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, March 29, 2011

Brian’s Memorial ... Obama’s Spin ... Foreign Flicks ... Reminders (Kindle & Reading) ...


Brian’s Memorial ... Ann Marie and I attended a true brother and friend’s memorial Saturday night in Bridgewater, New Jersey. It was the first time I met his wonderful parents (Ann & John), his best friend (Bruno) and more than one hundred people whose lives Brian touched back from when he was a kid. I guess from lack of thinking and general shyness (and awkwardness) I forgot to introduce myself to Brian’s sister and her kids. He loved his family; especially his sister’s kids. He never didn’t mention them when he was with Ann Marie and myself. Brian was color blind and that was brought up by one of the speakers. There was no need; a very healthy percentage of those there were people of color. There was also a three-time world champion fighter in attendance. Bobby Czyz, someone Brian was very close to and who graciously took the time to attend. I felt somewhat awkward because most of the people there knew Brian much longer than I did.

I first met Brian after I was contacted by the production company looking for a screenplay for a movie. Brian was an executive producer of the movie. He dealt with my agent at the time and I was signed to write the screenplay. We became instant friends and tried to launch a pilot screenplay shortly afterward to some big shots at Fox. Brian and I worked together on the pilot and although it failed, our time together was priceless; I knew I had someone I could work with on such products in the future and more importantly, I knew I had found a true friend.

That was the thing about Brian I forgot to mention the other night when I gave my two cents (I managed to keep the tears in check for a few minutes to speak at his memorial). My best memory of Brian was his absolutely positive spirit. Nobody could brighten a room faster or better. Nobody could make people feel more comfortable. Nobody could make you more proud of being considered his friend. I mentioned the dopey weightlifting meet Brian took the time to attend and film for me a couple of years ago. Because he did the filming, he also provided what he couldn’t stop himself from doing, subjective commentary; cheering someone on. In that particular case it was me. I mentioned how boring weightlifting meets are to attend. Asking someone to come along is like asking someone if they want to watch grass grow. Brian never hesitated. In fact, he was excited about it and that excited me (who stood no chance in hell of attaining anything more than a pulled muscle or two). That was Brian; always upbeat, always positive.

This world isn’t the same without him, not for his parents, his sister, her kids or all those who attended his memorial the other night. It hasn’t been the same for Ann Marie or myself. We all miss him dearly, but will never forget what a joy it was to be around him.

Obama’s speech ... he doesn’t want to see mass graves before taking action ... it’s a noble statement, especially considering we (along with much of the world) didn’t move anywhere fast enough to put an end to what Hitler was doing in WWII, but times have changed and unless we’re willing to begin World War III sooner rather than later, someone should show el Presidente a map where genocide and mass graves continue to accumulate bodies throughout the Middle East and Africa. His speech last night was nothing more than political posturing for 2012. He’s tough, he's telling us. He’s prepared to do what any Republican would do (and not the Republicans (Doc/Newt Gingrich, et al ...) who two weeks ago said he wasn’t doing enough and then last week were blaming him for engaging a 3rd war) ... just those who want to paint him as not tough enough. Here are some other places he seems conveniently blinded to (if his speech last night was anything nearing honest) ... Darfur ...

Somalia ... Ruwanda ... Congo ...

Nothing having to do with war is quick and easy and Libya will be no different. I just wish he’d make up his mind as to where his laser like focus is going to remain for more than 24 hours (while praying there aren’t any more White House parties celebrating anything while effectively close to 20% of the county remains out of work). And pray that maybe the Nobel Peace Prize winning, anti-war president, manages to avoid a #4 ... or #5 or #6, etc. Foreign Films ...

Kinamand ... A Danish mostly fun flick, sometimes very sad, about a plumber whose wife walks out after 25 years (“our marriage has been like a funeral parlor” she tells him) ... he’s down and out of sorts ... and eating at the same Chinese grill across the street from his house every night afterward, befriending the owner (and vice versa) and eventually he’s made an offer to marry Mr. Feng’s sister so she doesn’t get deported (pro forma only marriage) ... of course the ex gets jealous and the fun starts ...

Leaving ... wow, what a movie ... the beautiful Kristin Scott Thomas stars as Suzanne, an unhappy woman/mom anxious to return to work (after 15 years of child rearing); her husband, an MD, a prick, is also politically connected ... when her new office is being built she befriends one of the workers and the sparks fly. I really enjoyed this one. Tough stuff.

Reminder(s) ...

