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, May 30, 2015

La vita è bella …

The trade is no longer an issue, not for fans of either team. Although I’m only a fan of the game a few years now, and had started as a Rangers fan, I can’t even remember rooting for them anymore. No knock on the players, although I’ve come to hate a few of them since the infamous captain-for-captain trade, bottom line: I’ll never respect the organization ... EVER again. Now, this could have to do with my more liberal worldview, a worldview that puts workers first and corporate interests last, but what it really has to do with is the idea of trading someone so near and dear to what the organization has defined itself by (a work ethic and self-sacrifice) ... I'll just never understand betraying that level of dedication (what Ryan Callahan gave to New York).
The Rangers organization made the trade, probably based on Alain Vigneault’s belief in a speed game, or maybe he saw the opportunity to grab a future hall of famer, Marty St. Louis. Whatever they thought, they let their "heart and soul" player leave over an alleged salary dispute. No matter here, not to me. Glen Sather fell for a line of shit that came back to bite him and his organization in the ass this past week.

It almost worked. Almost, that is, if one is willing to ignore the fact that both Ben Bishop and Carey Price, both premier goalies in the league last season, were injured during last year’s playoffs, allowing the Rangers to escape the best the team’s they’d face offered; Bishop’s missing the playoffs affected the Bolts series vs. Montreal, and then Price’s injury affected the Canadians series with the Rangers. And if you want to quote statistics, you don't want to look at Bishop's head to head matchups with either Price or Lundqvist (last season or this season).

Then again, injuries are part of the game. The Rangers missing Mats Zuccarello, at least to me, was a killer in their series vs. the Bolts. To my mind, Zuccarello has been the Rangers’ Callahan replacement, as much as is possible, and his absence only reinforces what former coach of both teams, John Tortorella, said about “heart and soul” players like Callahan and Zuccarello: “You don’t win championships without guys like Ryan Callahan.”

The same article goes on to describe the new coach (Alain Vigneault)’s change in philosophy, and how it would require a less defensive oriented mindset. I'll bet he wishes he had Tampa Bay's speed now.

Probably it's defense too.

Interesting how it all worked out. The Rangers made it to the Finals last year, but went down in 5 games to the L.A. Kings, a team that featured their own version of a heart and soul player (also a captain), Dustin Brown, suggesting that such players, especially captains, matter.

Today I’ve been listening to ESPN’s New York Sports Radio and to hear some (certainly not all) of the comments by Ranger fans … well, just dumb.

Trade Henrik Lundqvist? Seriously? Complaints about him letting in “two soft goals” are mind numbing. Last night’s game could easily have been 5-0 or 6-0. To my mind, the King was brilliant in goal last night. Equally brilliant, however frustrating it was to Ranger fans, was the defensive game the Lightning played all night. We completely stalled the Ranger attack. And Henrik was extra classy in the post-game interview giving credit to the victors and acknowledging the pain of finally losing a game 7. He also had to field some of the dumbest questions in the world (“How do you feel about losing to Tampa Bay at home again?”) … I can only admire his restraint. At the least, I would’ve suggested the person asking that question shove the microphone somewhere really, really dark … and smelly.

And in case Ranger fans didn’t notice, the 3 ex-Rangers (Callahan, Stralman and Boyle) were at the core of the victory, with one standing out. Between periods, both Mike Milbury and Keith Jones suggested moving Callahan back on the same line as Stamkos and Killorn because of the “obvious jump in his game” … “he’s playing his best game tonight” … “Callahan is doing everything right” … by game’s end, Milbury put it this way: “Ryan Callahan was the best player on the ice tonight. He willed his team to victory.”
Callahan’s final stats: 7 shots, 2 hits, 1 blocked shot.

But there aren’t stats for pinning the puck against the boards to ride out a Ranger surge, and/or power play. There aren’t stats for winning a match against the boards and passing the puck to a teammate to get it out of the defensive zone. There isn't a stat for taking a shot that requires the goalie to hold onto the puck and force an offensive zone faceoff. And not to take any credit away from the valiant effort made by Ryan McDonough last night (playing with a broken foot), but there’s no statistic for the “heart and soul” mentality and effort of a worker bee the Rangers very sorely missed last night. Cally inspires, end of story.  Cally had appendectomy surgery less than two weeks ago.

