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, November 27, 2010

The Doc's Thanksgiving wishes ...


The Doc had written me this before I did the Thanksgiving post, but I hadn’t seen it until after. So here now, delayed a few days, the Doc’s Thanksgiving wishes. He really is a great guy ...

First, here's me and Momma Stella (in her turkey hat) ...

Come on, Chaz,

Not even a simple Happy Thanksgiving wish for we amicis? A holiday best epitomized by the first Thanksgiving. The native Americans shared with us their food and knowledge of hunting, farming and survival. We in turn shared with them smallpox, syphilis and the promise of high stakes gambling casinos and tax free cigarettes.

In spite of my seemingly jaded introduction this really is my favorite holiday… no cards, no gifts, no rules. Just family and friends gathering to share a meal together and offer thanks to whatever higher spirit they choose. A holiday to celebrate the chaotic wonder of human relations… who would have thunk it?

Happy Thanksgiving Chaz, the Principessa and all the amicis.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

News around the horn ... Franzen Freedom Update ... Pike getting press ... Happy Thanksgiving!


Bill (the buffoon) O’Reilly calls them Pinheads and Patriots ... Knucks calls them Perfect Jerk-offs.
Kanye West ... once more, what a dick. He's no Biggie Smalls ...

Speaking of jerk-offs ... here's Tom Delay ... guilty of money laundering ... justice would be the justice department using RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization) to finish this clown off, but let’s face it, that’s only for eye-talians ... and yous tell me, which is more organized, the crimes of this government (somebody say Wall Street Bailout?) or the action your local bookmaker takes?

Wasn’t this the guy in that Hangover movie? Now his imbecile son is starting a Korean Conflict Part II. Great, just what we need ... maybe it’s me, but I’m pretty tired of all this conflict/operation freedom/war by any other name bullshit. TK says no more boots on the ground ... and if we’re gonna get inolved again, do it from the air ... and if the bad guys don’t get the message and/or rain bombs indiscriminately on the south, nuke’m and have done with it already.

Probably why yous (or the rest of the world) wouldn’t want Knucks with the keys to the big war toy chest ... because he gets bored dicking around ...

Speaking of getting tired of it ... (i.e. Afghanistan) ... even Maureen Dowd in today’s Times column is poking fun at our Afghan policy after an apparent “imposter” made fools of us once again; it seems some guy wasn’t really a “friend of ours (or theirs)” but there we were shelling out good old taxpayer money to fund the fiasco. Bernie Madoff does the Pentagon?

More good news ... our government is not only crooked, it's stupid too ...

Skankie Pride? ... orrrrr capitalism at its best ... the Skankies say: What have you done for me lately, Mr. Jeter? If you can’t live with $15 million per year, go find someone who will give you $16 million ... nothing quite like pinstripe loyalty.

Remember that the next time you (Jeter) wanna dive face first into the stands for a foul ball (which I, as a former baseball fan, appreciate) ... he’s one of the only Skankies I like and the pricks he plays for play him like a fool. Wouldn’t you like to smack the shit out of Brian Cashman?

And by the way, Mr. CASHman/Steinbrenner, et al ... how’d that big fat payroll work out for you this year?

Franzen Update ... 65% (kindle-speak) in and I’m enjoying it thoroughly, but there are a few so-called “crime novels” I still think are better reads (although Freedom is extremely well written) ... (Craig McDonald) Print the Legend, (Lynn Kostoff) Late Rain and my favorite of the year remains (Benjamin Whitmer) Pike.

Speaking of Pike, it’s getting some nice recognition and for me it started with Nigel Bird’s blog (Sea Minor), where you can catch Vickie Hendricks (the Queen of Noir) interviewing herself right now at Sea Minor. John McFetridge over at Do Some Damage will be hosting a discussion of Pike (I tried joining this GoodReads thing but remain technologically challenged and screwed it up). Go here for the details, amici.

And finally, Happy Thanksgiving to all a yous’ Knucklemaniacs ... and you normal types too!