The first three of the ugly one’s novels are now available on kindle (as well as #6) ... Cheapskates (#4) will be available in another month or so ... Here's Eddie’s World ... Here's Jimmy Bench-Press ... Here's Charlie Opera ... Here's Mafiya ...

Johnny Porno at The Raconteur ... Hey, reserve Thursday, April 7th soon as yous can ... an evening with Knucks? Oy vey ... he’s reading from Johnny Porno in Metuchen, New Jersey ... April 7, at 8:00 p.m. at The Raconteur (April 7, 8:00 p.m.). The Raconteur offers wine and Johnny Porno ... where half the proceeds will go towards keeping this small independent bookstore from getting crushed.

The Raconteur, 431 Main Street, Metuchen, NJ 08840 (732) 906-0009 —Knucks

He wasn’t one of the nicer Puccini characters (not that many of Puccini’s tenors were), but here’s the big guy singing Pinkerton's Addio fiorito from Madama Butterfly ...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hello Kitty Must Die ... Jimmy goes kindle ... Johnny Porno Reading ... and The Doc says ...


We have a review of an absolutely terrific book to start the games ... then a Jimmy Bench-Press announcement (kindle), a reminder about a Johnny Porno reading and then our favorite right wingnut (The Doc) is back to break my shoes/balls with an accusatory email/post, which was officially sent to me last night but I had already turned in after my daily unemployed dose of several foreign flicks. The title of the email was: Since you don't write for Knucksline anymore (too busy, I guess). So, let us begin with a book TK very highly recommends if you feel like laughing until you piss yourself ... because it is one very clever, very funny tale of one gal gone wild.

The Principessa Ann Marie said, “Rigoletto (our dog), Daddy’s laughing out loud. He must like the book he’s reading.”

I’ll say. The ugly one (moi) was laughing quite a bit the last two days. The cause was Hello Kitty Must Die, by Angela S. Choi: Twenty-eight-year-old Chinese-American Fiona Yu is a Yale graduate and an associate at a law firm big enough to demand 90 hours of billable time a week as well as an immediately down gradable self-esteem for when the obnoxious partner she works for chooses (at will) to make her feel like shit. Lawyers fresh out of law school choosing to pursue that type of legal career (the ones with the ever growing carrots of cash held inches from their noses) must learn to endure quite a bit of arrogance as well as the elimination of anything close to a normal social life. Billable hours rule their day; self-esteem is on hold.

But in this incredibly hilarious tale of one woman’s war against the stereotypes enveloping her being; a traditional Chinese family she still lives with that is upset she’s yet to marry, the pressure of mixed cultures (her skin isn’t white enough and she’s too fat at 5’3”, 105 pounds), all Fiona (Fi) wants to do is own herself, as a woman and as a person. To do that, Fi feels she needs to be the one to take her own virginity.

I kid you not.

Page 1, Paragraph 1: It all started with my missing hymen.
Page 1, Paragraph 2: One week before my twenty-eighth birthday, I decided to take my own virginity with a silicone dildo coated in two-percent Lidocaine gel.

If that isn’t going to hook yous, the rest of the first chapter certainly will because what happens from there is an incredibly imaginative, ironic (in a good way), cynical (in a great way) and out and out hilarious tale of a woman hell bent on doing it her way. Temporary Knucksline never offers spoilers for potential readers and this book should have several boatloads of readers, so all I’m going to add to the plot is serial killer(s)/mercy killing(s)/self-defense killing(s) ... or maybe a combination of all three, but the bottom line is Fi’s Dad is “arranging” dates for her because it’s time she’s married. Like Knucks, Fi was tortured having to sit/live through catholic school growing up, but Fi was luckier than moi. Fi had a friend who had “issues” to say the least ... the kind that some might say manifest a sociopathic/homicidal potential. Moi had a Strat-O-Matic baseball game. Fi's attempt at deflowering herself results in the discovery that she’s without the proverbial cherry (born without one), so it’s off to a plastic surgeon to have one built. This is one very determined (i.e., a Yale, Prada/Jimmy Choo wearing lawyer) woman who will be the ONE to take her own virginity at whatever the cost (and it’s pretty expensive to have a hymen surgical installed).

Oy vey ... which is another thing, some of what I loved about this book (and which made me smile and chuckle aloud) were uses of the following: Oy vey (Yes, TK fans, my favorite) ... hypoglycemia (Knucks has it) ... a form of the “c” word that also means “Yes” Hai, Hai (yous guess which is which--better yet, read the book and see for yourselves). ... there was even a bench-pressing incident (like the kid from USC (I think) who dropped 275 on his neck and required several surgeries afterward) ...