This crazy game of hockey has now cost me about a deuce on the insurance lifespan chart. I was smoking my dopey pipe so hard and fast during this past series, again today my mouth is completely scorched--to the point I can’t even think about lighting up. Like every obsessive compulsive fan, I have my own superstitions most people (Doc for one) might find slightly on the “out to lunch” chart.
For instance: my starting matchbook lay closest to my right leg, which I have to drape over the corner of our end table, on which are 3 reserve matchbooks (in the shape of a lightning bolt) … there’s both the selection and placement of the paper towels, the tobacco container placement (label to the back), and the ashtray (which is actually a flat dish) and the ashtray (which is a finger bowl) … the Chivas bottles remain on the table during the pre-pregame, but are removed once the pregame begins. The chivas glass (which says Chivas on it) is on a 3 layer paper napkin (the Bounty Picker-upper?) and can never go dry. The backup water bottle must never touch the Chivas glass, nor can any of the paper towels touch each other (or the matchbooks). The pipe must remain lit during play, can only be refilled during a faceoff, and can never leave my hand, (except when it’s in my big mouth) no matter how hot it gets (and it gets really hot). When the opposing team brings the puck across the redline heading for our zone, I have to say, “Let’s go Bolts, Let’s go Bolts, Let’s go Bolts” and then “Get it out of there, guys. Don’t let them breathe. No shots. No shots.”

And when we score … well, it’s a thing of beauty (I’m sure) to see a 288 pound man come up off his chair, hands over his head (and no cops around), yelling at the top of his lungs. “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah, Baby!”

We’re on our way to Coney Island now … and tomorrow it’s Atlantic City … I’m still riding the high that Cally and the Bolts delivered last night.

Life is good, amici.

Life is very good.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Game 7 (flugate?) …


Game 7 … well, let’s face it, I was hoping it was over by now, but the Strangers disrupted the party at Amalie Arena Tuesday night and now we move on to the big finish. Although we completely outplayed the Strangers in the 2nd Period of Game 6, the 3rd period was more a horror story than anything else … and now there may well be an explanation—the flu. Apparently we still had it after Braydon Coburn (above) tossed his cookies all over the bench during game 5 (a 2-0 Bishop shutout),  and was limited to just 5+ minutes of ice time. Then Matt Carle was sick and it was still being called “food poisoning” … hmmmm, poisoning suggests to me something more nefarious ...,well … okay, so now it’s being called a flu bug that’s making its way throughout our locker room … and the timing couldn’t be worse.

Until hearing about the flu, I wouldn’t have a clue how to begin to handicap this game tonight, especially the way the series has gone since it started … but the Strangers remain the favorite because of their goalie and his/their history with elimination games … but the games aren’t scripted, nor can history play a role in what’ll happen tonight on the ice. The flu, however, can make a difference. Let’s hope it doesn’t.

It’s been a wild series, no doubt, and the young upstarts from down south would be taking a gigantic step if they found themselves victors tonight. On the other hand, the Strangers have more to prove (and lose) than going to the Finals again. This time they’re expected to win it all.

The Bolts are 4-1 in the Garden this year (including 2-1 during the series) … the Strangers are 7 0 in Game 7’s at MSG (but 1-2 there in the same series) … only the hockey Gods know what’ll happen next.



Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Cider House Rules … Game 5 Tonight … Common Sense …

The Cider House Rules (John Irving) ... I’m close to finished with the novel and I don’t’ want it to end. It is VERY different from the movie (scripted from the book). For the first time in many a book, I saw the movie after starting to read the novel, and I was immediately struck by the differences. Okay, it’s a long book, as Mr. Irving’s books are wont to be, but it is magnificent social commentary on abortion, orphanages/orphans, both race and class relations. It is ultimately a didactic book, and the lessons it teaches are profound. No matter which side of the abortion argument you may reside, this book deals with both sides brilliantly.

A more detailed review in the upcoming weeks. I’m enjoying the read way too much to speed the trip. If you happen to watch the movie first (most probably have), know that there is a ton left out and changed for the expediency of film. Trust me on this … read the book.

