Thanks for visiting my blog. It is a sampler of my murder-memoir Boy Outa Brooklyn. The best way to enjoy it is to start at the first post and read chronologically. I hope you’ll find it both hilarious and horrifying.
I will also be posting about the best books, movies and songs about Brooklyn. And, sharing my practical and off-beat travel tips. If you enjoy my blog, please follow me. Hover your mouse in the lower right corner of the screen and a pop-up box will appear. Enter your email address and you’ll never miss one of my posts. Your address will not be sold or shared and you won’t be pestered with any sales cons.
Supreme Court cutie Ruth Bader Ginsberg crowed many times that her Jewishness shaped her judicial outlook . . . Not the Bill of Rights, the Torah . . . Not the Federalist Papers, the Talmud . . . Not the Constitution, the Kaballah . . . So I guess it was her Jewishness that made Ruthie promote lowering the age of sexual consent to twelve . . . TWELVE . . . TWELVE!!!! . . .
Here’s a definition of chutzpah: Ginsberg, the champion of affirmative action, hired only one Black law clerk during her forty year judicial career. FORTY YEARS. ONE BLACK . . . She claimed she couldn’t find any more who were qualified . . . I call that “affirmative action for thee but not for me” . . . The Noxious RBG spent her last four years on the bench in a coma with her law clerks propping her up like the eponymous hero of the movie Weekend at Bernie’s . . .
Had Ruthie not been so high-on-her-own-supply and convinced she was the “indispensable” woman, she would/could have retired when Obama was President thus assuring that someone equally toxic would have taken her place . . . Funny how karma bites even the most high and mighty on their high and mighty asses, ain’t it . . . But, waaaaiiittt a minute here, Ruth Bader Ginsberg said that the Black football players in the NFL (Negro Felon League) were “stupid and disrespectful” for kneeling during the national anthem. That’s not nice . . .
Saint Ruthie wasn’t the only extreme libtard with “surprising” views on race and sex . . . Che Guevera (the Left’s favorite pin-up) said, “Mexicans are a band of illiterate Indians” and “The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meagre wage on frivolity or drink.” . . .
Che (the most reproduced face in history aside from Christ) was no friend of the LGBTQ crowd. In fact, he called homosexuals “scum” and put them in concentration camps where they labored beneath a sign that wittily proclaimed, “Work will make you men.” . . . Some say that sort of anti-gay vitriol only comes from a closet queen. Hmmmnnnn . . .
Speaking of the “lavender lads” – it’s being whispered in the corridors of power that Chief Justice John Roberts is “light in the loafers” and is being blackmailed by a certain tribe of rootless-cosmopolitans? . . . This explains his lurch to the Left . . .
Not possible? Welp, the Mafia blackmailed and deballed the famous “crime buster” of the 1950s Sen. Estes Kefauver with pix of his pussy-hound ways . . .
Yup, Ol’ Estes made JFK look like a choirboy . . . As long as we’re talkin’ about choirboys . . .
This squeaky-clean holy-huckster isn’t preaching the Gospel. He’s just sprinkling a bit of Jesus over Napoleon Hill’s classic self-help book Think and Grow Rich. . . Hey, how come we let immigrants with tuberculosis, polio and even plague flood into our countries but if your dog isn’t vaccinated you’re in big trouble? . . . John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival had never been to Louisiana or even seen the Mississippi River before he wrote Proud Mary and other songs about the Bayou . . . In pre-WW2 Hollywood, actors were blacklisted for not being commies . . . Ronald Reagan’s film career tanked when “liberal” Hollywood blacklisted him for daring to clean the commies out of the Screen Actors Guild while he was union president . . . Morons who mock Reagan’s acting have never seen King’s Row, Juke Girl or Storm Warning . . .
As long as were discussing simians in the cinema – George Floyd fucked-on-film in porn movies . . . This just in – evidence has emerged (seen by your reporter) that Georgie Boy Floyd was a longtime police informant (snitch) – that’s considered the lowest form of life in the ‘hood. . . Meanwhile, Floyd’s fellow-felon Jacob Blake whose shooting caused all the kerfuffle in Kenosha, Wisconsin had a habit of raping women including his baby-mama. He raped her while her young daughter was in the bed next to her. The insistent dusky Casanova forced his fingers into his beloved’s vagina, smelled them and opined, “It smells like you bins wit udder mens.” . . . His baby-mama tearfully testified to this and, ya know, we gotta believe the woman . . . She called the cops to arrest Blake. He attacked the cops, was shot while reaching for a weapon and was left paralyzed from the waist down . . . Mayhaps the unfortunate Blake’s sexual activity will be restricted to digital insertion (hopefully consensual) for the foreseeable . . .
