John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Have patience with all things but first with yourself...............

I'll be signing books at the Deep River Connecticut library on November 14 from 2-4


This is a book of short stories taken from the things I saw and heard in my childhood in the factory town of Ansonia in southwestern Connecticut.

Most of these stories, or as true as I recall them because I witnessed these events many years ago through the eyes of child and are retold to you now with the pen and hindsight of an older man. The only exception is the story Beat Time which is based on the disappearance of Beat poet Lew Welch. Decades before I knew who Welch was, I was told that he had made his from California to New Haven, Connecticut, where was an alcoholic living in a mission. The notion fascinated me and I filed it away but never forgot it.     

The collected stories are loosely modeled around Joyce’s novel, Dubliners (I also borrowed from the novels character and place names. Ivy Day, my character in “Local Orphan is Hero” is also the name of chapter in Dubliners, etc.) and like Joyce I wanted to write about my people, the people I knew as a child, the working class in small town America and I wanted to give a complete view of them as well. As a result the stories are about the divorced, Gays, black people, the working poor, the middle class, the lost and the found, the contented and the discontented.

Conversely many of the stories in this book are about starting life over again as a result of suicide (The Hanging Party, Small Town Tragedy, Beat Time) or from a near death experience (Anna Bell Lee and the Charge of the Light Brigade, A Brief Summer) and natural occurring death. (The Best Laid Plans, The Winter Years, Balanced and Serene)

With the exception of Jesus Loves Shaqunda, in each story there is a rebirth from the death. (Shaqunda is reported as having died of pneumonia in The Winter Years)
Sal, the desperate and depressed divorcee in Things Change, changes his life in Lunch Hour when asks the waitress for a date and she accepts. (Which we learn in Closing Time, the last story in the book) In The Arranged Time, Thisby is given the option of change and whether she takes it or, we don’t know. The death of Greta’s husband in A Matter of Time has led her to the diner and into the waiting arms of the outgoing and loveable Gabe.

Although the book is based on three sets of time (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the diner is opened in the early morning and closed at night, time stands still inside the Diner. The hour on the big clock on the wall never changes time and much like my memories of that place, everything remains the same.


The Valley Lives

By Marion Marchetto, author of The Bridgewater Chronicles on October 15, 2015
Short Stores from a Small Town is set in The Valley (known to outsiders as The Lower Naugatuck Valley) in Connecticut. While the short stories are contemporary they provide insight into the timeless qualities of an Industrial Era community and the values and morals of the people who live there. Some are first or second generation Americans, some are transplants, yet each takes on the mantle of Valleyite and wears it proudly. It isn't easy for an author to take the reader on a journey down memory lane and involve the reader in the life stories of a group of seemingly unrelated characters. I say seemingly because by book's end the reader will realize that he/she has done more than meet a group of loosely related characters.

We meet all of the characters during a one-day time period as each of them finds their way to the Valley Diner on a rainy autumn day. From our first meeting with Angel, the educationally challenged man who opens and closes the diner, to our farewell for the day to the young waitress whose smile hides her despair we meet a cross section of the Valley population. Rich, poor, ambitious, and not so ambitious, each life proves that there is more to it beneath the surface. And the one thing that binds these lives together is The Valley itself. Not so much a place (or a memory) but an almost palpable living thing that becomes a part of its inhabitants.
Let me be the first the congratulate author John William Tuohy on a job well done. He has evoked the heart of The Valley and in doing so brought to life the fabric that Valleyites wear as a mantle of pride. While set in a specific region of the country, the stories that unfold within the pages of this slim volume are similar to those that live in many a small town from coast to coast.

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 No Time to Say Goodbye: Memoirs of a Life in Foster Care and Short Stories from a Small Town. He is also 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:



By jackiehon October 13, 2015
After reading about John's deeply personal and painful past, I just wanted to hug the child within him......and hug all the children who were thrown into the state's foster system....it is an amazing read.......

By Jane Pogodaon October 9, 2015
I truly enjoyed reading his memoir. I also grew up in Ansonia and had no idea conditions such as these existed. The saving grace is knowing the author made it out and survived the system. Just knowing he was able to have a family of his own made me happy. I attended the same grammar school and was happy that his experience there was not negative. I had a wonderful experience in that school. I wish that I could have been there for him when he was at the school since we were there at probably at the same time.

By Sueon September 27, 2015
Hi - just finished your novel "No time to say goodbye" - what a powerful read!!! - I bought it for my 90 year old mom who is an avid reader and lived in the valley all her life-she loved it also along with my sister- we are all born and raised in the valley- i.e. Derby and Ansonia

By David A. Wrighton September 7, 2015
I enjoyed this book. I grew up in Ansonia CT and went to the Assumption School. Also reconized all the places he was talking about and some of the families.

By Robert G Manleyon September 7, 2015
This is a wonderfully written book. It is heart wrenchingly sad at times and the next minute hilariously funny. I attribute that to the intelligence and wit of the author who combines the humor and pathos of his Irish catholic background and horrendous "foster kid" experience. He captures each character perfectly and the reader can easily visualize the individuals the author has to deal with on daily basis. Having lived part of my life in the parochial school system and having lived as a child in the same neighborhood as the author, I was vividly brought back to my childhood .Most importantly, it shows the strength of the soul and how just a little compassion can be so important to a lost child.

ByLNAon July 9, 2015
John Tuohy writes with compelling honesty, and warmth. I grew up in Ansonia, CT myself, so it makes it even more real. He brings me immediately back there with his narrative, while he wounds my soul, as I realize I had no idea of the suffering of some of the children around me. His story is a must read, of courage and great spirit in the face of impoverishment, sorrow, and adult neglect. I could go on and on, but just get the book. If you're like me, you'll soon be reading it out loud to any person in the room who will listen. Many can suffer and overcome as they go through it, but few can find the words that take us through the story. John is a gifted writer to be able to do that.

ByBarbara Pietruszkaon June 29, 2015
I am from Connecticut so I was very familiar with many locations described in the book especially Ansonia where I lived. I totally enjoyed the book and would like to know more about the author. I recommend the book to everyone

ByJoanne B.on June 28, 2015
What an emotional rollercoaster. I laughed. I cried. Once you start reading it's hard to stop. I was torn between wanting to gulp it up and read over and over each quote that started the chapter. I couldn't help but feel part of the Tuohy clan. I wanted to scream in their defense. It's truly hard to believe the challenges that foster children face. I can only pray that this story may touch even one person facing this life. It's an inspiring read. That will linger long after you finish it. This is a wonderfully written memoir that immediately pulls you in to the lives of the Tuohy family.