Okay, so back to the plot but without spoilers ... guess who the hymen building plastic surgeon turns out to be?

Oy vey ... you’ll have to read the book to find out. Hello Kitty Must Die was a two day read only because I wanted to be the first socialist 318 pounder (that’s right, Doc, minus a duce and I still blame the weight gains on Wall Street, George Bush and Barack “Didn't I screw the union workers who voted for me by ignoring that promise to walk the protest line?” Obama) to hit 73 minutes on the aerobic circuit the other night in the gym ... and wound up a cripple for it Friday. This morning I woke up and instead of writing, I grabbed my kindle and read straight through to the end of Hello Kitty Must Die.

Frankly, I LOVED this book. I’m not usually a big fan of humor in crime fiction. In fact, just a few writers are able to pull that off for me with any consistency (Duane Swierczynski & Victor Gischler being the names that come to mind). More often than not, I find myself angry for having to read setup paragraphs for one-liners. Hello Kitty Must Die is nothing like that. It is simply an incredibly creative spoof (I felt) on some of what our culture is/does to us. Fi wears painful stilettos (Jimmy Choo, Prada, etc.) because she wants to experience the pain (looking good costs in more ways than one) ... paying $10-15 for a Bellini is also painful, especially once one acknowledges the rest of the crowd drinking the same designer swill ... that some people really do deserve to die is up to the individual reader, but like I always used to tell the wife/wives (all 4 of them), “Being a killer doesn’t make you a bad person.”

So it goes ...

Now, here’s the other reason to read this book. The author, Angela S. Choi, as it turns out, really did gradumacate (that spelling is for my kids, so lay off, Doc) from Yale, really was/is an attorney and actually chose to write over sacrificing her life to 90 hour billable weeks. I have a few attorney friends from the various law firms I've worked (after I went legit, of course) who chose to do the same; whether it was to write or breathe or enjoy their lives is all the same in the end; their individual choices to walk away were choices to do what they wanted rather than what is prescribed by social expectations/family/money ... whatever. Good for them. Good for the author. Support the cause, purchase this book. It is available in paper and on kindle.

Hello Kitty Must Die ... a Top of the Line Temporary Knucksline Pick.

Now, for some news on the home front. Jimmy Bench-Press ... is now available on kindle.

"It's even harder to be soft-hearted about the gangsters in Charlie Stella's blood curdling, convincing "Jimmy Bench Press"...Stella is a kind of obscene Ring Lardner, finding a lean, rancid poetry in his characters' vernacular, and rendering it with flawless precision and humor."– Washington Post Book World

Jimmy Mangino figures he’s overdue. Already he’s done two stretches in the joint. But he’s back, and he’s still a good earner for the family. You got a loser you need to lean on, Jimmy lends his strong arm, and he doesn’t flinch at murder, not for the Vignieris. He also bench-presses four hundred pounds. Jimmy wants to be a made man. Alex Pavlik wants to take Jimmy down. Pavlik, the edgy Polish cop who tailed Eddie Senta in Charlie Stella’s enthusiastically reviewed debut, Eddie’s World, has been transferred to Organized Crime from Homicide, where his short temper, keen sense of justice, and too-ready prizefighter’s fists have proved to be a volatile combination. Tough-talking, taut, and craftily plotted, Stella’s second novel takes Pavlik and his new partner, another New York police detective, John DeNafria, into the shifty world of Jimmy Bench-Press when wannabe-mobster Larry Berra hires Mangino to collect on a bad loan to a sixty-three-year-old Italian barber with a Cuban girlfriend. Jimmy’s got his fingers in any number of illegal pies, from extortion to murder, among purveyors of drugs and porn. Enough to get a man made, maybe.

Reminder ...

Johnny Porno at The Raconteur ... Hey, reserve Thursday, April 7th soon as yous can ... an evening with Knucks? Oy vey ... he’s reading from Johnny Porno in Metuchen, New Jersey ... April 7, at 8:00 p.m. at The Raconteur (April 7, 8:00 p.m.). The Raconteur offers wine and Johnny Porno ... where half the proceeds will go towards keeping this small independent bookstore from getting crushed.

The Raconteur
431 Main Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840
(732) 906-0009

Anyone who needs a sleepover and ride to the train the next morning, write me.


And now, as promised (albeit a day late), The Doc says...

