John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

The Brief Summer of Nick the Greek. A short story by John William Tuohy

Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.
Henry David Thoreau

“Men are conservatives when they are least vigorous or when they are most luxurious. They are conservatives after dinner or before taking their rest; when they are sick or aged. In the morning or when their intellect or their conscience has been aroused when they hear music or when they read poetry they are radicals.” Emerson

300 quotes from Emerson
To view more Emerson quotes or read a life background on Emerson please visit the books blog spot. We update the blog bi-monthly  emersonsaidit.blogspot.com

Here's a short story for you..............

The Brief Summer of Nick the Greek
A short story
John William Tuohy

Nick the Greek was Italian but because he worked out of the Valley Diner on Summit Avenue that was owned by Greeks, he became Nick, the bookie who worked out of the Greek place, so he became, with time, Nick the Greek.
He took numbers and covered the odds out of the Diner five days a week, usually in the very early morning hours when the place was filled with tradesmen, his primary clients.
He operated from his favorite table in the rear of the Diner, where he was comfortable and isolated and could conduct his business in private, and the solitude gave him a sort of dignity.
“Do you know how this works?” Nick asked, with his hands pointing at the plumber’s apprentice, who was just a kid.
“Sure,” he answered, causing Nick to put up his open palm in a stop motion.
“No, you don’t,” he said sharply. “So listen to me.”
He paused to let the words sink in and when he was sure he had the kid’s attention he continued. “I don’t want any misunderstanding between us, son, you understand?”
The kid looked to the right and nodded, causing Nick to knock on the Formica tabletop with his index finger. “Look at me when you answer me, and when you answer me, use words, got it? That’s how misunderstandings start.”
The kid was getting nervous and shifted in his seat to face Nick the Greek.
“I understand,” he said respectfully.
“Okay,” Nick continued. “I give you a loan. You pay me back a set amount every week.”
“How much?”  “See?” Nick said pointing at him. “You said you knew how this worked. So listen, and I’m here to help you, because an informed customer is a happy customer. How much? A hundred a week on the principle and interest.”
“The vig,” the kid interrupted.
“The what?” Nick asked sarcastically.
“The vig,” the kid replied a little too smugly. “The vigorish on the note.”
“I know what vig is. I watch the cop shows on TV too. In real life nobody not ever, not ever, says “vig” or vigorish or whatever. It’s interest on the principal of the loan. This isn’t a movie, kid. This is real life.”
He allowed the kid time to nod before he continued.
“Anyway, the interest...” he stopped and said, “Notice I used the word ‘interest’.—the interest is fifteen percent on the whole. If you’re late with a payment, the interest goes up, first to seventeen percent and then eighteen and nineteen and so on. If you’re late all the time, I’ll either call in the loan, which means you have to pay me all at once, or I can call the loan off which means you don’t have to pay me but you got no credit anywhere with anybody over anything. If that happens, if you stiff me, I won’t sell your note to one of the goombahs down in New Haven. I know what people say about me, and that’s just crap. I never sold a note in my life. But you stiff me, nobody you know now, and nobody you will know in the future, gets to lay a bet with me. When they ask me why, I’ll tell them, You’re friends with a man who stiffs people and you can’t be trusted.”
No one had ever stiffed Nick the Greek. Most people paid. They paid late, they rarely paid in full, but eventually they paid.
“So you want the cash or not, kid?”
The young man’s face had flushed. He was in over his head and wanted out. “Can I think about it?”
“What kind of stupid question is that?” he asked but as soon as the words came out, he regretted using them. He knew he intimidated people and he didn’t like it “Of course you can think about it,” he said gently. “Nobody got a gun to your head.”
The young man assumed he had been dismissed and slid silently to his feet and walked away. Nick called after him, “Hey!”
The kid spun around quickly, his mouth formed into an O.
Sounding slightly wounded, Nick asked, “You don’t say goodbye or anything? You just walk away?”
“No, sir.”
“You just did.”  “Um,” the boy stammered as he searched his tiny vocabulary for the correct salutation. Nick waved him off with a spoon.
He wasn’t a mobster. People just assumed that about him. In his years of bookmaking, he had never met a real gangster. He took bets on sports and occasionally loaned out money, but he was no gangster.
The police left him alone largely because he kept a low profile and because his business was instrumental to the city’s economy. If Nick the Greek didn’t make the loans someone else would, perhaps someone not as reasonable as Nick the Greek, perhaps someone with a higher profile who would cause problems for everyone, and nobody wanted a problem.
The sixty-two years that made up his life had been good. He had never really known any sort of adversity. His immigrant parents had made a comfortable life for their only son. Although modestly educated, he had a number of intellectual pursuits from a consuming interest in Roman history to astronomy.
He made as much money as any doctor or lawyer in the Valley. More, probably, since taxes weren’t a primary concern in his line of work. He lived modestly in a nondescript ranch house on the hilltop, the neighborhood he had grown up in. His biggest extravagance was cable TV and yearly vacations to Vegas and Miami.
He knew clothes. His father had worked as a tailor for sixty years and he taught Nick the trade and every now and then they had talked about opening a men’s clothing store, Angelo Cunina and Son, Men’s Fine Clothing. But that never came to be. Running a handbook brought him more money in a day than his father made in a week. He still knew clothes. Once, on a trip to Vegas, he overheard a waitress refer to him as “that elegant gentleman,” and he basked in the compliment for weeks.   He looked around the dining room and noticed for the first time that it was empty and he felt lonely, hollow. He had felt that way often these days and he found himself questioning the resolution in his life.  He wondered if he was depressed. He had no friends, not really. Bookies don’t have friends. They have people who need them. Once, a few weeks back, in the middle of the day, he had gone over to the church. He sat there on the gleaming mahogany bench and waited but he didn’t know what he was waiting for. He didn’t know why he was there, except that he felt lonely and vulnerable. He hadn’t come to pray and he had nothing for God to consider, so after a while, he left, not feeling any more fulfilled than when he arrived.
That night, when he went home he told Angerona, his adoring wife, what he had done at the church, and how he felt these days. He asked her, “Is this it? Is this all there is? Didn’t you think that at the end there would be more?” and she had no answer except to gently touch his arm.
He sensed someone looking at him and there, at the edge of the dining room was the new waitress, tall and thin with dark hair. He didn’t know her name, or maybe he did but he had forgotten it.
He watched as she approached him with great trepidation, her delicate white lips closed tightly. He judged her to be no more than twenty-five years old but he knew he could no longer rely on his judgment where age was concerned because these days, virtually everyone he saw seemed young or at least younger than himself.
She stopped several tables away and stood there, looking around the empty room.
“Did you need to speak to me, dear?” he asked as kindly as he could.
“Yes,” she said and then clearing her throat repeated herself. “Yes.”
“You can come closer, honey,” he said with a friendly smile. “I don’t know what you heard, but I don’t bite.”
She put her head down and staring at the gray carpet walked to his table.
“Sit down, dear,” he said softly and waved her towards the empty chair across from him.
She sat down.
“You want some coffee?” he asked and looked around the room for the waitress.
“No thank you,” she replied.
“How about something to eat?” he asked. “My treat, go ahead.”
“No,” she smiled, “but thank you.”
“The pie here is very good.”
“I’m all right,” she replied.
What can I do for you, dear?”
“I would like to borrow some money and I understand that you lend people money, like a bank.”
He sat back in his chair. Watching her from afar these past few weeks, he expected her to be more assertive. He would not lend her any money but he was curious.
“And how much money do you need?” he asked as he stared into his coffee cup.
“A couple of thousand,” she answered while looking at the table. They all looked at the table when they asked.
“A couple of thousand?” he repeated.
“Like three thousand.”
“You have to pay all that money back.”
“And then there’s the vig, right?”
“Yes,” he smiled and nodded. “There’s the vigorish. We, people in my profession, prefer the word interest.”
She smiled at his patience and kindness.
“I can’t make you the loan,” he said directly and dryly.
Cold-hearted bastard, she thought. She had been positive he would give her the money. After all, that was his job. That’s what he did for a living. Day in and day out, she had seen one hapless bricklayer, carpenter, or plumber drag their feet out of the Diner, happily counting the loan he had just made them.
“I’ll pay you back,” she said, trying not to sound indignant. “I don’t cheat people.”
“I know you will,” he answered with a smile.
“You can ask Mister Khronos. He’ll tell you I’m good for the money. I haven’t missed a single day here, not one.”
He nodded his head in agreement. “I don’t have to ask him. You seem like a fine person.”
Nick the Greek may have intimidated others but he didn’t move her in the least.
“Then why won’t you make the loan?” she said, allowing her disappointment and anger to come through in her words.
“I won’t make you the loan and for two reasons,” he said and continued by counting off the reasons on his fingers. “Number one, I operate out of this joint. This place is like my office, and excuse my French, honey, but you don’t crap where you eat. Again, excuse my French. Number two, you work for Alexandros Khronos. I loan you money, one of his employees, in his place of business, he loses face, and I got a new problem I don’t need.”
She stood up from her chair. She was angry and humiliated and it showed in her face. She clenched her fists and then her eyes welled up.
“Oh geez,” Nick sighed and looked around the room for an escape route.
“What’s your name?” he asked. “My name is Nick, Nick Cunina.”
“Dolores,” she answered. “Kearney.”
“All right, Dolores Kearney, what do you need the money for?” he asked.
“My daughter’s tuition at Eternal Lady of the Assumption.”
“What does your husband do?” Nick asked. “Does he work?”
“Don’t have a husband; it’s just me and her.”
“Well,” he said shifting in his chair, “it’s none of my affair, but a single mother, small income, maybe you should consider public schools.”
