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).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Back Pain ... Angels and Demons ... the Stella Raccoon ...


Just say no ... to powerlifting? Well, at least for now ... the ugly one had a back spasm early Friday morning (4:55 a.m. to be exact) and unfortunately, there was weight on my back and I was just starting up from the hole of a squat. Forgetaboutit ... now I’m an official dope fiend on muscle relaxants and pain killers ...

Think it’s time to grow up yet? I turn 54 next week ... the meet for August 1st (Jersey States) is officially out of the question now as I suspect this will take at least a few weeks to recover from and by then I’ll atrophy back to starting all over.

No thanks.

What really pisses me off is the following: I was up to 25 minutes on the elliptical machine with ZERO pain while losing weight ... this back injury will also sidetrack all of that progress and completely slow me down losing weight. But I will lose the weight and then start all over for 2011 and this time I’ll make sure to stretch and take my focking time. I had finished my light lifting workout 5 minutes early and decided to get my light squats “out of the way” before the weekend ... so I didn’t stretch enough, jumped a set and limped away cursing a blue streak.

DOC said: “Cowboy-up, you big baby. If it makes you feel better, just think that much of what you earn today will go to me. At your age you need to look into another sport... maybe checkers.”

I told you, amici, it ain’t easy being me ...

Then again, this guy (Ed Coan, a legend in the sport) had it a lot worse than me:

Except, of course, I would’ve had AT LEAST 500 pounds less on the bar when my knee (and/or back) gave out ...

Angels and Demons ... DOC insisted I read a book that sold gazillions to learn the formula. I stopped reading after 10 pages.

The Stella Raccoon ... here he was outside our garage (where we breed them just to piss off neighbors) ...

Hopefully he was set free somewhere close to Oregon and not around the corner.

It’s too painful to sit here for long today, amici ... have a GREAT Memorial Day Weekend!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Chase ... Killer Raccoon(s) … Flower DOC … Change this ... a Treme blunder … DOC says ...


Book Chase ... gave us some more good news about Johnny Porno ... it was another very nice review and it is much appreciated. It does a fat guy on a diet good to get some good news besides the scale continues to slowly move in the right direction. Thanks to Sam Sattler for this ... a very kind rap-up: “Charlie Stella has filled Johnny Porno with a wide variety of characters. There are mob enforcers, hit men, crooked cops, good cops, vindictive ex-wives, fragile FBI men, drug addicts, police informants, wannabe porn stars (and those who live like porn stars already), good girls, con men, good guys, cute kids, loyal mothers – and Johnny Porno, a man who hates the nickname he is stuck with and just wants a little respect for his efforts to do right by his son. This is a gritty, complicated story and it is not for the faint-of-heart or the easily offended. If books were rated in the manner of Hollywood movies, Johnny Porno would have earned at least an “R” rating for itself. But if you enjoy Soprano-style fiction, you will not want to miss this one.”

As the Chicago Sun-Times put it, (Stella) “May just be the best crime writer you’ve never read.”

Raccoon Night … we had a deranged Raccoon, who according to my neighbor directly across the street, has managed to catch and eat birds, fish and terrorize all forms of plant life (and then goes strutting down the street “as if he owns it”). Interesting, I thought (after being told how upset some of my neighbors were at OUR RACCOON (because, “after all, it is YOUR garage” one genius said) ... if the thing is giving yous such a hard time, the next time it struts down the street “as if he owns it” ... here's a thought: "Grab it."

Well, to be a nice guy (and it was difficult to go through with this), I hired a Humane Trapper (because, as most of yous know regarding animals of all kinds, including Spartacus, our house mouse), I believe all creatures (except some humans) should never be fucked with and they all (except some humans) deserve to live in peace) … so $250 to remove the Killer Raccoon (who, by the way, my neighbor across the street is POSITIVE is MY RACCOON) … an additional $75 per puppy raccoon … with a cap at $450.00

After the cost of this, I told my neighbor across the street (actually bringing the trapper there to meet them), that whether or not we caught the killer, if another one came back or if we don’t get the murderer of the fish that were in his pond (cough, cough) and nature’s birds, the next trapping escapade will have to be paid for by a neighborly collection … because after this fiasco, that’s it, I hang a sign on the front of my house: RACCOON’S WELCOME – FREE LODGING.

And my wife seriously asks me why I want to move to some remote part of Montana … where, as DOC pointed out, I’d be blamed for housing a GRIZZLY BEAR … but my neighbors would need a bull horn for me to hear their bullshit.

FLASH … UPDATE … the poor Raccoon has been caught in the cage … the $250 thrill is over. I feel terrible … another of God’s creatures gets the shit end of the stick when there are soooooooooooo many people I wouldn’t mind going to work on with a crowbar …

Flower Doc … speaking of his DOCness, the other day, after the boss was finished studying with her colleagues in nursing and we had partook of some brews, the expert rifleman went on for a good forty minutes (I was timing them) yapping with the Principessa about the many different flowers the two of them plant in each of their gardens. I was close to killing myself when DOC explained how he preferred perennials to annuals, but fortunately I remembered the trap in the garage for the Killer Raccoon and I went to look-see if Rocky had met his match yet.

