The price for playing the game
A short story
John William Tuohy
THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE CHARACTERS AND PERSONS LIVING OR DEAD IS PURELY A COINCIDENCE
“I was thinking, just now before your late arrival” the Old Boy said looking over the front window of a restaurant called the Happy Hamburger “Do you recall when this was the Au Pied de Cochon? They had an ancient large lobster in a tank in the window.
“I remember it well.” He said looking over the building.
Because the Russian compound is just up the street a mile or so, it was our meeting place for Soviets who were considering a defection. It was also a favorite watering hole of little punk named Vitaly Yurchencko. Do you know the name?
He frowned and then shook his head “No.” he said “It doesn’t ring a bell”
“Towards the end of the Cold War Yurchencko was assigned to the Russian compound up on Wisconsin Avenue as chief of security, or, in other words, the guy that prevented defections. He was a man-about-town, liked the Americans to call him “Vity”. He was a lush” the Old Boy stopped and looked at his companion and said whispered “So many of those Russians are you know” and then continued walking “Every bartender in every posh tavern in town knew him”
One day, he walked into the FBI building downtown asking to defect. He claimed to be frustrated with his stagnant life as a Russian spy, his failed relationships with his wife and so on so and so forth”
“He handed over to two of our own men as KGB agents: Ronald Dallton and Lee Howard. We knew about them already and we had been sending them disinformation for a year or so before Yurchenka showed up but we could not be sure if the KGB knew that we knew about them. So we went along with it.”
“Why would the KGB turn in double agents?” he asked
“I suspect they knew we were on to them or perhaps they were of no more use to them. Collateral damage, old boy. The price for playing the game”
“He’ll live on in history as a fake defector, but I spotted him as a fake from the start.” Defector indeed” he spat out the last words “You see the KGB almost never used fake defectors. They are a proud people, the Russians. Defection would be a propaganda problem for them. The Soviet Union was a workers paradise, they said. So why would a ranking member of the Intelligence community defect? That led to one of many misunderstandings with that idiot Yurchenka. He assumed we would not leak his defection to the media. We explained that had one of our defected to the KGB the Russian press would never stopped writing about it. But he was in fact a legitimate defector but he was insane. A very disturbed individual let me assure you. The entire time we had him he was deeply, clinically depressed. He was in love with a woman married, a true beauty, wife of a Russian diplomat. He convinced us that she loved him as well. He said that if we could arrange for her to be with him in America, he would give us all the information we could possibly want. So we found the woman, he husband was assigned to the Soviet Embassy in Canada at the time. She refused to meet with him. Said she was not in love with him and in fact thought him something of a snake. Finally, we convinced her to meet him.”
“How much?” he asked.
“It cost the American taxpayer a cool half million dollars, cash” The Old Boy said shaking his head “We arranged the meeting in a hotel room. Once there she slapped him, called him a despicable traitor and a disgrace to the Soviet Union and I believe she spat on him as well before she stormed out.” He chuckled slightly “Turns out our Canadian people didn’t think to search her. She was wired, with a camera. Goddamn KGB filmed the whole thing. Took our money too”
As you can well imagine that only deepened his depression. We pressed him for more information but said he had a stomach ulcer. It was almost all that he talked about. Claimed that Russian Doctors couldn’t cure him. We had him examined by the very best people. They could find no ulcer. In fact they could not find anything wrong with him at all on any level. We told him and that and he said we were lying and he became, if it were humanly possible, more depressed.
Well by then, we’d had enough of comrade Chebatriova but we still weren’t sure what he was or what purpose he may or may not have been serving, or was he, as I advocated, simply a lunatic.? The Old Boy turned and shrugged and then held up his right index finger “We had to find out”
That night I was lying in bed, couldn’t sleep started to think, and it hit me. The next morning I went down to the mail room at Langley picked out a young man who I deemed might look good in suit and took him to my office. We spoke and it turned out he was a recent grad from…..”
He thought for a moment and said “One of those colleges they have in one of the states”
He signaled that they should continue walking while he checked the sky for impending rain “I asked him why he was with us and he replied that he wanted to be a spy so I knew then that we had out man. I called in the domestic people and we explained to the boy that we were assigning him to act as a sort of bodyguard for recent Russian defector. He was not ever, under any circumstances at all, to discuss his private life with Chebatriova.
A few weeks later we pulled the kid in for a talk and told him to disregard everything we had told him not to tell Chebatriova and that he was to take Chebatriova out to dinner or drinks, anywhere away from the safe house and tell Chebatriova everything about his short career with our company. So the kid takes Chebatriova out to Au Pied de Cochon and tell him everything that we told him not to tell him, his recent narrow graduation form college and how he had worked in the stock room at Langley and so on.
The kid says that Chebatriova eyes went as large as plates, his mouth was open. He got the message. He was useless to us and he knew and now we knew it. He says to the boy “They think I am joke?”
“I don’t know” answers the boy and at that Chebatriova gets up and walks to the bathroom and climbs out a window. He walked up the hill to the Russian compound. There had been two other re-defectors, Betova and Chebatriova were their names and the KGB let be known far and wide that both had been welcomed back with open arms. Yurchenka apparently thought the KGB might treat him well if he returned. The Soviet Embassy called a press conference where Yurchenka announced he had been kidnapped and drugged by us.
“Why did he bust out the window?” He asked “Why didn’t he just walk out the front door?”
The Old Boy shrugged “Who knows? He was a madman.”
“Do we know what happened to him?”
“Oh yes” the Old Boy smiled “Yurchencko vanished for a while but several days after the Soviet Union fell a group of KGB boys rounded up Yurchenka and those two other re-defectors, Betova and Chebatriova, and shot them dead. Dumped them in the forest someplace. Our own man, Lee Howard, the one Yurchencko gave us. He defected to Russia. Lived there for some years. They married him off to a KGB agent. The same day they killed Yurchenka, Betova and Chebatriova, she killed him. Karate chop to the neck.”
THE WRITERS WORLD....................
“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
It was time for the annual autumn dance that the school sponsored with Mariam Hall in Hartford, St. John’s counterpart for foster girls. The night before the dance, we assembled in the gym to hear Father MacDonald pontificate on social graces, manly behavior, and the importance of cleanliness to young ladies. At the end of the talk, there was the mandatory reminder about lust in the heart.
“The Sisters from Mariam Hall and our prefects will be on the dance floor,” he said, “and the gym lights will be left on during the dance due to that unfortunate event several dances ago.” I could only begin to speculate what that was about.
When he finished speaking, one of the nuns who taught at the school part-time took the stage and gave a lecture on how to approach a girl for a dance. “A young gentleman,” she began, “speaks to a young lady with graciousness and decorum. The young gentleman makes a slight bow and introduces himself, and requests the next dance. And by this I do not mean,” she said, “that you say, ‘Hey, sister! You’re a cute number! How’s about a swing around the boards?’”