“Next year,” she answered. “I have to send her to a special school for children like her next year, but I still got to pay off this year.  She’s slow, like retarded, but not retarded, but almost.”
He thought about saying, “I’m sorry” but there was nothing to be sorry for. A child, he thought, no matter what, is God’s gift in life.
“But she’s a happy kid. She’s kind and gentle and she says the damnedest things.”
“I went to the Eternal Assumption,” he said.
“Did you?” she asked.
“How much do you owe them?” he asked.
“Fifteen hundred,” she answered.
“You asked me for three grand.”
“I gotta get some other things.”
“Like what?”
“I want to get my own place,” she said. “I need the first and last month’s rent up front.”
“What’s your girl’s name?” he asked.
“Phoebe,” she said with a smile.
“I like the name Phoebe.”
He leaned back in his chair and said, “I can’t give you the money.”
She stood and silently nodded her head and returned to her station, resigned.
It was raining and although it was still noon, it was overcast and dark when Nick left the Diner and drove his Saturn across the Division Street Bridge to the Eternal Assumption School.
He rang the bell to the convent door and waited. He looked up at the silver metal cross above the doors and then over to the faded and chipped putty around the window casing. The building was starting to show its years, although he remembered when it was built, and he remembered the dilapidated Victorian that stood there before the convent was there.
A nun opened the door and stared up at him. He looked down at her face. It was a good face, pale and ruddy and Irish, and it revealed her every emotion.
“Sister,” he said with a slight nod, and slipped a fat white envelope into her small hands. “This is some tuition for the Kearney girl.  You know her?”
“This should cover her school for a while, okay?”
The nun opened the envelope. It was bursting with cash in tens, and twenties.
”How much is in here?” she asked, her eyes not leaving the money.
“Three thousand,” he answered. “How much is the tuition?”
“Two thousand a year.”
“Well that should cover what they owe you and then some, huh?” he asked.
“Easily,” the nun said.
“Take the rest as a donation,” he said. “Do what you can to go easy on the kid.”
Nick turned and started to stroll away and then turned and asked her, “How is Father Flynn these days, Sister?”
“Still dead,” she answered.
“Too bad,” Nick said. “He was sort of a mentor to me.”
“Don’t you want a receipt?” she called after him, causing Nick to stop and turn and look at her.
“No, not in my business, unless you plan on stiffing me Sister. You gonna stiff me, Sister?” he asked with a grin.
The Nun stuck out her lower lip and pretended to consider the notion and then said,  “Naw, I guess not.”
“When that runs out Sister, come and see me. You know who I am?”
“Yes,” she nodded knowingly. “You work over at the Valley Diner don’t you?”
“Yeah. Just let me know what you need.” He waved and walked back to his car with a bounce in his step.
Parking in his long, black neatly tarred driveway, he took a second to look over the large house. Most of it was dark. There was a light on in the kitchen and in the foyer. He thought again that maybe it was time to sell the place for something smaller. As if feeling the hard rain for the first time, he ran into the house.
He was smiling when he entered the living room, which surprised his wife, who was there to greet him. He was a serious man who didn’t smile often, although she knew he was trying to soften his approach to life these days.
“I want to tell you what I did today,” he said, which surprised her. He never discussed his day with her. Not because he didn’t want to, or because she wasn’t interested, but because the nature of his work didn’t lend itself to general conversation.
They sat in the living room and he told her what happened. How Dolores had approached him so wearily, and what he said to her and what she said to him, and how he turned her down and how he drove to the convent and paid the nun.
When he was finished with his tale he asked, “You’re not angry or anything are you?”
“You mean jealous?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he said.
“No,” she said. “What you did was kind and decent.”
He put his arm over her shoulder and said, “And I feel good, I feel pretty good.”
The next morning Dolores poured Nick’s coffee and said, “That was a nice thing you did,” and then looking up at him she said, “I thought you said you wouldn’t give me the money.”
“I didn’t give you the money,” he answered without looking at her. “I gave it to some nun.”
“Well thank you anyway,” Dolores said. “I’ll start paying you back first paycheck I get.”
“Don’t worry about it, forget about it,” he said. “Thank you,” she said, and started to leave but she turned and said, “Look, Nick, I appreciate it and all, but I’d rather pay you back all the same.”
“Why?” he asked looking up at her. “Buy your girl…what’s her name?”
“Buy Phoebe something nice.
“Let’s just keep it business,” she whispered. “I got a man, and I don’t even want him in my life. So if that’s what you’re after…”
“Hold up,” he said in a voice that was louder than he had ever used with her. “I got a wife of thirty years that I love. She’s a good woman. I don’t do that kind of thing, you understand?”
A few days later, Dolores brought her daughter Phoebe to work because the school was closed for All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation. She had no one to mind her and couldn’t leave her home by herself.
Nick spied the girl staring at her from the far end of the Diner. She was round and chubby from too many starches and too much cheap food. She was close to cross-eyed and kept her mouth open. Her clothes were old, unkempt, and inexpensive. He fell in love with her immediately in that way that only Italians can do.
“I know who you are,” Nick told her in a calm and lyrical voice. “You’re Phoebe.”
“Yes I am,” Phoebe replied.
“Don’t you want to know how I know your name?” Nick asked.
“No,” Phoebe said.
“Well my name is Nick. You can call me Nick.”
“No I can’t,” Phoebe replied.
“Why not?” he asked.
“Because Nick,” Phoebe said in a way that was ever so slightly condescending, “I’m a child and children are not supposed to call adults by their first names, Nick.”
When Nick saw Dolores again a few days later, her right eye was closed and there was a large black and blue mark across the right side of her face.
“My God, what happened to you?” he asked leaning back quickly in his seat.
“Boyfriend,” she said looking down at the worn gray carpet.
“Holy mother of God,” Nick said, his face contorted in disbelief.
“I need to get out of there,” she said more to herself then to him. “He’s going to hurt us both.”
“What?” Nick asked. “You think he’ll hurt your little girl?”
“He’s rough with her,” she said. “He yells at her, and calls her names.” She pointed to her swollen face. “That’s what started this. It’s the dope too, he gets doped up, he gets high, and then it starts.”
“He does drugs in the house where there’s a kid inside?” Nick asked incredulously.
His stomach turned from the instant guilt he felt over not lending her the money she needed for the apartment.
“Is he the father?” Nick asked.
“No,” she answered and looked across the room at something only she could see. He waited for more of an answer that he sensed was coming, maybe not then, but someday. “I was raped by a person.”
He looked out the window into the parking lot and then back at her and in words that surprised him said, “We got a whole basement in my house, kitchen, everything, that’s not being used. We don’t even go down there anymore.”
“I” she stammered, “I don’t know…”
“It’s got a fireplace,” he said.
“What about your wife?” she asked.
“Two bathrooms,” he added. “It’s a big place. We got a yard too. I never go out there.”
“What about your wife?” she asked again.
“She never goes out there either,” he replied.
“No,” she said. “What I’m saying is, shouldn’t you talk to her about this first?”
“Yeah,” he said. “When we get there, we’ll talk to her about it.”
In the months that followed, a reign of happiness came over the home of Nick and Angerona Cunina.
Angerona, they called her Angie, gave up her daytime television programs and spent her days shopping for food and clothes and preparing meals and minding Phoebe while Dolores worked. Nick bought Dolores a used but reliable car and with Phoebe’s assistance, he became something of an expert in the Saturday cartoon genre. There was a week-long vacation to the Rhode Island beaches. In September, when they enrolled Phoebe into the Special Education program in the public school system, there was a parent-teacher conference that they attended with all the weightiness of a Presidential Summit.
Dolores continued to see her boyfriend, his last name was Galanthis, and he continued to get drunk and high and to punch her. She would break it off and he would get sober and it would start over again.
Nick didn’t interfere although Angerona pushed him to say something.
“Best to stay out of it,” he told her.
“He’s gonna kill her one of these days,” she said.
“Over my dead body,” he replied. “Look Angie, Phoebe’s safe, that’s the important thing. Sooner or later, Dolores will wise up; they always do, watch and see.”
One day the boyfriend came to the house, drove his car up on the impeccable lawn and kicked open the front door, screaming for Dolores. Angerona phoned the police who arrested him as he sped away. He was released the next morning, a wet, cold, and overcast November morning that forced Nick to pull his raincoat collar up around his neck while he waited for the young man to answer his front door.
He shoved his right hand into the overcoat’s pocket and ran his thumb across the tops of the dozens of hundred dollar bills stuffed into the white envelope. He would give it to the kid if he promised to leave the area. It was the best way to handle it. Pay him off.
He could hear someone walking away from the door and rang the bell again. He waited another five minutes and rang it again. When it opened, he reached into the raincoat to retrieve the cash envelope.
The kid’s unshaven face poked near the door. His eyes were bloodshot. Nick could smell the beer. It wasn’t even noon yet and he was drunk or on his way to becoming drunk.
“Hi, I’m Nick Cunina,” he said.
“I know who you are.”
“You got a minute?” Nick asked overlooking the young man’s aggressive answer.
“Minute for what?” the kid answered in a mocking tone.
“I got something for you,” Nick said and reached deeper into his pocket.
The knife pierced Nick’s stomach and caused a sudden and violent loss of blood. He lost consciousness before he hit the ground. A neighbor had watched the stabbing from her window and called the ambulance that managed to save Nick the Greek’s life. The cops never caught the kid. He stepped over Nick’s dying body, climbed into his car, and drove away, never to be seen again.
It took Nick almost two years to recuperate from the stabbing. But he did recuperate and during those many months while he mended, he changed and he changed for the better. He stopped booking numbers, a job he had grown to hate, and that had a lot to do with that change. When he was well again, in the summer of that year, his sixty-fifth year, Nick the Greek opened a store downtown on Main Street, Angelo Coppola and Son, Men’s Fine Clothing.

On happiness (I’m studying happiness because it makes me happy)

7 Reasons People with Childlike Hearts Are More Likely To Be Successful

If Holden Caulfield was right about one thing, it’s that children are the most pure and true humans on the planet. As we grow older, we lose the features that made us so innocent and virtuous, but it’s incredibly important that we don’t let these characteristics stray too far from ourselves. It should be noted that childlike does not mean childish. While it’s important to maintain purity as you grow into an adult, it’s also important to not only mature physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. Those that can maintain such a balance are often most successful, because:

1. They exhibit humility
Children are completely awe-inspired by the world around them. As we grow old, we tend to lose this sense of wonder. Some of us, unfortunately, see ourselves as the center of the universe, and think the world exists only for us. Keeping that sense of humility you had as a child is incredibly important, because it will allow you to be inspired by the actions of others, and will keep you striving toward growing as a person. If you’re not humble about your own being, chances are you will cease to grow any further.

2. They have faith
Children have faith in their friends, family, and teachers. They also have faith in themselves. Many children have faith in a higher power, whatever it may be (even if it’s Santa Claus!). Adults sometimes lose this faith, and this causes them to drift aimlessly through life. Becoming lost in a sea of seven billion other people is hard to fight against. It’s important to surround yourself with people who share the faith you have in the world around you. In doing so, you ensure that you and others around you will constantly be moving toward a higher plane.

3. They remember the feeling of innocence
In a world in which we’re constantly bombarded with stories of unspeakable violence and hatred, it’s becoming increasingly important for the innocent among us to rise up and spread the word of peace. It may be hard to believe, since the media is constantly telling you otherwise, but there are people in this world who act with no ulterior motive, and honestly do want to see humanity progress. While it may seem like these people are few and far between, that simply is not true. The people who don’t make the evening news are the ones keeping the world running, despite all the atrocities you may hear of on a nightly basis.

4. They embrace revelation
Children are incredibly curious about the world around them. They love to learn, and want to know everything there is to know about life. Those that think they know everything are doomed to a life of ignorance. There is always more to know, and always room to grow. Rather than doling out answers, we should always be asking questions and trying to understand more about the world. By accepting that it’s impossible to know everything, we open the door to the possibility that we can know as much as we can in our lifetime.

5. They transform themselves
Children come into the world with no preconceived notion of how to act. They learn from the adults around them how to live, and it is up to us to teach them how to live life to its fullest. Unfortunately, many adults get to a point where they feel stuck in their ways, regardless if they want to change or not. There’s always time to improve yourself, whether physically, mentally, or spiritually. It often takes some type of catalyst to make people change, but don’t wait. There may always be time to improve, but there’s no better time than now.

6. They yearn
Anyone who has children knows that kids spend most of their time yearning for something (sometimes it can be a pain, no doubt!). All kidding aside, children constantly yearn for new experiences, yearn to grow up (they’re crazy, aren’t they?), and yearn for knowledge. Again, many times adults reach a point where they become complacent, and no longer yearn for more. While it’s important not to be greedy, it’s also important to always want more out of life. By keeping the hunger for a better life alive, you will continue to grow on a daily basis.

7. They feel victorious
It doesn’t take much for a kid to feel like a winner. On the other hand, many adults feel so beat down by the world that they end up giving up, and, again, become complacent. When the going gets tough, look for the small victories. Even something as simple as hitting every green light on the way home can erase the feeling that “everyone’s against you,” if you look at it the right way. Though life may not be going your way at the moment, try to find the silver lining to the bad situation you’re in and work from there. Finding a win in every forward step you take will help push you toward your goals.

Happiness greater for people in small towns, de facto couples according to annual HILDA survey

By Angela Lavoipierre
Researchers believe they may have found the secret to happiness, with Australians who live in towns with fewer than 1,000 people being significantly happier than those in big cities.
Conducted by the University of Melbourne, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Survey (HILDA) is the most comprehensive of its kind in Australia — 17,000 people are interviewed about their happiness and its factors.
The report's author, Associate Professor Roger Wilkins, said there were a number of factors that impacted on happiness.
"The traditional big ones are our health, relationships ... being unemployed is extremely bad for your happiness," he said.
The survey revealed some unexpected patterns in our national happiness that some people may find depressing.

•           Men are more satisfied with their partners than women
•           People who live in towns of fewer than 1,000 people enjoy higher levels of life satisfaction
•           Women living in Queensland appear to be the happiest
•           People in de facto living arrangements are more satisfied with their partners
•           Happiness wanes the longer a relationship lasts and once children arrive
For example, Associate Professor Wilkins said the happiest among us were those who lived in towns smaller than 1,000 people.
"We don't probe into why people were happier in those small towns, so it's really a point of speculation as to why we find that effect," he said.
"The sorts of things that you think of are lack of traffic congestion and bigger cities tend to have more crime."
The survey also has some bad news if you are a woman in a relationship.
"Men get more of a kick, if you like, to their happiness from being married and they also tend to be more satisfied with their partner than women do," Associate Professor Wilkins said.
"Which is not to say that women get nothing out of relationships, but certainly not as much as men it seems.
"And also in terms of their health too, there's quite a significant health benefit it seems to marriage for men, but not women."

In fact, Associate Professor Wilkins said de facto relationships fared much better than marriage overall.
"De facto couples, on average, report higher levels of satisfaction with their partner than married couples," he said.
"Now there's a few reasons for that; one is that they're less likely to have children, and we find that children do have a negative impact on relationship satisfaction.
"They are, I guess, a source of some tension in a relationship — you know, who's going to do the child care and so forth.
"And also people who are legally married tend to have been in those relationships longer than de facto couples and so we do find a negative effect of relationship duration on satisfaction with the relationship."
Associate Professor Wilkins said one of the things not picked up in the survey was that children themselves were a source of happiness.
"So while having a child might cause a decrease in satisfaction with your partner, you also gain the satisfaction associated with having a child," he said.

““The key to life is not accumulation. It’s contribution.” - Stephen R. Covey



I have come to realize more and more that the greatest disease and the greatest suffering is to be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, to be shunned by everybody, to be just nobody to no one. - 
                                                                                               Mother Teresa

 I arrived at Mount Saint John in the usual style, sitting in a black state-owned sedan.
  My first and lasting impression of the Connecticut River Valley is its serene beauty, especially in the autumn months.  Deep River was a near picture-perfect New England village. When I arrived there, the town was a typical working-class place, nothing like the trendy upper-income enclave it became. The town center had a cluster of shops, a movie theater open only on weekends, several white-steepled churches (none of them Catholic), the town hall, and a Victorian library. It was small, even by Ansonia standards.
  Mount Saint John sits high on a hill at the edge of the town, surrounded by eighty acres of woods and fields, overlooking the Connecticut River and three hundred acres of marsh and meadows. A long and winding road leads to the school. The main building—the castle, we called it—was an impressive gothic structure connected to several other buildings.
  The school was founded in Hartford in 1904 as St. John’s Industrial School, a residential school for Catholic orphan boys in need of care. The Hartford property soon became too small as the number of children in need skyrocketed, and in 1908, St. John’s was opened at its present site in Deep River, the land donated by a local Catholic family, the Duggans. The school remained an orphanage until 1953 when Bishop Bernard Flanagan undertook substantial rebuilding and renovations at the school, adding dormitories, classrooms, and a gymnasium. In 1955 Flanagan brought in an enormous Scotsman from Canada, Father Kenneth Macdonald, to serve as the school’s Executive Director. He served in that position for thirty-five years.
  Father MacDonald was a more-than-competent administrator and he had a cold streak. He was amiable enough, but Mount Saint John was his life’s mission, and woe to anyone who interfered with his goals for the school.
  Mount Saint John, for all its many good intentions and high-minded ideals, was another glorified warehouse for broken and lost kids with nowhere else to go. When I arrived, the school intended for about thirty boys housed one hundred and twenty. They ranged in age from eleven to eighteen. Most were from the slums of Connecticut’s large cities and had bounced around in the foster care system before landing at Mount Saint John, which we always called St. John’s. For some it was as close to a home as they would ever have, and for others it was just another stopover on the way to someplace else. Regardless, St. John’s boys, including me, were the result of foster placement failures, but unlike me, most were streetwise, world-weary, mean, and completely untrusting.
  Overcrowded, understaffed, and offering marginal educational and medical solutions for the boys, it was right there in the middle of the mediocrity of care that was a  foster child’s life. In other words, it fit the norm for the foster care industry.
  The social worker drove up the long road to the school and we climbed out of the car, stopping for a second to take in the magnificent view. The social worker signed the papers and handed me off to the school. Then he was gone. I was on my own.
  A staff member took me to a dormitory and into a small room with two bunk beds. The staffer took the brown paper bags that held my belongings, spilled the contents out on the bed and rifled through them. He asked, “Any dope?”
  I was stunned. I didn’t know anything about dope, aside from what I had seen on TV. I felt the question was so ridiculous, I didn’t answer. He turned to me and asked again, “Any dope?”
  Later, I realized it was a fair question. Dope floated around the school because the boys would be sent from the rustic beauty of Deep River back to the vast slums of the inner cities loaded with marijuana, speed, acid and Quaaludes, and after a week returned to St. John’s laden with drugs.
  “No!” I said, “My God, no. I don’t know anything about dope.”
  He didn’t believe me.
 “Put your arms up above your head,” he said. “I gotta search you.”
  I did as I was told, as humiliating as it was, and he frisked me.
  “Okay,” he said. “You’re all right.”
  Then he reached into my belongings and took away my toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and my beloved Old Spice cologne.   
  “We’ll provide you with all of these things, except the cologne,” he said. “You won’t be needing that. Also, there is no homosexual activity allowed, understand?”
  My mouth went dry. I was too shocked and insulted to reply. My affliction made me push the tips of my fingers against the palms of my hands until they turned white.
  “Same goes with masturbation,” he added, and I turned red with embarrassment.
 “You share this room with three other boys. That’s your locker. Keep it clean and orderly. That’s your bed. Pull the sheets and pillow case on Monday and Wednesday and drop them in to the yellow laundry cart out in the main hall. Pick up your clean sheets and pillowcases before four o’clock on Mondays and Wednesdays. Drop your dirty clothes into the blue laundry cart every day. Pick up your laundered clothes from the laundry room—I’ll show you where that is in a moment—every Tuesday and Thursday, before four. Okay?”
  Still reeling from the dope and homosexual questions,  I nodded. “Yes,” I said. “I understand.”
  “Okay, good. Because we enforce rules around here. We have a merit system. You start out each week with forty merits to your credit. Every time you goof up, you get a demerit. More than ten demerits in a week and you get dorm restriction. You are to shower and brush your teeth every morning. Don’t shower, don’t brush, one demerit each. As I said, your locker is to be clean and orderly, otherwise it’s a demerit. Your bed is to be made every morning. Use a hospital corner when you make the bed. Do you know what a hospital corner is?”
  “No sir.”
  “I’ll show you,” he said, and he did, and when he finished he added, “And don’t call me ‘sir.’ I appreciate your good manners, but the guys who work here and live with you in the dorm are called prefects, and prefects are called by their last names, okay?”
  “Yes, sir,” I answered, learning later that “prefect” derived from the Latin word praefectus, and means, basically, to be in front and in charge.
  “Your shoes are to be polished once a month. Shoes are expensive, so keep them in good shape. You are to change your clothes every day. That includes undershorts and socks.” I thought, “Where in the hell am I that people have to be told to change their clothes?”  
  “The boys,” he continued, “line up for breakfast at seven and by seven we mean seven, , not one minute after. Don’t make people wait for you. Same goes for lunch. Lineup is at twelve sharp and dinner is at five sharp. Every night there’s a snack, milk and cookies. Other than that you are not allowed to have any food on your person or in your locker. Okay?”
  He smiled because he could see I wasn’t taking it all in. “All right, there’s just a little bit more, so hold on. This is a Catholic school, so Mass is mandatory regardless of your religious affiliation. Mass is every Sunday morning at eight. If you are Catholic, and you want any other sacraments or spiritual assistance, see Father MacDonald, our director. There is no swearing allowed anywhere on the campus.”
  He paused and looked around. “Let’s see, what else is there?” After a few seconds, he  added, “Oh, yeah, at meals you can take all you want, but eat all you take. Leaving food on your plate is five demerits. The dining hall is assigned seating. So is the chapel on Sunday, so you sit in the same place every time. Do you smoke?”   
  “No sir.”
  “Well, if you do, you get three packs a week; pick them up on Sunday at the prefect’s office.”
  He took my toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and Old Spice and walked over to a small sink at the end of the room and turning to me, he said, “Okay, one last time. Any dope?”
  “No sir,” I stammered.
  “Because if I pour this out and find something,” he warned, “I’m calling the state trooper.”
  He poured out the contents and then took me on a tour of the rest of the complex. There were three dormitories. The upper dorm was for young boys. The lower dorm, where I would live, was for boys twelve to fifteen years old. The upper and lower dorms were in what appeared to be a hastily built new wing attached to the main building. The third-floor dorm was in the old building and was for boys over sixteen.
 In the lower dorm was a long narrow bathroom with ten or twelve sinks and stalls. Directly opposite the bathroom was a shower room with no privacy barriers. In the center of the dorm was a large common area without furniture save for a few office chairs, a bent and worn Ping-Pong table, and a black-and-white television that I learned rarely worked. There was a general air of poverty and shabbiness.
   The prefects’ area was at the end of the common room and included an office, a single bedroom and a bathroom. Two prefects were on duty during evenings and one overnight. The school also owned several large houses down by the main entrance where otherwise the prefects lived, rent-free.
   All of the prefects were men. Virtually no females were on staff, or for that matter on the property at all, aside from the secretaries in the front office, whom the boys rarely saw, and the school nurse.
   The prefects were mostly recent graduates of New England Catholic colleges and most were very young, only a few years old than we. They were a decent bunch, for the most part young men from the upper-middle class trying to find their place in the world, while rejoicing that they hadn’t been drafted into the military and sent to Vietnam.
  Most had been hired because they had some sort of athletic background, because it was Father MacDonald’s theory that plenty of sports and physical activity cured almost anything. Others were hired because they had just completed their bachelor’s degree in social work or psychology. These were the prefects to be avoided. The jock prefects mostly left the boys alone. If a boy had no interest in sports, he was all but invisible as far as those prefects were concerned. But the therapist-wannabes jumped right on the over-analyze bandwagon, misdiagnosing the boys and adding to the labeling madness that dominates the foster care system.
   Of course, because they were men—especially men in a group of men looking after young men—empathy and sympathy were rare commodities and roughness and gruffness were commonplace, and they weren’t what the damaged kids at St. John’s needed as part of their daily routine.
   The ten bedrooms in the lower dorm, with four boys to a room, opened on a common area. The walls dividing the rooms were paper-thin plaster and plywood and painted a God-awful, depressing maroon.  There were no doors on the rooms or drapes on the windows. Privacy was nonexistent. We were not allowed to own anything that could not fit into our lockers, already crammed with clothes and shoes. It was pointless to own anything, anyway, because it was guaranteed to be stolen.
  The lack of privacy extended everywhere. We were never alone. We went to school together, ate together, and went to church together. We were not allowed off campus except on Saturdays, when we could walk into town and kill time, and there was a lot of time to kill at St. John’s.
  Each bedroom had four windows about six feet high. A pleasure in the warmer months, they offered a magnificent view of the river, but in the winter those enormous windows were a curse. The north winds sweeping down the Connecticut River or the south winds rushing up from the nearby Sound pushed right through those thin panes. There was no space heater on the dank tile floors, and no extra blankets were given out for the winter months.
   A small cross-hallway at the end of the upper and lower dorms was the general meeting place for the boys, because it was the only smoking area on the property. Cigarettes were given out for free, and almost all the boys over fourteen  smoked. After a while, I took it up as well. It didn’t trouble me that smoking can kill you. So can foster care, so big deal.
  The smoking hall connected to a longer hallway leading to the main building with the classrooms and the gymnasium. We boys seldom watched TV since most of our free hours were spent in the gym shooting hoops or lifting weights, especially in the winter. As a result, most of the St. John’s boys were healthy and strong, and a chubby kid was a rare sight. 
  The main building, the castle, was the chief operating area. In its basement was a woodshop and the laundry room, where we dropped off and picked up our clothes and bedsheets at a predetermined hour every week. If you missed your appointment, you had to wait a week to pick up clean laundry. It seemed like a harsh rule but it wasn’t, not really. The school was dealing with one hundred and twenty  boys, most from an undisciplined life with no schedules at all, and the rest of us, being boys, assumed that clean clothes appeared miraculously from the heavens.
  On the first floor was a tiny visitor’s room in an alcove, the business office, the head prefect’s office, meeting rooms, and the director’s dining room and private reception area. Down another long hallway were the industrial-size kitchen and the dining hall.
  We marched in lines to all meals. The food was served cafeteria-style. Tuesdays were always pork chops, Fridays were fried fish. The delectable Russian dishes that Helen had prepared and the succulent Sunday pork roasts were a thing of the past. But the school’s food was good and there was plenty. A prayer of thanksgiving was said before and after every meal. Because each dorm ate at specified times, we were given thirty minutes to fill our plates, eat and return our plates to the dishwashing room.
  We were required to eat three meals a day plus a light snack at night’s end. All this eating was new to me since we rarely ate breakfast in Ansonia and I stopped for lunch only occasionally. But the school was filled with kids who knew what it was like to be hungry, and when most of them ate, they ate in silence, rapidly, and hunched over their plates as if  protecting their territory. I can still see them today, and all these decades later, it’s still sad.
  The entire second floor was dedicated to the school’s director, Father Kenneth Macdonald. It housed his massive and imposing office, his apartment and our modest chapel.  
  After the tour, I was taken to my social worker’s office to be labeled. Each boy had an in-house social worker. The school didn’t make labeling a secret: In fact, they were very open about it, because the institution survived on federal and state funds that demanded concrete reasons for doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of the school. So the boys were labeled, and each label was attached to a funding stream from the federal government. Some of the favorite labels were “dependent,” “neglected,” “status offender,” and the all-time favorite, “emotionally disturbed.” The inside joke was that none of these labels really mattered; it was a shell game in which labels could and usually were changed depending upon the state’s needs. That’s how it worked, and how it still works.


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 Boyhood of Sir Walter Raleigh’ by John Everett Millais (1871)

‘Crimson and Emerald’, 1906 - Lajos Gulácsy (1882–1932)

‘Portrait with flowers’, 1953 - Victor Brauner (1903–1966)

Armed Workers In A Motorcar#1918#Ivan Puni

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope.”                                                                                                                                                     Helen Keller

And now for a Fitzgerald moment……………….

What Love is…..
Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold. Zelda Fitzgerald

How F. Scott Fitzgerald Found Eternal Peace in Rockville (Maryland)

Few associate the “Great Gatsby” author with this area, but he had deep roots here.
By Matt Blitz

Right off of Rockville Pike, a half-mile walk from a Red Line Metro stop, one of America’s greatest writers lies in eternal rest.
But while The Great Gatsby is still required reading in many local school districts, some area residents may be surprised to learn its author is buried, along with his famed wife Zelda, in a small Catholic cemetery in suburban Maryland.
F. Scott Fitzgerald helped define the 1920s and America’s Jazz Age and is thus more commonly associated with New York City, Paris, and Long Island, where his character Jay Gatsby lived. But Fitzgerald’s family had roots in the DC area. His grandparents lived right outside of modern-day Rockville, where they owned the small “Glenmary” farm. Fitzgerald’s father, Edward, was born on that small farm in 1853. Fitzgerald would later reminisce about the stories his father would tell him about helping Confederate spies during the Civil War. Edward moved west to Saint Paul, Minnesota, in the 1870s, but returned home when he was buried in his family’s plot in a Catholic cemetery in Rockville.
Soon after arriving in Saint Paul, Edward met Mary “Mollie” McQuillan, and they married. In 1896, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born. Naming him as such wasn’t simply a show of respect to the man who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but also a way to honor a family member. Francis Scott Key was actually F. Scott Fitzgerald’s distant cousin, though Fitzgerald always referred to him as his “great-great uncle.”
Fitzgerald married Zelda Sayer in 1920, the same year that his first novel, This Side of Paradise, was published. The earnings from that and his side gig writing short stories for magazines supplemented the opulent New York lifestyle that the young couple had adopted. While The Great Gatsby is considered today to be Fitzgerald’s opus, when it was published in 1925, it was lightly regarded and actually underperformed commercial expectations. It was only later that the novel that epitomized the Roaring 20s and cast a harsh light on the American Dream would get its due.
As the 1920s came to a close, so did the happy life of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Zelda began to show signs of significant mental illness in the late 1920s and for the rest of her life, she would be in and out of hospitals. Always a hard partier, Fitzgerald became dependent on alcohol and suffered through bouts of depression. Although still married to Zelda, Fitzgerald had numerous affairs and romances as she suffered through mental illness. After Gatsby, he would only write one more completed novel—1934’s Tender is the Night. In 1937, he moved to Hollywood to try to make it as a screenwriter, thinking of himself as a sell-out and failure.
On December 21, 1940, Hollywood gossip columnist Sheilah Graham found F. Scott Fitzgerald dead in their shared apartment. He had suffered a fatal heart attack at 44. While he had left no real instructions on where to be buried, he did note in his will that he wished to have “the cheapest funeral” possible.
Three thousand miles away, Zelda was living at Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, a sanatorium for the rich and famous attempting to recover from their ills. Despite the married couple’s troubles and, by that point, infrequent communication, she knew that Fitzgerald wished to be buried in his family plot in the Catholic cemetery in Rockville. So, she instructed those in care of his body to send him back east. There was one problem with that, though: Fitzgerald’s tenuous relationship to the Catholic faith.
When Fitzgerald arrived to the cemetery, the church that owned the cemetery at the time refused his burial. According to witnesses, it was because he had not fulfilled his “Easter duties” and was “unfit to be buried alongside good Catholics in consecrated ground.” Fitzgerald’s hard-living reputation had followed him to his grave. Instead, Zelda paid for him to be buried a mile down the road in Rockville Cemetery. In 1948, Zelda joined him when she died tragically in a fire at Highland. She was buried on top of him because Zelda had only bought one space. That’s where they sat for 27 years.
In 1975, members of the Rockville Women’s Club noticed the Fitzgeralds’ grave was crumbling and deteriorating. Talking with family members revealed that the Fitzgeralds should have been buried down the road. The case was taken to the Archbishop of Washington, William Baum, who immediately gave his blessing to allow the Fitzgerald’s to be reburied at St. Mary’s Church Cemetery. In a statement, he said that Fitzgerald was “an artist who was able with lucidity and poetic imagination to portray the struggle between grace and death ... His characters are involved in this great drama, seeking God and seeking grace.”
Today, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald lie together in eternal peace at the now-called St.Mary’s Church Historic Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland. Written on their gravestone is the last line from The Great Gatsby: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Matt Blitz is the head of the Obscura Society D.C., the real-world exploration arm of Atlas Obscura. He writes about discovering the world’s mysteries for Smithsonian Magazine, Atlas Obscura and Washingtonian.

Property where Zelda Fitzgerald died sells for $1.25M

Caitlin Byrd

ASHEVILLE – The historic site where America's Jazz Age darling, Zelda Fitzgerald, died in a tragic fire has sold for $1.25 million.
The four-story building at 75 Zillicoa St. was once Highland Hospital, the psychiatric facility where author F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife and eight other women died in a fire on the night of March 10, 1948.
Now it will become a place to help adolescent men who are struggling with substance abuse.
Richard Whitney, CEO of Whitney Commercial Real Estate, brokered the deal. Whitney said the property was originally put on the market for $2.1 million.
"It was on the market for 595 days," Whitney said of the property in Asheville's historic Montford neighborhood. "It used to be Highland Hospital, a place where folks came to get better. It's interesting how it all comes full circle, isn't it?"
The historic property will soon become the home of Montford Hall, a 28-bed, long-term residential substance abuse treatment program for boys ages 14-17.
Alex Kirby, the founder and executive director of Montford Hall, said the nonprofit organization had been looking for the right place for this program for nearly five years.
"With many programs, these kids are invariably dropped in the middle of nowhere, hours and hours away from anything," Kirby said.
"We made a conscious decision to put a treatment program somewhere that looked someplace like where a kid might live, but where they can also learn sobriety skills and be well-equipped to face the world because they will be confronted by it."
The Glass Foundation, a private family foundation in Asheville, purchased the building for Montford Hall.
Montford Hall will be sandwiched between Genova Diagnostics, which used to operate at 75 Zillicoa St. before moving down the street to 63 Zillicoa St., and CooperRiis Healing Community, which helps people with mental illness or emotional distress build the skills they need to become independent and find fulfillment in life.
"This property wasn't available when we started looking for properties. We looked at 182 Cumberland, which used to be a halfway house, but it just didn't work out. We also looked at 49 Zillicoa St., two doors up, but that was just not going to work," said Kirby, who is also a clinical psychologist. "The Glass Foundation has really stepped up to help us out. They're just the most amazing people to help us do this."
When it opens in October, Montford Hall will be the only program east of the Rockies to provide long-term residential substance abuse treatment for teenage boys, Kirby said.
"We are not rehab. These boys will come here to get stabilized after they go somewhere for 30, 60 or 90 days to get treatment. But rehab does not refer to continuum of care, and that's where we are different," Kirby said, noting teenagers in the program stay for periods longer than 180 days. "It takes a long time to get into trouble and it takes a long time to get out of trouble."
Montford Hall will take residence of the building beginning this month, and is already looking at an Oct. 15 opening date. But there is still work to be done.
"The building does not have a kitchen, and it only has one shower so we want to do some improvements there and also make sure we have addressed any fire safety issues," Kirby said. "We're looking at about $400,000 in renovations inside."
Kirby envisions a dining hall on the bottom floor, offices on the main floor and a school on the second floor. The third floor will be where the young men will sleep and the fourth floor will serve as a large room for music and recreational activities.
In total, the building is 16,363 square feet and sits on less than an acre.
Kirby said plans for Montford Hall have been approved by the city, but they are still waiting for their permits to be issued.
Patti Glazer will be the project architect, and the general contractor will be RPF Construction.
But aside from a few improvements, like replacing some rotting wood, the exterior of the building will not be touched.
"We're talking about putting together a new website, and a big part of that will be telling the story of this building and its rich history," Kirby said.
The plaque on the property that honors the life of Zelda Fitzgerald will stay.

The Champagne and The Stars
Boats Against the Current, documentary about Westport inspiring The Great Gatsby, sells out Fairfield Theatre Company
By Dan Hajducky

It has always been believed that F. Scott Fitzgerald drew on his time spent living in Great Neck, Long Island, and hanging out in Little Neck, Queens, when writing his masterpiece The Great Gatsby. A number of fantastic nonfiction books—namely Maureen Corrigan’s So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures and Sarah Churchwell’s Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby—devote time to the subject, but never mention Scott and wife Zelda’s six-month honeymoon in 1920, after This Side of Paradise was published, spent living in Westport having an influence on the tour de force. In fact, few scholars and Fitzgerald aficionados do.
Until now.
The documentary Boats Against the Current—by local author Robert Steven Williams and local historian/New Canaan High School history department head Richard “Deej” Webb—was recently pre-screened at the Fairfield Theatre Company to a sold-out crowd. Williams and Webb delighted in hearing that their documentary was so anticipated that FTC staff had to turn customers away. And for good reason, noting the revelatory nature of the film.
“We were thrilled at the turnout,” says Williams. “The event was about presenting our findings and getting a reaction from the town so that we could get it all on film as part of the narrative.”
In 1996, Westporter Barbara Probst Solomon wrote a New Yorker article linking The Great Gatsby to Westport; unfortunately, the piece was largely dismissed by Fitzgerald scholars. But it hit home with Westporter Mr. Webb, who began giving talks around town inspired by Barbara’s article, and Mr. Williams, who attributes the piece as a main inspiration for the documentary’s undertaking.
After years of research, they found that the “grey house,” the aforementioned Fitzgerald House on 244 Compo Road South, and surrounding area comes up more in Scott’s writing (namely The Beautiful and Damned) and Zelda’s than any other place they lived. In fact, the structure of Nick Carraway’s, Daisy’s and Gatsby’s house in The Great Gatsby can’t have been inspired entirely by Long Island…the house that the Fitzgeralds lived in there isn’t near the water.
However, Westport’s structure makes sense. In sight of the Compo Road house was an 175-acre estate owned by reclusive railroad millionaire Frederick E. Lewis, who was renowned for his behemoth summer bashes by the water. Additionally, directly across The Sound from the estate (the mansion of which is now the Inn at Longshore) is a lengthy dock, which once had a lighthouse within spitting distance.
Sound familiar?
As Webb and Williams started to report their findings to Fitzgerald scholars—including Pace University’s Walter Raubicheck, who attended the screening and was part of a panel discussion—they started convincing them that Westport played a bigger part in The Great Gatsby’s conception than was previously thought.
Boats Against the Current is so convincing that Great Neck Historical Society president Alice Kasten, who was invited to the premiere by Williams and Webb, stood up and said, “We concede!” Even better, Scott and Zelda’s granddaughter, Vermont artist Eleanor “Bobbie” Lanahan, who appears in the film, said that she feels she’ll learn more about her grandparents from watching Boats Against the Current than she currently knows.
The film also happens to be narrated by Westport’s own 2001: A Space Odyssey actor Keir Dullea and features Law and Order’s Sam Waterston (a long-time Connecticut resident), who played Nick Carraway in the 1974 film version of The Great Gatsby.
A more pressing matter has arisen, though, that Williams and Webb hope the film will help publicize: the Fitzgerald Home, which had been on the market for years, was recently sold for $2.59 million. The house is not landmarked, meaning it can be torn down any day like Ray Bradbury’s Los Angeles home was earlier this year. Though the wife of the new Compo Road home owner is reported to be a Fitzgerald fan, that doesn’t ease the minds of Webb and Williams, who ideally would like the home to be an international F. Scott Fitzgerald museum, or provide writer-in-residence opportunities.
Williams’ and Webb’s work, with the stamp of Barbara Probst Solomon herself, has people in the literature world rethinking Fitzgerald’s history already. Let’s hope their voices are heard loud enough to preserve the Compo Road house, in a town that inspired The Great American Novel.
“We’re giving the narrative time to unfold,” adds Williams. “But at some point soon, we’re going to have to wrap things up. In the meantime, our cameras are rolling.”
For questions regarding the documentary, or how you can get involved, head to Against The Grain Communications (againstgrain.com) or contact them via e-mail: info@againstgrain.com.

 “In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”                
                                                                                                                            Mark Twain

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” Kahlil Gibran

Here’s some poetry for you……………….

After a Movie
Henry Taylor

The last small credits fade
as house lights rise. Dazed in that radiant instant
of transition, you dwindle through the lobby
and out to curbside, pulling on a glove
with the decisive competence
of the scarred detective

or his quarry. Scanning
the rainlit street for taxicabs, you visualize,
without looking, your image in the window
of the jeweler's shop, where white hands hover
above the string of luminous pearls
on a faceless velvet bust.

Someone across the street
enters a bar, leaving behind a charged vacancy
in which you cut to the dim booth inside,
where you are seated, glancing at the door.
You lift an eyebrow, recognizing
the unnamed colleague

who will conspire with you
against whatever the volatile script provides…
A cab pulls up. You stoop into the dark
and settle toward a version of yourself.
Your profile cruises past the city
on a home-drifting stream

through whose surface, sometimes,
you glimpse the life between the streambed and the ripples,
as, when your gestures are your own again,
your fingers lift a cup beyond whose rim
a room bursts into clarity
and light falls on all things.

Henry Splawn Taylor (born June 21, 1942) is a poet, author of more than 15 books of poems and winner of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Taylor was born in Lincoln, Virginia, in rural Loudoun County, where he was raised as a Quaker. He went to high school at George School in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1965 and received his M.A. from Hollins University (formerly Hollins College) in 1966. He taught literature and co-directed the MFA program in creative writing at American University from 1971–2003. Taylor won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1986 for his book The Flying Change.

The writers life……………………………..

“As a writer, you get to play, you get to alter time, you get to come up with the smart lines and the clever comebacks you wish you’d thought of.”  Iain Banks

“A writer needs three things: experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.” –William Faulkner

“You have to protect your writing time. You have to protect it to the death.” William Goldman

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” Mark Twain

Behind many classics, there lurks a brilliant editor

By Sameer Rahim

Whether or not you believe that Harper Lee’s second published novel, Go Set a Watchman, adds to our understanding of To Kill a Mockingbird, or feel betrayed that the hero Atticus Finch has been revealed as a Ku Klux Klan member – or even both – it is important to remember that the book is neither a sequel nor a prequel but a first draft of the novel that later won a Pulitzer Prize and sold 40 million copies.
• Gaby Wood's review of Go Set a Watchman: 'an anxious work in progress'
Lee submitted her manuscript to a New York publisher in 1957, where it came into the hands of the editor Tay Hohoff, a chain-smoking veteran who had joined the firm of JB Lippincott 25 years earlier. Hohoff said she “found many things wrong” with Lee’s book, but recognised that “there was also life”. She worked closely with Lee, suggesting she draw the action away from the Fifties back to the Thirties and retell the story of Scout’s childhood from the young girl’s point of view. Hohoff, who died in the mid-Seventies, did not co-author To Kill a Mockingbird, but she did make it possible for Lee to write the best novel she could.
Hohoff is far from unique. Contrary to the myth that authors work best in lonely isolation, the truth is that editors or close advisers have often quietly shaped great books. James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson would not be half so entertaining had it not been for the assistance of Shakespeare scholar Edmund Malone. The novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton advised Charles Dickens to change the ending of Great Expectations from one where Pip and Estella definitely don’t get together to one in which, in that wonderfully ambiguous final line, Pip sees “no shadow of another parting from her”.
The 20th century brought the rise of the professional, interventionist editor. In 1924, Maxwell Perkins received a manuscript from F Scott Fitzgerald. The author suggested that the title he had chosen – The Great Gatsby – might need some work. How about “Trimalchio in West Egg”? Luckily, Perkins and Fitzgerald agreed to keep the original. As their correspondence shows, though, Perkins made pertinent suggestions, including rounding out Gatsby’s character as well as better telegraphing his dodgy business affairs. Perhaps Fitzgerald would have seen the wood for the trees anyway – but Perkins helped him along the way.
Some authors resented the increasing power of these gatekeepers. Herbert Read asked TS Eliot whether editors weren’t just failed writers. Eliot replied: “Perhaps, but so are most writers.” It was a cute response from a man whose most famous poem, The Waste Land, had been edited by Ezra Pound, and who edited other poets and novelists as part of his job at Faber & Faber.
In 1953, Eliot’s young colleague at Faber, Charles Monteith, plucked a novel from the slush pile titled “Strangers from Within”. It began with a nuclear war and the hurried evacuation of some schoolchildren who eventually crash on an island. Monteith thought the book should leap straight to the island scenes and he asked William Golding, then an unpublished schoolteacher, to take another look. The result was Lord of the Flies.
It can often help if a writer and her editor have different sensibilities. Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison says that in Robert Gottlieb she found not the “ideal reader” but the “ideal editor”. Precisely because of his distance from her material about African-American lives, he could tell her when he thought she was preaching rather than dramatising.
Morrison, an accomplished editor herself, did not need a red pen through her sentences. In a Paris Review interview from 1994, Gottlieb said, “A writer of her powers and discrimination doesn’t need a lot of help with her prose.” Rather, his job was to let her imagination unfold. “Bob said to me, you can loosen, open up,” said Morrison. An editor must be as much a psychologist as a prose technician – rather as a sports coach gets his athlete in the right frame of mind for a race.
Some editor-writer relationships are more fraught. When Raymond Carver published his short story collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in 1981, he was praised for his minimalist prose. What reviewers didn’t realise was that although the raw material was Carver’s, his editor Gordon Lish was extremely influential in creating that distinctive style. Lish edited the manuscript so aggressively that it halved in length; remarkably, he rewrote 10 of the 13 endings.
Carver pleaded with Lish to have his own words back: “My very sanity is on the line here,” he wrote to him. “If the book were to be published as it is in its present edited form, I may never write another story.’’ Eventually he accepted what he called this “surgical amputation”. Readers can now compare the original draft with Lish’s version: 20 years after Carver’s death in 1988, his wife helped into print Beginnings, the original uncut stories. It’s doubtful, though, that the unedited book will become as popular as the one produced by that combustible collaboration.
Some authors you wish had been taken in hand more firmly. David Foster Wallace was brilliant in so many ways but he seemed to suffer from hypergraphia – an addiction to writing. His 1,079-page novel Infinite Jest was even longer in its original form and he only submitted to cuts with great reluctance. But I reckon it could still go down another 200 pages. (For one, I wouldn’t miss the wheelchair-bound Quebecois terrorists.) When Wallace was writing for magazines he had to be reined in for reasons of space. His hilarious essay about going on a cruise, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”, is even funnier in the shorter, punchier version published by Harper’s Magazine as “Shipping Out”.
We have yet to see whether Go Set a Watchman will damage Harper Lee’s reputation. But what it has revealed is how a wise, parental figure taught an immature talent to come to full-fledged maturity. Perhaps in looking for a model for the noble Atticus Finch of Mockingbird, we should look no further than Tay Hohoff.

Good words to have…………………..

Superannuated was first put to use in English in the 1600s, having been borrowed from Medieval Latin superannuatus, past participle of superannuari ("to be too old")—from Latin super- ("over" or "above") and annus ("year"). Shortly thereafter, we made our own verb, superannuate, from the adjective. Superannuate means "to dismiss or retire from service with a pension" as well as "to declare obsolete," meanings that are still in active service. Superannuated can mean "outmoded or old-fashioned," as in "superannuated slang" or the "superannuated navy ships" of our second example, or it can simply mean "older than usual," as in our first example sentence.

“Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.”

Visit our Shakespeare Blog at the address below

Making America a better, kinder place………….

NYC Libraries Are Giving Out Internet Devices for Free. Could it Be a Model for the Nation?

by Ilya Marritz

This Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to approve plans to expand the Lifeline program, which offers home broadband to low-income Americans. Extending high-speed internet into potentially millions more homes will be a complicated undertaking. One place regulators are looking for guidance is New York City’s public libraries. Since last December, they’ve lent out almost 5,000 wifi hotspot devices to cardholders, absolutely free.
“The goal is, can we create a scalable model that effectively helps low-income families get online where they were previously not able to,” said Luke Swarthout, director of adult education services at the New York Public Library. Swarthout expects the NYPL, as well as the Queens Library and Brooklyn Public Library, to collectively lend out 10,000 devices by this fall.
The program is supported by a $1 million grant from Google, as well as smaller grants from the Knight Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, and the Robin Hood Foundation.

Poor, nonviolent inmates benefit from U.S. bail reform push


 Accused of stealing a $240 surveillance camera, Edward has been sitting in Chicago's Cook County Jail for four months awaiting trial.
The 45-year-old handyman from Gary, Indiana, who has a history of retail and auto theft and drug possession, cannot pay a $3,000 bail bond. But circumstances for Edward and many others like him are about to change.
Edward is one of hundreds of nonviolent, low-income defendants in Chicago's Cook County jail who could be released without bail from the biggest lock-up in the country when new rules take effect in coming weeks. Edward spoke with Reuters, but did not want his last name published.
Under SB 202, passed easily by Illinois lawmakers in May, inmates accused of nonviolent crimes such as trespassing and retail theft will be released without bond, pending trial, if their case has not been resolved within 30 days.
The Illinois bill is the latest sign of a national shift in the criminal justice system, away from harsh sentences and three-strike laws, and toward reducing spending on jails swollen with the homeless, mentally ill and people with substance abuse problems.
"These folks are nonviolent, not dangerous. They are in here because of inertia built into a large system," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who proposed the new Illinois bill to legislators. Taxpayers pay $143 a day per inmate in the jail, which currently houses some 8,800 accused and convicted people.
Supported by victims' advocacy groups and prosecutors, which in the past were more likely to back tough-on-crime measures, the bill is expected to be signed into law soon by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.


Increasingly, both liberals and conservatives are backing justice reform due to the expense of mass incarceration and the mixed results of policies pushed in the 1990s to limit parole, establish mandatory minimum sentences, impose long sentences for repeat felony offenders and increase drug sanctions.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier in July launched a similar program that will release without bond some 3,400 of the city's annual 45,000 detainees under monitored supervision until their cases are resolved.
President Barack Obama also focused on justice reform this week, saying the country needed to reduce overly harsh prison terms for nonviolent crimes that have been disproportionately applied to minorities.
The rate of people in jail in the United States on any given day was 231 per 100,000 in 2013, up from 96 per 100,000 three decades earlier as drug sentences became more severe, according to federal data.
"People are realizing there's a better way of doing this," said Nancy Fishman, project director at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York and co-author of a new report that argues jails are being misused.
Fishman pointed to Washington, D.C., where most people are released on their own recognizance and the city has an 89 percent court appearance rate. She added cities are using increasingly sophisticated ways to assess the risk that an accused person will not show up in court or will commit a crime while on release.
In Edward's case, his bail was set relatively high because the alleged camera theft was classified as a Class IV felony due to his multiple past convictions and prison time.
"There's no violence in my record," Edward said. "I'm not a bad person. I'm struggling with a drug problem."
The father of two 20-year-olds, Edward was living with his mother and said he made about $3,000 a month doing painting, carpeting and other remodeling work when he was arrested. He said treatment has helped him in the past, but he started abusing cocaine and alcohol again.
Edward faces a maximum 3-year prison sentence, but many inmates like him end up getting much lighter terms. In many cases, the sentence is less than the time served while awaiting trial.
Cook County Sheriff Dart said the typical person who would benefit from the program is someone with multiple, low-level retail theft arrests, who might sit in the jail for 200 days or more awaiting trial in the overloaded court system.
An inmate granted release without bail under the new rules may be put on electronic monitoring and attend treatment programs. If the person fails to appear in court, an arrest warrant will be issued.

In many jurisdictions around the country, defendants who pose greater risks of committing violent crimes are let out on bail while poor, low-risk defendants who cannot pay bail stay locked up for long periods, said the Vera Institute report, "Incarceration's Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America."
The Vera report also noted that African-American men, such as Edward, are disproportionately held pretrial as a result of an inability to post monetary bail.
In past decades, victims' advocacy groups were among the strongest voices pushing for mandatory minimum sentences and three-strike laws. Now some are pushing the other way, seeing reform as a way to return the focus to violent offenders.
Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, director of victims' rights group Marsy's Law for Illinois, said her group supports the new bill. "Money for prisons should go to house the truly dangerous."

‘Come Back When You’re Dangerous’: How Police Are Failing The Mentally Ill

Rather than providing the mentally ill with an opportunity to see a mental health 
professional, one expert says, “We say, ‘Come back when you’re in a crisis. Come back when you’re dangerous.’”

By Sean Nevins

WASHINGTON — Natasha McKenna was killed in February by a Special Emergency Response Team officer at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center in Virginia. She had been shot four times with a taser while her hands were cuffed behind her back, her legs shackled, and a mask secured to her face to prevent her from spitting.
The Washington Post reported that her last words were, “You promised you wouldn’t hurt me!”
The Fairfax County Police Department released the findings of an investigation into the death of the 37-year-old woman on Monday. Video of the incident has not been released to the public.
The official cause of death, as reported in April by the FCPD, is: “Excited delirium associated with physical restraint including use of conductive energy device.” Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are also listed as contributing causes.
The official “manner” of death, however, is ruled an “accident” in the autopsy report.
In other words, the SERT officer accidentally killed McKenna, who is survived by a 7-year-old daughter.
This seems typical for the way that black and brown people are treated by law enforcement in the United States – unarmed persons are killed, and the offending officers walk away with, at the most, a slap on the wrist.
Matthew Fogg, a retired chief deputy for the U.S. Marshals Service, agrees.
“As a Marshal and having handled prisoners, thousands of prisoners, in my career, this seems like it was an unnecessary use of force,” Fogg, who has no professional connection to McKenna’s case, told MintPress News. “You’re talking about a female here, only 130 pounds, and you’ve got her restrained, and you’re tasing her!”
“Why so much force?”
McKenna’s situation was compounded by her mental health issues, according to Pete Earley, a former reporter for The Washington Post and author of “Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness,” a book about his son’s experiences with mental illness and the failings of the criminal justice system.
“This is a woman who had a long history of mental illness. She got into an argument at a car rental place, the police showed up, [and] she became belligerent,” Earley told MintPress.
“They did what they thought would be a mercy arrest, took her to a hospital where apparently she did not get any decent care, and in the process she was charged with assault… and ended up with a felony [charge] just like my son,” Earley continued, explaining the sequence of events that led to McKenna’s jailing.
On Jan. 25, McKenna was arrested after calling police to report that she had been assaulted. While police were investigating her complaint, they discovered a warrant for McKenna’s arrest for assaulting an officer in neighboring Alexandria, Virginia.
The Alexandria incident is the “mercy arrest” Earley referred to, which occurred on Jan. 15. Five days later, on Jan. 20, a warrant was issued for her arrest.
While it is unclear what happened during the initial interaction with Alexandria police, it does seem like McKenna was experiencing some kind of episode associated with her mental illness because police took her to the hospital rather than jail, reported WUSA9, a CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C.
Earley believes the assault charge could have been baseless. “She was charged with assault, and that could be everything from not obeying a policeman’s orders to just walking away,” he explained.
Fogg backed up this analysis, telling MintPress that part of his training as a U.S. Marshal was that people should be charged with assault if a Marshal has to put his or her hands on them in any way.
“If you’ve got to put your hands on somebody – that’s the first thing you do: you charge them with assault so that they can’t come back and try to sue you,” Fogg explained.
 ‘That’s just outrageous’
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “In a mental health crisis, people are more likely to encounter police than get medical help.” Indeed, the organization continues, 2 million people with mental illnesses are booked into jails each year.
Further, Human Rights Watch released a report in May, which reports that it is common for staff in jails and prisons across the country to use unnecessary, excessive, and malicious force against prisoners with severe mental health issues, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The report, “Callous and Cruel,” states:
“Corrections officials at times needlessly and punitively deluge them with chemical sprays; shock them with electric stun devices; strap them to chairs and beds for days on end; break their jaws, noses, ribs; or leave them with lacerations, second degree burns, deep bruises, and damaged internal organs. The violence can traumatize already vulnerable men and women, aggravating their symptoms and making future mental health treatment more difficult. In some cases, including several documented in this report, the use of force has caused or contributed to prisoners’ deaths.”
The report explains that staff are often authorized to use force against inmates when an inmate’s behavior threatens the immediate security of officers and other inmates, and other efforts have been made to secure the compliance of an inmate.
However, HRW noted that many of the incidents in their investigation were non-threatening in nature, so the abuse meted out against inmates may constitute torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment, according to international human rights prohibitions.
Pete Earley argues that Natasha McKenna should have never been taken to jail: “When the officers came, they should’ve had what they call a Crisis Intervention Trained (CIT) police officer, who’s somebody’s who’s undergone 40 hours of training to understand the difference between mental illness and someone just being a trouble-maker.”
If law enforcement had more humane mechanisms in place for handling people with mental illness, McKenna would have been brought to what’s called a drop-off center, where she could have been evaluated by a mental health professional and an appropriate treatment program could have been recommended.
Earley told MintPress:
“This thing could’ve been avoided. It’s very startling that if you look at the picture of Natasha McKenna that we put up where she’s booked into jail. She’s not some wild-eyed person in the midst of psychosis. She’s smiling, and that’s a contrast to someone who gets held down and repeatedly tasered when they’re in a controlled environment, when they’ve already had leg irons attached, when already been hanged up.”
He added: “I mean, that’s just outrageous.”

 Reverting back to colonial days
Echoing the National Alliance on Mental Illness report, Pete Earley told MintPress it’s more common for people with mental illnesses to encounter police than get treatment because of the backward nature of how today’s system treats people with severe mental health issues.
Indeed, the way in which the mentally ill are imprisoned and sometimes abused is similar to the situation in colonial America, when there was an official policy to imprison the mentally ill, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization that promotes laws, policies, and practices that give timely and effective treatment to the mentally ill.
 “As early as 1694, legislation was passed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony authorizing confinement in jail for any person ‘lunatic and so furiously mad as to render it dangerous to the peace or the safety of the good people for such lunatic person to go at large,’” according to a 2014 TAC survey of how mentally ill people are treated in jails and prisons across the U.S.
A growing movement of activists in the 1820s and 1830s influenced a new set of legislation to confine people in psychiatric wards instead of prisons because of the inhumane ways in which they were often treated.
“Thus, for approximately 100 years, the problem of mentally ill persons in prisons and jails appeared to have been solved. These individuals were treated as patients, not as criminals, and were sent to mental hospitals for treatment,” states the TAC report.
But, starting in the 1960s, de-institutionalization marked a massive shift in this policy. The severely mentally ill were transferred from state institutions, and those institutions were closed. This process has been called “one of the largest social experiments in American history” — and it’s one that has clearly failed individuals with mental illness.
The TAC report concludes:
“[I]t has been known for almost 200 years that confining mentally ill persons in prisons and jails is inhumane and fraught with problems. The fact that we have re-adopted this practice in the United States in recent years is incomprehensible. Prison and jail officials are being asked to assume responsibility for the nation’s most seriously mentally ill individuals, despite the fact that the officials did not sign up to do this job; are not trained to do it; face severe legal restrictions in their ability to provide treatment for such individuals; and yet are held responsible when things go wrong, as they inevitably do under such circumstances. This misguided public policy has no equal in the United States.”

 ‘It’s not illegal to be crazy’
Matthew Fogg, the retired U.S. Marshal, told MintPress that the present state of indifference toward black and brown people by law enforcement in the U.S. is systemic.
“When it comes to African-Americans and people of color,” Fogg said, “I’ve seen excessive force used in extraordinary ways that you just don’t see on people of non-color, white.”
The only options he sees for exposing and tackling this pervasive attitude include community action and the various movements springing up across the country. People are standing up to law enforcement and saying, “We’re no longer going to be treated this way. If you’re outside the bounds of the law, we want to expose you to be prosecuted,” he said.
This kind of public awareness is also what’s needed for the systemic issues with law enforcement’s handling of the mentally ill to be addressed. Earley told MintPress the current situation drives the families of the mentally ill to take desperate measures to secure treatment for their loved ones.
“A family knows that they have to wait until somebody becomes dangerous because that’s the threshold,” he said. “You have to be dangerous. It’s not illegal to be crazy.”
“So they’ll wait or they’ll agitate the person. The person will react by maybe pushing the father. They’ll call the police. The police will come. Then the person gets arrested, and then they’re told they can’t go home. And then they release them into jail. And so all you’ve done is made a situation worse.”
Earley’s son, Mike, has been hospitalized five times to date, and during one crisis Mike became violent. Earley called the police, and when they came, they shocked his son with a taser twice. “This is just an example of how difficult it is to get anyone decent care in this country,” he said.
To combat malicious treatment of the mentally ill, like Natasha McKenna and his own son, Early suggests improving community-based services for the mentally ill, widening access to the mental health care system, and changing the criteria that allows the mentally ill to seek help.
“What happened was we closed down all the state hospitals and promised to use that money to help people in communities, but that didn’t happen,” he said, referring to the process of deinstitutionalization, which was supposed include mechanisms to bolster community-based services but never did.
Earley says it’s extremely difficult to gain access to mental health care — and this has got to change. “I couldn’t get in it,” he said. “I couldn’t get my kid in it until he became violent.”
Finally, he explained that the criteria used to assess whether a person can be treated need to be changed.
“We also need to look at first-time breaks,” he urged. “Most people who have a mental illness are confused the first time [they realize they’re having a mental health crisis] and are willing to see a doctor, and that’s the best time to try and engage them.”
“We don’t do that. We say, ‘Come back when you’re in a crisis. Come back when you’re dangerous.’”

I’m trying to teach myself Spanish and this is what I learned today…

Apagar (ah-pah-gahr')
to turn off; to put out
1 No creo que apagué las tenacillas antes de salir del apartamento hoy.
I don't think I turned off the curling iron before leaving the apartment today.

2. Aun después de tres horas, los bomberos no han logrado apagar el incendio.
Even after three hours, firefighters have been unable to put out the fire.

Books At Home Predict Academic Achievement, Especially For Low-Income Families

By Lisa Rodriguez • May 12, 2015 

There’s a simple, inexpensive way parents can promote academic success in kids. Surround them with books.
Researcher Mariah Evans headed a 20-year, worldwide study that found “the presence of books in the home” to be the top predictor of whether a child will attain a high level of education.
More so even, than the education level of their parents. Those from highly educated and higher-income families however, may not feel the difference quite as significantly.
“One of the things that is most striking to us about it is that the book’s effect appears to be even larger and more important for children from very disadvantaged homes,” Evans told Steve Kraske on Up To Date.
She said the effects can be seen both in academic performance, and in how much education children complete.
And there are several organizations in Kansas City, who are taking unconventional routes to get books in disadvantaged families’ homes — before they ever step foot in a school.
Reach Out & Read partners with 46 clinics across the Kansas-Missouri state line. Each time a child comes in to these clinics for their “well-child” check up between the ages of 0-5, they receive a new book along with prescribed advice from a trusted doctor to parents: read together, share these books as a family.
By the time a child turns five, if they go to all their scheduled appointments, they could have 13 new books to call their own. Plus, any other time they see a doctor, they can select a gently used book from the waiting room to take home.
“The idea is that in low income families, the medical provider is a very trusted person in these people's lives, so to receive that advice from a medical provider is important,” Mark Mattison, executive director of Read Out & Read told Kraske.
He said another benefit of working through clinics is that they can start building a library for children before they reach school age. Evans said that is the time of a kid’s life when books have the greatest impact.
United Way of Greater Kansas City has partnered with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in their Fight for Literacy campaign. Leslie, who called in to Up To Date, said that volunteers are canvassing some of Kansas City’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods to sign families up for the program, which sends a new book to the family each month.
Mattison sees potential for a great partnership between this initiative and Reach Out & Read.
“In the [doctor's] visit when we’re giving out the free book and the prescriptive advice on how to share books with kids [we can] tell them about how they can also sign up for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and get a free book every month.”

Through such efforts, these organizations can ensure that families and children continue to get more bang for their book.

Half the lies they tell about me aren't true.”


Compiled by

John William Tuohy


I'm a lean, mean, marketing machine.

I have a current passport

I am a great team player I am.

I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0, computor and spreadsheat progroms.

I flurrish in an environment where there is no inner-office tension and people respect one another.

I never take anything for granite.

I am creative, dependable, and housebroken.

I am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.

I am an onest and ambitious person, understanding the words as deadline, professional skills, communication with people, seriousity.

I have eight arms and eight legs with excellent interpersonal skills.

I have unsuccessfully raised a dog.

I can adapt to just about any environment from cubicles to fancy IKEA desks.

I'm a rabid typist.

I procrastinate, especially when the task is unpleasant.

I am loyal to my employer at all costs. Please feel free to respond to my resume on my office voice mail.

I am a quick leaner, dependable and motivated.

I have become completely paranoid, trusting completely no one and absolutely nothing.

Excellant at people oriented positi9ons and organizational problem solving.

Minor allergies to house cats and Mongolian sheep.

Very experienced with out-house computers.

Spent several years in the United States Navel Reserve.

1881-1995: Spent my time teaching and going to school for computer science.

At the age of twelve, I began hustling newspapers like many other great Americans had done. The only difference was that they became great.

Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain operation.

Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions.

It's best for employers that I not work with people.

Failed bar exam with relatively high grades.

Marital status: single. Unmarried. Unengaged. Uninvolved. No Commitments.

As indicted, I have over five years of analyzing investments.

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


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

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