Hey Chaz,

TGIF, eh, baby? Oh, I forgot you’re on the government tit now… sitting around Casa Stella, smoking your silly pipe, watching foreign films. You know, another month of this and you will officially be French.

NY vs. NJ
Manhattanites always bitch and moan about the “bridge and tunnel crowd”. I was one of the few New Yorkers who was actually born and raised in Manhattan… and I would never move back. I’ve only been in NJ for about 5 years, but it has some nice features.

People don’t honk their horn 0.5 milliseconds after the light turns green.

If you have your left blinker on, drivers will wave you on to make your turn in front of them.

If you make eye contact with someone they will actually say “Hello”. Forget the “Hello” part of that. In NYC if you simply make eye contact you are probably in a “flight or fight” situation.

Now for the bad part of life in Joizy:

You have to buy your beer in a liquor store. This has too many dark connotations.

I’m going to the liquor store.
I’m going to buy liquor.
I’m going to get “liquored up”.

In NYC I bought my beer in a deli. Hell, you can buy muffins in a deli. You could probably even buy flowers for your wife in a deli. You could tell your neighbors, “Well I went to the deli to buy muffins for Sunday after church, but then I saw some beautiful flowers and I decided to buy them for my beloved wife. On the way out I noticed that Budweiser was on sale and decided to invite some homeless people over for muffins and shots and beers.”

You could even cover the brewskies with the muffins and flowers and your neighbors will think you’re Pat Boone.

The Fredo Chronicles

Well, our Nobel Peace Prize winning president is currently presiding over 3 wars. That puts him one up on “W”, and “W” ain’t likely to catch up at this point. I guess Fredo is the winner.

The Lame Stream Media

Everything must be hunky-dory in Japan now. I haven’t seen any stories about it since the Bamster started lobbing 100+ $600,000 Tomahawk missiles into a country that doesn’t have anything worth $600,000 to destroy. Another coup for the Bamster!

In all fairness, I really shouldn’t pick on him now. I think he might still be on vacation in Rio.

Have a great weekend, brother

PS: Ask me about this song sometime after a couple of beers.

Monday, March 21, 2011

i-Hop ... Film Reviews ... Lunch with Patti ... A Reminder ... O soave fanciulla ...


Momma Stella visited i-Hop last week ...

MS: Sonny boy, I went to I-hop last week with the director downstairs.
SB (moi): Nice. So you gave up sweets for lent too?
MS: Yeah ... what? Go scratch your ass. I gave up meat.
SB: And desserts. You told me no sweets either.
MS: What dessert? This was breakfast when we went.
SB: I’m breaking your shoes, ma. You have a good time?
MS: Oooh, sonny, I had banana pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream. Mmmm, it was delicious.
SB: Good for you.
MS: So that’s for me from now on.
SB: Yes, boss. You sure the lord is okay with that around lent?
MS: Yes. Don’t start. Yes.
SB: Because I was gonna start going again to church but I’m on a diet and if I can eat like that, what’s the point?
MS: Never mind.
SB: Because if it’s okay at lent, then the wafer at mass should taste better, no? Maybe like a banana strawberry pancake.
MS: Go shit in your hat.
SB: But then you’d need two altar boys, one for the pancake and one for the whipped cream, right?
MS: Okay, time to go home now. Goodbye, pain in the ass.

I love my Mommy!

Film Reviews (foreign and domesticals):

Jaffa ... heartbreaking story of a an Arab-Israeli conflict within the confines of a small garage; the owner is an Israeli. His son and daughter work there along with two Arabs (a father and son). The daughter has a secret relationship with the young Arab (the best mechanic in the garage) and her brother, an obnoxious loser, is the cause of a tragic catastrophe complicated by politics and family. An excellent movie.

9th Company ... one of the toughest war movies I’ve ever seen. A rough and tough bunch go through a rigorous training regiment before being sent to Afghanistan ... the Mujahedeen are ready and waiting for them. If this one doesn’t convince you Afghanistan is best left alone, nothing ever will.

Behind the Lines ... A World War I tale of traumatic stress syndrome ... shell-shocked British officers fresh out of the meat grinder of the trenches try to deal with several issues amidst the madness; turning from an army of liberation into one of aggression is a particular obstacle for one officer/poet/hero. Brutally good.

City Island ... a cute Indie featuring Andy Garcia as a prison guard/actor wannabe who finds his son (from his first relationship) behind bars. Sometimes too cutesy, but fun stuff nevertheless when you have a few hours to kill. All Star cast is in prime form.