ByDr. Wm. Anthony Connolly
This incredible memoir, No Time to Say Goodbye, tells of entertaining angels, dancing with devils, and of the abandoned children many viewed simply as raining manna from some lesser god.
The young and unfortunate lives of the Tuohy bruins—sometimes Irish, sometimes Jewish, often Catholic, rambunctious, but all imbued with Lion’s hearts—told here with brutal honesty leavened with humor and laudable introspective forgiveness. The memoir will have you falling to your knees thanking that benevolent Irish cop in the sky, your lucky stars, or hugging the oxygen out of your own kids the fate foisted upon Johnny and his siblings does not and did not befall your own brood. John William Tuohy, a nationally-recognized authority on organized crime and Irish levity, is your trusted guide through the weeds the decades of neglect ensnared he and his brothers and sisters, all suffering for the impersonal and often mercenary taint of the foster care system. Theirs, and Tuohy’s, story is not at all figures of speech as this review might suggest, but all too real and all too sad, and maddening. I wanted to scream. I wanted to get into a time machine, go back and adopt every last one of them. I was angry. I was captivated. The requisite damning verities of foster care are all here, regretfully, but what sets this story above others is its beating heart, even a bruised and broken one, still willing to forgive and understand, and continue to aid its walking wounded. I cannot recommend this book enough.

ByPaul Dayon June 15, 2015
Great reading. Life in foster care told from a very rare point of view.

ByJackie Malkeson June 5, 2015
This book is definitely a must for social workers working with children specifically. This is an excellent memoir which identifies the trails of foster children in the 1960s in the United States. The memoir captures stories of joy as well as nail biting terror, as the family is at times torn apart but finds each other later and finds solace in the experiences of one another. The stories capture the love siblings have for one another as well as the protection they have for one another in even the worst of circumstances. On the flip side, one of the most touching stories to me was when a Nun at the school helped him to read-- truly an example of how a positive person really helped to shape the author in times when circumstances at home were challenging and treacherous. I found the book to be a page turner and at times show how even in the hardest of circumstances there was a need to live and survive and make the best of any moment. The memoir is eye-opening and helped to shed light and make me feel proud of the volunteer work I take part in with disadvantaged children. Riveting....Must read....memory lane on steroids....Catholic school banter, blue color towns...Lawrence Welk on Sundays night's.

Byeileenon June 4, 2015
From ' No time to say Goodbye 'and authors John W. Touhys Gangster novels, his style never waivers...humorous to sadness to candidly realistic situations all his writings leaves the reader in awe......longing for more.

Bykaren pojakeneon June 1, 2015
This book is a must-read for anyone who administers to the foster care program in any state. This is not a "fell through the cracks" life story, but rather a memoir of a life guided by strength and faith and a hard determination to survive. it is heartening to know that the "sewer" that life can become to steal our personal peace can be fought and our peace can be restored, scarred, but restored.

ByMichelle Blackon
A captivating, shocking, and deeply moving memoir, No Time to Say Goodbye is a true page turner. John shares the story of his childhood, from the struggles of living in poverty to being in the foster care system and simply trying to survive. You will be cheering for him all the way, as he never loses his will to thrive even in the darkest and bleakest of circumstances. This memoir is a very truthful and unapologetic glimpse into the way in which some of our most vulnerable citizens have been treated in the past and are still being treated today. It is truly eye-opening, and hopefully will inspire many people to take action in protection of vulnerable children.

ByKimberlyon May 24, 2015
I found myself in tears while reading this book. John William Tuohy writes quite movingly about the world he grew up in; a world in which I had hoped did not exist within the foster care system. This book is at times funny, raw, compelling, heartbreaking and disturbing. I found myself rooting for John as he tries to escape from an incredibly difficult life. You will too!

ByGeoffrey A. Childson May 20, 2015
I found this book to be a compelling story of life in the Ct foster care system. at times disturbing and at others inspirational ,The author goes into great detail in this gritty memoir of His early life being abandoned into the states system and his subsequent escape from it. Every once in a while a book or even an article in a newspaper comes along that bears witness to an injustice or even something that's just plain wrong. This chronicle of the foster care system is such a book and should be required reading for any aspiring social workers.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
JFK's pardons and the mob; Prohibition, Chicago's crime cadres and the staged kidnapping of "`Jake the Barber'" Factor, "the black sheep brother of the cosmetics king, Max Factor"; lifetime sentences, attempted jail busts and the perseverance of "a rumpled private detective and an eccentric lawyer" John W. Tuohy showcases all these and more sensational and shady happenings in When Capone's Mob Murdered Roger Touhy: The Strange Case of Touhy, Jake the Barber and the Kidnapping that Never Happened. The author started investigating Touhy's 1959 murder by Capone's gang in 1975 for an undergrad assignment. He traces the frame-job whereby Touhy was accused of the kidnapping, his decades in jail, his memoirs, his retrial and release and, finally, his murder, 28 days after regaining his freedom. Sixteen pages of photos.

From Library Journal

Roger Touhy, one of the "terrible Touhys" and leader of a bootlegging racket that challenged Capone's mob in Prohibition Chicago, had a lot to answer for, but the crime that put him behind bars was, ironically, one he didn't commit: the alleged kidnapping of Jake Factor, half-brother of Max Factor and international swindler. Author Tuohy (apparently no relation), a former staff investigator for the National Center for the Study of Organized Crime, briefly traces the history of the Touhys and the Capone mob, then describes Factor's plan to have himself kidnapped, putting Touhy behind bars and keeping himself from being deported. This miscarriage of justice lasted 17 years and ended in Touhy's parole and murder by the Capone mob 28 days later. Factor was never deported. The author spent 26 years researching this story, and he can't bear to waste a word of it. Though slim, the book still seems padded, with irrelevant detail muddying the main story. Touhy is a hard man to feel sorry for, but the author does his best. Sure to be popular in the Chicago area and with the many fans of mob history, this is suitable for larger public libraries and regional collections. Deirdre Bray Root, Middletown P.L., OH

     John William Tuohy, one of the most prolific crime writers in America, has penned a tragic, but fascinating story of Roger Touhy and John Factor. It's a tale born out of poverty and violence, a story of ambition gone wrong and deception on an enormous, almost unfathomable, scale. However, this is also a story of triumph of determination to survive, of a lifelong struggle for dignity and redemption of the spirit.