Here’s a passage I made a point of marking in my kindle (how I wish I’d ordered the paperback). Dr. Larch writing to Franklin Roosevelt: “I thought that freedom of choice was obviously democratic—was obviously American!” he types feverishly. “Is it a democratic society that condemns people to the accident of conception? What are we—monkeys? … Couples who are well-to-do usually want their babies,” he writes in a letter to President Roosevelt. “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE POOR? Forty-two percent of the babies born to parents living in poverty are unwanted.”

Larch goes on to comment on the hypocrisy of those who condemn abortions on the one hand, then refuse aid to orphans (i.e., welfare) after they’re born (usually into poverty). The polar moral standards in those kinds of social mores would leave Jesus (if you need to believe) weeping.

Anyway, it’s a fascinating read. This is the fourth or fifth Irving novel I’ve read this year … obviously it won’t be the last.

Stay tuned for more on this brilliant novel.

Watch the movie ... but read the book …

Get it here:

Game 5 tonight … we’ll, they say the King rebounded from the 12 goals in 2 games shellacking the Lightning dealt him, and he may well have rebounded, but let’s face it, the hockey Gods were looking down on him and his teammates in the first and second periods, where a few of our shots rang off the post and were thrown high over an open net. Not to mention a shot “headed for Miami” (Mike Milbury’s words, not mine) that kicked off a defender's skate and wound up in the net against the Bolts … or the “tap it in” rebounds the Strangers had. So it goes … the favored Strangers are cocky again. The cheap shot by Kevin Hayes on Tyler Johnson (hitting him in the ribs with a stick) should’ve earned him a suspension, but maybe another freight train hit by Stamkos on Hayes is what he really needs (when Hayes was left staring into space in game 3 after Stamkos made him a hood ornament).


Brady, Hillary and Bill O’Reilly … vs. COMMON SENSE ... NBC sent Brian Williams packing for his tall tale about taking RPG fire while on a helicopter in the Middle East … but our great land of the pathetically uninformed is going to allow a woman with a much worse reputation (regarding lies) run for President (again), despite her tall tale about taking “sniper fire” in Bosnia.

And over at FOX “News” (really?), Bill O’Reilly, who has already settled a sexual harassment case out of court (to keep his reputation from being further soiled), is going to use the same tactic as Hillary and Tom Brady (of the New England Asterisks), which is to attack the accusers, hold back ALL AND ANY INFORMATION (whether refusing to turn them over {Brady}, or destroying the server they were on {Hillary}, or just accusing the attackers, including his own daughter who claims she witnessed Big Bill (O’Reilly) engage in wife beating and dragging his wife by her neck down a flight of stairs).
Vast right, left and NFL conspiracies, don’t you know …

No matter what common sense suggests in all three of the above incidents, nothing will stop any of the three from moving on with nothing more than a blip in their screen of life. Why that happens speaks more to a country that has grown accustomed (and comfortable) trying to survive the day-to-day battle most Americans find themselves in--the one that involves surviving at all costs (including the cost of being informed). The Oligarchs are winning, amici … it’s time to chug-a-lug some espresso and wake the fuck up.


"It always seems impossible until it's done." -- Nelson Mendela

Your cheatin' heart
Will make you weep
You'll cry and cry
And try to sleep
But sleep won't come
The whole night through
Your cheatin' heart will tell on you...

When tears come down
Like falling rain
You'll toss around
And call my name
You'll walk the floor
The way I do
Your cheatin' heart will tell on you...

Your cheatin' heart
Will pine some day
And crave the love
You threw away
The time will come
When you'll be blue
Your cheatin' heart will tell on you...

When tears come down
Like falling rain
You'll toss around
And call my name
You'll walk the floor
The way I do
Your cheatin' heart will tell on you...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A poem by Knucklespeare … DOGFELLA!


Bishop Checks King

Once upon a midnight dreary,
while the King pondered weak and weary;
Over many a blowout loss before;

While he crouched there nearly napping,
Suddenly there came a trapping;
As of someone shooting, slapping;
Pucks into the netting galore!

‘Twas Tyler Johnson’s Hat Trick,
Doc Emrick yelling, SCORE!

Merely that, and then three more.

Ah, distinctly I remember,
One of their two came off a defender,
Yet Bishop was Stellar again in goal;

The Strangers were reeling;
their defense revealing;
that five vs. three equaled one Bolts score.