That line drew a laugh, and the more she spoke the more we laughed, until finally she left the stage, defeated, and returned to the world of 1942 USO dances.
The next speaker was our school nurse, Mrs. Lagasse, a tall, magnificent, shapely, blue-eyed blonde who did wonders for her nurse’s uniform. When she took the stage all the men in the room, including Father MacDonald, shifted their clothing a little bit, mussed with their hair and sat a little taller in their seats. No one knows what she said. It probably had something to do with health.
Then Father MacDonald took the stage again and explained that the staff would now teach the boys how to dance properly. We were broken into groups, one prefect per group. Amid enormous sighs and moans, the prefects took turns waltzing us around the gym floor, teaching us where to place our hands and where not to place our hands during the dance.
“Just do a circle eight over and again until the music stops,” one prefect said. Across the gym, another could be heard telling his group, “Just keep dancing in a square over and again until the music stops,” or “Move your weight from one foot to the next in time with the music.”
At dinner on the night of the dance, the mashed potatoes went untouched due to a rumor that had started and spread years before—perhaps even decades before I heard it—that on the night of the dance, the cook always spiked the potatoes with saltpeter, a white powder that kept boys from attaining an erection. Exactly what we would do with erections on a brightly-lit dance floor, surrounded by vigilant Catholics sent directly from the Inquisition, never played into the equation.
We were standing in the gym when the girls arrived by bus from Hartford, a mist of Aqua Velva and Old Spice floating just above our heads. Like us, they were dressed in their best clothes, and like us, they had taken hours to get ready, primping in the mirrors.
They walked into the gym, silently, heads down, following a nun who directed them to wooden chairs lined up on the side of the room opposite from where we were standing. They hung their long winter coats over the backs of the chairs and then stood in a long line at the edge of the playing floor. They wore skirts, short skirts, mostly. Their hair was set in various styles that were lost on us. They wore earrings and rings and charm bracelets and too much lipstick and heavy coats of makeup.
I studied their faces. The poverty and desperation they came from showed on their faces and in their posture. They looked rough, unhappy and older than their years.
I suppose we looked the same way to them but I’m not sure, because they say girls take this life, the poor people’s life, harder than boys do, that they feel it more. I don’t know, but it’s what I heard once, someplace.
An awkward silence fell over the gym. Some of them glared at us defiantly, angry at having to partake in this ritual. Others stared at the floor and bit their lips. A few were talking to themselves. They were waiting for us to do something, but despite all our boasting and ranting down in the dorm about how we would “bag a couple of chicks” before the night was done, we were too scared to do anything. So we stood there, watching them watch us, and the staff from both schools stood at either end of the gym watching all of us.
This ungodly silence went on for a while until someone had the good sense to put on “What Does It Take?” by Junior Walker & The All-Stars, a song that starts with a long melodic riff from a sax.
A very short Puerto Rican boy named George Maisonette glided out to the center of the floor and started to sway, alone, slick and graceful, to the music. At first he was so soulful about it that everyone giggled, and then, realizing that George was the only one in the gym enjoying himself, the rest of us slid out to the floor and danced the rest of the night away.
It was a good night—no, it was better than that: It was a great night. We danced and flirted and talked, and for a few hours we weren’t poor or scared or desperate and didn’t have on hand-me-down clothes and cheap shoes. We were just kids, doing what kids do, and it felt good. It was a great night. Yeah, it was great night.
In 1962, six year old John Tuohy, his two brothers and two sisters entered Connecticut’s foster care system and were promptly split apart. Over the next ten years, John would live in more than ten foster homes, group homes and state schools, from his native Waterbury to Ansonia, New Haven, West Haven, Deep River and Hartford. In the end, a decade later, the state returned him to the same home and the same parents they had taken him from. As tragic as is funny compelling story will make you cry and laugh as you journey with this child to overcome the obstacles of the foster care system and find his dreams.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. He is the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.
GOOD WORDS TO HAVE................................
Octothorpe \AHK-tuh-thorp\ The symbol # A versatile symbol with many names (among them hash mark, number sign, and pound sign), the octothorpe has become popularized as the go-to symbol for marking trending topics on Twitter and other social media. It is believed to have been adopted by the telecommunications industry with the advent of touch-tone dialing in the 1960s. Stories abound about how the odd symbol got its name. The octo- part almost certainly refers to the eight points on the symbol, but the -thorpe remains a mystery. One story links it to a telephone company employee who happened to burp while talking about the symbol with co-workers. Another relates it to the athlete Jim Thorpe and the campaign to restore posthumously his Olympic medals, which were taken away after it was discovered that he played baseball professionally previous to the 1912 Games. A third claims it derives from an Old English word for "village."
I'M TRYING TO TEACH MYSELF SPANISH AND HIS IS WHAT I LEARNED TODAY....
Sujetar: to hold
Example sentence: Sujeta esto un momento.
Sentence meaning: Hold this a moment.
I LOVE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS.....
Les mitaines noires, 1932
A dazed, hooded Marine clutches a can of food during his outfit’s retreat from the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War”, by David Douglas Duncan, December 1950
HERE'S SOME GREAT ART FOR YOU TO LOOK AT............
Amedeo Modigliani, 1917 a girl in a yellow dress
Jose Guerrero, 1966
“No human relation gives one possession in another—every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.” Kahlil Gibran
Lending Out Books
by Hal Sirowitz, from My Therapist Said
You're always giving, my therapist said.
You have to learn how to take. Whenever
you meet a woman, the first thing you do
is lend her your books. You think she'll
have to see you again in order to return them.
But what happens is, she doesn't have the time
to read them, & she's afraid if she sees you again
you'll expect her to talk about them, & will
want to lend her even more. So she
cancels the date. You end up losing
a lot of books. You should borrow hers.
Hal Sirowitz (born 1949) Sirowitz first began to attract attention at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe where he was a frequent competitor in their Friday Night Poetry Slam. He eventually made the 1993 Nuyorican Poetry Slam team, and competed in the 1993 National Poetry Slam (held that year in San Francisco) along with his Nuyorican teammates Maggie Estep, Tracie Morris and Regie Cabico. Sirowitz would later perform his poetry on stages across the country, and on television programs such as MTV's Spoken Word: Unplugged and PBS's The United States of Poetry.He has written six books on poetry and is arguably best known for the volumes Mother Said, My Therapist Said and Father Said. Sirowitz is a 1994 recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry and is the former Poet Laureate of Queens, New York. He worked as a special education teacher in the New York public school system for 23 years. He is married to the writer Mary Minter Krotzer. Sirowitz is the best-selling translated poet in Norway, where Mother Said has been adapted for the stage and turned into a series of animated cartoons.
