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.
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While taking a break from rearranging my sock drawer and staring at the wall, I somehow stumbled across some vintage book covers and magazine ads. They seem to be from a pre-Jurassic world yet could not be more timely. I guess it’s true, “The more things change…”
It’s funny/tragic to see how straightforward and commonsensical things were “back then” and to see how much we have forgotten and can still learn from those who came before.
So grab a cup o’ Joe and stroll with me through this treasure trove of timeless advice for women.
The advice of yesteryear wasn’t just about being handy with your fists and shootin’ iron; though having a “classy chassis” and putting a tight grouping of six shots in an intruder’s torso is nothing to sneeze at. No, that advice was all about having a sound mind in a sound body.
Priceless wisdom then and even more so now and it holds double for men!
Read. Read. Read.
Read everything that’s not nailed down.
Read kitsch. Read classics.
Get off your phone.
Turn off your TV.
Men do make passes at girls who wear glasses!
Ladies, we need your feminine aspect, your wit, your wiles, your womanliness at its most natural and nurturing.
In the coming time of tribulation, we will need all of that plus we need you to be legally locked and loaded for bear!
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 . . .
Waaaiiittt a minute – first they told us to buy expensive masks with breathing valves coz simple masks wouldn’t stop Covid. Now they tell us to not buy masks with valves coz they spread the disease. Who’s in charge here? . . .
From its earliest days television was described as “chewing gum for the eyes” and “the idiot box” and “a vast wasteland.” All correct . . . My favorite description of TV is – “an electronic sewer-pipe in the corner of your living room.” Even the genteel NPR in the states and BBC in Britain are pumping genteel sewage into your brain. Turn ’em off . . .
Hey, if masculinity is so “toxic” why do so many lesbians pretend to be male and dress like traditional grooms . . .
And why do they pretend to be super-butch males? Doesn’t that make them super-toxic? . . .
Hey, If masculinity is so “toxic” why would any woman want to “transition” to male? Answers on a postcard . . . Another question – If male to female transsexuals are returning their bodies to a “natural” state then why do they have to insert a dildo-like plastic tube into their manufactured vaginas for several hours a day to prevent their bodies from closing up and healing what it detects as an open bleeding wound? . . .
When bluegrass bands play heavy metal and Motown music, it’s better than the originals . . . Southern, White Christian males are the only group in the world that we are allowed and even encouraged to mock . . . When people wearing Corona-masks flinch away from me, I want to beat them to a bloody pulp . . . In the 1960s, U.S. police departments came under massive Marxist attack over supposed police brutality against Blacks. The anti-Communist John Birch Society ran the counter-campaign: “Support Your Local Police and Keep Them Independent.” It made them a laughing stock . . .
Please explain this to me – The US & UK built many massive “Covid emergency centers” to handle the predicted overflow from hospitals. These facilities, boasting many thousands of beds, were unneeded and unused. They’ve been dismantled. But, hold up, from the beginning of the Covid-hoax we were warned of even deadlier second and third waves of the virus. If the powers-that-be actually believed this disaster was coming then why did they dismantle essential facilities mere months before Covid would return with a vengeance? . . . The big band leader Stan Kenton had an incestuous relationship with his daughter that lasted from her pre-teen years to young womanhood . . .
Is it me or are more female teachers banging their students these days? . . . British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is such a racial mongrel even he doesn’t know what he is . . . BoJo wants to import 3.5 million Chinese from Hong Kong at a time of unprecedented UK unemployment and economic crisis . . . Maybe our boy is Chinese, too? . . . How do the Chinese pay him off? . . .
The Empire State Building was a flop for decades and was dubbed The Empty State Building . . . Even before Corona and the riots, I knew that Trumpowitz was gonna lose the election coz the demographics were against him in Florida, Arizona and Georgia. He had the right impulse about Corona i.e. let it burn through and develop herd immunity but then he listened to President Kushner and surrendered to the hysteria. Then he listened again to President Kushner and didn’t crack down on the riots immediately. He’s making a few tough tweets now but it’s too late. He’s gonna have no convention, no rallies and no second term . . .