Quote Knucklespeare:
No force on ice can stop Killer Killorn!

We gave one away, but the series is tied,
On to Tampa now we fly;
Where on home ice we were best for sure.

For game three we’ll heal;
The advantage we’ll steal;
And the Strangers will feel;
As if they were wronged.

Quote Knucklespeare:
Momma Stella’s Malochhio, forevermore!



Save the animals! Nobody does it like THE DOGFELLA!

Go get this book, amici! Click on this link and pre-order now. 



Friday, May 15, 2015

The Asterisks respond … Too big to fail … The Cider House Rules … DOGFELLA … RIP Mr. B.B. King …


The Asterisks respond … want a good laugh? Read the Asterisks’ version of life on planet Brady. The New England football team has now officially gone from Patriots to Cheatriots to the Asterisks. Let’s look at the bullet points (as a teaser) to this in-house “report.”

The Wells’ Report dismisses the science … Right, the “science” affected one side of a football field, but not the other. Sure.

Or maybe this will make more common sense … creationists beware … Bill Nye explains it all:

The text messages were about weight loss … Since before the season began, the “Deflator” meant the guy accused of letting air out of the balls was talking about losing weight (Jenny Craig?) and not letting air out of the footballs … even though he references how (“Fuck Tom”) Brady was pissed off about getting balls that were over-inflated (i.e., the proper psi). Not to mention the fact that the Asterisks themselves suspended both ball-boys without pay (not the league’s doing) … for telling jokes? Well, those two fatsos should probably retain a labor lawyer themselves, no? Or write a tell-all book … again, I’m available.

There is no evidence that Tom Brady preferred footballs that were lower than 12.5 psi and no evidence anyone even thought that he did. All the extensive evidence which contradicts how the texts are interpreted by the investigators is simply dismissed as “not plausible.” Inconsistencies in logic and evidence are ignored. Wow, what can one say, except: So, why didn’t Brady turn over his phone text messages and emails? Why did the Asterisks not allow McNally and Jastremski to accept follow-up interviews?

What the Asterisks did with their “report” was nothing more than play to their base of fans in New England and insult everyone else’s intelligence. Let’s face it, it isn’t so different than something FOX news did in defense of Bill O’Reilly’s several fabrications of his journalistic experiences.

Bottom line: The Asterisks, and especially Tom Brady, have Donald Trump on their side. They’ve taken a page from Hillary Clinton’s playbook (attack the accusers and finders of FACT) … remember the vast right wing conspiracy? Well, this is a vast NFL conspiracy … and now that Robert Kraft’s dinner guest, Roger Goodell, has taken on the appeal process, it’ll be interesting to see how the NFL Commissioner handles it. It’s bad enough Coach Bill BeliCHEAT wasn’t given the same sentence as Sean Payton, a one-year suspension, for not knowing “what he should have known” (Goodell’s excuse for suspending Payton over bountygate) but sometimes a dinner can go a lot further than you think …

Too Big to Fail … Politics aside, let’s look at how a few of the wealthiest companies treat their employees and why so many workers are finding themselves hanging on by a very thin string.
Walmart sits atop the Fortune 500 club … their net sales totaled $473.1 billion, up 1.6% from the year-earlier period. Not bad, especially if you’re a stockholder … except, of course … according to Forbes, Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published to coincide with Tax Day, April 15.

One could come up with a pretty good argument against our economic system … but then we’d be called Marxists, wouldn’t we? Godless, Pinko, Heathens looking to steal what isn’t ours (because when Apple pays Chinese workers $0.19 an hour, it has everything to do with how hard their board of directors had to work to find such a good and profitable labor deal?) Does that qualify them (technically) as having “earned” their humongous slice of the profit pie? Is it justifiable that the millions/billions earned (or is it stolen?) from the poor bastards doing the actual work (for as little as $245.00 per month) is considered legal? … let’s see how the math on that works out … $245.00 divided by the average Chinese workday (in hours), which is 12 hours x 6 days = just about $.93 cents an hour.
By the way, this is why the CEO’s who drafted the TPP deal for themselves (with President Obama’s blessing and attempt to “fast track” it through Congress and up the American workers’ collective asses) were so anxious to see it happen. Wonder why American manufacturing fled the country? DO THE MATH …

This has little to do with small businesses, by the way. Socialists like myself have no problem with people starting a business and growing a business. It’s when a business becomes a corporation so big, or is swallowed by one, and becomes too big to fail when workers find themselves in a no win situation. And small businesses that remains independent can ever be too big to fail. Wall Street gambled and lost and taxpayers bailed them out (without the benefit of precluding the CEO’s who authored the failures giving themselves record bonuses). Since the 2007-8 bailouts, the banks that survived had grown and consolidated their power/stranglehold over our political system and those it’s supposed to represent.