Say What? ... Even the ugly one did a double take at hearing David Axelrod say the Obama administration is having to enforce all the oil drilling regulations that weren’t enforced by past administrations ... of course Chris Matthews was too busy quoting Robert Frost to bother with a follow-up question such as ... "Hey, numb nuts, Axelrod, do you realize you’re going on year two of this administration and not only that, a week before the rig exploded and started spewing oil all over the place, your boss okayed more offshore drilling ... and if that isn’t enough, there’s the next feature to TK ... "

More Change We Can’t Believe In … ah, the offshore oil wells … as someone who was for such drilling before the BP disaster, I can understand the President’s going against the grain and approving off shore drilling just one week before the BP “man made” disaster … of course now that BP proved me and anyone thinking this stuff is safe wrong, I don’t want to hear about it ever again and in fact think we should dismantle the ones still working before they too explode in the middle of the night. Still, it was interesting to note (from the New York Times) … WASHINGTON — In the days since President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells and a halt to a controversial type of environmental waiver that was given to the Deepwater Horizon rig, at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted, according to records.

The disaster itself (what caused it) is no more Obama’s fault than mother nature’s role in Katrina was Dubbya’s fault … but the sad and grossly inept responses seem pretty much the same (and blame belongs to both Presidents), although now that we’re going on year two of Obama’s Presidency, I can only hope that HBO’s Treme will extend into the DO NOTHING FOR NEW ORLEANS Obama administration. We sure shall see.

Obama a socialist? Please. He left the left behind a long time ago ... and the real shame is, the left is perfectly willing to eat his dust.

Treme blunder … speaking of Treme, last night was the first brief piece of the show I took issue with. The scene when the Big Chief was rousted from his squatting position by an all-white squad of policeman who proceeded to act as if there weren’t dozens of television cameras outside (and as if pulling the curtains would stop those cameras from seeing a badly beaten middle-aged black man leave the apartment building after they’d seen him without marks prior to the rousting). It came off as gratuitous racism for the sake of it and both my wife and I groaned at the scene (especially because in a prior scene with Big Chief, it was a black policeman that was sent in to attempt a negotiation and both parties were polite and professional—why would the police then send in the KKK squad?). If it was just a dramatic decision, it didn't work for us ... but perhaps it worked for others. I started seeing an agenda I guess I'm just tired of ... especially while New Orleans remains just as ignored by this government under this administration as it has been since the storm under the prior administration.

Everybody has an agenda ... but are we really concerned about New Orleans or just blowing smoke for the sake of blowing smoke?


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

Sorry if I upset you. It’s just that I have a different conversational rapport with the Principessa than you do. Case in point, sometimes I talk to her even if I’m not hungry.

What did you really expect? We have a president who likes to campaign… likes to bow… likes to apologize for America… likes to party… likes to embrace our enemies and screw our allies. Work… not so crazy about that. Remember his “laser-like focus on job creation”?

Also, what is with this monthly “unexpected” rise in unemployment? We’re paying these experts a ton of money, but every month they’re surprised. I like my experts to anticipate trends. If Fredo wanted to be surprised every month he could have hired Lindsay Lohan. At least she’d be fun at the weekly parties.

I knew you were in trouble when “The Trapper” drove up in a nicer car than either of us own and no flashlight. Did you plug up the window where the raccoon entered? Probably not. And I would guess that “Trapper Audi” released the beast around the corner from your house. At this point I would guess Rocky Racoon is back in your garage and wishing that you would stop beating on your freaking DW drums so he could get some freaking sleep.

I honestly think that the media has set back race relations 50 years. When the Bamster was elected I wasn’t thrilled, but I figured OK, an African-American has just bagged the highest position in the land. We can now get rid of Affirmative Action, the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, Al Sharpton and the Congressional Black Caucus. Could you imagine if we had a Congressional White Caucus?

On a personal note… you’re the President of the United States… wear a tie. Jay Leno wears a tie, he tells jokes for a living.

Well, yeah, unless you try to redistribute his money.

To save money to buy food for my poor undernourished granddaughter I was forced to drop HBO, so I don’t know what you’re talking about except you would feel better if people of color had beat the snot out of this Big Chief fellow. If you would work a little bit harder maybe the Democrats could give me money for HBO.

See here:

Have a great week,

Saturday, May 22, 2010

More Very Kind Words & an interview ...Titan ... Bravo, Gustavo ... Parnell Hall ... Me and the DOC ... and DOC says ...


Things I'd Rather Be Doing ... this blog by John Kenyon was more than kind to the ugly one and Johnny Porno. Check out the review/story/interview here ...

Titan ... I still have goose bumps. It was THAT good. As for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) ... well, I sure wish they’d grease the right government officials not to have road work done the night of performances. Getting home from there was a pure nightmare. The place is nice enough, though. Very pretty and the prices are what’s to be expected: $12.00 for two coffees, a small sliver of cheese cake and a bottle of water. Parking was much more reasonable than it is in Manhattan, however and it was great being one of the younger couples in the crowd. The wife took particular issue with a group of younger women who cut her off going into the women’s room and then proceeded to cut off an elderly woman from using a stall as the three younger ones bolted for the stalls. Spoiled brats was my guess ... who probably thought it was a night with Lady Ga Ga. I hope they were as tortured as I was thrilled, the shits.

And about that phenom conductor, Gustavo Dudamel ... this from 60 Minutes. The intro is his first rehearsal of Titan with the L.A. Philharmonic ... and what he’s doing with kids is about 100,000x’s better than what Ted Kennedy and George Bush (tell me again how they're not all the same) came up with in No Child Left Behind.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

If Dudamel’s smile doesn’t say it all, amici, nothing does. “LIFE IS GOOD. IT’S VERY GOOD!”

