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).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My tomata ... One Day to Go … Bob Herbert … Mr. Apology … Unemployment … DOC says ...


These were from 7 years ago ... me and the smarter and better-looking half (that leaves me with the heavier half) ... we were married on a beach in the Bahamas (the guy did the ceremony said, “By the power vested in me by the commonwealth of the Bahamas ...” It was and remains a beautiful thing.

Obviously these were taken before I swallowed the Buick that took us home from the airport.

One Day to Go (to the end of June) … As the end of June fast approaches, one has to wonder about that oval office speech President Obama gave the day after he was “assured” by those honorable gents at BP that 90% of the spill would be corralled by the end of the month.

Hmmm … are they even close to 50% yet?

Not to worry, I’m now assured that BP will further assure President Obama for at least another half dozen prime time speeches passing along BP’s good will and intentions … honestly, those “Miss me yet” posters featuring George W. Bush ... if things get any worse, the scary answer will become “Yeah, I guess so.”

Bob Herbert ... there’s a lot of carefully worded Obama bashing here (because Mr. Herbert is an Obama supporter), but he’s also not a blind faith supporter and doesn’t see the point of playing in the political pig pen against the party that can’t change policy) ... so instead he says what needs to be said and this sums up the above-linked article pretty good: “Employment is the No. 1 issue for most ordinary Americans. Their anxiety on this front only grows as they watch teachers, firefighters and police officers lining up to walk the unemployment plank as state and local governments wrestle with horrendous budget deficits.

And what do these worried Americans see the Obama administration doing? It’s doubling down on the war in Afghanistan, trying somehow to build a nation from scratch in the chaos of a combat zone.”

Joe Barton … but so long as the Republicans continue to permit Joe Barton to remain in office, there probably isn’t much for Obama to worry about. Losing his majority surely won’t make much a difference. Mostly because he couldn’t get them to do anything anyway, but also because “six of one, half dozen of another” ... they’re both (Republicans and Democrats) useless anyway.

Unemployment … here’s another area where the GOP manages to stub its own toe; from one side of their mouths they’re crying about deficit spending and the lack of new jobs on the open market … while from the other side of their mouths they’re firmly behind the expense of the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan while telling the already unemployed, “Tough shit you’re running out of money. Go find a job!”

Is that, like, the way they (Republicans) intend to recruit for the never ending war(s) they started?

Really, what’s an out of work guy to do?


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

There’s nothing going on with politics that interests me lately.

Suddenly Petraeus is everybody’s favorite general. I seem to remember when he was Dubya’s general nobody on the left was that fond of him and that was before he became narcoleptic. I’m sure the Taliban warlords in Afghanistan got a real kick out of his recent performance.

“So Achmed, what will you do if you meet the American general on the field of battle?”

“Well, Faisal, I will walk up to him, draw my sword and ask him questions until he faints like a little girl.”

Eric Holder will not prosecute the Black Panthers on guard outside the polling place, but he will prosecute Arizona for enforcing the law. This guy is just a poorly designed muppet and I wish he would STFU and go away.

The Kagan hearings are a typical Washington Dog and Pony Show and I had little interest. Now the media is saying that Kagan is not a lesbian, so I have no interest whatsoever. This has to be an even bigger disappointment to the Bamster. He likes his nominees to have baggage. No hat boxes here, he likes big freaking steamer trunks type of baggage. I hope she is at least a communist or bombed the Pentagon at some point in her career. Otherwise, the Bamster will drop her like a bag of dirt.

Don’t get me wrong here. I have nothing against lesbians. Just the other night I was savoring a few vintage Silver Bullets (April I believe) and composed a list of things that lesbians like and things that I like. As it turns out, I may indeed be a lesbian.

In response to your disturbing Sha Na Na video, I offer you this.

Have a great week, buddy-boy

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rigoletto, he's HOME! ... good old Чарли Стелла ... Stieg Larsson


Rigoletto is home! La maledizione is over!

Don't fret, this pup is TOUGH!

Rigoletto says: "We don't need no stinkin' discs ... I'm taking a nap ... sideways! Oh, Pop, go easy on the Chivas ..."

As singer, writer, composer and all around multi-talented New York woman, Deborah Karpel, wrote me in an email upon hearing the good news at work this week, The Curse of Monterone has been lifted!

Now, the first one of yous who writes me at with a one paragraph explanation of just what that Monterone reference is all about (without copying it from Google--play fair) gets a signed copy of Johnny Porno (with a Rigoletto paw print).

Check out Ms. Karpel’s website ... she is truly talented.

Чарли Стелла ...
say what? Our Russian publisher, Centrepolygraph has bought Johnny Porno. And speaking of JP, the Lake Mills Library in Wisconsin likes it too.

Check out some other Stella books my Russian friends have translated and published.

Those Rubles couldn’t come at a better time as we pay for Rigoletto’s surgery.

And those wild and crazy Italians are on board with these.

Now we move on to a successful author who, unfortunately, didn’t live to see his incredible success. Stieg Larsson and his Millennium Trilogy. I wouldn’t have bought these books if the book club I belong to (The Northeast Regional Super Duper Chapter Book Club of the Americas) hadn’t assigned the first book (which was liked so much by the club, the second book was assigned right behind it). Behind on the assignment, I read all three over the last 10 days. Below the Review.

Guilty Pleasures … Not everything the ugly one reads need have been written by Dostoevsky and/or George V. Higgins … in fact, most of it isn’t anything approaching near as good as those deadfellas … and every once in a while I like to take a read of something popular ... well, just to see what my reaction might be. Two weeks ago I ordered the incredibly popular best selling series by an author who died before ever seeing his own success (approaching 40 million in sales, I’m told).

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

Mr. Larsson’s writing style wasn’t necessarily something I prefer and there were far too many coincidences throughout the books (one at a time or over the course of all three) and there were times I felt as if I were reading a super hero novel that went far beyond the stretch of my too often limited imagination … and they sometimes offered what I call “the cool character map” (someone from every minority possible vs. the evil stereotypical bad guys) ... there was a lot of journalistic telling vs. showing ... and there were times when I stopped reading, turned to the Principessa and said, “35 million copies?”