     The story starts with John "Jake the Barber" Factor. The product of the turn of the century European ethnic slums of Chicago's west side, Jake's brother, Max Factor, would go on to create an international cosmetic empire.
     In 1926, Factor, grubstaked in a partnership with the great New York criminal genius, Arnold Rothstien, and Chicago's Al Capone, John Factor set up a stock scam in England that fleeced thousands of investors, including members of the royal family, out of $8 million dollars, an incredible sum of money in 1926.
     After the scam fell apart, Factor fled to France, where he formed another syndicate of con artists, who broke the bank at Monte Carlo by rigging the tables.
     Eventually, Factor fled to the safety of Capone's Chicago but the highest powers in the Empire demanded his arrest. However, Factor fought extradition all the way to the United States Supreme Court, but he had a weak case and deportation was inevitable. Just 24 hours before the court was to decide his fate, Factor paid to have himself kidnapped and his case was postponed. He reappeared in Chicago several days later, and, at the syndicates' urging, accused gangster Roger Touhy of the kidnapping.
     Roger "The Terrible" Touhy was the youngest son of an honest Chicago cop. Although born in the Valley, a teeming Irish slum, the family moved to rural Des Plains, Illinois while Roger was still a boy. Touhy's five older brothers stayed behind in the valley and soon flew under the leadership of "Terrible Tommy" O'Connor. By 1933, three of them would be shot dead in various disputes with the mob and one, Tommy, would lose the use of his legs by syndicate machine guns. Secure in the still rural suburbs of Cook County, Roger Touhy graduated as class valedictorian of his Catholic school. Afterwards, he briefly worked as an organizer for the Telegraph and Telecommunications Workers Union after being blacklisted by Western Union for his minor pro-labor activities.
     Touhy entered the Navy in the first world war and served two years, teaching Morse code to Officers at Harvard University.
     After the war, he rode the rails out west where he earned a living as a railroad telegraph operator and eventually made a small but respectable fortune as an oil well speculator.
     Returning to Chicago in 1924, Touhy married his childhood sweetheart, regrouped with his brothers and formed a partnership with a corrupt ward heeler named Matt Kolb, and, in 1925, he started a suburban bootlegging and slot machine operation in northwestern Cook County. Left out of the endless beer wars that plagued the gangs inside Chicago, Touhy's operation flourished. By 1926, his slot machine operations alone grossed over $1,000,000.00 a year, at a time when a gallon of gas cost eight cents.
     They were unusual gangsters. When the Klu Klux Klan, then at the height of its power, threatened the life of a priest who had befriended the gang, Tommy Touhy, Roger's older brother, the real "Terrible Touhy," broke into the Klan's national headquarters, stole its membership roles, and, despite an offer of $25,000 to return them, delivered the list to the priest who published the names in several Catholic newspapers the following day.
     Once, Touhy unthinkingly released several thousand gallons of putrid sour mash in to the Des Plains River one day before the city was to reenact its discovery by canoe-riding Jesuits a hundred years before. After a dressing down by the towns people Touhy spent $10,000.00 on perfume and doused the river with it, saving the day.
     They were inventive too. When the Chicago police levied a 50% protection tax on Touhy's beer, Touhy bought a fleet of Esso gasoline delivery trucks, kept the Esso logo on the vehicles, and delivered his booze to his speakeasies that way.
     In 1930, when Capone invaded the labor rackets, the union bosses, mostly Irish and completely corrupt, turned to the Touhy organization for protection. The intermittent gun battles between the Touhys and the Capone mob over control of beer routes which had been fought on the empty, back roads of rural Cook County, was now brought into the city where street battles extracted an awesome toll on both sides. The Chicago Tribune estimated the casualties to be one hundred dead in less then 12 months.
     By the winter of 1933, remarkably, Touhy was winning the war in large part because joining him in the struggle against the mob was Chicago's very corrupt, newly elected mayor Anthony "Ten percent Tony" Cermak, who was as much a gangster as he was an elected official.
     Cermak threw the entire weight of his office and the whole Chicago police force behind Touhy's forces. Eventually, two of Cermak's police bodyguards arrested Frank Nitti, the syndicate's boss, and, for a price, shot him six times. Nitti lived. As a result, two months later Nitti's gunmen caught up with Cermak at a political rally in Florida.
     Using previously overlooked Secret Service reports, this book proves, for the first time, that the mob stalked Cermak and used a hardened felon to kill him. The true story behind the mob's 1933 murder of Anton Cermak, will changes histories understanding of organized crimes forever. The fascinating thing about this killing is its eerie similarity to the Kennedy assassination in Dallas thirty years later, made even more macabre by the fact that several of the names associated with the Cermak killing were later aligned with the Kennedy killing.
     For many decades, it was whispered that the mob had executed Cermak for his role in the Touhy-syndicate war of 1931-33, but there was never proof. The official story is that a loner named Giuseppe Zangara, an out-of-work, Sicilian born drifter with communist leanings, traveled to Florida in the winter of 1933 and fired several shots at President Franklin Roosevelt. He missed the President, but killed Chicago's Mayor Anton Cermak instead. However, using long lost documents, Tuohy is able to prove that Zangara was a convicted felon with long ties to mob Mafia and that he very much intended to murder Anton Cermak.
     With Cermak dead, Touhy was on his own against the mob. At the same time, the United States Postal Service was closing in on his gang for pulling off the largest mail heists in US history at that time. The cash was used to fund Touhy's war with the Capones.Then in June of 1933, John Factor en he reappeared, Factor accused Roger Touhy of kidnapping him. After two sensational trials, Touhy was convicted of kidnapping John Factor and sentenced to 99 years in prison and Factor, after a series of complicated legal maneuvers, and using the mob's influence, was allowed to remain in the United States as a witness for the prosecution, however, he was still a wanted felon in England.
     By 1942 Roger Touhy had been in prison for nine years, his once vast fortune was gone. Roger's family was gone as well. At his request, his wife Clara had moved to Florida with their two sons in 1934. However, with the help of Touhy's remaining sister, the family retained a rumpled private detective, actually a down-and-out, a very shady and disbarred mob lawyer named Morrie Green.
     Disheveled of not, Green was a highly competent investigator and was able to piece together and prove the conspiracy that landed Touhy in jail. However, no court would hear the case, and by the fall of 1942, Touhy had exhausted every legal avenue open to him.Desperate, Touhy hatched a daring daylight breakout over the thirty foot walls of Stateville prison.The sensational escape ended three months later in a dramatic and bloody shootout between the convicts and the FBI, led by J. Edgar Hoover.
     Less then three months after Touhy was captured, Fox Studios hired producer Brian Foy to churn out a mob financed docudrama film on the escape entitled, "Roger Touhy, The Last Gangster." The executive producer on the film was Johnny Roselli, the hood who later introduced Judy Campbell to Frank Sinatra. Touhy sued Fox and eventually won his case and the film was withdrawn from circulation. In 1962, Columbia pictures and John Houston tried to produce a remake of the film, but were scared off the project.
     While Touhy was on the run from prison, John Factor was convicted for m ail fraud and was sentenced and served ten years at hard labor. Factor's take from the scam was $10,000,000.00 in cash.
     Released in 1949, Factor took control of the Stardust Hotel Casino in 1955, then the largest operation on the Vegas strip. The casino's true owners, of course, were Chicago mob bosses Paul Ricca, Tony Accardo, Murray Humpreys and Sam Giancana. From 1955 to 1963, the length of Factor's tenure at the casino, the US Justice Department estimated that the Chicago outfit skimmed between forty-eight to 200 million dollars from the Stardust alone.
     In 1956, while Factor and the outfit were growing rich off the Stardust, Roger Touhy hired a quirky, high strung, but highly effective lawyer named Robert B. Johnstone to take his case. A brilliant legal tactician, who worked incessantly on Touhy's freedom, Robert Johnstone managed to get Touhy's case heard before federal judge John P. Barnes, a refined magistrate filled with his own eccentricities. After two years of hearings, Barnes released a 1,500-page decision on Touhy's case, finding that Touhy was railroaded to prison in a conspiracy between the mob and the state attorney's office and that John Factor had kidnapped himself as a means to avoid extradition to England.
     Released from prison in 1959, Touhy wrote his life story "The Stolen Years" with legendary Chicago crime reporter, Ray Brennan. It was Brennan, as a young cub reporter, who broke the story of John Dillenger's sensational escape from Crown Point prison, supposedly with a bar of soap whittled to look like a pistol. It was also Brennan who brought about the end of Roger Touhy's mortal enemy, "Tubbo" Gilbert, the mob owned chief investigator for the Cook County state attorney's office, and who designed the frame-up that placed Touhy behind bars.
     Factor entered a suit against Roger Touhy, his book publishers and Ray Brennan, claiming it damaged his reputation as a "leading citizen of Nevada and a philanthropist."
     The teamsters, Factor's partners in the Stardust Casino, refused to ship the book and Chicago's bookstore owners were warned by Tony Accardo, in person, not to carry the book.
     Touhy and Johnstone fought back by drawing up the papers to enter a $300,000,000 lawsuit against John Factor, mob leaders Paul Ricca, Tony Accardo and Murray Humpreys as well as former Cook County state attorney Thomas Courtney and Tubbo Gilbert, his chief investigator, for wrongful imprisonment.
     The mob couldn't allow the suit to reach court, and considering Touhy's determination, Ray Brennan's nose for a good story and Bob Johnstone's legal talents, there was no doubt the case would make it to court. If the case went to court, John Factor, the outfit's figurehead at the lucrative Stardust Casino, could easily be tied in to illegal teamster loans. At the same time, the McClellan committee was looking into the ties between the teamsters, Las Vegas and organized crime and the raid at the mob conclave in New York state had awakened the FBI and brought them into the fight. So, Touhy's lawsuit was, in effect, his death sentence.
     Twenty-five days after his release from twenty-five years in prison, Roger Touhy was gunned down on a frigid December night on his sister's front door.