8 Mile ... this remains one of TK’s picks for all and any high schoolers (along with American History X) as must views ... the messages are noble (work hard, don’t quit, never quit, make no excuses, take responsibility) ... and the cast, upon further reflection, is wonderful ... Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road/Boardwalk Empire) and the late Britney Murphy ... excellent.

Lunch with Patti domani at Christina’s ... Knucks visits an old hangout and very fine eatery (he once ate most of the menu ... for lunch).

Reminder ...

Johnny Porno at The Raconteur ... Hey, reserve Thursday, April 7th soon as yous can ... an evening with Knucks? Oy vey ... he’s reading from Johnny Porno in Metuchen, New Jersey ... April 7, at 8:00 p.m. at The Raconteur (April 7, 8:00 p.m.) . The Raconteur offers wine and Johnny Porno ... where half the proceeds will go towards keeping this small independent bookstore from getting crushed.

The Raconteur
431 Main Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840
(732) 906-0009

Anyone who needs a sleepover and ride to the train the next morning, write me.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

O'Doc says ...


It's HIS (Doc's) day, so it's his platform ... oy vey gavelt.

Oh Chaz,

That’s the best part of reading Knucksline and living in Knucksworld. All the other blogs are jabbering on endlessly about Japan and Libya. In Knucksworld the current center of the universe is Metuchen, NJ.

The Dumbing Down of America

Now that evil Muppet, Eric Holder has stuck his big plastic head into the testing procedures for the Dayton police. It seems not enough minorities passed the test, so he wants the passing grade lowered to a 58%. He assumes the test was biased against minorities. How so, Eric? Were there too many questions about yachting… hockey… polo ponies? Did the minorities miss the question about where the bathroom is on a Gulfstream IV?

So you lower the standards and now every cop in Dayton will be treated like a dumbass. The arrests for drunk driving will probably skyrocket because all the drivers will be speaking very slowly and using real small words.

The upside of this will be the next time the Bamster has a “Cambridge Moment” and says, “The cops acted stupidly”. He’ll probably be right.

Burning Questions of the Week
How come Qadaffi has 19 different spellings of his name?

How come the lamestream media calls every camel-humping, bomb-throwing terrorist a “freedom fighter”, but these poor schlubs in Libya are simply “rebels”?

Wisdom from On High

The Bamster who has been noticeably silent on Libya, Japan, unemployment, rising gas prices and the dismal housing market has leapt from the shadows and given us his March Madness, college basketball picks. Thank God! I was at my wits end. Now that all executive decisions have been made he can concentrate on his upcoming and well-deserved vacation to Rio. It’s good to be king.

Happy Saint Patty’s day

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nurse Annie ...Knucksline Manuscript Services ... Grind Joint ... The Raconteur ... More Foreign Flicks ...


It’s official, the wife is now a certifiable (oy vey) certified nurse ... they give them 6 hours to take the certification boards and she knocked it off in 90 minutes. She came home (even though we weren’t speaking at the time) and said she was pretty sure she failed. I know the routine from my gambling days (never predict a win--Buffalo Bills) ... anyway, she’s now a Certified Registered Nurse. Celebratory dinner to follow.

Knucksline Manuscript Services ... we’ve had to change our name from First Reads to Knucksline Manuscript Services because First-Reads is a long and well established service (and we didn’t check). Ooops, to right the wrong, we’ve changed our name. First-Reads is certainly a well-established business doing the same thing (perhaps even better) so take a look-see there as well. In the meantime, we’re still available to those who want to give us a shot.

Johnny Porno at The Raconteur ... Hey, reserve Thursday, April 7th soon as yous can ... an evening with Knucks? Oy vey ... he’s reading from Johnny Porno in Metuchen, New Jersey ... April 7, at 8:00 p.m. at The Raconteur (April 7, 8:00 p.m.). The Raconteur offers wine and Johnny Porno ... where half the proceeds will go towards keeping this small independent bookstore from getting crushed.

The Raconteur
431 Main Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840
(732) 906-0009

There's Jersey Transit that will take you a few blocks from the bookstore, buses and/or anyone who needs a sleepover and ride to the train the next morning, write me.

Grind Joint ... with the new manuscript service moniker (Knucksline Manuscript Service or KSM for short), we’ve now had our very first customer ... but let me say that we’re taking the fee under protest ... the book is called Grind Joint and the author is Dana King. The book, quite frankly, is terrific and is the second full length novel I’ve read by Mr. King. We feel it should be picked up by any agent out there looking for a new author with a ton of talent and/or any publisher looking to publish masterful writing and one terrific book (that is part of a terrific series). Grind Joint (about a casino going up in a small town) features local police and the nasty politics within the department, an up and coming real estate mogul who has bought his way to power, the one mistake he’s made (partnering with the wrong people--the Russian mob), some wonderful relationships between the well-rounded cast of characters and some of the poorer folk and dialogue as good as any out there surrounded by some superb narrative.

