with thousands of people, no one caught these alleged offenses.

Someone even called Barney Frank and I quote “The “F” word that rhymes with maggot”. Knowing Barney Frank’s character, I think they probably called him the “M” word that rhymes with faggot.

Speaking of which, how come it is a hate crime to call Barney Frank a faggot, but it is perfectly okay for the media to call thousands of Americans “Teabaggers”? I mean look at those people. Up until a year ago when that other nancy-boy coined the phrase I’m sure 99% of them had no idea what teabagging meant, but Barney knew.

Thanks for that song dedication. I actually got through a minute and a half of it. I know this for a fact because when my head hit the keyboard it accidentally hit the pause button.

Good luck in your meet on Saturday.

Your pal,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Link ... “the Titan guy” ... Lynn Kostoff ... Babi Yar/Darfur ... DOC says ...


First off, we have a new link (here and to the right below the Johnny Porno cover to a new site where we’re going to list the reviews of Charlie Stella’s novels/short stories, etc. The first (more than kind and incredibly well written) post is the full review by Len Wanner. We will update the page with reviews of all the Stella novels and short stories as we find the time.

The Titan Guy ... part of a scene from Johnny Porno between one of our favorite characters in the book, Nathan Ackerman and his stepson, Jack (John Albano Jr.). Nathan plays bass for the Philharmonic and is the third husband to a nasty, selfish woman (unfortunately, Jack’s mom):

Nathan handed over the tickets. “Third-base field boxes,” he said. “You can razz the Oriole players up close. Give a yell when Brooks Robinson gets a hot one and maybe it goes through his legs.”

“That guy never makes an error,” the boy said. He examined the tickets wide-eyed. “This is so neat. Thank you, Nathan.”

“It’s my pleasure, sir.”

“Why can’t you go?”

“Gustav Mahler. Any other composer and I’d cancel, but I love Mahler.”

“That the Titan guy?”

Nathan was a Mahler aficionado and had been schooling the boy on classical music between baseball discussions and episodes of the Partridge Family.

“Yes,” he said, “the Titan guy. We’re doing Mahler’s First the night of the game in fact.”

Jack was reading the small print on the back of the ticket. “This is great,” he said. “I can’t wait to tell my dad.”

So, speaking of that Titan guy ... some of yous might recognize some of the opening from the movie, Patton (a scene when the camera is panning across a battlefield). Titan is my very favorite symphony. Here’s the first movement.

The build up to Titan’s finale continues to leave me with Chris Matthews’ like “tingles up and down my leg” (and is worth an extra 10 pounds on my bench-press--if only they’d let me wear my Ipod in meets). Listen to the end, amici, yous won’t be disappointed.

And here’s some info on Mahler & his first symphony, Titan (from Marin Alsop, the Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra). The Principessa Ann Marie and I were supposed to attend one of the Baltimore Orchestra’s performances of Titan a couple of years ago right before my sister became very ill.

Pre-view of an upcoming book by one of our very favorite authors, Lynn Kostoff. Lynn and Charlie go back to Carroll and Graf publishers. Charlie first read Lynn's work in the form of The Long Fall, which remains one of his favorite novels (crime or otherwise) ever. Lynn is a special author with talents way beyond any specific genre; a literary artist most other writers admire for the depth of his craft and ability to tell a story.

Lynn has two books coming out soon. A Choice of Nightmares (above) reviewed here back in September of 2009 when my son (Charles, not Charlie) called me to let me know he'd broken his neck riding a boogy board on a Delaware beach (Oy vey!) A Choice of Nightmares is being pub lished by New Pulp Press ...

and Late Rain (Tyrus Books).

Charlie Stella's full review of Late Rain will come closer to the publication date (July 2010) but he read it last week and was overwhelmed once again by the author’s writing skill and storytelling. Here’s the blurb for Late Rain.

