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).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Reviews … Movie Review … the Sleaze Column(s) … the Stoner Bowl … Happy Anniversary, Principessa!


Books …

The Bitch, by Les Edgerton … there’s a basic noir formula that goes something like this: introduce a dark character (sometimes with a touch of light in his soul), then put him in a vice and keep squeezing; put him in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing and then make the wrong people show up in the wrong place at the wrong time … and so on. How the formula is delivered is what makes it work or not.

Anthony Neil Smith mentioned chops in his forward to Les Edgerton’s The Bitch … I’ve also seen words like verisimilitude and gravitas attributed to Edgerton’s works … and it’s all true … not to mention the crafty hooks he leaves at the ends of chapters that demand you turn the page just that much faster (rather than put the book down and wait until you have some free time later in the day). Edgerton gets you to make time for this novel about a twice fallen con struggling to maintain a peaceful civilian life through hard work and commitment to family. And the vice he gets squeezed by is his past—2 bids in the joint where he made enemies and friends alike, so when a former cellmate he owes his life to shows up, you know it can’t be good. So does Jake know it can’t be good … Walker (Jake’s former cellmate) needs Jake’s help … reciprocity can be an MF’er in the criminal world … owing anybody never works out well … so when Jake is forced into performing one last criminal act (or is it the last one?) … things unroll so fast and furious, each turn of the page comes with great anticipation and fear. And talk about people showing up at the wrong place at the wrong time …

No spoilers here. Buy the book and fine out the rest. The author himself has paid the price of incarceration and come out shining. The Bitch is a true page turner well worth the price of admission.

Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf … Labor intensive for a reader like myself … often reminded me of the books by George V. Higgins (my favorite crime novelist) that drove me crazy (ones I didn’t like at all) … mostly because the stream of conscious, page long paragraphs (sometimes sentences) that flipped and flopped subject matter (and sometimes character transitions) often made me dizzy. Higgins occasionally had one of his characters speak for three pages running, constantly changing focus and losing all sense of coherency for me. Ms. Woolf seemed to do the same thing to me. I found myself rereading as much as reading, and although there are some gems in Mrs. Dalloway, it was just too much work. I did finish it after reading The Bitch, by Les Edgerton (see above), but I was left with the few passages I highlighted (and they were brilliant to me, but probably because I love dark more than I probably should) … I am glad I read it and I will probably give another Woolf novel a try, but this time I’ll know ahead of time what to expect (lots of rereading).

Favorite passage: For the truth is (let her ignore it) that human beings have neither kindness, nor faith, nor charity beyond what serves to increase the pleasure of the moment. They hunt in packs. Their packs scour the desert and vanish screaming into the wilderness. They desert the fallen. They are plastered over with grimaces.

Movies …

Blue Jasmine … hard to find a better performed movie than this one … the entire cast (yes, including Andrew Dice Clay and C.K. Lewis {who continues to impress}) … Cate Blanchett (Jasmine) is over the top wonderful, but so is Sally Hawkins (playing the role of her sister, Ginger) … Bobby Carnavale & Alec Bladwin were both great also … but the real genius behind it all, as usual, was/is Woody Allen … from the music to the script to the shooting itself. Just a GREAT MOVIE WITH EVEN GREATER PERFORMANCES! EXTREMELY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED …

And in the Sleaze Column(s) …

New Jersey and your money … recently the Jersey televisions airwaves have been flooded with ads for online gambling … what better way to keep the government corrupt and its people broke. Not for nothing, they still put bookmakers away for the same thing.

