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).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bookgasm on Johnny Porno ... A View from the Bridge ... $100 a day ... Book club? ... KO and Dowd ... DOC says ...


Bookgasm Reviews Johnny Porno ...

Stark House Press has branched out from reissues to put out a brand-new book by Charlie Stella. JOHNNY PORNO is a total throwback to the crime beat of the 1970s, using the idea of the mob’s involvement with the distribution of one of the most notorious porn movies ever made: DEEP THROAT. At the time, it was the center of a major court ruling and embraced as chic by Hollywood.

Stella explains in his introduction the impetus of the novel came to him after watching the documentary INSIDE DEEP THROAT, which delves into all the ins and outs of the film’s production and cultural influence. For his plot, he borrows the fact of how the mob took control of the film and its prints. The main character is John Albano, renamed by one of his contacts as Johnny Porno, since it’s his job to drive all around Long Island, picking up money and counting heads at the showings of the flick.

John knows full well this is a soul-sucking job, but he continues on, since his predecessor tried to cheat his bosses out of some money and wound up dead. John has a son he wants to see as much as possible, which is kind of hard since he owes money to his ex-wife, Nancy, and his hours are not what you would call stable.

Plenty of other characters play important roles in the various subplots. The best comparison that can be made is to the works of George V. Higgins. It helps that Stella seems to be a fan of THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, since both the film and book play into part of the story. Stella not only focuses on John’s life as a pick-up man for the mob, but also a group of detectives trying to bust anyone showing DEEP THROAT, and that 1970s staple of a detective on the take. Then there are the men in Nancy’s life. Her first husband comes back with a great scheme for some easy money, while her current man seems way too good for her.

Stella has fun with DEEP THROAT throughout the book, including the idea to sell fake autographed panties or pointing out that star Linda Lovelace was not what you would call a looker. The author also has a sort of off-the-page cameo from the director of the film, and even brings up the other big porno of the time, starring that Ivory Snow girl.

I’d rather not get any further into plot specifics, but the book is so well-crafted and well-paced that it’s going to make more than a few best-of lists when the time comes. Stella never goes for the cheap outs, letting these characters develop over the course of his story. Not only is it a throwback to the 1970s generation, but one that blows away most set in the present day. —Bruce Grossman (Bookgasm)

A View from the Bridge ... Arthur Miller remains my favorite American dramatist and this particular play I saw a few years back when Anthony Paglia starred in it on Broadway (I think the cost of two tickets back then was less than our monthly mortgage today, but today’s prices rivals it for sure). Miller’s tough and gritty drama about a man who can’t let go of his niece and a niece reluctant to do the same to her uncle, Italian immigrants, the Brooklyn waterfront, the immigration department, the things between husbands and wives and ultimately, snitching, remains one of my favorite Miller pieces (Death of a Salesman retains the title). I read A View twice in the last few weeks and I’m still bowled over by the power in this play. Highly recommended should you ever have the chance to see it without having to give blood (or your first born) to do so.

What you do, read it first, see it second and read it again afterward. It’ll be at least twice as powerful.

$100 a day ... no, not what the American Dream has become; the American Dream remains Mega Lotto (what all our hard work leave us with--pipe dreams). This $100 a day, according to Michael Moore, is the penalty insurance companies will have to pay if they refuse pre-existing conditions. In other words, your cancer care, say, might cost $500,000.00 for a year, but as far as insurance companies are concerned, if they ignore it, it’ll cost them exactly $36,500.00, except in leap year. Then it skyrockets to $36,600.00 Was this really the best the Democratic Party could do for America?

The Manhattan Chapter of the Greater Northeast Regional Book Club Association ... I’m a member and it’s an excellent book club. Last week we discussed The Siege of Krishnapure (reviewed here) ... 3 of the 400 members, that is. Two of us actually read the entire book. The third didn’t make it to the end. This sounds like something DOC would like for sure; a book club where you don’t have to read the books to meet over a few beers.

Keitho’s new low ...
attacking Laura Bush because of her explanation about a tragic car crash she had when a teenager. Unbelievable. I’m sure to Keith and his faithful, Mrs. Bush, being a Republican, was not only guilty of whatever would make her criminally negligent of vehicular homicide, she probably was trying to kill someone that night. And this is why I turn off MSNBC the same way I refuse to listen to FOX.

I remember when Tim Russert passed and Keitho shed some major league fugazy tears. I wonder if he did the same for the "Lion of the Senate" (a.k.a., the drunk responsible for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne {July 26, 1940 – July 18, 1969} who also saw it fit to call his lawyer before the police and/or EMS). Keitho loves to dig deep into Republican scandal, but must have selective memory regarding how the Kennedy clan came to power. What a dick.

Some of yous are right, me and DOC should do the focking news.

As for the arrogance of Goldman Sachs/Wall Sreet, Maureen Dowd said it all here ... Like we said in the previous post regarding Government Sachs ... RICO ... tailor made for corrupt organizations.


And the DOC says ...

Oh, Chaz,

So “Bookgasm” likes your book. That’s great. I’m pretty sure I have told you before, when you write your own book reviews make up a prestigious name. That review would carry a lot more weight if it was from “Prince Edward’s Literary Circle” or “Ashton by the Sea, University of the Arts”.

For someone who doesn’t watch Keith Olberman you certainly seem to have a lot of first hand information. Wasn’t he the guy who came up with the “Teabagger” insult for Tea Party members. Well, I guess if I wanted to know about teabagging, Keith would be the guy I would ask. And you tell me he attacked Laura Bush? (Because I actually don’t watch Keith. I don’t just say I don’t watch him.) Laura is like Mary Poppins without the singing and dancing. Then again, you probably have more readers than Keith has viewers.

Now, in the same blog you have quoted Keith Olberman and Maureen Dowd. Why don’t you put on a fetching little sundress and go frolicking about the park.

The Manhattan Chapter of the Greater Northeast Regional Book Club Association ...

Geez, Chaz, does it have a Committee of Redundancy Committee?

So .5% of the members actually read the assigned book. Could it be that you have a lot of members who like to talk about the “Book Club” that they belong to, but can’t stand all that freaking reading? I’ve heard rumors that some book clubs read books like “The Da Vinci Code”. You know, books that people have actually heard of. Why must you pick books that were obscure 37 years ago? Any time I try to buy some book you have recommended I find myself in a dusty, old, black and white, bookstore with bells on the door and Rod Serling is smoking a cigarette and holding the only copy of the very book you suggested.

Contractual Political Commentary Obligation:

So Fredo says there is a certain point when people have made enough money.
What would that point be? A million?
What do you do when you hit that point?
Maybe Bill Gates should work January 1st from 9am till lunch and then take a 364 day coffee break.

Fredo made $5.5 million last year.

By rights he should take the next 4 years off. That might put Jimmy Carter back in the winner’s circle.

Huzzah they shouted and chortled with glee.

Have a great weekend, Bluto

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Featured TK Review of HBO’s Treme ... DOC says (about Tommy Red) ...


Treme ... A fan of The Wire (although I’ve yet to see the final season), I was a bit ambivalent about watching Treme because of the CNN interview I watched with creator/executive producer, David Simon. In the interview with Candy Crowley, when prodded about Treme’s political statement, Simon mentioned “one particular party” and went on to discuss how the Republican party’s appeal to small town American values is no longer necessarily valid; that 80% of America’s population now exists in urban environments. I thought, “Oh, boy, doesn’t anybody realize the current Administration, going on two years in power, belongs to the Democratic party (with a Congressional majority since 2006) and that the President is half African-American-half Caucasian (or, if you prefer, half black/half white)?

