“When public schools are judged by how much art and music they have, by how many science experiments their students perform, by how much time they leave for recess and play, and by how much food they grow rather than how many tests they administer, then I will be confident that we are preparing our students for a future where they will be creative participants and makers of history rather than obedient drones for the ruling economic elite.” Mark Naison
Annabelle Lee and the Charge of the Light Brigade
A short story
John William Tuohy
Jimmy Doyle stepped lively into the Diner and sat at the counter to order his breakfast of one egg-no yolk, a slice of fruit and a glass of water. It was the same breakfast he had ordered ever since the heart attack.
He was late this morning because he had felt good enough to do another lap around the track at Nolan Field. He hadn’t been jogging, not exactly. Nor was he walking. He was doing something in the middle for which there is no known name. But he was wearing sneakers and white athletic socks and sweat pants and a tee shirt and as far as he was concerned, it was jogging. Besides, nothing is ever what we think it is.
He hadn’t thought his heart attack three years ago was a heart attack. He’d thought it was a snake, because suddenly, he had this otherworldly sensation that a massive boa constrictor had wrapped itself around his rib cage and was squeezing the life out of him. He looked down in terror to watch the creature devour him, but it was not there. It was only a sensation. That scared him more because he could not see what had him. It squeezed tighter. He could not breathe. His eyes opened wide in a type of fright he had not felt since childhood. He looked around frantically for someone, anyone to help him. Then it stopped. It released him. His breath returned.
He looked around to ask somebody, anybody, what had happened but before he could speak, an unbelievably sharp pain in the left side of his throat caused him to twist his head down and raise his shoulder to his ear. At the same time, the snake returned and began to crush the breath out of him. He fought back. He was outmatched by its brute strength. It forced him, slowly, to one knee. He fought back. He tried to stand but there was no air.
“Why doesn’t somebody help me?” he screamed to himself in a panic. “Don’t they see what’s happening?” Then he was on his back and the pain was gone. The serpent had released him and that God-awful once-in-a-lifetime-pain in his neck was gone. He gasped for air and his arms, spread out beside him, were shaking.
From out of nowhere, he thinks, there was a woman talking to him. She had an accent. Accents always surprised him. Hers was deep, refined, and southern. Why was she in the Valley? Then he remembered. He was in Memphis. Then he remembered that Elvis had died in Memphis. Of course, he had died while sitting on a toilet bowl reading pulp fiction. Jimmy took some pride in the fact that, by comparison, his pending death in this dirty, hot, black-tarred parking lot is a monument to dignity.
The woman’s silky-smooth voice told him she was a nurse and that he had had a heart attack and she was calling for help. He grabbed the rear bumper of a car with his right arm and dragged himself up to a sitting position and fumbled around in his jacket pockets until he found his cigarettes. He lit one up. After a thousand cigarettes this year, he thought, one more won’t kill me. He was just tired. So tired. He dropped his head back on the car’s bumper, closed his eyes, and waited for the ambulance.
He remembered the three of them in bed watching a flickering image of the President making the State of the Union address. The sound and lights were off so the baby would fall asleep. But the baby didn’t sleep. He was wide awake, staring at him, mouth open, mesmerized by his profile. He wasn’t home much and he thought he frightened the child, so he gives him a wink. The boy smiled up at him.
His wife fell asleep. He wished she would wake up because he needed to talk to her. If he took that sales job, he would be on the road constantly, but the money was good and that’s all that mattered. The mortgage, the car payment, and then the insurance and gas and utilities, and the baby needed new everything.
He’d tell them tomorrow that he’d take the job. He didn’t want it but he doesn’t have a choice. He let a long tired sigh out through his lips, “Phhhfffffff”. A few seconds later the baby let out a long tired sigh through his lips, “Phhhfffffff”.
In the hospital, he closed his eyes to sleep because the attack exhausted him. Maybe he had been asleep because he could not remember changing into a hospital sleeping gown. Nor did he remember climbing into the hospital bed and he could not explain who this man in the suit was or why he was sitting on his hospital bed. Apparently, the man in the suit has been talking for a long time.
“Who the hell are you?”
“I am your heart surgeon,” the man replied with a distinct clipped British accent. “You have suffered a major heart attack, Mister Doyle,” he answered. “I am your heart surgeon. I operated on you.”
Regardless, he hadn’t liked him sitting on his bed. It was intrusive. He looked around for the baby and the television and his wife but they were not there, and he told himself that had been a dream. This guy on the bed was real. And he was annoying as well, telling in great detail, how he had drilled a hole in my upper thigh and ran a tube through my body and placed plastic stints in my heart and I wished he would stop talking about this, but before he did, he asks, “Do you have any questions?”
He ought about it. There was absolutely nothing more he wanted to know about heart attacks, or tubes, or drilling holes in various body parts. He reasoned that a heart attack is what it is. There was not much he could do about it. He wanted to change the subject. Since he had determined the Doctor on his bed to be an Indian guy, he wanted to ask him if he’d ever seen The Charge of the Light Brigade with Errol Flynn and if so, what was the Indian point of view on that? And weren’t those British just grabby little bastards? And isn’t that the way to go out? Charging, charging, half a league, half a league on, and not like this, with tubes in your nose? Isn’t that the way you always thought it would be in the end, or something like that? But he thought better of it and he didn’t ask because he was too tired to listen to the answer.
He had other questions. What happened to his life? When did he start living out of a suitcase? Why does every hotel in America look, feel, and smell the same? Would McDonald’s go broke without him? He pondered the late-night dinners with clients whose names he could never remember, and drinking way, way, too many vodka martinis. All the other nights it was cold pizza eaten on the hotel bed, watching old movies on TV.
“Why do I live like this?” he asked himself. He decided that he was an old man in a young man’s game. An old man. He rolled the thought around in his head for a while. He wasn’t old, but wasn’t young either. It’s a guy thing. He decided that men don’t comprehend that they are getting older. Women understand they are getting older because their bodies tell them, but life has made no such provisions for men, so the species stroll through life thinking they are always 18 and impossibly strong, handsome and vital.
He wanted a cigarette and a coffee. How long had he been here, in this bed? A week? Is it that long? He gave serious consideration to the fact that he had gone that long without smoking. He looked over to the somber nurse’s aide standing by his bedside. She was an enormous woman with an equally imposing southern name: Annabelle. He was fairly certain that’s her name. It was written on her name tag. He is not sure, because she hadn’t introduced herself and he didn’t ask because she wore an uninviting scowl, and on the rare occasion she did speak, she didn’t look at him. She examined the wound on his thigh from the surgery and changed the bandage, and an uncomfortable silence fell between them.
“You realize,” he told her, “that in some cultures this would make us married?”
Her breasts, which are each the size of a small child, began to heave with a buried chuckle as she fought a losing battle not to smile. Now he had her.
“I’ll tell you what there, Annabelle. When you finish, how about you hop up on the bed here, and let me examine your thigh?”
Her wonderfully round chocolate body giggled and produces a deep throaty laugh, the kind he liked to hear.
“What!” she exclaimed in mock indignation and a deeply rooted Trinidadian accent. “You’ve had a heart attack.”
“Well, you know what they say, right?”
“No. What did they say?”
“Once you go heart attack you’ll never go back.”
“Who says that?”
“Guys with heart attacks.”
He awoke in the middle of the night and was surprised that the room was almost completely dark. He had told her it was all right to turn the light on, if she wanted it on, and she had said she didn’t. She was fine in the shadows, she said. He was impressed that she traveled all the way from Connecticut to Tennessee, especially after all the meanness and the pettiness that had gone on between them. But she was there, sitting bedside in that God-awful chair with the horrible yellow vinyl covering.