Stay safe, stay healthy and do be thankful ... for family, friends, our beloved New York State Buffalo Bills (2 in a row) and, of course, Benny Goodman (and youtube) ... with Gene Krupa on drums ... Harry James on the horn and Benny on the licorice stick ... this don’t make you jump, check your pulse.

The full recording ...

Happy Thanksgiving!

What’cha think we’re gonna eat today? We're eye-talians ...


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Draft Picks? We don’t need no stinkin’ draft picks!


Draft Picks? We don’t need no stinkin’ draft picks!

Nobody circles the wagons like the New York State Buffalo Bills!

The kids ... they're so cute ...

Buffalo 49
Cincinatti 31

Forgetaboutit ... we’re running the table now!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Birthday … Reviews … Finally Franzen …WTF … Bills-Bengals …


Happy Birthday Charles (not Charlie) Stella … I forget how old he is (28, I’m thinking … he was the ’82 kid, I think). The newly married marathon man is close to finished with his MBA. Charles finished the New York Marathon in 4:08 and had not trained much for it due to work/school. He’s a neat freak of the first order and tall and thin (just like his brother and father) … and he’s sporting a serious Stella widow peak for such a young man.


The Existential Detective … Alice Thompson … I recently had a chance to review and blurb a terrific book of interviews by a scholar of all things literary (crime fiction included), Len Wanner. Mr. Wanner’s back and forth with a group of Scottish Crime Writers was fascinating. While each of the authors intrigued me enough to want to read a book by them (I’m in the process of doing so now), Alice Thompson grabbed my immediate attention (or maybe it was the title of her latest, The Existential Detective) and I ordered a copy through Amazon.UK. Ms. Thompson is a seriously serious writer of literature with a basket of literary awards in Scotland. Until recently, the only author in the collection I’d previously read was Al Guthrie, a terrific writer of the darker slices of Scotland/human nature. While I’ve also read (and praised) Scottish author Russel McLean’s work going back a few years, I had not read any of the other authors in the interview collection … until now.

The fact Ms. Thompson has an incredibly diverse background only triggered my curiosity regarding the title of her book. Good on ya’ Len Wanner for exposing me to Ms. Thompson; the read was more than enjoyable. Intelligent characters and writing and an ability to keep one hooked and anxious for the next clue (so to speak), the author’s existential detective battles with a back story of guilt from being the parent in charge when his young daughter had disappeared while trying to solve a missing person (his client’s wife) case fraught with visions (or are they?) of the missing person (who’d recently perhaps broken into his office)?

This is a smart read and a nice change of pace for me. In the Agatha Christie tradition of the who done it and why, The Existential Detective will keep you turning pages and thoroughly engaged start to finish. I just this morning passed this off to a co-member of The Manhattan Chapter of the Northeast Regional Book Club Association.

My only beef is with the publisher; it wasn’t available on kindle and I had to purchase it through amazon UK (in those silly pounds they use). Hey, come to think of it, I could exchange my body weight and be rich, yeah?

One more thing: We LOVED the cover.

My blurb for Mr. Wanner’s interview book: Some say tomata, others say tomato, but they all share a similar trait; a genuine passion for their chosen craft—crime fiction writers; whether they accept the genre label or not. Interviewer Len Wanner pokes and prods with his usual intellectual inquisitiveness at what makes these Scottish authors tick and then tock … a must read for writers of all genres and their fans alike. —Charlie Stella (author of Johnny Porno)

Lark & Termite … I was actually looking into an MFA program to pursue and sent an email to Rutgers University. I was politely told that previously published authors are not welcomed unless they’re shooting for something literary. Fair enough; at least they didn’t take my application fee (although after seeing the cost for these things, I decided I should probably drive a taxi driver when I retire). The point of the Rutgers background, by the way, is the author of Lark & Termite, Jayne Anne Phillips (she's the director of the program at Rutgers).