What Simon was arguing regarding small values and urban America may well be just and correct, but the idea that it is the Republican party alone that continues to ignore New Orleans (or any urban city in need) is just not accurate. Both major parties (including President Obama as an Illinois Senator supporting George Bush’s initial bailout of AIG) were more than willing to ignore the American worker (not just American workers in New Orleans) when they bailed out Wall Street without any regard for us, the suckers paying for the federal government’s gift to those who bankrupted us.

I saw Simon’s comments (in the above interview) about the Republican party as political sniping that does little more than point fingers; it certainly doesn’t address the problem. Both parties were and remain complicit in the demise of all big cities, including Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, etc. That Katrina turned into a man-made catastrophe spans several administrations (Republican and Democrat) going beyond the 1965 Betsy disaster in the Lower 9th Ward. The infrastructure of America is collapsing everywhere (including that bridge in Minnesota a few years back). Urban neglect comes in all forms, including political votes that were steered toward bailing out Wall Street at the expense of constituents struggling to survive in every American city.

The loss of a job and a home and often a family and one’s dignity due to the fraud perpetrated by Wall Street (CNN can call it gambling), was nationwide; felt in small town America every bit as much as every American city.

Here’s an idea: Instead of pointing fingers at one party, how about demanding that the $38 BILLION dollars the Obama administration “quietly” dismissed from corporations, banks, etc. that were gifted our money through TARP be redirected toward the levees in New Orleans? Think maybe New Orleans (or any other city in distress) could benefit from those dismissed tax dollars? I don’t know the math, but I’ll suggest that $38 BILLION might go a long way towards rebuilding dikes that had been ignored for decades. Or why not hire out engineers from the Netherlands, an entire country that exists below sea level? Surely $38 BILLION would help.

TK has no use for either party and doesn’t believe for a second one is better than the other in any substantial way deserving of our support (votes). If anything, TK believes that the one supposedly representing the underdog (the Democrats) are the bigger sellout party. Republicans make no bones about who they represent and while they have very valid points about the inefficiency of big government, the “small town values” rhetoric is nothing more than an appeal to an anachronistic time in American history; hard work and doing the right thing (assuming one has the opportunity to do so) no longer guarantee a better life. For millions of Americans, hard work and doing the right thing meant having the rug pulled out from under them by the federal government’s bailout of Wall Street. Last year it meant my wife and I paying an absurd amount of tax dollars above what was taking from our pay checks for working hard (7 days a week) so that Wall Street executives could reward themselves with multi-million dollar bonuses while Hooverville’s were replaced by Bush-Obamavilles in Sacramento California and other places. Tent cities in 2010 in the wealthiest nation in the world? Hard to imagine but there we were (and may still be, I honestly don’t know).

So, I was ambivalent about watching Treme because of the political sniping I believed Simon was engaged in (and not to defend the Republican Party, but not to let the Democratic Party off the hook). Then I heard some of the music from the show while channel surfing Saturday afternoon. I had been practicing drum rudiments on my practice pad in the living room between searching for something to watch. Then I heard the music and stopped surfing, saw it was Treme and said, “Oh, what the hell.”

As it so happens, when my first wife was pregnant with our first child (our daughter, Nicole), we had to cancel a planned cruise by doctor’s orders and visited New Orleans instead. We stayed at the Bienville House in the French Quarter and I got to pick up the drum sticks in their lounge one night because the drummer didn’t show. I was hesitant at first because several people from the audience had volunteered and performed badly, but I finally got up after being urged on by my wife at the time and I wound up playing until closing. It was one of the finest moments in my life (certainly one I'll never forget) and upon returning to New York I started playing again (albeit for a short period of time).

Speaking of drums and a little political digression ... Peter Erskine performing a drum solo the way drum solos are supposed to be played (short and sweet) ... Diane Krall’s husband, Elvis Costello, by the way, appears in Treme and one can only assume his wife will be there soon. The video below is from a concert of Krall’s with Robert Hurst, Anthony Wilson and the “wonderful Peter Erskine on the drums” ... one of the most treasured videos in Casa Stella, I assure you.

All of the politics above aside, I was very glad I finally did watch Treme. It is another wonderful series by Simon and HBO. Even more so than The Wire, which I thought was the second best HBO series (second only to Deadwood in my book). I recognized many of the cast from The Wire and then remembered at least one from Deadwood. The music is fantastic (including Louie Prima’s Buona Sera) and the characters are the kind you have to root for. The sense of culture and community it was the creator’s intent to showcase is handled masterfully; Simon is again at the top of his game. When one character mentioned how the New Orleans Sicilian Mafia of old was more protective of their assets (the city itself) than the government, a bittersweet smile crossed my ugly mug. No, not from an affinity with the Sicilian (or any) mob, but mostly because it is my firm belief that those Goldman Sachs executives, including those President Obama has surrounded himself with in his administration, should be indicted under federal RICO laws. As I stated in the opening to my second book, Jimmy Bench-Press, regarding the high profile corporate criminal at the time (Enron), perhaps it is time to go after the true organized criminals in America. Perhaps it is time to use RICO against companies like Goldman Sachs who appear to have used their standing on Wall Street to defraud an entire country. The fact they were rewarded for it suggests maybe RICO should be turned on the federal government as well, but that would be wishing on a star, wouldn’t it?

The bottom line is Treme is wonderful. See it, amici ... if not for the great acting, writing and directing, than for the music alone. It is truly wonderful music.

In the meantime, here's Diana Krall, Robert Hurst, Anthony Wilson and "the wonderful Peter Erskine on drums" again ...


And the DOC says (about the short story, Tommy Red, from the previous post) ...

Hey Chaz,

Thanks for sharing that glimpse into the chilling underbelly of word processing. I could be wrong, but it seems like you are on the verge of creating a new genre in literature. We could call it “Work Drudgery Noir”. I was at the sneaker store yesterday and I could tell that my salesman, Bobby, had some dark tales to tell.

Trying on sneakers without socks?

“Not on my watch, lady.”

It’s a shame that Harrison Ford is semi-retired because I could see him in your word processing expose’, “Indiana Jones and the Courier Font”. It can’t miss! This could fill a niche that is begging for attention. What could be more satisfying after a long day at a boring job than to see the inner intrigue of a job that’s even more tedious than yours?

I can visualize the chubby, balding accountant leaving the theatre. He turns to his fat wife: “You know, Thelma, if I hadn’t been saddled with you and the kids, I could have been a word processor.”

Thelma glances at him with a look of utter disgust and spits out, “You didn’t have the balls, Harry.”

And we haven’t even touched your stint in the high-stakes world of window washing. Like the time they sprayed WD-40 on your favorite squeegee. Tell me that wouldn’t raise the bar on Drudge Noir.

I’m thinking trilogy here.

Your pal,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wall Street ... Tommy Red (a short story) ... Rodan! ... DOC says


DOC (on Johnny Porno’s arrival).

It's about time!
We've been reading those fake reviews you write for a year now.
Let's hope it doesn't suck.


Regulating Wall Street ... here’s where the ugly Knuckster’s blood boils over. I can’t help but think back to when President Obama stood on his pulpit and decried earmarks, then signed a spending bill containing 9,000 of them.

The too big to fail banks that bankrupted the country with the blessing of a government that refused to watch what was going on were then gifted hundreds of billions of our dollars without any stipulations to protect any of the workers they were firing willy-nilly. They continued to outsource and executives most responsible for the bankruptcies were permitted to gift themselves record bonuses (again, our money). The icing on the cake (for me) was when the Obama administration permitted the bailed out companies to walk away from $38 billion in tax payments. Nobody told Charlie and Ann Marie to ignore the taxes we had to pay last year.

Now Obama wants banking regulation passed? The field has left the gate, Fredo. They’re already in the winner’s circle sipping bubbly paid for by us (not you, us).

And while we’re at it, whatever happened to repealing don’t ask/don’t tell? What, you no longer need a temporary polling boost?

Way to change Washington.