And yet I read them one after another, compulsively, without taking a single day’s break (in fact, without taking more than a 6 hour break (for sleeping) and couldn’t wait to read what was going to happen next. I could find all the fault in the world with this trilogy when discussing it, but the bottom line is I couldn’t read it fast enough. And right now the Principessa Ann Marie (definitely the smarter half) is reading it with equal compulsiveness (and loving it).

So any writers out there doing any complaining about the state of the business (and it is in a poor state these days), think about what happened to this poor SOB. He wrote a mega lotto ticket series and died before he could enjoy the spoils of his victory.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ... because whatever the formula, it worked.

Ingvar Wixell sings Rigoletto ... when they (the bastards who kidnapped his daughter) ask him “What’s new, clown?”, he responds with one of my favorite lines. “Nothing, except you’re more annoying now than ever.”

For those in need of something more familiar in the tragic opera, Rigoletto, here's Pavarotti singing La donna e mobile at the MET in 1981.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rigoletto’s Surgery ... the truth behind the $20 Billion Sell-out fund ... So long General ... DOC says ...


Rigoletto Walks! Today the doctor called to say he went for a short walk. That's what I'm talkin' about ... no beast so fierce as the Rigoletto monster. As Debbie Karpel (check out her site below) wrote yesterday: The curse of Monterone has been lifted!

Post Surgery Rigoletto Update: The wonder dog stands! Rigoletto stood up this morning. The doctor was amazed. He didn’t last long before his hind legs collapsed, but that isn’t supposed to happen (his standing) for another 3-4 weeks. They're having trouble feeding him because Rigoletto is used to skirt steaks and prime rib, so they asked us to bring him some later tonight to keep his diabetes in control. My puppy is one tough MoFo ...

Rigoletto Surgery Update: The surgery went as well as can be expected. We won't know for a few days the extent of the paralysis (some, full, most likely very limited). Recovery takes 16 weeks before he can walk without a sling (that starts in 5 weeks). He'll be in the hospital another few days, but as soon as he comes out from the anesthesia, he's the boss of the famiglia Stella ... and the books are back open!

Rigoletto’s Surgery ... we were much reassured tonight when we dropped off Rigoletto for his surgery preparation. We met another couple with a dog (there) who’d had the same surgery one month ago. That dog was just now walking again (with the help of a sling) and his parents had already gone through all the angst we’re experiencing. They had the same surgeon and the same costs. They were very nice people and they did their best to help us stay calm. Rigoletto goes in for surgery between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to have a disc removed from his back. If all goes well, he’ll have a tough recovery because he’s a diabetic, but we are very hopeful this works.

I am officially a big wuss because while the doctor was talking to Ann Marie with Rigoletto on her lap, he spotted my wet eyes and said, “Aw, it’ll be okay. I’ll do my best for you. I know you love your dog.”
Honestly, I'm a wreck.

$20 Billion My Ass ... so the here’s the real story. Yeah, there’s been $20 billion set aside for “legitimate” claims (to be determined by a third party who can’t stop saying enough about how generous BP has been). The money will be there in four $5 billion increments (5 billion a year) so it’s a 4 year deal. The bottom line is, can someone who makes a claim later sue for future monies? After some avoiding the real answer on Meet The Press last week, the 9-11 superfund pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg, last night said when someone makes an emergency claim, their claim will be reviewed and they will be asked to come in. Once they receive their emergency claim money (assuming it’s a “legitimate” claim), a discussion will take place during which a “final lump sum” arrangement will be offered. Take the money and no future litigation.

Great, so people who haven’t seen dime 1 of income for the past 2 weeks, 4, weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks will get to negotiate from desperation for a lump sum that precludes them from future litigation for money.

No wonder BP’s stock “surged” after the $20 billion “compensation” was announced.

One more bill of goods sold to a President obviously in a job way over his head.

General Big Mouth ... another day, another White House “meeting”. The meeting should last about 30 seconds and Obama should fire this clown (McChrystal) as soon as he steps in the Oval Office. Hand him a flash light and a compass and let him park cars. TK is totally against this war and has been against both wars since 2006. It has been and remains a bad policy, but so long as we’re there, the President is the commander and Chief and should NEVER take that kind of shit from anybody. My hero President, Harry Truman, fired McArthur (after putting up with his nonsense for way too long) and Obama shouldn’t wait until this clown sits in the chair before he’s told “You’re fired.”

I really hope he (Obama) follows through. We’ll know more tomorrow.

Everything here at casa Stella is on hold until tomorrow, amici. Until then, the so-called atheist joins the very religious wife in prayer for their Rigoletto.


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

I hope that everything goes well for the pooch tomorrow. And here I thought I was the only one who could make you cry.

$20 Billion - So where exactly did the Bamster get that number from? Every other decision from him took a blue ribbon commission, three czars and twelve months time. He had that $20B figure right on the tip of his tongue. I tend to think that was the figure that BP gave to him. Is it enough? Who knows. Will a bunch of that money go to people who just arrived in the Gulf yesterday? You betcha.

In a future Knucksline we can discuss where Fredo got the constitutional authority to pull off this shakedown. In the meantime, every country that has some experience with this type of calamity and has offered us aid is being told to mind their own business. We know what we’re doing. We’re probably spending a million bucks a day giving showers to pelicans, but the oil just keeps gushing out.

General McChrystal - We have to ask ourselves two questions. Is the war in Afghanistan important? Is McChrystal the best man for the job?

If the answer to both questions is yes, then, Obama, put on your little, short pants and your two-tone shoes and go do what you do best. Leave war to the grown-ups. Besides, tomorrow is Wednesday and you are better suited to picking the menu for the weekly white house party. Just as an aside, Fredo, why don’t you have all the guests at these weekly parties wear white powdered wigs. It would send a vibrant message to the few people who still have jobs about what they’re working for.

Supposedly, Fredo is really pissed at McChrystal. It’s too bad we can’t get him to be really pissed at Islamic terrorists and two-bit dictators.

Here’s a little mellow “Iz” to get you through tomorrow, Chazman.

Take care.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father’s Day ... Yachting anyone? ... Mr. Apology ... The Band ... a Real Band ...