     Two years after Touhy's murder, in 1962, Attorney General Robert Kennedy ordered his Justice Department to look into the highly suspect dealings of the Stardust Casino. Factor was still the owner on record, but had sold his interest in the casino portion of the hotel for a mere 7 million dollars. Then, in December of that year, the INS, working with the FBI on Bobby Kennedy's orders, informed Jake Factor that he was to be deported from the United States before the end of the month. Factor would be returned to England where he was still a wanted felon as a result of his 1928 stock scam. Just 48 hours before the deportation, Factor, John Kennedy's largest single personal political contributor, was granted a full and complete Presidential pardon which allowed him to stay in the United States.
     The story hints that Factor was more then probably an informant for the Internal Revenue Service, it also investigates the murky world of Presidential pardons, the last imperial power of the Executive branch. It's a sordid tale of abuse of privilege, the mob's best friend and perhaps it is time the American people reconsider the entire notion.
     The mob wasn't finished with Factor. Right after his pardon, Factor was involved in a vague, questionable financial plot to try and bail teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa out of his seemingly endless financial problems in Florida real estate. He was also involved with a questionable stock transaction with mobster Murray Humpreys. Factor spent the remaining twenty years of his life as a benefactor to California's Black ghettos. He tried, truly, to make amends for all of the suffering he had caused in his life. He spent millions of dollars building churches, gyms, parks and low cost housing in the poverty stricken ghettos. When he died, three United States Senators, the Mayor of Los Angles and several hundred poor Black waited in the rain to pay their last respects at Jake the Barber's funeral.

Interesting Information on A Little Known Case
By Bill Emblom
Author John Tuohy, who has a similar spelling of the last name to his subject Roger, but apparently no relation, has provided us with an interesting story of northwest Chicago beer baron Roger Touhy who was in competition with Al Capone during Capone's heyday. Touhy appeared to be winning the battle since Mayor Anton Cermak was deporting a number of Capone's cronies. However, the mob hit, according to the author, on Mayor Cermak in Miami, Florida, by Giuseppe Zangara following a speech by President-elect Roosevelt, put an end to the harrassment of Capone's cronies. The author details the staged "kidnapping" of Jake "the Barber" Factor who did this to avoid being deported to England and facing a prison sentence there for stock swindling, with Touhy having his rights violated and sent to prison for 25 years for the kidnapping that never happened. Factor and other Chicago mobsters were making a lot of money with the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas when they got word that Touhy was to be parolled and planned to write his life story. The mob, not wanting this, decided Touhy had to be eliminated. Touhy was murdered by hit men in 1959, 28 days after gaining his freedom. Jake Factor had also spent time in prison in the United States for a whiskey swindle involving 300 victims in 12 states. Two days before Factor was to be deported to England to face prison for the stock swindle President Kennedy granted Factor a full Presidential Pardon after Factor's contribution to the Bay of Pigs fund. President Kennedy, the author notes, issued 472 pardons (about half questionable) more than any president before or since.
There are a number of books on Capone and the Chicago mob. This book takes a look at an overlooked beer baron from that time period, Roger Touhy. It is a very worthwhile read and one that will hold your interest.