Call me skeptical, but something tells me the regulation (if we ever see it) will be something Wall Street can live with fine and dandy (sort of the same way insurance companies were gifted 33,000,000 new customers) - Obama’s one accomplishment (and insurance companies couldn’t be happier).

Which begs the next question for DOC: What are you complaining about? This guy couldn’t be more like George Bush. He spends, he doesn’t regulate, he feeds the obscenely wealthy from our trough and he’s FOCKING clueless!

The ugly one has a solution. It’s an old one some of yous amici who’ve been here for a while already know. It’s simple and it wouldn’t cost much at all.

Line up BOTH political parties against a wall and ... well, you know.

The Generalissimo is back.

A good “friend of ours” at Temporary Knucksline inspired the following very short story. And at TK, to be made requires what the DOC did ... agree (taking a solemn oath) to write an article for nothing more than beer and/or a few slices of pizza.

Tommy “Red” Dalton ... for those of yous familiar with the Akashic Noir series, a few years back I wrote a story for the Baltimore version called Ode to the O’s. That story had to do with the most evil year in Baltimore’s existence (1969) when the Jets upset the Colts (and the 18½ point spread), the Knicks knocked off the Bullets and the miracle Mets, after losing game 1 of the world series, swept the Orioles. My protagonist, Tommy “Red” Dalton, was a knockaround guy on the make about to do a job for James “Jilly” Cuomo, a mob remnant living in Baltimore. Although Tommy wasn’t the trigger man, he was breaking his cherry, so to speak, as part of a hit.

Fast forward a few years (post Baltimore Noir), including a three year prison sentence for extortion, and Tommy has changed his life. After his wife divorced him, he left Baltimore and learned word processing through the Prison Work Release Program. Always a hustler, Tommy brought his solid work ethic to the industry after landing a job as a word processor with an International law firm. He quickly became a top notch operator and was able to jump from firm to firm because of his skills, speed and accuracy. When the economic crisis hit, Tommy was working for a smaller law firm where management seemed to thrive on incompetence. After two years of getting the job done and receiving excellent work reviews he wanted a raise. What he received instead was frustration. Fed up with doing what he thought was expected of him, Tommy needs to vent when he meets up with an friend from back in the day and the two have a conversation about his dilemma:

Tommy Red (Coming and Going)

James Jilly Cuomo Jr. was up to New York from Baltimore for the weekend. He met with Tommy Red Dalton, a transplanted Baltimore friend of his father’s from way back twenty minutes ago. The two rehashed the seven years that had passed since the last time they’d seen each other. Back then it was outside the gates of the Baltimore Correctional Facility where Tommy was about to serve a three year sentence for extortion.¬

Jilly Jr. was the son of a legend street guy back in Baltimore, but had recently given up the rackets to pursue a legitimate life selling used cars. Tommy had also turned the corner on crime and was a word processor for a small law firm in Manhattan.¬

After catching up as best they could in twenty minutes time, Jilly Jr. asked Tommy what it was he was doing to make a buck.¬

“Computers,” Tommy said. “Word processing. It’s typing mostly. Some formatting, making things look good on a page, making changes to legal documents, transcribing tapes and so on.”¬

Jr.’s eyes opened wide. “Tapes? You get anything criminal?”¬

Tommy chuckled. “No, nothing like that, brother. Some interesting divorce cases, though. The money some people have, Jr., make your old man, rest in peace, spin in his grave. And what these lawyers charge their clients ... forgetaboutit. We only thought we was stealing back in the day.”¬

“How’s it pay?”¬

“After what I send back down to Baltimore for the kids? Spit, but I can hustle this way, working one job full-time and doing some temp work keeps me out of debt. Problem is I got in late and it’s all going overseas now. Outsourcing. They pay people over in India probably three cents an hour so they’re all sending the work there. It’s dying, word processing is and all the firms know it. ‘Specially this one I’m with now, the cocksuckers. I’m there two plus years and haven’t seen a nickel raise. I would’ve gotten hired after the banking crisis, they would’ve paid me half what I’m getting now. It’s only a matter of time and I’ll be gone too.”¬

“That sucks,” Jr. said. “But you can always come sell cars for me, you want. You know you got an open invitation.”¬

“I appreciate it,” Tommy said. “And I may take you up on it. Meantime, I gotta wait my turn on the block. This unemployment thing works out, once I get the ax, I can answer phones in the meantime. Some guy I met in a bar up here has an office. I put a few hours a week clerking there for him. It’s the extra scratch lets me breath again.”¬

“I hear you,” Jr. said.¬

They were having lunch at a Mexican restaurant with outdoor tables. Jr. bit into a taco while Tommy picked at a guacamole salad.¬

“So, how’s it work, this outsourcing thing?” Jr. asked. “I hear it on the news all the time but I don’t really understand it.”¬

“Jobs we should be doing here get sent over the Internet across the world where they pay the guy doing the work a piece of lamb or some shit. The companies here save on salary, benefits, pensions and whatnot. And some of these are the same companies this asshole government just bailed out after they fucked up. Companies claim they gambled and lost. What we used to call that, Jr. What would your old man, rest in peace, call it?”¬

“They gambled and lost? The old man’d call it tough fuckin’ shit.”¬

“Thank you,” Tommy said. “They’re dirty, these politicians, same as the bankers. They can figure out a way to use RICO against bookmakers beating the system for a couple hundred grand a year, if that much, but they can’t figure out a way to go after these banker thieve cocksuckers just burnt all of us for seven, eight hundred billion? Big crock of shit, you ask me.”¬

“Why a guy always has to look for an angle,” Jr. said. “Probably why your red hair is turning gray.”¬

“And it’s gettin’ worse,” Tommy said. “The shit I put up with onna’ job I’m at now. The motherfuckers just whacked one guy was a workhorse and they’re gonna go the same route as the rest of them with the outsourcing, except to their home office in the U.S. rather than India. To the people working here it’s the same fucking thing. Outsource it where the people here can’t get to work and you’re taking their jobs away, no matter what kind of bullshit they call it.”¬

“That’s fucked up, brother.”¬

“You don’t know the half of it,” Tommy said. He became animated, waving his hands as he spoke. “What passes for executive material in the white collar world, Jr., we’d fuckin’ piss on in the streets. We’d laugh them off the fuckin’ court.”¬

“I hear that,” Jr. said. ¬

“It’s why everything is so fucked up,” Tommy said. “The assholes running things, they’re so busy making sure they’re dressed right, using the right buzz words, blowing the right bosses, they don’t see the end game. They’re too caught up with jerking themselves off, the dumb shits. Too busy doing bullshit while they duck their responsibility.”¬

Jr. said, “It’s the economy, too. That’s on their side too now, Tommy. They know they got you by the balls so they squeeze.”¬

“Fuck that,” said Tommy, waving his right hand over his shoulder. “This broad I had to talk to, the head of the office I’m at now? I says to her, I says, that guy you fired last week was a fuckin’ work machine, honey. No breaks, no lunch to speak of, he was out of the office no more than ten minutes to get himself a slice or whatever, he’s back at his desk typing before you could take a piss. He’s typing between bites, the lunatic.”¬

“Company boy?”¬

“I don’t think so. I think it was his way. Like it’s mine, tell you the truth. It’s a job, you do it. Except this guy took it to extremes. He worked like there was a fuckin’ gun to his head. You think they care? They made a fool out of his dedication in the end. Fired him without blinking.”¬

“What he do?”¬

“There’s all kinds of rumors, but that’s the way it always is. All I know is I didn’t think this guy would ever get whacked the way he worked. Did all kinds of overtime, middle of the night, weekends, whatever. They needed him, he was there. Had a temper and got a little snippy with some of the secretaries, but that could’ve been the hours and effort. It’s something could’ve been handled, I think. Bottom line is the way he produced was something they’ll never replace.”¬