First off, Happy Father’s Day to all a yous fathers out there. Salute.

Second (but really first), Rigoletto was doing great yesterday until he must’ve become too excited and hurt his back again. His hind legs collapsed the same way they had last week and he was panting from pain the next few hours. Hopefully the painkillers do their job today and until he undergoes the surgery to remove the bad disc. Ann Marie, who has been sleeping with the Rigoletto Monster since he’s home on an air mattress in the living room (and has hardly taken a break from being with him), was very despondent at what happened yesterday. This morning, however, he was able to walk a few feet again. Hopefully the hospital won’t hold him too long before he gets the surgery. We hope to bring him in Monday or Tuesday night for an early morning surgery the next day.

Tony Hayward ... it’s good to know Mr. Hayward was so shaken by his “grilling” on Capitol Hill that he saw it fit to race his 52 foot yacht the other day. Boy, President Obama really took him out to the woodshed, didn't he? That’s one tough leader we have there.

Or maybe Tony was celebrating on his yacht because BP’s stock surged after the announcement of the $20 billion compensation fund ... you know, the one where it is now estimated that the cost of compensation will be closer to $200 billion (if it was ever really enforced). Way to go Fredo!

Joe Barton ... Mr. Apology is the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce committee? Holy fucking shit! Even I’d vote for the Democrat running against this putz. Looks like the Shakedown has been on the poor bastards that voted him into office.

The Band ... below are excerpts from Cliff (bass/guitar) and Charlie’s (drums) short practice session:

Charlie: You gonna tune that thing all day?

Cliff: Why don’t you stick your tongue between the hi-hat cymbals?

Charlie: Seriously, why don’t you leave the knobs on the fuckin’ amp alone for two minutes. Maybe we could get through an eighth of a song that way.

Cliff: Why don’t you go back to the bathroom and paradiddle yourself?

Charlie: Why don’t we go down and eat now?

Cliff: Right, there’s something you can handle.

A real band ... we found this playing on the internet yesterday (in search of the Allman Brothers, Not My Cross To Bear. The kid on the guitar is 18 ... and that drummer is smooth. Let’s hear it for The Beale Street West Band.

Order Johnny Porno for every Dad you know today! Be the first to send us a copy of today's receipt/order and we'll send you a signed copy of Cheapskates.

Do the right thing by Dad(s) today ...


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rigoletto ... BP ... Shakedown/Redistritubtion of Wealth ... a new bridge to nowhere ... DOC says ...


Rigoletto ... cried like he always does upon Ann Marie’s return from work ... but he ate like a champ again today and was up on all four legs for a little while before his hind legs gave. He seems stabilized to us (his sugar and everything else). We love having him home ... at least until next week when we all go through it all over again in anticipation of his surgery.

The BP thing … the fact emails were released about the BP disaster in Houston a few years back showing how it was more a Public Relations concern than remorse over the death of 15 workers and/or injuries to 100 others is pretty telling in itself (without the countless violations BP has been cited for at every U.S. location). The fact they’ve been lying to the public (and maybe the government; not that anybody there seems to have cared) since their April 20th disaster (during which 11 died and as of a week ago, BP officials hadn’t contacted the families of those killed) suggests nothing much has changed. The fact Tony Hayward looked so smug while congratulating his colleagues upon leaving the White House the other day suggests BP sold The One yet another bridge (according to the Wall Street Journal, BP shares surged after the $20 billion deal was announced). Now, we’ll have to wait and see whether or not they come close to doing anything they claim they’ll do regarding compensation and/or whether or not they’ll be able to corral 90% of the gushing oil by the end of June (perhaps they think it’ll run dry by then), but there’s no doubt that BP has elevated the idea of deregulation to a new level of insanity.

Now, we don’t think Obama is doing anything bad on purpose. We simply think he’s in over his head and is looking every bit as feeble as did George Bush during and after Katrina. There is something to the idea of actually working for a living. George had Daddy to give him work (and he failed at nearly all of it). Obama had his charm and good lawyers to obtain his first political position; his lawyers managed to have the incumbents he would’ve had to run against disqualified on petition technicalities (they obtained printed names rather than signatures ... or vice versa).

Whatever Obama’s problem, it is yet another sign of government incompetence and I don’t say that easily because zero regulation can only be worse than what we’ve had from BP across the board. The real problem for me is the double dynamic of business running roughshod (using bribes and whatever else they did to avoid genuine regulation and/or render “regulation” useless) and then the government’s inability to a) seat people who won’t be corrupted so easily and b) act in a competent manner when something does go wrong.

Still, this Obama tidbit is frightening: “This is not just a matter of dollars and cents” for a region upended by the spill, Mr. Obama, who returned Tuesday from a fourth tour of the coast, said he had told Mr. Svanberg. “I emphasized to the chairman,” he said, “that when he’s talking to shareholders, when he is in meetings in his boardroom, to keep in mind those individuals — that they are desperate, that some of them, if they don’t get relief quickly, may lose businesses that have been in their families for two or three generations. And the chairman assured me that he would keep them in mind.”

The Chairman of BP assured him? Sounds like a new bridge to nowhere to me.

At this point, if Obama is “assured” by anyone from BP, it is beyond naive ... it is nothing short of stupid.

And from the other side of the aisle we get Redistribution and Shakedowns ...

Well, not that Shakedown ... this one:

From Gail Collins’ NY Times column we get this jewel from the right wing of the aisle: And the ever-popular Representative Michele Bachmann denounced the BP restitution fund as “redistribution of wealth” and “one more gateway for government control.”

Redistribution of wealth? Is this broad always this batshit?

As for Congressman Joe Barton ... this genius is calling the $20 billion compensation fund a White House “shakedown” (good title for a crime novel, by the way). A United States taxpayer paid representative apologized to BP for being held negligibly responsible for the catastrophe they caused.

He apologized ...

Which is why we come back to the Generalissimo Knucks way of handling these things. The rewards these SOB’s get (whether they give themselves the financial rewards or take them from us) merits a likewise risk when they are proven corrupt. Knucks says once we can prove them to have acted in a criminal manner, we line them up and shoot them.