There is a home feel to the book that I had an unfair advantage with (having read a prior novel with the same core characters). Doc (not my Doc, who also has a book with Doc) Dougherty is a smart cop very protective of his own (including his family and home town--Penns River). He has an out-of-town cousin Nick in Penns River for a quick visit. The two are dynamic characters and as real as you’ll find in literature anywhere. There are other cops, civilians, witnesses, drug dealers, etc., but nothing is shirked in the development of these characters; none of them are picked from a formula/stereotypical shelf. King does a magnificent job of distinguishing one from another and each will tug at the strings of your heart in one way or another.

Frankly, this is masterful writing; a book that should be picked up post haste by any agents looking for new talent/publishers looking to publish page turning books featuring great writing.

Foreign Film Reviews ...

The Girl on the Bridge ... this was excellent; hilarious piece about a knife thrower and his target(s) ... is it luck or love? Don’t miss this baby.

Good ... a professore (Viggo Morgenson) writes about humane suicide in a novel published a few years before the Nazi’s come to power in Germany. It is used as an excuse to forward their insanity; the author, an anti-Nazi, first forced, then too willing to join the party as an honorary member ... the loss of innocence, a valued friendship, family and all sense of self ... TK found this one especially interesting.

A Secret ... a boy finds a toy in the attic and unknowingly unravels his family history. This was brilliant.

Antares ... three families in a German apartment complex ... it’s no Short Cuts, but it was interesting.

Then last night, as we began to speak to one another again, Nurse Annie and the ugly one, we watched this one; which as tough and dark as it is, was quite fascinating and upon further reflection, I like it all the more this morning.

4 Minutes ... an elderly piano teacher finds a prodigy at the prison where she teaches ... man, was this one gripping (and rough) ... and wonderful in its own way. Check it out.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

One True Sentence ... New Johnny Porno Review/A reading at The Raconteur ... Ooops, there goes another $900 million ...


One True Sentence ... Hector Lassiter is back, so is Ernest Hemingway and a cast of other literary notables including Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Ford Madox Ford and southern European references to Ezra Pound during his Rapallo days. The Lassiter series covers a lot of ground and this one features the Paris years, specifically 1924 when the lost generation was busy reading, writing, drinking and cavorting with gusto. While crossing the River Seine, Hector hears a thud and a splash and thus begins a series of murders that engulf what amounts to the literary wannabe world of Paris in the 20’s. Small literary publishers are dying, some in grizzly ways. There are Dadists, blasphemers of anything conventional, lurking in the shadows. There are two beautiful women, Molly and Brinke, but are they really who they say they are?

Whoever they are, these deux belles femmes, they wind up in bed with a very drugged (from a high ankle sprain) Hector in about the hottest scene one can imagine; a three way with two beautiful, uninhibited women. What the Queen of Noir, Vicki Hendricks, does with men for her female readers in her novels, McDonald recreates with women for men in One True Sentence.

Lassiter falls for one, then the other, then is back to the first ... but one (or both) may be responsible for at least one (perhaps more) of the murders suddenly plaguing the Paris literati. Gertrude Stein creates an ad hoc group of investigators to find the murder(ers) before the Paris Police and thus some of the hunters become the hunted.

If you’re a fan of Hemingway, you can’t skip this Paris romp with his buddy Hector Lassiter. If you’re a Lassiter fan, One True Sentence is a must. Author Craig McDonald has created an education series around the life and times of Ernest Hemingway. Hector Lassiter, McDonald’s fictional Hemingway pal, remains a man’s man. There’s no shortage of adventure, love, lust or violence in this Lassiter-Hemingway journey back to the La Ville-Lumière (city of light), circa 1924.

"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know." - Ernest Hemingway

Hey, a new review of Johnny Porno from the Noir Journal ...