“Masterful writing, spot on dialogue and insight to the human condition more often associated with literary works than crime fiction, Lynn Kostoff’s Late Rain is one of those rare novels that transcend genre fiction; it is writing at its very best, brilliant from start to finish.” —Charlie Stella

Lynn Kostoff and Charlie Stella will be doing a dual interview of each other for Crimeculture in the upcoming months. Crimeculture was created in Summer 2002 by Lee Horsley and Kate Horsley. The site now gets something like five million hits a year from all over the world, and has published several dozen essays on crime fiction, crime films and representations of criminality.

Kate can also be found here.

On a much darker note, the following has to do with the atrocities committed in a ravine outside the city of Kiev in the Ukraine during World War II. Consider it a reminder of just how horribly people can treat one another (and not to forget that it continues to go on today in places like Darfur). There are plenty of Youtube clips of the monstrous acts committed against Jews at Babi Yar. We’re choosing not to show them, but recommend seeing the film by Jeff Kanew. Be forewarned. It is brutal. TIME featured this piece in 2003.

Babi Yar ... I'm just finishing the documentary novel about Babi Yar, where the slaughter of 33,000+ Jews in the Soviet Union (Kiev, Ukraine) in 1941 took place in just two days. Author, Anatoly Kuznetsov wrote the book that was originally censored by the Soviet regime in 1966, but then republished uncensored after his escape to the United Kingdom. Kuznetsov began jotting down the story of what he had witnessed first-hand and from other first-hand accounts at age 14. It is as harrowing a tale as ever told and a sound reminder of what can happen when the state (any state--which makes it tough on my socialist leanings) takes absolute control over the people it governs. The people of Kiev were so fed up with Soviet rule that when the Nazi army first invaded, they believed it was a good thing and that they would be liberated by Hitler’s henchmen. Little did they know ... and Kuznetsov spares no details in his account of the atrocities committed by both the Soviets and the Nazis.

It wasn’t until I listened to the symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich that I even knew about this horrific event. It was a dark piece of music (rightfully so) the composer wrote at the risk of being further castigated by the Soviet regime.

Babi Yar is a horrible blot on human history little can be done about today, except to never forget what happened there. There is still something all of us can do about Darfur.

Shostakovich's Symphony #13, Babi Yar.:


That loveable curmudgeon, the DOC, says ...

Hey Chaz,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I was down in Trenton at the award ceremony for the Sidekicks Honor Institute of Trenton. Their SHITTY award, as it’s called, is the most prestigious in the International Society of Second Bananas. All the great sidekicks of history were there:

Sancho Panza
Robin (of Batman and…)
Ed McMahon
Hutch (of Starsky and…)
Barney Rubble
Joe Biden
Goofy (yes, Joe and Goofy are actually 2 different people)
Dick Cheney
Sean Penn (of Hugo Chavez and…)
Keith Richards

and yours truly, that loveable old Docster. I received my SHITTY for “Best Supporting Work in a Blog Exclusively Devoted to Opera and Weightlifting”.

Granted there was not a lot of competition in my category, but it was a proud moment to be handed the award by that legendary sidekick…Tonto.

So, Obamacare has passed and as Joe Biden so eloquently stated, “It’s a big fucking deal.” As a side note, in the above award ceremony Biden was the recipient of “Best Supporting Work in Making His Principal Look Smart by Comparison Award”.

Now, the Bamster isn’t exactly sure how Obamacare is going to work, but he knows he will need 16,500 additional IRS agents to enforce this humanitarian charity. What strikes me as troubling is that the first group to opt out of this healthplan are the asswipes who wrote it.

For some strange reason, the Dems think that passing this fiasco will make them heroes. Here is a quick summary: We pay for this for the next 4 years and get diddly-squat, nada, zippo, nothing. What’s not to like about that plan?

Stupak was a veritable rock during the whole voting process.

Stupak: I will not sign this bill because I am selflessly protecting the lives of innocent, unborn children.

Obama: I’ll give you a ride on Air Force One.

Stupak: Can I toot the horn?

Obama: Sure! I’ll even get you a pilot’s hat.

Stupak: Where do I sign?