That’s right, amici, he was rewarded for costing his company $20 billion …

[To be taken with EXTREME sarcasm] So, there, parasites … proof positive that anyone in America can make it, and make it BIG. All you need to do is work hard (if you’re born into wealth, it’s a bit easier—even Mitt Romney admitted that in the Netflix documentary about his runs for President). Climbing the ladder of success might be tougher if you’re born into poverty (to include the middle class). Assuming you make it to the top someday, remember that outsourcing labor to keep expenses/costs low and laying off all those you retained but deem unnecessary (just make those left work harder for the same pay) will earn your investors even more money (and they’ll contribute those savings to your $20,000,000.00 salary (one can only wonder about the end of year bonus). As for the guys and gals from the mailroom you laid off to maintain an ever increasing profit for those investors, well, they’ll have to find work elsewhere—maybe McDonalds or Poppa Johns or Walmart. This is what it’s all about: taking from the poor and giving it to the rich, because remember, like most libertarians will say (with pride), our poor have it so much better than the poor in, say, the Congo. So maybe they (our poor—to include a daily increasing percentage of what was once the middle class) need to quit their whining and get rich, the damn parasites … or, as Charles Dickens put it (via Ebenezer Scrooge): “If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

In the mob, what Jamie Dimon received in salary, is called paying tribute … and isn’t it amazing how RICO statues were used to bring down the Catholic Church protecting pedophiles and mobsters cheating the system, but when it comes to Wall Street our illustrious Government (of the people, by the people, for the people … really?) somehow forgets this guy/law called RICO? Instead of prosecuted (much less investigated), Wall Street tycoons like Jamie Dimon are rewarded for their failures. Unless, of course, one considers the coup they pulled on the country with their “too big to fail” bailout, sound fiscal policy and “making it.”

[Like Daddy used to say—also to be taken with EXTREME sarcasm] “It’s a good country, America.” I never wondered why my old man sold swag, ran booze and bootlegged posters. I wondered why he gave it up to go straight (and then broke).

My son Dustin on the State of the Union … I can summarize the state of the union in 1 sentence: The top 1% are thriving like no other time in our history and it's frickin' freezing outside, Mr. Bigglesworth. Just saved you all some valuable time tonight. You're welcome.

That’s Dustin up above (on the right) with his woman, Madalynn Gerold (left), and James Guiliani in the center at The Diamond Collar. I love Dustin's summary (from his Facebook Page).

The Super Stoner Bowl … frankly, amici, since I’ve turned to hockey for sports enthusiasm (and since my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills aren’t involved yet again, and the Choketriots are gone), the best thing about this Sunday’s super bowl is that it will be played by teams representing two states with sense enough to decriminalize marijuana (something the NFL needs to head towards pronto—see the HBO Real Sports segment on marijuana in the NFL—very enlightening).

While we’re at it (on the subject of drugs), here’s an unfortunate titdbit that directly relates to this weeke’s big game: The mother of the Denver Broncos’ wide receiver has done 14 years in federal prison on a drug conviction. It’s high time she went free.

So here’s to Denver and Washington, two states that party hardy, no matter who wins. And as Momma Stella would say: “Good for them.”

But, let’s face it, all a’yous want our TK Super Bowl prediction (so’s yous can run to the bank, withdraw all your money, and head to your local sports book). Okay, okay, here’s how we see it: Unless the Sea Pigeons turn the ball over again and again, we don’t see how the Broncettes survive the speed and physicality of the Sea Pigeon defense. While the score may well be close at the end of the game, we think the Sea Pigeons will dominate and ultimately win by anywhere from 6-12 points. But yous want the final score, I know, I know. Seattle Sea Pigeons 27, Denver Broncettes 19 in a far more one-sided game than the score will indicate.

How sure am I on this one? Well, I wouldn’t bet on it …


New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will be performing these two at the NJPAC for $20.00 a ticket (any ticket) … we bought 4 and will be there. How do you pass up on something like this? You don’t.  Beethoven's 6th (Pastoral) ...

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, with Olga Kern ...