He must have been asleep when she came in. He nodded to assure himself that was what had happened. He was asleep from all these drugs they gave him, and she came in.
Their son was with her. He’s inherited her dark Latin looks, and although he was the size of a mountain, he stared at his father, wide- eyed and scared. He gave the boy a wink to let him know it looked worse than it was. A quick, relieved smile swept across the young man’s handsome face.
She was smiling her best pirate smile, and he reached over and they lightly hooked fingers. She had seen the wink he gave to his son, and she liked it when he was kind and mellow and reassuring.
“You like it when I’m kind and mellow, don’t you?” he asked her.
“Yes,” she smiled, “because it’s you being the real you, not some high-powered macho nut.”
He nodded in a kind and reassuring manner and said, “I’ll have to have more heart attacks to stay better in touch with myself.”
“I told you to stop smoking,” she said, and pulled the blanket up to cover his chest.
“I know. You were right,” he said once again, looking for hairs on his chest that had never arrived and once again he vowed that in his next life he will come back dark and hairy.
“And the junk food,” she said, and stopped short, leaving out his other vices, the ones he used to hurt and humiliate her. She might not have spoken the words, but he heard them anyway. Guilt has a way of having itself heard. He looked away from them and whispered, “I’m sorry.”
He wanted to say more, and once again he searched for that magic and elusive summation explaining what he was sorry for and what he was not sorry for and how they got like this and why they can’t go back, and why his beloved son had to grow up with a weekend father. But, once again, the words didn’t come. They never had. All he can say, once again, is, “I’m sorry.”
She told him it’s okay. She is a decent person, a good person. The words rained down on him softly and sweetly, and he felt as if the world had been lifted from his shoulders. He was so tired. He told her that he’d sleep for a second, just a second. She said she understood. He smiled at them and told them he’d be right back.
Annabelle woke him up to take his sleeping pill. His eyes opened happily. “Listen Annabelle,” he whispered, and the smile was already breaking out across her wonderfully large face.
“Let’s you and me run off to Vegas,” he told her with a wink. “We’ll live on love, but when the money runs out it’s every man for himself.”
“Oh,” she wailed too loudly. “You a terrible man! I’m a Christian woman!”
He was awake now. He looked around the sun-filled room and asked, “Where’d they go? To the cafeteria?”
“Who is that, Baby?” she asked and he pointed to the empty ugly chairs by the bed. “My wife and my son.”
Annabelle looked at the cold empty chairs and then back at him.
“They were sitting here,” he said, but he was not sure he believed his own words.
Annabelle stared at him for a second and sadness fell over her happy soul because she knew the truth. He had not seen them in years. She had taken the boy and moved to Florida, and with time, they had drifted out of each other’s lives until they were only increasingly and sadly vague memories of each other.
“I must have fallen asleep and she went out,” he said to the floor.
The great sadness left Annabelle’s soul and she was overpowered by compassion for him. She took his hand and said softly, “You were having a dream, baby boy.”
She released his hand and gave his needle-bruised arm a pat. “Do you want me to call your wife for you?”
“They were here. I touched her.” But now, fully awake, he understood he had had that dream again.
Later that morning, the doctor came in looking very somber. He did not sit on the bed this time but declared that there was blockage in the veins, which he missed, and he had to operate again.
He held his chin high and tried to look as much like Errol Flynn as one can while wearing blue scrubs with no zipper. He proclaimed that if Jimmy wished to file a complaint against him he would not object, and if he wanted another doctor he would not only understand, he would understand completely.
They stared at each other for a few seconds. The doctor expected the worst, and Jimmy, not having listened to anything beyond “another operation,” which was the worst, as far as he was concerned, was contemplating the fact that they had no Indians of any type back home in the Valley. The doctor tried nobly to remain Errol Flynn-cool while Jimmy pondered. He had never actually had a conversation with an Indian guy. So wondering if it was polite to ask the question he intended to ask anyway, he ventured, “Hey, you ever see Charge of the Light Brigade with Errol Flynn?”
The room was dark when he woke up. She was whispering. “Did you ever really love me?” He was too tired to argue with her, especially that argument. “This is the wrong time to ask me something like that. I did love you, but now it’s hard to remember that. You threw a lot of crap my way.”
“You did the same.”
“You brought in the lawyers, not me.” “Are we gonna beat that horse again?” she said, with a tired contempt in her voice and that look he had learned to despise.
“You just couldn’t let us handle it between us—” “You need to wake up.”
“Who are you?” he demanded angrily as he pushed the hand from his chest.
“It’s Miss Annabelle, baby boy. You got to wake up now. Time for your sleeping pill.”
He spent a lot of time in that hospital and having a sincere interest in the lives of others he interviewed everyone who entered his room, and with time, they got to know each other and the staff looked forward to visiting the happy amiable Irishman at the end of the hall, the one with the heartache. He grew to like these southerners. Rare for a New Englander. He liked them because for them, rules are suggestions. They laughed hard and lived large, and the nurses, who should have known better, brought him barbecue sandwiches the size of his head, with collard greens and vinegar and onions and a plop of orange something with brown sugar on it.
The dietician came during mid-meal one afternoon to preach to him about how he had to change the way he ate or, she warned with all the hellfire, brimstone, and high drama of any respectable southern preacher, he would die. He held the Massive pork barbecue sandwich in mid-bite, sauce dripping off its sides, terrified that even the slightest movement of his hands would lead to another sermon.
Her eyes narrowed as she focused her full attention on the pork and she asked, “Is that hospital regulation food?”
“Yes,” he lied. “Yes, it is.”
“Are you gonna do any of these things I’m telling ya all about?”
“Truthfully?” he answered truthfully. “Probably not.”
“Is that pork barbecue from the Public Eye?”
He told her he did not know, but that it was damned good, and did she want some?
Sitting on the bed beside him, she declared between bites, “Lord Jesus take me now!” He liked that Southerners invoke the name of Jesus in everything. It made him feel religious by proxy. He had fallen away from the church mostly because he had a problem with the church’s problem with divorce. Maybe when he healed, he would put that behind him, or overlook it and go to Mass now and then.
He never learned the Indian physician’s name, largely because he felt he didn’t have to.
Now, ensconced safely in his Valley, he walks more than he used to. Annabelle sends him hand-drawn pictures of angels with notes that assure him that, “Jesus is watching over you.” He thinks to himself, “If that is true, it is embarrassing for Jesus and me.” At Christmas, he sends Annabelle enormous baskets filled mostly with junk foods he knows she’ll like and a piece of the loud-colored jewelry she fancies.
They hired him to teach business marketing at the junior college up in Waterbury and he spends most of his free time, and he has a lot of free time now, trying to reestablish himself in the community. Walking off the last few yards of the last lap around the field, he understands that there are two unchangeable truths in life. One is that the heart mends itself and the other is that lost love is still love. It is softened and tempered by time but only if we allow it to be.
A few years ago, when the divorce had just happened, he had talked to that waitress from the Diner. She was short and thin and pretty, and if he hadn’t been such a mess at the time, they probably could have gone out or something, maybe gotten to know each other. Maybe he’d ask about her today while he was there for lunch. Maybe she was still there.
I’M TRYING TO TEACH MYSELF SPANISH AND THIS IS WHAT I LEARNED TODAY…..
Oler (oh-lehr') to smell (something); to smell (of something)
1. Lleva demasiado perfume. La puedes oler desde lejos.
She has on too much perfume. You can smell her from far away.
2. El aliento de mi profesor huele a café viejo.
My professor's breath smells like old coffee.
Here’s a great poem for you to enjoy……………….