But unlucky Lorez never had that all-important hit record so she never got the bookings and acclaim she deserved . . . One dame who got nothing but undeserved acclaim was Margaret Mead the most famous woman in Cultural Anthropology . . .
Maggie was hoaxed by the South Sea island teens when she wrote her famous pro-Brown, anti-White study Coming of Age in Samoa . . . Turns out their society was actually very straight-laced and violent – not at all the peaceful, sexual paradise the dim-witted Mead portrayed . . .
Mead was a student of the Jewish-Marxist Franz Boas. He invented the pseudo-science of Cultural-Anthropology which holds that a Bantu banging on a tree trunk in the jungle is of equal artistic value to the work of Bach . . .
Guess what? Franny’s famous skull measurement studies which supposedly proved racial equality have been exposed as totally bogus . . . Boas cooked the books to push his anti-White Marxist crap . . . He was as crooked as that other fraud Sigmund Freud . . . Meanwhile, I’m scratchin’ my noggin’ over why people who have never owned slaves should pay slavery reparations to people who have never been slaves . . . Heard on the Rialto and Rodeo Drive: Meghan Markle is the most pretentious, presumptuous twat in public life and has already worn out her welcome stateside . . .
Tell ya the truth, I’d sooner listen to political punditry from Scary Spice . . . Fred Astaire failed an early Hollywood screen test with this critique, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” . . .
Here’s another showbiz “ouch” – Broadway producer Cheryl Crawford turned down Arthur Miller’s great play Death of a Salesman with this note, “Who wants to see a play about a traveling salesman?” . . . So explain to me why the same loons who say there is no such thing as gender are screeching that there must be a female President . . . Here’s some good news – the future belongs to the fertile. The gender-liquid brigade, the cis-phobic snowflakes and other assorted psycho-sexual misfits aren’t reproducing . . . Wanna know who is breeding? Mormons, Amish, Hasids, Muslims and Evangelical Christians. Looks like the future belongs to the fundamentalists, too . . .
Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle each wrote multi-volume histories of WW2 . . . These three wartime titans devoted about a paragraph each to European Jewry with no mention of gas chambers . . . Betcha didn’t know this – the British almost dropped the atomic bombs on Japan using their Lancaster bombers coz America’s B-29s were too small . . . Elvis Presley “The King” died on the “throne” whilst straining at stool . . . But even in the worst of Presley’s stupid movies there is at least one good tune . . . Barbara Streisand wanted Elvis to co-star with her in A Star Is Born but after one meeting with Babs, The King took a pasadena . . . Who sez Elvis was a dumb hillbilly? . . .
Laurence Olivier almost played the Marlon Brando role in The Godfather . . . Robert Redford almost played the Dustin Hoffman role in The Graduate . . . Jackie Gleason almost played the Gene Hackman role in The French Connection. . . If you think Jackie would have been a weird choice then you obviously haven’t seen him in Requiem for a Heavyweight and The Hustler . . . “The Great One” was a great actor . . . Mary Baker Eddy, the deranged founder of Christian Science, insisted her flock eschew doctors and medicine coz the body and pain didn’t exist; only spirit was real and flesh was an illusion . . . But this holy-hypocrite secretly visited dentists where she insisted on massive doses of pain killers . . .
Surprisingly, the arch-cynic Mark Twain flirted with Christian Science then came to his senses and wrote a hilarious critique of the cult . . . For many decades, the Twain book was as rare-as-rocking-horse-shit coz Christian Scientists (on orders from the paranoid Mary Baker Eddy) found and destroyed copies . . .