"Eight long years locked up for a kidnapping that was in fact a hoax, in autumn 1942, Roger Touhy & his gang of cons busted out of Stateville, the infamous "roundhouse" prison, southwest of Chicago Illinois. On the lam 2 months he was, when J Edgar & his agents sniffed him out in a run down 6-flat tenement on the city's far north lakefront. "Terrible Roger" had celebrated Christmas morning on the outside - just like all square Johns & Janes - but by New Year's Eve, was back in the bighouse.
Touhy's arrest hideout holds special interest to me because I grew up less than a mile away from it. Though I never knew so til 1975 when his bio was included in hard-boiled crime chronicler Jay Robert Nash's, Badmen & Bloodletters, a phone book sized encyclopedia of crooks & killers. Touhy's hard scrabble charisma stood out among 200 years' worth of sociopathic Americana Nash had alphabetized, and gotten a pulphouse publisher to print up for him.
I read Nash's outlaw dictionary as a teen, and found Touhy's Prohibition era David vs Goliath battles with ultimate gangster kingpin, Al Capone quite alluring, in an anti-hero sorta way. Years later I learned Touhy had written a memoir, and reading his The Stolen Years only reinforced my image of an underdog speakeasy beer baron - slash suburban family man - outwitting the stone cold killer who masterminded the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Like most autobiographies tho, Touhy's book painted him the good guy. Just an everyday gent caught up in events, and he sold his story well. Had I been a saloonkeeper back then I could picture myself buying his sales pitch - and liking the guy too. I sure bought into his tale, which in hindsight criminal scribe Nash had too, because both writers portray Touhy - though admittedly a crook - as never "really" hurting anybody. Only doing what any down-to-earth bootlegger running a million dollar/year criminal enterprise would have.
What Capone's Mob Murdered Roger Touhy author John Tuohy does tho is, provide a more objective version of events, balancing out Touhy's white wash ... 'er ... make that subjectively ... remembered telling of his life & times. Author Tuohy's account of gangster Touhy's account forced me - grown up now - to re-account for my own original take on the story.
As a kid back then, Touhy seemed almost a Robin Hood- ish hood - if you'll pardon a very lame pun. Forty years on tho re-considering the evidence, I think a persuasive - if not iron-clad convincing - case can be made for his conviction in the kidnapping of swindler scumbag Jake the Barber Factor. At least as far as conspiracy to do so goes, anyways. (Please excuse the crude redundancy there but Factor's stench truly was that of the dog s*** one steps in on those unfortunate occasions one does.)
Touhy's memoir painted himself as almost an innocent bystander at his own life's events. But he was a very smart & savvy guy - no dummy by a long shot. And I kinda do believe now, to not have known his own henchmen were in on Factor's ploy to stave off deportation and imprisonment, Touhy would have had to be as naive a Prohibition crime boss - and make no mistake he was one - as I was as a teenage kid reading Nash's thug-opedia,
On the other hand, the guy was the father of two sons and it's repulsive to consider he would have taken part in loathsomeness the crime of kidnapping was - even if the abducted victim was an adult and as repulsively loathsome as widows & orphans conman, Jake Factor.
This book's target audience is crime buffs no doubt, but it's an interesting read just the same; and includes anecdotes and insights I had not known of before. Unfortunately too, one that knocks a hero of mine down a peg or two - or more like ten.
Circa 1960, President Kennedy pardoned Jake the Barber, a fact that reading of almost made me puke. Then again JFK and the Chicago Mob did make for some strange bedfellowery every now & again. I'll always admire WWII US Navy commander Kennedy's astonishing (word chosen carefully) bravery following his PT boat's sinking, but him signing that document - effectively wiping Factor's s*** stain clean - as payback for campaign contributions Factor made to him, was REALLY nauseating to read.
Come to think of it tho, the terms "criminal douchedog" & "any political candidate" are pretty much interchangeable.
Anyways tho ... rest in peace Rog, & I raise a toast - of virtual bootleg ale - in your honor: "Turns out you weren't the hard-luck mug I'd thought you were, but what the hell, at least you had style." And guts to meet your inevitable end with more grace than a gangster should.
Post Note: Author Tuohy's re-examination of the evidence in the Roger Touhy case does include some heroes - guys & women - who attempted to find the truth of what did happen. Reading about people like that IS rewarding. They showed true courage - and decency - in a world reeking of corruption & deceit. So, here's to the lawyer who took on a lost cause; the private detective who dug up buried facts; and most of all, Touhy's wife & sister who stood by his side all those years.

Crime don't pay, kids
Very good organized crime book. A rather obscure gangster story which makes it fresh to read. I do not like these minimum word requirements for a review. (There, I have met my minimum)

Chicago Gangster History At It's Best
As a 4th generation Chicagoan, I just loved this book. Growing up in the 1950's and 60's I heard the name "Terrible Touhy's" mentioned many times. Roger was thought of as a great man, and seems to have been held in high esteem among the old timer Chicagoans.

That said, I thought this book to be nothing but interesting and well written. (It inspired me to find a copy of Roger's "Stolen Years" bio.) I do recommend this book to other folks interested in prohibition/depression era Chicago crime research. It is a must have for your library of Gangsters literature from that era. Chock full of information and the reader is transported back in time.
I'd like to know just what is "The Valley" area today in Chicago. I still live in the Windy City and would like to see if anything remains from the early days of the 20th century.
A good writer and a good book! I will buy some more of Mr. Tuohy's work.

Great story, great read
A complex tale of gangsters, political kickback, mob wars and corrupt politicians told with wit and humor at a good pace. Highly recommend this book.

One of the best books I've read in a long time....

If you're into mafioso, read this! I loved it. Bought a copy for my brother to read for his birthday--good stuff.


An award winning full length play by John William Tuohy

"Cyberdate.Com is the story of six ordinary people in search of romance, friendship and love and find it in very extraordinary ways. Based on the real life experiences of the authors misadventures with on line dating, Cyber date is a bittersweet story that will make you laugh, cry and want to fall in love again."   Ellis McKay  

Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public 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. The play was also given a full reading at The Frederick Playhouse in Maryland in March of 2007.