Plan ahead, Chaz. If you’re gonna get sick… get sick now.

Your pal,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dirty Sweet ... Goldmember ... The Meet ... DOC’s fix & a nice review of JP ...


Dirty Sweet ... a Canadian crime novel by author John McFetridge that pits a woman very conscious of the fact her window of opportunity is closing quickly. She’s in a financial crunch (a bad economy and money owed) and that enemy of any women leaning on her looks, age, is gaining fast. Roxanne Keyes needs to use what she has before it’s too late. She’s street sharp, still has her looks and isn’t easily sidetracked by normal annoyances such as guilt or concern for others. When she witnesses a hit and recognizes one of the men involved (in this case, the driver—Boris), the anxious tumblers of her mind spin and the possibilities (opportunities in the form of leverage) are irresistible. The tradeoff, helping the police, offer nothing in return. One of the cops isn’t buying Roxanne’s version of what she claims she did and/or didn’t see, but the guy she did see driving the car is a Russian with ties to the mob back in his native home; a guy she almost rented warehouse space to in the past. The shooter was the driver’s father’s best friend (Boris calls him Uncle) and the real deal; a hit man (or any man he needs to be). Then there’s an Internet Porn maven (Vince Fournier) with a shady past who rents space from the real estate agency Roxanne works for and he needs more space for his ever expanding business (more opportunity for an aggressive femme fatale) ... so many men, which one should she choose ... Vince works a deal with Roxanne ... so does Boris ... and then they all work a deal together only its slightly more dangerous than routine business expansion. There are stolen cars being shipped overseas, Canadian biker gangs every bit as ruthless as the Russian mob itself and some terrific writing going on that makes the tale being told a genuine page turner. And there’s music ... lots of musical references back to the 70-80’s that will make every reader feel right at home. And where is home, you ask? Oh, Canada, baby! Toronto, in fact. And you’ll learn a few things about our neighbors up north (the same thieves just waiting to steal my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills, by the way) but you won’t feel uncomfortable or lost because the author’s style is very smooth and his dialogue catching. McFetridge is the second contemporary Canadian crime author I’ve read (that I know of). Sandra Ruttan (The Nolan, Hart & Tain Series) is the other and both do their native home proud. Dirty Sweet is an Elmore Leonard north novel; a fun and thrilling read from the hit you’ll witness at the very beginning to the explosive end.

Check out an interview with John and a review of his latest here (at the New Mystery Reader).

Goldmember … Tuesday night was a tough one for the ugly one. I crossed the Outerbridge three times in less than 20 hours (once to go to work, once to use a substitute gym on Staten Island and once to pick up the Principessa Ann Marie after she was dropped off from Nursing school). I was exhausted from not sleeping much the night before. I lifted like shit and needed one of two things; a large well done Sicilian pie with extra gravy (sauce to you nons), a bottle of Chivas Regal or a funny movie. Alright, that was three things, but I chose the funny movie and a gallon of milk and I was laughing like an idiot throughout the film ... and even when I went to bed I couldn’t stop laughing (which led the Principessa to wake up and say, “You’re an idiot”).

How I know I was laughing like one.

What’s up with the powerlifting meet(s)? Nothing much, really. There’s one on the 27th of March that’s close to home but I’m not sure it’ll be worth the entry fee. I’m lifting like crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrap right now and won’t know until this weekend if I can compete in the open.

DOC has been more than just jonesing for a political fight (or is it to insult the ugly one?). The 12-step program is not helping him with these once a week TK’s. Before he goes completely off his right wing gourd (and we have to deal with Knucks being called “sissy boy” again), we’re going to wet his beak with a TK political observation ...

Kucinich’s sellout on the sellout … On March 14, Dennis Kucinich (someone I find agreement with on some social issues) had this to say in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Absent a strong public option or legal protection for states that wish to pursue single payer, the bill that the president is proposing is a step in the wrong direction. Even with the few modest improvements in the bill, the insurance companies will still have dozens of loopholes to deny care and continue to find ways to leave Americans with the unpayable bill.”