The inevitability factor … when government works for corporations the way it has here in America, the outcome is inevitable (i.e., even the most limited forms of government sponsored capitalism {never mind corporatism}, had to (and has) lead to a very small percentage of the population gathering the vast majority of its wealth). One way to redistribute what is essentially unjustifiable wealth (because how can any one man “earn” what amounts to 22,255 times pay of average worker? is to 1) return to a 90% top marginal tax rate. Following World War II tax increases, top marginal individual tax rates stayed near or above 90%. When one considers the lack of equity between investor salaries vs. workers, what’s the problem with that figure (outside of greed)?

Aside from the obvious oligarchy our so-called democracy has turned itself into, whereby the most wealthy in the country (i.e. 0.1%), via Citizens United (Citizens United was the culmination of years of work by James Bopp to chip away at the nation's campaign-finance regulations), buy government representation via campaign contributions that exceed both common sense and morality, the taxpaying public finds itself working harder for less pay (more production/less reward).
Is that what flag waivers mean by American Exceptionalism? If those at the top reap exceptional benefits on the backs of those on the bottom, I guess the flag waivers are right after all.

And a damn shame it is too.

The Cider House Rules … I’m reading this John Irving masterpiece before returning to some crime fiction reviews … it’s as superb as the other Irving novels I’ve read (all in the last year) … funny, poignant and ultimately heartbreaking, the story of Homer Wells and his life inside and outside of an orphanage is wonderful. Irving handles the abortion issue with absolute brilliance.

“Good night you princes of Main, you Kings of New England.”

Over time that line will make you cry.

Last night I cheated and watched the movie last night … but it veers a bit from the novel … making me continue to read with all the more enthusiasm.



The Thrill is Gone … 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015


“Get it out of there,” I was saying every time the Expos made it across our blue line last night. “Now, don’t let them breathe. Stay on them. Don’t let them breathe.”

And that’s pretty much what happened last night in Game 6. Our Bolts played the kind of relentless hockey that has to be rewarded. For the last two nights, pretty much every hockey analyst I watched gave all the credit in the world to a team the Bolts had beaten 8 out of 10 games this past year (last night made it 9 out of 11). I had to hear about Carey Price and his upcoming awards (MVP and Vezina) … he’s the greatest goalie in the world! Somehow these same analysts managed to forget that our guy, Ben Bishop, has beaten Price 8 consecutive times (5 regular season games and the first 3 playoff games).
I also had to hear about P.K. Subban and the running of his mouth … and I couldn’t help but think back to what a high school football coach used to tell us when our football team talked trash: “Talk is cheap.”

It certainly is … and it was last night.

I have to say I was very confident about Game 6 last night. I’m only a hockey enthusiast the past 4 years or so (it might be 3.5) … it started with a co-worker Sue Bennett’s dedication to the Rangers (Ranger paraphernalia surrounding her desk, etc.); she egged me on to watch. So did a dear friend and terrific author, Dana King (a Penguins fan). He kept telling me “there’s hitting in this, Charlie. You’ll love it.”

I watched and quickly became a Ranges fan, but mostly because of the Rangers’ Captain at the time, Ryan Callahan. His relentless work ethic stood out. He made me keep watching. He made me want to learn the game. Callahan is the kind of player any fan would appreciate—a player who gives 100%, 100% of the time. Just about every team has a guy like Callahan. Those that don’t wish they did.
After becoming a fan during the regular season, I watched my first hockey playoff games (Strangers-Crapitals, believe it or not) … and I learned that the playoffs and the regular season are two very different animals. What I loved about the sport, however, was the class shown at the end of each game (players saluting fans), and the fact that teams shook hands (after trying to kill each other) once a playoff series ended.