Signing at the Waldenbooks ... I got this over at JD Rhoades blog and it is not only hilarious but way too true. Watch the video and then read some of that Stella character’s book-signing horror stories.

Horror Story #1 ... somewhere in the great and very corrupt state of New Jersey, my wife and I drove to a small bookstore (up north, I think) where after being lost for 30 minutes on the road, we were confronted with the following from the store manager: “What is it you write?” “Soprano type stuff,” I said (thinking she’s working in Jersey, she should know the Sopranos, besides the fact two dozen of the fucking books are on the table--Jimmy Bench Press, this was). “Oh, I hate that mob stuff,” she said. My wife saw the look on my face. I was pissed off no end and thought, “Why the fuck am I here?” Half an hour later, fifteen minutes into the “signing” that was more like a funeral with no attendees, the compassionate store manager said, “Maybe if you wrote good books, they'd be more people here." And I said, "That’s enough. Let’s go.”

The humiliation caused a war in the car and I saw a feisty side of my wife I never want to see again. In a nutshell, I think she can kick my ass.

Horror Story #2 ... we had very good luck with the reviews of Charlie Opera and had hired a publicist. The book was selling out very quickly but the publisher wasn’t keeping track of the numbers. Our publicist told us about this and we tried to convince the publisher but nobody there was home. Six weeks later, the book was sold out and we had to travel to a conference down south. I called the bookstore there and asked them to hold a box of our books we were shipping (our supply) just in case the distributor didn’t have enough to ship them. They were very kind and said “No problem.” Two nights before we left, I called the bookstore again to make sure the books had arrived and was told in as nasty a tone as you can muster, “We can’t hold these books here. Why did you send so many?” (They had 12 copies and we said we’d pay to ship them back to our house). The more I tried to explain, the more nasty the person became and kept cutting me off and being sarcastic about how “good your book is” (which wasn’t what I had said at all). Finally, in my very best stellareeze, I said, “I tell you what, why don’t you go fuck yourself. How’s that?” My wife gave me a lecture later on about why I was never hired at the U.N. as a diplomat, but I volleyed with the following: “I wouldn’t take that shit for a million dollars, honey. That assshole was demanding I take it for a few books.” (The upside for me was we sold out at the conference -- all 3 books).

Horror Story #3 ... My wife was always big on bringing candies and cookies to our events (we now bring canolli) ... and when a publicist had lined us up at a library in Jersey City, we showed up with cookies and candies and my audience consisted of every homeless person in town that cold February morning ... and frankly they had better stories to tell than I did.

Horror Stories #4-10 ... (I don’t have the perseverance Mr. Hall does so that’s about all we’ve done)... showing up to a signing and seeing the same two or three loyal friends over and over and over (people who were just being extra kind to a poor slob trying to hawk a book).

There were some very good stories, too and those make it all worth the effort so don’t think the ugly one isn’t grateful. We’ll never forget San Mateo, Houston and Phoenix, that’s for sure.

Me and the DOC ... today we’ll be chowing down on some grilled steaks and enjoying a few cold ones just as soon as I return from the gym and DOC manages to navigate his way to beautiful downtown Fords, New Jersey. He says he’s leaving at 2 and will be here by 3. I suggested he leave around 9:00 a.m. to make it here by 3:00 p.m.

The boss is studying for her last test of the nursing semester. Last week she scored a 91. She works full-time and attends nursing school full time (including a weekend clinical at various hospitals) and she deals with me; a beautiful freckled wonder she is.


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

I don’t have too much time as I have to get ready for my daughter’s graduation, but I can spare a few minutes to recount Book Signing Horror Story #11.

After work, I’m zooming down I-95 to catch one of the first signings by my buddy, “The Chazmeister”. Finally get to Forest Hills… look for parking for half an hour. Find the right room. It’s not too big. Shouldn’t be too difficult to spot a 900 pound author. Nowhere in sight. I mention your name and the book signing lady seems to think you’ve already left. Curious, because the book signing hasn’t begun. Upon mentioning your name I am approached by a client of yours and he is speaking in Fuhgeddabouddit. Luckily, I speak Fuhgeddabouddit. Not to brag, but I am fluent in both the Queens and Brooklynese dialects. Oddly enough, there is no written language in Fuhgeddabouddit, except possibly your books. Not to digress, this guy gives me an envelope stuffed with $20 bills. He says it’s five dimes and I should give it to you right away. Funny how your story of book signing horror stories reminded me of this. So, I drown the disappointment of missing your book signing with the five grand this guy gives me. I think his name was Johnny the Gimp. At the time his name wasn’t Johnny the Gimp, but that’s what they call him now. In retrospect, I probably should have mentioned this to you before today, but hey, fuhgeddabouddit.

I had a great time at the barbecue at Casa Stella today. I haven’t seen eating like that since that cheetah caught that gazelle on the National Geographic Channel.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gustav/Gustavo ... Pole Dancing with the Stars ... Meet the new boss ... DOC says ...


Gustav Mahler … a good “friend of mine” is writing a novel that has to do with much of what the great composer went through regarding Mahler’s unfaithful wife, Alma. Mahler was unfortunate enough to intercept a letter from Alma’s lover, Walter Gropius (who would eventually marry Alma after Mahler’s death and design the Met-Life building in New York) … Mahler not only had the misfortune of discovering his wife’s affair by accident, he was also emotionally tortured by the death of their first born daughter. Once he learned he was blessed with a genetic heart disease, between the stress of his marriage, defying his religion and having to conduct for bucks, composing played second fiddle (so to speak).