Uncle Joe was the second greatest mass murderer of the 20th century second only to that other commie-creep – Mao Zedong . . . Your correspondent laughs and cheers when he imagines the repulsive Julius and Ethel frying in the electric chair at Sing-Sing . . . To his everlasting credit, Judge Kaufman (the Rosenberg’s co-religionist) who presided at their trial blamed them for the deaths of 38,000 American soldiers in Korea . . . That war only happened coz Stalin was emboldened by the nuclear weapons he had acquired thanks to the secrets the Rosenberg scum had given him . . . Another of the Rosenberg’s co-religionists – Congressman Samuel Dickstein actually took money from Stalin to betray America . . . And still they kvetch when people question their loyalty . . .
Since Lockdown more Brits have died from flu and pneumonia than from Covid-19 and that’s even accepting the massively exaggerated Covid death totals . . . On the other side of the pond, the New York Times reported that the most widely used Covid-19 test in America is returning 90% false positives . . . Say, don’t call me daffy, this Corona-hoax gets more apparent and preposterous by the day . . .
The late Thomas Boyle was a Pennsylvania kid who spent part of his childhood in Brooklyn. (That makes him an Honorary Brooklyn Boy in my opinion.) He graduated from Cornell, earned his doctorate at NYU and taught at Brooklyn College for many years. Some book review sites confuse him with the more famous T.C. Boyle the author of many brilliant novels including The Road to Wellville – set in a 19th century health-spa and Drop City – set in an Alaskan hippie commune.
Our Thomas Boyle’s last book (published in 1990 in the midst of his crime trilogy) was Black Swine in the Sewers of Hampstead – a study of Victorian crime fiction. It sounds like the Sherlock Holmes mystery Conan Doyle forgot to write! I’ve added it to my “must read” list.
Any fan of gumshoe fiction will enjoy Boyle’s modern yet faithful reworking of the much-loved archetypes and plot devices of that often hackneyed genre.
Anyone who knows the geography of Brooklyn will get an extra kick out of Boyle’s locales. His hard-boiled tales follow Detective Frank DeSales as he chases bad guys down hidden alleys in Red Hook, across garbage strewn vacant lots in Williamsburgh and even onto the hallowed ground of Green-Wood Cemetery.
If you like Lawrence Block’s ex-cop now “private dick” Matt Scudder, you’ll feel right at home with Thomas Boyle’s active duty detective Frank DeSales. They are brothers from another mother.
I can’t find any movies or TV shows based on this trilogy which is a shame and surprising. For decades now, “All things Brooklyn” have been all the rage. Go know!
Any list of famous writers from Brooklyn would fill a decent sized phone book. And any list of books set in Brooklyn would be almost as large. I’ve read plenty of both but there are many more I’ve missed. So, the posts I’ll be making about Brooklyn books will be far from a definitive list. Think of them as tips from your friendly Brooklyn librarian.
It would be remiss of me not to begin with the very first “Brooklyn” book I ever read. (Hell, it was the very first book I ever read cover-to-cover!) And, I’ve reread it many times since – most recently last Tuesday. In fact, it’s the overdue book mentioned above – overdue for over 60 years! If you haven’t read it then all I can say is, “I pity you!”
“Psssst, hey kid, ya wanna read a really doity book?”
As you drive into Brooklyn across the Brooklyn Bridge a large sign looms up at you. It screams, “Last Exit to Brooklyn.” If a driver doesn’t take that exit they are taken onto the Gowanus Expressway and thence over the neighborhood of Sunset Park where the spectacularly downbeat novel Last Exit to Brooklyn is set. In the 1950s, the period of the novel, that sign should have screamed, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”
In the 50s, the waterfront of Sunset Park was a land of perpetual night – a slum rotting in fetid shadow beneath the elevated Gowanus Expressway. The Mafia had killed the docks, Robert Moses had killed Sunset Park by cutting it in two with his hideous highway and the Dodgers had killed Brooklyn by moving to L.A.
Hubert Selby Jr. knew this coz he was a Brooklyn boy born right next door to Sunset Park in Bay Ridge.
Selby’s book consists of inter-locking tales of losers, junkies, sadists, pimps, hookers and trannies who fight for scraps in a nightmare world of gangs and gang-bangs.
I was raised in the 1950s just a few blocks away from this world. I even swam in the public pool there. But, I knew better than to venture into the Terra Incognita below the highway. Many years later, I met a Yorkshireman who had lived in a sleaze-bag hotel in Sunset Park during WW2. He was outfitting ships to British standards that had been built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He told me that the whole area was full of crap games, gyp-joints and whorehouses all making a fortune from the servicemen and dock workers.