Once the infamous trade was made, as a socialist, I really didn’t have much of a choice. Players (unless they’re assholes) come first in my world. I’d become a hockey fan because of Callahan and I was sticking with him. So, it was off to Tampa Bay … literally, the wife and I flew down for games 2-4 back in October … my first live hockey game in what had to be 25 or more years. And were we treated to some fun or what? We were there when our Bolts destroyed the same Hab Nots, 7-1 … with Stamkos scoring a hat trick and Cally putting one in the net directly below where we were sitting. He skated around the mouth, P.K. Subban, and left the goalie holding his jock.

I’ll admit it, I’m a dinosaur. I’ve been fed up with NFL football for a long time now. The chest beating, trash talking, “me, me, me” attitudes turn me off. Watching my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills put up with Stevie Johnson a few years ago, a wide receiver with way more dramatic drops to his career than catches, required I find something new to obsess over. Johnson was finally traded, but nothing much has changed in the NFL. With all the available talent in and around the NFL, why would any team put up with the kind of crap that makes old farts like me turn to the AMC channel?

Last year probably did it forever for me. The Oakland Raiders had to call a timeout because two of their idiot defenders were still celebrating a sack while the offense ran to the line of scrimmage and were about to call a play (what would’ve been a freebee for the Raiders being offside—the “sackers” were ten yards behind the line of scrimmage AND THE OFFENSE!) … well, that pretty much did it for me. If the game doesn’t respect itself enough to can that level of bullshit, so be it.

The fact I’ve seen that same shit in Pop Warner leagues and high school football is all the more depressing. Instead of teaching kids how to win with class, the system seems to have accepted teaching them to be me-firsters. Remember when a guy made a tackle, got up, and then hustled back to the defensive huddle (rather than turn to one sideline or the other, beat his chest, and declare himself the King of the World)? I remember one of the Moonachie Green (Jets) all-stars last year doing something as dumb as that after a sack in a game they were losing by 20 points. I hope Coach Rex Ryan left that level of horseshit in Moonachie now that he’s in Buffalo.

ESPN has destroyed more than one sport with highlights that play to the selfish antics of opportunists. So be it. I now look much more forward to October than September. While the NFL turns into the WWWE, I turn to hockey. Quoting that same high school coach: “It’s as simple as that.”

So, back to hockey … last night the Bolts came out jumping and they didn’t let the Expos breathe … they kept them from crossing the blue line … they took pucks away when the Expos did manage to get one deep … and they passed pucks out as quick as (dare I say it?) LIGHTNING. In before and after game interviews, Bolts players across the board professed a solid tribute to a hockey warrior, Ryan Callahan. The post-game analysis mentioned what John Tortorella said a few years back: “You don’t win championships without guys like Ryan Callahan.”

He suffered appendectomy surgery Monday night and there were some musings about him possibly playing last night (24 hours after his surgery?). Thankfully, it was just Coach Cooper playing with the press. More hopefully, Callahan will be back in time for some part of the Final series, which may well be against his former team, the New York Strangers. The Bolts were 3-0 against the Strangers this season, and Callahan scored 4 goals against his former teammates.

Last night was an impeccably played game by our Bolts, and except for one very lucky bounce off the glass that eventually found our net, we didn’t let the Expos breathe.

Tonight we learn who our next opponent will be … either the Strangers or the Crapitals. Something tells me we’ll be ready for either of the two.

And if things get a little rough, we always have Momma Stella’s Malocchio …

Listen to my man, Crazy Dave Mishkin, call the highlights from last night:


To the Expos … this year, the Hab Nots …

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Mercy of the Night … Deflategate Report … No Beast So Fierce …

The Mercy of the Night, by David Corbett … ten years ago she escaped an abduction … now she’s caught in yet another hellish nightmare, except this time she’s got an escape plan. And if she finds herself short a couple grand, there’s always Fireman Mike to the rescue.