And then on Wednesday, after getting a nifty ride in Air Force One, Kucinich agreed to vote for what he called a step in the wrong direction.

He’s not the only one on the Democratic Left (what TK feels is the fugazy left) ... Michael Moore joined the chorus as well: “This bill is a joke” but he’s also pushing for it to pass now too. It is a call to arms to defend at all costs (including the left's self interest) the Obama Administration. Now one really does have to wonder if they think of him as The Savior.

My question to the blind faithers supporting the Democratic sellout is this: After all the FACTUAL evidence in just the past few years of how Democratic Party legislators admitted to not having read legislation they voted in favor of (i.e., the war(s), the bailouts, this 2700+ page health care bill, etc.), what makes you think that in this piece of legislation, the same party will have done the necessary due diligence to make sure insurance companies won’t find the loopholes Senator Kucinich stated they’ll still have ... to deny care and continue to find ways to leave Americans with the unpayable bill?

Well, at least they won’t have Ralph Nader to blame for this one.

No sooner than we finished the above political teaser for his DOCness than he shot off this rant about Haiti … why he should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS take his meds.

Here now, the DOC:

Hey Chaz,

It seems that our armed forces providing humanitarian aid in Haiti will no longer fly the American flag over their bases. This is to prevent anyone from thinking that we are in Haiti as occupiers. In reality, since New Orleans is being renovated we are in dire need of an area with no standing buildings, no food, no water and a large unemployed populace. There is no one taking credit for this bold move, but really, who does this sound like. I’ll give you a hint, Chaz. Who do you know that bows then apologizes to every foreign national he meets?

When the Army comes to town they are dressed in digital camo and accessorized with M4 carbines, heavy boots and other implements of destruction. Obviously, what Haiti actually hoped for was the New Rochelle Ladies Auxiliary. They come dressed in tasteful print dresses, accessorized with support hose and sensible shoes with matching purses. Our armed forces smell of sweat and Hoppes #9 (that’s gun cleaner, sissy boy). The Ladies Auxiliary smells of Bengay and old lavender.

Oh… almost forgot. The other thing the American Armed Forces arrives with is the American flag. They live for it. They die for it. It flies over their bases and their cemeteries. If you don’t like it… fuck you. We’ll take our football, our flag and turn off the lights on the way out.

On a lighter note and an attempt to smooth things out with the Haitian Amicis, personally I think it would be a good idea to annex Haiti. If there is one thing this nation needs and Haiti can provide it is more voodoo. Aside from that I’m kind of drawing a blank. Couldn’t you just see Nancy Pelosi with some funky Erykah Badu headwrap and a cigar throwing a handful of chicken bones on the podium and declaring, “The spirits have spoken. Obamacare has passed.”

This could also work out well for the Bamster in 2012. You know he wouldn’t dare try that Hope and Change shit again. He needs something catchy, maybe a rap ditty.

Red white and blue.
Tried and true.
For me and you.
Roll on your back.
Roll on a log.
Took me six months,
To pick out a dog.
Doobie doobie doo.
(apologies to Frank, but it might sway some of the old Eye-talian voters)

Have a good week, buddy-boy

Some more kind words on Johnny Porno:

“Johnny Porno is exactly that – a hard man chasing the tail that won’t pay for the tears. By first reminding us of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and then translating its rhetorical question into the vernacular of our romantically challenged times, Stella’s way with words does the near impossible; it finds a way from pornography to romance in the paradox of power and impotence peculiar to all of us: ‘Fuck’s in a name?’” — Len Wanner. Len Wanner was educated at University College Dublin (BA&MA) and the University of Edinburgh where he is working on his Ph.D.

Full review here at our new feature to Temporary Knucksline, a link to a separate blog for reviews only.

Johnny Porno Trailer:

Pre-order Johnny Porno here.