In the 1980s, I would spend pointless, penniless weekends meandering around Brooklyn by bike. I was drawn to the derelict and rotting factories of Industry City that lined the waterfront in Sunset Park. I thought, “Damn, this would make a great film set.” And, that’s exactly where, a few years later, much of the movie of Last Exit to Brooklyn was filmed.
That film is good but doesn’t capture the daring style and outrageous vitality of Selby’s prose. Plus, by 1989, much of the shock value of his book’s subject matter had been lost. But, when it was first published in 1964, Last Exit to Brooklyn was an outrage and banned in several countries. I haven’t been impressed by Selby’s other work but anyone interested in the lower depths of Brooklyn life and the heights of “outsider” American literature should read Last Exit to Brooklyn.
In 1965, I read it as a 15-year-old while working as a messenger in Times Square. The guy who sold it to me could have been arrested. I made sure that its instantly recognizable cover was always visible sticking out of my back pocket as I made deliveries. And, I made sure that same cover was visible as I read Last Exit to Brooklyn on the subway. I didn’t live in a artist’s garret in Greenwich Village but it was fun to pretend that I did.
Brooklyn has 2.6 million people. Were it an independent city (which it was until the late 19th century), Brooklyn would be the third largest city in America after L.A. and Chicago! So, it’s not surprising that a lot of famous folk in all walks of life come from Brooklyn.
You can see a more complete list of notable Brooklynites elsewhere. When I read those lists I wonder if there’s anyone who isn’t from Brooklyn. In fact, it’s said that 25% of Americans have roots in Brooklyn.
Anyway, in no particular order, here’s my list of, “Gee, I didn’t know he/she was from Brooklyn.”
Carl Sagan, Bugsy Siegel, Joe Paterno, Vince Lombardy, Sandy Koufax, Joe Torre, Wolfman Jack, Arlo Guthrie, Michael Jordan, Mickey Rooney, Harry Nilsson, Chuck Connors, Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Bobby Fischer, Bob Guccione, Edward Everett Horton, Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, Moe, Curly and Shemp Howard aka The 3 Stooges (Larry Fine was from Philly but I hearby pronounce him an Honorary Brooklyn Boy.)
Clara Bow – the It Girl of silent films. They say her thick Brooklyn accent made her move into talking pictures impossible. But, I’ve seen one of her talkies and she was terrific. Go know.
Margaret Dumont – the very un-Brooklyn seeming society matron in the Marx Brothers films. She and Edward Everett Horton are excellent examples of early 20th century posh-New York speech. They almost sound British.
Jennie Jerome – Winston Churchill’s mother. She lived in Cobble Hill.
Other Queens of Kings County include – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Debbie Gibson, Rita Hayworth, Barbara Stanwyck, Lena Horne, Priscilla Presley and Mary Tyler Moore.
During Prohibition, Mayor LaGuardia cracked down on saloons and forced them to serve food to combat drunkenness. Since then every New York bar has had a “grill,” if you count a broken hot plate with old newspapers piled on top of it and stored next to the eternally out-of-order toilet as a “grill.” I’d never heard of anyone in Brooklyn eating (or peeing) in a bar & grill – except in the Gallo Brothers Bar & Grill. It had an excellent Italian kitchen. But, only the wives and girlfriends of the local Mafia were allowed to enjoy it. One of these broads was driven there in a limo every night even though she lived all of three blocks away. Did I see Jimmy Durante drinking in Gallo’s one day? Maybe it was just a man with a big honker who shouted out to me, “Stop gawkin’ at me ya little bastid and go fuck your mother.”
My neighborhood’s Chinese laundry sat beside the “Ladies Entrance” to the Gallo Brothers Bar & Grill. The Gallo boys were notorious Mafia “wise guys” who ran a bookie parlor hidden behind a door at the back of the laundry. History does not relate if the Chinaman got a piece of the action or had no choice. On Thanksgiving, the Gallos distributed turkeys and booze to neighborhood numbskulls, which bought their undying loyalty – “Hey, leave dem alone. Dem Gallo boys is good boys.”
In 1972, Crazy Joey Gallo was assassinated in Umberto’s Clam House in Little Italy and Bob Dylan wrote a song about him. (Tourists still gawk outside Umberto’sunaware that the original joint where Joey got whacked is blocks away.)