And Happy Anniversary, Principessa Dolcezza!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Diamond Collar … Movie Reviews … Sports (with Knucklespeare) … Boycott Sochi … The Big Bully Rock Band …Momma Stella and the Ranger game …


Buddy Goes Home …

The Diamond Collar … so, after the incredible premier last week, everybody is talking about what great shows they were (episodes 1 and 2) … all I know is that when Buddy was returned to his Mom at the end of episode 2, Casa Stella was full of tears. Check out Banged out Frank … and Fat George … and the rest of the supporting cast (dogs, cats, ducks, pigs, forgetaboutit) … it’s the best new show on television … and it’s all about the animals. The Diamond Collar … James, Lena, Dr. Pernice and DC’s #1 Groomer, Irene!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Movie Reviews …

The Hunt … In a word, GREAT. The set-up to this movie couldn’t have been better. A teacher is accused of sexually abusing a young girl (who happens to be the daughter of his best friend). A feeble accusation quickly becomes a social assumption of guilt, turned prosecution, turned conviction, except the teacher isn’t guilty, not at all. If you think innocent men accused of rape are screwed six ways to Sunday, innocent men accused of pedophilia can probably include Sunday. This was wonderfully scripted, directed and acted. A truly GREAT movie. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

American Hustle … Maybe because it was so overhyped I expected the moon, but American Hustle, for all the wonderful performances (topped and show-stolen by Jennifer Lawrence first, Christian Bale second), it fell far short of what I was expecting. Amy Adams was also very good, as was Jeremy Renner, but Bradley Cooper seemed to be doing an impersonation of his bi-polar role in Silver Linings Playbook. Hats off to Louis C.K. (a comedian I’ve had a horrible time trying to find the least bit funny, but he was terrific in his role as an FBI supervisor) … it was an okay movie, but not worth the price of two admissions … maybe one, during non-peak hours … or just wait for it to come on Netflix or HBO or whatever.

And now for sports (featuring Knucklespeare) …

The Rangers … are on a roll of late (at least as of 1/19/14) … Lundqvist seems about back to his old stingy self and we’re scoring goals (Nash, Zuccarello, Richards, Kreider and Stepan has picked up his game). Chris Kreider continues to score and make great passes and find himself in the penalty box at the most crucial points in the game (i.e., Tuesday night against the Islanders, Kreider was the 6th man on the ice and given a two minute penalty during which the Islanders scored the go-ahead goal). Truth be told, the Rangers were outplayed start to finish Tuesday night so maybe they just deserved to lose, but playing a man short at the most critical point in the game isn’t going to help a playoff run). We’ll know a lot more by the end of the month … are we in for another bad spell or will we rebound like Champs always do? Last night it was the St. Louis Blues … reminds me of the ONLY Rangers game I ever attended … I was 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 and Father Scavo (great guy) took the altar boys (yep, I was an altar boy --- oy vey) … I don’t remember who won but I do remember it was at the OLD Madison Square Garden. Go Rangers!
As it turns out, we lost to the Blues … again.

Tortorella … and wasn’t it nice to see this moron get suspended for 15 days without pay? Admit it, you loved it. We sure did.

—a poem, by Knucklespeare
Alain Vigneault,
he’s our man;
looks like John Gotti,
and we’re winning again.

Well, sometimes …

Belicheat-Welker … Bill Belicheat almost comes close every once in a while to being the nice guy who gets his ass get kissed 20x’s an ESPN show (in an attempt to make him almost human) … yes, he’s a great coach, one of the best of all time, but he’s also a bit on the vindictive side and his horseshit attack on Wes Welker last week was pretty pathetic. When one considers how often his receivers set picks (it is part of their very potent arsenal, including and especially when Wes Walker played for Belicheat), it is comical that Belicheat took issue with what happened in the AFC Championship game last week. Well, first off, he lost, so there were those sour grapes he had to swallow … but to assume Welker was trying to injure Talib was a pretty farfetched accusation. The “worst play he’s (Belicheat) ever seen” … really?

Stay classy, Belicheat.

