Sunday 24 October 2010

Dancing With Myself: CHARLIE STELLA interviews CHARLIE STELLA

Before kicking off today, I wanted to give a little plug for a fund raising idea relating to Autism Awareness week next year. You never know, you might be able to help out in a small or a big way. It's an idea that benefits readers, writers, independent book-sellers and people with ASD and their families (not bad in the one hit, huh?) Go over to
and take a look.
I also wanted to say 'Welcome back to the land of the living Donna'. The Broad from Badsville is back, but be gentle. Go over to her site and say hi ( )
Not much else to say now, is there? Except maybe, HERE'S CHARLIE STELLA...
1) Who the fuck is Doc?

A dear friend of mine who pisses off a lot of other friends of mine (those oh so tolerant so-called “liberals”) that it brings a big smile to my face. Mostly he makes fun of me and President Obama on my blog. Doc coined the term President Fredo (of Godfather fame). Doc isn’t me, as some suspect. Doc is a much better writer than I am. In fact, he wrote a survival novel that is a terrific read and I can only hope that some publisher out there takes it on. I can see this thing flying in the NRA gun toting market. Doc is an expert marksman, a world class ball-breaker and one of the good guys on this planet.

2) Are you the new voice of right wing America?

Some days I probably come off that way, but that’s usually the frustrations of (again) so-called liberals with thin skin (Obama loyalists and the like) who refuse to acknowledge their party of choice isn’t so different from the one they spend all their energy bashing. I was a lifelong liberal Democrat until I was fed up with them not representing me, then I voted Republican twice (a combination of frustration and temporary insanity) and now I wouldn’t vote for either party with a gun to my head. Days when I’m frustrated by government bureaucracy, I understand the urge for Libertarianism, but I don’t buy into that law of the jungle bullshit so long as the advantages that are in place (and have been in place) remain so; it’s easy to prefer the law of the jungle when you’re the lion. I have to wonder how many so-called “Libertarians” would go for a complete redistribution of wealth equally to all and then revert to that jungle scenario. I doubt they can swallow that particular concept. The born (or otherwise) disadvantaged (as the recent rise in our national poverty level shows—thanks President Obama, I guess that qualifies as “change”) have nothing near a level playing field. That doesn’t work for me. I’m probably closer to a socialist (and have voted that way recently in our governor’s race in New Jersey) than a Libertarian because I do believe in national health insurance and “some” heavy handed government regulation over certain industries (but not some of the absurd regulations that make no sense). I just don’t see how we let corporate fraud off the hook (by rewarding it) while we put bookmakers away. WTF? Likewise, I don’t see how we reward a two party system out of fear that one or the other party will win. Again, WTF? Aside from completely marginalizing the left (from my point of view), how does that make any sense?

3) What about those bailouts? You do an awful lot of whining over them. Didn’t they save the economy?

Nobody knows that for sure, do they (that the bailouts saved the economy)? What we do know is they saved a lot of bigwigs and permitted them to reward themselves with record bonuses. They continue to outsource after being gifted our money (taxpayer money). They were excused $38 billion in taxes (the bailout companies were) but my wife and I had to pay an extra $26K (beyond what they took out of our paychecks) for working 7 days a week. You know that bit about working hard to achieve the American dream? Turns out it’s a crock of shit not only for minorities but also for what were once considered the middle class. All I know is I did a lot better financially when I was a criminal. And look how well the criminals running Wall Street did (and continue to do). Those bailouts were an absolute slap in the face to American workers. I guess we’re all too busy trying to survive or playing with our electronic toys (the new opiate of the masses) to realize how bad off we actually are. I don’t envy my kids’ generation. If you’re not born into it (the money), it’s gonna be a lot tougher working your way to prosperity after (or if) this cycle of economic shit ever comes to an end.

4) Think you can come off your soap box now?

Fuck you too, Charlie.

5) Let’s try something else. Any good reads lately?

A few wonderful rereads: Brothers Karamazov, Crime & Punishment, Anna Karenina ... Friends of Eddie Coyle, Digger’s Game, Cogan’s Trade and I’ll be focusing on some French Revolution history born of listening to the music from Les Miserables a lot lately.