Comments to

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More kind words on JP ... welcome newbees and the DOC starts it off ... DOC says


Some more than kind words for Johnny Porno from the Sheriff himself, Bill Crider, at his place (where there are almost as many blog followers as books Bill has written ... almost). I blurbed it on the right (here) with the other reviews we’ve received so far.

We have some newbees joining us at Temporary Knucksline today. Welcome. One (Michelle) is one of the wonderfully generous people I met in Houston's Murder by the Book when the Principessa and the ugly one visited there with Mafiya. Trust me, amici, I’m a hack having fun at writing, but I’m not near making a living at it and every once in a while word processors/writers like myself get a piece of fan mail that more than makes it all worth the effort. Thanks again, Michelle. You really did make my day.

That same Houston trip, the Professore of 95th Street (a West Point Graduate living and teaching in the great state of Texas made the drive with his lovely wife just to break my shoes the old fashioned 95th Street way. Joe Cerami—see footnote* at bottom for Joe’s resume).

For the newbees: There’s a background to this Temporary Knucksline thing (originally Knucksline) that goes back to my very early word processing and street days. You’ll find a cast of the necessary characters here:

Okay, time to get down to business ... DOC has something to preference this post with (he was really lonely the last few days ... he’s suffering from insulting the ugly one withdrawal).

Hey Chaz,

What a week, huh? We have naked politicians poking each other in the shower. We have Dan Rather proclaiming that “Obama couldn’t sell watermelons with state troopers waving over cars.” on the Chris “Thrill up my leg” Matthews show.

Oh, I forgot. We don’t do politics anymore.

So, what do you have in store for us this week? Maybe a review of “Little Women” and a couple of video clips of some fat chick with a Viking helmet and hand forged lingerie.

You keep this up and you’ll have people begging for your inane football ramblings.

Have a good week, buddy-boy

The Docster

DOC is on the road to Kansas to visit his much brighter, much more pleasant sister ... which means if he left on Wednesday, he’ll make it down to Lambertville, New Jersey around August sometime. Hopefully he’ll make occasional stops (if the beer distributors are close to an Internet cafe) and keep us informed.

Another "I hate Charlie Stella" blog ... this time from Glen Beck! Our terrific bass player, Cliff Radlauer, sent me this today (in honor of DOC)?

All TK has to say about politics these days was summed up by our hero, Bob Herbert of the New York Times in his Tuesday's column. But enough of politics ... here now, why I love the color GREEN.

That's what I'm talking about ...

And here’s something much more interesting and pleasant to look at than even Mr. Herbert or an image of DOC trying to find Kansas. It’s a link to the website of the talented Ms. Horsley. Check out her fiction, poetry and news of her novel, The Anatomy Show. Kate is a UK doll with vast and impressive credentials. And she knows how to doll up a page (see corset above).

And then there’s DOC, who will no doubt find Bermuda long before he comes close to Kansas.

Magic-Bird … This is as good as it gets for any sport. Bird was old (Dick Butkus) school … Magic was style and pizzazz … the rivalry was intense … the ultimate friendship even more so. This was a very revealing look into both superstars and even for those not so into the bucket game, some of the passes these two made are worth a few views alone. This was a fascinating documentary about two great athletes and their individual unyielding work ethic and a great reminder that guys who became famous for uttering phrases like “We talkin’ about practice? Practice? Practice?” will always be flashes in the pan nobody outside of their inner circle will remember even before they’re forced into retirement.

And then there’s this clown... with seven children by six different women in five states and at least five paternity suits in the past two years, new Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie needs cash. The Jets have stepped up, giving Cromartie $500,000 in up-front money (in the form of a bonus) on the final year of a contract that'll pay him $1.7 million in 2010 ... and this is why condoms should be handed out in pre-school, okay?

