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, October 30, 2010

Doc emails/Doc says ... but first ...


Green Bay, 1965 Championship Game

This one is for Doc. His love of all things football (and opera) made the above an easy choice.

Fun night at the Circle in the Square theatre last night where Dustin Stella and Coach Billy Luisa (Port Richmond High School) and the ugly one took in Lombardi on Broadway. Funny stuff start to finish with some touching moments to boot. The most awesome thing we saw were people wearing Green Bay Packer garb who had come from Green Bay, Wisconsin to see a play about their football God. Kudos to them. Awesome, really ... and it shows you just how much a little eye-talian fella from Brooklyn meant to an entire community (which owns its football team, by the way--oh, those terrible, terrible, socialists ...). You go Green Bay!

Now, for the Doc and his response(s) to our last post. First, though, here’s his email to me yesterday for not getting his post up there fast enough.

Hey Chazmeister,

There are only 2 possible reasons why you have not printed my thoughtful and sensitive reply to your blog.

First possibility... I have somehow, once again, offended your left wing, sissified, crybaby, bedwetting sense of political correctness with my comments about Michelle's gravity-altering buttocks.

Second, and more likely... you lost it.

So, which one is it, Bunky?

Doc is referring to his aid in a rifle shooting scene in Rough Riders he recently helped me with (he rewrote actually, in his charming way (see below)). I had sent him the scene as I wrote it a few weeks ago and when he filled in the proper gun nut details, I had managed to lose it in my deleted emails and had to ask him to send it again.

Oy vey ...

Without further ado, here’s le Doc's "thoughtful and sensitive reply to your (our) blog" ...

Hey Chaz,

You were a little bit rough on the Tea Party there. If this chick rushed through a crowd and tried to give The Bamster a box I wonder how the Secret Service would have handled it. And why the disguise? Turns out she is a Media Matters professional protestor… shows up at all the big events. It’s not like they shot her… just stepped on her head a little.

So Fredo went on the Daily Show. It won’t be long before my prediction comes true and he is sitting in that center box on Hollywood Squares.

Personally I think the muppet is losing his damn mind. He goes on Spanish radio and tells Hispanics that November 2nd is the time to “punish your enemies”. Wouldn’t those “enemies” be American citizens too?

Two days after his Waterloo on Tuesday his highness and “Junk in the Trunk” are heading to India. I guess that’s his only opportunity to see a lot of people working on American jobs. The royal couple have reserved all 570 rooms of the Taj Mahal Hotel and we get to pay for them. While there, he will address the Indian Parliament. It will be the first time in history that anyone has used a teleprompter while speaking to parliament. And why is that? Because the smartest man in the world can’t memorize a twenty minute speech. Hell, he’s been giving that same “America sucks” speech for three years. You would think he would have it down by now.

To show that I have no hard feelings here is a song dedicated to the ever lovely Michelle.

Have a great weekend

P.S. It’s not just the opera. We also hate the Lombardi clips.

And here's Doc's rewrite of a scene to Rough Riders (that rifle scene):

The chopper was already on the ground. Dale crossed the highway and stopped about four hundred yards from the farmhouse. He popped the trunk of his car and pulled out his hunting rifle and an old blanket. He rolled the blanket up and placed it on the hood of the car as a rest for his Winchester 70. He guesstimated the range to be about 400 yards. He remembered making longer shots back in the Sandbox, but his 7 mm magnum would be maxing out at this range. The air was still, so he had no worries about wind drift, but the light 140 grain bullet would be dropping almost a foot and a half at this distance. He steadied himself and placed the crosshairs a few inches above X’s head. The rifle barked. Dale heard the bullet hit and from the red mist at X’s back he knew it was a solid body hit. He cranked in a fresh round, but it wouldn’t be necessary. Men were funny like that he thought. You could shoot a deer through both lungs and it would still run a hundred yards. You shoot a man’s pinky off and he’d more than likely drop to the ground staring at the stump…funny.

As he approached X’s body the door of the farmhouse burst open and Eve, the aspiring young porn star, rushed out saying,

“Thanks for rescuing me, Dale. How about a blow job?”



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stranglehold Review ... Obama & Stewart ... The Stomper ... Lombardi on Broadway ...


Stranglehold … Ed Gorman’s political thriller couldn’t come at a better time. What with the sleaze and craziness that has taken hold of our political system, what better than a little murder and mayhem (with underpinnings of what life must be like for those inclined to become public servants). The boss and I were talking about this tonight; how anybody desiring to serve in the government has to first think about just what kind of laundry will be aired and at who’s expense. A shame really. As if people who’ve had affairs or illegitimate children or a few too many one night when they got behind the wheel of a car, etc. can't learn from their mistakes and or govern inspite of them. Not to mention how they will have to relive those experiences over and over and over in the worst possible light (television).