MY BOOK ON ROGER TOUHY
The Touhy brothers, Roger, Tommy and Eddie were the last serious threat to Capone’s might. The brothers, safely tucked away in the still mostly undeveloped portion of northern Cook County, had grown rich from Prohibition and gambling and the ability to avoid big political payoffs and long-drawn-out beer wars. By 1932, they had the money, the manpower and the firepower to take over the entire Chicago Teamsters’ organization without having to split any of the proceeds with Capone.
Patty Burrell, the Teamsters Vice President, called a meeting of all the locals threatened by Capone and gave them a choice. They could stand-alone against Capone, and lose their unions and probably their lives, or they could move their operations under the Touhy’s’ protection. They would still lose a large portion of their treasury to the Touhy’s, but at least they’d be alive. Most of the union bosses knew Roger Touhy from their childhood. He had a solid reputation as a union organizer in his youth and compared to Capone at least, he was still evil, but at the least, he was the lesser of the two evils. The bosses would go with Touhy. After the meeting, Burrell sent union boss Jerry Horan to Roger’s house with $75,000 in cash for a defense fund. Touhy used that money, plus an additional $75,000 from his own pocket, to hire an army of thugs to fend off Capone’s pending assault. Touhy’s defiance didn’t come without a price. The Capone’s killed one of the brothers, and attempted to kidnap his children. Then, on October 25, 1931, the unbelievable happened. Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion and sentenced to ten years in prison. That same day, Capone gunmen gunned down Matt Kolb, Touhy’s business partner and financier, as well as the source of Touhy’s enormous political clout, inside his speakeasy, the Club Morton. With Kolb dead, the price for political protection went through the roof. Touhy would have to find a Kolb replacement soon and Anton Cermak was just off on the horizon. Once Cermak had smashed the gamblers into submission he would need someone dependable to act as his collector and street boss, the mayor’s personal bagman. Enter Teddy Newberry, a lifelong gangster, who had been with Bugs Moran and then the Aillo, and finally with Capone until his career ended.
After several months of acting as Cermak’s street supervisor, Teddy Newberry sat down with Anton Cermak in the summer of 1931 and worked out a deal. As Newberry and Cermak saw it, with Capone and most of his top men behind bars, or on the run from the law, what was left of the syndicate would easily fall apart. The fact that Roger Touhy was winning his shooting war against the Mob was another plus for them. All that was left, according to Newberry, to topple the Chicago syndicate, was to kill the head and then watch the body die. Enter Roger Touhy. Anton Cermak, who had known Touhy for Roger Touhy for decades, wanted Touhy to join forces with him and Teddy Newberry to help them jointly run the underworld in Chicago and the Midwest. In 1959, Touhy told the Illinois parole board that in early 1933, Newberry and Cermak called him down to city hall for a discussion.
In a meeting in the mayor’s office, Cermak and Newberry urged Touhy to wage a larger war with the Mob, but Touhy laughed it off saying he didn’t have the strength to fight the Nitti organization, which could muster at least 500 gunmen within a week’s time. Cermak said, “You can have the entire police department.”
Touhy eventually agreed, and Cermak lived up to his end of the bargain. He sent word down to his police commanders that Roger Touhy was to be cooperated with in his war against the syndicate for control of the Chicago Teamsters .The number of Capone men killed after Cermak took office tripled in two years. Someone hundred gangsters were killed in ambushes and street fights. For a while, the hoods fell at a rate of one gangland murder a day with most of the dead coming from the syndicate’s ranks.
James Doherty, a crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune recalled: “It was a war, chiefly, between the Irish and the Italians. I’m Irish and I’d come into my office in the morning after another shoot-out and I would say to my co-worker, who was Italian, “Well that’s one to my side” and the next day he would come and say “Well, it’s leveled Jim,” we chalked one up on our side last night.” For a while, it was going well for the upstarts. Almost too well. The Touhy’s gunned down the syndicate’s lead labor plunderer, Red Barker, the government jailed the equally deadly Murray Humphreys, and Cermak’s hoods shot down Frank Nitti. They were so close. They had chased the syndicate out of the Teamsters and had ready access to the pension funds. They owned city hall and the police. Then the tide started to turn. First, Teddy Newberry’s dead body showed up on the bitter cold evening of January 7, 1933. He was found lying face down in a ditch in Porter county, Indiana. After Newberry was killed, Tony Cermak lost his nerve. Tony was absolutely certain that the Outfit had pegged Louis “Short Pants” Campagna; Al Capone’s former bodyguard was going to kill him. He may have been right. According to newsman Jack Lait, in late 1933, the syndicate’s hit men tried to blow up Cermak’s car early one morning in the middle of Chicago’s loop. After that, Cermak beefed up his security forces and moved from the Congress hotel to the Morrison hotel where he paid for a private elevator that went non-stop to his penthouse suite. He increased his city police guard from two to five officers and had detectives sent to protect his daughters and hired on private bodyguards to augment his city police detail and then took a midnight train to Miami where he owned a home. The job to end the union war with the Touhy’s and take out Anton Cermak fell to Paul Ricca, acting boss since Nitti had been shot. Ricca determined that the only way to deal with Cermak was to kill him. But, knocking off the mayor of the nation’s second largest city would bring down more heat on the Mob then Cermak ever could have gathered. Unless, of course, the murder could be thumbed off on a “nut case.” The “Nutcase” they found was Giuseppe Zangara, a hapless Italian immigrant with a gambling problem, who was into the Outfit for his eyeteeth. Zangara was born September 7, 1900, in Ferruzzano, a small and very poor village in Calabria, Italy. His mother died while he was still a small boy. His father remarried, to a women with six daughters, and Zangara, small, fragile, seldom smiling and deathly quiet, was lost in the hoard that was his new family. By all accounts Zangara’s father was an odd man, angry at the world.
He had constant problems with authority and he beat his children. It was no surprise to anyone when, at age six, after Zangara’s step mother entered him into public schools, that his father withdrew him two months later. “When my father come he say me like this, he says me, ‘you don’t need school, you need work.’” Zangara, the child, went to work beside his father building roads. Later he learned the work of bricklayer, which was, in Italy of that time, still almost an art form and required years of apprenticeship. Apparently Zangara had an aptitude for the trade and at age 17 was already a mason, no small feat. Zangara the somber and unhappy child grew into Zangara the somber and unhappy man, enraged at the world because he was poor and because he was taken from school as a child. He talked about his unhappiness openly and often during his trial. Perhaps, if for no other reason, he finally had someone to listen to him. In 1917 Zangara, then 17, was drafted into the Italian infantry and stayed in the Army for five years. While in the service, he was arrested, on October 24, 1921, for carrying a knife. He was tried and convicted but the sentence was suspended.
Discharged from the military in 1923, Zangara sailed to the United States from Naples, arriving in Philadelphia aboard the liner Martha Washington, on August 18 1923, five days before his 23rd birthday.