Boycott Sochi … from Marina Kadochkina, my cousin’s partner has friends and family in Russia. Last week she wrote on her Facebook page: I implore my friends to ignore and boycott the Sochi Olympics. Not only because it is a deeply corrupt enterprise per se, but holding it under Putin's reign brings the evil to an unprecedented low. You have to know and spread the word about what is happening in Sochi right now. The government promised a gift of a luxury apartment in the city to an individual who brings in the highest number of dead street animals, who run aplenty in Sochi. Yes, heads of poor cats and dogs, stray or owned, they all go out there. People are roaming the streets with rifles, metal bars, poison, rocks, trying to win their apartment. Rivers of blood are running. Other people are trying to evacuate and hide the animals. Was it what the ancient Greeks saw as the games of human good will and health? Please tune your TVs off these bloody games this year.

TK again here: Anyone who saw the expose on the corruption involved in the Sochi Olympics, how Putin’s best friends were benefitting from the construction (i.e., Dick Cheney/Halliburton), how a wall was constructed to cover the poverty in the surrounding areas, etc., see Real Sports (HBO) … so, take your pick. Whether it be human rights violations (including the draconian anti-gay policies), and/or cruelty to animals, it’s no joke. Ignore Sochi and watch The Diamond Collar instead!

Another look at the Sochi fiasco/corruption:

The Big Bully Rock Band in action … New Jersey’s best rock band, amici … check out their shows here …

Momma Stella and the Ranger Game …

[She’s out cold when I get there, so I change the channel from Jeopardy to the Ranger game, put her coffee and jelly donut on her tray and wake her up by saying:]

Me: Oh, it looks like rain!

MS: (slowly wakes up) Charlie?

Me: Name that show and win a cookie.

MS: The hell are you talkin’ about?

Me: The Honeymooners. No cookie for you, one year.

MS: You stupid ass. (Sees the channel has been changed) What the hell are you watching?

Me: The Rangers, Momma. We need a win.

MS: Your sister’s ass you need.

Me: Watch the game. Chris Kreider looks like your grandson, Dustin.

MS: Yeah, right. I can’t see the puck. Turn that shit off. Put on Jeopardy.

Me: No way. Game just started.

MS: Moron, pass me the donut.

Me: (I hand her the jelly donut) Your wish is my command.

MS: (takes a bite) It’s like a rock.

Me: What is a Chevy for two thousand, Alex.

MS: What?

Me: You were watching Jeopardy before. Well, you were sleeping through it.

MS: (notices I have a shirt and no jacket) Like that you came out?

Me: It’s a twenty yard walk from the car to the lobby, Ma. Relax.

MS: You’re gonna get pneumonia, you dumb ass.

Me: Wait, listen. (farts)

MS: You’re a sick man, you know that?

Me: Wait, one more (farts again).

MS: One day you’re gonna—

Me: Shit my pants and it’s gonna be all over the floor as I run out, I know.

MS: That’s right. There any Sweet-N-Low in the coffee?

Me: It’s a drive-through, Ma. For all I know they took a dump in that cup.

MS: You stupid bastid, go home.

Me: I just got here. It’s the first period.

MS: I’m not watching this shit for four quarters. Turn it off.

Me: How’s this: we compromise and watch it for three quarters. Okay?

MS: Wait, listen (Momma farts and laughs like a child). There, how you like that?

Me: (hands up in total surrender) Okay, you win. I’ll turn it off.

MS: Wait, here’s another one …

I love my Mommy!


What’s one more dog?

James and Lena’s love story …

Friday, January 17, 2014

Tonight’s the Night! The Diamond Collar Premiers on the Oprah Network!


Not only are my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills undefeated in 2014, but tonight is the premier of The Diamond Collar! Listen to me: this is one beautiful thing. Meet James, Lena, Dr. Pernice and a cast of dogs, cats, ducks, pigs, you name it … all of James’ rescues—what he’s been doing since leaving a street life behind.

James is a good friend of mine … and a force of nature who will do whatever it takes to rescue animals. Once an enforcer for the mob, addicted to both drugs and alcohol, James life turned around after meeting the love of his life, Madelena Perrelli, and in turn meeting a small abused and abandoned Shih Tzu he named Bruno.