“What they tell you, the ones did the firing?”¬

Tommy stroked the air with a fist. “Bullshit, what else. A company wants you out, they’ll make any-fuckin’-thing up to do it. The bottom line is everybody was in shock and nobody thinks they’re safe anymore. Not for a minute.”¬

“Just how the like it, I’ll bet,” Jr. said. “The company, I mean.”¬

Tommy took a quick sip of his beer. “The one pulled this move off walks around like she’s James Bond now,” he said. “Thinks she’s something special. Something to be feared. The fuckin’ skank.”¬

“They got subway stairs where you work?” Jr. asked.¬

Tommy waved it off. “Not worth it, brother.” He belched into a fist, excused himself and said, “Personally, I think he was out of his mind slaving away like he did, but that don’t change the fact what he produced was huge. Incredible amounts of work, Jr. And fast? I don’t mean compared to some lame cocksucker gotta figure out what the fuck he’s looking at first. I’m talking twice as fast as the average mope. What he did in two hours would take an average operator four minimum. Probably more. Now he’s gone and I’m the one left and they claim they don’t know how fast or good or bad I am, why I’m still waiting for a fuckin’ raise, because I never ratted the other guy out while he was choosing to kill himself. You believe that shit? It’s my fault they were fucking sleeping on the job. It’s my fault it’s their department and they don’t know shit from a hole in the wall about what’s going on or why.”¬

Jr. took another bite from his taco, then shook his head. “Assholes,” he said.¬

Tommy took a long pull from his beer this time. “Like I believe for a second they didn’t know,” he said. “And it’s not like I slacked. I asked he wanted help, he said yes, I did it. Other work come in, I did it. I did it fast and on the ball, but they’re making it like I was supposed to run to the head of the office and cry about him doing more work than me. Fuck that shit.”¬

“That’s just covering their ass,” Jr. said. “Every asshole we ever had to deal with onna street couldn’t handle his business had an excuse, Tommy. You know that.”¬

Tommy was still too wound up and didn’t hear what Jr. had said. “They didn’t know my ass,” he said. “The fuckin’ guy is working there ten fuckin’ years, Jr. Ten years. The fuck does it take to figure something out?”¬

“Why if these assholes were managing anything on the streets they’d get whacked and with good reason,” Jr. said.¬

“Thank you,” Tommy said. He stopped to take a short pull on his beer. “But another thing, and this kills me just as much, they claim they didn’t know what time we was in the building working. What the fuck kind of bullshit is that, I ask you? I says to her, I says, ‘How is that possible when I received emails from you telling me I forgot to swipe my card this morning? How is that possible when you can tell people what internet site they’re visiting? How’s it possible you don’t ask the head of your IT department what the fuck is going on? Sorry, honey, sounds like bullshit to me.’ What she should do is take her fuckin Rodan act, stickin' her fuckin' beak in the middle of shit for the sake of making believe she’s doing her job, and go on the road with it. Somebody above her ever sips the caffeinated stuff, that might happen, except she's any indication of the rest of the management that place, they're all probably asleep at the fuckin' wheel.”¬

“They know but they don’t know,” Jr. said. “Like fuckin’ politicians. No shit sticks to them.”¬

“And then this broad got snappy and sarcastic because I didn’t know some executive in the company. I made the mistake of asking the question, ‘Who’s this guy?’”¬

Jr. smirked. “She knows the names of the bosses but she don’t know what she’s supposed to be managing. Par for the course, brother.”¬

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Tommy said. “I says to her, I says, 'Why would I care who this guy is?' He’s the head of this or that? God bless him. Who fuckin’ cares. How about instead of memorizing which ass to kiss you pay attention to the departments you’re in charge of so instead of a bullshit story I get a raise for my two excellent reviews? Instead of telling me how much everybody loves me, how about you throw me some coin? How about that?”¬

Jr. chuckled. “How’d you leave off?”¬

Finally calm again, Tommy took a quick pull on his beer this time, belched into a fist and said, “I figure I’m on the block. I hope I am. She’s used to her people shitting their pants around her. Fuck that. Be nice have the summer off. Especially knowing how over their fuckin’ heads they’re gonna be now they got nobody to do anything with any speed in there. Guys bring the work in are gonna love that, hearing how they’re jobs are gonna take twice as long and there’s a good chance they’ll be fucked up when they get them back.”¬

Jr. picked up his beer in toast. “So, fuck’em,” he said.¬

“You got that right,” Tommy said. “Take a hard working man’s incentive away because you’re an incompetent moron? Fuck’em coming and going, my brother. Coming and going.”

TK says the password is Rodan. When she sticks her beak into stuff, everything gets FOCKED UP ...

What the video above doesn't mention after it posts: "This could be your city" is ... That could be your company!

That is one fierce bitch ...


Preorder Johnny Porno here ...

And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

Great Knucksline… up to a point, and we’ll get to that later.

Wall Street:

Basically, Fredo will push any bill as long as it has a generous slush fund attached to it so he can divvy it up to purchase campaign contributions. I think this newest “too big to fail” bill has $50 billion in bailout funds. It’s funny how people always associate the Repubicans with Big Business. In the last election, Goldman Sachs contributed three times more fazools to the Dimocrats than the Repubicans.

The new bill gives us a state sponsored, high stakes, poker player. When he loses we give him his money back. When he wins, he keeps it all. What a deal!

Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell:

So what happens when they repeal it? What do we have then…” Make sure you ask and I’ll fill you in?

“Bob, you certainly sound qualified for the job and we’d love to have you on board. I just need to ask you what kind of sex you like?”

“Well, Mr. Jones, I like to have swarthy, Latin men stick gerbils up my ass and call me Sally.”

“Outstanding, Bob. Let me tell you about our 401K plan.”

Face it, Chaz, “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.” is a fact of life. Do you think you would have your current position if your employers knew about the leather underwear and the farm animals?

Now for the more important issue.

“With absolutely no regard to plans or inclination”
“Without forethought or sense of consequence”

Either of these would be totally acceptable.
“Willy-nilly” is not acceptable!

For one, you are a writer.

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was kind of a willy-nilly sort of times.”
That loses a lot of the drama doesn’t it?

Point two: You are a tough guy.

“Well, you gotta pay me now or your leg will be pointing in willy-nilly directions.”
When the mope stops laughing, do you think he'll pay you?

Would Clint Eastwood say it?

“This is a .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world. You must be thinking. Did he fire five shots or all six shots? Well frankly, I don’t know because I have been shooting willy-nilly. Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?”
You don’t get the five picture deal with “willy-nilly".

Have a great weekend, big guy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

An Update ... Booklist Preview of a Review ... Somebody Dies on JP ... Slip/Fall ... Ali G ... The Gambler ... DOC Says ...


The DOC has informed me of a message he received from amazon:

Hello from

We're writing about the order you placed on January 25 2010 (Order# 002-_______). Unfortunately, the release date for the item(s) listed below has changed, and we need to provide you with a new delivery estimate based on the new release date:

Charlie Stella "Johnny Porno"
Estimated arrival date: May 03 2010 - May 07 2010

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this delay.

But since yous are already here anyway ... how about a followup to The Gambler?

Picking up where we left off with The Gambler ... English Professor Axel Fried explains Dostoevsky’s The Gambler; that “desire is life” and that 2 & 2 = 5, “all athletes and poets know that. It’s their secret connection ... they know that two and two are five.”

— Knucks


Booklist Preview a Review to appear in the May 1st Review.