I sometimes fear the younger generation will be deprived
of the pleasures of hoeing;
there is no knowing
how many souls have been formed by this simple exercise.
The dry earth like a great scab breaks, revealing
the pea-root's home,
a fertile wound perpetually healing.
How neatly the green weeds go under!
The blade chops the earth new.
Ignorant the wise boy who
has never rendered thus the world fecunder.
In 1962, six year old John Tuohy, his two brothers and two sisters entered Connecticut’s foster care system and were promptly split apart. Over the next ten years, John would live in more than ten foster homes, group homes and state schools, from his native Waterbury to Ansonia, New Haven, West Haven, Deep River and Hartford. In the end, a decade later, the state returned him to the same home and the same parents they had taken him from. As tragic as is funny compelling story will make you cry and laugh as you journey with this child to overcome the obstacles of the foster care system and find his dreams.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. He is the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.
Fitzgerald and the Jews
BY ARTHUR KRYSTAL
People evidently liked to touch Frances Kroll Ring. As secretary and assistant to F. Scott Fitzgerald toward the end of his life, Mrs. Ring, who died on June 18th, at the age of ninety-nine, might well have been the last person alive to have touched him. To shake her hand or look her in the eye was our last chance to commune physically with the writer who personified the Jazz Age and the Paris of the nineteen-twenties. Fitzgerald died in December, 1940, and it’s strange to think that until last month someone was around who had cooked and typed for him, run his errands, and cleaned up his messes. It’s strange also to think that she was a nice Jewish girl from the Bronx.
Fitzgerald didn’t exactly rub shoulders with many Jews. He was an Irish Catholic from St. Paul, who attended Princeton in 1913, and wrote books at a time when publishing was very much a “gentleman’s game.” There’s no use pretending that he was enlightened when it came to race or ethnicity. In a particularly nasty 1921 letter to Edmund Wilson, he wrote, “The negroid streak creeps northward to defile the Nordic race. Already the Italians have the souls of blackamoors.” Although he later backpedaled, calling his reactions “philistine, anti-socialistic, provincial and racially snobbish,” he quickly segued into another preposterous stance: “I believe at last in the white man’s burden. We are as far above the modern Frenchman as he is above the Negro. Even in art!”
It gets worse. According to George Jean Nathan, who, along with H. L. Mencken, founded the Smart Set, Fitzgerald “once aroused the wrathful indignation of colored elevator boys in a New York hotel where he was staying by confining their tips at Christmastime to fancily wrapped bottles of a well-known deodorant.” Nathan offers no proof, but once read it’s hard to forget. As for his feelings about Jews, they were more complicated. Although Fitzgerald met and admired Irving Thalberg, who, at twenty-six, headed up production at MGM, it’s entirely possible that Frances Kroll was the first Jewish person he ever spent any time with. I cautiously include the Hollywood gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, who was born Lily Shiel in Leeds, England, to Ukrainian Jewish parents. Fitzgerald and Graham were an item, but she kept both her religion and her upbringing in what a journalist might term deep background.
No surprise, then, that Jews don’t appear often in Fitzgerald’s early work. Sure, there’s the “small flat-nosed” Meyer Wolfsheim in “The Great Gatsby,” with his “tiny eyes” and “two fine growths of hair” inhabiting his nostrils, as well as “a fat Jewess, inlaid with diamonds” in “Echoes of the Jazz Age.” But I have to wonder if such obvious stereotyping constituted true animus. The caricatures of Jews propagated by the Dreyfus Affair around the turn of the century and by the German press in the nineteen-thirties were driven by pure hatred; Fitzgerald was simply reiterating a familiar physiognomic code. He was provincial but not malicious, and made similar attributions about various nationalities, including the Irish. “Jews lose clarity,” he jotted in his “Notebooks.” “They get to look like old melted candles, as if their bodies were preparing to waddle. Irish get slovenly and dirty. Anglo-Saxons get frayed and worn.” Still, we have to admit that his portrayal of Wolfsheim, if not triggered by anti-Semitism, certainly emboldens it.
Fitzgerald would have thrown up his hands at this. According to Kroll, he was stung by accusations of anti-Semitism, and maintained that Wolfsheim “fulfilled a function in the story and had nothing to do with race or religion.” This function (or part of it), interestingly enough, is precisely what riles a reader like Ron Rosenbaum. By purposefully identifying Wolfsheim with Arnold Rothstein, the gambler who fixed the 1919 World Series, Fitzgerald makes him, in Rosenbaum’s opinion, “the Jew who … violated the innocence and despoiled the purity of an iconic American institution.”* But we already knew that going in, didn’t we? Anyway, there were plenty of Jewish gangsters around in the twenties, as well as Jewish boxers. Murder, Inc., was run by Jews, and the young Meyer Lansky and Dutch Schultz were carving out territory in New York when “Gatsby” was percolating in France. It was perfectly reasonable to make a mobster Jewish. The salient fact is that Fitzgerald bought into racial and ethnic stereotypes and saw no reason to think more deeply about Jews—that is, not until he found himself writing a novel about one, the very novel that would be typed up by a maidel from the Bronx.
Frances Kroll knocked on Fitzgerald’s door in April, 1939, when he was living in Encino, California, in a house that belonged to the Brooklyn-born comedic actor Edward Everett Horton (you can catch him in “Lost Horizon” and several Fred Astaire vehicles). The Krolls had moved to Los Angeles a year earlier, and Frances, then twenty-two, began looking for work. By pure chance, an employment agency sent her to Fitzgerald. Almost without preamble, he confided to Kroll that he was writing a novel about Hollywood, which had to be kept absolutely secret—just the sort of thing one reveals to a total stranger at first meeting.
Although Fitzgerald liked to pass himself off as a worldly man, he remained all his life a shaky coalition of contradictory emotions. He was shy, intense, insecure, boastful, eager to please, and eager to be the center of attention. He could behave beautifully one moment and badly the next. By the time Kroll came along, booze, pills, cigarettes, a bad diet, a heart ailment, and possibly a touch of TB had worn the veneer off the physically fit young man who had written some of the best stories about the imperishable dreams of fleeting youth.
He was also, as Kroll soon realized, a frayed alcoholic and a difficult man to work for. “Nothing was simple with Scott Fitzgerald,” she recalled. “Mundane tasks became extraordinary … a test of nerves.” Yet somehow the erratic, once famous writer and the shy, even-tempered girl from the Bronx became friends; and one hopes that by then Fitzgerald had a better idea of where Kroll hailed from. According to Fitzgerald’s biographer Matthew J. Bruccoli, Fitzgerald lived for a time, in 1919, in a small apartment on Claremont Avenue, near Columbia University, which, for some reason, he believed to be in the Bronx.
In Kroll’s charming, unself-conscious memoir, “Against the Current,” Fitzgerald comes off as a polite, sickly, appreciative, middle-aged man who seems genuinely interested in Kroll and her family. Her portrait is affectionate, but not skewed. Her boss’s flaws are on display, but so is a basic decency that compensated for the binge drinking and occasional foolishness. Kroll idolized him, forgave his weaknesses, attended to his needs, and when he made a half-hearted pass at her had the grace to ignore it. She became his confidante, and even acted as a mediator between Fitzgerald and Graham, whose relationship had, let us say, its ups and downs. There were “some wild exchanges between them” is how Kroll put it.
