Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
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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, February 1, 2011

The Finkler Question ... Knucks State of the Union ...

Ultimately, that is the Finkler question, albeit viewed at from an angle once removed (and back again). The 2010 Man Booker prize went to Howard Jacobson and although literary prizes (of any ilk) are more silly than genuine, this was one terrific and hilarious read. I’m talking laugh out loud read (but does that make me an anti-Zionist … or a Zionist)? Should Jews (from anywhere) be ASHamed (a devout anti-zionist group from the novel that meets at the, where else, London Groucho Club) or proud and loyal defenders (to the death) of the state of Israel?

Deep questions perhaps only Jews can answer, but the author uses a non-Jew (who, after being attacked and hearing), or thinking he’s heard the utterance “J'you know Juno”. Julian Treslove (the non-Jew who after being mugged is convinced {or trying to convince himself} he is a Jew), has grown up knowing and envying Samuel (later Sam) Finkler, a man who goes on to celebrity prominence. The two were once taught by Libor Sevcik, an older Czech Jew and a firm believer in Zionism. The three men together (offshoots aside) are a circus act of personalities one never tires of. Treslove’s pursuit of his Finklerness (Jewishness) is wonderfully funny. His belief that all roads lead to something to mourn (the loss of love) help to convince him he’s a Finkler after all ... or is he?

Except here from the New York Times.

The three men’s stories, together and apart, are wonderful exchanges of hilarity, politics both malignant and benign, loss, love and more hilarity (so much so, reading the novel is more fun than any of us deserve (have I turned into a Treslovian Jew?)). Libor has recently lost his wife of many years (Malkie); he mourns her at every turn. Finkler, too, has lost a wife (Tyler, she at 49) who was shtupping Treslove (of all people) ... and Treslove had kids (Rudolpho & Alfredo--named from the male leads in La Boheme & La Traviata) from two different wives ... the comedy is ingrained in the dialogue of all the characters in this incredibly funny piece of Roth-like shtick (and I mean that (shtick) in a VERY GOOD way).

Did I say Roth-like? Jacobson is Roth on steroids on Roth’s best ever day of writing (and that ain’t no easy trick).

The state of the Union (from a word processor’s viewpoint) … law firms once considered the place to work for word processors, have now become the dead end jobs outsourcing targeted them to be. A field that flourished through the 80’s and 90’s, has now become a graveyard. When jobs aren’t outsourced overseas to places like India, they in(out)sourced to companies like RR Donnelly, companies that have used the “economic crisis” to put the screws to their workforces (staff, for the most part) in the form of reduced benefits, wages and the overall attitude that states: If you don’t like it, try unemployment.

Thank you President Obama, the Democratic and Republican parties and more importantly, an American populace too complacent (whether it be from electronic toys, booze or drugs) to revolt en masse. Yeah, sort of like what the citizens of Egypt are doing now.

Remember, these are the banks/companies reaping the benefits of a suddenly skyward streaking stock market (oil prices up again? Gee, what a fucking surprise!) bailed out for screwing up and then permitted to reward their greed-based efforts with record bonuses.

This week I heard that a firm I used to work for that had outsourced to Donnelly is paying $18.00 an hour for word processors. $18.00 an hour for a job that used to pay $28.00 (minimum) an hour? They have 3 openings for anyone interested. Me, I’d rather rob hubcaps.

And remember, the above example is one industry; just one job, but the sphere of influence (that which corporations now hold over their workforce) has grown tenfold. This is what I was so pissed off about when Obama took Bush’s bailouts into overdrive. This is what Obama et al have accomplished ... setting American labor back 50-100 years ... because don’t think it’ll be anytime soon before you see what workers lost returned in force.

The fact there’s no union for the white collar workforce continues to baffle me. How much you think unions are paid to look the other way regarding that grass roots membership?

This is the kind of thing the Obama administration could’ve addressed before handing over all that (our) gelt to those who bankrupted us in the first place. No stipulations for workers and he wants our votes? No protection for workers and we’re supposed to vote for the lesser of two evils? America, it is high time to grow a pair (a real pair) and vote anything other than either major party. You want change we can believe in? Start voting for it (not the bullshit these two parties have given us) … real change.

That or bring the economy down with a work stoppage that sends the message: “We’re the ones too big to fail. Try doing it without us.”


And here now, Mr. Baciagalupe ...