The thing I enjoy most about Gorman’s novel is the fairness with which he treats his characters and their particular preferences, political, social, ethical and religious. There are jocks who can speak the mother tongue, walk and chew gum at the same time. There are Republicans who aren’t to be assumed racist, homophobes and/or kings and queens looking down upon their serfs. There are some of those, make no mistake, but there are also Democrats (Dev, for one) who can cringe at similar aspects of his own party (Democrats). When a reader finds fairness, I believe, they are inclined to keep reading. I’ve often (in my late 40’s early 50’s) been put off by some of the more obvious slants in all forms of entertainment. Ultimately, when I’m confronted with FOX or MSNBC-like agendas, I tend to switch channels (or put down a book). Not so with Ed Gorman’s work. While the title, Stranglehold, refers to the grip money has on too many of us, especially those around the aging, yet beautiful starlet, Natalie Byrnes; it also refers to what too many of us (especially those around Ms. Byrnes) will do for it as they stoop pretty low to seize the day.

No spoilers, but this one involves what you’d expect in a political campaign these days (blackmail, sleaze tactics) plus a touch of murder (or two) ... Gorman is smooth and clever and this book’s release is perfectly timed for our upcoming fiasco next Tuesday (where, it seems yet again, no matter who wins/we all lose).

President Obama was on the Jon Stewart show last night and did about as good as he could under the current political circumstances (spinning, spinning, spinning). Stewart was obviously playing nice (nicer than when that idiot from MSNBC - Cramer(?)) was on a year or so ago, but he didn’t follow-up the way TK would have, that’s for sure.

A few questions we would have liked to ask President Obama:

You saw it fit to bail out Wall Street with our money, yet you didn’t protect our jobs in the process; bailed out companies continued and still continue to outsource OUR jobs while they reward themselves with OUR money. Why?

Why weren’t there stipulations to management of the firms that drove our economy (and our 401k’s) into “the ditch” that precluded them from bonuses of any kind?

You let bailed out companies ignore $38 billion in taxes. Why?

And why couldn’t we the people (who paid for the bailouts) borrow our own money (what was left of our 401k’s) without penalty while Wall Street walked away from not only their debt, but also the taxes mentioned above?

To be fair, Stewart did ask Obama why there weren’t any stipulations to preclude insurance companies from increasing their rates 10-40% BEFORE his so-called health reform took place and when the President tried to dodge that one, Stewart was quick to point out that stoppages in increases only came in at absurd increases like 30% but were not in place at 29%.

Well, I guess we’ll know next Tuesday how much further to the right President Obama can go once he loses his majority in the house. Something tells me that if he wants to win in 2012 and Sarah Palin doesn’t run (because that woman can only insure his victory), he may well switch parties.

Oy vey ...

While we’re on politics … here’s why the Tea Party looks so bad … this crap:

Tough guys, eh? I often crack wise about the lack of balls liberal democrats show (and they do) by refusing to demand anything from their party. This is worse. If the Republicans had any balls (and they don’t), they’d refute this party wholesale for acts like the above. What a bunch of punks.

Fascinating video of a murder confession (Colonel Russell Williams) discussed over at Do Some Damage by the Canadian Elmore Leonard, John McFetridge. Watch all the videos on Youtube. Truly fascinating … and handled with what appears to be absolute professionalism by Detective Sergeant Jim Smyth.

What the hell is going on out here!

Lombardi on Broadway … Dustin and the phat Dad and Coach Billy Luisi (my wife’s nephew coaches at Port Richmond high school) will be seeing the play tomorrow night. It’s a beautiful thing.

Meet the team ...


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Doc says ...


He's been busy of late, the Doc has ... so this is his abbreviated correspondence (the slacker).

Happy Halloween, Chaz,

I loved that self interview. Well, at least the first part. Once you stopped talking about me I kind of lost interest and nodded off.

It’s interesting that some people think that you invented me. I mean really, if you had to invent someone would you invent someone who pees in your corn flakes, hates opera and is Irish to boot?

But what if it’s true? Am I really just another one of those voices in your head? Let’s look at the facts. Have any of the amicis ever seen me? No. I’m an unemployed programmer who lives in a house with an inground swimming pool. Well, that seems odd. A weapons expert who looks like Poppa Smurf… strange. Have we ever talked on the phone? I don’t think so, we always communicate through email. You claim that I came to your Christmas party last year, but that was the night of the biggest snowstorm of the year. Kind of a dangerous trek just to get some brewskies and pigs in a blanket. Did any other of the revelers see me? Nope, I’m supposedly the only one who showed up. Or did I? To be honest, I am having doubts about my existence at this point.

In the LifeTime movie biography of the novelist Charlie Stella all these questions are answered in the last three minutes when your psychiatrist insists that you drive him over to Doc’s house. As the car pulls to the curb the camera pans to an empty lot with the wind blowing through the weeds. In the center of the lot is a sign…


Then the screen fades to black.

Have a great week, buddy boy

Doc ?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The ugly one interviews himself (again) ... and some sports ...


Nigel Bird has a blog (Sea Minor) where he invites authors to interview themselves ... since nobody else listens to me (or is interested in what I have to say (Nicole, Charles & Dustin Stella)), I took the challenge ... oy vey ...

Nigel is a hell of a writer and has some good stuff to pick and choose from on his site, including this one from A Twist of Noir (dig the opening line). Go there and check out this guy, he’s a good one.

What say we call on the Doc to interview himself, amici? You know it’ll be fun ... and always at my expense.

And here’s a replay video review of Johnny Porno (just for the hell of it) ...