I know, I know, that’s too radical for someone who is supposed to be so liberal, but I never said I’m a fool. I’m only liberal where it makes sense (equal rights, healthcare, education, workers rights) and letting these thieves make fools of us over and over again doesn’t make sense (think back to the PR emails after BP’s 2005 Houston explosion).

So, line them up and shoot them. If for no other reason, how about the look on Tony Hayward’s face when his smug grin gets to deal with the fact the line he’s standing on isn’t for the imported from Japan fish buffet …

And as for Mr. Obama and his Presidency of Change We Can Believe In … well, TK has long felt it’s time for both major parties to take a long needed hike and Obama has proven our point, especially coming on the heels of Dubbya. They are indeed two faces of incompetence from two different worlds, (somebody say Harvard & Yale?) but make no mistake, Obama sold out to privilege and only talks about what the left wants to hear (he abandoned them the day of his inauguration). In fact, talk seems to be all he ever does.

The problem with the Democratic left is they’re way too willing to listen to his bullshit and won’t even consider walking away from him come election time. For people who like to throw the idea that we’re too guided by our “fear” (i.e., we let the fear of terrorism rule our lives), they sure seem “afraid” to abandon that “lesser of two evils” concept and vote for someone who didn’t have to sell out to become part of a machine that operates by big business, for big business (and one has to wonder what the founding fathers would think about that rewriting of their constitution).

My feeling is Obama is one and done, but there’s as good a chance we’ll be stuck with this clown another four years as a Republican clown will win and take his place. But seriously, amici, what’s the difference? Six of one, half a dozen of the other … or as Mr. Marx used to say (Groucho, not Karl), “One for all and all for me and me for you and three for five and six for a quarter.”


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

I’m glad to hear that Rigatoni is doing better. Maybe I’m clairvoyant, but I had a feeling that the whole air mattress strategery wasn’t going to work out. You see, most air mattresses are made for those “small people” that the head of BP was so concerned about. You need more of an industrial grade air mattress; Like the ones the stuntmen use when they fall off a building.

And yes, Charles, it is a slush fund. As we speak, ACORN is loading up buses with miscreants and heading down to Louisiana. Along the way they will pick up sailor hats and “Gorton Fisherman” rain outfits for everyone. This will be the same clusterf*ck we had after Katrina. In six months we’ll find out that half the money went for lap dances and tattoos.

If I was a homeless person I would buy an old sea captain’s hat, soak it in motor oil and head down to the Gulf coast. I would stroll in to the nearest FEMA office and tell them the heart wrenching tale of how my $100,000 fishing boat was sucked into God’s own hell of an oil slick and was never seen again. I loved that boat. I called it “Obama’s Dream” and now I’m penniless. Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

To top it off, the disbursements of the $20 Billion will be handled by Obama’s “Pay Czar”… no chance of chicanery there.

After the oil first started leaking the head of the Minerals and Mining Agency either quit or was fired (Fredo wasn’t sure which), so he has appointed a new one. Fortunately, this one is a Harvard lawyer. Now, nobody knows more about offshore, deep-water drilling then those Harvard law school types. I know we can rest assured that this kind of accident will never happen again since we now have a preppy shyster overseeing the oil rigs.

Have a great weekend, Chazman

PS: “The Oil Song” is from 1979. I had the 45. You can explain what a 45 is to the amicis.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rigoletto Update


This blog will serve as our daily update on the real boss of the Stella family, Rigoletto, until he's home again with us. Here's today's (Wednesday, June 16) update:

Thursday Rigoletto Update: Yesterday we were told that maybe it’s a good idea for him to go home for a few days after all (what my wife had been saying all along; the dog was vomiting from stress). I eat, my dog vomits. So, we were told the doctor would have written instructions for a tech named Jason and Jason would explain everything to us about the meds we were bringing home with us for Rigoletto. Of course when we got there (and managed an $800 credit on a $5000 bill—but the $2700 surgery (without extra hospital costs and they charged you for shit you can't even imagine) comes next week), of course Jason hadn’t been instructed on anything and we went home somewhat blind as to medical instructions that weren’t on the bottles. Long story short? Rigoletto ate skirt steak last night, had his insulin shot and managed to eat his treats after the shot. He was able to stand on his hind legs for a few second before they collapsed while he tried to urinate (that happens to me sometimes too, but usually after drinking a bottle of Chivas) and this morning he looked 1000 x’s better and much more alert.

The air mattress game plan didn’t work out so good because once you put 320 pounds on an air mattress it turns into a pancake … so it was the Principessa Ann Marie doing bed duty (I doubt she slept at all) through the night while the ugly one slept alone in the king sized thing we have in our bedroom. I was supposed to go to the gym this morning but didn’t have the heart to go downstairs (in case she was actually sleeping) so I just waited until 4:00 a.m. and then headed down to make my first cauldron of coffee. The pup ate again, took his painkiller like a champ and had sad eyes when Ann Marie left behind me. Ann Marie’s son, Timmy, will be doing Rigoletto duty through the day and fortunately, the wife is off Fridays so she’ll be with the pup through the night into tomorrow and the weekend until we have to bring him back for the surgery. Hopefully they will listen to us this time and not leave him to be observed overnight before the operation because without us he stresses (the way we stress without him) and he’ll start vomiting again.

For now, the Rigoletto monster is home and in charge once again. What a dog!

Wednesday Rigoletto Update: He’s coming home this afternoon because he keeps vomiting (from fucking stress, we told them) ... he’ll stay home with us until he’s eating normal again and then plus one day (after he’s stabilized), he’ll be scheduled for the surgery the following day.

He can’t be moved, etc, because of his spine situation, so we’ll have to sleep on an air mattress in the living room (the things we’ll do ...) because he can’t get up or down the doggie stairs at the end of our bed, couch, etc.

We’re half relieved ... at least we get to have him again. We miss our boy big time.

Tuesday: He was vomitting liquid this morning so the operation has been put off until Wednesday or Thursday (most likely Thursday). We get to wait (as does Rigoletto) even longer now. Of course we’re worried about what is going through his mind about us: What happened to them? Etc.

We also wondered why all the delays since we were told it was an emergency 4 days ago and the cost is obscene and getting worse every day.