This was how James and Lena found Bruno, abandoned and abused (his jaw was broken) and tied to a parking meter on 13th Avenue in Brooklyn.

This is how he looked after James and Lena rescued him.

Two months later, Bruno died from the bevy of cancerous tumors in his tiny body, and although James was severely traumatized, he would bounce back and dedicate the rest of his life to rescuing and caring for animals.

Listen to me (again): This is a beautiful story and the show will be dynamite. Watch a former street guy dance around a dog boutique and do what it takes to make it work. Watch as Lena holds down the fort at home. Watch as groomers give James agitaMadonna mia, it’s one beautiful thing.

Meet Dr. Salvatore Pernice, a man who donates his skills and time to helping James’ rescues. Dr. Pernice saved our dog, Rigoletto, a few years back when we still lived in Brooklyn.

Dr. Salvatore Pernice ...

And our dog he saved, Rigoletto ...  

And meet Primo!!!!!! A 150 pound Cane Corso (a.k.a., Sicilian Mastiff) who will roll on his back for a belly rub like he’s the genie you rub to make a wish.

Primo on set above/looking for a belly rub below …


Listen to me (one more time): Don’t miss it. Tonight at 10:00 p.m. on the Oprah Network (OWN) … back-to-back episodes of The Diamond Collar … the only thing better than a knockaround guy writing books is a knockaround guy dedicating his life to animals.

Redemption is a beautiful thing.


The Diamond Collar … tonight!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Queen Latifah & The Diamond Collar …


Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, on CBS … THE QUEEN LATIFAH SHOW … James Guiliani appears with the Queen to promote The Diamond Collar …

Hopefully, most of yous already know about The Diamond Collar Premier this Friday night at 10:00 p.m. on the OWN (Oprah) Network. What yous don’t know is this: They will be running back-to-back episodes, starting with “Meet the Family” and then “Grooming 101” immediately afterward. Listen to me: yous gotta watch this show.

This is gonna be a dynamite show. James “Head” Giuliani is a former mob enforcer, drug addict and alcoholic whose life was completely transformed by first, Lena Perrelli (his partner/love—the rock of his life), and later by an abused and abandoned Shih Tzu he named Bruno. Lena and James first spotted the dog tied to a parking meter in front of a Brooklyn Veterinarian’s office on 13th Avenue in Brooklyn. The vet refused to help the dog without upfront payment. James and Lena took care of the bill and then took the dog home. What happened afterward is the miracle of redemption.

The Diamond Collar is funny (sometimes hilarious), poignant and sobering when one takes into account just how much animals depend on people. Just like infants, they require help, which is why James and Lena consider all their pets and rescues their babies. And who better to help with James’ rescues than the best veterinarian in the world, Dr. Salvatore Pernice (he saved our Rigoletto several years ago when we still lived in Brooklyn).

James featured in the Daily News above ... James and Primo below ...

James will also be appearing on a few more shows … CBS THE COUCH, GOOD DAY NEW YORK, THE BETTER SHOW HUFFINGTON POST LIVE, and YAHOO'S DAILY SHOT WITH ALI WENTWORTH … and there will be many more in the upcoming weeks.

In a nutshell ...


So, meet the cast …

James and his crew …

Lena …

Dr. Salvatore Pernice (the handsome fella front left) …

Evil Eva …

Primo!!!!! (taking a nap) ...

Primo looking for a belly rub ...


James and Primo getting their morning espressos ... (the first of a dozen for James) ...

Okay, amici … check out the preview … and don’t forget, this is the debut of the best thing to happen for animals in a long time – James, Lena and Dr. Pernice … people who spend their lives rescuing, caring for, aiding and saving animals.
The Preview ...

The new trailer ...