SPORTS ... (if you look hard, you’ll notice the word Sports in the picture somewhere ...)

Well, the big stories this week have to do with me only finishing 3/4’s of the Lombardi book (because I’m busy rewriting Rough Riders (to the Godmother’s specifications), a sequel to Eddie’s World I wrote 7-8 years ago that required some updating). But I’m sure yous are much more interested in my locks of the week, etc., (how can we blame yous?), but a quick wrap-up of the sports week has the $210 million dollar skankies taking it on the chin in Texas and the Flyers of Philly falling to the Little Giants of San Fran ... now, let’s take a closer look-see at how this tournament turned out.

According to the regular season final standings (which obviously count for squat), the 2nd best team in the National League is going to the tournament ... while over in the junior T-ball league, it’ll be the 4th best team playing in the tournament. That should make for great television (yawn) ... like we always say here at TK, why not pick the teams from a hat rather than bore the shit out of us with 162 games that mean absolutely nothing ...

On that note, Let’s Go Mets!

And speaking of Lombardi ...

Ooops, wrong Lombardi ...

Over in the NFL, the morons running the show want to add 2 more games to an already overburdened schedule; overburdened not only on all of us, but on the players it is making believe it wants to protect with a new set of fines for guys playing the game the way it was meant to be played. I learned how to tackle with slow to fast motion tackling drills that required you look into the chest of the ball carrier (eyes up). How you manage to do that without using your helmet is beyond me. Spearing may be apparent during blind side hits, but I don’t think it’s so easy to detect in head-to-head hits.

Adding two games to the schedule is insane for player careers. It means full speed an extra 120 minutes for players who would get at least 30-60 of those minutes off if the games remained exhibition only. Leave it to the NFL to come up with yet another way to add scoring to a league already designed to keep the fans excited. Me, I prefer a 7-6 game, but what the hell do I know?

One rule change that should’ve been made a long time ago is that fugazy-ass “pass interference” call where the ball is placed at the spot of the foul rather than 15 yards from the line of scrimmage. Last week the Y-E-T-S, Yets, Yets, Yets were GIFTED their game against the Denver Broncettes with one such call. It’s bullshit, pure and simple. Get rid of it ... ASAP.

My Beloved New York State Buffalo Bills ... today we take on the Wes Cravens in Baltimore ... who lost a heartbreaker to the New England Cheaterfaces (quarterbacked by a guy who “wears his hair like a girl”). Oy vey, this one may get ugly. Take the Cravens and give the two dozen points they should be favored.

Falconettes over the Bengalees (because Carson Palmer truly sucks) ...

Steelers over the Dolphinations (I hope) ...

Chefs over the Jagwires ... Go Chefs!

Browns upset the Aints ...

Skins over the Cubs ...

49’ers make their move against the Pantherless ...

Bucks beat back the Sheep ...

Titans mark the return of the dog killer for Philly ...

Sea Pigeons get destroyed by the Sun Devils ...

Chargerless pick the girliemen apart in San Diego ...

Denver makes the Raiderettes pay for that bogus loss to the Yets ...

And tonight Vince’s kids pick apart the Fava beanheads of Viking land ...

Monday night ... Giants-Cowgirls ... Go Blue ... big!

And this one (from Italia with love) is for the Doc ...


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Doc is back!


Disney will never be the same ...

Dear Chaz,

I have returned from the Magic Kingdom and am honestly delighted to be back home in boring New Joizey. We started out with a tour at a petting zoo that just went on and on like lingering death. I mean really, do I look like someone who wants to catch a chicken… or a pig? Even my 5 year old granddaughter wanted no part of these shenanigans.

We followed that up with 2 days at Disney and 1 day at Universal Studios. I would wager that we covered at least 150 miles in those 3 days. On the bright side, Tatiana did get autographs and pictures with “The Princesses”, but when we saw that the waiting time to meet “The Fairies” was 60 minutes we told her that they had all called in sick that day. You can get away with a lot with someone who can’t read.

On the 5th day we went to a water park. In brief, to take the exciting 20 second raft trip down the chutes, you first have to climb the 8 flights of stairs up to the top. I went on 2 of those and then retired to the kiddie pool with the munchkin.

Day 6 was 18 holes of miniature golf and off to the airport where we discovered our flight was delayed for 90 minutes. In all, we were in the airport for about 6 hours, but everyone was so tired it was more relaxing rather than upsetting. At the airport my whackjob magnet kicked in when this skinny chick who worked there proceeded to show me all of her tattoos, much to the annoyance of my little Ecuadorian.

Back to Knucksline:

Your recent “Doc Says” was depressingly magnificent. Halfway through it even I thought I had written it. If I have become that predictable, I’ll have to make some changes fast.

Just because I’m gone does not give you the green light to torture the amicis with multiple operas. We hate it. It sucks. We don’t even play the clips, but get annoyed that they are there. Knock it off!

The Volvo is heavy. We got it. Unfortunately, in our world, except for diamonds, things don’t get better just because they weigh more. I could be cruel here, but I am turning over a new leaf.

A little welcome back music of my own.

Have a great week

This one is for Doc (to get his blood flowing again) ...