In the summer of 1939, Fitzgerald started to work in earnest on his Hollywood novel, the unfinished “The Last Tycoon,” in which the hero, Monroe Stahr, is based on Irving Thalberg. Although Stahr’s Jewishness is occasionally alluded to, it’s never disparaged. At one point, a director gazes consideringly at Stahr and muses, “He had worked with Jews too long to believe legends that they were small with money.” Elsewhere, the narrator describes Stahr enigmatically as “a rationalist who did his own reasoning without benefit of books—and had just managed to climb out of a thousand years of Jewry into the late eighteenth century.” It’s hard to know what Fitzgerald meant by this. Was Stahr among the few Jews capable of making the transition from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment? In that case, the remark has a distinctly condescending flavor. And why the tail end of the Enlightenment rather than the middle? Every once in a while, you have to wonder if maybe Hemingway was right: Fitzgerald really “couldn’t think.”
That line aside, there’s no trace of anti-Semitism in the novel. Stahr is admirable in almost every respect, and only a determined political correctivist would be bothered by another character, “a middle-aged Jew who alternately talked with nervous excitement or else crouched as if ready to spring.” It might be that Fitzgerald was now compensating for his distasteful portrayal of Wolfsheim, or maybe he didn’t want to be labeled anti-Semitic in an industry populated by Jews, or maybe he was mindful of what was going on in Europe in 1939. Or just maybe the fact that he spent the greater part of his days and nights with two Jewish women contributed to his portrait of Stahr.
As Kroll tells it, Fitzgerald displayed a great deal of curiosity about Jewishness, pestering her about Jewish characteristics and customs. He was fascinated by “the Passover feast” and the practice of keepingkosher. After learning that Kroll’s father had emigrated from Russia at age sixteen, he impulsively sent him a King James edition of the Old and New Testaments, with a note that read “from a friend and colleague of your daughter.” Kroll also lets us know that as Christmas, 1940, rolled around, Fitzgerald began fretting about a gift for his daughter, Scottie. When Graham generously offered up a new, barely worn fur coat that needed a little altering, Kroll suggested that her father, a furrier, might do the job. And, indeed, Samuel Kroll “remodelled the coat free of charge.”
It would be nice to report that Fitzgerald eventually rid himself of anti-Semitic feelings, but it wouldn’t be true. As Kroll noted, nothing was simple with Scott. He was a man of insistent contradictions; and with a few drinks under his belt, his darker and more foolish side took over. When drunk, he could sing out “Lily Shiel” and “She’s a Jew.” Or he might take Kroll aside and confide to her that Graham was “part Jewish,” as though he and Kroll were in cahoots.
But he wasn’t often drunk, not toward the end, and it’s entirely possible that the company of Jewish women made Fitzgerald feel warmer toward Jews in general. And though it was probably nothing more than a tic, he apparently liked going to delicatessens, according to Graham, and ordering knishes because he liked saying “knish.” The last word, however, should belong to Kroll, who, I suspect, would not have put up with any anti-Semitic nonsense from him; nor would she have remembered him quite so fondly had he exhibited a virulent bias toward her people: “My memory harbors a gentle man with a nearly collapsed dream whose prevailing gift gave him the strength to keep doing what he did best—to write.”
*This sentence has been revised to note the correct year that Arnold Rothstein fixed the World Series.
THE IRAN DEAL IS A BAD DEAL FOR FREEDOM
Emerson and Islam
BY RUSSELL B. GOODMAN
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), a quintessentially American writer and thinker, is also one of the most international. Greek, Roman, Chinese, Indian, Persian, French, British, and German philosophers and literary figures pervade his work. As we think about “Western values” and “the clash of civilizations” today, it may be useful to consider the significant role that Islam plays in Emerson’s thought. To begin, we need look no farther than the conclusion of Emerson’s greatest essay, ‘Self-Reliance,’ where he quotes “the Caliph Ali,” whom he learned about from Simon Ockley’s History of the Saracens (1718): “Thy lot or portion of life, is seeking after thee; therefore be at rest from seeking after it.” Emerson uses Ali to distinguish an accidental property like an inheritance from an essential or “living property,” something “that perpetually renews itself wherever the man breathes.” This kind of property cannot be effectively pursued, but it can be received and employed.
Emerson regarded the Koran, as he regarded the sacred texts of all religions, as a work of poetry and invention that influenced world history by offering a vision and inducing enthusiasm. “Every great and commanding moment in the annals of the world,” he writes in ‘Man the Reformer’ (1841), “is the triumph of some enthusiasm. The victories of the Arabs after Mahomet, who in a few years, from a small and mean beginning, established a larger empire than that of Rome, is an example.” This is the Emerson who wrote in ‘Self-Reliance’ that “Nothing great is achieved without enthusiasm.”
But Emerson qualifies his approval of the Arab conquests. He predicts “a nobler morning than that Arabian faith, in the sentiment of love.” This is not a plea for Christianity, nor an entire rejection of Islam, but an embrace of what Emerson calls “love” or “universal sunshine,” and which he finds in many cultures. At the center of his own great essay, ‘Experience,’ Emerson finds this sunshine in a “region of being” that is as much American as Islamic: an “august magnificence, old with the love and homage of innumerable ages, young with the life of life, the sunbright Mecca of the desert … I am ready to die out of nature, and be born again into this new yet unapproachable America I have found in the West.” Interpreting these lines and the paragraph in which they occur is a large enterprise, but what I am calling attention to here is the conjunction of Mecca and America in a crucial section of a representative American writing.
Another line of Islamic thought in Emerson comes from the Persian poets, especially the fourteenth century poet Hafiz. In ‘History’ (1841), Emerson places Hafiz among the major writers of world literature, along with Homer and Chaucer. Emerson’s engagement with him deepened after he obtained Joseph von Hammer’s German translation of Hafiz’s Divan in 1846. Emerson appreciated Hafiz’s multiple aspects and tendencies: as a mystic and a proponent of wine and the beauty of nature and women, and as an active, ironic opponent of self-satisfied conformity. Emerson admired the “easy audacity” with which Hafiz approaches all topics: he “tears off his turban and throws it at the head of the meddling dervis, and throws his glass after the turban.” Although Hafiz sincerely “praises wine, roses, maidens, boys, birds, mornings, and music,” Emerson writes in ‘Persian Poetry’ (1858), that he “lays the emphasis on these to mark his scorn of sanctimony and base prudence.”
This sounds somewhat like Emerson himself, who in his younger days scandalized Harvard audiences with his “American Scholar” and “Divinity School” addresses, and who explained that to be self-reliant was to have an “aversion” to “conformity.” The portrait of Hafiz also resonates with an imagined Persian sage named Osman (the Turkish form of the Arabic “Osama”) who appears in Emerson’s journals and at the end of one of Emerson’s most deceptive essays, ‘Manners’ (1844). “The Shah at Schiraz,” Emerson writes with his characteristic taste for the overturning of established meanings, “could not afford to be so bountiful as the poor Osman who dwelt at his gate.” Osman’s humanity was “so broad and deep,” Emerson continues, “that although his speech was so bold and free with the Koran as to disgust all the dervishes, yet was there never a poor outcast, eccentric, or insane man, but fled at once to him — that great heart lay there so sunny and hospitable in the centre of the country … And the madness which he harbored, he did not share. Is not this to be rich?”
How can we learn to appreciate this kind of sunny wealth, and where are our contemporary Osmans? In his mid-nineteenth century innocence and wisdom, Emerson raises these and other questions for us today, in essays that show us not the clash but the confluence and interpenetration of civilizations.
Russell B. Goodman is Professor of Philosophy and Regents’ Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico. He writes about pragmatism, Transcendentalism, and other currents of thought in America, including the philosophy of Stanley Cavell. He is also the author of American Philosophy before Pragmatism.
Stygian: (STIJ-ee-uhn) 1. Dark or gloomy. 2. Hellish.3. Unbreakable or completely binding (said of an oath).4. Relating to the river Styx. In Greek mythology Styx was a river in the underworld over which souls of the dead were ferried by Charon (after whom Pluto’s largest moon is named). Styx was also the river by which oaths were sworn that even gods were afraid to break. The word is from Latin Stygius, from Greek Stygios, from Styx (the hateful).