Friday, January 10, 2014

SNHU MFA Graduate, Cindy Littlefield … The Diamond Collar … The Playoffs … Asshole of the Week …


My friend Cindy is so way cool, amici, I’m doing my own intro right here. We met at the dorms back when Cindy first started (my 2nd semester in the SNHU MFA program). It was up at the beautiful Mountain Grand View Hotel in the White Mountains of New Hampshire … we chatted a few times at breakfast … became friendly … and I’m pretty sure it took her two more semesters before she bothered to tell me just how prolific (and published) she was. She has a list of books she’s penned that have been published (click on link) …

Cindy and I hung out as much as our schedules allowed … she’s a dynamite person with a GREAT father (I got to meet him during one of the residencies) … and her work in the program is about as good as it gets. So, without further ado, amici, here’s Cindy Littlefield, author and recent SNHU MFA graduate.

Cindy Littlefield is a freelance writer and editor who has authored seven children’s activities books, including Awesome Ocean Science!, which won a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award. A former parenting magazine editor, she currently develops online content for the Disney Internet Group. But when it comes to writing, her true passion is fiction. Her short stories have been published in online journals, and she was a past finalist in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. Her thesis, To The Wind, is about a young desk clerk working at a hotel off the coast of New England. Feeling betrayed by her father when she discovers the truth surrounding her mother’s death, she agrees to sail south with a charismatic but troubled islander who eventually abandons her at sea.

From her mentor, Wiley Cash (author of NY Times Bestseller, A Land More Kind Than Home) …
If you know Cindy Littlefield you won´t be surprised that such an honest, brilliant woman has written such an honest, brilliant book. "To the Wind" is the story of a young woman named Liza who exiles herself to an island off the coast of New England to spend a summer with a group of total misfits. Sound familiar? But during the summer and over the course of telling her story, Liza finds her voice. I would argue that Cindy Littlefield has found her voice too.

From 2nd Staff Reader, Mark Sundeen (author of critically acclaimed, The Man Who Quit Money)…
I had the pleasure of being the second reader: poignant aching depiction of love and longing and a certain innocence that fear and dread elation when you know you want the wrong person, but you can’t stop it. The book is as lonely and beautiful as the sea.

Congratulations Cindy! You rock!

And here’s a sneak peek at The Diamond Collar …

The Diamond Collar … oh, baby, just one more week to the premier of the new reality show on the Oprah Network (OWN) … a good friend of mine, James “Head” Guiliani, is featured in this story about redemption old school style … James went through some bad times, including drug and alcohol addictions … and he was once a street enforcer for the Gambino crime family … and he did 2 years inside … but first a woman (Lena) and then a dog (Bruno) turned his life around forever … James now runs one of the preeminent animal rescue shelters in New York (Keno's Animal Rescue) and he’s being featured alongside the best veterinarian in the world, Salvatore Pernice (he saved our Rigoletto a few years back when we still lived in Brooklyn) … it’s gonna be a beautiful thing, amici … check it out next Friday, January 17, 2014 … at 10:00 p.m. on the OWN network.

Seriously, dudes and dudettes, which would you rather have protecting your pets … some electronic fence or a former mob enforcer? The Diamond Collar … redemption is a beautiful thing.

The Playoffs … wow, did this come on fast or what? I was kind of shocked to see how badly the Kansas City Chiefs gave that 38-10 cushion away to the Indianapolis Colts, but having seen Luck perform at the level he did in the second half, one can only hope he has it again this weekend up in Foxboro where he’ll not only have to deal with the weather conditions, he’ll have to contend with refs who give at least 1 pass interference call a “drive” to Tom Brady/Robert Kraft (and their never ending circus of jumping-up-after-an-incomplete-pass-waiving-for-a-flag-receivers. We wish Mr. Luck all the Luck in the world.

I wasn’t surprised at Cincinnati losing, but I was pissed off (as their fans should be). You know what they can do with the Red Rifle, right? As for Philip Rivers, between him and Jay Cutler, I’m not sure there are two more overrated QB’s in the league (maybe Dalton before his disastrous performance last week). Rivers was given credit for playing a great game last week. What he did was not throw interceptions, which for him is more than great, but the reality is they ran the ball well enough for him to keep his hands in his pockets (or on his hips). To be fair, he made the plays he had to make and his team won. Something tells me that win had a lot more to do with San Diego’s offensive and Defensive lines, and their running backs, than it did their QB.