“Charlie Stella is one hell of a writer. I was hooked from page one. With rich authentic dialog filling each scene, I felt as if I was there with the characters, not just reading along. To be able to forget I was reading and just “live” the scene was great. Each character was fully fleshed out, and the plot was tight. I couldn’t wait to turn the pages, and was sad to see the book end. If you’ve read any of the other Stella novels, you will be glad to see a few of the characters make cameo appearances. If you are a crime fiction fan, or just a fan of great writing in general, I could not recommended this novel enough.” —Ben Springer (Poker Ben)/Noir Journal

Johnny Porno at The Raconteur ... Hey, reserve Thursday, April 7th soon as yous can ... an evening with Knucks? Oy vey ... he’s reading from Johnny Porno in Metuchen, New Jersey ... April 7, at 8:00 p.m. at The Raconteur . The Raconteur offers wine and Johnny Porno ... where half the proceeds will go towards keeping this small independent bookstore from getting crushed. No heckling, please ...

The Raconteur
431 Main Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840
(732) 906-0009

From Time Magazine ... another bunch of missing dollars, this time from the premier Afghanistan bank (oops, there goes another $900 million) ... these are the kinds of things that strengthen libertarian arguments; the idea that governments, any governments, can do very little right and a whole lot wrong. Guess where the Afghani banks are going to ask for the bailout? Guess who’ll give it to them?

Can they (the government) make bigger clowns out of us than continuing this war in Afghanistan?


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Doc Says ... Foreign Movie Review ...


Today we start off with Doc’s continuing rant against ... teachers? Oy vey ... or maybe what he’s really pissed at is President Obama’s determination to end organized labor. What’s that you say? Yep, that’s what we say ... so we really don’t get what Doc is so upset about. Obama is doing exactly what the Republican Party dictates ... and has been doing that since he was elected.

We go from Doc to some foreign movie reviews... but here now:

The Doc says ...

Whoa Chaz… bitter much?

I’ll just be the bigger man and accept your last Knucksline as a heartfelt apology to the loveable old Docster.

Screw the teachers and the Wisconsin senators, now the citizens of Libya are waiting for Obama to prove the “iron in his words” for them. And they are not just worried about getting ptomaine poisoning from too many burgers at the Hooters in Illinois. The Libyans are worried about Hellfire missiles and the like. Trust me, they would be better advised to hide out in the Hooters in Illinois.

Consider playing a chess match with the Bamster:

The New York Times will object if he is assigned black… or white.
Rachel Maddow will declare the opponent and the timekeeper to be closet rascists.
Chris Matthews will get another thrill up his leg. (Really, how gay is that?)
The match will drag on for years as Fredo will refuse to move a single piece.
Out of frustration Fredo’s opponent will kill himself.
NPR will declare BO the winner.

Two years in and the guy is still voting “Present” against all opposition.
He’s a rock.

Have a nice week

For those poor liberal souls who didn’t recognize the “iron in your words” reference:

TK asks ... Could a Clint Eastwood (Christian Bale as Batman voice) be more corny?

Bread and Tulips ... viva Italia, what a great movie! Very highly recommended. What happens when someone (especially in a marriage) is taken for granted. Rosalba is a dutiful mom and wife forgotten on a vacation trip (for using the bathroom), but once the bus rolls away and leaves her behind and her husband blames it all on her, she rebels and decides life is too short to “stay put”. This is a funny and poignant look at several of the interesting folk Rosalba meets on her journey after she detours from heading home to Venezia (including an anarchist florist, a masseuse, a plumber turned private detective and an articulate and knowledgeable waiter with an interesting past). This is a terrific movie, a winner all the way.

Agata and the Storm ... madonna mia, the same lead and some of the same cast as up above ... and another terrific movie (gotta’ love those eye-talians) ... one funnier than the next ... this time Agata (the owner of a bookstore) can’t help but burn out the lights ... she’s involved with a younger man; her fratello (brother) isn’t really her brother ... but he’s off to find out who he really is ... and in doing so meets his real brother ... and sister-in-law ... and oy vey, the fun begins. Just check it out amici ... same director/much of the same cast as Bread and Tulips ... and much the same fun.

Elevator to the Gallows ... murder most fouled up in this French film Noir from 1958 (when I was just two years old!) ... shot in black and white (true film noir), this one wasn’t what I expected and was pleasantly surprised for the surprise. A guy having an affair with the wife of his very connected boss does the deed and gets stuck in an elevator ... one event leads to another and the dominoes fall. Worth a look for the sheer return to black and white alone. Oh, yeah ... the music is pretty splendid; provided by Miles Davis.


Next Knucksline features a review of Craig McDonald’s, One True Sentence ...