Don’t be fooled by the title - it’s just a gangster moniker. Elmore Leonard fans are going to love Stella’s entirely original contribution to the slice-of-criminal-life genre, down-and-dirty division. After the release of Deep Throat, the low-budget porn flick starring Linda Lovelace that captured the hearts and genitals of a nation, as well as making a substantial amount of cash, the Mob suddenly realizes that the legal situation in 1973 makes “fuck movies” viable and highly marketable to the masses. It’s no longer necessary to show them in rented warehouses. So enter entertainment purveyor and bagman John Albano, soon rechristened “Johnny Porno,” and a cast of gangsters all recruiting “talent” and following the money. This is the seventh novel from Stella (Mafiya, 2008), who has made the underside of the New York underworld his home.—Elliott Swanson (Booklist)

Speaking of Reviews’s Somebody Dies on Johnny Porno. Here’s a brief summary of the review:

“Based on my experience with Johnny Porno — I haven't read his other books but plan to remedy that soon (Charlie Opera is $2.00 on Smashwords) — I must say that Charlie Stella is one of the best writers the crime genre currently has to offer. He's a natural wordsmith, putting down the way people really talk in a way that still reads smoothly — not an easy task. The fact that Stark House Press, who previously focused on reprinting "lost" pulp novels, chose Stella as their first original author — after author Ed Gorman recommended him upon reading the manuscript — says a lot about his peers' respect for him.”
>— Craig Clarke (Somebody Dies)

Back pains ... thank God for those reviews ... the ulgy Knuckster took a fall early this morning. You know you’re getting old when the pain goes from your back to your toes. So much for all that aerobic stuff I was doing. As it happens my gym closed (AGAIN) for renovations (talk about a fugazy operation) and I wouldn’t have been able to go for another week anyway. It’ll probably be more like two weeks before I get to work out again.

I'll say it before DOC does, that picture needs another 100 pounds or so to be accurate.

Ali G and his main man, Patrick Boooochanon ...

The Gambler ...
one of my top 10 movies of all time (also recommended by Dave Gresham way back in the day) ... James Caan and Paul Sorvino. You want GREAT dialogue? This is the best dialogue I’ve ever heard in any movie. And Mahler’s Titan as background music throughout the movie is god damned PERFECT. Caan plays an English professor from a wealthy Jewish family. Caan has a bad habit. Sorvino is his bookie. Classical music abounds.

“Forty-four thousand dollars, Axel,” Sorvino tells Caan. “It ain’t just numbers.”

Trust me, amici, it ain’t.

What a great movie ...


There’s been a one week delay in printing of Johnny Porno. It will be released next week.

Pre-order it (Johnny Porno) here.

And the DOC says ...

Okay, Chaz, we get it.

Johnny Porno is a great book. However, if I have to read another glowing review of it my head is going to explode. Just to shut you up, even I bought 2 copies, and I normally just clip them from your bookcase. To wrap this up, I am including several additional reviews that you have somehow forgotten to include.

Bill Clinton: I loved Johnny Porno. It gave me wood, if you know what I mean. I would suggest that every American male buy several copies because after a while the pages are hard to separate. I can say unequivocally that reading JP is better than sleeping with the Secretary of State. Trust me.

Sarah Palin: Another dirty book from Charlie Stella? You betcha!

Michelle Obama: Charlie’s book reminds me of my garden. He starts with a single word and that grows into a wonderful novel. Just last week I was photographed planting seeds in my White House garden. This week we harvested 25,000 pounds of food to feed America’s poor. For the second time in my life I’m proud to be an American.

Elmore Leonard: So what now, people are going to start saying that I write like Charlie Stella? Screw the fat fuck!

Richard Simmons: That a skinny person hidden inside that ginormous body could create something so wonderful just makes me want to cry. I love you Charlie.

Nancy Pelosi: Charlie’s book is like my health plan. After you buy it, then you’ll find out what is in it.

Salvatore “Sally Sweaters” Moscarelli: I have no foreknowledge of this alleged Mafia to which Mr. Charlie Stella allegedly refers.

Barak Obama: Writing crime stories is easy. Try writing two auto-biographies when you haven’t actually accomplished anything.

Your pal,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dirty Sexy Books on Johnny Porno ...


Dirty Sex books has a review of Johnny Porno and asked Charlie Stella to be a guest blogger today. So, here's Johnny ...

And here’s Charlie (and some of his suggested readings) ...

We want to thank Rebecca Baumann for taking the time to read and review Johnny Porno. Her blog is pretty amazing as well as illuminating. Last week she posted about “Jaw dropping” X rated scenes and some of those scenes from the romance genre had me doing a double take. It’s a fun site.

Once again, thanks to Rebecca, very, very much.

The review can also be found here.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

An Interview with Charlie Stella about the DOC ... DOC says (Part 1) ... DOC Responds (oy gavelt)


The following is Part 1 of a multi part interview between Temporary Knucksline and Charlie Stella. The interview was conducted at Casa Stella on April 10-11, 2010.

TK: You’ve finally agreed to this interview. Why?

CS: Publicity. I and Johnny Porno can use it.

TK: Well, you’ll certainly have some now.

CS: Yeah, I saw you have 19 followers, including one that’s a link to my review site so it’s really just 18 followers.

TK: Not everyone who reads TK is a follower.

CS: You’re starting to embarrass yourself. Maybe you should move on.

TK: Fair enough. Tell us about DOC. We understand his fans out number yours 20:1.

CS: At least.

TK: How do you handle that?

CS: Whatever brings them to the party is fine with me. DOC is very funny, even if it is at my expense.

TK: And President Obama’s, no?

CS: Yeah, Fredo too.

TK: Why Fredo, while we’re at it?

CS: You ever see The Godfather? Fredo is the slow son. He can’t make decisions. He fumbles the gun when he should be defending his father. If Obama fumbles the ball anymore, he’ll make George Bush look smart and that would require something akin to severe brain damage. I'm sure George Bush is a nice guy and I voted for him twice. I'm sure Obama is a nice guy and although I didn't vote for him and opted for Ralph Nader instead, he's proving the old cliche about them all being the same. As far as I'm concerned, he's been as useless as tits on a bull to the American worker and has more than deserved the support of big businesses everywhere (so much for changing things).

TK: How did you and DOC meet?

CS: At a marketing research job a long time ago now. I saw him bundled up one fine summer day and had to follow him; I thought he might've been a suicide bomber before those clowns were hot topics. DOC was wearing so many layers I figured he had to be concealing something. Twenty minutes later he’s walking into Mudloon’s on Third Avenue, arguably the hottest bar-restaurant in New York in terms of actual temperature. The city morgue brings stiffs they need to thaw out there overnight. I went in the back of the bar and there was DOC asking a young lass if they could turn the heat up just a little more. It must have been 115 degrees. I introduced myself and fainted.

TK: You two are quite an act. We’ve had several suggestions that you two start a radio or television show.

CS: That we start it, huh? And how do we do that? Besides, that would mean actually working and DOC is too comfortable these days sitting in his lounge chair at Earl Scheib’s under the heat lamps they use to dry the paint jobs on cars they’re redoing to ever want to work again.

TK: This sounds like you’re taking advantage of his not being here to take a few shots at the DOC.

CS: Oh, don’t worry about DOC. He’ll have a boatload of responses once this hits the internet. And then his fans will write to me about how funny he is.

TK: Is that jealousy we detect?

CS: Let’s put it this way, I wish I had as many readers as he has fans on that dopey blog you run.

TK: But you’re friends, right?

CS: Who else would like us but ourselves? Of course.

TK: We were told to veer away from politics, but we do need to touch on some of it now as it pertains to DOC. You and he seem joined at the hip on some issues and worlds apart on others.

CS: Pretty much, although where we’re worlds apart I’m the one on planet earth.

TK: Well, you’ve been known to be a bleeding heart liberal in your past, then a vocal supporter of George Bush in both his elections, you called yourself the Generalissimo for a while and then supported the socialist party and Ralph Nader. If I’m not mistaken, you’ve recently formed your own party, the Curmudgeons?

CS: Way to veer away from politics.