Titan (Symphony No. 1) was retitled a few times until the composer dropped the name altogether and it became Symphony No. 1. The masterpiece was a four year effort with several major revisions, but in the end, there just isn’t anything more relaxing, happy, calm and then stormy to the ugly one. It reaches all the essential emotions and can calm any angry army (the 1st movement) and will eventually stir a tree-hugger into becoming an adrenalin junky (the 4th movement).

Here’s movement No. 1:

Here’s the finale (again):

My friend will cover much of this in his book if he finds a publisher, but in the meantime, from one Gustav to a Gustavo

Gustavo II … Gustavo Dudamel … Yep, that’s him in the videos above … and this Friday night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), the Principessa Ann Marie and the ugly one will be sitting close to the roof for our very first live attendance of my favorite of all symphonies conducted by the 29 year old phenom (who recently was named Music Conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic). Two years ago we were all set to head to Baltimore for a performance of Titan there, but my sister's illness became fatal and the trip was canceled.

Now if Gustavo Dudamel's animated performance doesn’t give you the juice, nothing will. Between Gustavo and Gustav, the ugly one may well float to the ceiling. Well, we won’t be sitting far from it ...

Oh, brother, was that a DOC set up line.

Pole Dancing with the Stars … the new Miss USA pole dances. Many so-called liberal democrats were all over the last Miss USA (or Miss California or whatever state she was from) because she had the nerve to publicly state what their President stated (and has held to) time and time again; she/he didn’t believe in gay marriages. Now, wrong as they both were/are (the babe and the bozo), what’s it all got to do with pole dancing? She pole dances ... so what?

Speaking of President Wall Street ... I find it more interesting than ever now that the barons of Wall Street not only recouped their losses with our money and the President’s party’s blessing, they've managed record profits ... supporters of El Fredo now clamor behind the so-called “banking regulations” and all that oversight that disappeared when it was most needed. Somehow, the Democratic Congress never found the time or method to actually achieve some form of regulation ... except, wait ... is it election time again?

And low and behold, guess what else is new, amici? The government agency MMS (Minerals Management Service) responsible for overseeing those oil rigs? Well, just like the banking oversight committee and those clowns at the SEC (surely you remember them--the porn downloading fiasco while they were supposed to be regulating?), the MSS didn’t do their jobs either. Now seriously, is this even possible under a Democratic administration? Is this the change we were all waiting for? The change we could believe in? Is Obama just another pol after all?

Is it possible they really are all the same?

Ya think?

Democrats and Republicans, perhaps the two most useless political parties for the people they’re supposed to represent on the face of the earth.

When 2012 rolls around, amici ... well, listen to the band ...

“Meet the new boss ... same as the old boss.”

You fucking got that right, Jack.


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

Nice to hear that you are getting a little culture, although that image of you floating above the crowd is a little frightening... more so for the crowd cowering below you.

It’s been a quiet week in politics. They had some primaries Tuesday and it looks like all the Dem incumbents got the bum’s rush. I hope the Reps don’t get too excited, because I think it’s the “incumbent” brand that puts the target on your back.

People are tired of these career politicians. This country needs to be turned around and these 70 year old John McCain types don’t turn nothing around except maybe their shopping carts in the adult diaper aisle.

Blumenthal says he “mis-spoke” about his Viet Nam combat experience. When did that become a word? It’s not in my dictionary. Lying is. He claims he has no idea how he got those five deferments. I was draft age during the Viet Nam War and you damn well knew when you had a deferment and when you didn’t. To me, you mis-speak when you give directions saying the titty bar is 3 blocks west when in reality the titty bar is 3 blocks east. This is excusable because you just left the titty bar and you’re drunk and disoriented.

My years from 1969-1974 are a little blurry, but I remember using the Arlo Guthrie method of taking your Army physical. I went to Whitehall Street straight from the Plateau Tavern after 12 hours of solution oriented, full-contact drinking because I wanted to show up looking and feeling my best. After half a day of going from room to room wearing only my BVDs and boots with about 2,000 other guys in similar garb I finally got to the last room.

The Army guy said, “You have flat feet and you’re colorblind.”

I said, “Does that get me out?”

He said, “No, we like colorblind guys because you’re not fooled by camouflage.”

To date, I’m still not fooled by camouflage, but I also can’t match a tie to a shirt.

Here is some period color.

Enjoy the show, Slim
Your pal,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Steven Sidor ... Isagenix Day 3 ... Frankenstein ... Eddie Coyle ... Tom Waits ... DOC says ...


Steve Sidor ... Sidor is one of Knucks’ favorite writers and he’s got a short story link on his webpage that is a terrific read. It has to do with a virus, prison and survival. The Bog has some scary stuff going on and a kick-ass frightening ending. I gobble up Steve’s books soon as they are published and finding his short story linked for free was an extra treat. Highly recommended reading, amici.

You can download The Bog from here.

Isagenix Day 3 ... I jump started the program on Thursday and it seems to be working so far. DOC can laugh all he wants, but I’m going to negotiate those beanstalk bean(s) (plural, please) because I’d be a damned fool to pay $8,500 for just one bean. Make it half a dozen and we can start to talk, brother.