The Doc’s recent trip to Disney with his wife, daughter and granddaughter has left him a bit run down ... what with no booze allowed in the park and marijuana sniffing pooches every ten feet, the compassionate one was forced to mingle with the dwarfs and wait on lines (and without his ability to twice weekly insult the ugly one, his beloved New York State Buffalo Bills (who didn’t lose last week) and/or our faltering fast President). So, with Doc in mind, here we go ...

The Tea Party ... it’s a great idea and something many Americans can relate to in these terrible economic times, but the problem with the movement has to do with the apparently batshit candidates who have come to its forefront (see link below). Even if you were to give people like Sara Palin a pass (and TK doesn’t) for having zero knowledge of the world at large (home or abroad), some of the other candidates are downright scary (i.e., Paladino, Angle, O’Donnell, et al). And let’s face it, when candidates are so scary or unknowledgeable as to make Sara Palin seem “pass worthy”, your movement is in deep shit.

Deep shit or batshit?

Watching Wall Street get bailed out with our money by the bozos they own in our government (the same ones we elect over and over and over again), brought a new level of frustration to the American workforce. Nothing quite like the frustration the French are showing these days (imagine having a 4 week vacation and a 60 year retirement age?) The French are revolting over a two year hike in the retirement age and while we might find that greedy, the French have no shortage of millionaires of their own.

Labor there isn’t so quick to acquiesce and whatever happens in France regarding the proposed upward adjustment to their retirement age, here we’ve been given the shaft by a government that not only doesn’t provide national health insurance, it bends over backwards to placate corporations at the expense of its workforce.

While we have zero problem with candidates without a Harvard or Yale degree or who can’t cite Supreme Court cases or who may have a checkered past (to include, drugs, alcohol, an arrest record and/or infidelity), we do have a problem with candidates who say things that are either silly or crazy. There is no denying that those with the Ivy League degrees and high profile corporate backgrounds are the ones who’ve bailed out Wall Street, got us into wars we can’t seem to get out of and ignored and denied basic constitutional rights (i.e., gays to marry, serve in the military without denying their sexuality, etc.). The same highbrows have allowed corporations to ruin local economies and the environment (i.e., BP). Both the previous and current administrations are the ones who permitted (and continue to permit) corruption and waste and the fleecing of America.

I know of several people without Washington qualifications who have been incredibly successful ... several from little old Canarsie (Starbucks, Howard Shultz; the Cerami brothers, Tom and Joe (one an ex-marine and corporate executive, the other a West Point Graduate and professor in Texas; Frank Morogiello, an Executive with American Airlines in Dallas and Lou Montella, an executive with a freight carrier).

Common sense is a good thing, no doubt, but the Tea Party has become nothing short of scary. The fact the GOP has now become dependent on its support is even scarier. The only lesson we think liberal democrats might take from the tea party movement is that there really is a way to influence the DNC ... but that would require liberal democrats growing a pair of balls and that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Instead, liberal democrats here have taken to following the lead of a party that ignores them by bashing the irrelevant on the other side of the political aisle and focusing all their energy on rewarding the same people who have ignored them to the point of labeling them the “professional left.”

And, of course, they ignore the following ...

Goldman Sachs reported net revenues of $8.9 billion and net earnings of $1.90 billion for its 3Q. Goldman Sachs thanks you, President Obama ... and obviously President Obama has thanked Goldman Sachs right back.

Campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs employees to President Obama are nearly seven times as much as President Bush received from Enron workers, according to numbers on

And then there’s this guy ...

“They’re gonna get what they voted for.”

Tell me about it, brother.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Welcome Sarina! ... the Volvo ... John Fante ... Dame Joan ... Rigoletto ...


Doc is back (oh, joy) and today my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills can’t lose (bye week) but the real good news is a cousin from way back in my Canarsie past has surfaced (god bless the Internet) ... cousin Sarina Prizza lives in Australia these days and we reconnected this week. I can’t tell you how cool this is ... her Dad and Mom, Uncle Joe and Aunt Bright Eyes (how we knew them) lived on 81st Street in Canarsie and were always the most gracious hosts when Mom and Pop Stella (Uncle Tommy & Aunt Hope--before the Stella family scandal), shipped us (my sister and myself) off to 81st for some overnight entertainment with two of the brightest kids in Canarsie. Sarina’s brother John is a lawyer (but we don’t hold that against him) and Sarina has lived in Spain and now Australia with her husband; they have three kids. Uncle Joe was the greatest, really. I remember him taking all of us to the beach at Coney Island and always felt very protected around him. Sarina’s mom and my grandfather (Carmelo--whom I’m named after) were siblings.

Of course it’s the white sharks and all those poisoned jellyfish (not to mention crocs) that will keep the ugly one from swimming in the seas off the coast down under, but Tom Cerami (who lived directly across the street from Uncle Joe and Aunt Rose Stella on 95th Street) I know went diving with his wife in those waters (Tom, a former marine, was always a lot braver than moi). Obviously, so is his wife. Crocodiles (and alligators) remain a constant ugly one nightmare (the one where the alligators and crocs are all over the living room floor and Rigoletto is running around between them while I’m on the couch trying to get him) ... the dream ends with me using a bazooka on the house (although I always think of that AFTER I wake up).