TK: It’s hard to avoid it. About this curmudgeon thing ...

CS: It’s probably a combination of fascism and progressivism; I’m a hawk with a golden heart. Life knocked the bleeding heart out of me. I’ve seen the damage being a tree hugger can do up close, especially in the workplace. Unfortunately, the economy today couldn’t be better for management. They’re raping the work force to the point where workers are happy to have a job and accept no raises, bonuses and reduced benefits with a smile. I cringe when I hear fellow workers say “at least we still have a job.” It boils my blood we’ve become so complacent, especially after the sacrifices we all had to make for the benefit of the filthy rich on Wall Street. So, while governments really can’t run anything successfully, neither can private business be left unattended. Capitalism has become more dangerous to the true middle class than anything else I can think of. The haves need not worry. Neither do the have-nots (so long as they’re comfortable being have-nots), but it’s the middle class working for the one and paying for the other that is being crushed. The land of opportunity is swollen with illegal immigrants, a very spoiled younger generation, a failing education system, inflated college degrees and unrivaled greed at the top of the food chain. Someone is going to tell me that CEO’s rewarding themselves with multi-million dollar bonuses (even if their companies aren’t on the government tit), worked for it by the sweat of their brow? Christ, that makes my head explode—the miners who just died in that Virginia coal mine disaster were the ones doing the sweating.) I’m not envious of the younger generation and I can’t think about my own future and retirement some day without wondering whether I’ll be forced into early retirement and living on food stamps or working at some menial job until I drop dead. Curmudgeons are about common sense. We’re all for national health insurance but not until the Medicaid fraud is cleaned up and those responsible for both ignoring the fraud and committing it are in jail. We’re all for a strong national defense but not fighting a war over rocks or oil. We have a simple formula for war: Kill one of ours and we’ll kill 100 of yours (and there’s no need to put boots anywhere near the ground with what we have in weaponry). We have nothing against foreigners but realize the borders need to be sealed for a while, maybe a long time (maybe a very long time) and that’s a difficult position for us to take because we do realize that immigrants are the ones willing to work hard and appreciate the opportunity while too many of our own citizens are all too willing to sit back and watch. Another issue that just can’t go on anymore has to do with women who choose to have kids without the means to support them going about it another half dozen times or more—it isn’t fair to the women, the kids or the rest of society. At some point, somebody has to intervene (whether by chip or operation). Men who father kids and move on need to pay the freight or spend some time getting familiar with the penal experience. Schools don’t get to pass kids that can’t read or write. Teachers don’t get tenure. Who came up with that anyway? You can’t get fired? Bull-fucking-shit. If I can get fired (and I have), so can you. As for Wall Street, we don’t see how or why we’d let them off the hook so easy and not only ignore what they did, but permit them to reward themselves for doing it. The guys behind the economic meltdown on Wall Street should be in jail, not maintaining the status quo. So, yeah, I’m a hawk with a golden heart.

TK: And DOC?

CS: He’s more a hawk with a somewhat smaller heart.

TK: How do you two co-exist?

CS: Booze.

TK: We can’t help but notice how he gets the best of you in each new post. You and President Obama.

CS: DOC’s a great writer and extremely smart. He’s also got nothing better to do all day than plan his responses. While he can be very quick witted, he often takes a few days to drop the hammer on me and President Obama. The bottom line is he makes me laugh so hard I can’t wait to post his responses so I actually hound him to respond (like today for instance; many of your readers want to see a picture of DOC. I requested one of him in his Speedo but he’s playing coy again). And for those on the left who think him crass, you couldn’t be more wrong. He’s one of the most decent people I know. Granted, I don’t know many, but DOC would give the shirt off his back to anyone in genuine need. Just don’t ask him for a lift. He’ll probably use that shitty little thing he drove me to the weight lifting meet in a few weeks ago that nearly paralyzed me.

TK: He once asked where was your liberalism when you were working a street life and lending money at usurious rates. We noticed you never replied.

CS: Yeah, well, that’s sort of like where’s his hatred of all things Government while he collects unemployment and has a Cadillac health insurance plan because his saint of a wife is a nurse. We tend to avoid the stuff that makes us walking contradictions.

TK: Is he really a rifle and knife expert?

CS: Does a bear shit in the woods?

TK: I see. You’ve mentioned he wrote a survival novel and that you’re pushing to get published.

CS: It’s a terrific novel. Full of DOC’s charm and wit (so they’ll be some laughs and for once it won’t be at my or President Obama’s expense). It really is a terrific read. Hopefully, after the economy picks up, if it ever does again, some clever agent will take it on and take a shot. I think it’s at least as funny as some of the guys doing dark humor out there today. Frankly, I think it’s better than most of what's out there today. I’d think DOC’s whacky gun nut friends alone would push that book over the top as far as sales go. The NRA isn’t some tiny group of illiterate rednecks. Then there’s the NASCAR circuit and science fiction fans. I think DOC’s book would make a killing if handled right. You’ve seen it for yourself on that dopey blog of yours, the man can flat out write.

TK: If his novel is published, would DOC still have time to comment on Temporary Knucksline?

CS: Judging by his current success (or maybe it’s his effort) in finding a new job, I’d say he’ll have time to write for TK, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Tea Party Quarterly.

TK: We’re about done with Part 1 of this first of many interviews with you. Anything more you want to add about DOC or mention about Johnny Porno?

CS: We’ve spend enough time on DOC today. Besides, he’ll respond at my expense and then I’ll have to read all his damn fan mail again (including one from one of my sons). As for Johnny Porno, we’re still waiting on a few industry reviews, but I went and did something this go I’ve never done before. I requested reviews from readers directly. I shopped the amazon top reviewer lists and tried to narrow down a few people I thought might enjoy my type of crime fiction. I also got a little bold and requested reads from people completely outside my genre. I’ve received one response so far and it was a very pleasant one that will be posted on Tuesday on a romance blog run by Rebecca Baumann called Dirty Sexy Books. Rebecca was nice enough to read and review JP and asked me to guest post on her blog Tuesday. It’s a mostly romance review blog, although Rebecca does read a ton of other fiction, including crime fiction. I hope to hear from another dozen or so reviewers I contacted over the next few weeks. Hopefully most of them will enjoy JP, but I’m not delusional enough to expect universal appeal.

TK: Anything else you’d like to discuss?

CS: Yeah, this is for my son, Dustin. It’s your move, kid. I miss you and I’m around.

Art of the day (my wife's favorite scene from Goodfellas) ... and whatta'ya want from me?:

Music to play some drums by ...


And the DOC says (part 1):

Hey Chaz,

Most of the pictures of me are daguerrotypes and they don't convert well to JPGs.

I have this one hand drawn by Walt ...

and this one ...
and this one of me and my favorite author... and you.

TK looks good, but I have to help my daughter move (again). I might possibly have some comments later tonight. I see you finally figured out a way to make that schizophrenia pay off.

Your pal,

DOC Responds:

Hey Chaz,

I buffed it up for you. Fixed the punctuation and stuff.

The following is Part 1 of a multi part interview between Temporary Knucksline and Charlie Stella. The interview was conducted at Casa Stella on April 10-11, 2010.

TK: You’ve finally agreed to this interview. Why?

CS: Publicity. I’m an attention whore and Johnny Porno can use it.

TK: Well, you’ll certainly have some now.

CS: Yeah, I saw you have 19 followers. I asked Doc to sign up as a follower and he spit on my shoes.

TK: Not everyone who reads TK is a follower. Basically, TK is the blogsite of low expectations. That’s why we don’t allow bloggers. This way people with no original ideas and no personality don’t feel challenged or left out.

CS: You’re starting to embarrass yourself. Maybe you should move on.

TK: Fair enough. Tell us about DOC. We understand his fans out number yours 20:1.

CS: At least and with good reason I might add.