He went to Patterson, New Jersey, moved in with an uncle, Vincent Cafaro, a bricklayer who landed Zangara on a job with the construction company he was working for. As a skilled laborer and a member of the Bricklayers union #2 in Patterson, Zangara earned as much as $12.00 an hour, an extremely high hourly rate when the average national income was less than $5,600 a year.
He filed a declaration to become a citizen of the United States, doing so only because it was required by his union that all members be United States citizens or at least have filed to become citizens. The names of the witnesses on the declaration, two men, disappeared with most of the official information that surrounded Zangara’s background, but on September 11, 1929, Zangara became a United States citizen, and registered as a Republican.
Later that month, on September 28, someone named Giuseppe Zangara of Patterson, New Jersey, was arrested for running a massive, 1,000-gallon still in rural New Jersey. When arrested Zangara used the name Sam Livari, but later changed that to Luigi DiBernardo. Arrested with him was Tony Adgostino, a known racketeer in Northern, New Jersey.
On May 26, 1930 Zangara/DiBernardo pleaded guilty to owning the still and was sentenced to one year and one day at Atlanta Federal Prison. During sentencing, United States Attorney Philip Forman, later a federal judge, asked, “Your real name is Zangara, isn’t it?” and Zangara answered that it was.
The fact that the prosecutor knew Zangara by sight implies that Zangara wasn’t a stranger around the federal courthouse. DiBernardo/Zangara entered Atlanta Federal prison, on May 26, 1930, and was paroled seven months later on December 20, 1930.
Later, when the Secret Service investigated the Cermak shooting, they accepted Zangara’s explanation for the missing seven months as his having been in Central America. Even more remarkably, when Phillips Forman, the U.S. Attorney, informed the Secret Service about Zangara’s time in prison, the agents pulled Zangara’s prison photo and compared it to a picture taken in Florida when he was arrested and determined that “They seem to match, however, our Zangara has a lower forehead but, otherwise, they match.” However, the investigating agent never followed up on the lead.
When 1931 rolled around, Zangara started to change. He lost interest in his job and avoided people even more than he did in the past, and then, without any apparent reason, he left New Jersey for Florida. When he departed from New Jersey, he left hurriedly, leaving all of his possessions in the boarding house.
In Florida, Zangara became a gambler, a degenerate gambler, betting mostly on the horses. When he gave up on the horses, Zangara turned to the dogs, and in one incident lost $200 in one night, a huge amount of money for anyone in the depression-racked America of 1933, but a small fortune to an out-of-work bricklayer.
On February 12, 1933 Chicago city hall announced that his Honor, Anton J. Cermak of Chicago, would make an appearance in a Miami park, at night, to greet the arrival of president-elect Roosevelt. Thousands were expected to turn out for the event. It was a godsend for the Mob. Ricca sent word down to Dave Yaras, a transplanted Chicago hood, that they were going to whack Cermak, and Yaras had to line somebody up to take the fall for the murder, a patsy. Yaras reported back that he had just the man they needed.
Dead broke, Zangara took a slot in Dave Yaras’s highly secretive heroin- smuggling operation, in or about, early 1932, when he was spotted regularly around the municipal docks. According to Reverend Elmer Williams, a Chicago minister who exposed political corruption in the Windy City during the Capone and Nitti reigns, Zangara worked in Ricca’s narcotics processing plant in extreme south Florida, as a mule, transporting narcotics up to New York, a city he knew well.
In New York, Zangara turned the dope over to distribution specialists like Bugsy Siegel in Brooklyn, Longy Zwillman (1899-1959) in Jersey and others. He would collect the money for delivery and then return to Florida to run the entire cycle all over again.
According to both Williams and Jack Lait, while Zangara was on one of his runs to New York he got spotted in a Mob casino in Manhattan by a group of the New Jersey hoods that he had cheated back in 1930.
Now the hoods from New Jersey had a make on him and they brought their complaint to Ricca since, technically, Zangara was under Chicago’s protection. The New Jersey hoods wanted him so they could kill him. Even if New Jersey didn’t want him, Zangara had now been uncovered as an unreliable worker, a detriment in a racket as volatile as narcotics. So Yaras would have to deal with him. The gangsters sat Zangara down and explained his two choices. The Mob could kill him, right then, right they’re...or Zangara could take his chances and shoot Cermak for them.
Shooting Cermak, they explained had its upside. Maybe the police would kill him. Maybe the crowd would rip him to pieces...or maybe he’d get lucky. Maybe he’d get caught after he killed Cermak. He could pretend he was insane, and, at the most, he might get, ten...maybe fifteen years on a farm for the mentally insane and then he could walk. All debts forgiven. Someone had checked. Florida, second only to Texas, as Jack Ruby later pointed out, had the most lenient laws on the books in dealing with mentally unstable criminals. Zangara may have actually believed that he was going to get away with it. When the Secret Service went into Zangara’s room after the shooting they found only a few personal items in his travel bag, which was left on his bed, neatly packed. It included clothes and three books, The Wehman Brothers Easy Method for Learning Spanish Quickly, Italian Self Taught and an English-Italian grammar book and several newspaper clippings about Roosevelt’s trip to Florida and one about the Lincoln assassination conspiracy. But, of course, the Mob had no intention of letting Zangara walk away. According to Roger Touhy, the second after Zangara fired into Cermak; a Mob assassin would plug Zangara and disappear back into the crowd.
The Miami police, Secret Service or Cermak’s private guards would get the recognition. Whoever it was, the American public would hail them as a hero.
Jack Lait, a top Chicago reporter noted: “Had Cermak escaped Zangara’s bullets another triggerman would have gotten him.” Lait was right of course, except there weren’t going to be any mistakes because Paul Ricca, the Mob’s acting boss, wouldn’t leave room for one to happen. Ricca was sending his best killers down to Florida to make sure the hit went off correctly: Three Fingers Jake White and Frankie Rio. Two days before Anton Cermak was shot, a Chicago beat cop spotted White sitting inside the main terminal of the Chicago railroad. Within minutes, several carloads of detectives were inside the station and had White and his companions, Frankie Rio and ward politician Harry Hockstien, up against the wall for a body search. The officers found nothing on the three smirking hoods except a bag of donuts and were forced to release them. White and Rio explained that they were on their way to Miami, Florida for a short vacation.
On February 14, 1933, the day before the shooting, Zangara went to Davis Pawn shop in downtown Miami, and spent eight dollars on a .32 revolver and ten bullets.
Gordon Davis, the Miami pawn broker who sold Zangara his gun along with ten bullets, admitted that he had a criminal record in Chicago and that he had known Zangara “for a long time.” Gordon said he didn’t ask Zangara why he felt he needed to purchase the revolver, “I ain’t a wet nurse, Pal,” he told a Secret Service investigator.