The spectacularly corrupt and stupid Biden will win but he will be a figurehead and so will his incompetent female Black VP whoever she is . . . America will be ruled by a cabal of Marxists with Obama pulling the strings . . . Bader-Ginsburg will resign with much fanfare and spike the football on her way out. The Marxists will get to appoint at least two other justices. Then they will abolish the electoral college, open the borders, open the prisons, pass amnesty and bankrupt the country . . . When Trumpstein appeared, I said that he wasn’t important but what he represented and who came after him were. I also said that he would fail but that his failure would be useful. It would set the stage for a genuine White Nationalist leader to emerge. This coming leader who is yet unknown will operate outside of electoral politics. He will be a strongman in the mold of Caesar or Franco . . .
During the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s more Communists were killed by other Communists than by Franco’s forces . . . Stalin saw that war as a chance to finally clean out the Trotskyites . . . The Gospel Quartets and Quintets of the 1940s and 50s were pure rock & roll, doo-wop and soul. Listen to the Swan Silvertones and the Soul Stirrers and you’ll hear it . . .
I’ve never bought any music by The Beatles or Bob Dylan . . . Cardinal Spellman of New York was called the American Pope. He was also a predatory homosexual who cruised gay bars in Gotham accompanied by famous homos of the theater. These lavender lads all favored young Black meat . . . The Cardinal was also a rabid hawk. It’s said he spent more time on his knees in Viet Nam servicing GIs than praying . . .
Tony Blair’s Labour Party promoted 24/7 drinking in pubs and widespread gambling so I guess it really did care about the health and welfare of the White working class; or was it that Blair took money from scumbags who made their fortunes by selling gambling, alcohol and tobacco to the White working class? . . . Hookers will tell you that often their johns just want to talk about their wives and children . . . The Arabic word for African is “slave” . . . Millions more Africans were enslaved by Muslim countries than by the Christian world . . .
Saudi Arabia didn’t outlaw slavery until 1962 . . . Millions more Africans were enslaved by Brazil than by the USA . . . Brazil didn’t outlaw slavery until decades after the USA did . . . Most of the slave ships and slave markets were owned and run by Jews . . . How come Black Lives Matter isn’t protesting outside Brazilian, Israeli and Islamic embassies? . . . My favorite true-crime cases are Lizzie Borden, Sam Sheppard and Jeffrey MacDonald . . .
The father of singer Harry Connick, Jr. was a New Orleans D.A. accused of covering up the JFK assassination . . . The father of actor Woody Harrelson was a Texas hitman who many believe was one of the mysterious “Three Tramps” arrested behind the Grassy Knoll on the day JFK was hit . . .
Abraham Lincoln opposed expanding slavery into the West not because he was opposed to slavery but because he was opposed to spreading Blacks further into America . . .
Lincoln’s last meeting in The White House was with Black leaders to decide how and where to repatriate or resettle the freed slaves – Africa, South America and part of Texas were considered . . .
I grew up in New York City in the 1950s – the last gasp of the Golden Age of newspaper columnists. These were the “gents room” journalists who sported trench coats and fedoras, smoked cigars and drank rye.
Walter Winchell and Jimmy Cannon were the “big beasts” whose columns brimmed with opinion, gossip, lies and even some facts. These one-finger typists wrote hard-boiled rants ripe with street smarts and sentimentality. They gave readers the lowdown on Broadway and City Hall and the straight skinny on Harlem and Wall Street.
Winchell and Cannon punctuated their column items with three dots that captured the look and rhythm of machine gun bullet holes. Like this . . .
Here then is my homage to Walter Winchell and Jimmy Cannon . . .
George Floyd was a violent career criminal and this reporter won’t miss his sorry ass one little bit . . . All women with pink hair and tattoos are skanks . . . I hate Oreos – always have, always will . . . If there’s a funnier writer in the English language than Charles Portis, I haven’t read him . . . If the world is facing an existential threat from Covid-19 then why in hell are any planes allowed to fly anywhere anytime anyhow? . . . Buddy Guy and Dolly Parton are the most charismatic live performers I’ve ever seen. No one even comes close. . .