This was an engrossing novel about a devoted and curious sister and her severely birth defected brother; they share a mutual mother but different fathers. It is also a tale of sisters, one of which is their missing mother; the other is the aunt who brought them up. There are men involved too, both the fathers of the two kids; one of which was killed early on in Korea and who never saw his boy and the other lives a constant struggle with his mother (and the silent parent of Lark (the girl)) through most of the book. It’s a terrific read, amici. Told through several of the characters’ voices, starting with the father of Termite (the boy) as his troops are overrun in battle, the story unfolds going back and forth in time. I was upset I couldn’t purchase more of the authors’ works on kindle, however … very upset.

My review of a James Crumley short story (Hot Springs) over at Spine Tingler Magazine is here.

Finally Franzen … back a few years when The Corrections had struck literary oil, the ugly one gave it a try (paying full price) but found he could not get beyond the first chapter (or 10-20 pages). At first I figured I was just too stupid to figure it out. It also could’ve been one of my reading tics when I can’t absorb what I’m reading for any number of reasons (I have something I’m juiced about writing, too much caffeine, too little caffeine, etc.). In any event, because we have the book in the house someplace (I hope), I figured I’d take a read at another time. The other reason I wanted to give Franzen another try was all the shit he’s taken from other writers, especially in the crime fiction community, it seems. I figure if the multitudes are this sure about something, they MUST be wrong.

This morning, after falling off the 12-step amazon kindle purchase wagon yet again (twice this week already), I bought Franzen’s latest, Freedom. I’ve just started so all I can say so far is, intriguing (much the way I felt about reading Updike’s Rabbit Run) … so much so, for the 2nd time since I’m working here at the Chrysler Building, I missed my subway stop while reading and finally looked up at 68 Street. So, so far, I’m all in.

WTF … remember that $26K in taxes (extra, besides what they took from our paychecks) the wife and I had to pay for working 7 days a week, writing novels and killing ourselves so the big shots at Goldman Sachs could reward themselves for bankrupting their company and the economy? Well, we were reminded of it this past week and it really stirred some bad blood when (as Doc pointed out), Charlie Rangel was issued a “stern rebuke” for ducking his taxes. Great, I get to pay back 4/5th’s of my 12-14 hour weekend work in taxes but Charlie Rangel gets to skip paying same while not working nearly as hard (and while using rent controlled apartments meant for those who need it). Like Poppa Tommy used to say (emphasis added/sarcasm intended) … “It’s a good country, America.”

Bills-Bengals … normally I’d love for my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills to kick Cincinatti’s asses six ways to Sunday (especially Carson “oops, threw to the wrong team again” Palmer), but there’s too much at stake now. We desperately need that 1st round draft pick and should not run the table now that we’ve lost our virginity in the win column. Keep it close, fellas, but don’t get stupid on me … again.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Doc says ...

Hey Chaz,

I always have a burnout period after Election Day.

Who watches football after the Superbowl?

As for Rangel ... as long as they give him a "stern" rebuke then justice will be served. Not some half-hearted, wishy-washy rebuke. With the threat that next time we might even expect him to pay the back taxes... or at least some of them. How can you bastards expect him to pay taxes when he doesn't even speak Spanish.

When you owed all those taxes you took the cowards way out by giving them all that money. You should have shown some balls and let them give you a stern rebuke instead.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Bills win!


Bills win! Bills win! Bills win!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nightmare on Staten Island ... Maher’s best finish ... Kanye v. W ... Stewart v. Maddow ... Bills-Lions ...