San Carlos Artist Drops Free Art in Public to Promote Happiness
By Garvin Thomas
Growing up in San Carlos, Lindsay DeAlba doesn't remember a time in her life that she wasn't creating art.
In fact, the 31-year-old teacher would love, one day, to find a way to support herself with her art. Of course, she would have to sell a lot of it to do that. All of which makes what Lindsay has been doing these past few months rather strange: driving up and down the Peninsula in her green Volkswagen Beetle, giving her art away for free.
With a twist, of course.
Every Friday this summer Lindsay has been dropping the art, which she creates in her studio in her mother's backyard, at various spots along with a note letting people know it's free. All she asks is that finders and keepers pay her act of kindness forward.
“It's such a small gesture but if you can make one person happy, you you're making some type of difference.”
Project Happiness, as she calls it, came to life when Lindsay made a spur of the moment decision while sitting in her studio and thinking about all of the difficult and ugly things she had been hearing on the news. Looking around at her pieces of art, she realized that she wanted others to have them.
“What good is all this art sitting in my studio just for me?”
Wearing pajamas and a coat, she hopped in her car with 20 of her best paintings in hand.
Within a half an hour of her first art drop, the texts messages, emails and social media posts were already flooding in from friends, family and strangers who had picked up her pieces.
“I was nervous the whole time and then after I felt, like, this sense of relief and like yes, I did it!” she says. “It was kind of a rush.”
She immediately decided it was something she wanted to keep doing. In addition to her, weekly, art drops, Lindsay has been contacted by people in more than a dozen states as well as seven countries who have learned what she is doing and want to be a part of it. Lindsay ships those people paintings, they leave them in public places, and share pictures of the scene with Lindsay.
“Happiness is a combination of positive moments. So people are creating positive moments for themselves by dropping the art and they're also creating positive moments for the people finding the art.”
“It is possible that longing for something is better than actually having it. I’ve heard it said that satisfaction is the death of desire.” Hank Moody
NEW POP LIT
Not NFL. Not NPR. A mutant offspring: New Pop Lit
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN COLAPINTO
Who is John Colapinto? Why should we care that 40 U.S. publishers have declined to publish his novel?
This story is about more than a single unpublished novel. It’s about the mindset of established U.S. publishing– more, about the timid, politically-correct mentality of many literary people inhabiting Manhattan island. “Thou shalt not make waves.”
The novel, Undone, about con-artists trying to bilk a writer, involves possible or suggested incest. Dark, comical, satirical– it’s clearly been deemed too much for American readers.
(This matter has been amply covered in Canada, such as here.)
(For background on John Colapinto, read his wikipedia page.)
NEW POP LIT: Can a novel be both “pop” and literary?
COLAPINTO: I’ve staked my fiction writing career on it, yes. I want to be accessible, readable and entertaining, but I don’t want to sacrifice the pleasures and difficulties of literary fiction. In the case of my first novel, About the Author, which is, on the surface, a straight suspense thriller, the “literary” elements include an unreliable, and quite unlikeable and self-deluded narrator (it’s fun reading all the fulminating Amazon and Goodreads reviewers who angrily give the book one star because they “hated” the narrator), and also the form and structure of the novel, which, at the end, reveals itself to be a confession written in real time (a British reviewer likened it to an MC Escher drawing).Undone can also be read as a straight suspense narrative (will he or won’t he succumb to temptation?), but its difficulties and complications are moral and tonal. The book confronts readers with disturbing emotions and attitudes, mostly sexual, and implicates the reader by making him or her feel sympathetic to the characters who are behaving so badly. The book also refuses to take the requisite tone of proper Oprah-style somber gravity when dealing with its sex offender villain, who is presented as an often very funny and dashing individual whose sardonic opinions about the hypocrisy and mendacity of American culture many smart readers have identified with. Pure “pop” writing keeps things simpler, in terms of reader identification. My book makes things a little less comfortable for the reader.
NEW POP LIT: A theme of Undone might be nature versus society. Does society impose too many arbitrary rules on we the people as individuals?
COLAPINTO: Societies emerge from the grouping of people in a given geography, and the rules that grow up to govern behavior are a way to try to control all the wild and unruly impulses that would otherwise break out and cause things to descend into chaos: murderous rages and rivalries, sexual acting out, and so on. I suppose on that level I think we need the rules imposed on us—human beings are just that volatile, just that close to slipping out of control, just that animalistic and, really, savage. Undone dissects the destructive impulses that lie just under the surface of calm society, even under the skin of an otherwise highly civilized, good and decent man. The problem is that, even when we recognize an impulse as uncivilized, this doesn’t change the fact that we are in its awful grip, and some impulses are so wrackingly powerful, so life-destroyingly insistent—most obviously the sexual impulse, which is nothing less than the imperative for any organism to pass along its genetic material and thus guarantee the propagation and perpetuation of the species. In the face of such encoded reflexes, which surely originate in the most basic areas of our dinosaur brains, society’s rules are pathetically ill-equipped to hold us back from answering the primitive urge. This strikes me as an endlessly fertile subject for fiction—and a subject which, in recent years, editors and writers seem to have shied away from. Hence my (suicidally stupid?) decision to address it in as bold and disturbing a way as I could dream up.
NEW POP LIT: There are two main reasons for any company to publish a novel. First, that it’s entertaining. Second, that it has literary quality. By all accounts, Undone scores on both counts. Why won’t New York book companies then publish it?
COLAPINTO: Editor after editor praised the book, extravagantly, then apologetically added it was “too difficult” to publish, owing to its theme, which either made them “too squeamish,” or left them “drained” or otherwise troubled. One bigwig executive editor at a major house called it “wry, provocative and beautifully written,” then sniffly wrote, “but it’s not a world I want to explore or live in.” In other words, he was morally above this degraded and shocking material, he was too tasteful, poised and literary. I later spoke with him in person, over lunch, and he was, once again, highly complimentary of the book but he now took an almost pleading tone as he begged me to tell him how he could sell a book about “incest” (it’s not about actual incest) to his marketing teams, and how those teams could then convince the major book chains to buy the book and display it prominently. When he saw that I wasn’t sympathetic to his plight—I, after all, had taken the five year gamble of writing the thing and was thus not so interested in hearing about how frightened he was of going out on a limb with it; that’s what publishing is: going out on limbs; taking risks; trying to deliver something that readers haven’t seen 50 million times before—he took a new tack, telling me: “Besides, Michiko doesn’t like plotty novels.” He was referring to the all-powerful NY Times critic, Michiko Kakutani.
NEW POP LIT: Are U.S. publishing mandarins too uptight?
COLAPINTO: About certain subject matter—you bet. This isn’t to say that they won’t publish stuff that’s allegedly “shocking,” or “troubling,” but it’s all the sanctioned, proven subjects written about with the proper tone of solemnity, and with resolutions that involve soothing elements of “recovery” or “redemption”—books, in short, that are carbon copies of earlier books that made it onto the bestseller lists. Thus the parade of novels (or, God help me,memoirs) detailing the most grotesque examples of childhood sexual abuse, or physical abuse, or drug addiction (yawn), or whatever the particular dysfunction de jour happens to be. This stuff is so predictable as to be laughable. And then they congratulate themselves for their “courage” and “guts” and “bravery” in publishing such “raw” and “real” material. In a way it’s kind of hilarious. Or it would be, if so much wasn’t at stake.
NEW POP LIT: Does the suppression of Undone signal the lack of real freedom of expression in this country?