This morning I hit the aerobic end of the gym (after light squatting—no, I don’t learn—with a knee brace) and the verdict (after 17:30 minutes on the elliptical and 25 minutes on the treadmill) was: 320. That’s right, DOC ... 320 from 328 = 8 pounds in 3 days.

No pain during the light squats or aerobics and so far none after ... could be another miracle cure (the knee brace) ... go get those magic beans ...

The Talented Ms. Horsley has another post up and this one is about Mary Shelly. The UK Tease has the Frankenstein author wondering whether it’s her hubby or lover’s body that has washed up on the shore ... and she figures it out forensically from body parts (get your minds out of the gutter).

The Friends of Eddie Coyle ... the other day I was out of new books to read so I did what I usually do ... reach back for something I know I’ll always get something from (whether it be inspiration or another writing lesson). Old Faithful with the Elmore Leonard forward was sitting there alongside two other copies without the forward (I have several copies of Eddie Coyle, including an autographed hardcover we paid $85.00 fazools for back in the day). It didn’t disappoint. I read it over two days and couldn’t wait for each new scene. Leonard is right, Eddie Coyle is the best ever crime novel. Hands down it is.

And for the record ... a few years ago I claimed to have read Eddie Coyle at least 50 times ... someone challenged me on that ... it's been 10 times since that challenge (now I'm counting).

And the understated movie is pretty damn good too. Peter Yates directed Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle and it was and remains the goods.

Heart Attack and Vine ... one of my favorite Tom Waits tunes we used for one of the plays I wrote back in the day (Coffee Wagon). Tom’s gravel voice may make it difficult to discern the lyrics so here yous go:

liar liar with your pants on fire,
white spades hangin' on the telephone wire,
gamblers reevaluate along the dotted line,
you'll never recognize yourself on heartattack and vine.

doctor lawyer beggar man thief,
philly joe remarkable looks on in disbelief,
if you want a taste of madness, you'll have to wait in line,
you'll probably see someone you know on heartattack and vine.

boney's high on china white,
shorty found a punk,
don't you know there ain't no devil,
there's just god when he's drunk,
well this stuff will probably kill you, let's do another line,
what you say you meet me down on heartattack and vine.

see that little jersey girl in the see-through top,
with the peddle pushers sucking on a soda pop,
well i bet she's still a virgin but it's only twenty-five 'til nine,
you can see a million of 'em on heartattack and vine.

better off in iowa against your scrambled eggs,
than crawling down cahuenga on a broken pair of legs,
you'll find your ignorance is blissful every goddamn time,
your're waitin' for the RTD on heartattack and vine.

Have a great weekend, amici ...

Order Johnny Porno here ...


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

That’s really great. Eight pounds in 3 days. By June 15 you should weigh 100 pounds or less. I’ll be able to throw you in the daypack with a 12 pack and a couple of bagels.

As with all things, my main concern is how this will affect me. The old rumor is that fat people are jolly. I can attest that this is not necessarily true. If it were, a few hours with you would be like a freaking Mardi Gras.

It’s not.

I tend to think of it as a root canal that’s going better than expected. Less weight/Less jolly. Sounds like an Obama program, but without the suave facade of Janet Napolitano.

Will you start regaling the Amicis with humorous anecdotes of encounters you’ve had in the “Medium” aisle at the Speedo Store?

It starts off innocently. Usually the first couple of shakes are free. Then your Isagenix Barrista (pusher) tells you the New Zealand cows have spoken to the Greek cows (who only work 3 months a year) and have gone on strike. Within 6 months you will be paying $300 per shake and stealing car stereos after work.

I don’t usually negotiate on the price of magic beans, but there is no fooling a sharp consumer like yourself. I tried and you saw right through my scam. I will give you six magic beans for the original price of $8,500 with my sincerest apologies for the obvious hoax. Please pay me before you negotiate your next Isagenix contract.

Your still fat pal

PS: To combat Tom Waites (and you thought nobody could understand my guy, John Martyn) I offer the Amicis the greatest voice in Rock & Roll since Roy Orbison… Freddie Mercury

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mafiya Review ... Isagenix ... Lena Horne ... Barfly ... Happy Birthday, Boo-Dee-Bah! ... DOC says ...


Mafiya ... a way more than kind review of Mafiya from those Men Reading Books (the 2nd such kind review from them). There are two Dons (East Coast and West Coast) and both are professionals (Dr. Dons) ... hey, what do you think, just knuckledraggers (the boss’s pet name for me) read this Stella stuff?

Isagenix … Okay, I understand how this will be fodder for life for DOC, but the ugly one is giving a new system a shot at bringing down the blubber count while maintaining some measure of strength for his last (at least for this year) power meet on August 1st (assuming his ugliness doesn’t get injured beforehand). I know these things are mostly fugazy, because if you drink 2 or 3 protein shakes a day with one meal, unless it’s a Knucks’ sized meal (5-10,000 calories), you’re gonna lose weight, but the goal here is to stave off the hypoglycemic attacks while maintaining some power.

Isagenix claims the cows are grass fed in New Zealand (you know, the way Ralph bought that toothpick box for Alice (The Honeymooners) that was handmade for the Emperor of Japan) … and they (the cows) only work 8 months out of the year (DOC, remember, works NO months out of the year, so Mr. Right Wing is even lazier than foreign cows) … but because I was a bit skeptical of this cow stuff, I had Spartacus look into this cow stuff. For those uninitiated with Temporary Knucksline, Spartacus is the mouse who took over casa Stella shortly after we moved in. Here’s his investigative exchange:

Spartacus: Look, I know Knucks is a dope and a huge sucker, but he’s my dope and my huge sucker. What’s with the muscle move cows?