The other thing is this: It’s great to know that even when you’re shelling out $7-10K, you can be treated like shit by receptionists. I have to wonder if they graduated from some Motor Vehicles Department. Unbelievably rude and incompetent treatment. a) They didn’t know a doctor who’d spoken to Ann Marie just an hour earlier was on site; b) they didn’t know his voice mail message said he was out and wouldn’t be back until June 10th (5 days ago) and c) they didn’t seem to care that one of them told us “he was in a procedure” and the other told us that “he was out on leave”; they couldn’t get their stories straight, even after being told they gave us two different stories after two different calls and that the doctor had already spoken to one of us.

And of course we were put "on hold" over and over and nobody ever picked up again. We had to call back, at which time we can only assume they recognized the number and didn't pick up again ... even though it's their emergency number.

Red Bank Veterinary Hospital … they may do good work (we sure and shit hope so) with your pets, but there's a good chance you’ll be treated like shit over the phone by their receptionists.

Motherfuckers …

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Excuse the Angry Venting, but today I can’t handle anymore bullshit. DOC says ...


Axelrod on Meet the Press ... and here I thought Paul Begala could talk some shit. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, David Axelrod said: “He went down there and stood, I remember, on--shortly after the incident, in the pouring rain on a Sunday morning and, and spoke to the need to hold BP accountable ...”

Somebody please tell me we’re not supposed to be extra impressed that President Obama had to weather a rain storm.

The pouring rain ... the poor man. I hope somebody had a towel for him to dry off afterward.

And, oh, by the way ... The president flew to the Gulf Coast Sunday 12 days after the oil platform exploded and sank ...

Ah, but it was pouring rain outside on that 12th day.

This is no defense of George Bush’s 7 minute delay in response to a terrorist attack on the country, but it is odd that the delay in this crisis seems to have taken an awful long time to notice ...

Until this week, that is ... for one, Ms. Dowd seems much less seduced by The One lately: ... and even the Times Editorial is showing some angst at The One: The president cannot plug the leak or magically clean up the fouled Gulf of Mexico. But he and his administration need to do a lot more to show they are on top of this mess, and not perpetually behind the curve. For the record, that’s just what Temporary Knucksline mentioned just a few days ago ... how Obama seems so goddamned clueless until AFTER the facts.

The Republicans ... and this clown act of a political party needs to stay off the airwaves and focus on figuring out what it is they really want. They don’t get to talk out of both sides of their mouths; either they are against government regulation or they’re for it. They don’t seem to be able to make up their mind. While this disaster is the one they were politically hoping for (to cash in on) and Obama is making it easy for them (the same way Democrats embraced and continue to embrace George Bush’s mishandling of Katrina and his wars), they (Republicans) need to accept the fact that sometimes Government aid is REQUIRED, especially when so many in the Gulf region are so economically dependent on the oil industry. Seriously, you guys are falling all over yourselves. It was deregulation that caused the financial and the Gulf Oil disaster(s) and you don’t get to make believe it wasn’t. And let’s quit jerking ourselves off about why we went to war. As someone who initially supported both of them, I’ve been thoroughly embarrassed about that since 2006. You don’t get to support that bullshit anymore either, not while you’re complaining about a budget deficit. No fucking way.

You’d think the performance of these two loser parties (Republicans and Democrats) which is so stunningly alike (Bush & Obama) at this point, would mandate a third, fourth, fifth and sixth party stage sharing scenario when it comes to political debates for ALL ELECTIONS, but certainly for the Presidential Stage. At this point, what we’ve gotten from our two great major parties is yet another version of Dumb and Dumber (and, yes, they are certainly interchangeable, aren’t they?).

But according to Obama Blind Faithers, this is the guy we need to pay attention to.

Some Democrats will defend their President to the point of ignoring what's going on around them by pointing out what a retard Glenn Beck is (but feel free to substitute or add Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, etc.). Right, we should care about this Beck clown while the Gulf continues to be swamped with oil, those “stimulated” continue to hoard the money WE gave them and not provide jobs to the unemployed, the war in Afghanistan continues to escalate in numbers of American troops AND numbers of American troops killed (and those reports continue to disappear from major news media outlets), bailed out businesses continue to flourish (rewarding management with record bonuses while outsourcing OUR jobs), gays still can’t tell when asked (but shouldn’t be asked), nor can they marry (which classifies them as second class citizens under OUR CONSTITUTION), there’s no such thing as national health insurance, but rather, 33,000,000 more customers for the Health Insurance Industry, the “oversight” of the banking industry almost precluded their CEO’s from telling us all to fuck off during Congressional hearings (they were so overwhelmed with “regulations”) etc., etc., etc.

Not to worry about any of that stuff, amici ... it’s Glenn Beck we have to worry about.

Seriously, do blind faithers EVER deal in reality?

Here’s a clue ... not only is Dick Cheney not in charge (or George Bush) ... neither is Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh or, dare I say it, Glenn Beck.

At this point, I’m all for a beneficent dictator ...

Again, please excuse the angry venting. Today I can’t help it; sometimes the bullshit is extra hard to swallow.

Here’s something that always makes me feel better ... Peter Erskine on drums. I tried this several times and dropped the sticks more often than I ever came close to sounding anything like Mr. Erskine.


And the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

I feel your pain, brother. You have to zone in on the key phrase… “in the pouring rain”. It took 12 days, but the Chosen One was standing on the beach in the pouring rain. Now, what can’t you do in the pouring rain?


Look on the bright side. If it hadn’t rained that day, he still wouldn’t have shown up.

He skipped Arlington on Memorial Day and then when his advisors told him what a douchebag he looked like he had them drag 150 people in digital camo to a meeting hall so he could appear concerned.

You’re right about both parties being useless. This definitely was not what our Founding Fathers envisioned. They thought you would leave your livelihood to “serve” the nation for a few years. Do your stuff and then return to your career. Our whole mess can be attributed to the current system where our representatives are career politicians. They haven’t the slightest idea how capitalism works in the real world. They just know how to raise enough money to get themselves re-elected.