While still in the store he placed five bullets in the chamber and kept five in his pocket. Then Zangara started stalking Cermak. On the day of the shooting, at about 11:30 in the morning, Zangara went to the Bostick Hotel at 217 South Miami Avenue near the park and rented a room. He paid a dollar for the night, and was assigned to room 4. Before he entered the room, Zangara asked to see all of the exits and entrances to the hotel, then he went to his room, left the door open, sat on the edge of the bed and stared down the hallway towards the front door of the hotel.
By 6:30 that evening, Zangara was gone.
What Zangara knew, although it has never been established how he knew, was that the hotel was owned by Horace and May Bostick, close friends to Anton Cermak and that they expected the Mayor to drop by that evening before going to greet the President.
“Zangara’s object in coming here,” May Bostick later told the Secret Service, “was to kill Cermak.” From the hotel, Zangara walked several blocks to cigar manufacturing plant owned by Andrea Valenti, an immigrant from Sicily who had once lived in Chicago. Zangara and Valenti left the plant at about 7:30 P.M., walking to Bayfront Park. With them were Steve Valenti and Lorenzo Grandi, all Sicilian immigrants. The Valentis and Grandi were arrested after the Cermak shooting, questioned, and released.
With forty acres of Palm Trees and open lawns edged on to Biscayne Bay, Bayfront Park was a perfect place for a political rally and an assassination. At its south end, the park held an amphitheater, with some eight thousand seats. At the very end of the amphitheater was a flat bandstand and in back of that a stage where dignitaries, including Cermak, waited for the President-elect’s arrival. By the time Zangara arrived, the park was jammed to a standing-room-only crowd of about 15,000 people. They had miscalculated badly. No one figured, not even the police, on such a large turnout. Desperate, Zangara, the Valentis and Grandi began to push, shove and kick their way through the crowd, so they could reach the bandstand. Anton Cermak wasn’t feeling well that night. While in Chicago, some bad water from a nearby canal had seeped into his hotel’s water reserves, and Cermak had drunk it, giving him a stomach infection. A lesser man would have canceled the night’s engagement, but Tony Cermak had always been an extraordinary man. Yet, when a bodyguard handed him his bulky, black bulletproof vest, Cermak said he didn’t want it. It was too humid outside and he was too weak to carry its weight.
At 9:25 that evening, Roosevelt’s car entered the park, and stopped next to the bandstand area, where Cermak and the other dignitaries were seated. It was warm that night. The humidity that hung in the air was almost stifling. The coconut trees and royal palms that covered the park were bathed in red, white and blue lights, giving the entire scene and eerie feel to it. At that same moment, Zangara and his party had pushed their way up to the second isle from the bandstand and were less than 35 feet away from Roosevelt’s car, where Zangara had a clear view of FDR, whose back was to Zangara.
Roosevelt was lifted out of his seat and slid on the top of the trunk. Dressed in a white suit, with a sole floodlight beaming down on him, he was the perfect target.
He spoke to the crowd for about eight minutes, and when the speech ended, looked up, on to the reviewing stand and saw Cermak sitting in the front row, and waved for him, “Tony! Come on down here.” Smiling broadly, Cermak stood from his chair, and walked down to FDR. As he did, his bodyguards rose with him and stepped up to join him, but Cermak told them to stay on the stage. It was, he said later, unseemly for the mayor of Chicago to have more bodyguards then the President of the United States.
Cermak walked up to Roosevelt’s side of the car, the side facing Zangara and the two politicians shook hands and chatted for about three minutes. They shook hands, and agreed to talk later. It was now about 9:35. Cermak stepped away from the car and turned to his right and briefly embraced Secret Service agent Clark with his left arm. Cermak and Clark had known each other when Clark was assigned to the Chicago Office of the Secret Service. There was a brief exchange, a quick joke between them, and then, for some unknown reason, Cermak walked towards the crowd to his left, away from the stage. Perhaps, as Judge Lyle suggested, Cermak spotted Harry Hockstien, the politician who was questioned in the Chicago train station with Nitti’s shooters the night before.
Harry Hockstien had grown rich enough off of city politics to afford a mini mansion in the upscale neighborhood of Riverdale, next to Frank Nitti’s place. In fact, it was at Hochstien’s home that the Outfit meet in 1934, and decided to go through with the Brown and Bioff Hollywood extortion scandal and, a year later, in December, met there again and decided to kill union boss Tommy Maloy. Frankie Rio, it was widely known, ran Hockstien. Whatever the reason, Cermak clearly took over a dozen steps away from the stage where he was sitting and walked toward the position where Zangara was standing.
The very second Cermak stepped away from the car, a group of local businessmen, carrying with them an immense, imitation telegram welcoming FDR to Florida, surrounded the car, unknowingly forming a human shield around the President elect.
At that moment, tall blonde women, who had been sitting in the first isle, got up and left her seat empty. Zangara leaped up onto the empty seat, drew his revolver from his pant pocket and fired rapidly, letting off five rounds, pointing the gun to his left, at Cermak, and not to his right, at Roosevelt. The first bullet hit Cermak in the right armpit, causing Cermak to grab his chest with both arms, and slowly sink to his knees. Bullets struck several other bystanders as well. Zangara said, over and over again, and the Miami Police agreed, that he never got off more than three rounds from his pistol; furthermore, Zangara’s pistol was manufactured to fire five rounds. Yet police recovered seven bullets from the scene of the shooting. The direction of Zangara’s gun when he fired was almost the only point that eyewitnesses agreed on, Zangara was shooting Cermak, not Roosevelt. As United States Representative-elect from Florida, Mark Wilcox and Chicagoan Robert Gore, whom were both standing only a few feet from Zangara, told a radio interviewer minutes after the shooting, “He was shooting at Cermak. There is no doubt about that. The killer waited until Mr. Roosevelt sat down and then fired.” Reports went out of the wires at once that Cermak had been shot by Chicago gangsters. But after the first day, there were no other mentions of gangsters being involved in the shooting. Later, while Roosevelt waited in the halls of the Jackson Memorial Hospital where Cermak was being treated, he pointed out to his Secret Service detail, that not one of the six persons shot was near him when they were hit. In fact, he pointed out, they were at least thirty feet away from him, but only two or three feet away from Cermak, and, added Roosevelt, Zangara had not fired off a single shot at him while he had a full eight-minute window during his speech. Roosevelt concluded that Zangara was “a Chicago gangster” sent to kill Cermak and said as much for the rest of his life. In 1957, Roger Touhy told the Illinois Parole Board that what really happened in Miami that night was that when Zangara started shooting, there was mass confusion. People were screaming and running, ducking and falling. Everything was happening just the way it was supposed to happen.
Two Syndicate killers, Three Fingers Jack White and Frankie Rio, both wearing badges from the Cicero Police Department, waited until Cermak fell wounded, and then stepped out from the crowd, with their .45s at ready. In a few more seconds, uniformed police, Secret Service, plain-clothes detectives and Cermak’s hired private detectives would all have their weapons drawn, so White and Rio didn’t stand out in the Mob.