So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them. Stephen Chbosky


Beat poetry evolved during the 1940s in both New York City and on the west coast, although San Francisco became the heart of the movement in the early 1950s. The end of World War II left poets like Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gregory Corso questioning mainstream politics and culture. A Brief Guide to the Beat Poets | Academy of American Poets https://www.poets.org/poetsorg

1965: Cracking Down on Beatniks

Youths may be sent to the barber first and then back to their families, police warned.
ROME — Rome police today [Nov.3] threatened a major crackdown on the unwashed, unshaven, unruly beatnik bands which have made Rome’s stately Spanish Steps their rallying point. Foreigners in the ranks of the Spanish Steps loafers may be expelled from the country and Italian youths copying the shaggy style may be sent to the barber first and then back to their families, police warned. Climaxing a summer-long series of small incidents there, the Spanish Steps were the stage yesterday of a violent free-for-all tussle between the beatniks, soldiers and police. — New York Herald Tribune, European Edition, November 4, 1965

I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self -respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it is the beginning of everything. F. Scott Fitzgerald


Mish Mash: noun \ˈmish-ˌmash, -ˌmäsh\ A : hodgepodge, jumble The painting was just a mishmash of colors and abstract shapes as far as we could tell. Origin Middle English & Yiddish; Middle English mysse masche, perhaps reduplication of mash mash; Yiddish mish-mash, perhaps reduplication of mishn to mix. First Known Use: 15th century

"As the Sandwich Islander believes that the strength and valor of the enemy he kills passes into himself so we gain the strength of the temptation we resist."

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

Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame. Henry David Thoreau

Who, being loved, is poor? Oscar Wilde

Finland planning basic income for all
Plans for a nationwide guaranteed basic income to all people, including the jobless, is being hammered out in Finland by the country’s social insurance institution Kela.
As reported by the online news site ZME Science, the concept of basic income is universal – a system of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money from the government or a public institution.
In its initial phase, the income will be €550, but in its full form, it will reach €800.
According to the report, several pilots have already been done over the past decades. Even in the United States, back in the 1970s, Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) was a goal of US President Richard Nixon and the House even successfully passed a bill for it. Large-scale pilots were implemented in Seattle and Denver, finding that hardly anyone stopped working.
Kela says it will prepare the basic income proposal by next year, and it could revolutionise their entire social system. Hopefully, it will work – and inspire other countries in turn.
There is a very simple secret to being happy. Just let go of your ‘demand’ on this moment. Anytime you have a demand on the moment to give you something or remove something, there is suffering. You’re arguing with 'What Is’ - Your demands keep you chained to the 'dream-state’ of the conditioned mind. The desire to 'control’… is, ultimately, our unwillingness to just be awake. Adyashanti

 A three-dimensional audience that literally surrounds the players was the Elizabethan norm, a world away from scenic staging. Blocking on a centralized stage was concentric. The official speakers stood in the centre, while the commentators and clowns prowled around the flanks. 

The audience was closest to the commentators, and the commentators spoke directly to them. In Richard III Richard opens the play crouching at the stage edge and speaking in soliloquy to the crowd at his feet. He tells them the truth about his feelings, with intimate frankness. 

The other characters when they come on speak from centre-stage, and the audience literally backs Richard as they watch him fool them with his acting. His wooing of Lady Anne in the third scene is a bravura display of his arts of deception.

 That role and that position he sustains until he has the crown. Once he is king, though, he has to occupy the centre of the stage. That is when he loses his proximity and his intimacy with his audience. From then o he is the victim, acted on rather than acting, and he loses the audience’s subconscious alliance with him.  Andrew Gurr, “The Company’s Work,” The Shakespeare Company, 1594-1642

Antonio never yet was thief or pirate,
Though I confess, on base and ground enough,
Orsino’s enemy. A witchcraft drew me hither:
That most ingrateful boy there by your side,
From the rude sea’s enraged and foamy mouth
Did I redeem; a wreck past hope he was:
His life I gave him and did thereto add
My love, without retention or restraint,
All his in dedication; for his sake
Did I expose myself, pure for his love,
Into the danger of this adverse town;
Drew to defend him when he was beset:
Where being apprehended, his false cunning,
Not meaning to partake with me in danger,
Taught him to face me out of his acquaintance,
And grew a twenty years removed thing
While one would wink; denied me mine own purse,
Which I had recommended to his use
Not half an hour before.

 "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves."

Visit our Shakespeare Blog at the address below

It’s much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it.  Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved. George Eliot

Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star… E.E. Cummings

 The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love. Henry Miller

“Love is . . . Being happy for the other person when they are happy, Being sad for the person when they are sad, Being together in good times, And being together in bad times.


Love is . . . Being honest with yourself at all times, Being honest with the other person at all times, Telling, listening, respecting the truth, And never pretending.


Love is . . . An understanding so complete that you feel as if you are a part of the other person, Accepting the other person just the way they are, And not trying to change them to be something else.


Love is . . . The freedom to pursue your own desires while sharing your experiences with the other person, The growth of one individual alongside of and together with the growth of another individual.


Love is . . . The excitement of planning things together, The excitement of doing things together.

Love is . . . The fury of the storm, The calm in the rainbow.


Love is . . . Giving and taking in a daily situation, Being patient with each other's needs and desires.

Love is . . . Knowing that the other person will always be with you regardless of what happens, Missing the other person when they are away but remaining near in heart at all times.

 Susan Polis Schutz


Earl Hines




Entrance to the causeway that leads to Castillo de San Sebastian, La Caleta, Cadiz, Spain