COLAPINTO: I’m not sure. I do think it signals the terrible timidity and fear of publishers in the face of a grinding worldwide recession that has, along with the rise of the e-reader and the distractions of Youtube and social media, made book sales plummet. This relates to my earlier answer. Like Hollywood studio executives who are constantly trying to get a hit by emulating what has already been done, editors today have a fanatic terror of their corporate pay masters who will fire their sorry asses if they publish too many books that are not smasheroos, so they instantly reject anything that is a little darker, a little weirder, a little more original or less categorizable than what they’ve seen before. Whereas they should be in the business of seeking out just such new and refreshing or risky or dangerous stuff, they’re engaged in just the opposite. It’s a sorry state of affairs and lest you suppose I say this out of sour grapes over the universal rejection of Undone, I will tell you, in all seriousness and honesty, that I had already diagnosed this trend in publishing years before I even wrote my novel—and that I wrote it with full consciousness that I was writing something that would terrify them. Am I admitting to writing a book that I knew they would reject? Yes. Am I crazy? Possibly. But at the same time, I did dream that there would be thatone outlier editor, that lone wolf who would love the book (as, thank God, many readers in Canada have) and recognize that, in a time of terribly depressed book sales, you might want to publish a book that will generate some debate and controversy, that will get readers arguing and talking—and thus drive sales (given that this seems to be the only thing that matters to them). I did find that editor—in Canada. But Canada’s a small country and I live in the USA, and my dream was for an American publisher. Apparently, I can keep dreaming. The book is going through a whole new round of rejections even as we speak.
NEW POP LIT: What’s been the response of the New York literary world to this suppression? Maybe I’ve missed it, but I haven’t read a lot of buzz in the U.S. about the matter.
COLAPINTO: No one has taken it up as a cause, although I also admit to not having hired a U.S. publicist and tried to shoe-horn it into the American media. For one thing, I’m too cheap and for another, it just strikes me as unseemly. I’d rather people somehow “found” the book. Although, actually, I did tweet maniacally about it for a while to my 130 followers, hoping to stir some indignation or interest. Nothing. A few of my followers, it must be said, are highly influential people in the media who might well have taken it up as a subject to write about or explore—if only as one example (among many others) of timidity in book publishing today. But nothing. It has been a bit of a disappointment. Through the string-pulling of a friend, I got a culture blog, HeadButler, to invite me to write about the debacle, and that little essay of mine was picked up by the Huffington Post where it managed to climb onto the list of “Featured posts”—and I briefly entertained hopes that the Times or some other august organ would pick it up. But no. I’m not sure what to chalk this up to. Being a typically insecure writer, I tell myself it’s because I’m not a famous guy, my little personal disaster isn’t “News that’s fit to print,” not a subject of national importance. And while this is no doubt true, I do sometimes think that my story, along with that of other writers of my acquaintance who are suffering similar rejection, could be part of a larger cultural trend story examining why mainstream fiction is so unutterably dull and predictable these days.
NEW POP LIT: Are ideas today expected to fit an acceptable narrative? Are we drowning in political correctness?
COLAPINTO: Well, inevitably, I think political correctness does apply to the case of Undone. The book was, as I mentioned, a deliberate provocation in the sense that it took on subject matter that I knew publishers were particularly sensitive about these days: heterosexual male desire. Ever since David Foster Wallace excoriated Updike and Mailer and Roth in a 1997 essay, calling them priapic narcissists and railing against the “patriarchal” tone of their writing about sex, publishers (and authors) have been very careful indeed about how they address the inconvenient truth of male desire. “Trigger warnings” were suddenly being issued to college students about literary classics involving rape. Suddenly all the protagonists in novels were either pre-sexual nine year old savants or neurotic hipsters too neurasthenic to entertain anything but guilt and shame about their tepid sexual impulses (which they were too timorous to act on). This began to strike me as a little dreary and humorless, to say nothing of the fact that, as a writer and human, I don’t like it when I catch wind of proscriptions on expression.
NEW POP LIT: Given Fifty Shades of Grey– or masses of hyper-violent novels cranked out by the conglomerates– is there any credible excuse not to publish Undone? Something seems wrong with their standards.
COLAPINTO: Fifty Shades of Grey, besides being one of the most execrable pieces of writing every perpetrated—and not even in a fun way—would never have been published by an established house if it had not already proven itself a massive hit amongst zillions ofTwilight fan fiction readers on the Internet (see my earlier musings on publishers going only with “sure things”). The horrible, horrible irony of Fifty Shades is that of course it never should have been published, and not because of its limp “sex” scenes, but because of its unspeakable writing, which is a true crime against man and nature. Yet the geniuses of New York publishing, smelling guaranteed dollars, brought out this nightmare—and were rewarded with incredible sales. So all the wrong lessons were learned. As a final thought on this matter, I think that Fifty Shades was ultimately something publishers could get their heads around because it’s really so harmless, so toothless and inoffensive in its treatment of sex: it is soft titillation fiction, suburban mom masturbation material for use after a glass of Chardonnay when the husband and kids are off to bed. My book pushes more uncomfortable buttons, and it does so without apology and even with some flare and fun—which may be its biggest crime. It doesn’t have the requisite sorrowing tone. That same editor who whined about selling Undone to his marketing team told me that it was “too entertaining for its subject matter,” which remains my favorite statement on the book.
NEW POP LIT: Is it time to move publishing out of New York?
COLAPINTO: Yes. Move it to Detroit.
I LOVE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS FROM FILM
In 1888 George Eastman revolutionized photography with the Kodak camera. This simple, small, portable box was loaded with rolled film that could be sent off for processing and printing, eliminating the need for amateurs to learn the mechanics of photography.
American 20th Century, "Untitled," c. 1930, gelatin silver print, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Robert E. Jackson, 2007
Your first look at the logo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
GOOD WORDS TO HAVE
Nocturnal (nok-TUHR-nuhl) adjective: Relating to, happening, or active at night. From Latin nocturnalis (of the night), from nox (night).Pluto’s moon Nix is named after Nyx, the ancient Greek goddess personifying night. In Roman mythology she’s known as Nox. The Latin word for night, nox, also appears in such words as equinox (equal day and night) and noctambulation (sleepwalking).
HERE'S SOME GREAT ART TO LOOK AT..................
Two Wines Glasses. John Singer Sargent, 1874
Winslow Homer The Boatman (1891)
Architecture for the blog of it
Art for the Blog of It
Art for the Pop of it
Photography for the blog of it
Music for the Blog of it
Sculpture this and Sculpture that
The art of War (Propaganda art through the ages)
Album Art (Photographic arts)
Pulp Fiction Trash (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)
Admit it, you want to Read this Book (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)
The Godfather Trilogy BlogSpot
On the Waterfront: The Making of a great American Film
The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)
Good chowda (New England foods)
Old New England Recipes (Book support site)
And I Love Clams (New England foods)
In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener (New England foods)
Wicked Cool New England Recipes (New England foods)
Old New England Recipes (New England foods)
Foster Care new and Updates
Aging out of the system
Murder, Death and Abuse in the Foster Care system
Angel and Saints in the Foster Care System
The Foster Children’s Blogs
Foster Care Legislation
The Foster Children’s Bill of Right
Foster Kids own Story
The Adventures of Foster Kid.