They fired their .45 caliber guns towards Zangara, in an attempt to silence him, but the shots missed and nicked several bystanders instead. Then they slipped into the crowd of 10,000 confused and frightened onlookers and disappeared. All eyes were on Zangara anyway, as the angry crowd leaped on him and before police could pull him to safety. The rabble had torn off most of the little man’s clothes and beaten him badly on the face and chest. Yet Zangara never released his grip on the pistol despite the beating. When police were finally able to reach him, they disarmed him, handcuffed him and tossed into the trunk of a nearby truck, while three enormous Miami policemen sat on him all the way to the jail. The Chicago police department was certain that the shooting was a Mob hit, and requested the Miami police round up eighteen Chicagoans, all known to be in Miami, twelve of whom were known syndicate associates, and hold them for questioning. However, the arrests were never made. When Chicago reporters followed the lead, it turned out that the request had been canceled by the syndicate’s favorite State’s Attorney, Thomas Courtney, who defended his actions with the confusing statement, “My only interests were to learn if there were any Chicago gangsters involved...apparently there were not.” From his jail cell, Zangara told a Miami police detective that he “had to kill,” but he wasn’t specific on who he had to kill, because if he didn’t keep quiet, he said, “my friends will kill me tomorrow.” In sharp contrast to his lifelong behavior, after his arrest Zangara was voluble and excitable, shooting defiant looks into press cameras. At times, he was almost giddy with joy. The local jailers suspected he was having a mental breakdown, yet doctors who examined him that night declared that he was normal in every respect, even sane. Just hours into their investigation, the Secret Service was already convinced that Zangara was a communist and followed that lead, extensively and solely, even though when asked for his views on socialism, anarchism, fascism and communism, Zangara replied that they were all “foolish.” Yet, despite the lack of evidence for it, the Government’s investigators concluded that Zangara was motivated in the shooting by his political beliefs. From his hospital bed in Miami, Anton Cermak insisted that he was Zangara’s target. When his secretary arrived from Chicago, Cermak said, “So you’re alive! I figured maybe they’d shot up the office (in Chicago) too.”
He rallied again when his family arrived and arose long enough to sign a 4.2 million teachers’ payroll, but on February 27, Cermak caught pneumonia of the lungs, which caused the area around the right lung to almost double in size. Up until he lapsed into a coma, Cermak believed that he would recuperate, but at 6:57 A.M., he died. In all, Cermak held out for 19 days in a heroic struggle against colitis, pneumonia and finally gangrene. Cermak didn’t die from his bullet wounds, but it was close enough for Zangara to be placed on trial for murder. Represented by three court appointed lawyers who, although experts in their field of civil law, not one of them had ever tried a criminal case before a jury. The lawyers allowed their client to plead guilty to murder. When he did, the court sentenced him to death. Just sixty days after he was tried, Zangara strutted to the electric chair, which, when he sat in it, kept his feet from touching the floor.
The guards placed a hood over his head, while Zangara gazed out at the room of reporters and state officials to ask, “No pictures? Well, Goodbye! Adios to the world! Go ahead push the button! Viva Italia!” Just seconds before the switch was pulled Zangara turned to the prison’s warden, Leo Chapman, and smiled.
Chapman had been of one of Zangara’s very few visitors in jail, and had become convinced that the tiny man wasn’t insane at all, and that he was a member of “some sort of secret criminal syndicate.” As Chapman had walked from the cell to the death chamber with Zangara, he and the Miami Police Commissioner asked Zangara if he was part of an organized group that plotted to kill Cermak. “No. I have no friends,” he replied. “It was my own idea.” But now, Zangara grinned slyly at Chapman and said, “Viva Comorra!” one of many Italian terms word for the Mafia. Then he leaned back in the chair and 2,300 volts snuffed out Zangara’s strange life. When told Zangara was dead, William Sinnot, the New York policeman who was injured in the shooting said, “I still believe he was a member of some secret society. He was no more shooting at Mr. Roosevelt that night than I was...and should be investigated further.” Ed Kelly was Chicago’s next mayor.
When reporters found Kelly to tell him he was Chicago’s new Mayor, Kelly was gambling at a Mob owned racetrack in Havana. When asked if he thought that the syndicate had anything to do with Cermak’s killing, Kelly put down his racing form and said, “Boys, let’s stop that. From now on, there’s no such thing as organized crime in the city of Chicago.”
WHY THE WORLD NEEDS EDITORS.....................
THE PRINCE OF HOLLYWOOD
From the Book “On the Waterfront: The making of a great American film”
John William Tuohy
"If life is a series of disenchantments through which we prepare ourselves then I was richly endowed, for our castles were built on glamorous quicksand" Budd Schulberg, Los Angeles Magazine 1965
Budd Schulberg was a prince of the Hollywood elite, the ultimate industry insider and in many ways, the direct opposite of his future creative partner Elia Kazan.
His father, Benjamin Percival Schulberg, known on the back lots as "B.P,” was head of production at Paramount's Lasky studio (a position he held until 1932) BP Schulberg was not the typical ill-educated crass immigrant that founded Hollywood. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1892, he was the last of fourteen children. The family eventually moved from Bridgeport to New York’s lower east side, where B.P., still a teenager, attended City College. He gave up college to become a copy boy for Franklin P. Adams on the Evening Mail and eventually promoted to beat reporter. At age 20, he became the editor for Film Reports, a trade paper where he met director Edwin Stratton Porter and became his scenario editor of Rex Films Production Company. (Later absorbed into present day Universal Films)
Porter was the most prominent innovator in the early years of motion pictures. While Thomas Edison was content to film mundane, everyday events, Porter the realized the means to tell a story on film was by the use of editing. Through his technique of physically splicing the story together, Porter put the word "move" in movie scenario. He created a fictional scenario with two groundbreaking films that absolutely mesmerized the public.
By being astute enough to be in the right place at the right time, B.P. became one of the industry’s original screenwriters who delivered his first film script in 1913, In the Bishop's Carriage and would be involved in a scattering of film over the next three decades including the 1923 classic, The Virginian and Little Miss Marker (1934).
BP was one of the first to understand that films had to be sold to the public. Schulberg dubbed Mary Pickford "America's sweetheart.” He discovered Clara Bow and dubbed her “The It girl” (“It” being a euphemism for the word "sex") He also discovered Gary Grant, Claudette Colbert, George Raft and Frederic March. It was BP who
brought Marlene Dietrich from Germany, made the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and started the gangster film genre with Ben Hecht's Underworld. He also helped produce the antiwar film Wings that won the first Academy Award in 1928.
His son Budd suffered from fainting fits and speech impediment, stammering his way “from therapist to therapist.” But while he did not speak well, he compensated by becoming a good listener and, in turn, a better than average writer. His writing talent was encouraged by his mother, Hollywood agent Adeline Jaffe Schulberg a vivid, attractive and intelligent woman with a crisp understanding of the film business.