And, this one is for Doc (compliments of the Warden) ...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Johnny Porno reading ... Rigoletto & Lola ... new Knuckmeter ... Wisconsin


Johnny Porno ... an upcoming reading of Johnny Porno is scheduled for April 7, at 8:00 p.m. at The Raconteur (April 7, 8:00 p.m.). It’s a neat little book shop the Principessa and I have walked into a few times while taking strolls in the small town of Metuchen, New Jersey. So, if yous got nothing happening for April 7 (a Thursday night), The Raconteur offers wine and Johnny Porno ... where half the proceeds will go towards keeping this small independent bookstore from getting crushed.

The Raconteur
431 Main Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840
(732) 906-0009

Rigoletto ... Mr. Charles (not Charlie) and Mrs. (Leslie) Stella visited for Christmas this past weekend ... and they brought the granddaughter, an injection of pure energy also known as Lola. Picture of the two doggies compliments of Mr. Facebook himself, Charles (not Charlie). How cute are these dogs?

He kissa the daddy doggie ...

What a pair ...

The beautiful (and inquisitive) one ...

Oh, no, not him again!

Another Brand New Knuckmeter ... okay, his whaleness went on a little binge this past week (oy vey) ... so we’re starting this party at 325 and dieting (great day yesterday--close to starvation). This is all in an attempt to show up for my first week of MFA classes in New Hampshire (end of June) somewhat short of the ‘tree (or four) bills.

While we’re at it, the old man is going to try 2 more weightlifting meets. One in the 308 class (between 275-308) and the one after in the 242’s. May 14 is Poppa Tommy (my Dad) and Dustin Stella's (my son)'s birthday ... how cool is that?

Next Meet: Bench on the Boards
Federation: IPA
Date: May 14 2011
End Date: May 14 2011
Type of Meet: BP
City: WIldwood
State/Province: NJ

The end of the holdout ... it looks as though at least 1 of the 14 State Democratic Senators from Wisconsin will be returning after all. They/he did what they could while the national party stood by and made believe none of this was happening. President Obama once again showed what he was made of (jelly) by not even daring to address his absolute rebuff of his 2007 campaign promise to organized labor. AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka, made giddy on Meet the Press a couple of weeks ago and stated: “He’s doing exactly what he needs to do.”

I don’t know about the rank and file of the AFL-CIO unions, but I’d want Trumka’s ass replaced post haste after he voiced his concern about Obama (doing what he needs to do) instead of a) sticking up for the rank and file of his own membership and b) not demanding Obama honor one of his oh-so-charistmatic speeches (where he even used his famous minister voice). While Obama danced to Motown hits celebrating Black History Month, black union workers in Wisconsin waited for him to honor his promise to stand in their corner.

Union workers across the board should rebuke any attempt by their leadership for a block democratic vote for Obama come 2012. How can you vote for someone who took your hard earned contributions and then turned his back on you?

Many of my Democratic friends (including those who can’t stand me for pointing out what a joke their party has become {over and over and over again}) have buried their heads (where they appear to be pretty damn comfortble) ... rather than hold their own responsible. They continue to point and make fun of the absolute irrelevant in the Republican Party; their President turns his back on the workers who donated $200 million to his campaign, on organized labor across the board, and Democrat loyalists a) make believe nothing happened and/or b) poke more fun at Sarah Palin and her ilk. They argue that Obama is still better for the working man than any Republican. Really? Can someone explain the difference to me between saying you want to do away with organized labor and watching it happen while doing nothing about it?

And yous wonder why I advocate for ANY third party (preferably socialist)?

Obama, still concerned with his legacy, has now added the beginning of the end of organized labor to his resume. And this morning word is we’re looking at another extension in Afghanistan. Gee, there’s a great idea. I understand how Obama’s escalation of war there brought home the Nobel Peace Prize once, but ... really? Another four-five years in Afghanistan? That’ll sure help reduce the deficit.

Well, it’s not like he didn’t tell us there would be change.

Salaries in Inv. Banking (w/ bonus)
1st Yr Analyst $90-150K $125K BA
3rd Yr Analyst $120-350K $165K BA
1st Yr Ass. $150-250K $180K MBA
3rd Yr Ass. $300-500K $350K MBA
VP $350K-1MM $700K 3-6 yrs
Dir-Principal $400K-1.5MM $900K 5-10 yrs
Mng Dir-Partner $500K-20 MM $1.5 MM 7-10 yrs
Dept head $800K-70MM $3.5MM 10+ yrs

Avg WI Teaching salary: $46,390

And teachers didn’t bankrupt the economy.

Guess which above jobs Obama supported/protected with all his might?

Leadership my ass ...