Erfurt, Germany

Évora - Portugal

The Beat Goes On: Exploring the West Coast's Literary Haunts
Chris Flavell
WRITER Jack Kerouac in his seminal novel On the Road wrote of the fabulous white city of San Francisco and her eleven mystic hills framed by the blue Pacific with its advancing wall of potato-patch fog.
Those haunting words fresh in my mind began a trip to explore the homes, haunts and inspirations of writers of the West Coast of America. From its bustling cities, small towns and mesmerizing coastline, each has offered some of the world’s greatest writers a place to work, play and create. Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and many others that made up the Beat Generation of writers all have links to San Francisco. Jack London and Mark Twain also spent time wandering its hilly terrain on route to penning some of history’s classic literature.
A short ride down the coast brings you to John Steinbeck country. Land that helped forge such classics as Of Mice And Men, Cannery Row and East of Eden.
Further still brings you to the refuge of Henry Miller in Big Sur. Then, as you begin to cut in-land and head to the hot, dusty roads leading to America’s party city of Las Vegas, you don’t have to look far before Hunter S. Thompson’s crazy journey in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas begins to take shape.
This particular part of the world created iconic moments in literary history and fed the minds of writers, poets and musicians who gravitated towards each other. Not only did they take inspiration from their surroundings, but they successfully immortalised them on the page.
My trip down the West Coast began in San Francisco. My wife and I had three days before we picked up our rental car and were determined to take in the city’s unique character.
Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road, Big Sur and Dharma Bums, hitchhiked his way to the Pacific regularly in the late 1940s and early 50s to gather with friends and fellow writers. They included poet Allan Ginsberg and author William S Burroughs.
After happily wandering the streets of the city’s China Town we eventually found City Lights Bookstore, a popular meeting place of the group, though it is hard to know if the bookstore or the bar next door, called Vesuvio, was the real draw - the latter now offering tourists a Karouac cocktail. The drink is packed with different spirits, apparently in homage to the unfinished drinks the novelist would mix together to consume at the end of the night.
A short walk from City Lights took us to the door of the Beat Museum. Here we were lucky enough to meet its founder Jerry Cimino.
 A clear passion for those now running the attraction, the two-floor museum offers a collection of rare books, donated items of clothing, and brilliant displays on individual writers and the role they played to help mould a different social attitude that would eventually grow into the Hippie movement of the 60s.
Seminal to this was Alan Ginsberg’s work Howl and the trial of its publisher, City Lights owner and still city resident Lawrence Ferlinghetti, for breaching obscenity laws. The subsequent legal victory that ruled in favour of the work proved a massive step in altering censorship laws while also reflecting changing attitudes across the nation.
That trial, the women that inspired the group and Kerouac’s biggest muse, friend Neil Cassidy, all have sections devoted to them in the museum. Cassidy’s later links to Ken Kasey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, also helped link the Beats to the Hippies and other counterculture movements that followed. A newer attraction is the car featured in the recent film version of On The Road starring Kristen Steward, Kirsten Dunst and Sam Riley.
Our other days in the city were spent cycling the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting the island prison of Alcatraz and strolling around the piers at Fisherman’s Warf.
A particular highlight proved the North Beach neighbourhood that is still packed with bustling bars and simple diners. Artists display their work in Washington Square and the area’s characters still roam the warm nights.
After our time in this unique location we pick up our car and quickly headed out of the busy city and began our drive down the coast.
Soon the freeway is replaced by a smaller road, the tall tower blocks replaced by breaking waves and misty coastline.
Our next stop was Monterey, this time to embrace a part of California that inspired Steinbeck.
After arriving in Monterey we quickly headed to Cannery Row, the long, sea-front street that was once a hive of industry as fishing operations delivered their haul to be canned for distribution across the globe.
 Though the buildings now play host to upmarket restaurants and independent stores, a few remnants of a different time still remain.
It was here in the 1930s that proved the inspiration for Steinbeck's Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday novels.
His close friend Ed Ricketts formed the basis of marine biologist Doc while the people he met living around the fishing hub also lent themselves to Steinbeck’s other characters.
The buildings mentioned in the book still stand to this day and it near these where we met Cannery Row historian and tour guide Tim Thomas.
He walked us from one end of the road to the other, from the stunning sea front to the adjacent street as he explained the areas remarkable past.
Soon after we head to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and marvelled at the wide array of sea life.
Large tanks for sharks and tuna are complimented with shoaling fish, penguins, jelly fish and more. It’s a place that takes pride in educating visitors on the wildlife that lives along the conservation area along this coastline.
After spending the afternoon discovering the changing fortunes of the region - from early settlers, big business and eventual overfishing all the way through to today’s thriving marine life - we headed for food at Schooners Kitchen and Bar as the sun begins to set.
Schooners offers diners award-winning seafood with panoramic views of the ocean.
We devoured an octopus starter before tucking into tuna and scallop dishes. The meal was enjoyed with a delicious, locally-produced white wine.
Surely there can be no better place to eat in Monterey. It perfectly captured the town in one delightful sitting. Fresh seafood and local wine all served overlooking the splendour of this seafront haven.
That night we checked into our accommodation at the Asilomar Conference Centre a short drive from Cannery Row in Pacific Grove. Here the Steinbeck link continued as the grounds were home to his family's cabin where he penned his 1941 work Sea of Cortez.
The hotel was just a few minutes from the beach and offered the perfect base for exploring not just Cannery Row but also the nearby Big Sur coastline.
The next morning we got up early and began to drive what is often described as the most beautiful stretches of coast in the world. It’s fair to say we weren’t disappointed.
The road winds its way south while offering breathtaking views of the vast ocean out to the right. Here are plenty of spots to pull over and enjoy watching the waves crashing angrily against the grey rocks. All the while the coast juts out ahead and mist settles at the base of each fjord-like peninsula.
After driving for an hour we came to the main village of this area and pulled over to enjoy a Greek-style kebab at Big Sur Roadhouse. It was a great lunch spot and came just at the right time after the drive.
Quickly after lunch we arrived at the Henry Miller Memorial Library, a bookstore set up in tribute the controversial author of the Tropic of Cancer, another famously banned book due to its sexually explicit content.
Big Sur not only hosted Miller but also linked many of the writers of the region.
Kerouac came here often, most famously when penning his late book whose title bears the name of the area. He came to this part of the coast and hiked in its wooden hillsides as he battled the alcoholism that would eventually play a part in his early death at the age of just 47 in 1969.
Later writer Hunter S. Thompson, himself now a firm cult icon for his raucous writing and no-nonsense journalism, once worked as a caretaker for a nearby Spa resort.
The area offers blustery beaches, nature parks and brilliant waterfalls for anyone wanting to get closer to the natural wonders this part of the world has to offer.
As we pull over at the side of the road and hike the short distance to McWay Falls, a thin waterfall that cascades upon the beach below, we suddenly catch a glimpse of a Humpback Whale passing by close to the shore, pushing above the surface as it quietly makes its way up coast.
Our next stop a day later took us further into Steinbeck’s world. We headed in-land to Salinas where he was born and where now hosts the National Steinbeck Centre.
The rolling farmlands where he set Of Mice and Men soon begin to rush past, great swathes of open space bursting with crops of all kinds are framed only by distant hills. The great landscape that proved his inspiration, second only perhaps to the people that inhabited it, opens out and welcomes you quickly away from the usual tourist routes.
First, a must-visit location for any fans of the popular writer is surely the home where he was born that is now a beautiful eatery offering guests home-made cuisine.
 We were greeted at the door by two of the many local volunteers that help maintain the home and serve those that come to enjoy food made with the wide array of local produce.
Patterned carpets and floral wallpaper adorns each room. We see Steinbeck’s old bedroom and enjoy old family photographs on the walls.
The house has been lovingly restored to match the period and a host of simple yet delicious dishes are soon served after we take our seat.
Fully fed, just a short walk takes us to the National Steinbeck Centre that showcases his work with well laid out sections devoted to each publication.
The two attractions complement each other perfectly. If his home is about the man himself and his family, the museum turns the spotlight onto his work.
That night we make the short drive to Vision Quest Ranch B&B.
Guests can meet all sorts of wild animals here and our room for the night is a big cat-themed hut overlooking the elephant enclosure. The place aims to give guests the feel of being on a safari and it very nearly manages the illusion as we fall asleep with the roar of the nearby lions.
Perhaps the biggest treat was when our breakfast arrived the next morning being delivered by elephant.
Five of them, all rescued some years before from a circus, are now the star attraction here. They help educate the many schoolchildren that visit.
Two of them accompany their keepers as they drop off our breakfast basket before we are given the chance to return the favour by feeding them ourselves. Each majestic animal takes turns to delicately pluck a piece of carrot from our hands.
We soon pack up our things once more and head south again. This time our destination is Cambria, our chosen destination to rest up for the night before attempting the long drive east into Las Vegas the following morning.
The drive gives us chance to savour the coastline once again, this time without stopping we push the car on and enjoy letting the landscape roll by.
Cambria was to be the calm before the Las Vegas storm and it didn’t disappoint. If there is a more beautiful and scenic stopover point in this stretch of coast, I’d love to see it.
We pull up to our accommodation for the night, Squibb House B&B, and are soon marvelling at the beautiful setting. As we enter our room we are instantly calmed by piano music being played on speakers near the door. A balcony, complete with two rocking chairs, offers another place to rest and relax.
Though it is hard to pull ourselves away, we head to the nearby Moonstone Beach and stroll along its beautiful boardwalk as the sea crashes away to our left and the daylight starts to slip away.
Before the sun sets completely we head for the main street and walk among its independent stores and quaint cafes.
In the town’s East Village, we stop off for wine tasting at Fermentations. We sample the region’s famed tipple one after the other and chat to locals and visitors alike as we sit at the bar. It was a perfect way to end our stay in California before turning our sights to the desert.
The next morning we leave early and head to Las Vegas - our final stop.
Soon the hilly, green coastal landscape is replaced with arid dusty roads. We power on, air conditioning cranked up as the temperature reaches 100 degrees.
I imagine ‘Fear and Loathing’ protagonists Raoul Duke and his attorney on their crazy ride and soon our persistence is rewarded as Sin City rises up, glowing in the distance.
We drop off the car and hit The Strip. It’s an attack of the senses. Outside bakes, the casinos are cool, music is everywhere, gambling key. We visit each hotel to marvel at their unique theme. We win at roulette, lose at poker.
That night we choose to venture away from the flashing lights and crowds slightly and head for an Italian restaurant just off The Strip.
Now run by Gino Ferraro, Ferraro’s is well-known for its authentic Italian dishes. The waiters talk about the family links here and we listen to a live pianist as we look over the massive wine list and menus.
Soon we are tucking into lamb and pasta dishes as the tables continue to fill around us. This place is clearly a favourite among the locals here and it’s easy to see why.
Early the next morning we are collected from our hotel and taken to a nearby airfield where we can be transported by air to see the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon.
The Papillon tour company has been ferrying people in helicopters to see these wonders, both natural and man-made, since the 60s.
Soon we are swooping over the dam then heading onward still to the canyon. Even from up high it’s hard to capture the scale of such a place. It’s a must-see attraction and there really is no better way than from the air.
Our pilot cuts in from time to time to talk us through the history of the region and explain some of the small towns we see along the way and the fascinating stories on how people came to make this isolated part of the world their home.
That night we head to Fremont Street, the place that started it all. The first hotel was here, the first paved street and the first gaming license. Now this party street in Downtown Vegas makes The Strip look quiet in comparison.
Street performers wow the crowds, bars separate the casinos and it all takes place under a flashing canopy high above.
For a birds-eye view of the action the brave can pay for a zip line ride from one end to the other.
The Slotzilla zip line is 114 feet high and launches riders in a horizontal position, as if they are Superman, flying 1,700 feet at speeds faster than 35 miles per hour.
It’s a crazy and unique end to a beautiful journey.
So, be it the South Coast Beats that played together among San Francisco’s streets, the isolated party paradise of Vegas that Thompson feasted on, or the winding, foggy roads of Big Sur high above the sea along Highway 1; each writer shared a common element, no matter the era, of being able to flourish among the freedom that this part of America once offered them.
And though, indeed, those times are long changed, a taste of that freedom, that creative energy, that passion, can still be had even today for anyone willing to take the time, walk the streets, rent the car, and just go.
However, on this occasion, perhaps leave the guide book behind and replace it with a novel or two, because no-one quite captures this part of the world like those writers who once made it their home.
Travel Facts:
Accommodation at: Asilomar Conference Centre, Pacific Grove (www.visitasilomar.com), Vision Quest Ranch, Salinas (www.visionquestranch.com), Squibb House, Cambria (www.squibbhouse.net).
Food at: Schooners Coastal Kitchen and Bar (www.schoonersmonterey.com), Big Sur Road House (www.glenoaksbigsur.com/roadhouse), The Steinbeck House (www.steinbeckhouse.com), Ferraro’s Restaurant (www.ferraroslasvegas.com).