New Zealand Cows: Hey, welcome to the global economy, brother. We all gotta’ eat, you know.

Spartacus: Suppose his flame throwing wife cuts back on the truckloads of foodstuffs she buys now? Where’s that leave me?

New Zealand Cows: They put in a new lawn last year. Try the grass, you’ll like it ... and you only have to eat it 8 months out of the year.

Spartacus: You think yous are pretty cute, eh? Remember this, fatsos: “Meat, it’s what’s for dinner.”

New Zealand Cows: And the cat said, “Mice, first we smack’em around like a toy, then we chew’em, swallow’em and later leave them to fertilize the grass.”

Starting Saturday Knucks’ll be drinking protein shakes until the cows come home.

Spartacus put on some weight, no?

Lena Horne ... she was beautiful, talented and tough and could sing like nobody’s business. She was also a political activist blacklisted by the insanity of the red scare. And, hey, she was from Brooklyn ...

Barfly ... one of Knucks’ top ten films of all time ... based on Charles Bukowski’s Hollywood ...

Dustin and Dad ...

The Boo-Dee-Bah (Dustin Stella) turns 26 this May 14. The youngest Stella brat was born on Poppa Tommy’s (my father’s) birthday with Poppa Tommy, Aunt Del (my sister), his mom (Terry) and the ugly one (moi) in attendance. I used to call him “The Duster Babe” when he was very young and he would try and repeat it by saying, “The Boo-Dee-Bah”. Tall and thin like his father, Dustin is also a devoted New York State Buffalo Bills and a New York Mets fan. Most important (to me), he visits his grandma every single week and spends some time breaking her shoes and showing his love. A good kid any parent has to be proud of ... and if he ever doubted I felt that way, brother am I sorry for him thinking that. Smart, handsome, tall and thin (like his Dad) and a great big heart ... and don't nobody tell yous different, it's the heart that counts.

Frankly, they don’t come better ...


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

That new diet plan sounds like a stroke of genius. When you think of it, it’s so obvious. Milk from a mellow New Zealand cow has just got to make those pounds fall off like leaves from the trees in Autumn. I’m sure that most of the Amicis are not smart enough to fully grasp the science behind it, but trust me, I get it. It should be reasonably priced too because I think NZ cows are paid a lot less than Jersey cows. With the Jersey cows you have to deal with all those kick backs and slush funds. So you start off with the lower paid cows and then just add in the cost to ship the milk from the other side of the freaking world and that has got to be pretty cost effective. The savings alone should pay for a closet full of new, human-sized Buffalo Billswear.

I went over to the Isagenix website and they also have a concentrated water that you add to your regular water and it makes it more waterish. You should get some of that too. They claim that a big part of this diet is the “inner cleansing”. When you start the cleansing part, I wouldn’t worry too much about Spartacus or Ann Marie for that matter… they’ll be moving out.

Getting away from the NZ diet issue, I just picked up some magic beans that will grow a beanstalk up to the heavens where the giant lives and you could climb up the beanstalk and steal his gold. I could let you have some for $8,500 each, because you are a savvy consumer.

Think about it, Slim.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Stella Men ... Queenpin ... SIF ... D&P ... Splash ... DOC says ...

Happy Mother's Day!

From Dustin's FACEBOOK Page ... The rich tradition of putting things on nani's head during naps.


The Stella Men ... let’s get one thing straight first; that camera added at least 150 pounds to my image. We ate across the street from the Mysterious Book Shop in New York where I dropped off some signed copies of Johnny Porno last night, but the key was the younger son, Dustin, actually called and invited the Phat Dad (me) to dinner. Pretty cool, amici. It was good to see him again. Joining us was his brother (Charles, not Charlie) and his bride-to-be (Leslie). They’ll be married 9-11 this year in Delaware. We had dinner at The Little Mexican Place in Tribeca, where Ann Marie and I often go when she has something going on at school.

Queenpin ... Megan Abbott's tale of one tough dame coaching her protégé about life in the Gangster Golden Era when women were broads and proud of it (did I just type that?). We call it being “sharp” or “street smart” and the kid learned fast under Mob moll Gloria Denton. Gloria’s playing with and for the top hard guys in the rackets and the kid is eager to learn the ropes. Abbott’s clever use of the era’s (and genre’s) speak keeps the pace moving as the kid makes her bones. She’s on a smooth and steady road to the top until in walks the badass that makes her heart beat faster. No good can come from one of those guys and all the kid’s hard work is at risk because a con man knows his prey and exactly how to stalk it. Queenpin is a quick and fun read and a great escape back to a time when guys (or gals) didn’t catch hell for saying what flowed from their mouths naturally. I say this because that “broad” word often slips from my mouth when I’m pissed off or drinking with certain friends of mine from back in the day.

Staten Island Ferry crash ... I used to take this ferry when I worked weekends. This morning it crashed into the New York dock and 60 people were reportedly injured. The Barbieri (a sister ferry to the Newhouse), is one I can’t stand because of the steep ramps and it was the same boat that crashed a few years ago killing 11 people. Most times passengers (myself included) take the docking aspect of this stuff for granted, but the confluence of the rivers makes for some crazy currents and I guess the captain (according to one report) lost control of his engines.