I did not desert you on Friday. I submitted my retort and it was censored by the fascistic, jack-booted editor at Knucksline (not that I bear him any ill will). Now, you’ve seen the shit that I get away with here. Can you imagine what it would take to get me blackballed? Oh baby! Just close your eyes and let your imagination run wild.

The fat bastard himself told me that I was “crazy”, but I don’t hold it against old lardass and neither should you.

Monday Musical Madness (written by Willie)

If you have to ask who Willie is ... don’t bother playing it.

Smoke and prayers for Rigoletto

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Good thoughts for Rigoletto, please ... Sunday update; Monday Update ...


Monday update: Rigoletto update: He’s got chronic disc problems and will have the very bad disc removed tomorrow late morning. The doctor felt very confident that he will recover fine, but had to warn us of a 30% chance of paralysis. If things go okay, the second phase of this involved his recovery. Because Rigs is diabetic, he cannot have steroid treatments and will have a longer, more complicated recovery.

So the sweating goes on for one more day.

MRI = $1,800.00
Insulin (while he’s in the hospital) $33, per shot x 2 a day
Overnight in hospital = $92.00

We should be flying by that $6,400.00 figure within another day or two …

We’re relieved it’s a disc that can be removed but terrified of that 30% of paralysis. And another day of waiting, without my dog and knowing he’s probably wondering “where the hell are they?” makes me nuts.

Sunday Update: They are going to do the MRI tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m. Ann Marie has tomorrow off (she had to cancel her nursing barbecue today at Casa Stella because ... well yous know why) and she will go to see Rigs tomorrow afternoon for a final consultation. He has some movement and has been given pain killers. Today I'm an angry SOB and I need to stay distracted. I'll go to work tomorrow and do my best until Ann Marie calls. We were told not to visit him today because he shouldn't get excited. Rigs sleeps with us and last night was not a good one without him. I'm heading to the gym to let some steam out. I wish it was a lockup where letting out steam is a requirement. I'm that angry.

Thanks to all of you for the kind thoughts. They are very much appreciated.

Saturday, a rough day at Casa Stella ...

Please keep the kind thoughts and prayers for our pooch, Rigoletto. Yesterday when we returned from work he was limping, this morning he couldn’t move his hind legs. Ann Marie had a family function to attend so I and my stepson brought him to our local vet for X-rays. They didn’t show anything so she sent us to an animal hospital in Red Bank. There’s a chance it is some degenerative disease with his spine that can progress to paralysis and loss of his functions. Of course we’ve been beside ourselves all day.

Below is my favorite picture of Rigoletto, then Rigs and his grandniece, Lolla.

We did get some good news during the party from the hospital. He’s regained limited movement in his hind legs and a neurologist will be examining him in the morning before they do an MRI and perform the spinal surgery. The cost for this is another set of DW Drums. They can have the money, the drums and the fucking house. We want our dog back.

Honestly, this is goddamned overwhelming.

- Knucks

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nurse Jackie ... Reading Reagan … Bob Herbert … the Navy … Hardball … DOC says ...


Nurse Jackie ... oy vey, the wife FINALLY recognized Nurse Jackie as a despicable person (and a GREAT show--we both LOVE it). Actually, it was 2 shows ago when the boss acknowledged what I’d been saying all along (I’m right so rarely, I feel an extra need to point it out). The problem is I suspect the writers will have her husband cut off what’s left of his cajones with the “drug excuse” for her screwing around, etc. As for Eddie ... he had the line of the season last night: “Anyone who really knows you (Jackie) knows they don’t know you.”

Dutch … so far pretty interesting, although the “memoir/bio” was somewhat controversial for several reasons, predominantly because the author (a Pulitzer prize winner for his The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt), wrote himself in as a fictional character from Reagan’s youth … those on both sides of the political aisle have taken issue with this account of Ronald Wilson Reagan. Still, it’s been interesting so far. For one thing, I was never a Reaganite and more a blind faith Democrat loyalist who couldn’t understand how working people could ever vote for Republicans. I had thought Reagan a cheerleader at best and absurd politically (being a blind faith anything precludes one from seeing anything but what one wants to see). As it turns out, not only was Reagan not the big dope I assumed him to be, he was a voracious reader and a pretty good writer. I’m up to his Hollywood days, when it was rumored he might’ve had ideas about joining the communist party back then, but so far he’s just married Jayne Wyman so … we shall see.

In the meantime, I'll give Ronnie this one for all those blind faithers still clinging to the Obama fiasco ...

I’ll have a review of Dutch after I finish reading it.

Bob Herbert … Fortunately for moi, there’s still one New York Times columnist who isn’t a blind faith supporter of either party … one of my journalist heroes, Bob Herbert … the last sentence in his column yesterday says it all: "Bold and effective leadership would have put us on this road to a sustainable future. Instead, we’re approaching a dead end."

Mr. Herbert was talking about the number one issue today … no; not Lady Ga-Ga, not the new sensation pitching for the Nationals and not the BP disaster in the Gulf. It was good old reliable unemployment and the lack of attention it continues to get from an administration paying way too much attention to daily polls (and perhaps still campaigning?). The cost of two absurd wars we’re still fighting but that have taken a back seat to BP and the partisan media’s sudden acceptance of American lives lost in futility are one way to fund a sorely needed jobs program, but Mr. President is busy telling Matt Lauer about the asses he’s looking to kick regarding the BP disaster. He’s in charge, he wants us to know, even though he didn’t know he’d fired (or did she quit) the head of the equally as corrupt as the porn loving SEC, the MMS.

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. For those who think it's all about his show of anger, take another look-see at the video. It's because he seems god damned clueless until AFTER the facts (too long to list here) why he's being called a weak leader.

The Navy … one has to wonder why the Navy was never called into action with this BP fiasco. If for nothing else, boom management, tankers that might serve to collect the oil (apparently BP only has two ships to take the oil they’ve managed to collect from the gusher), etc. Even shore patrols (cleaning up/building sandbars, etc.). It just seems to make sense to use the military in whatever way possible, but somehow they (the Navy) are never even mentioned.