George Floyd killed himself with a drug OD. He had enough Fentanyl in him to stop a horse and Fentanyl creates the delusion that you can’t breathe even though you can . . . The pulp crime writers Henry and Frank Kane (no relation) are better than Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. So is Ed McBain . . . The smell of flowers reminds me of death . . . Why do gay men always say “Miss” Judy Garland and “Miss” Peggy Lee?. . . Wanna know how and why the world was stampeded into Corona-panic? Read: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay. He nailed it in 1841. That’s right – 1841 . . .
Mainstream Jewish newspapers and organizations have bragged that Antifa is a Jewish revolutionary movement with roots in the Russian revolution and that any criticism of Antifa is anti-Semitic. So… by their own proud admission the Jews are behind this attempt at a violent overthrow of the US. Blacks are just their puppets.
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in high speed, comic-flow are as good as it will ever get . . . Climate change is a hoax designed to transfer wealth from White to Brown people . . . I’ve never met a good-looking commie – male or female . . . All Hassidic Jews smell faintly of garlic . . . Virtue signalling Whites who support Black Lives Matter should move to Gary, Indiana or Camden, New Jersey to demonstrate they are truly “down with the struggle” . . . The jazz singer Johnny Hartman was the best of the “Sepia Sinatras” but he often strayed painfully off pitch . . .
The accordion and the zither should be outlawed . . . Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is over-priced slop. Breyer’s ice cream is the best in the world . . . New Mexico policeman Lonnie Zamora didn’t see a crashed UFO in the desert. What he stumbled upon was the NASA testing of a moon landing craft . . .
The FBI infiltrated and controlled many of the UFO cults and contactee groups of the 1950s . . .
Why are male psychics almost always swishy queens? . . . All imitation meat products promoted by vegetarians taste like a miscarriage on cardboard . . .
Most of Lenny Bruce’s jokes don’t hold up but his routines about liberal hypocrisy get better with time . . .
Mort Sahl, Bruce’s main competition, was never funny or dangerous . . .
American acting never recovered from the pseudo-Freudian, method acting pushed in post-war NYC acting schools by left-wing Jews who flunked Psych 101 . . .
Montgomery Clift was the worst example of this constipated style of acting. I always want to smack him and scream, “Just say the fuckin’ line already”. . . Steve Cochran on the other hand was a terrific actor. A real hell raiser. No mamby-pamby method acting bunk in his performances . . .
The two convicted Black felons apprehended with George Floyd didn’t resist arrest and are alive . . . The FBI’s secret recording of the right-wing militia leader Joseph Milteer weeks before the JFK assassination is proof that people knew Kennedy was about to to be hit. The tapes are on youtube . . .
Simple proof of a second gunman in Dealey Plaza is the cadence of the shots reported by everyone no matter how many total shots they heard. The cadence goes… BANG… BANGBANG. There is no way Oswald could have fired his bolt action rifle twice that quickly.
Bobby Kennedy never believed the Warren Commission . . . There was a second gunman in the hotel kitchen shooting at Bobby, too . . . There is intriguing evidence linking Canada’s wealthy Bronfman family to the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations . . .
Ginger Rogers was a great dancer but she was also the most underrated actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age . . . Since being turned over to Black rule, South Africa has become an ungovernable shit hole . . . The same goes for Haiti where Blacks slaughtered the Whites and mulattoes over 200 years ago. The result? Port-au-Prince is the only capital city in the world without a sewage system . . .
I don’t care what aficionados say, the Edsel was ugly . . . Lili St. Cyr was the sexiest of the old-time strippers . . .
Malcolm X was a pimp who sold Black women to White men. He then had sex with men in prison. Maybe he liked it coz his wife complained that he was a flop in bed. Most of the tough-guy exploits in his best selling autobiography are the invention of Alex Haley who later plagiarized a White man’s novel and called it Roots. Haley settled with the original writer out of court . . .