6) Oh, jerkoff, anything from this century?

Lynn Kostoff’s Late Rain was a wonderful read, all three times. Chevy Stevens Still Missing was my very first kindle purchase and I liked that a lot. I also enjoyed the Stieg Larsson books (all three of them) even though I know I’m not supposed to. The author broke a lot of the so-called writing rules, but I found the Lisbeth Salander character (super hero that she was) too intriguing to ignore. Too bad the poor bastard (Larsson) died before he scored. Talk about bad luck ...

7) And ebooks?

I’m not supposed to like them but I love my kindle. Let me rephrase that. I LOVE my kindle. It is convenient and it has made book reading affordable for me again. I read a lot. Mostly because of my commute, but also when I work out. I use my kindle a few hours a day. I LOVE it. I feel bad for booksellers. As a writer, they were my last best hope. Will that stop me from writing? No. Will it stop me from buying books? It already has. Will that stop me from being published? So it goes. My amazon bill was upwards of $100 a month. My wife made it clear that couldn’t continue. I bought a kindle and it’s one reason I’m rereading classics again (they’re either free or damn close to free on kindle). I’ll be taking on Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables again soon. Usually, there are several options to buying on kindle. $0-.99-$5.99, etc. I choose the badly formatted cheaper versions. I’m a word processor so the bad formatting doesn’t bother me as much as it might someone else.

8) How’s that going, the word processing?

Thanks to our “for the people” government, I’m forever waiting for the hammer to fall. It can at any time. I wouldn’t be surprised or upset; it is out of my hands. What Bush & Obama and the Congress & Senate did with those bailouts was further consolidate all the economic power in the hands of the few and mighty. It made me sick when fellow workers smiled while telling me who was let go the previous week when that was going on, but that’s the beauty of a deck rigged for the Aces; it’s always the lower valued cards that eat each other first.

9) The weightlifting? Still dicking around with that, old man?

Did I tell you to go fuck yourself yet? Yeah, I’m still lifting, but not for competition. I’m still losing weight slowly but surely. I’m down to 304 now and I’m eyeing a RAW Powermeet in Baltimore in early December (but eyeing is not training for). I can lift in either the 275 or 308 class. If I go I’ll get my ass kicked like usual, but it’s not about winning these things. It’s all about growing the hairs on my back ...

10) How’s the drumming going?

I’m playing with a band right now I might enjoy over time. I’m not crazy about some of the music selections (the lyrics to Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak hurt my soul and Queen’s Save Me is nothing but cymbal slapping) but I have to admit I really enjoy playing to an Alanis Morissette piece we do (You Oughta Know). At least it says something and has some soul. I’m hoping they take my suggestions and do a few more blues/soul-based numbers. Our singer has a very good voice and I’m sure she can pull it off; songs like Zeppelin’s version of Since I’ve Been Loving You and/or Dazed and Confused; a few Allman Brothers tunes like Stormy Monday or Not My Cross to Bear. We shall see ...


  1. Charlie is never dull. And always an original. And that's an interesting question. Will Kindles rekindle reading of the classics now that many are free.

  2. Patti, I heard yesterday that Kindle will be permitting "borrowing" for 15 days soon (or next year(?)); from one kindle to the next, I guess. My bet is once enough people have those things, the price of classics will bada-boom, bada-bing go up.

  3. I like my Kindle, too. And when is your band's CD coming out?

  4. Great interview, Charlie. And the interviewer did a good job, too. But all that talk about politics was a little too nuanced for me. I couldn't quite get what you were trying to say. I wish you'd quit beating around the bush and tell us what you really think in plain English. No more of this subtle shit.

  5. Mike, I'm too shy, I know. It's been a problem since I was an altar boy.

    Bill, the band recently broke up (too much Thin Lizzy) ... starting anew ... again.

    Just finished Stranglehold ... that Gorman fella is damn good. Fair, too ...

    I love this series, Nigel. I've been picking up new reads from it left and right. Grazie, brother.

  6. thanks for being here. much obliged.