Chris Matthews … brother, does this guy take the cake. Apparently ashamed of himself for giving Obama a dose of grief (every once in a very blue moon), he couldn’t stop himself the other day (the 2 minutes I watched his show) from giving Dick Cheney’s resume connections to all things BP and Halliburton. Does Matthews have a clue about who is currently the President of the United States (vs. a former Vice President) and this President’s ties to BP and Goldman Sachs (to name two)? Buddy, get over it already … it’s Obama in the driver’s seat the last 15 months and even though he didn’t know the head of MMS was fired when she was (or did she resign, he wasn’t sure during the press conference where he announced “He was in charge”) … he’s still the President right now (why we at TK give him so much shit--because he's the one in charge; the one who can "CHANGE" {for lack of a better word} things!

Get it Mr. Matthews?

Right now Dick Cheney isn’t the President. He’s not even the Vice President. And MSNBC calls that show Hardball?


And the DOC says ...

Oh, amici, even TK had to edit out some of DOC's late night rant ... madonna mia. Here's what we could keep:

There you go again, Chaz, bashing our Commander in Chief.

You don’t seem to understand that the man is busy. He can’t be running around willy-nilly addressing those issues that you feel are important. He has things to do. First, there is golf, then B-ball, Wednesday night parties, keeping Biden away from microphones, teleprompter training, Barbara Boxer fundraisers, bowing practice. Then there are vacations, weekend getaways and date nights. He gets no help from Michelle since she is running that farm at the white house that feeds six million hungry Americans every week.

Honestly, I can’t decide if he is the most evil man in America or if he is so stupid that he shouldn’t have to wear shoes.


Have a great weekend, Chazman.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Each new day, a new pain ... laser-like focus? ... Professor Knucks ... DOC says ...


Yank it ... just when I’m about to run out of pain killers for the back (which has improved to about 80%), a tooth starts aching ... so I take the precautionary route and go see our local dentist (also named Stella) ... and she says, “Oh, that baby is a goner” ... so it goes (this Thursday) ... but in the meantime, Stella prescribed Stella essentially the same pain killers (percocets) for the tooth as I had for the back.

In Knucksworld, amici, that’s a focking SCORE!

Laser-like bullshit ... DOC calls him President Fredo ... I call him President Fraud ... and the Labor Department said Friday that 431,000 jobs were added in May ... but the vast majority of those were temporary workers hired by the government to conduct the 2010 Census. Private-sector employment rose by only 41,000, the smallest monthly increase since January. Without faster private-sector job growth, the U.S. faces a bumpy recovery restrained by households with little income to spend.

He’s already taken the podium to announce “No more earmarks” the day after he approved more than 9,000 of them. Then he gave us the “regulation” tour about how he was going to hold the bailed out community responsible (the day after he permitted the bailed out community to walk away from $38 BILLION in taxes on the money they borrowed from all of us) ... then he gave us the health insurance for all (and the insurance companies breathed a deep sigh of relief knowing they were guaranteed 33,000,000 new customers without going single payer--it's just more profit for the big boys and we all know how those government spending projections will turn out in the end) ... then it was the banking regulation (and the banks sighed in relief) where it took 15 months after the crisis hit to “oversee” with fugazy regulations that will impair no bank already too big to fail. And let's not get into that annoying "transparency" thingie ...

Recently it was yet another “regulation tour” regarding the government agencies too busy watching porn and accepting bribes from BP (from whom Obama received the biggest campaign contributions) and he blamed the prior administration (which we all know were in the pockets of big business, so tell us something we don't know, Professor) ... and now it’ll be a second “laser-like focus on jobs”, I suppose.

We know those institutions already bailed out aren't feeling the economic crisis ... hell, they’ve rewarded themselves with record bonuses while millions of Americans lost their wages, homes and dignity. Is that what Senators Reid and Schumer were talking about in the above video regarding the recovery that's already started?

Jobs, jobs and jobs my ass ...

I guess it just seems that this president decides to get tough just a little bit late (always AFTER the horses have left the gate). On the street, we used to call them “fantasy war stories” ... guys who’d tell you what they would’ve done “if”. The problem here (with Obama) is there is no need for an “if”. He already is the guy in charge. He is the President.

So, Knucks says: “Buddy, a little less bullshit and a lot more action. Get it the fock done or get the fock out of the way and let somebody else do it.”

And while the so-called liberal democrats continue to disregard the other options out there (i.e., Ralph Nader, et al) and continue to point their oh, so intelligent fingers at the irrelevant(s) like Sarah Palin and Rand Paul, ROME (and all the worker Romans--you and I, Amici) continue(s) to burn ...

Enough doom and gloom ... lately I’ve been reading everything from urban vampire novels to young adult and fantasy books ... and although I haven’t been able to finish a single one to date (two I put aside because they just aren’t for me), I do see where (and perhaps why) they are so popular these days. The wife issued a challenge for me to produce something better in any of the above-mentioned categories and all I could come up with was a “Knucks' Young Adult’s Guide to Craps, Assaults Without Weapons, Back Injuries and Weight Gaining”.

It starts like this: “Chapter 1: Establishing a Point; the Come-Out Roll”

Most families played Monopoly when I was a kid. Not that wild and crazy Stella family. Poppa Tommy (my Dad) taught us young and often: "You're at the table and some jamoke stands alongside you and says he never wins, you tell him go the fuck outside and step in front of a bus."

That might sound worse than it was ... he also didn't let us smoke while we played ... at least not while Momma Stella was around.

The Principessa Ann Marie said, “Maybe you should stick to crime fiction.”


And the DOC says ...

Geezus, Chaz,

You’re becoming a whiny little girl!
“My knee hurts.”
“My back hurts.”
“My teeth hurt.”
“They fired the guy who did all my work.”
“Doc is mean to me.”
“Somebody didn’t like my book.”
“The neighbors don’t like my raccoon.”

Cowboy-up, buckeroo. You’re supposed to be a tough guy.

The only laser-like focus the Bamster has is for who will be performing at his weekly “Let Them Eat Cake” party at the White House. And then Fredo lets McCartney diss Dubya while he is in the White House. How come people who can sing a song or tell a joke suddenly become experts in world affairs? Hey Paul, Bush has an MBA from Harvard. What have you got? And by the way Paul, find out who does Nancy Pelosi’s nips and tucks. You’re beginning to look like an old drag queen.