It was Adeline who discovered the actor Sylvia Sidney, an early glamour star, when Sidney was appearing in a Broadway play called Bad Girl. Ad pushed her husband to sign the young actor to a contract but he was unreceptive but Ad persisted and eventually BP gave the young starlet a long-term Paramount. He also started a love affair with her, which eventually broke up the marriage.
BP Schulberg declined well before Sidney’s film career ended. Towards the end of his term at Paramount, when his salary was $10,000 a week, it was clear that the world had outpaced him. Many factors led to the downfall of BP Schulberg. The advent of talkies was one of them. B.P. had come to the top of his form in silent films, he did not adjust well to the change. (neither did his protégée, Clara Bow who flopped in talkies) Then the depression hit and ticket sales fell.
Distracted by his torrid love affair with Sylvia Sidney, BP slipped out of control. He slowly became unstable. A lifelong teetotaler, he started to drink and gamble, sometimes losing as much as $25,000 in a night.
He tried independent producing for a while and then bounced from studio to studio. Nothing worked for him. In the ultimate humiliation, in 1949, he took out an ad in Variety begging for work. No one responded. He died in 1957 a virtual unknown in the industry he created. (BP was later given a Star on Hollywood Blvd.)
Budd Schulberg graduated from Dartmouth in 1936, (A.B. cum laude), at the age of seventeen. He returned to Hollywood and worked as a publicist at Paramount, writing bright and airy stories about the ambitions of the stars before they had become famous. That same year he married actor Virginia Ray. Ray, called Jigee was one of Hollywood’s most glamorous women who had been courted by, as Walter Bernstein said, all of the left wing screenwriters in the community and “any other man with common sense and eyes.” Budd won her heart despite being what Sheilah Graham described as a shy young man who strutted, painfully, always knocking things over and apologizing in a mumble of words. Like his father before him, Budd eventually began writing screenplays for Paramount. In 1938, he wrote the script for Paramount’s, Little Orphan Annie, followed by the romantic comedy, Winter Carnival (1939) co-written with F. Scott Fitzgerald. The film flopped and both Schulberg and Fitzgerald were fired.
The film would be produced Walter Wagner, who had just released Stagecoach and had hired Fitzgerald and Schulberg to write a pleasant script about the Dartmouth Winter Carnival. Both Schulberg and Wanger were Dartmouth graduates and considered Fitzgerald’s work, This Side of Paradise, to be one of the finest novels ever written.
It was about the only thing they had in common. Schulberg, then 24 years old, considered Wanger “A Dartmouth drop out with intellectual pretensions” and later added that Wanger was a fraud who smoked a pipe, discussed great books and tried to make himself seem more cultivated than other producers, but was essentially a crass and tactless little man who abused his writers.
Schulberg, according to his friend Maurice Rapf, had already been on the film for a year but was having a difficult time with the script and Wanger was getting desperate. He wanted to start shooting and had already missed one Winter Carnival at Dartmouth and was determined to make the next one. Fitzgerald was brought into give Schulberg a boast.
When he learned that he was going to be working with the great novelist, Schulberg said, "I thought he was dead,"
"If he is," Wanger said, "He must be the first ghost who ever got $1,500 a week.”
Schulberg was honored to be working with Fitzgerald but was sadden by how anxious the great man looked. Alcohol had taken its toll and Fitzgerald looked a full decade older than his forty-two years. They spent hours together talking about literature, overlooking the hapless script they were supposed to pen about winter frolics in New Hampshire, a painfully boring chore for two such highly gifted men.
Relaxed and comfortable around the young Schulberg, Fitzgerald reminisced and discussed his future work, although he saw his better days behind him “You know” he told Schulberg “use to have a beautiful talent once, baby. It used to be a wonderful feeling to know it was there, and it isn’t all gone yet. I think I have enough left to stretch out over two more novels. I may have to stretch it a little thin, so maybe they won’t be as good as the best things I’ve done. But they won’t be completely bad either, because nothing I ever write can be completely bad.”
Wanger insisted that Fitzgerald go east and see the Dartmouth Winter Carnival first hand, an unneeded trip at best. But Fitzgerald, accompanied by Schulberg, went anyway. Before they left, Schulberg’s father provided them with two bottles of champagne, which Fitzgerald quickly drank, setting off a weeklong binge.
Unable to find a hotel room near the school, they secured the servants quarters at the Hanover Inn.
That night at a cocktail party, Fitzgerald made his entrance by dead drunk by falling face dunk a flight of stairs. The college staff, disgusted with Fitzgerald’s drunken state, did little to cloak their disgust for him, a point not lost on the great writer who told Schulberg “Wanger will never forgive me for this because he sees himself as the intellectual producer and above all he wanted to impress Dartmouth with the fact that he used real writers, not vulgar hacks, and here, I, his real writer, have disgraced him before all these people”
Wanger, who was already at Dartmouth with his film crew, was disgusted with Fitzgerald as well. When he discovered that virtually no work had been done on the script, he fired both Fitzgerald and Schulberg.
Wager to get them out of sight as quickly as possible, Wanger had them tossed on the first train out of New Hampshire, where Fitzgerald continued to drink, so much so, that when they arrived in New York, unshaven, without luggage and Fitzgerald completely out of control, no hotel would take them in. Finally, friends entered the writer into a private hospital for three days to dry him out.
It was the last Hollywood script Fitzgerald would work on. Schulberg, with his all-powerful father behind, was rehired by Wanger to finish the script, which he did, horribly bad as it was.
Fitzgerald and Schulberg remained friends, but just barely. Once, when the writer dropped by Schulberg’s house to discuss books, Schulberg excused himself to keep a minor dinner engagement that he could have broken. It troubled the young man to do, but Fitzgerald could be fatiguing when sober. When Schulberg released his book, What Makes Sammy Run, Fitzgerald commented only by saying “Budd, the untalented” Schulberg was further hurt when Fitzgerald used the Schulberg’s early years in Hollywood as the model for the miserable Cecilia Brady in his novel, The Last Tycoon. Actually, Fitzgerald liked the book, although he found it amateurish.
Schulberg responded with a very negative portrayal of Fitzgerald in his work, The Disenchanted, which was essentially the story of the great man’s drunken binge at Dartmouth. The book became a Broadway play, but Hemmingway had the final say when he called Disenchanted “Grave robbing” Carnival, a romantic comedy dealing with collage romances, failed at the box-office and Schulberg was fired again.
Schulberg, disgusted with Hollywood, left California for the rolling hills Norwich, Vermont, where he completed his first novel, What Makes Sammy Run? (1941). The work, a satirical story of corruption of an office boy, Sammy Glick, who rises to head of a major motion picture studio, won National Critics' Choice as Best First Novel of the Year in 1941. It was his first critical and financial success.