TK: How do you handle that?

CS: Whatever brings them to the party is fine with me. Plus, it costs me nothing. I throw him a slice of pizza and a brewski every once in a while and he’s happy or at least as close to happy as someone with his shitty attitude gets. DOC is very funny, even if it is at my expense.

TK: And President Obama’s expense too, no?

CS: Yeah, Fredo too.

TK: Why Fredo, while we’re at it?

CS: Well, Doc came up with that. Considering the fact that he is slightly to the right of George Patton and lived for 20 years in Howard Beach he has to tread lightly on racial issues. “Fredo” got the point across without mentioning that he was clean and articulate with no negro dialect unless he wants one. Oh wait, those were Democrat responses.

TK: How did you and DOC meet?

CS: At a marketing research job a long time ago now. He used to work with wife number six or number nine. I can never remember which. Let’s face it, in the marriage game I make Elizabeth Taylor look like Fatima of Lourdes.

TK: You two are quite an act. We’ve had several suggestions that you two start a radio or television show.

CS: That’s a good idea. We could be like Burns and Allen but without the boobs.

TK: This sounds like you’re taking advantage of his not being here to take a few shots at the DOC.

CS: Oh no! When I grow up I want to be the Doc.

TK: Is that jealousy we detect?

CS: Let’s look at his life. He gets up at 10:00, has coffee, plays in his garden. Has a couple of brewskis, swims in his pool. Takes a shower, goes out and buys more brewskis and more plants. Couple more brewskis, reads your blog, drinks some Haterade, answers your blog, couple more brewskis, time for bed. His wife works at night, so she sleeps all day. Wouldn’t you be jealous?

TK: But you’re friends, right?

CS: Who else would like us but ourselves? Of course.

TK: We were told to veer away from politics, but we do need to touch on some of it now as it pertains to DOC. You and he seem joined at the hip on some issues and worlds apart on others.

CS: Pretty much, although where we’re worlds apart it’s mostly because Doc is a Constitutionalist and I am a rabid Communist. I think we should collect all the money, give it to ACORN and SEIU and let them distribute it. I’m sure they would be fair. Doc thinks if you earn money you should be allowed to keep it.

TK: Well, you’ve been known to be a bleeding heart liberal in your past, then a vocal supporter of George Bush in both his elections, you called yourself the Generalissimo for a while and then supported the socialist party and Ralph Nader. If I’m not mistaken, you’ve recently formed your own party, the Curmudgeons?

CS: Way to veer away from politics. I’m beginning to understand why you only have 19 followers.

TK: It’s hard to avoid it. About this curmudgeon thing ...

CS: It’s probably a combination of fascism and progressivism; I’m a hawk with a golden heart. Blah, blah, blah, Capitalism bad, Blah, blah, blah, Unions good, Blah, blah, blah, Wall Streeters killed the coal miners, Blah, blah, blah, Everyone deserves a chance, Blah, blah, blah, Can’t we all just get along, Blah, blah, blah, Bush lied and somebody cried, Blah, blah, blah. So, yeah, I’m a hawk with a golden heart. Good Lord, did I really say that out loud? I am the sparrow with the heart of a king! I am a toaster with the heart of a Waring blender!

TK: It might be wise to put down the crack pipe for the rest of the interview.

CS: You might be right.

TK: And DOC’s political views?

CS: He’s the hawk that makes the other hawks nervous with a somewhat smaller, blacker, colder heart and no relationships to kings or blenders.

TK: How do you two co-exist?

CS: Booze and the fact that he is my personal hero.

TK: We can’t help but notice how he gets the best of you in each new post. You and President Obama.

CS: DOC’s a great writer and extremely smart. He’s also a snarky, little bastard with too much time on his hands. And don’t be expecting to meet him if you’re taking the High Road. He once told me, “Chaz, if you find yourself in a fair fight, your strategy sucks.”

TK: He once asked where was your liberalism when you were working a street life and lending money at usurious rates. We noticed you never replied.

CS: We tend to avoid the stuff that makes us walking contradictions. Could we get back to analyzing Doc? Did I ever tell you his favorite actress is Elvira Mistress of the Dark?

TK: Is he really a rifle and knife expert?

CS: Does Obama throw like a girl?

TK: I see. You’ve mentioned he wrote a survival novel and that you’re pushing to get published.

CS: It’s a terrific novel. Full of DOC’s charm and wit. I’m not really pushing that hard to get it published. The way I see it, giving Doc a whole bunch of money would be like giving a gorilla a nuclear missile. No good is likely to come of it.

TK: If his novel is published, would DOC still have time to comment on Temporary Knucksline?

CS: I don’t see how he finds the time right now. With the drinking, gardening, swimming and some occasional target practice his days are pretty much booked.

TK: We’re about done with Part 1 of this first of many interviews with you. Anything more you want to add about DOC or mention about Johnny Porno?

CS: We’ve spend enough time on DOC today. Buy my book. I need the money. If you saw my food bills you would think Obama is doing my shopping. I have a $7,000 drum set and a $400 car. If ordering the book is too much trouble, just send $25 to my house. I’ll give you the address.

TK: Anything else you’d like to discuss?

CS: Yeah, could we go back and edit out that whole “hawk with the heart of gold” section?

TK: ‘Fraid not… freedom of the press and all that nonsense.

CS: Oh fuck! Doc is going to have a party with that.

TK: Too late. He’s already seen it. He was laughing so hard he dropped his revolver.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

REVIEWS ... Nuke this ... Andre Reed/Kutzton University ... Shout! ... DOC says ...


Smart Writing … Tom Piccirilli’s Shadow Season was a fine two day page turner that featured very good writing and a blind protagonist (Finn) with a dark past. A blind ex-cop teaching English to an all girl private school is the story background when we start, but there’s much more to the story. Piccirilli does a great job of stringing us (the readers) along with hints of Finn’s background, including the how and why he’s blind (and sporting a metal plate in his head). His recent past includes a too close to call near tryst with one of his underage students which serves as a prelude (as we later learn) to something he’s waiting to do regarding an ex partner about to be released from Sing-Sing. What the blind might see (or envision) can be both daunting and hopeful and Finn experiences both throughout the novel. Local color is deftly handled and even when the plot starts to stretch a bit, Finn’s likeability keeps us glued to the pages – the all important what happens next is never in danger of being ignored. No spoilers here (ever) but what I found most enjoyable about this thriller was the ending. It’s a more than pleasant surprise for those who don’t require what some others might depend on.

The Venetian Blonde … recently deceased author A. S. (“Sid”) Fleischman’s noir tale of fraud most foul in Venice Beach, California … a tribute to the gumshoe genre, Fleischman’s lingo was way cool to read in this twisting and turning series of events surrounding a card shark who lost his touch (and somebody else’s stake of $150 G’s) back east and has people looking for him and their money. There’s a blonde, of course, although she’s not necessarily necessary, her image is pleasant. There’s also a grifter named Maggie, the wife of another grifter (a former friend of the card shark), there are beatings and bodies and then Séances for the rich and drunk. If you’re in the mood for some of that old lingo, The Venetian Blonde is a quick, fun read.

As it turns out, amici, my publisher (Stark House Press) reprints a few of Sid's books. From the publisher, Greg Sheperd: Stark House reprinted this one (The Venetian Blonde) with Look Behind You, Lady back in late '06. And this summer, right after JP, we're doing Danger in Paradise and Malay Woman by Sid as well. TK will be reviewing some of those babies for sure.