Louis Farrakhan the leader of the Nation of Islam is a Scientologist and a Mason. How does he remember which funny hat to wear and handshake to use? . . .
Leo Frank was guilty as hell. He raped and murdered Mary Phagan and threw her down an elevator shaft. Frank was a sweatshop owner, rapist and murderer. Mary Phagan was only 13 so Frank was also a pedophile . . .
The Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded to defend Leo Frank. Its lawyers blamed the rape and murder on two innocent Black men who worked for Frank. You won’t learn this in Parade the Broadway musical about the case or in the many biased TV movies. Hey, remind me – who controls Broadway and TV? . . .
Pete Hamill and I grew up side-by-side in working-class, Catholic, Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Pete – Irish. Me – Italian
That last distinction was the biggie. For as much as I admired and even feared the Brooklyn Irish; and though we lived cheek by jowl, I felt they were alien to my tribe. Sharper. Colder. Meaner. And, lots, lots drunker.
I can’t remember ever seeing an Irish parent being warm and affectionate with one of their children.
It was the Irish parents who mocked their kids and blackened their eyes; the Irish parents who drunkenly fell off bar stools and tenement stoops; the Irish parents who got thrown into the aptly named Paddy Wagon to be hauled away by Irish cops.
It was the Irish mother upstairs in our tenement who got her sluggish sons out of bed by throwing pails of cold water over them. It was the Irish father upstairs who chased one of those same sons out of their kitchen window only for the terrified kid to go sailing past our kitchen window as we ate dinner.
My childhood impression, formed in countless games of stick ball, tag and Monopoly, was that all Irish kids had fiery tempers and green teeth. I also learned that all Irish nuns had cheeks forever reddened with fury. No lie, it seemed like all of Irish Brooklyn was constantly plastered and pissed-off.
So, for me, Hamill’s memoir was an insider’s lowdown from the enemy camp – one that confirmed what I felt as a child about his kith and kin. In A Drinking Life, he spills his guts on himself and his breed with bittersweet affection and brutal honesty. This is a brave, brilliantly observed memoir that captures the feel of 20th century urban American life as well as any I’ve read. Pete’s description of the VE Day celebrations in Park Slope brought me to tears. The way he conjured his proud, angry one-legged father made me see and feel the man as he limped up the street to the corner bar.
Pete Hamill and I played in the same streets, rode the same trolleys, hung-out in the same parks, fought in the same playgrounds and gorged in the same ice cream parlors. I suffered a year of weekly piano lessons from a terrifying Irish nun at Holy Name School where Pete suffered the full-time fury of the Sisters of Perpetual Rage.
I even bought movie tickets from Pete’s mother at the local itch-house.
Yet, no matter how similar our childhood landscapes, we were separated not only by ethnicity but by politics.
Pete – Left. Me – Right.
Pete Hamill became one of New York’s premier newspaper columnists and bleeding-heart liberals. Like his contemporary Irish columnist, the insufferable douchebag-blowhard Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hamill loved playing the “muck-raking White knight” fighting for what he believed was equality but what I knew was actually White replacement.
In the 1980s when Brooklyn was stewing in crack-fueled racial violence, Hamill sided with Black Brooklyn against White Brooklyn – specifically Italian Brooklyn. He sneeringly called we Italians fighting for our survival, “guidos” which was tantamount to calling Blacks, “niggers.” I’ll never forgive Hamill for being a race traitor.
Irish drunks are a dime a dozen (and a fuckin’ bore) so Hamill’s saga of bottoming out before straightening out, though well told, wasn’t for me. I much preferred his bawdy, Henry Miller-like tales of being a budding beatnik artist. Those were full of fun period details and read like Tropic of Art School. Besides, a little sexual braggadocio never hurts. In fact, Brooklyn and braggadocio go together like sausage and peppers.
And, hey, if you were playing “hide the shillelagh” with…
You’d braggadocio, too!
