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, March 13, 2014

The Dancer Upstairs … The Game … Barry Bonds … CPAC … Leslie Jamison ... False Detective ... Hockey Callaha-Man … Frack me in the morning (then just walk away) …


The Dancer Upstairs ... It was John Malkovich’s directing debut and he had a winner in the starring role (Javier Bardem) … a film based on a novel based on a charismatic terrorist leader in Peru, this was an interesting movie (not a great one) … it’s an unnamed third world country in Latin America where the state comes under fire for its corruptive nature by terrorists seeking change (coming here someday, too, don’t kid yourselves).  Bardem is a lawyer turned detective with an overly vain wife and a smart kid. The kid takes lessons from a ballet instructor, who quickly becomes Bardem’s love interest. You’ll have to watch the rest, and it may not be easy.  I’m an animal lover and this film didn't spare me (or my kind) … which is one reason I was drawn to it … what’s behind that? I wanted to know … like I said, an interesting film.
The Game, by Ken Dryden … recommended by Canadian author, John McFetridge (check out hiswonderful books here:). John observed my morphing from football to hockey fanatic and messaged me about Dryden’s book. It’s a fine read somewhat reminiscent of Jerry Kramer’s (with Dick Schaap’s) Instant Replay, except this is about Dryden, his life, his hockey life, his pursuit of his law degree and reflections on the many players he played with during the Montreal Canadians 1970 glory years (1971, 1973, 1976-1979) Dryden was their hall of fame goalie. He retired after the last Cup in 1979, a short career that spanned just 8 years (in the NHL). He’s a lawyer who has participated in addressing concussions in the NHL and has written 8 books, most of them about hockey and his hockey life, but The Game is considered one of the best sports book ever penned. I still prefer Instant Replay, but that’s because I’m a Lombardi fanatic.

The most interesting aspect of Dryden’s book, especially for this reader, was his insistence on mentioning what an important role the no-names played in their championships, players much like my favorite today, Ryan Callahan, who did all the grunt work, attended to the details, and set an example the rest of the team couldn’t ignore.
This comes at a particularly interesting time (for me), since the other day Alain Vigneault (the guy I believe forced the Callahan-St. Louis trade between the Rangers and the Lightning) complained about the “lack of work ethic” in his team’s performance last night in their loss to the Hurricanes, 3-1. Choke on it, Alain and Glen Sather. Lack of work ethic? After trading the work horse he had in Callahan? Is he kidding?

Barry Bonds … what’s to say? My opinion is simple: either let them take the juice or don’t. Baseball allowed it (in fact turned a very blind eye to it) and has since tried to become crusaders against Performance Enhancing Drugs, but once the rules were in place, if you broke them, you’re out. So I really enjoyed Keith Olbermann’s rant on Bonds (and of course I don’t think any of these chumps should even be considered for the hall of fame).


My favorite mention was that of San Francisco’s fugazy interview with Bonds … essentially IVESTIA San Francisco style.  Favorite Lines: “Your numbers are as dishonest as the North Korean presidential election results. … Atone … or get lost.”


CPAC … some funny quips taken from this year’s CPAC … Jon Stewart kept me laughing most of one morning when I tuned into The Daily Show on the Internet … just hilarious.  Some of the gems from that show:

After Paul Ryan’s anecdote about a kid who refused his school lunch because it meant he’d have no soul. What schools were offering kids with school lunches was “a full stomach and empty soul.”

Really? "As Jesus once said, 'If you give a man a fish, don't'. Period, end of Bible."

And then Stewart went on to describe the story Ryan plagiarized … which was absolutely beautiful (as it turned out, the kid who Ryan was speaking of (from where he plagiarized the story), wrote a book advocating school lunches.
And then there was the wonderful marriage of The Power of Love and Guns.

But the best was Ted Cruz drawing an analogy between the genocide of Native Americans with Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act … does that mean he’s in favor of giving back their land?


Leslie Jamison … wrote a great article about writing --- how hard is it to write about happiness? One of the authors of this double take is Leslie Jamison, my second reader for my MFA thesis last year. Leslie is an amazing writer … her debut book, The Gin Closet, reviewed here, (Stella on Stella she called it) was a wonderful read:


True (False)  Detective … major fail … especially the ending … as the brilliant author of Pike (recently optioned for film, and which also has been short-listed for France’s Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, Prix des Balais d’or 2013, and Le Festival International du Film Policier de Beaune.), a mouthful, yeah, but a GREAT book. Anyway, as Ben put it:

 The wife said this about that Maya Angelou moment: “What the fuck?”

I liken Rust Cohle’s sudden transformation to the last two episodes of Breaking Bad … forgetaboutit (i.e., bullshit).

Speaking of Ben Whitmer, here’s one yo’ll better get ready for: His next novel, Cry Father, has a release date.  This one is another big time winner, amici.  BIG TIME.  Coming September 16, 2014 from Gallery Books in the US and Éditions Gallmeister in France.



 Now, as bad as the oil companies are in this, those that are engaging in illegally dumping the radioactive waste, the State and Federal Government are no less guilty. Why aren’t the laws being enforced?  Why aren’t the guilty parties being shut down or fined or told to quit it (at least)? President Obama is a proponent of fracking.  Where’s he on this?


Why of course we can trust the oil companies doing the fracking.  Who needs government regulation? Nobody pays attention to it anyway. Why? Because those in charge (just like the regulators overseeing the BP spill in the Gulf) are playing with themselves (or the thousands of hours of porn some were discovered to be overseeing).  Neither the oil companies or the government seems concerned about illegally dumping radioactive wastes, so why bother with legislation?  And when North Dakota is thoroughly radioactive and its waters poisoned (and its kids glowing in the dark), well, the oil companies will just have to move along and find another sucker state it can buy off on the cheap. In the meantime, North Dakotas has the lowest unemployment rate in the country.  See, capitalism works just fine!


From the Machine Shop Sessions Charlie Musslewhite …


The Rides … Neil Young’s Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World (the most misunderstood song in America)