That said, I hope he has a great game against the Broncettes, but falls short because I still think Denver will have a better shot at beating the Cheatriots at home than San Diego would on the road (should the Choketriots not choke against the Colts).

In the NFC, I still want San Francisco (shout out to my goombah on the west coast, David Corbett), but I don’t mind seeing any of the four advance … that said, I’d like to see Blackie Noir’s Panthers win one more … but none of these teams should win unless they can knock off the AFC team in the end, especially if it should be the Choketriots.

Oh, yous want my picks again, do yous?

Take the Sea Pigeons -8 in their 32-20 thrashing of the Aints.

Take the Colts and the 7.5 in their near miss against the Cheatriots (NE 35/Indy 31)

San Fran ends the Panthers great season, 24-17 (so lay the -1).

You’re gonna give away 9.5 to a team that already beat you? Good luck with that one. We like the Chargers getting 9.5 in a 7 point Denver win 31-24.

Asshole of the Week … look, we all get passionate about politics, religion, and whether the New England Patriots (a.k.a., Cheatriots, Choketriots) really ever won a super bowl (since all their rings came before they were caught cheating and they haven’t won anything since they were caught cheating) … but sometimes people get overzealous (myself included) and lash out. Whether it’s from frustration, having a bad day in general, or just being in a shitty mood, we say things/type things we probably wish we hadn’t. Normally, we apologize and move on with our lives, or at least try to do so … and sometimes some people are so friggin’ thick (and dumb), either they can’t realize how thick (and dumb) they are, and/or they don’t want to realize it. These are people who purposely opt for being offensive jerkoffs and the bullies on a keyboard they couldn’t be in real life (usually going for offensive at their keyboard in the safety of their basements).

Seriously, the asshole of this week is dumb-as-rocks-stupid and a pure hater.

Forgetting which side of the political aisle he waves his flag, because it really isn’t important, after calling a few women (and a few men) “douche bags” for not agreeing with him politically on his Facebook page, and for being a typical telephone/keyboard tough guy with balls no doubt the size of peas, this clown (and I mean clown), wins the asshole of the week (which starts the new year, so maybe this’ll be a recurring section in TK(?))

Well, we hope not to have to do this again, but if the asshole can somehow read this, aside from having his head up his ass regarding history, facts and general politeness, let me just say that he’s our grand prize winner today!

And this song is for him … Were you born an asshole or did you work it all your life?


Right on … left on … whatever on …

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Orphan Master’s Son … Prisoners … Dieting, bad knees and snow removal … SNHU MFA …


The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson … it takes some time to get there, maybe too much, but I did enjoy the novel and read it fairly religiously (at least once a day). I preferred Part I, as told by the protagonist, Jun Do (John Doe?), over Part II, as told by a Party Narrator. The intermingling of storylines became a bit unnerving at times, especially when I couldn’t give the book the full attention I normally make for a read, but it came together well enough.

Jun Do was a fine character, either as himself or Commander Ga, but at book’s end, I found myself at least as interested in Commander Buc and Brando (a dog). I was never really interested in the party narrator or his Arc. Sun Moon (and her two kids), for whatever reason, probably because of the two Commander Ga(s), were sympathetic enough, but they just didn’t hold my attention the way the Party Narrator’s parents did (for that matter).

It was interesting to learn some more about the situation in North Korean, although a 60 Minutes expose (I think it was 60 Minutes) was more than enough for me. What was left to the imagination was equally frightening. I don’t think there’s anyone who doubts that Kim Jung Il (the dear leader) was a whack job. And his offspring, Kim Jung Un (the fat-faced little psycho), appears to be no less whacky than his dear old dad. The lifelong prison camps are atrocities enough … so by the end of this long novel, the dear leader’s appearances became boring for this reader. Basically, I knew what to expect.