Expiration Date … one more fun read from the Polish Prince of noir comedy and all things nostalgic, Duane Swierczynski. An out-of-work journalist, Mickey Wade/Wadcheck (pronounced Vahd-chek), is dead; in fact he was killed right when the book begins (right before the fun starts). In a down and out way, Mickey is moved to the apartment his grandpa used to live in and finds some Tylenol pills in the medicine cabinet and since he’s got a headache, well ... he takes a few pills and finds himself back on the day he was born in his home town in the same apartment, etc. … it’s 1972 (and all things nostalgic for this reader are always fun). Remember sticking a dirty penny in your mouth and what that tastes like? So does the author and he has his protagonist remind us of it, amongst many other things from 1972 (I was 16). There are musical references to bands (Styx “before Mr. Roboto made it embarrassing to like them”), some nifty 72 products and what can I say, I’m a sucker for nostalgia. It’s a wild and crazy ride through Mr. Vahd-chek’s life that includes saving a young girl destined to become the victim of a pedophile killer (if not for that trip back in time), but there real crux of the story has to do with an abused kid who lives in that same 1972 apartment building who will eventually stab Mickey’s father to death. If I forgot to mention it, Mickey is invisible while visiting 1972; he can see others, but most others they can’t see him. No spoilers here. It’s a fast ride; maybe too fast since it was over before I was ready, but it’s a fun read and a fine break from the real-to-life news that bombards us day to day.

For DOC’s sake, let me add (regarding that day-to-day news) in a world where mining accidents caused from ignoring government regulations (because somebody was paid off?) remind us why unions exist. Excuse me, amici, but “the beast at the top is forever hungry” (DOC).

Expiration Date is a fun read that will take you back to 1972 and if you’re my age (or around it), you’ll have fun recognizing what used to be. While The Blonde remains my favorite Polish Prince novel (and a classic at casa Stella—my son was also hooked by that babe), Expiration Date is also a fun read and a good break from anyone’s day to day grind.

The nukes (bada-boom) ... maybe it’s me, but I’ve never understood why we even bother with nuclear weapons “treaties” and/or expect any other nations not to want nuclear weapons. It seems like simple math to me: If A has nukes, B wants them ... and if A and B have nukes, so will C, D & E, etc.

Likewise, if A has them, B probably isn’t going to fock with A, etc. ... and if B does fock with A, so it goes ... this wonderful stuff called life has to end sooner or later (joke/no joke). On the other hand, it’s not like if we all hold hands and chant it’ll all go away.

Nobody (including us) ever really honors these so called nuclear treaties so why bother with the sideshow unless it’s all one big distraction away from issues of more urgency (somebody say the economy, jobs, the focking banking regulation that has yet to show its face?). Oh, I could go on, but I fear overfeeding the DOC.

Do I want to give up our nukes? No focking way. Do I expect Russia to do so? Only when I’m on my 2nd bottle of Chivas and have run out of Becks (and nitric oxide). Do I expect Iran to ever pull back their quest for nuclear weapons? Not in this life (and nor do I blame them). They are surrounded by nukes and their sworn enemy has them (and their sworn enemy would be just as nuts to give up their nukes). Look, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for better or worse, nukes are here to stay and to think for a second nations will negotiate their best deterrent/best offense away is more than optimistic—it’s absurd.

So, not only do I don’t want a nuclear treaty, I don’t want to hear about them anymore. I guess Obama can lay claim to another “accomplishment” against his long list of non-accomplishments but so did Bill Clinton have such an “accomplishment” … until we later learned it wasn’t one. North Korea is still laughing over that one.

By the way, that picture up top isn’t what you think. It was my head after Scott Norwood missed wide-right against the Moonachie Giants in Super Bowl XXV ...

Kutztown University ... my cousin Jason’s very pretty and smart tomata, Allison, is a graduate of Kutztown University and seemed confused when I yelled, Andre Reed! at the dinner table when she mentioned her former college. Andre starred for my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills after Kutztown State.

Your video for the day is ...

How ‘bout those Buffalo Bills!


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chazman,

Pardon me for asking, but wasn’t the football season over like four months ago? And for your beloved Buffalo Bills it was over five months ago. Let’s face it, the only way the Bills are going to see the Super Bowl is if they buy some tickets. On the bright side, you’re not the biggest loser around. That poor lonely bastard who actually made a Buffalo Bill’s video just squeaked by you for the title.

“It’s a more than pleasant surprise for those who don’t require what some others might depend on.” (Knucksline)

Great line Chaz! Where did you find it… on a box of adult diapers? Or maybe that new yogurt that has “good” bacteria in it.

On to the news:

“mining accidents caused from ignoring government regulations (because somebody was paid off?) remind us why unions exist.” (Knucksline)

Okay, Chaz, so where was your precious freaking union here? There was a time for unions and Mine Safety in particular was the driving force for their creation. Unfortunately, the unions have forgotten their purpose and are more involved in guaranteeing that all members can retire with full pay at 35 and get health insurance for life for their families and their five closest friends.

By the way, Chaz, the government workers union retirement fund in NY and California are just about broke. I don’t want to hear any whining when you have to pay for their BAILOUT.


The Bamster really has to start concentrating on the things he is good at.
1) Throwing like a girl.
2) Telepromptering
3) Apologizing for America
4) Bowing and then making believe he just spotted a quarter on the floor.

5) Help me out Chaz, I seem to have run out of good things.

Then there are the things that he is not so good at… war comes to mind. You do not tell your enemies the things that you will not do to them. If some country attacks us with a biological weapon BUT does not have nukes we won’t use our nukes?

Cowboy up, Fredo!

If someone comes at you with a knife and you have a gun... you don't put the gun away. If some country attacks us with a biological weapon I want the Middle East turned into a sheet of glass by nightfall. I want to be able to read by the gentle glow coming off of Damascus.

On that cheery note, have a great weekend.

Your pal,

PS: The woman in the photo is a mayor in California. Even the Navy Brass is giving him a WTF look. The Bamster just can't help himself.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Johnny Porno Review/Interview with Stella ... and TK Reviews ...


Johnny Porno Reviewed and Charlie Stella Interviewed at the New Mystery Reader.

Johnny Porno Review here:

Charlie Stella Interview here:

Is Rigoletto (the fierce Bichon-Frise in the picture) cute or what?

Thanks to Dana King for the hookup. Dana has two blog sites (From the Home Office and One Bite at a Time) where the ugly one occasionally chirps in and the discussions at each site are always respectful and interesting.

The Blonde On The Street Corner … I’ve been tempted to read David Goodis for a long time now, mostly because of Philadelphia author Duane Swierczynski’s plugging of the author over at his website. I’m glad I finally made the effort and have already ordered a few more of his works. Forget crime fiction and/or noir … this particular novel is every bit as much a literary statement as was Hubert Selby Jr.’s Last Exit to Brooklyn. The inner conflicts of a man confused about a world he’s sure he wants no part of ultimately feeds off the anger and resentments and desires he can’t deny. A Philly version of something John Paul Sartre and/or Albert Camus might’ve penned; a man’s struggles with the purpose of it all … survival in a world with little (or reason to have any) hope. I can’t wait to get hold of the rest of this guy’s works. Truly great stuff.

The Siege of Krishnapur … by author J. G. Farrell, published in 1973, was a Booker Prize winner dealing with the absurdity of a class system under severe stress. Although the theme is a serious one, the novel is often hilarious … yet, I found myself struggling at times (a 4 day read is very unusual for me). I felt I got it (and that most readers would also) within the first 200 pages; that the remaining 140 were unnecessary (or certainly could’ve been edited down). The Padre’s religious rants became a nuisance over time and I found myself peaking ahead to where they ended so I could just jump there. I read it for a book club I belong to at work and we’ll be discussing it Monday evening.

Hey, Chaloots!

This one is for the Talented Ms. Horsely ... from one of my Top 10 Films of all time. There are so many GREAT lines in these clips ... one of my favorites being: "What you need that fancy suit for, Charlie? You got no job to wear it to, man."

“They took my thumb!”

Check out the trailer:

Pre-order Johnny Porno here: