John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

"Local Orphan is Hero" A short story by John William Tuohy

A short story
John William Tuohy

He walked to work because he couldn’t drive a car. He never learned how. So five mornings a week, at 5:45 A.M., he began the half-mile journey to the Diner.
He walked slowly because he was aging now and because of his limp and the defined tilt his body took to the left because of what happened to him in the war.
Although it happened so long ago, when he was a younger and thinner man than he is now, every morning it all came back to him.
He still felt himself being flung backwards onto the ground, and that tiny piece of burning hot metal that flew inside his left ear and lodged there, scalding him from the inside. Dozens of bits of metallic specks burned his face, his chest, and his stomach. It hurt and it all hurt in the same way. First, it burned for a while and then stopped after it melted onto his skin. Even after the hospital dislodged dozens and dozens of tiny bits of the scrap with a razor-sharp scalpel, black scars pockmarked his face and gave him a rough, slightly intimidating appearance. The big piece that went inside his ear did the most damage. It felt as if someone had shoved a pair of burning pliers into his head and then tried to open them. All he had wanted to do was to open his mouth as wide as he could because that made the pressure go away for a few seconds. During one of those brief reprieves from the pain he realized he couldn’t hear anything. He thought maybe he was dead.
He looked around and realized he was sprawled on the ground, and looked to his right and saw Machaon, that guy from—where was he from? That place in the south. Machaon’s eyes were open so wide he wondered if it hurt to do that, to open your eyes that wide.
He narrowed his eyes to see what Machaon was staring at: his stomach and all the things that go into the makings of his stomach, except they were outside of him now. There were blue veins and red veins and long skinny white things that looked as if they could be veins, and something still inside his stomach that bounced up and down and was purple.
He lifted his eyes back to Machaon’s face and his eyes were still open wide and his mouth was open too, wide, just like his eyes. He was startled when Machaon shook violently from head to toe, so he looked like he was dancing on his back. Then, as suddenly as he started shaking, he stopped. After a few seconds, his head snapped backwards, fast like, and then he was perfectly still. And that’s when he got nervous, because he never saw anything like that before. He never saw a human being do those things and look that way.
Arriving at the Diner through a light rain, he unlocked the large glass doors that led to the vestibule area and then unlocked the second set of small glass doors that opened to the main dining floor, and entering the darkened restaurant, found the main switch and turned on the lights. He looked around the room, relaxed, and let the warm glow of familiarity sweep over him. He liked it here in the Diner. It relaxed him. He walked behind the gleaming white Formica-topped counter and pushed open the swinging black door leading to the kitchen, turned on the grill, and started the coffee.
He remembered that he had been nothing but nervous after he left the Valley, and after two years in the Army, although he was a good solider, he never felt as if he belonged among those people. He belonged to the Valley,  where he felt safe, living on a cliff on a side street above the old Naugatuck River, protected by the long, steep hills of the place that raised him. His entire life was there, although he didn’t remember a lot of it. He knew that people like himself, slow people, can’t remember a lot of things.
He remembered, barely, his mother. They had lived in an apartment on a hill, somewhere, with almost no furniture except the black and white television. One morning his mother went out and never came back and after a few days, the police came and gave him to a social worker who delivered him to Ivy Day, his foster mother. A heavyset woman who watched television all day and complained about her illnesses, Ivy Day didn’t have a husband either, although she did have one, once. That’s what she said. That’s what she told him.
He and Ivy were happy in the many years that they were together up there in a third-floor walk-up with tin ceilings and linoleum-covered floors and windows covered in ancient paint dried solid from the heat of the iron radiators in every room. It wasn’t nice or pretty but they were happy and comfortable and Ivy Day wasn’t a stickler when it came to his schooling. On cold days she let him stay home and they watched her soap opera drama shows, ate TV dinners, and were happy all the cold day long.
One day Ivy died. She didn’t wake up out of her chair in front of the TV. After a day and a night had passed, he went down to the corner and called the police from the phone there and they came and said, yes, she was dead all right, and took her body away. After that, the rent went unpaid. So did the lights and the gas and the telephone and, one by one, every week, the companies turned something off. And then all the food was gone.
After a few days of not eating anything, he went down to the corner drugstore. He told the man there that he needed to eat and why he was hungry and everything else, and the man called somebody. Later that afternoon the social worker knocked on his door and talked to him for a long time.
The social worker told him he had to leave the third floor walk-up with the linoleum floors and the tin ceiling. She made him go live in a small room upstairs at the YMCA where a lot of old men lived and everybody watched TV in a big room together. She, the social worker lady, said there was really no point in going back to school because he had missed so much schooling. She didn’t see what kind of difference it would make if he just got a job and went to work someplace. She came back to the YMCA a few days later and drove him to a bigger city to see a soldier. He liked the army life. There weren’t many decisions to make and people told him what to do and when to do it.
He didn’t know where the country was that the Army had sent him to. It wasn’t in the United States, he knew that much. It was far away and he didn’t see much of that country anyways. Mostly he saw the countryside that always smelled damp and moldy, and it was hot all the time.
At 6:15, Angel, the cook, tapped on the heavy metal kitchen door. He unlocked the door and silently allowed the stout cook with the shock of raven-black hair in. He noticed that the rain had increased and that the day ahead held no promise of sunlight. He closed the door and loaded a cart with water glasses, paper napkins, and silverware and pushed it to the dining room.
After that bomb blew up in that foreign country the army put him in all those years ago, and hot metal from that bomb spit all over him, his senses were filled with the smell of crisp, cold New England salt air. A cool burst of it had floated up from the Long Island Sound, over the jungle and landed protectively around his sweaty, blood-drenched body. Then Ivy was there, and she wasn’t dead anymore. She was as he first saw her, tall and large and robust with a healthy red face. She smiled at him as always and said, “You had better get up now. Those men over there are coming to kill you, Hon.”
And then she disappeared.
He lifted his head from the red-brown soil and saw a thin line of young men, some even younger than himself, walking towards them, yelling and firing their weapons. A few feet in front of him was Sergeant Sentor, lying silent on the ground. His legs were gone. So were his hands. He was dead. He must have been the one who stepped on the mine. He liked Sergeant Sentor because he was kind, and when he spoke to him he spoke slowly and always asked, “Do you understand? ’Cause if you don’t, you just tell me,” and he chewed Dentyne and smoked cigarettes and rested his hands on his hips. Sometimes he did those things all at once.
He heard the Sergeant’s voice and looked to his left and there was Sergeant Sentor, standing above him, looking down at him except now he still had his hands and legs.
“You remember what I told you?” the Sergeant asked. “When it hits the fan, you grab on to that fifty,” the sergeant said, pointing to the .50- caliber machine gun, “and shoot everything that looks, acts, walks, talks, crawls or otherwise fits into the general description of the goddamn enemy.”
“Yes sir,” he answered.
“Don’t call me sir,” the sergeant said. “I work for a living.”
Sergeant Sentor looked across the field at the young men approaching and said gently, “This don’t look real good, son, but you do your best.”
“Yes sir.”
“I’ll be seein’ ya,” the Sergeant replied. “You take care.”
“You’re not gonna stay, Sergeant?”
“Nope,” he answered. “I gotta go. It’s my time. You’ll be all right, I guarantee it.”
They grow them tough in the Valley. Although every inch of him ached and he was pretty sure his left eye was gone and there was a lot of blood inside his mouth, he lifted himself to his elbows and then to his knees and he did what the sergeant told him to do. He crawled over to the weapon and he laid in on the fifty and didn’t let up until the cotter pin got too hot and broke and the shells jammed. When he released the trigger he was the only person there who wasn’t dead. Out in front of him were rows and rows of boys, all shot to holy hell and as dead as dead gets.
He half fell and half walked over to Machaon, whose eyes were open and staring up into heaven. He knelt next to him and stuffed his scattered body parts back into his stomach where they belonged, because that seemed liked the right thing to do. While he pushed the multicolored veins and pieces of purple and red muscle back into Machaon, he thought that blood doesn’t feel the way you think it will feel, like red water, maybe. It feels more like greasy paint, and it dries brown, not red. He hadn’t known there was all that stuff inside the human body.
When he finished, he crawled silently to the others that were still alive, doing whatever he could to soothe them, which was not much. Most were dead. Hylas, the tall guy, was alive but not by much. When he got to Hylas and gave him some water, Hylas said, “Kill me,” and kept saying that over and over, so he put his hands over his ears.
He didn’t remember much past that. It was nighttime when he woke up and some guys from a recon platoon were talking to him but he couldn’t hear them. One of them was chewing Dentyne and gave him a stick and winked at him. He seemed like a real nice guy.
When he was finished placing the water glasses and silverware on the tables, and checking the levels in the salt and pepper shakers, he pushed his cart back into the kitchen. There he washed and dried the mustard and ketchup bottles, loaded them onto his cart and wheeled it back out to the dining room and stocked the bottles in the waitress’ shelf. The large clock on the wall, the one with the white face and black glass trim, was stuck on 12 as it had always been. It was 6:25 and Dolores the waitress was late, as always.
A long, long time went by while he was in that army hospital, and one day a colonel came to see him to give him a medal. The Colonel had a Captain and a couple of Second Lieutenants with him. They smiled at him and said they were proud to know him, that he was a good man, a good solider and a hero.
The Colonel said, “Now you’ll catch all the pretty gals,” and then winked and smiled. But he knew that wasn’t true. The pretty gals always passed him by and now that the hand grenades had made him look ugly, he was sure that the pretty gals would look away from him. Long scars that ran up and down and across his face, and his right eye stuck out more than it should, and he limped when he walked.
They said they were going to put him in a hospital in southern California. And that’s what they did.  After a year in the hospital, they sent him home but not with hearing—most of that was gone, along with a couple of his fingers and toes. He could still hear some, out of his right ear, and a lot of the time he got dizzy and it felt as if the ground were moving under him but it wasn’t really. That’s just what happens when you lose your hearing. His left eye drooped more than the right and sometimes it just plain moved on its own without asking him first. It up and moved around and then stopped when it felt like it.
He went home to the Valley and took a room at the YMCA on State Street across from the armory. He didn’t have to work anymore, because every month the army sent a check for a lot of money, but he got a job anyway, up at the Valley Diner, because there was nothing else to do all day. He liked it there because they needed him, and because they made him feel regular, as if he were just like everyone else.
One day a man from The Evening Sentinel came by the Diner. He sat on the stools that twirl around and talked to him for a long time. The man knew a lot of stuff about what happened to him in the war and about the hospital in California. He wrote things down and when the fellow from The Evening Sentinel was all done, he stood up and shook his hand. He said, “Thank you for your sacrifice.” He told him that was okay, because the guy was real nice and talking to him was not all that much of a sacrifice.
The Evening Sentinel ran a story about him the next day with a headline “Local Orphan is Hero.” After the story ran, people came into the Diner to meet him. Some drank a fifty-cent cup of coffee and left a twenty-dollar tip. One lady wrote a note to him on a napkin that said, “We are all real proud of you.” He kept that note in a plastic baggie in his sock drawer. Whenever he felt bad, he took that note out and sometimes read it out loud, and then felt good again.


Hablar: to speak
Example sentence:  Baxter, sabes que no hablo español.

Sentence meaning: Baxter, you know I don't speak Spanish.


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.


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.

Contact John:

The indulgent world of F. Scott Fitzgerald

By Michael Riedel

In 1922, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, new parents and pinched for cash, gave up their suite at the Plaza Hotel and rented a house on Long Island in Great Neck. The rent was $300 a month, compared with the $200 a week they were paying at the Plaza.
Located at 6 Gateway Drive, the house was pleasant but modest. Zelda called it their “nifty little Babbit home.”
But nearby were more than 1,000 country houses of the Gilded Age, vast estates belonging to the Goulds, the Guggenheims, the Astors and the Vanderbilts.
Flashier money was there, as well. Hollywood was in its infancy, so New York City was still the center of the entertainment world. Eddie Cantor, Ed Wynn, Groucho Marx and Samuel Goldwyn all had houses on the Gold Coast.
There were also a few mobsters throwing around their ill-gotten gains from bootlegging.
Never a couple to miss a party, Scott and Zelda mingled with everyone, drinking Champagne, splashing about in pools, playing lawn tennis and having flings.
It was in this atmosphere of money — old and new, elegant and garish — that the idea for Fitzgerald’s most celebrated novel, “The Great Gatsby,” took shape.
The Fitzgerald house is up for sale for $2.999 million. It’s been expanded over the years, but it still looks like it did in 1922.
The Gold Coast itself does not. What was once a pastoral escape for the superrich has become a sprawling suburb, with condominiums occupying tracts of land that were once polo fields.

Beacon Towers, the Sands Point, LI, home of the Fitzgeralds’ pal Alva Vanderbilt Belmont (inset), was thought to be an inspiration for “Gatsby.”Photo: Corbis; Everett Collection

But the geography is the same, and here and there you can catch glimpses of places that may have inspired “The Great Gatsby.”
Fitzgerald famously named the two peninsulas that jet out into the Long Island Sound “East Egg” and “West Egg.”
He liked the word egg, calling friends “colossal eggs” and enemies “unspeakable eggs,” writes biographer Jeffrey Meyers.
East Egg — where the old money lives in the novel — is Sands Point on the Port Washington peninsula. West Egg — where Jay Gatsby, emblematic of new money, has his mansion — is Kings Point on the Great Neck peninsula.
“The North Shore colony developed because of its easy access to New York City,” says historian Paul Mateyunas, author of “Long Island’s Gold Coast.” The Fitzgeralds’ Great Neck house is within walking distance of the Long Island Rail Road station.
“It was untouched by industry, so if you were rich, you had rolling hills for fox hunting and deep harbors for your boat.”
The best way to see the mansions on both peninsulas is from the Manhasset Bay. I took the Great Gatsby Boat Tour, which is led by amateur “Gatsby” historian Eleanor Cox.
A few old-money mansions are still standing on the Port Washington side. Jock Whitney’s massive hunting lodge is intact. The enormous window on the top floor looks into what was once his trophy room.
An elegant white house with dormer windows is thought to have inspired Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s mansion. The ceiling in the main room, says Cox, resembles the “frosted wedding cake of a ceiling” Fitzgerald describes in the novel.
The flashy mansions are on the Great Neck side. And most of them are ghastly. One belonging to a doctor looks, as Cox puts it, as if it’s made out of tongue depressors. Another, a sprawling amalgam of clashing French styles, could belong to a James Bond villain.
It has underground parking for 30 cars, yellow Lamborghinis, no doubt.
If you’re looking for the house that inspired Jay Gatsby’s party mansion, you’re out of luck. As Mateyunas points out, the house was a composite of several estates Fitzgerald would have visited, on both sides of the bay and in other towns along the Gold Coast.
Beacon Towers on Sands Point, which was owned by Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, is thought to be one of his inspirations. All that’s left of it are the garage and the gates.
Another possible inspiration, Oheka Castle — with 127 rooms, the second-largest private home in America when it was built in 1919 — is still standing, though it’s a few miles east, in Huntington.
Built for Otto Kahn, it was the site of many celebrated Gilded Age parties. Although there is no record of Fitzgerald ever having attended any of them, he would have been familiar with the house through newspaper reports, says Mateyunas.
Very Gatsby-ish, it’s now a fancy hotel.
One of the best-preserved Gilded Age mansions is Falaise in Sands Point. Modeled on a French country manor, it was built by Harry F. Guggenheim in 1923. Charles Lindbergh, one of Guggenheim’s close friends, was a frequent guest. His station wagon is still in the garage.
Guggenheim died in 1971, leaving the house and most of its contents to Nassau County. It’s now a museum, and well worth a visit, though it’s doubtful Fitzgerald ever set foot in it.
The Fitzgeralds only lived in Great Neck for two years. Once again, their spending habits — and partying — caught up with them. Fitzgerald put all his “eggs,” East and West, in one basket, hoping that his Broadway-bound play “The Vegetable” would be a hit.
When it flopped, he “was forced to go on the wagon and write himself out of debt,” writes biographer Meyers. He retreated to an unheated room above the garage at 6 Gateway Drive and churned out indifferent articles for popular magazines of the day.
In 1924, he and Zelda sailed to the French Riviera, which, improbable as it seems today, was cheaper than Great Neck.
And it was there that he fashioned his impressions of the Gold Coast and its privileged partygoers into “The Great Gatsby.”

Umbra \UM-bruh\ 1: a shaded area 2 a:  a conical shadow excluding all light from a given source; specifically: the conical part of the shadow of a celestial body excluding all light from the primary source. The Latin word umbra ("shade, shadow") has given English a range of words in addition to umbra itself. An umbrella can provide us with shade from the sun. So can an umbrageous tree—in this case, umbrageous means "affording shade." The connection to shade or shadow in other umbra words is less obvious. When we say someone takes umbrage, we mean they take offense, but in times past people used the word as a synonym of shade or shadow. Those two senses of umbrage influenced umbrageous, which can mean "inclined to take offense easily" as well as "affording shade."

Dubious  \DOO-bee-us\
1 a: of doubtful promise or outcome
b:questionable or suspect as to true nature or quality
2: unsettled in opinion : doubtful

Dubious derives from the Latin verb dubare, meaning "to hesitate in choice of opinions or courses," and it is related to the Latin word for "two": duo. Dubious can be used to indicate uncertainty about the result of an action or the truth of a statement as well as about the uncertainty of a person and his or her character. In either case, it usually implies a feeling of doubt from suspicion, mistrust, or hesitation.


“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” Sensei Ogui, Zen Shin Talks

HERE'S SOME GREAT ART FOR YOU TO LOOK AT............................

Preoccupied by her task of preparing a feast, the maid here seems unaware of the biblical scene taking place behind her: Christ visiting the house of Martha and Mary. As recounted in the Gospel of Luke (10:38–42), Mary sits down to listen to Christ preach, leaving her sister Martha to prepare the meal; when Martha complains, he replies that Mary has made the better choice. This moralizing lesson of elevating the spiritual, contemplative life over worldly distractions tempers the almost carnal sensuousness of the foreground scene, where Wtewael’s extraordinary talent for depicting objects realistically is on display.
"Pleasure and Piety: The Art of Joachim Wtewael " runs through October 4: http://1.usa.gov/1RS555D.  Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael, "The Kitchen Maid," c. 1620-1625, oil on canvas, Collection Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Purchase with support from the Rembrandt Society, 1999 Centraal Museum, Utrecht / Ernst Moritz

Albert Bierstadt's "Buffalo Trail: The Impending Storm,” 1869.
By 1869, when he created this idyllic view, Albert Bierstadt had made two extensive trips to the American West. Based on views he had sketched during one or both of these expeditions, the artist created this lush scene of buffalo peacefully making their way across a river or creek against a roiling sky. Bierstadt's meticulous attention to detail and texture, as well as his tightly brushed technique—results of his early training in Düsseldorf, Germany—characterize this bucolic, romantic scene.

Learn more about this work at: http://1.usa.gov/1gDBVf6.
Albert Bierstadt, "Buffalo Trail: The Impending Storm," 1869, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase, through the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lansdell K. Christie)

So you trust Iran to make an honest deal?

In 1994 Iran directed the bombing on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA; Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) building in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured hundreds more.
On October 25, 2006, Argentine prosecutors Alberto Nisman and Marcelo Martínez Burgos formally accused the government of Iran of directing the bombing, and the Hezbollah militia of carrying it out.
The prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, was killed on the eve of testifying about a secret Argentine government deal with Iran to kill the investigation into the bombing. Nisman had laid out a 375 page report detailing how the Argentine government had sought the arrangement as part of a trade pact with Iran.
So the Iranians murdered 89 Jews, maimed 100 others, tried to bribe a government into not investigation the murders and then killed the prosecutor who tried to bring them to justice.  

Alberto Nisman, Argentine Prosecutor, Was Killed, His Ex-Wife Says
New York Times
MARCH 5, 2015
BUENOS AIRES — The former wife of a federal prosecutor who died of a gunshot wound to the head after making explosive accusations against Argentina’s president charged Thursday that he had been murdered — reviving a bitter debate here over the mysterious circumstances shrouding his death.
Citing a report by investigators she had hired, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, a judge and the former wife of Alberto Nisman, said at a news conference, “Suicide and an accident are totally ruled out, so we can only conclude that Nisman was without doubt the victim of a homicide.”
The official investigation into Mr. Nisman’s death, which has shaken the country and turned Argentines into armchair detectives, has yet to establish whether he shot himself or was killed.
“Nothing allows me to categorically assert today that it was suicide or homicide,” Viviana Fein, the prosecutor leading the investigation, said Thursday.
Mr. Nisman’s body was found in a bathroom of his apartment in Buenos Aires on Jan. 18, hours before he was to appear before a commission to elaborate on criminal accusations he had filed against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
In a 289-page complaint, Mr. Nisman accused Mrs. Kirchner of conspiring to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the bombing of a Jewish community center here in 1994 that killed 85 people.
He contended that the Argentine government had sought the arrangement as part of a trade pact with Iran. This week, the prosecutor who revived Mr. Nisman’s case appealed a judge’s decision to dismiss the complaint against Mrs. Kirchner.
Ms. Arroyo Salgado said the investigation she commissioned had given “scientific rigor” to her belief that Mr. Nisman was killed. She said she hoped the report would help guide the official inquiry.
The judge overseeing that investigation will consider Ms. Arroyo Salgado’s report when evaluating all the evidence, said Martin Böhmer, a law professor at the University of Buenos Aires.
Pointing to evidence of homicide, Ms. Arroyo Salgado said that Mr. Nisman’s body had been moved after his death, and that he had suffered “anguish” as he died. That, she said, contradicted autopsy findings suggesting suicide. Also, the pistol used was found on the bathroom floor.
Ms. Arroyo Salgado’s comments come amid an onslaught of claims and counterclaims about the events surrounding Mr. Nisman’s death.
A news agency under the authority of a government ministry, for instance, wrongly said this week that Mr. Nisman was drunk at the time of his death and reported that there had been an open bottle of vodka in his apartment. On Thursday, it backtracked on that account.
Mrs. Kirchner has suggested that Mr. Nisman was killed after being manipulated by forces trying to destabilize her government, and she has cast suspicion on a former spymaster who worked with the prosecutor on the bombing investigation.

We Need Optimists
New York Times Op-Ed
Arthur C. Brooks

MY wife, Ester, and I had just endured a difficult parent-teacher conference for one of our teenage children. It was a grades issue. The ride home was tense, until Ester broke the silence. “Think of it this way,” she said. “At least we know he’s not cheating.”
That’s an optimist. We need more optimism in America today — especially in our politics.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? At the personal level, optimism clearly seems superior. Psychologists find that optimists generally enjoy better physical health than pessimists, and a greater ability to cope with setbacks. Optimists are happier than pessimists, as a rule.
On the other hand, optimism is not without cost. Research shows that optimists are more likely than pessimists to keep gambling after losing money. Optimism bias can be a contributing factor in car accidents, as drivers overrate their own abilities. Playing down the probability of disaster can lead us astray in other situations where assessing risk is vital, like choosing a profession or selecting a mate
Optimism and pessimism have always competed in the American character. Think of it as Horatio Alger versus the Zombie Apocalypse.
On one hand, rags-to-riches confidence has always drawn entrepreneurs and immigrants to our shores and captured the popular imagination. The American attitude that all will be well often amazes our European friends — and not always in a positive way. In The New York Times in 2003, a former adviser to the president of France derisively declared that, “The United States compensates for its shortsightedness, its tendency to improvise, with an altogether biblical self-assurance in its transcendent destiny.”
But at the same time, Americans have often been attracted to apocalyptic predictions. In 1988, for example, a former NASA engineer named Edgar C. Whisenant published a book titled “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988.” Scoff if you want; it sold millions of copies. When 1988 came and went and the end times did not materialize, Mr. Whisenant updated his prediction to 1989. And then 1993 and 1994.
While the citizenry may vacillate, leaders generally have to select one disposition or the other. Pessimism arouses fear and anger, while optimism inspires hope. Hope can accompany fear in times of extraordinary sacrifice (such as war), but this is rare. As a practical matter, a leader must choose.
Look beneath the platitudes that every candidate recites, and you’ll find politicians on both sides. Among both liberals and conservatives, there have been true optimists — like Presidents Reagan and Clinton — who seemed to exude faith in and affection for the American people. In recent times, however, right and left have more often produced competing pessimists who insist that the country is going down the tubes, the citizens are being stepped on, and everyone ought to be taking up torches and pitchforks.
“This is the most important presidential election of our lifetimes,” we hear year after year. If the other side wins, we can practically expect a jackbooted thug and a knock in the night. I exaggerate, but only a little. Witness the extraordinary political negativity of the past three weeks from presidential candidates on both sides.
Continue reading the main story
Why on earth would a politician choose pessimism? Because it seems the smarter bet for connecting with a sour public. After all, the wisecracking cynic and smirking hipster are certainly more emblematic of popular culture today than the cockeyed optimist.
And there is a tangible, growing mainstream depression about the future of the nation that seems ripe for politicians to tap into. You simply can’t find a survey or poll that doesn’t show this. For decades, for example, Gallup has asked a large sample of Americans their view of “the way things are going in our country.” Averaging each month’s results for the year 2000, 37 percent said they were dissatisfied. So far in 2015, that number is 69 percent. In 2014, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll revealed that 76 percent of Americans did not feel confident that “life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us.” This is 10 percentage points worse than the poll had ever recorded.
But we are paying a steep price for our politicians’ choosing the dark side. More than half of Americans said that our last presidential election was too negative, and complaints about the destructive, ad hominem discourse that dominates Washington have become a national cliché.
Furthermore, in taking the pessimism shortcut, our politicians are neglecting a major strategic advantage. Business studies identify optimism as a core trait of the most successful executives. And recently, social science has shown a big advantage for optimistic leaders. In 2013, for example, Dutch researchers published a study in The Leadership Quarterly showing that a positive, happy leader is judged to be 132 percent more effective than a dour, negative one.
A positive vision requires the hard work of winning over new friends, which means going where politicians have not been invited, and enduring less-than-adoring crowds. This is much harder than telling true believers what they already believe. But voters will reward candidates who have the talent and perseverance to do this. This isn’t wishful thinking or naïveté; just look to history.
Take the case of Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the political party that most Americans currently see as the more negative of the two. Conservatives revere Reagan, but frequently misremember why he was so phenomenally effective. It was not a result of raging against liberals or fighting against big government. Reagan’s success came from his sunny optimism.
Reagan’s “Morning in America” campaign theme is an obvious example, but his optimism went much deeper, to his faith in Americans’ desire to fight for people. “Together, let us make this a new beginning. Let us make a commitment to care for the needy,” said Reagan at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit as he accepted the nomination of his party. “We have to move ahead, but we’re not going to leave anyone behind.”
My own analysis of this speech found that “people” is Reagan’s most frequently repeated word, uttered 38 times. When we add in all the specific people he is fighting for — “families,” “children,” “the needy” and so on — the number more than doubles.
I was 16 years old when Reagan was first elected. If I could have voted, I certainly would not have voted for him. When I was growing up in Seattle, no one I knew could stand him. But his optimism had an effect on me. Despite all of my biases and influences, I wanted a leader with this optimistic attitude. Secretly, I was not sorry he won.
Reagan’s optimism should not be understood ideologically; it was simply about people and our potential. He possessed an unflinching belief that all people — the poor, children, the elderly — were human assets, waiting to be developed so they could earn their success.
In contrast, pessimists see people as liabilities to manage, as burdens or threats that we must minimize. This manifests itself on the political left when we construct welfare programs that fail to boost unemployed Americans back into the work force. On the right, it shows up in strains of anti-immigrant sentiment or throw-away-the-key criminal sentencing.
Millions of Americans are frustrated by the environment of competing pessimisms in Washington today. Some say it is a result of the fact that the parties have never been further apart ideologically. They hark back to better times when there was more overlap between Democrats and Republicans.
I disagree. Maximum progress would come not from convergence on an unsatisfying centrism, but from a true competition of optimistic visions for a better future. Research suggests that optimists can find solutions where pessimists do not. And while competing optimists may disagree, sometimes fiercely, they don’t mistake policy differences for a holy war.
But let’s say that competition does not occur. What happens if one side unilaterally breaks out of the current negative equilibrium? I predict it will see victory — especially if the other side doubles down on pessimism and division.
Naturally, I might be wrong. But I would offer a political version of Pascal’s wager to a politician who is of a naturally Churchillian or Reaganite disposition: Let’s say you lose an election because you were your positive and joyful self.
Hey, at least you weren’t cheating.
Arthur C. Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute, the author of the book “The Conservative Heart” and a contributing opinion writer.

Brooklyn Girl's 'Mysterious' Poem Inspires the World
Chanie Gorkin's poem "Worst Day Ever?" can be read two ways.

The Hasidic community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, has watched one of its daughters shoot to international fame over the course of a week.
It all started when Chanie Gorkin, who is apparently an 11th grader at Beth Rivkah High School in Crown Heights, submitted a clever poem called “Worst Day Ever?” to PoetryNation.com.
The poem reads:

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day

Now read it from bottom to top, the other way,

And see what I really feel about my day.
After the poetry site posted Gorkin’s submission online, it quickly made its way across the Atlantic.
Mashable reports that London resident Ronnie Joice “spotted the poem tacked to the wall of a bar in North London,” then posted it to social media.
Her piece has since become a viral sensation.
Gorkin’s brother, Shimon, posted a news story about his sister’s poem on Facebook. “That’s my sister!” he wrote.
“So, my daughter Chanie wrote this poem last fall as a school assignment and submitted it to Poetry Nation,” wrote her dad, Baruch, in a post of his own. “In the last few days the thing went totally viral, apparently after being pinned up on a wall of a [London] bar... “
Gorkin has been mentioned in quite a few Crown Heights newsletters and announcements over the years, and her creativity seems to have amassed a fan base within her own community, as well.
Salvador Litvak, who blogs as The Accidental Talmudist, calls the poem a “spectacular meditation by Chanie Gorkin of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.”
We’ve reached out to Gorkin and her family to see how they’re handling all this love and admiration flooding in from around the world.


Feds spent $95,700 to adapt Shakespeare without words
By Elizabeth Harrington
The federal government has invested nearly $100,000 to bring Shakespeare to the stage—only without the legendary playwright’s words.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and its state agency the Virginia Commission for the Arts has funded numerous shows from the Crystal City-based Synetic Theater, including a production of Hamlet without words, making the title character’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy slightly less potent.
The Wall Street Journal bemoaned the dumbing down of Shakespeare, noting Shakespeare’s plays “without puns is like French cooking without butter,” in a recent review of Synetic’s adaptations.
“The latest Shakespeare fashion, at least in the Washington area, is to invite people to a feast of language and serve nothing but grunts, grimaces and grins—with a few gyrations thrown in for dessert,” James Bovard wrote on Monday.
“The fact that many Washingtonians consider Silent Shakespeare an improvement rather than an oxymoron reflects unkindly on the capital’s cultural pretensions,” he added. “But perhaps we should not be surprised that the city that pioneered obfuscation is now exalting expunging English altogether.”
Paata Tsikurishvili, Synetic Theater’s artistic director, says his inspiration comes from Charlie Chaplin. The company received taxpayer dollars to put on a pantomime version of Twelfth Night. The adaptation is set in the 1920s, and was the tenth play of Shakespeare’s the theater group has adapted without words.

10 secrets to happiness

By Pope Francis
Don't worry, be happy - Pope Francis says secrets to happiness include parents spending time with their children, caring for nature and building peace

1. Live and let live. Everyone should be guided by this principle, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and let others do the same."

2. Be giving of yourself to others. People need to be open and generous toward others because if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric.

3. Proceed calmly in life; move with kindness, humility and calmness.

4. Develop a healthy sense of leisure. The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost. Consumerism has brought us anxiety and stress, causing people to lose a healthy culture of leisure. Time is swallowed up, so people can't share it with anyone. Even though many parents work long hours, they must set aside time to play with their children; work schedules make it complicated, but you must do it. And families must also turn off the TV when they sit down to eat because, even though television is useful for keeping up with the news, having it on during mealtime doesn't let you communicate with each other.

5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because Sunday is for family.

6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs and be more vulnerable to suicide. It's not enough to give them food. Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home from one's own labour.

7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation is one of the biggest challenges we have. Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?

8. Stop being negative. Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, "I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down." Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.

9. Don't proselytise; respect others' beliefs. We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. The church grows by attraction, not proselytising.

10. Work for peace. We are living in a time of many wars and the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive and dynamic.


Here’s a wonderful poem for you to enjoy………….

The Swimming Pool
Thomas Lux

The Swimming Pool
All around the apt. swimming pool
the boys stare at the girls
and the girls look everywhere but the opposite
or down or up. It is
as it was a thousand years ago: the fat
boy has it hardest, he
takes the sneers,
prefers the winter so he can wear
his heavy pants and sweater.
Today, he's here with the others.
Better they are cruel to him in his presence
than out. Of the five here now (three boys,
two girls) one is fat, three cruel,
and one, a girl, wavers to the side,
all the world tearing at her.
As yet she has no breasts
(her friend does) and were it not
for the forlorn fat boy whom she joins
in taunting, she could not bear her terror,
which is the terror
of being him. Does it make her happy
that she has no need, right now, of ingratiation,
of acting fool to salve
her loneliness? She doesn't seem
so happy. She is like
the lower middle class, that fatal group
handed crumbs so they can drop a few
down lower, to the poor, so they won't kill
the rich. All around
the apt. swimming pool
there is what's everywhere: forsakenness
and fear, a disdain for those beneath us
rather than a rage
against the ones above: the exploiters,
the oblivious and unabashedly cruel.


Three emerging Indian women poets with voices you cannot ignore
Often flying beneath the radar, these poets are likely to be heard of widely, and soon.
Jennifer Robertson

Today, many eclectic Indian women poets are examining the role of form in contemporary poetry. They need to be spoken about and their work duly showcased. Here are three such writers:

Sohini Basak

For Sohini, poetry has been a tryst with a series of astonishments. She confesses that she chronicles everything obsessively till a poem is born. She's fascinated by trees, windows and streets. She has a quaint kinship with poetry, and says that it all began with writing rhyming verse about animals.

Sometimes You Dream of Wolves Not Foxes
fur green I watch your face emerge
at the vanishing point of dawn
you tread the dry river beds with ease
you have crossed higher fences fir lined
valleys blur with the sound in your throat
I claimed this road but you made a bridge
this earth is no longer mine nor wholly yours
could we be both dew and gravel?

Sohini writes about animals with the same “phantasmagoric and anecdotal impulse” of a Russell Edson poem, minus the Ted Hughes bravado and bestiality. Could this be born out of a Jungian impulse: dreams originating in the unconscious moving autonomously into the conscious and external space of a poem? Her ruminations end on a timorous, indecisive note: could we be both dew and gravel? Sohini says the poem was partly inspired by Wisława Szymborska's poem, 'The Joy of Writing'


It started with matchboxes. On my first collectible I
Recall a black ship sailing, so on the second, its twin found
En route to school. I traded in duplicates. With time,
Memorabilia changed to notebooks. I collected in between:
Eagle’s feathers, shiny wrapping paper, phone numbers,
Magnets, and all those letters addressed to you. Rhyming
Billets-doux, confessionals, pieces of my mind and heart
Engraved in red: ink feelings spilling over the borders.

"I’ve liked boxes since childhood. I kept my wretched treasurThe word “mnemonic”, is for me synonymous with “The Kreb's cycle”. It reminds me of everything  that is grade twelve. It's how one teaches oneself to learn; in the absence of a teacher, or a parent who sits with you while you do your homework. The word is also the story Memento Mori and Jonathan Nolan.
Sohini's poem Mnemonic opens with the word “matchboxes”. Nothing  grand, nothing spectacular but just the arresting image of the sentence: It started with matchboxes. One would expect pyrotechnics after an opening like this.
But no. She goes on to talk about objects almost as stealthily as W.G. Sebald, including photographs: delicately, sumptuously. Sohini's assiduous obsession with collection of random objects, bric-à-brac,  brings to mind the Polish poet Anna Kamieńska and her lines from the poem A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook:es in them, scraps, bits of glass. Then letters, family keepsakes. But now there’s nothing good enough. Can you fit love into a box? Even the final box can’t hold a person."

Sohini writes further:
"Realizing that age calls for gravity, it was pebbles."

Pebbles! She pens this sentence as a profoundly simple thought, almost as simple as a barn swallow caught, mid-flight. I can't think of pebbles and stones sans the Beckettian genius of Molloy – the stone sucking sequence: luminously absurd. Sohini gives us that too.

Sacrilegiously I have packed away the thingamajigs. In
Memories I trade, to deserted islands I ship them away.
En fete, I made a bonfire with the fire hoarded inside

Sohini Basak’s poems should be read because she collects boulders and all things that have weight.  Her poems teach you How Not to Freak Out When You Wake Up Invisible. And you learn words like thingamabob. It's a win-win. Read four of her poems.

Nandini Dhar

First, a candid statement from Nandini Dhar posted on her blog about herself:
"I was a very political person even then, leftist in a way that my views could never really be comfortably accommodated anywhere in America– whether it’s a grad seminar, graduate student hangout, community creative writing workshops. But I was yet to be completely disillusioned by the dominant strands of US (neoliberal?) identity politics. My understandings of race, gender, class and capital were far more book-learned, tended to be in binaries, and shorn of the complexities of lived experiences. I used to live in an organizational/collective void, failed to find any viable political collectivity myself, and was using my poems to fill up that void."
If Virginia Woolf were to to participate in a television drama series like LOST, whom would she like to be lost with? Who would have the authority to call her Mem-Sahib? Does Nandini explore the same dissonance and smallness of gendered desire that Woolf was interested in? Is Nandini simply tearing Woolf apart?

Sample these lines:

since 1835,

when abhinavagupta, shudrak, and rumi were forced to sit
tight-packed on a single shelf, leaving the rest of the world to alphabets
that jumped out of ships and judge-sahib’s wigs, textbooks have perfected
the art of making crazed scribbling-chicks look tame.
tame enough to be tapestried into buttercream muslin pillow cases
tame enough to be painted on jasmine-white schoolroom walls

And these lines where she critiques the institution of marriage, cheekily calling it 'holy matrimony'.

you were running,
your skirt hitched up to your knees,
from the very old man
with scissors for clipping the wings of women
who build abodes other than the ones thrust upon them
by holy matrimony.

These lines remind me of Woolf's first novel The Voyage Out and the text below:

"Marriage, marriage that was the right thing, the only thing, the solution required by every one she knew, and a great part of her meditations was spent in tracing every instance of discomfort, loneliness, ill-health, unsatisfied ambition, restlessness, eccentricity, taking things up and dropping them again, public speaking, and philanthropic activity on the part of men and particularly on the part of women to the fact that they wanted to marry, were trying to marry, and had not succeeded in getting married. If, as she was bound to own, these symptoms sometimes persisted after marriage, she could only ascribe them to the unhappy law of nature which decreed that there was only one Arthur Venning, and only one Susan who could marry him."
What I found rather interesting is that through a vexed yet persuasive voice, Nandini's poem compels us to look at diverse polar critiques of Virginia's work: Arnold Bennet, David Daiches, Robert Stanley Martin and Naomi Black.
Divya Rajan
Divya lives in a Buddhist monastery in an idyllic town, south of the Himalayas, inside her head. I also managed to find out that she loves growing different varieties of mint, parsley and she “pines for greens”. Her parents being avid readers, she learnt to devour nutritional labels, newspaper wrappings and manuals. But her poetry is serious, often cathartic and distilled.

"It is said that the quintessence
of poetry is a cold, dry, exhausted
- Inoue Yasushi

What do you think of when you hear the title Factory Girls? Not loo breaks and desiccated leaves borne by acacias. Yet, Divya Rajan gives you exactly that. It is all Radiohead – think of Radiohead's video for All I Need, MTV's exit campaign: the glacial distancing, the aching capacity to embrace the ordinary.
Divya's poems are steeped deeply in the wabi-sabi aesthetic. There is a deep sense of astringency and frugality to her poetry. Yet, I find a deep sense of purpose; the kind that is cultivated. I'm tempted to quote the lyrics of a Radiohead song and compare it with her poem Factory Girls.
I am a moth / who just wants to share your light / i’m just an insect / trying to get out of the night. Divya Rajan is all Thom Yorke and here's why:

From behind glass frames, scarred
with moth- like mausoleum fires, we
pore at tall steel buildings, megaliths
with stretched spines,
new ones preceding the old.
They kiss the sky with corroded lips
the shade of jaded gray.

She talks about the putrid conditions of women working in factories with extraordinary humanity and understated panache. The following closing lines are frightfully close to the extended look at the sneakers at the end of the Radiohead video.

"We work hard
to kill people we don't know.
The ones who can afford
to die."

Divya Rajan's poem reminds me of what Naomi Klein said: “Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life.Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.” This poem compels you to reevaluate your loo breaks and whom you think of when you visit your closest shopping mall, and think hard.
"It's all wrong/It's all right/It's all wrong."
The second poem that I'd like to discuss is titled Brand Names are Important. Divya starts the poem with an epigraph from the film Poetry:
“'When Alzheimer strikes, the nouns are the first words to go.' That’s what the doctor tells the central female character in Poetry, Lee Chang-dong’s poignant movie."
Divya is peerless in her knack for chronicling unobtrusiveness, pain and rusticity. Sample these lines:

There was a time when she’d ogle
At the incongruities, disproportionate parameters, faded corners
Of the used blender, dishwasher, coffee grinder, microwave, oven,
Appliances on pitch granite. She’d touch the surface
To check for grease, ready the ammonia solution.
Not anymore.
Clutches of the consonants, arching vowels
Into strict oblongs. It’s important to tame the waywards,
They don’t crack like consonants, fluidity begging
To be reined in.
Hamilton Beach, Frigidaire, Bosch, Kenmore.
Whatever is repeated, thrives.
That’s true for floss, and other things too.
Waking up with dislodged memory, is a fear
She shall not succumb to.
Forgetfulness is a trait she shall not inherit.

This poem silenced me. That's probably the greatest homage to be paid to stunningly adroit words put together to make a poem as fascinating as this. I'll leave you with the same tranquillity I experienced.


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

Absolutely blogalicious

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)

Following Fitzgerald


The Blogable Robert Frost

Charles Dickens

The Beat Poets of the Forever Generation

Holden Caulfield Blog Spot

The Quotable Oscar Wilde

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

Watch Hill

York Beach

The Connecticut History Blog

The Connecticut Irish

Good chowda

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

Mob Testimony

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

Psychologically Relevant

The Rarifieid Tribe

Perfect Behavior

The Upscale Traveler

The Mish Mosh Blog

DC Behind the Monuments

Washington Oddities

When Washington Was Irish

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 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

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

On the Waterfront: The Making of a Great American Film
Paperback: 416 pages


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


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
Paperback 147pages

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


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


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 Mafia in America

The Threat of Russian Organzied Crime
Paperback 192 pages

Organized Crime/General
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


The Last Outlaw: The story of Cole Younger, by Himself
Paperback 152 pages

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

OUT OF CONTROL: An Informal History of the Fairfax County Police

McLean Virginia. A short informal history


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

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