Never try to start a Volvo with a Honda key, a lesson I learned firsthand Wednesday night when a little sleepy and always dopey, I did so and managed to enable the Volvo’s anti-theft device, the “immobilizer” (a locked ignition that wouldn’t turn). Of course the Principessa Ann Marie was in her nursing classes and my cell phone was in its usual perch (on my desk at home) so I was left with few options. Since I had caught my mom’s cold on Monday and Ann Marie’s sinus infection (turned possible pneumonia--seriously, she may have it), I could either feed quarters into a pay phone (feeling blessed that I had found one) and call one of two numbers I know (my mother or Ann Marie (except Ann Marie was in class and couldn’t answer her phone), or spend the night in a Staten Island parking lot. I chose calling Mom (eye-talian boys always choose Mom). The toughest broad I know came through like always and managed to get hold of Ann Marie during her break. Ann Marie’s friend’s husband (the guy I share trips back to Manhattan with to pick up our wives after their classes) saved me from spending the night in a Staten Island parking lot. He drove me home where I then got to read the Volvo manual (which, of course, belonged in the car—pretty close to my cell phone, by the way). And then I learned about Volvo’s “immobilizer” (which in future manuals will have a picture of my ugly mug and a Honda key and the following instruction: DO NOT DO WHAT THIS JERKOFF DID).

Making a very long (and frustration filled) story short, the next day the tow trucks could not tow me because the Volvo was surrounded by a million other cars and the truck couldn’t access the car. Then at night, after we explained to AAA how the wheels and everything else were locked, they sent the wrong tow truck (it didn't have dolleys). An hour or so in the cold later, one wonderful woman at AAA suggested a locksmith. Understand we (Ann Marie and I) were (and still are) sick and had to wait outside on the corner for the tow truck (then locksmith) because the car was in a hidden from view parking lot. Ann Marie, against my better judgment, went along with the locksmith (with me saying, “it’ll never work. We’re fucked ... let me set it on fire, fuck it," etc.) ... there’s nothing quite like angry defeatism (a lesson for America?) ... so the locksmith finally pulls up and no exaggeration, within three minutes (THREE FUCKING MINUTES) has the Volvo started and we were on our way. He reset the tumblers (so much for Volvo’s “Immobilizer”). I tipped him $20 ... because I didn’t have a hundred on me. No, I couldn’t afford it, but there was no way I wasn’t going to reward a guy who did his job and was appreciative of our frustrations. Understand that Volvo assured us we’d never get the thing to turn and that we HAD TO HAVE IT TOWED.

Assholes ...

Thank God for my wife (the future nurse) ...

Ooops, I meant this kind of sick ...

Of course Ann Marie FINALLY went to a doctor on Friday (our guy, Dr. Addeo) and learned she may need treatment for pneumonia ... and where is she today? At the hospital doing her clinicals morning to night with a day at the school tomorrow to look forward to ... and then another week of full-time work (with classes on Monday & Wednesday night). Why is she at a hospital while she’s sick, you ask? Because the program doesn’t allow them to take off (or they get to repeat the insane semester all over again).

I love my wife. She’s incredible ... and a hell of a lot smarter (and calm) than I’ll ever be. I owe her big time for NOT LISTENING TO ME one more time.

Of course Doc had some suggestions ... and here’s what he had to say when I wrote him about it.

I drive a firetruck, so I don't have luxury options like an "immobilizer". That only comes on fancy European sports sedans. I wonder how much extra you have to spend to get a feature that makes your car not run. I'm also curious as to how much of an impact this "Immobilizer" has on the exceptionally high suicide rate in Sweden.


On to topic #2 ... Bill Maher ended his season with his best show I can remember ... I suggest taking a view of it. Most of yous know I don’t always agree with Maher and/or Michael Moore (mostly because while they show fairness at times regarding the party they choose to support (by actually criticizing it rather than offer blind faith support), TK finds them disingenuous when push finally comes to shove and they ALWAYS cave in regarding third parties and opt to support the same party that proves over and over again (as far as the left is concerned) it will IGNORE THEM.

Top #3 ... Kanye West ... what a dick. TK has nothing else to say about him.