So, this social-justice leprechaun wasn’t averse to a bit of jet-setting at Elaine’s and P.J. Clarke’s. (Somehow I doubt he ever squired Tawana Brawley to either boîte.) And yet… like Alfred Kazin (the subject of my last post ) as much as I wanted to smack Hamill in the chops for his silly knee-jerk liberal bullshit, I couldn’t help liking the guy.
I’d love to sit down with him over a beer (Oops, better make that a root beer) not at Elaine’s but at Farrell’s – the legendary Irish working-class watering hole in Park Slope. We could stay off politics and shoot the shit about the nuns, the priests, the gangs, the girls, the Irish Mafia, the Italian Mafia, Coney Island and especially the Dodgers. The Brooklyn Dodgers.
Alfred Kazin (1915-98) was a noted Jewish critic – one of my least favorite literary types. I’m not a fan of that species because it’s part of the Jewish monopoly on printed media. (Don’t believe me? Check the names on the mastheads of every magazine and publishing house in America but… be careful. Many of those Anglo-Saxon sounding names are not genuine. Name changing is part of the Hebraic shape-shifting ploy called passing.)
The Jewish critics rave about members of their own tribe (often without merit) while neglecting more talented gentile writers. And, they only promote philo-semitic authors. Plus, their view of literature is hopelessly tainted by their Jew-centric perspective. So, to put it mildly, there exists an unbridgeable political, religious and cultural gap between Alfred Kazin and I.
And yet… I gotta say that I loved Alf’s memoir of growing up in the Jewish ghetto that was Brownsville, Brooklyn in the 1920s and 30s. In fact, I couldn’t help liking the guy. Go know. I think it’s that undefinable “Brooklyn” thing that bonds us.
A Walker in the City is Kazin’s elegantly written collection of character studies, incidents and musings. It brims with colorful tales of rabbis and radicals, great books, great music, great meals and great awakenings. The reader senses Kazin walking himself into adulthood and consciousness. His love of Brooklyn, literature and his people permeate every page. I admire his own writing more than his criticisms of others.
Don’t get me wrong. I bristled at much of what he wrote but he did such a great job of writing that I cut him some slack. Hey, I’m easy. So, sue me.
I owe Alf a debt of gratitude because his memoir was one of those that inspired me to tell the story of my boyhood across the borough in Italian-Catholic Brooklyn. That said – our takes on race, religion, sex and politics are as diametrically opposed as his Brownsville is from my South Brooklyn.
It’s a sad but predictable irony that all of the Marxist and liberal bullshit about class and race preached in the streets and synagogues of Brownsville (and described so brilliantly by Alfred Kazin) failed. Bigtime. Marxists embedded in the city government used Marxist principles to replace the Jews of Brownsville with the Blacks of Brownsville. The result? After “70 count’ em 70” years of those Marxist ministrations, Brownsville is the murder capital of New York City.
The area was never a garden spot but now it is a no-go zone of hellish housing projects. It makes Flatlands and East New York look like Cap d’Antibes.
The few Jews left in Brownsville (even fans of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela) have become the prey-of-choice for roving gangs of feral youths playing the “knock out game.”
Never mind… if you enjoy reading memoirs written with wit, style, brain and heart then have I got a Brooklyn book for you – A Walker in the City by Alfred Kazin.
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!
It happened on a bright June day in 1967. I was walking across the surprisingly bucolic campus of Brooklyn College nestled inside the decidedly un-bucolic Flatbush. Many of the campus buildings were ivy-covered brick so who needed the Ivy League? I was a recent Catholic high school graduate there for a day of testing and orientation. I was unaware that I was in the epicenter of Jewish communist activism.
Brooklyn College was so radical it was called “the little red school house” but not to be confused with The Little Red School House in Greenwich Village. Both institutions graduated a spectacularly disproportionate number of Levantines who were moaning-Marxists of dubious sexuality and (worst of all) folk singers.
The co-eds at Brooklyn College were evenly divided into two opposing camps.