No doubt a lot of ambulance chasing lawyers were on the scene before EMS ...

D&P Show ... now that the Government Sachs Dog & Pony Show is over, we await the public going guillotine on the arrogant bastards who didn’t even bother to thank us for the monetary gifts our Government/their lackeys gave them almost two years ago. I don’t know that the American public will ever get sick enough of being screwed by big business or not, but it sure is understandable (to me) how revolutions lead to government officials being dragged to the big razor blade for the shave of their lives.

Times Square Bomber ... Hopefully, Faisal Shahzad, the wannabe martyr, (.... Ooops, wait, this clown was a double dipshit; he wanted to kill innocents and get away with it) will put to rest the sarcastic jokes by those who don’t live or traffic in New York City about all of us who have genuine fear of bombs going off in crowded places (like subways, populated areas, building lobbies, etc.). It isn’t remotely funny and a highly probable event sooner or later because it is nearly impossible to stop lunatics from accomplishing crazy shit when they’re determined and they have half a brain. Apparently Faisal is a moron (and we’re all grateful for it). I don’t much care about the citizenship issue and would prefer returning him to the land where he was born on the tip of a missile but then other innocents might be killed. My solution to that problem is this: Drop him out of an airliner somewhere over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. That should satisfy both camps; those who want to believe he was swallowed up by the Atlantic Ocean and has become fish food and it can also satisfy the whack jobs who think he somehow survived and will return (minus the 72 virgins) to haunt the great Satan another day.

That’s right, no Miranda, no trial, no political football to toss around the next however many years it takes before this loser croaks from natural causes (while getting three square meals a day on our dime in the interim). Just drop Faisal (and anybody else we catch trying to kill us here) from 40,000 feet or so (with a lifejacket, if you think it cruel and/or unusual punishment) and once he hits the water, those who want can sing Kumbaya and those who don’t can party.


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

Very nice to see all the Stella men gathered around the table and sharing a few cold ones. This really must have been a special occasion for you. I didn’t think you owned a shirt with a collar… and buttons…and no buffalo.

Shahzad seems to have dropped off the planet. Once the Lame Stream Media discovered that the Times Square Bomber was not Pat Buchanan or at the very least a Tea Party member it just wasn’t fun to talk about it anymore. They tried to get some juice out of the mortgage default angle, but those semesters he spent at the Al Qaeda Bomb University in Pakistan took the wind out of those sails.

The Bamster has a new Supreme Court nominee in mind. If you read her bio by the third sentence you will discover she is a lesbian. Geez, does everybody in this administration have to have some minority hook? If Fredo could find a hermaphroditic, Inuit dwarf he’d appoint him/her Secretary of State. Besides we already have a lesbian on the Supreme Court. This would make the balance of the Supreme Court 22% gay. This is supposed to be the seat of American justice, not The Dating Game. Interestingly enough, the one group not represented in the SC is Protestants. So if you know a hermaphroditic, Inuit, dwarf, Episcopalian let Fredo know.

Have a great week, buckaroo.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010




Johnny Porno is in many ways a master’s class on how to write a novel. As readers and writers we are told and taught that certain traits are desired above others. Show don’t tell and story through action are chief among them. A Charlie Stella novel does these things with ease and Johnny Porno is his best yet.

The dialog flows so smooth you’d swear you were over hearing someone’s conversation. He drops you in the middle and lets the reveals of the narrative come naturally through the dialog. Every conversation, every bit of dialog also reveals something about the characters, peeling back layers. The story proper is plotted with the precision of a watchmaker and as the various elements come together the reader is left with an experience that few other books offer.

The 70’s are invoked with a light but effective touch not bowing down to the research heavy sterile assault of facts that some books stoop to and instead giving you a lived in, feel the dirt and griminess that comes from experience and been there done that memory.

Bottom line is that Johnny Porno is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

—Brian Lindenmuth

Check out the Interview here ...

Order Johnny Porno here ...

And the DOC says ...

Hey Bucko,
How do you say "please" in Eye-talian?
It's for your dopey blog.

Knucks says: Per favore (and pronounced that last “e” boyo) ...

Hey Chaz,

Just a couple of random thoughts to get you through the weekend.

Poor Arizona:

They’re getting a lot of heat since they have talked about actually arresting Illegal Aliens. Janet Napolitano mentioned that she is not sure if they have broken the law. Obviously, Janet should spend some quality time with her dictionary. Some part of Illegal is unclear to her.

Arizona tried to mend the broken fences with the Hispanics by renaming their baseball (I think DOC meant basketball) team for Cinqo de Mayo. The team normally called “The Suns” would sport new jerseys with “Los Suns” emblazoned on the front. I don’t know whose bright idea that was, but that’s just fucking stupid. You do not celebrate the Spanish culture with pidgin English… or pidgin Spanish. I’m not sure where exactly that would fall. “Los” is Spanish. “Suns” is English. “Los Soles” would be the proper phrase where all the words are in Spanish. “Los Suns” is like when I go over to your house and figure I might get better service if I sound like a guido, so I just throw vowels after all the English words.

“Senor Charlito, un otro beero, pleasissimo.”

That doesn’t usually work as well as I had imagined, but I give it a shot.

Meanwhile, in California, 5 high school students were sent home for wearing t-shirts, on Cinqo de Mayo, with American flags on them. The principal thought the American flags would be “incendiary”.