The Second World War returned Schulberg to Hollywood, this time as a member of director John Ford's documentary unit. It was Schulberg who wrote the narration for Oscar winning documentary December 7 (Schulberg was assigned to gather war crime evidence for the Nuremberg trials)
With the war over, he returned state side and published a second a novel, The Harder They Fall (1947) which was eventually turned in to boxing film starring Humprey Bogart (Schulberg, a life- long fight fan, was later honored by being inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame) A short time later he released his third novel, The Disenchanted, loosely based on his screen writing experiences in Hollywood.
By 1949, Schulberg was looking for a new project, something with social significance and box office potential. Like Kazan and Miller, he found it on the waterfront.
Four simple paths to happiness
By ABC's Sophie Scott
We can all incorporate small changes into our lives in order to be more mindful, more grateful and ultimately more happy, writes Sophie Scott.
What is happiness and how do we get it?
It's something I spent months thinking and writing about when I researched and wrote Roadtesting Happiness. The genesis of the book was dealing with grief - or not dealing with it, really.
I'd been struggling to regain some semblance of a normal life after my mother died. I found it almost impossible to reconcile that life would go on as normal around me while I felt that everything I cherished had been shaken to the core.
So to bring some equilibrium, I looked into the advice of the world's best happiness experts, to see if their advice really works.
Here's what I found.
Be happy, not perfect
While we all want to do well and succeed in work and in relationships, if we set unreasonable standards, the opposite can occur. So let go of unrealistic expectations on yourself, your time and your loved ones.
Remember good enough is OK. At the end of each day, there are always things on my to-do list that don't get done. But I would rather spend some quality time with family, and turn a blind eye to the household and work tasks that always need doing.
Feeling grateful for the people around you and the gifts you have is one of the most powerful shortcuts to happiness. And there are other benefits too: optimists are better at looking after their physical health.
Write down just a couple of things you are grateful for each day; finding new things to be thankful for can make a real, tangible difference to your happiness.
Scientific research shows chatting on the phone while checking social media is mentally and physically draining. American neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says asking the brain to shift attention from one activity to another causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up oxygenated glucose, the same fuel our brains need to stay focused. As he explains in his book
The Organised Mind: Thinking Straight In The Age of Information Overload, the kind of rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time.
The Organised Mind: Thinking Straight In The Age of Information Overload, the kind of rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time.
Mindfulness is the opposite of that. It's about giving your full attention to what you are doing in order to truly appreciate what you are eating, reading, doing or experiencing.
Don't want what she's having
Constantly comparing yourself to others means you will be less happy than you could be. We 'expect' to find a soul mate or think we 'should' have the perfect body, job and life. A journey to happiness involves modifying some of those expectations when circumstances out of our control change.
Success is getting what you want, but happiness is wanting what you get.
This is an edited version of a blog post which was published on Sophie Scott's website.
Sophie Scott is the ABC's medical reporter and presenter of the Health Quarter on ABC News 24. She is the author of the books Roadtesting Happiness and Live A Longer Life. Subscribe to her blog.
Architecture for the blog of it
Art for the Blog of It
Art for the Pop of it
Photography for the blog of it
Music for the Blog of it
Sculpture this and Sculpture that
The art of War (Propaganda art through the ages)
Album Art (Photographic arts)
Pulp Fiction Trash (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)
Admit it, you want to Read this Book (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)
The Godfather Trilogy BlogSpot
On the Waterfront: The Making of a great American Film
The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)
Good chowda (New England foods)
Old New England Recipes (Book support site)
And I Love Clams (New England foods)
In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener (New England foods)
Wicked Cool New England Recipes (New England foods)
Old New England Recipes (New England foods)
Foster Care new and Updates
Aging out of the system
Murder, Death and Abuse in the Foster Care system
Angel and Saints in the Foster Care System
The Foster Children’s Blogs
Foster Care Legislation
The Foster Children’s Bill of Right
Foster Kids own Story
The Adventures of Foster Kid.
Me vs. Diabetes (Diabetes education site)
The Quotable Helen Keller
Teddy Roosevelt's Letters to his children (Book support site)
The Quotable Machiavelli (Book support site)
Whatever you do, don't laugh
The Quotable Grouch Marx
A Big Blog of Irish Literature
The Wee Blog of Irish Jokes (Book support blog)
The Wee Blog of Irish Recipes
The Irish American Gangster
The Irish in their Own Words
When Washington Was Irish
The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)
The Blogable Robert Frost
The Beat Poets of the Forever Generation
Voices from the Valley
Holden Caulfield Blog Spot
The Quotable Oscar Wilde
NEW ENGLAND BLOGS
The Quotable Thoreau
Old New England Recipes
Wicked Cool New England Recipes
The New England Mafia
And I Love Clams
In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener
The Connecticut History Blog
The Connecticut Irish
God, How I hated the 70s
Child of the Sixties Forever
The Kennedy’s in the 60’s
Music of the Sixties Forever
Elvis and Nixon at the White House (Book support site)
Beatles Fan Forever
Year One, 1955
Robert Kennedy in His Own Words
The 1980s were fun
The 1990s. The last decade.
The Russian Mafia
The American Jewish Gangster
The Mob in Hollywood
We Only Kill Each Other
Early Gangsters of New York City
Al Capone: Biography of a self-made Man
The Life and World of Al Capone
The Salerno Report
Guns and Glamour
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Recipes we would Die For
The Prohibition in Pictures
The Mob in Pictures
The Mob in Vegas
The Irish American Gangster
Roger Touhy Gangster
Chicago’s Mob Bosses
Chicago Gang Land: It Happened Here
Whacked: One Hundred years of Murder in Gangland
The Mob Across America
Mob Cops, Lawyers and Front Men
Shooting the Mob: Dutch Schultz
Bugsy& His Flamingo: The Testimony of Virginia Hill
After Valachi. Hearings before the US Senate on Organized Crime
Mob Buster: Report of Special Agent Virgil Peterson to the Kefauver Committee (Book support site)
The US Government’s Timeline of Organized Crime (Book support site)
The Kefauver Organized Crime Hearings (Book support site)
Joe Valachi's testimony on the Mafia (Book support site)
Mobsters in the News
Shooting the Mob: Dead Mobsters (Book support site)
The Stolen Years Full Text (Roger Touhy)
Mobsters in Black and White
Mafia Gangsters, Wiseguys and Goodfellas
Whacked: One Hundred Years of Murder and Mayhem in the Chicago Mob (Book support site)
Gangland Gaslight: The Killing of Rosy Rosenthal (Book support site)
The Best of the Mob Files Series (Book support site)
It’s All Greek Mythology to me
The Rarifieid Tribe
The Upscale Traveler
The Mish Mosh Blog
DC Behind the Monuments
When Washington Was Irish