As pitiful as they are, it seems the “Created Jobs” numbers are as padded as a high school cheerleader’s bra. The census workers are complaining about constantly being fired and rehired. If a worker is fired then rehired that counts as two jobs created. Some workers said they were rehired three times… that’s four new jobs.

With the country clamoring for something different, the GOP does what it does best… the same old, same old. No primary necessary. We’re going to run the same old, same old hack that got his ass kicked by Hillary last time. This makes me think that in 2012 we’ll see McCain with a couple of flashy new ties, maybe part his hair on the other side. Sarah will have some new glasses and a push-up bra. The GOP will once again attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

I saw the premiere of the History Channel’s new show “Top Shot”. It’s like “Dancing with the Stars”, but with firearms. It was pretty well done. Maybe if our elections involved some kind of shoot-off we could get that other 50% of Americans to vote.

Have a good week, Chazmeister.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Art of Squatting ... Back injury--a little better ... Sunday with the Stella boys ...


What bad review?

OOOps ...

Squats ... the wife made it clear there won’t be any more squatting/deadlifting ... the last injury ruined a beautiful Memorial Day weekend and birthday (imagine being stuck with a grumpier than usual me in the house for a long weekend) ... but the hospital drugs seem to be working very well. The back pain has decreased considerably and I’m able to squat (very gently) to pick up whatever falls from my mitts. I’m also able to walk without needles in my lower left back. And I can slide on and off the bed again ... oy vey.

Why they make COLLARS. Why EVERYONE should USE THEM!

And then there’s this ...

Benching is so much safer ...

This is more like it ...

The Stella boys plus the future daughter-in-law are coming over to see the Phat Dad this weekend and it should be a food fest ... and maybe the day I can return to the gym for at least the elliptical workout?


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More kind words ... Marilyn & Me ... President Spock ... Obama & New Orleans ... DOC says ...


The kind words are still in the air and we couldn't be more appreciative ... in this CRIME SCENE SCOTLAND issue, we're part of the roundup with some GREAT company (Vickie Hendricks, Dave Zeltserman, Stuart MacBride, John Connolly, Thomas Kaufmann and William Ryan). We've reviewed Hendricks and Zeltserman here at TK and insist they're both must reads.

Crime Scene Scotland on Johnny Porno: "Stella’s novel is intricately plotted, with a cast of fully realised characters and a sly humour that runs just beneath the surface but never undercuts the reality of his writing. Johnny Porno is Stella’s seventh novel, and its his most mature and most convincing yet. If you haven’t discovered Stella yet (and if you haven't, what's your excuse?) you need to start, now."

Johnny Porno ... Rambles has some kind words about JP ... in a nutshell “What Stella does best is move you into the center of a world, in this case, the outer boroughs of New York City in the early '70s, introduce you to a subculture, minor-league mobsters and the cops who either profit off of them or try to shut them down, and let you experience what it must have been like in there. It's a trip worth taking.”

Order Johnny Porno here ...

6/1/26 & 56 ... that’s right, amici, me and Marilyn Monroe ... two beauties born on the same day. Alright, so one beauty and one beast. Today I celebrate with my second straight day of flexiril and percocet (the prescription from the ER nurse practitioner), which means I sleep through the day ... and probably tomorrow and the day after that.

President Spock ... Maureen Dowd hammered Barry again this weekend in the New York Times ... the more crisis Obama faces, the more inept he proves himself. Even Tom Brokaw suggested what Clinton (the President) faced as a Governor of Arkansas at least prepared him somewhat for the White House. Barry hasn’t faced genuine opposition until he was inaugurated as President ... and so far he’s proved himself what DOC calls him: President Fredo.

Obama and New Orleans ... also from the above-mentioned Maureen Dowd article: "Even if Obama doesn’t watch Treme on HBO, it’s strange that he would not have a more spontaneous emotional response to another horrendous hit for Louisiana, with residents and lawmakers crying on the news and dead pelicans washing up on shore. But then, he didn’t make his first-ever visit to New Orleans until nearly a year after Katrina hit.'I never had occasion to be here,’ he told The Times’s Jeff Zeleny, then at The Chicago Tribune.”

Once again, TK can only hope Treme extends into the Obama administration so it doesn’t come off as a great show with a fugazy political agenda.

This short rift took two days to write ... and those percocets are kicking in again ... it’s back to bed for the ugly one ... the back pain seems to be fading slightly (emphasis on SLIGHTLY) ...


and the DOC says ...

Hey Chaz,

I’m sorry you didn’t like “Angels and Demons”. I somehow thought that selling a gazillion books and making buckets of money would appeal to you. Due to a lack of sensitivity I never realized how seriously you adhered to your vow of poverty. With Dan Brown’s money, you might be able to get an automobile you can actually fit in. I think the army calls it a “deuce and a half”.

So, Al Gore and the missus are going to break up. That is just shocking. Who wouldn’t want to wake up next to that fat, pedantic, depressing bastard every day?

The Bamster is getting pounded on the BP oil spill. When Maureen Dowd turns her sights away from Bush/Cheney you know Fredo has hit rock bottom. To combat the oil spill Fredo has enlisted the aid of legendary film director James Cameron. After all, he has made movies that have a lot of water in them… “The Abyss” and “Titanic” (no comment), and the oil spill involves a lot of water. Sounds like a perfect solution to me. If nothing else, he can film a sequence in which large blue people swim down to a fictional oil leak and stop it with a ginormous wad of chewing gum. Then Chris Matthews and Mo Dowd can jump back on the bandwagon.

In a similar move, the Commander of U.S. troops in the Middle East will be George C. Scott and the oriental actress from “Grey’s Anatomy” will take over as Surgeon General of the United States.

Paul McCartney will be performing at the Bamster’s weekly, Wednesday “Let Them Eat Cake” soiree. He says Fredo is a great guy and we should stop picking on him. Hey Paul… STFU. You’re almost 70 years old and you’re not “the cute one” anymore. Obviously, Paul is shooting to be the new “Hair Dye Czar”.

If this letter doesn’t seem that funny, take another Percoset. It took me 3 Percs to write it.

Feel better, big guy