Whatever happened to the good old days when anybody had the right to burn an American flag, but other people had the same right to kick their ass. Freedom of Expression has to go both ways.


The good news is the Bamster is 2 for 2 on terrorism attacks. The bad news is we have been dealing with the “Welcome Back Kotter”, “sleeping in the back row at Bomb School” guys. As my dream girl, Ann Coulter, says, ”Our plan for fighting terrorism is hoping their bombs don’t blow up.” When Al Qaeda sends the “A” team our way we are screwed, blued and tattooed.

The Feds were monitoring the Times Square Bomber’s calls to Pakistan. When he called up JFK to make the reservation to scoot out of here, they stopped listening. It was a domestic call… it would have violated his rights as a citizen.

When Syria sends their Jack Bauer to battle against our Community Organizer plan on a high body count and a probable “Survivor Tax”.

To combat the latest operatic barrage the amicis have suffered through, I offer you this:

“You’re just like a sweet crazy brother to me, you know I love you like I do.
You never talk dirty behind my back. I know there are some that do.”

(Sorry, Chaz, no drums)

Have a great weekend, big guy,
Your pal,

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Opera Night ... DOC says ...


The ugly one was forced to join a new gym (Retro) because his old one was jerking his chain for the past 3 weeks and never reopened. They were supposed to open Monday, then Wednesday, then Friday ... then Monday ... basta! Out with the old and in with the new. This morning starts the great push. A long, hard morning with aerobics, some light lifting, a long walk after lunch and now I’m crippled and lonely ... very lonely (the boss is doing her clinical work in Queens until 9:00 p.m.) ... so I need me some opera.

So do yous ...

The first on the cue this fine day is from the opera Andrea Chenier by Umberto Giordano; libretto by Luigi Illica. It is based loosely on the life of the French poet, André Chénier (1762-1794), who was executed during the French Revolution.

Well, maybe DOC will recognize something from Andrea Chenier, come to think of it. When I used to get drunk on tequila back in the days when we worked together, I would grab the microphone at PG Kings and belt The Improviso out while getting pelted with lemon and lime slices (it was ugly). If you watch the not so hot translation on screen, you’ll see the poet is talking about how the nobility treats the poor (sort of like Goldman Sachs last week facing that Senate dog and pony show). So, here now, the other fat guy who could belt it out (although this is from late in his career and not his best performance--I saw him do this at the MET way back). The Improviso ...

Another beauty from Andrea Chenier, Com un bel di ...

Most of yous (definitely not DOC) will recognize the next aria from that same opera used in the Tom Hanks/Denzel Washington movie, Philadelphia ... that great scene when Hanks listens to Maria Callas - La mamma morta ...

Okay, so now we move on to something closer to the hearts of Ann Marie and the ugly one. We each chose a shortened line from La Boheme and had it inscribed on the inside of our wedding rings. My saying for her was, in te ravviso --il sogno ch'io vorrei sempre sognar!

In you, I see the Dreams that I have always dreamed/longed for!

On the inside of her ring it says something Italian also ... probably “Don’t eat everything in the house while I’m at the hospital” ... but I can’t reveal it without her permission.

From La Boheme, Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti, O Soave Fanciulla ... (if you listen closely, you’ll catch “in te ravviso ...” early on).


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. I’m just getting over another bad birthday in a series of bad birthdays. While in the throes of this latest disaster, it hit me. Single people with no kids should have to pay a tax. We could call it a “Happy Tax”. That money would be doled out to the Married With Children type on a weekly basis to pay for Jack Daniels and crack. It’s only fair. Without us who else would repopulate the earth with the next generation of narcissistic knuckleheads.

The Music:

I didn’t listen to it. Let’s face it, nobody listened to it. If any of the amicis said they listened to all your clips they are lying and probably want to borrow some money. Opera’s sole purpose is to serve as the background for Mafia movies. Who speaks Italian except for those freaking Eye-talians? Couldn’t they sing it in English or better yet in Ebonics?

I do have some repressed memories of your opera performances. It would always happen just as the party was getting good and you would find the microphone I had so carefully hidden. The change in the crowd was startling. Demure bookkeepers would put aside the Grasshoppers and switch to Jaegermeister Bombs. Captains of industry would wet themselves just to have an excuse to leave. People who had never heard you before would begin searching for the cat they assumed had just fallen into the deep fryer. I would silently curse the metal detector at the door that prevented me from stopping you. Ahhh memories.

The Oil Spill:

Well, after only 9 days, the Bamster burst into action and dispatched a SWAT team and a bunch of lawyers down to the Gulf. I would have thought that maybe some oil spill specialists or environmental experts or even that big Brawny paper towel guy might be more appropriate, but I’m sure Fredo knows what he is doing or he wouldn’t be Fredo. Right?

He would have responded sooner, but he was practicing his stand-up comedy act for the Correspondents Dinner. The head of the Department of Homeland Security said they are doing all they can to stem the oil spill. Meanwhile, the head of the EPA said the car bomb in Times Square created no risk to the delicate ecosystem in the area. Coming up at 11:00… Michelle Obama will analyze the tactical complexities of the use of armed drones in the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict.

I know we only have to put up with this administration for 3 more years, but with these muppets running the show, I’m not sure we have 3 years.

And no, you never wished me Happy Birthday, so Bite Me, you fat f--k.