The “JAPs” (Jewish American Princesses) had been gifted nose jobs as high school graduation presents and came to class loaded for bear i.e. they were out to land a nice Jewish boy preferably in pre-med or pre-law. I had never been in close proximity to such exotic creatures and gazed open-mouthed at them in class as they simultaneously adjusted their hair, stockings and bra while filing their nails and applying lipstick. I was a goy so I was invisible to them. They were brainless and harmless and at least afforded me a chubby or two.
The “Rachels” and “Ruths” bore their Hebraic-honkers like a badge of honor. Their wiry hair was left to nature and they favored sandals, folk skirts and unshaven legs. Their moustaches were unshaven, too. They scurried around campus clutching to their peasant-blouse covered bosoms Joan Baez LPs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti poetry books and Wilhelm Reich’s The Function of the Orgasm. (I wouldn’t fuck these hectoring yentas with your dick.)
So… I was strolling across campus feeling like Joe College when a Rachel ran up to me screaming like a banshee, slavering like a bronco and demanding that I boycott class because LBJ was bombing Vietnam. She shoved a flyer into my hand and her unshaven face into mine and ranted about nukes, napalm and negroes. I thanked her and promised to read the flyer but she screamed into my face, “Nazi” and ran to her next target. I tried to proceed but was forced to walk a gauntlet of Rachels, Ruths and their male counterparts – the Bruces and Barrys. All screaming. All slavering. All thrusting flyers. All demanding that Brooklyn College be brought to a standstill because LBJ was bombing Vietnam.
The very next day the Six Day War broke out between Israel and Egypt and I was back on campus for more testing.
So… I was strolling across campus feeling like Joe College when the very same Rachel ran up to me screaming like a banshee, slavering like a bronco and demanding that I boycott class because LBJ was not bombing Cairo. She shoved a flyer into my hand and her unshaven face into mine and ranted about Auschwitz, Anne Frank and Arabs. I thanked her and promised to read the flyer but she screamed into my face, “Nazi” and ran to her next target. I tried to proceed but was forced to walk a gauntlet of Rachels, Ruths and their male counterparts – the Bruces and Barrys. All screaming. All slavering. All thrusting flyers. All demanding that Brooklyn College be brought to a standstill because LBJ was not bombing Cairo.
In fact, these leftist humanitarians wanted Cairo nuked!
Suddenly and e’en like Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, I was knocked to the ground by a blinding light of revelation. I then picked myself up and stood in the center of Brooklyn College, in the center of Flatbush, in the center of Brooklyn and knew in the center of my Catholic, Italian-American soul that I was in enemy territory. The scales had fallen from my eyes! I knew that the Rachels, Ruths, Bruces, Barrys and, yes, even the JAPs were not me. Not mine. Not American. All their supposedly selfless political activism was all about them. (And, they have done nothing to dissuade me of that conclusion in the more than fifty years since my Damascene conversion.)
Day of Infamy
During the Six Day War, Israel, our supposed ally, deliberately attacked and attempted to sink the USS Liberty, an intelligence ship, observing the war from the Mediterranean. In order to prevent the Liberty from reporting Israeli war crimes, Israel killed 34 U.S. sailors and wounded 171 more. Israeli planes even machine-gunned U.S. sailors attempting to escape in life rafts.
Meanwhile, Israeli dupes inside the White House almost gave my Brooklyn College classmates their dream. They almost tricked LBJ into nuking Cairo. (Take a minute to imagine that scenario.) Then, the dupes and LBJ conducted a massive cover up. The surviving sailors were ordered and threatened into silence.
Israel claims its act of treachery carried out on a U.S. ship clearly flying the Stars and Stripes was a tragic mistake.
If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I wanna talk to you about.
In the 1970s, I learned that a former classmate at Brooklyn College had machine gunned many Palestinian women and children to death. When I knew this particular Bruce, he was a “peace & granola” hippie-dippie-trippie type. Then he got that Old Time Religion. From Meyer Kahane and the Jewish Defense League to the present, Brooklyn has been the breeding ground of Israel’s most violent fundamentalist lunatics.
Whenever I hear wild-eyed, wiry-haired women living on illegal Jewish settlements being interviewed with a baby on one hip and an uzi on the other, their Brooklyn accents are those of the Rachels and Ruths I first encountered on that bright June day in 1967 on the surprisingly bucolic campus of Brooklyn College.