Hey, they even made a movie about Sarina’s clan (Prizzi’s Honor) ... just joking amici, it was Momma Stella’s side of the family that was mobbed up ... Gazut (Gasper) and Aldo Calderazzo. Gazut was one of Tony Spilatro’s victims (one of the holes in the desert in the movie Casino) when he was sent to Vegas for some of the New York skim. Aldo identified his brother’s body.

Welcome Sarina to Knucksworld (I’ll fill her in on the Knucksline silliness in emails) ... and here’s the best part: She’s a Soprano’s fan. How cool is that? I’m sending her all the Stella books Monday so she can read up on where (and what) she lived amongst back in the day. Canarsie was one of the most mobbed up little burgs in New York at one time ... think Goodfellas (the Luchesi Family) ...

The Volvo ... the tank is a beast and with all the yellow stripes I had on the Honda from tagging cabs in Manhattan when they did that driving in two lanes bullshit, now I can count the ones I’ll put on the sidewalk. What’s that line again? “Come on, cabbie, make my day ...”

Wait Until Spring, Bandini ... a John Fante book every eye-talian should read was recommended by the fun fellas at Men Reading Books (because I’m an eye-talian?) ... what a GREAT read. I’ll be ordering the rest of Fante’s books soon as I catch up on some others I’m reading through now (currently, When Pride Still Mattered: A life of Vince Lombardi) ...

Speaking of Vince ... or, as he’s better known at Casa Stella, GOD.

RIP Dame Joan Sutherland ... perhaps the greatest soprano ever passed last week. She took the fat man under her thumb and brought perhaps the greatest tenor ever to light.

No, not me, Doc, Pavarotti ...

Hey, Sarina also likes opera! Here’s one for her (and the Doc) ... from the opera named after my dog (or vice versa), Rigoletto ...

Okay, I gotta go see Momma Stella now ... Don Corleone is anxious to give her sonny boy a big kiss on the chops and her sonny boy can’t wait to break her shoes ...


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Murder in the Air ... Bills can’t lose this week ... Volvo it is ... Lombardi on Broadway ...


Murder in the Air, by Bill Crider … at first glance at the book cover and title, I thought Sheriff Dan Rhoades was taking a trip somewhere and somebody on the flight gets whacked (or was whacked). But the reasons for the title and how the book came to pass was discussed over at Ed Gorman’s blog. The Sheriff Dan Rhoades series is an ongoing winner for an author who has countless books to his name and this one, like all the others, is a very enjoyable read. The usual cast of Clearview’s characters keep Sheriff Rhoades on his toes as the always clever repartee will keep readers smiling from start to finish. Murder in the Air was such a welcome break after struggling through Les Miserables a 2nd time (there won’t be a third), I wound up finishing the read within two days of commuting.

The Sheriff Rhoades series features an easy going, common sensed, blessing of a sheriff who manages to keep his head amongst the day-to-day weirdness that law enforcement most often has to deal with (like somebody shooting arrows at car tires, buildings and the occasional Sheriff). Sheriff Rhoades has Ivy to keep him grounded and bounce theories off of, but he also has his many pets, his always amusing sidekicks in law and the diverse town folk of Clearview in Blacklin County to keep the reader engaged. Each new scene is like a skit we suspect we know the end of (and sometimes do) but that always leave us smiling when it comes. And there’s always something new … this time when I started reading the latest Sheriff Rhoades saga, I discovered something I’d watched on an ESPN special … “noodling” (no, not one of my bigoted crime characters having sex with a Chinese person). Noodling is fishing … sort of.

Say what?

When a very unpopular guy who owns a worse than smelly chicken farm (it is a health hazard as well) and who is known to noodle for pleasure is found drowned in a local noodling hot spot, Sheriff Rhoades is called on the job. But someone (nicknamed Robin Hood) is shooting arrows (and he’s no Cupid) willy-nilly and at one point at Rhoades himself … and then there’s all the usual suspects the author keeps the reader guessing at and before you know it, between the pleasurable dialogue and the quirky situations (noodling is just one), you’re way too engaged to take a break.

Crider has been at it a long time and for good reasons (he’s engaging and fun to read)… and this reader wants to issue his Sheriff Rhoades a challenge (unless it’s been done and it’s one I missed) … we propose having one of those sinister organized crime figures (eye-talian, Russian, Mexican Mafia, etc., author’s choice) who has been relocated to Blacklin County after making his (or her) deal with the devil (the U.S. Attorney’s Office) come to the good Sheriff’s attention after a body is found greased old school style (with a pair of .22 slugs behind an ear) … but if Italian, a mackerel will suffice (rather than one of those 65 lb. catfish) to send a Sicilian message (because nobody can sleep with a fish that big).

Like I said, amici, Murder in the Air was another pleasure to read. It does what reading is supposed to do, engage you, keep you interested, leave you smiling and wanting more.

My beloved New York State Buffalo Bills can’t lose this (bye) week ... which is a clear indication that things will change in the great state of New York (where a certifiable crazy man running for Governor doesn’t want a “gay agenda” taught to kids). My deceased sister, who was gay, has a library dedicated in her name at a high school in Manhattan. Adele taught English as a second language and I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with her (or any) “gay agenda” ... and as much as I have no use for either major political party, this is one time I’ll go ahead and give the nod to the Democratic candidate in New York for Governor. Whatever faults Mr. Cuomo (son of Mario) may have, I’m pretty sure being a bigoted asshole isn’t one of them.