—Knucks (see footnote below for The Professore of 95th Street)

*Joseph R. Cerami
Senior Lecturer
Bush School of Government and Public Service
Texas A&M University

In August 2001, Joe Cerami joined the Bush School of Government and Public Service, at Texas A&M University. In 2002 he was named the founding Director of the Bush School’s Public Service Leadership Program. During a 30-year military career, Colonel Cerami (U.S. Army, Retired) served in Germany, the Republic of Korea and the U.S. as a Field Artillery officer, operational planner, and strategist. His last assignment was as the Chairman of the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, from 1998-2001. He was an assistant professor of political science on the faculty at West Point

Joe has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Arts in Government from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master in Military Arts and Sciences in Theater Operations from the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is a graduate of the Army War College and was awarded a Certificate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Program for Senior Officials in National Security. Joe completed a doctorate in public administration, focusing on the fields of public management, public policy, and political institutions, in the Penn State University’s School of Public Affairs. His dissertation research focused on innovation and leadership. He is co-editor of the U.S. Army War College Guide to Strategy. His latest book project, on The Interagency and Counterinsurgency Warfare, focuses on the problems of intergovernmental operations and political-military policymaking, planning, and leadership for complex security environments.

Joe also served on the facilitation team for the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Strategic Leadership Program for the Army’s emerging top executives. Since arriving at the Bush School, he has helped build a unique leadership program to develop graduate-level, master’s degree students’ knowledge and skills in preparation for careers in public service at the local, state, national and international levels. In May 2003, Joe was awarded the Bush School’s Silver Star Award for his “excellence in teaching and lifelong commitment to public service.”

He’s also one of the best shoe breakers in the history of the sport.

And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

Nice handoff on the news of the week,“If you want news, go to the New York Times. It’s my blog and I’m gonna talk about me.”

It’s nice to hear that Knucksline is getting new readers. Let’s hope that the lovely Ms. Horsley has a good sense of humor. Really, Chaz, when introducing a writer on a blog most hosts would include a snippet of their writing, not a snapshot of their breasts. You’re a classy guy!

Meanwhile, back in Washington, our legislators have come up with a new scheme to ram healthcare down our throats. Behind closed doors, the Dems are looking into the “Slaughter Solution” by which they would deem the bill to have already been passed. This would eliminate all that confrontational, tedious and time consuming voting nonsense. Thereby giving our legislators more time to play wet, naked, tickling games in the congressional shower. You would think that since we spend $100,000 per year for booze on Nancy Pelosi’s jet we could afford to put up shower curtains in the congressional showers.

Or maybe…they…don’t…want…them?

Also, someone should tell Congressman Massa that when you are trying to dispel rumors of homosexuality it is not wise to refer reporters to 10,000 sailors. It just doesn’t sell your case. It reminds me of that creepy feeling I got when Ted “Splash” Kennedy gave that emotional speech about the inhumanity of waterboarding.

Personally, I love this deeming stuff. This morning I deemed that I was 6’2”. Now I have to go out and buy all new pants, thus stimulating the economy. You should try it, Chaz. You could deem that you were anorexic. Then you could deem that you need to bulk up with an extra large pizza and a box of jelly donuts to cleanse your palate. Maybe 11,000,000 unemployed Americans could deem they have a job and go buy a new house. Unemployment crisis solved, housing market fixed. Bada-bing-bada-boom!

Your pal,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Reviews, No More Politics and Opera ... Meet Update ...DOC says ...