In my last blog, I wrote about everyone’s favorite vampire, Bela Lugosi and his relationship to Brooklyn or, at least, Brooklyn gorillas. In this post, I want to discuss a real Brooklyn vampire. And, I ain’t foolin’.
His name was Albert Fish and he worked as a house painter from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression. As he aged, he resembled a cuddly uncle. But, over those four decades, he abducted, raped, killed and ate children all over metropolitan New York. His work as a house painter gave him access to perfect hiding and abduction spaces like cellars, basements, hallways and sheds; and lethal access to children. Four decades. We still don’t know how many tenement kids fell into the clutches of this real live boogieman.
One such unfortunate child was four-year-old Billy Gaffney. He had lived in my neighborhood. In fact, Billy was abducted in 1927 while playing in front of his tenement no more than five minutes from my 1950s boyhood home. His body was never found because Fish ate most of it. (If you are not of squeamish disposition you can read Fish’s description of that act in excruciating detail on Wikipedia. He makes Hannibal Lecter, Freddie Kruger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Meyers and Norman Bates look like the Vienna Boys’ Choir.)
Billy’s abduction hit close to home for me (literally and figuratively) because of something that happened to me while I was playing in front of my tenement in 1957.
This was that incident…
One day, a strange man wearing dark sunglasses who was or pretended to be dumb appeared on my block accompanied by a large, menacing dog. He rang my tenement’s vestibule doorbells in an attempt to sell an obviously second-hand Mickey Mouse film projector. The Mickey Mouse Club was every kid’s “must watch” show so this projector was prime Pied Piper bait.
The stranger was quickly told to fuck off by the housewives annoyed at having been drawn away from their soap operas and quiz shows. I then inexplicably offered to take him around the corner to a neighbor I was sure would want to buy his piece of plastic crap. I trustingly placed my seven-year-old hand in his and led the way with his dog nipping at my heels.
The neighbor’s vestibule door was unlocked so I didn’t bother ringing her bell and escorted my new friend into her very dark hallway. I heard her TV blaring and knocked on her door. She answered with an angry expression that quickly changed to alarm. She told the stranger to fuck off and slammed the door. (I still wonder why she didn’t pull me inside, then slam the door and call the cops! But, maybe she wanted to get back to her soap.)
I shrugged and took the strange man and his snarling dog back out into the sunshine. As we exited the building a group of my friends shouted from the corner with obvious and uncharacteristic alarm, “Hey, Jackie, ya mother wants ya. She sez get up da house. Now!” I turned to apologize to the man but his dog bared its teeth and lunged at me. I jumped back, looked into the face of my new friend and saw that he was leering at me with an evil smile. Only then did I realize that I had broken the cardinal rule of childhood. He was a stranger. One of the strangers I’d been told not to talk to. Not to get into cars with. Not to take candy from. I was in danger. Stranger danger. With a sudden surge of fight-or-flight energy, I turned and bolted the fuck away from him and his mutt.
This incident (whether the threat was real or imagined) is why I have always been especially horrified and fascinated by Albert Fish. I can’t help wondering if Billy Gaffney also turned and saw his “new friend” leering down at him; if Billy felt the same shock of terror run through his little body as the one I can feel as I sit here typing more than six decades later.
Ironically, the sensational trial of Albert Fish was knocked off the front pages by the even more sensational Lindbergh baby kidnapping. But, I’m convinced it was not knocked from the collective folk-memory of my Brooklyn neighborhood; its shared shuddering-memory of a Brooklyn vampire who had stalked its children in cellars, basements, hallways and sheds not that many years before I played in those dark, hidden, dangerous places.
If you can stomach a disturbing but cathartic journey into the darkest of dark places then spend some time on the internet searching for Albert Fish the Brooklyn Vampire. There have been two awful movies made about Fish and countless TV documentaries and books of varying quality. I recommend the book Trail of Blood by Michael Angelella.