I know, I know ... I’m not supposed to call politicians names anymore. Look for a future apology down the road ... in this case, very far down the road.

Shine up the Birkenstocks ... the stella famiglia went and purchased a Volvo after all (a 2003 S60, I think) ... this tank will feature America’s team (Buffalo Bills) logos on the front bumper and DW logos on the back bumper. How cool is that?

For the record, I'd focking kill myself before I wore sandals of any kind ... ever.

Lombardi on Broadway ... based on the book "When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi" by David Maraniss ... the ugly one is going with his boys to see a Broadway show about one of his heroes (Lombardi is God in casa stella). Lombardi was the ultimate football coach; a man driven to success by angels and demons alike. While his many famous quotes are often taken out of context by self-loathers who hold athleticism against those who have it, those who understand the beauty of sport and what it takes to succeed on any level (the effort, always the effort), cherish the man and his words. His brother was gay and Lombardi didn’t tolerate locker room gay bashing jokes (imagine that in 1960 NFL locker rooms). The cynicism surrounding perhaps his most famous quote: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” ... comes from those who see what they want to see in the words and not anything near what Lombardi was actually saying to his players. He was also one of the most inspirational icons in American history. His success as a football coach (basketball, baseball or football) speaks for itself (talk about walking the walk). My favorite quote by Lombardi, for what it’s worth, remains: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

The Stella men are looking very forward to this show.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

While Doc’s in Disney ... Ooops ... More Miserables ... Doc says (?) ...


While Doc vacations in Disney (it’s a good country, America. He’s unemployed two years now and still managing to vacation--so much for all that right wing bluster about being taxed unfairly), the ugly one returns to the diet/workouts ... oy vey.

In honor of Doc, though, his favorite pastime (besides breaking my and President Obama’s shoes), returns ... la opera ... from a 2000 Metropolitan Opera production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the greatest opera EVER ... with Bryn Terfel singing Don Giovanni and Hei-Kyung Hong singing Zerlina. Ms. Hong once couldn’t take her eyes off me when she sang the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro many years ago (I was in the 2nd row).

Ooops ... after having the Scotsman force several drinks down my gullet between feasting on the Principessa’s vast menu of goodies while Laird McLean was visiting, the ugly one has put on 6 pounds. Pisses me off no end because it isn’t just the booze or the grub. It’s the boss’s nursing classes ... the constantly going back and forth to Manhattan to pick her up doesn’t leave me time to hit the gym the way I was ... so with only a couple hours a night to myself, I tend to spend it in the fridge. Not to worry, I’m back on my horse as of Saturday ... 40 minutes of aerobics and about 8,000 less calories than Friday night.

Les Miserables ... I just finished rereading the Victor Hugo classic and found it to be one of the most frustrating reads of my life (for a second time). I loved The Hunchback of Notre Dame (although that too could’ve used an editor), but this wonderful story (Les Miserables) coincidences and all, could’ve used six editors; one for each social essay. I did enjoy reading about Waterloo again, but that’s where my interest ended on the social commentary (no need for the essay on monasteries, the sewers, the history of slang, etc.). The Broadway show was the reason I first read Les Miserables back when it first premiered in New York. My friend Mr. Ronnie read it and told me to give it a shot. I distinctly remember getting frustrated with some of the never ending narrative and skipping a few pages here and there. Well, twenty years later, I found myself just as frustrated and skipping probably the same pages. As one who makes it a point to read everything in a book, sometimes over and over until I feel I gave it a genuine chance (in case I was tired, etc.), this was unbearable. The story is wonderful, as are the characters, but all the bullshit in between it is just too much.

On that note, I purchased two books on kindle this week: Bill Crider’s, Murder in the Air and a recommendation from one of yous, East Coast Don over at Men Reading Books, Wait Until Spring, Bandini (by John Fante).

But let’s not stop there ... one more for the Doc. The next to last scene of the GREATEST opera EVER (and no, Doc, it’s not about a dinner reservation ... oy vey).

And since he’s not here (and he demanded I write it for him), let me get his words of compassion in here and now:

Doc says:

Gee, Chaz, you gained weight? What a surprise! That’s like someone predicting some of Obama’s stimulus money was being mailed to dead people ... or that we’d still be losing jobs almost two years after his lazer-like focus on unemployment ... or that people suddenly getting slammed with 10-40% insurance premium increases was something nobody knew was coming before Obama care went into effect.

Gee, you just never know, do you?

And if you read a book you didn’t like, imagine what the amicis will think of it? Usually we want to hang ourselves with your recommendations. Come to think of it, maybe this one is something we can live with for a change.

And thanks for the opera, buddy. Just what I needed after a week with ten thousand kids, Mickey Mouse and no alcohol permitted in the park. Now I have no excuse not to kill myself.

Your pal,


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Doc says ... about that Scotsman and other things ...