That’s my teaser … the story centers around Jacqi Garza, a kid from a home life that would make a violently dysfunctional home seem like paradise. She’s gone from an abducted child from a horrible home life, to a hooker working the streets, to the primary witness to a brutal murder. Enter Phelan Tierney, a self-imposed retired lawyer turned private investigator, and tutor to wayward kids. He wants to help Jacqi. He’d been tutoring her for a GED at a rehab house. He realized she had genuine potential along with a natural ability working with numbers. Tierney isn’t the type to give up, but Jacqi is a lightning rod for trouble, some of it pretty nasty. Enter that Fireman Mike guy … and Jacqi’s incredibly cold and cruel Mother … her mother’s gangster boyfriend … the men he employs … the 50 or so other witnesses, some of them participants, to the murder Jacqi witnessed … and yous get the picture.

Phelan has a love interest, Cass, the nurse who took care of his wife while she suffered through the cruelty of cancer. Cass wants more than Phelan can sometimes muster (or let go of); the ghost of his dead wife haunts their relationship. And Cass knows when Phelan sinks his teeth into something (to help someone), it’s unlikely he’ll let go. Will it end what they have … or do they just think they have more than is possible under the circumstances.

There’s also a decent cop who made a mistake that involved Jacqi. He’s getting paranoid about it coming back to haunt him … his career, his pension, everything----he can lose it all. And at home, he’s got his own problems; an artistic son with drawings that have gotten him into the shit at school.

Social commentary abounds, and it’s always clever and poignant. Corbett keeps the pace moving, sometimes delving back to the night Jacqi escaped, to the night Phalen’s wife died (from both Phelan and Cass’s perspective), to the things Jacqi wasn’t forthright about ten years ago.

Corbett is a brilliant writer and he’s penned another wonderfully intelligent page turner. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Tanto la vita! Indeed.

Deflategate … as reported in the Washington Post this week: “But under league guidelines, the NFL doesn’t have to catch Brady in the act of ordering the deflation,” MMQB’s Peter King wrote Thursday morning. “Goodell and NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, who is also reviewing the case for discipline, could rely on the ‘preponderance of the evidence’ that ‘the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not,’ according to the league’s policy on integrity of the game.”

According to longtime General Manager and NFL insider, Bill Polian: “Guilty.”

You’d have to be pretty naïve and/or a stubborn MF’er to believe for a second that Tom Brady didn’t tell the ball boys he’ll most likely attempt to throw under the bus (what everyone has always assumed from jump street regarding Deflategate) to deflate the balls. The text messaging between them, the fact Brady lied and said he didn’t know one of the two, and the fact Brady refused to share his phone messages … well, does anyone really believe O.J. didn’t kill his ex-wife and Ron Goldman? Too far a stretch (criminal activity vs. cheating)? How about does anyone really believe the world is flat?
While Cheatriot loyalists, much like Democratic loyalists, ignore the corruption that envelops their two heroes (Tom Brady and Hillary Clinton), it seems they’re sharing the same playbook (keep the truth to themselves, ZERO transparency, and point to the lack of a smoking gun--as if a mountain of circumstantial evidence isn’t enough to find guilt). Kind of like FOX news: “What facts? We don’t need no stinkin’ facts!”).
In the meantime, the rest of the world points to the little thingy above the 8 on U.S. keyboards … and although I’ve said many times (including publicly) that I thought Brady and Montana were the two best ever quarterbacks, at least of those I’ve seen, I now remove Mr. Cheaterface from the pairing and Montana owns it … because he earned it.
As far as I’m concerned, just like the cheaters in MLB and any other sport, Brady’s career, along with the Cheatriots so-called Championships, are as credible as A-Fraud passing the great WILLIE MAYS … and pretty much anything these losers did while juiced: Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire’s, Sammy Sosa (the list is way too long to keep typing) …

And for their cheating ways, they get one of those ... forever.

And then there’s the Bolts vs. Expos … we can end it tomorrow, put the Bad Bagels out of their collective misery … or we can toy with them again and bring them back to Tampa for the beating we now owe them. We shall see … but Rigoletto will be in uniform (without being kidnapped by his Mommy this time) … GO BOLTS!

Richard III
Lady, you know no rules of charity,
Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.
Villain, thou know’st not law of God nor man.
No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.

No Beast So Fierce is also a terrific book by the late Eddie Bunker. Get it here:


From Tosca (and The Mercy of the Night) … Pavarotti singing E lucevan le stelle …