#4 ... Stewart v. Maddow … I watched the replay on Maddow’s site during lunch at work. It was interesting and I found Rachel very defensive of not only her show but MSNBC, which only proved (to me) that what Stewart was trying to say (that they contributed to the RED v. BLUE mentality that has stalled this country in a downward spiral) she wasn’t hearing. I suggest checking out the entire interview. I don’t know how Maddow votes, but I suspect she makes the same mistake Maher and Moore make (voting against their own interests when they ignore truly liberal third parties), so when she asked him about the Rally to Restore Sanity, I found it a bit duplicitous that she took Maher’s side on the fact that Stewart (more or less) equated Fox with MSNBC.

That said, it was nice to see and hear intelligent dialogue again ... even if it was Stewart (being totally polite) who kept Rachel’s edge of the seat defensiveness in check. Stewart was trying to get the point across that all conservatives/republicans AREN’T lunatics and that he was against the use of TEABAGGER to describe some of them for obvious reasons (no matter how tempting the laugh may be). Stewart’s point was that calling one guy a TEABAGGER leads to that guy (and his ilk) calling the other side, SOCIALISTS (as if that’s a bad thing), etc. Maddow feels comfortable saying “but they started it” ... and Stewart, it seems, was saying: “And how’s that working out for you.” (meaning both sides)

We at TK classify ourselves (except for Doc) as liberals a lot closer to socialism than conservatism, although we refuse to follow an ACLU platform on all things liberal (i.e., we’re for secured borders but not from fear; more from common sense—we simply can’t afford to offer citizenship to every kid of an illegal who happens to be born in the U.S. That policy has outlived itself) ... or to permit government waste to run roughshod while corporate America gets to make the rules through the government they obviously own. We’re not against anybody making profit ... we just don’t see the point in a government of rich kings pissing on the masses and frankly don’t see enough of a difference between the two major parties for us to think they’ll ever be enough of a CHANGE for it to happen in our lifetime.

And for the record, no, I’m not overly concerned about my great grandchildren ... not really. It’s my mother, wife and kids I’m concerned about and believe if we take care of them with some measure of fairness, their great grandchildren will probably do the same for themselves ...

And finally #5 ... Most of yous know that this was TK’s Super Bowl matchup earlier in the season—the Bills v. the Lions. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we envision them (change we can believe in?). Well, now that things haven’t worked out, this is our week, amici. Mortgage the house (or rob your neighbors and put up the goods with your local bookie) ... if our beloved new york state buffalo bills are EVER going to win a game this season, this week’s match-up is it. The Detroit Lions come to town and after giving up their home field advantage by playing in a dome (for years now—a truly dopey move), the Bills will have their shot at a WIN. Although we think the Lions are the better team, we think the cold may be too much for them ... oy vey.

We hope the cold will be too much for them.

So maybe you shouldn’t mortgage the house (or rob your neighbors) ... just do what we do every week ... try and ignore the game until about 3:30 or so (when it’s close to the 4th quarter) ... watch the Moonachie Yets or the Moonachie Giants or some other game ... and then take a look-see at the scoreboard on and keep your fingers (and toes) crossed and pray (to the football Gods if you’re an atheist) that SOMETHING GOES OUR WAY THIS SEASON.

Oh, Football Gods ... what say a miracle?


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Nicole Hope ... the Marathon Man ... the Toronto Bills ... 2 years for murder ...


Tomorrow the eldest Stella (Nicole) brat will enter the more adult stage of her life (31). I have some great memories of the daughter ... her travels with Charlie (not Charles) when we and her mother visited my old college in Minot, North Dakota (when upon getting off the plane she ran right into the corner of a chair in the lobby and gave herself a huge shiner (her mother and I nearly died, but Chuck Kramer (the best linebacker I ever played with) picked her right up and calmed her within seconds). Our solo trip to Disneyland in California was also a treat (it was my guilt trip after leaving my wife and kids so I spared no expense) ... we watched the Mets beat Fernando Valenzuela and the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine Stadium, went to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm and visited Universal (where she had a panic attack when the shark on the Jaws exhibit popped up right alongside our tram) but what Nicole wanted to do more than anything else was swim in the hotel pool ... oy vey. Nicole’s 16th birthday was held at Josephine’s (now Christina’s) in Manhattan where the family enjoyed some of the best eye-talian food in the city and before I knew it, she graduated from Albany University Magna Cum Laude with an English degree and did the bulk of a Forensic Psychology Masters at John Jay College (she needs just an externship for her degree) and is now married to a great guy, Anthony Caliendo. Happy Birthday, kiddo ... from the Phat Dad.