First of all, Chaz, let me make it clear that I was deeply offended by the blatant British Isles bigotry in your latest article. You of all people should realize my affection for this magnificent tapestry of humankind in all it’s splendid diversity. I have confided in you of my dream that someday my Irish and your Dagos will stand together as one to denigrate the Frogs and the Krauts and the Wet Backs in a splendiferous brotherhood of man.

Secondly, you gave the poor Scot the wrong directions and then criticize him for not showing up where you “imagined” he should be? Gee, 3,000 miles from home with bad directions... how could he go wrong. Remember, I've traveled with you. You couldn't find your ass with two hands and seeing-eye toilet paper.

To put it in historical perspective, 500+ years ago, ancestors of yours drew a map for Christopher Columbus showing him how to find China. And he showed up where? To this day, to celebrate this accomplishment, teachers and government workers take a day of rest and white sales to commemorate the event… like someone wouldn’t have found it anyway.


Does that supposed church have the rights to scream vile shit about homosexuals and soldiers at the funeral of fallen heroes? Absolutely! The same way that we have the right to send all the police guarding these scumbags to lunch 30 minutes before the ceremony starts. The rest will take care of itself.


Isn’t there some kind of legal ethical code (oxymoron) that you do not get your client to confess to numerous federal violations on national television in response to questions that no one is asking? So Gloria Allred throws this clueless, chunky, illegal alien under the bus just to discredit Meg Whitman. It’s well known that Gloria is a friend of Jerry Brown. For the younger amicis, Jerry Brown was the ineffectual governor of California back when I was hanging up my love beads and leaving SDS so I could get a job and buy food. Just to give you a hint, he was known as Governor Moonbeam.

And, Gloria, in the “Buy a Fucking Clue” category… just because your last name is “Allred” you don’t have to always wear red. Suppose my name was Dick, should I always display my… well, you get my point.


As you know, Chaz, the falling leaves and temperature have forced me to close the pool. To deal with my malaise I have arranged to take a week long sabbatical to mingle with my intellectual peers… Goofy, Donald and Sleeping Beauty (she never got over the former Doc). To justify the trip I am also bringing my wife, daughter and 5 year old granddaughter.

Here’s the deal: By Wednesday I expect to see the usual TK drivel…Drums are a musical instrument, Sarah Palin is stupid, capitalism would work better if we were all communists, opera doesn’t sound like ferrets fighting, the Bills are really gonna stomp them bastards next time, yada, yada, yada.

Now, the hard part… by Friday, I expect to see an “and the Doc says” response, from you, to your Wednesday epistle. Bear in mind there are certain standards for a Doc-umentary:

- All men are equal under God.
- The position of President of the United States demands respect.
- Capitalists are people too.
- Sarah Palin has got a bitchin’ little body.
- Opera was bearable until Jerry Lee came along.
- Foul language is the last resort of a weak minded asshole.

And an appropriate tune might be a nice touch.

To those of you who are not in the Magic Kingdom… have a nice week!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Scotsman and the ferry ... he cometh and he get losteth ...


Russel McLean (a.k.a., Laird McLean; Where am I (?) McLean; Staten Island Ferry McLean and the always popular, Sonny Jim McLean is lost AGAIN), has a distinct fondness for the Staten Island Ferry. Monday we were supposed to pick up the Laird near the Principessa Ann Marie’s school on Chambers and Greenwich Streets, but (truth be told) we gave him a single block mis-direction and told him Chambers and West Broadway (one block east of his actual destination—although we did tell him “in front of the McDonald’s and ASSUMED, the Laird being Scottish and all, he wouldn’t have trouble finding a Scottish hamburger joint with big Golden Arches, across the street from a SCHOOL, etc.).

Where the Laird wound up, however, was at the Scottish hamburger joint across the street from the STATEN ISLAND FERRY (about 1.2 miles) from the assigned destination.

It took several gulps of the ugly one’s favorite sauce (Chivas) to calm the nerves once we made it back to good old Fords, New Jersey and casa stella.

Like all Europeans, Russel blamed the NYPD.

If yous get a chance to see the Laird himself, he’ll be at Murder by the Book in Houston.

We’re hoping the author of Money Shot (above) Christa Faust can straighten him out (and if anybody can, it’ll be Christa) when he’s put on a short spiked leash over on the left coast in LA later in the week.

Frustrations to the left of me?

TK says it’s ABOUT FRIGGIN’ TIME the left showed some exhaustion. President Obama has ignored the left from the get-go and now that his back is against the wall, the left needs to show him the two alternatives he faces: a possible extended contract or unemployment ... sort of like what the rest of us have been going through (minus the Martha's Vineyard vacations ...).


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Doc says ...

Dear Chaz,

Just to clear things up, the only reason I was on my feet all of Friday night was because every time I twitched I heard “Get me another beer while you’re up, Doc.” I might have thought that you were confusing me with your wife except I know the Principessa does not play Princess Leia while you are doing your Jabba the Hutt impression.


Personally, I’m getting tired of the Bamster’s “Car” metaphor. Yeah, yeah, it’s cute. “D” is for Democrat, “R” is for Republican. If you want to go forward, you put the car in “D”. If you want to go backwards you put the car in “R”. If you’re eleven years old, this is clever as hell.