The Elegance of the Hedgehog … a French novel by Muriel Barbery (DOC must be upchucking his corn flakes about now) is a fun read that at times frustrated me no end due to my deficient vocabulary (and a handy dictionary); one can spend as many hours researching some of the vocabulary in this novel as reading the story … which revolves around a middle-aged, frumpy, self-taught (autodidact—yeah, I had to look that one up too) determined to maintain the stereotypical image of a concierge (as the wealthy sees her/them). There’s a reason she’s so frightened of being exposed as someone with knowledge outside her “class” and the story is an interesting one, but while Renée (the concierge) impresses us with her broad and deep range of knowledge, the vocabulary (at least for me) was too often off-putting (to quote a particular editor who said that about something I once wrote). The other main character is a precocious 12-year-old girl (Paloma) determined to commit suicide on her 13th birthday. She’s a wonderfully super-smart youngin’ with a sharp as razor tongue who riffs off some great one liners. An elderly Japanese retiree enters the scene (and the building) later in the novel (somebody say deus ex machina) with a genuine love of all things Tolstoy. Upon first meeting our concierge, Mr. Ozu recognizes Renée’s quick one liner, “All happy families are alike” and responds with “every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” There’s more than just a knowledge of the Anna Karenina opening as each has named his/her cat(s) after characters in the Tolstoy classic. From Russia with love or the start of a beautiful, albeit short, relationship? No spoilers except to say I would’ve enjoyed this one much more if a) I wasn’t so vocabulary challenged and/or b) the author hadn’t let the concierge make a few references (to show she’s one of us) that I was at polar opposites with (her choice of popular crime fiction didn’t work for me) … although she did redeem herself somewhat when she quoted from Eminem’s 8 Mile (the movie version of which, like American History X, should be required viewing for every high school student in this country).

Naomi … Jun'ichirō Tanizaki’s novel about obsession (from the girl he’s obsessed with to her obsession with Western culture) … Joji Kawai is the rube/cuckhold/gernude in this story that begins when he (at age 28) spots a 15 year old Eurasian-looking girl at a café. Quickly obsessed with the girl he wants to help, at first by helping raise her and later by marrying her, Joji quickly loses control and is (literally) on his hands and knees (and that happens more than a few times) in subservience to Naomi. You’ll want to slap Joji from time to time, although there are times you feel for the poor SOB (but not many and not for long). A quick, light read that can be as frustrating (in a good way) as it is ironic.

Call It Sleep ... I’m currently in the middle of a few of the suggested readings from the documentary, Stone Reader and the list shared between the filmmaker (Mark Moskowitz and author Dow Mossman). I’ve always had an interest with all things Jewish in culture. I imagine it comes from being brought up in Canarsie, Brooklyn, which was mostly inhabited by Jewish and Italians back in the day. It could also come from my paternal grandfather (the original Carmelo Stella), who did a lot of business with the Jewish community before he went bust holding onto apartment buildings in the South Bronx too long (apartment he eventually donated to Father Louis Gigante (yeah, that Giganti) for tax purposes. Gramps Stella first introduced me to oy gevalt, gelt, putz and other yiddish words/phrases. This one reminds me of Bernard Malamud (one of my favorites) and his novel, The Assistant, although Henry Roth’s novel begins much earlier (1907) and at this point is even more gripping. It has been very difficult to put this one down and we’ll have a more detailed review of a young boy’s struggle with his miserable, paranoid, jealous father and his loving over protective mother when we finish the read. So far it is nothing short of brilliant.

No more Politics … Why, you ask? It’s too frustrating, depressing, boring and pointless to waste any more time and/or energy. So long as both major parties hold the keys to the car, it ain’t going nowhere. Now that Fredo has figured out he could’ve pushed single payer through with 51 votes (fucking DUH), he’s backed off like the absolute clueless wimp he’s turned out to be (what he’s willing to pass as legislation for “the people” is yet another Democratic sellout). So much for Harvard (Fredo) and Yale (Bush). You want change? Let’s try a few graduates from schools where the degrees actually have to be earned by people who actually have had to work at some point in their lives. With Bush we should’ve known better; the moron child gifted a Yale degree because of Dad’s connections, he ruined everything he touched (businesses) and then bankrupted the country and started wars he had no clue how to win or end. Obama/Fredo never worked a day in his life and his voting record in the Illinois State Senate was more prophetic than anyone could’ve imagined. He’s slick on the stump but that’s where it ends; so far he’s been as useless as tits on a bull (although I’m sure he’s making Jimmy Carter feel good about his disastrous 4 years).