Overall, I wasn’t as satisfied as when I first started reading this novel. The very ending was brilliant, but probably could’ve come 50-80 pages sooner. Part II, I guess, got on my nerves.

I chose this book because I was curious about all the literary praise the novel received (it’s a Pulitzer Prize winner). It was a good read, maybe a bit longer than necessary, but you should be willing to spend some time with it.

The author interview at the end restored some of the intrigue. Mr. Adams spent some time in North Korea (he’s a lot braver than I’ll ever be) … and although he wasn’t allowed total access (as much as Dennis Rodman?), he was able to observe some of everyday life there. Revisionist communism propaganda was well balanced with capitalist propaganda; the potshots taken at both sides was reasonable.

I can recommend the read to those willing to spend some time on this lengthy novel. I enjoyed it, but by book’s end, I was looking forward to picking the next on my TBR list (never a great thing), a controversial book about (and titled), Treblinka, by Jean-Francois Steiner … orrrrrrrrrrrrr, I am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak (author of The Book Thief, which I loved).

Prisoners ... A painful movie to sit through, although it was very intriguing. Two young girls are abducted on Thanksgiving … the parents suffer … one father goes to extremes when a suspect is caught and released … the other father is more cerebral, but gives in to his fear of losing his child forever … it ends up an absurd situation, but getting there is truly terrifying … everybody is right/everybody is wrong … and the ending is a kick in the stomach … the entire cast (Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano and Maria Bello) were terrific, making the movie worth the $5.99 we paid on pay per view …

The Master ... and then we made the mistake of ordering The Master and had to restrain ourselves from blowing our brains out. Great acting throughout The Master, but to what end I defy anyone to explain. “WTF?” is all the Principessa Ann Marie and myself kept asking one another … WTF is the point of this movie? It was like one very long acting class for actors who well know what they’re doing. Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman were brilliant … and WTF this was about remains an F’n mystery. Do yourselves a favor and read a book instead.

The snowstorm … well, I’ve learned a few things about dieting, bad knees and snow … for one thing, they don’t all go together … I went out to shovel twice this fine day … the first time (5:00 a.m.), I nearly yanked my back into oblivioun but was saved by Ben Gay and sitting up straight for a solid hour … then I tried it again around 8:00 a.m. and twisted my bad knee like a pretzel … that hurt like an MF’er, (and I MF'd lots immediately after) … I’d already scheduled a visit to the orthopedic doctor for Monday (all by myself) from my fall 7-8 weeks ago, I guess it is now, (that was the morning Dana King’s, Grind Joint, was launched in Oakmont, PA) … that day I fell off the last two stairs on our porch from hell and landed on my right knee … both knees have already been diagnosed arthritic … the right one hasn’t stopped hurting since the fall … climbing steps feels like performing one-legged squats. Enter Percocet …

The moral to this story is screw Colorado and its recreational marijuana use … how about some recreational Percocet for fat old men with curmuodgeonitis?
On the other hand ... I love this weather!

SNHU MFA … some of my fellow schoolmates in the MFA program at SNHU are graduating this week. How cool is that? Unfortunately, the weather precludes a drive up to the White Mountains and the Mountain Grand View Hotel (it’s a gorgeous place with GREAT food and atmosphere) … and, hey, Rick Ollerman lives nearby … but the weather is uncompromising and I’m wounded … in fact, the weather is delaying some of the students’ traveling plans as well … but they’re in for a great time up there when they get there. I really do miss the program and the camaraderie … and the classes and the personalities … it’s a great program and the residencies are truly wonderful. I hope to feature some (or all) of the graduates in upcoming posts here at TK … in the meantime, here’s a flash from the recent past … my graduation speech last June.

Congratulations Graduates! Yous rock!


From Tommy Isler … the original Bring it on Home (the one Led Zeppelin remade without giving credit to the originator).

A good live version by the rip-off artists, Led Zeppelin …

For yous MFA Graduates …