Me vs. Diabetes (Diabetes education site)
The Quotable Helen Keller
Teddy Roosevelt's Letters to his children (Book support site)
The Quotable Machiavelli (Book support site)
Whatever you do, don't laugh
The Quotable Grouch Marx
A Big Blog of Irish Literature
The Wee Blog of Irish Jokes (Book support blog)
The Wee Blog of Irish Recipes
The Irish American Gangster
The Irish in their Own Words
When Washington Was Irish
The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)
The Blogable Robert Frost
The Beat Poets of the Forever Generation
Holden Caulfield Blog Spot
The Quotable Oscar Wilde
NEW ENGLAND BLOGS
The Quotable Thoreau
Old New England Recipes
Wicked Cool New England Recipes
The New England Mafia
And I Love Clams
In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener
The Connecticut History Blog
The Connecticut Irish
God, How I hated the 70s
Child of the Sixties Forever
The Kennedy’s in the 60’s
Music of the Sixties Forever
Elvis and Nixon at the White House (Book support site)
Beatles Fan Forever
Year One, 1955
Robert Kennedy in His Own Words
The 1980s were fun
The 1990s. The last decade.
The Russian Mafia
The American Jewish Gangster
The Mob in Hollywood
We Only Kill Each Other
Early Gangsters of New York City
Al Capone: Biography of a self-made Man
The Life and World of Al Capone
The Salerno Report
Guns and Glamour
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Recipes we would Die For
The Prohibition in Pictures
The Mob in Pictures
The Mob in Vegas
The Irish American Gangster
Roger Touhy Gangster
Chicago’s Mob Bosses
Chicago Gang Land: It Happened Here
Whacked: One Hundred years of Murder in Gangland
The Mob Across America
Mob Cops, Lawyers and Front Men
Shooting the Mob: Dutch Schultz
Bugsy& His Flamingo: The Testimony of Virginia Hill
After Valachi. Hearings before the US Senate on Organized Crime
Mob Buster: Report of Special Agent Virgil Peterson to the Kefauver Committee (Book support site)
The US Government’s Timeline of Organized Crime (Book support site)
The Kefauver Organized Crime Hearings (Book support site)
Joe Valachi's testimony on the Mafia (Book support site)
Mobsters in the News
Shooting the Mob: Dead Mobsters (Book support site)
The Stolen Years Full Text (Roger Touhy)
Mobsters in Black and White
Mafia Gangsters, Wiseguys and Goodfellas
Whacked: One Hundred Years of Murder and Mayhem in the Chicago Mob (Book support site)
Gangland Gaslight: The Killing of Rosy Rosenthal (Book support site)
The Best of the Mob Files Series (Book support site)
It’s All Greek Mythology to me
The Rarifieid Tribe
The Upscale Traveler
The Mish Mosh Blog
DC Behind the Monuments
When Washington Was Irish
FROM LLR BOOKS. COM
Litchfield Literary Books. A really small company run by writers.
The Day Nixon Met Elvis
Paperback 46 pages
Theodore Roosevelt: Letters to his Children. 1903-1918
Paperback 194 pages
THE ANCIENT GREEKS AND CIVILIZATIONS
The Works of Horace
Paperback 174 pages
The Quotable Greeks
Paperback 234 pages
The Quotable Epictetus
Paperback 142 pages
Quo Vadis: A narrative of the time of Nero
Paperback 420 pages
The Porchless Pumpkin: A Halloween Story for Children
A Halloween play for young children. By consent of the author, this play may be performed, at no charge, by educational institutions, neighborhood organizations and other not-for-profit-organizations.
A fun story with a moral
“I believe that Denny O'Day is an American treasure and this little book proves it. Jack is a pumpkin who happens to be very small, by pumpkins standards and as a result he goes unbought in the pumpkin patch on Halloween eve, but at the last moment he is given his chance to prove that just because you're small doesn't mean you can't be brave. Here is the point that I found so wonderful, the book stresses that while size doesn't matter when it comes to courage...ITS OKAY TO BE SCARED....as well. I think children need to hear that, that's its okay to be unsure because life is a ongoing lesson isn't it?”
Paperback: 42 pages
BOOKS ON FOSTER CARE
It's Not All Right to be a Foster Kid....no matter what they tell you: Tweet the books contents
Paperback 94 pages
From the Author
I spent my childhood, from age seven through seventeen, in foster care. Over the course of those ten years, many decent, well-meaning, and concerned people told me, "It's okay to be foster kid."
In saying that, those very good people meant to encourage me, and I appreciated their kindness then, and all these many decades later, I still appreciate their good intentions. But as I was tossed around the foster care system, it began to dawn on me that they were wrong. It was not all right to be a foster kid.
During my time in the system, I was bounced every eighteen months from three foster homes to an orphanage to a boy's school and to a group home before I left on my own accord at age seventeen.
In the course of my stay in foster care, I was severely beaten in two homes by my "care givers" and separated from my four siblings who were also in care, sometimes only blocks away from where I was living.
I left the system rather than to wait to age out, although the effects of leaving the system without any family, means, or safety net of any kind, were the same as if I had aged out. I lived in poverty for the first part of my life, dropped out of high school, and had continuous problems with the law.
Today, almost nothing about foster care has changed. Exactly what happened to me is happening to some other child, somewhere in America, right now. The system, corrupt, bloated, and inefficient, goes on, unchanging and secretive.
Something has gone wrong in a system that was originally a compassionate social policy built to improve lives but is now a definitive cause in ruining lives. Due to gross negligence, mismanagement, apathy, and greed, mostly what the foster care system builds are dangerous consequences. Truly, foster care has become our epic national disgrace and a nightmare for those of us who have lived through it.
Yet there is a suspicion among some Americans that foster care costs too much, undermines the work ethic, and is at odds with a satisfying life. Others see foster care as a part of the welfare system, as legal plunder of the public treasuries.
None of that is true; in fact, all that sort of thinking does is to blame the victims. There is not a single child in the system who wants to be there or asked to be there. Foster kids are in foster care because they had nowhere else to go. It's that simple. And believe me, if those kids could get out of the system and be reunited with their parents and lead normal, healthy lives, they would. And if foster care is a sort of legal plunder of the public treasuries, it's not the kids in the system who are doing the plundering.
We need to end this needless suffering. We need to end it because it is morally and ethically wrong and because the generations to come will not judge us on the might of our armed forces or our technological advancements or on our fabulous wealth.
Rather, they will judge us, I am certain, on our compassion for those who are friendless, on our decency to those who have nothing and on our efforts, successful or not, to make our nation and our world a better place. And if we cannot accomplish those things in the short time allotted to us, then let them say of us "at least they tried."
You can change the tragedy of foster care and here's how to do it. We have created this book so that almost all of it can be tweeted out by you to the world. You have the power to improve the lives of those in our society who are least able to defend themselves. All you need is the will to do it.
If the American people, as good, decent and generous as they are, knew what was going on in foster care, in their name and with their money, they would stop it. But, generally speaking, although the public has a vague notion that foster care is a mess, they don't have the complete picture. They are not aware of the human, economic and social cost that the mismanagement of the foster care system puts on our nation.
By tweeting the facts laid out in this work, you can help to change all of that. You can make a difference. You can change things for the better.
We can always change the future for a foster kid; to make it better ...you have the power to do that. Speak up (or tweet out) because it's your country. Don't depend on the "The other guy" to speak up for these kids, because you are the other guy.
We cannot build a future for foster children, but we can build foster children for the future and the time to start that change is today.
No time to say Goodbye: Memoirs of a life in foster
Paperbook 440 Books
BOOKS ABOUT FILM
On the Waterfront: The Making of a Great American Film
Paperback: 416 pages
BOOKS ABOUT GHOSTS AND THE SUPERNATUAL
Scotish Ghost Stories
Paperback 186 pages
The Book of funny odd and interesting things people say
Paperback: 278 pages
The Wee Book of Irish Jokes
Perfect Behavior: A guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in all Social Crises
BOOKS ABOUT THE 1960s
You Don’t Need a Weatherman. Underground 1969
Paperback 122 pages
Baby Boomers Guide to the Beatles Songs of the Sixties
Baby Boomers Guide to Songs of the 1960s
The Connecticut Irish
Paper back 140 pages
The Wee Book of Irish Jokes
The Wee Book of Irish Recipes
The Wee Book of the American-Irish Gangsters
The Wee book of Irish Blessings...