Between the never-ending parade of politicians getting caught in corruption scandals (after which some of them are actually re-elected), the bailout of corporate America at the expense of all of us, these fercocta (thanks, Dave Zeltserman for the spelling) wars that make no fucking sense anymore (not that they ever did) and the fact that gays in the year 2010 are still legally second class citizens in a country where “all men are created equal” … there’s no point in anything short of revolution and this country just ain’t there yet (not so long as blind faithers on each side of the aisle jerk themselves off about which side is right, wrong, smart, stupid, corrupt, well-intentioned, etc.). TK, at least for now, says: “It’s time to enjoy what’s left of life before it’s over.”

Largo al Factotum ... Okay, kids, so on that note, let’s have some fun. Leo Nucci remains one of my favorite baritones and here’s one of his signature roles, Figaro from Rossini’s, Il barbiere di Siviglia (the opera which originally hooked me way back in the day). It’s a hilarious opera and highly recommended for all yous rock-n-rollers, rappers and disco Dans. The video below, I’m pretty sure, is from the MET production in New York. I’ve seen this one a few times back in the day and originally saw a very scaled down version of it at John Jay college when they did the “Growing Up With Opera” program (which they still may do) for the yuppie city brats. I was there as the single parent trying to do the right thing. My two sons (maybe 6 & 8 at the time, went promptly to sleep) but the daughter stayed awake and enjoyed it thoroughly. I sure did. I took her to the MET production with Cecila Bartoli singing Rosina a few months later as a birthday gift and we were both hooked.

And here’s Leo ...

Here’s Ceclia with the great Bryn Terfel ... also from that opera featuring that barber.

Hey, since we’re in such a good mood (I can hear DOC now) ... here’s Mr. Terfel singing the most erotic aria in all of opera ... from my third favorite opera, Puccini's Tosca. The evil Scarpia’s Te Deum. “Tosca, mi fai dimenticare Iddio!”

Yeah, baby! That’s what I’m talking about ... Principessa, YOU make me forget God!

Okay, one more ... the GREATEST tenor of all time ... also from Tosca, Pavarotti singing Cavaradossi, E lucevan le stelle.

Powerlifting meet update ... the New Jersey States meet has been rescheduled for July 31-August 1st (oy vey) ... we're looking at an APA Open meet on March 27th meet in Edison, NJ for a try at the open fat guy division (under 341) ... the upside is I get to eat like a gavone until the end of the month.


And the DOC says ...

Okay, Chaz,

So from now on, in the interest of “fun”, Knucksline will deal exclusively with obscure book reviews and opera. Wow, that will be fun! With luck we can get labeled by the FDA as a legitimate cure for insomnia. What happened to cleavage? Last issue we at least had cleavage. I guess that would be too much fun, huh?

Politics can be frustrating, especially when, as you say, there isn’t a spit of difference between the two parties. Keep an eye on the Tea Party. This might be the third party that you have been whining for. At the very least, the two established parties are afraid of them. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I also have a new response for President Fredo and his health care plan. This dates back to my days as the parent of a headstrong, know-it-all sixteen year old girl. The delivery is all important and the style was later stolen by Clint Eastwood for his Dirty Harry movies. The line must come from a parental, low, growled, near whisper.

“Go ahead, Fredo… pass your bill and you’ll see what happens.”

And when the bloodletting is over on November 3rd, he can join Jimmy Carter and build Outhouses for Humanity. They can reintroduce the Obama Chia pet and there will be no outcry this time. Within a year, he’ll be competing on Dancing with the Stars.

It seems that in April the Bamster will be giving a seminar on entrepreneurship for the Muslim world. Well, that just has to be a standing room only event. Imagine the opportunity to listen to the president of a country with 17% unemployment who has personally never run as much as a lemonade stand giving advice on how to start your own business to people firmly entrenched in the twelfth century who kill their children to preserve their honor.

It’s a two day event, so after the president speaks, Lindsay Lohan will host a seminar on the evils of strong drink. Dick Cheney will give pointers on hunter safety and for the grand finale’, Ann Coulter will perform a dramatic reading of love sonnets she has written for Rahm Emanuel.

With all due credit to Norman Schwarzkopf: “Starting a business without advice from Obama is like going deer hunting without your accordion.”

It’s a beautiful thing