Her brother, the marathon man, Charles (not Charlie) is running in the marathon today. He’s already finished the Delaware marathon (where he spotted no witches) and although he didn’t get to train much for this one (he’s working full-time at Goldman Sachs while working on his MBA), we’re hoping he doesn’t injure himself and recovers from the grueling run through New York.

The most clever of the Stella brats (see his Facebook posts), Dustin Stella, is contemplating that move to Toronto with Dad so we can ... welcome our Toronto Bills? Wait a minute, no way, Jose. The Bills remain the ONLY New York Football Team and until our moron management team currently running us into the ground ship our beloveds off to Canada, we remain true to our cause. North America’s team, the Buffalo Bills.

For now, back to some ugly reality ...

When O.J. Simpson was found “not guilty” of the two murders he committed, most of white America shrieked while most of black America rejoiced. It was a divisive time; as divisive as any other I can remember. It was difficult for many whites (myself included) to understand the feelings of blacks who felt the system’s chickens had finally come home to roost (or at least in one high profile case). Last week in Oakland, a judge determined that the life of a black man murdered by a white police officer was worth two years. You can read about it here. The Youtube video isn’t very ambiguous to me, certainly less so than the beating Rodney King caught back in 1991 (and that wasn’t ambiguous either). While the recent murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland doesn’t justify O.J. Simpson’s not guilty verdict, it does help to understand some of the celebrating over the controversial verdict back then by black Americans.

Some argue that Rodney King (no upstanding citizen by any standard) “lunged” at the police when he was subsequently beaten by a few officers while several other officers (all armed) watched. How anyone could determine that Rodney King was a threat to all those police officers, no matter how big, how drunk or drugged he was, is beyond reasonable thought.

Rodney King’s “lunge(s)” and subsequent beating(s):

The murder of Oscar Grant:

How anyone could determine that Oscar Grant wasn’t murdered is likewise beyond reasonable thought. That the officer who fired the fatal shot was given two years for his actions is yet another travesty of justice for all Americans.

Let's put it this way ... imagine it was your kid being held down on the ground (in that video) by a few police officers and then shot in the back by one of them . Think you’d be pissed off?

I’m just saying ...


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Doc says (with some TK political correctness help) ...


You'd think the compassionate one would be swimming in his beer bath after Tuesday's elections, but not our Mr. Happy ... he's still a bit grumpy (because the tea party failed so miserably or was it the Senate?). It took the staff here at TK a couple of days to decide on the censorship it would have to wield and in the end, here's what we came up with (something that may have the Doc drinking with both hands):

A TK censored post from our favorite wingnut ... (TK's comments in italics)

So what did the election mean, Chaz?

Well, we took out some of the trash, but the house still stinks. I kind of hope that there was some election chicanery going on. I would hate to think that people would actually re-elect Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer and Barney Frank willingly. Nevada has an official unemployment rate of 15%, so that means the actual rate must be around 22%. And you give Harry Reid another 6 years to work his creepy undertaker magic?

The mac daddy (oy vey) is headed to India this week at an estimated cost of $200 MILLION per day (actually that’s a bogus number and although TK isn’t happy President Obama is making yet another trip, the exaggerated cost needs to be addressed since it came from a blogger in India). Hell, for about $100 million you could round up every person in India and bring them here. Of course when the mac daddy rolls he makes P. Diddy look like some broke ass flunky (oy vey again). He’ll be showing up with his entourage of 3,000 of his closest friends, 40 planes and 34 warships (the planes and warships, we think are also an exaggeration from the same Indian blogger). Now why the hell would you need 34 warships to visit India? Unless of course he was trying to get our jobs back. (Good on’em and about time, if that’s what he’s going for--to bring our jobs back home).