The Wee Book of the American Irish in Their Own Words
Everything you need to know about St. Patrick
Paperback 26 pages
A Reading Book in Ancient Irish History
The Book of Things Irish
Poets and Dreamer; Stories translated from the Irish
Paperback 158 pages
The History of the Great Irish Famine: Abridged and Illustrated
Paperback 356 pages
BOOKS ABOUT NEW ENGLAND
The New England Mafia
Wicked Good New England Recipes
The Connecticut Irish
Paper back 140 pages
The Twenty-Fifth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Paperback 64 pages
The Life of James Mars
Paperback 54 pages
Stories of Colonial Connecticut
Paperback 116 pages
What they Say in Old New England
Paperback 194 pages
BOOK ABOUT ORGANIZED CRIME
Chicago Organized Crime
The Mob Files: It Happened Here: Places of Note in Chicago gangland 1900-2000
An Illustrated Chronological History of the Chicago Mob. Time Line 1837-2000
Mob Buster: Report of Special Agent Virgil Peterson to the Kefauver Committee
The Mob Files. Guns and Glamour: The Chicago Mob. A History. 1900-2000
Shooting the Mob: Organized crime in photos. Crime Boss Tony Accardo
Shooting the Mob: Organized Crime in Photos: The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.
The Life and World of Al Capone in Photos
AL CAPONE: The Biography of a Self-Made Man.: Revised from the 0riginal 1930 edition.Over 200 new photographs
Paperback: 340 pages
Whacked. One Hundred Years Murder and Mayhem in the Chicago Outfit
Paperback: 172 pages
Las Vegas Organized Crime
The Mob in Vegas
Bugsy & His Flamingo: The Testimony of Virginia Hill
Testimony by Mobsters Lewis McWillie, Joseph Campisi and Irwin Weiner (The Mob Files Series)
Rattling the Cup on Chicago Crime.
Paperback 264 pages
The Life and Times of Terrible Tommy O’Connor.
Paperback 94 pages
The Mob, Sam Giancana and the overthrow of the Black Policy Racket in Chicago
Paperback 200 pages
When Capone’s Mob Murdered Roger Touhy. In Photos
Paperback 234 pages
Organized Crime in Hollywood
The Mob in Hollywood
The Bioff Scandal
Paperback 54 pages
Organized Crime in New York
Joe Pistone’s war on the mafia
Mob Testimony: Joe Pistone, Michael Scars DiLeonardo, Angelo Lonardo and others
The New York Mafia: The Origins of the New York Mob
The New York Mob: The Bosses
Organized Crime 25 Years after Valachi. Hearings before the US Senate
Shooting the mob: Dutch Schultz
Gangland Gaslight: The Killing of Rosy Rosenthal. (Illustrated)
Early Street Gangs and Gangsters of New York City
Paperback 382 pages
THE RUSSIAN MOBS
The Russian Mafia in America
The Threat of Russian Organzied Crime
Paperback 192 pages
Best of Mob Stories
Best of Mob Stories Part 2
Mob Recipes to Die For. Meals and Mobsters in Photos
More Mob Recipes to Die For. Meals and Mobs
The New England Mafia
Shooting the mob. Organized crime in photos. Dead Mobsters, Gangsters and Hoods.
The Salerno Report: The Mafia and the Murder of President John F. Kennedy
The Mob Files: Mob Wars. "We only kill each other"
The Mob across America
The US Government’s Time Line of Organzied Crime 1920-1987
Early Street Gangs and Gangsters of New York City: 1800-1919. Illustrated
The Mob Files: Mob Cops, Lawyers and Informants and Fronts
Gangster Quotes: Mobsters in their own words. Illustrated
Paperback: 128 pages
The Book of American-Jewish Gangsters: A Pictorial History.
Paperback: 436 pages
The Mob and the Kennedy Assassination
Paperback 414 pages
BOOKS ABOUT THE OLD WEST
The Last Outlaw: The story of Cole Younger, by Himself
Paperback 152 pages
BOOKS ON PHOTOGRAPHY
Chicago: A photographic essay.
Paperback: 200 pages
Boomers on a train: A ten minute play
Paperback 22 pages
Four Short Plays
By John William Tuohy
Four More Short Plays
By John William Tuohy
High and Goodbye: Everybody gets the Timothy Leary they deserve. A full length play
By John William Tuohy
Cyberdate. An Everyday Love Story about Everyday People
By John William Tuohy
The Dutchman's Soliloquy: A one Act Play based on the factual last words of Gangster Dutch Schultz.
By John William Tuohy
Fishbowling on The Last Words of Dutch Schultz: Or William S. Burroughs intersects with Dutch Schultz
Print Length: 57 pages
American Shakespeare: August Wilson in his own words. A One Act Play
By John William Tuohy
She Stoops to Conquer
The Seven Deadly Sins of Gilligan’s Island: A ten minute play
Print Length: 14 pages
BOOKS ABOUT VIRGINIA
OUT OF CONTROL: An Informal History of the Fairfax County Police
McLean Virginia. A short informal history
THE QUOTABLE SERIES
The Quotable Emerson: Life lessons from the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: Over 300 quotes
The Quotable John F. Kennedy
The Quotable Oscar Wilde
The Quotable Machiavelli
The Quotable Confucius: Life Lesson from the Chinese Master
The Quotable Henry David Thoreau
The Quotable Robert F. Kennedy
The Quotable Writer: Writers on the Writers Life
The words of Walt Whitman: An American Poet
Paperback: 162 pages
Gangster Quotes: Mobsters in their own words. Illustrated
Paperback: 128 pages
The Quotable Popes
Paperback 66 pages
The Quotable Kahlil Gibran with Artwork from Kahlil Gibran
Paperback 52 pages
Kahlil Gibran, an artist, poet, and writer was born on January 6, 1883 n the north of modern-day Lebanon and in what was then part of Ottoman Empire. He had no formal schooling in Lebanon. In 1895, the family immigrated to the United States when Kahlil was a young man and settled in South Boston. Gibran enrolled in an art school and was soon a member of the avant-garde community and became especially close to Boston artist, photographer, and publisher Fred Holland Day who encouraged and supported Gibran’s creative projects. An accomplished artist in drawing and watercolor, Kahlil attended art school in Paris from 1908 to 1910, pursuing a symbolist and romantic style. He held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day's studio. It was at this exhibition, that Gibran met Mary Elizabeth Haskell, who ten years his senior. The two formed an important friendship and love affair that lasted the rest of Gibran’s short life. Haskell influenced every aspect of Gibran’s personal life and career. She became his editor when he began to write and ushered his first book into publication in 1918, The Madman, a slim volume of aphorisms and parables written in biblical cadence somewhere between poetry and prose. Gibran died in New York City on April 10, 1931, at the age of 48 from cirrhosis of the liver and tuberculosis.
The Quotable Dorothy Parker
Paperback 86 pages
The Quotable Machiavelli
Paperback 36 pages
The Quotable Greeks
Paperback 230 pages
The Quotabe Oscar Wilde
Paperback 24 pages
The Quotable Helen Keller
Paperback 66 pages
The Art of War: Sun Tzu
Paperback 60 pages
The Quotable Shakespeare
Paperback 54 pages
The Quotable Gorucho Marx
Paperback 46 pages