In another of his speeches in the “Car” series, the Democrats are pushing the car up the hill while the Republicans are at the top of the hill drinking Slushies asking for the keys. The Bamster says you can’t have the keys because you can’t drive. Dear Fredo, if you start the freaking car you could drive it up the hill. And let’s not kid ourselves, Obama is not the type to help push the car up the hill. He’d be sitting in the back seat yelling to 112 year old Harry Reid to “Put your back into it, Harry! My ice cream is melting.”

Just another tip, before you put the car into (D) and drive off why don’t you check to see if you have enough money to buy gas after you’ve finished topping off all the Bentleys in the Goldman-Sachs parking lot.

has recused herself for 25 of the 51 cases due to come before the Supreme Court. Did the genius in the White House not anticipate this or has Supreme Court Justice suddenly become a part time job. I guess I should not be surprised that our part-time president would appoint a part-time Justice.

And what are the chances that the guy who wants to build the Ground Zero Mosque has a wife that’s named Daisy? Give me a f#cking break! That’s like when you call up the Dell Help Desk and the geek with the heavy Indian accent tells you, “Hello, I would be Mike. How can I be helping you?”

“Mortgage the house and take the Bills in the upset of the week, Bills 34 – Yets 17 … because NOBODY CIRCLES THE WAGONS LIKE THE BUFFALO BILLS!” (TK 09/30/10)

Great call on the score, Chucky! You almost called it dead on. You screwed up on which team would actually have those scores, but that is a minor detail. Well maybe not such a minor detail for the families that, as you suggested, mortgaged the house and are now living in a drain pipe under the turnpike overpass, but you are a quasi-liberal… you can claim you mis-spoke.

Have a great week, Generalissimo.

One of my favorite girls, singing one of my favorite songs, with one of my favorite bands …

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Crime Of It All -- new website and interview with the ugly one


The ugly one gets featured on a new website, The Crime Of It All.

To read both interviews (the big one and the 60 second interview), click on the ugly one's picture on the site (the one where he's holding Rigoletto--the real boss of the famigila Stella).

Len sitting in front of the future casa stella ...

Len Wanner put this baby (the site, interview, etc.) together with a lot of blood and sweat (no tears because it is something he loves). Len’s vocabulary and writing skill is about 1000x’s greater than mine (which is why when he reviewed Johnny Porno I kept a dictionary close at hand), so be prepared to be awed by Mr. Wanner’s literary skills.

Len smiling about my beloved new york state buffalo bills wasting the Yets tomorrow?

This looks to be a premier site that will help crime writing and crime writers across the board, so go take a look see, then link to it and make it a place to stop and visit for future interviews and reviews on all things crime.

A few names not mentioned in the ugly one's interview on The Crime Of It All (by accident only) but still on his preferred reading list are Lynn Kostoff (Late Rain), David Zeltserman's latest (The Caretaker of Lorne Field -- reviewed by Patti Abbott) and some I'm sure I'm forgetting (Ed Gorman and Bill Crider wonderful works, Russel McLean), etc. The danger with interviews are the ones not in your mind at the moment you do the interview.

While we’re on the topic of Stella, Charlie Opera is now available on Kindle. Since the book sold out here and the publisher never went with a second printing (and the UK publisher didn’t bother putting any reviews on the jacket ... and charges way too much money for the hardcover) it is now on Kindle for $2.00. Two fazools for one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Top 10 Mysteries of 2003. If enough of them sell, I can in fact go buy that luxury model 5 year old whatever Doc says will feature all four doors opening from both the inside and out.

Speaking of Doc, I felt like I was at a tennis match last night, when Mr. Compassionate felt compelled to drink and talk while walking back and forth across our living room over and over and over. At one point I threatened him with a baseball bat to sit the fock down so my neck didn’t cramp, but that just made him move around all the more (because he too is a born contrarian).

Nothing makes the ugly one more nervous than people walking around when he’s sitting. What’s up with that?


Friday, October 1, 2010

Doc says ... and he's right!


Like the rest of the staff at TK, Doc was appalled at the incident last week involving a couple of roommates who managed to drive some kid to suicide.

From Doc:

Sorry, I got nothing for you big guy.

I was so pissed off about that Rutgers suicide that all the political chicanery going on right now just seems trite.

That kid, for some reason, reminds me of a little friend that you and I had at R.I. The only difference is the Rutgers kid didn’t have my Spec Writer Mafia or the Knuckster to watch his back or just to talk to.

This cyber bullying/exploitation has gone on long enough. Every time a kid dies the powers-that-be claim they don’t want to make an example of the perpetrators. Well, this time, it’s time. The only bright spot I’ve seen is that those 2 mutt’s pictures have been splashed over the New York Times and Bill O’Reilly’s show. Knowing what those two cultures are like I assume they have been beaten around their homes with whatever the Indian/Oriental version of “dad’s belt” is, but that’s not enough.

We make an example so the next asshole will think twice. I want to see Kumar and Lotus Blossom in orange jumpsuits. Maybe a little, high-def cybercam in the cell would keep the learning experience alive for the next cyber-mooks.

I’ll understand if you don’t want to print this, but bear in mind that this is the cleaned up/politically correct version. The original writing was significantly less kind to the instigators.


See you tonight, brother