India is naturally making their own preparations for his arrival. They are actually removing all the [Temporary Knucksline Political Correctness Committee redacted this part] ... but I’ve already had far too many run-ins with the Knucksline Political Correctness Committee (Yes, we know. Triple oy vey).

India has always had food shortages and I will share this factoid with my Hindu buddies to avoid almost certain starvation. [Temporary Knucksline Political Correctness Committee redacted this part too] ... the bears hang their food up in the trees.

And California has once again failed to make pot legal. They have however succeeded in making Happy Meals illegal. What a state! Hard to imagine why they would be bankrupt.

One of the few good things to come out of California ...

Check out those DW Drums ...

Have a great weekend

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Elections … what’s it all mean?


There's nothing in the street
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Is now the parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I suspect Republicans will gloat about how they took their country back (although I still can’t help but see images of actual native American Indians whenever I hear that dopey-assed phrase). The shit Ron Paul has been shoveling will continue to delude those who think big business needs more of a free hand at riding roughshod over the populace. Tea Partiers will probably ignore losses in districts where there was genuine competition (in numbers) and will think it can win the White House in 2012 (giving the GOP a severely nervous stomach in another year or so—when the Presidential campaigning begins anew).

Democrats now have the all important to any future failure "built in excuse" for the next two years of the same (it’ll be the Republican Congress keeping them from bringing about “change” — ignoring the veto proof majority they squandered) … and to hear some Democrats spinning Obama’s “accomplishments” since he came to office, you’d think he really was the messiah. He’s not. He hasn’t been close. It was his party that kept legislation “for the people” from being enacted (bark, blue dogs). It was Obama himself who didn’t push for national health insurance and instead gave insurance companies something they’re very comfortable with (without keeping them from raising rates 10-40% in the meantime). It was his party that made Bush’s bailout of AIG look miniscule by comparison (Bush on steroids). And for those who insist it saved the economy because they’re now paying back the loans, try and remember the loans were OUR money and that Peter (AIG) borrowed from YOU and ME to pay Paul (Goldman Sachs), etc.

I’m not sure what independents think about the elections last night. Frankly I was a bit unnerved when I saw some of the stats offered by CNN regarding where they leaned at the exit polls. Way too many went to the right for me to feel good about a possible third party in 2012.

Speaking of Third Parties … The Democratic faithful forget how Clinton defeated Bush I not too long ago (Perot) and use Nader (Gore-Bush II) as their excuse for rewarding the Democratic Party over and over and over (while the Democratic Party ignores the democratic left hook, line and sinker). Perot, with a disaster of a VP pick in the VP debates, managed nearly half of Bush’s popular vote and nearly 19% nationally. As it turned out, Perot (an independent) sunk Bush (the Republican) and gifted the election to slick Willy (the Democrat). 19% nationally when the winner (Clinton) took but 44% ... is a 3rd party really an impossibility (or are liberal Democrats more comfortable cowering behind blue dogs)?

They (liberal Democrats) insist it was Nader’s fault they lost to Bush in his second election. God forbid Gore earned his election. But they don't stop there ... they continue to blame all things Bush on Nader when it was the Dems themselves who voted for just about everything Bush proposed (including both wars), even after the Democrats had a Congressional majority after 2006. Talk about living in fear ...

We at Temporary Knucksline have no idea where this country is headed politically … and that is probably the beauty of how the deck is rigged (capitalism, I speak of here) … so long as we’re all (the little people) struggling to survive, we don’t have the time to get more involved (the consistently low voter turnout vs. other democracies; not to mention the lack of 3rd, 4th, 5th parties). We’re either too busy or too spoiled, but it remains mind numbing (at least to me) how this country continues to play a never ending game of political ping pong using the same ball (Republican/Democrat) over and over and over.

There are some Libertarian stands we support; no more drug laws for anyone old enough to die for their country (you silly bastards in Cali-focking-fornia/and we at TK don’t even smoke it); some substantial repealing of regulations suppressing “SMALL” businesses; no BAILOUTS; no regulations on abortion, religion and finally legalizing the rights of gays to marry and do every other dopey thing heterosexuals get to do (including fighting wars without declaring anything other than their oath to serve and protect) …

On the other hand, we at TK also want national health insurance, an absolute restriction on campaign contributions and genuine regulation of major industries (banking, oil, defense, etc.) with genuine punishments for those who corrupt the system (real jail time to be served in state penitentiaries (in population—not protective custody) where the offenses occur. Should they be federal offenses, time gets served in the nearest state pen. And this sure and shit should be retroactive so that the smug bastards at Goldman Sachs and the like get to plan their next vacations around discounted body lubricants.

But, let’s face it, nothing much is going to change now that the flip side of the same coin has control of Congress. Mr. Obama will be forced to start campaigning by mid 2011 while the Republicans sort out the mess of candidates they’ll need to try and convince America it needs to be further taken back by (oy vey) …

I don’t know, amici … I guess last night is why booze makes the most sense these days … that and that other stuff Californians prefers to smoke behind closed doors.


Look at these silly bastards jumping around (video below) … and what’s up with that drum sticks twirling? Just play, brothers … just play.

Silliness aside, Moon was one hell of a drummer …


Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Monday, November 1, 2010

TK Special Review: The best book of the year … Pike, Benjamin Whitmer (PM Press)


It is rare, but there are times when a writer comes along who is so good one has to take special notice of him and his work. Recently I came across a few mentions about a book titled Pike by Benjamin Whitmer. Then I saw his Dancing with Myself interview over at Nigel’s joint, Sea Minor and thought he was interesting. I googled for reviews of his book, Pike, and found this one in Spinetingler Magazine.

Intrigued enough to make a purchase, I was fortunate to find the book on kindle (although the formatting here wasn’t great—some run-in words, missing words, etc.). I had been reading Lermontov’s A Hero For Our Time (one of the kindle cheapies), but wasn’t enjoying it the way I had hoped. First chance I had, I gave Pike a look-see and found myself so engrossed with the story AND THE WRITING I hadn’t moved from where I was sitting (on the bench at the gym) and my legs went numb.

When I could focus on Pike again, I did so straight through to the end. Most of yous know how I feel about writing awards (across the board). While I’m glad for friends when they’re nominated and/or win, I don’t believe in any writing award (mostly because the sheer volume of books published in any given year precludes genuine vetting, but add the politics of the business to the scenario and what you're left with is ... well, it isn't legit). I’m afraid Pike will prove my point (since I seriously doubt the powers that be behind the politics of writing awards will give this wonderful book a fair shake). While Temporary Knucksline is no literary review or committee or anything other than a dopey blog (like all the other dopey blogs out there), it is going to award this novel the following: The best book of 2010 … hands fucking down.

Pike is more than a dark story about dark characters; it is the most impressive writing to come along in quite a while. Work like this belongs in English literature classes (certainly as required reading in any MFA coursework). For anyone into the darker slices of life, Pike will serve as a future template for crime writers exploring the real world.

Certain writers should be required reading in schools the way certain movies should be required viewing in schools (American History X, etc.). Pike is one of those books … the way Cormac McCarthy's works have etched their way into our literary Americana, so does Whitmer’s Pike belong there. This is superb writing, start to finish. Absolutely mesmerizing. This morning I reread Pike during my commute because it is really that good.

I’ll probably reread it again before the end of the week.

I never heard of PM Press or Benjamin Whitmer or Pike before bouncing around these dopey blogs we all write. If there was ever a good reason for them (these dopey blogs) books like Pike are it. This is more than highly recommended reading, amci. Reading this book is a Temporary Knucksline demand.

Hands down the best book I’ve read this year … I shit yous not.

PM Press