Also see – The Beat Museum (www.kerouac.com), Waterfront Cannery Row Tours (email timsardine@yahoo.com), Monterey Bay Aquarium (www.montereybayaquarium.org), National Steinbeck Centre (www.steinbeck.org), Papillon Flights (www.papillon.com), Slotzilla (www.vegasexperience.com/slotzilla-zip-line).



Sculpture this and Sculpture that

New Hydrostone Sculptures by Daniel Arsham Isolate Human Gestures





Gannet (GAN-it) 1. A large seabird known for catching fish by diving from a height. 2. A greedy person. From Old English ganot. Ultimately from the Indo-European root ghans- (goose), which also gave us goose, gosling, gander, and gunsel.



by Billy Collins

You are so beautiful and I am a fool
to be in love with you
is a theme that keeps coming up
in songs and poems.
There seems to be no room for variation.
I have never heard anyone sing
I am so beautiful
and you are a fool to be in love with me,
even though this notion has surely
crossed the minds of women and men alike.
You are so beautiful, too bad you are a fool
is another one you don't hear.
Or, you are a fool to consider me beautiful.
That one you will never hear, guaranteed.
For no particular reason this afternoon
I am listening to Johnny Hartman
whose dark voice can curl around
the concepts of love, beauty, and foolishness
like no one else's can.
It feels like smoke curling up from a cigarette
someone left burning on a baby grand piano
around three o'clock in the morning;
smoke that billows up into the bright lights
while out there in the darkness
some of the beautiful fools have gathered
around little tables to listen,
some with their eyes closed,
others leaning forward into the music
as if it were holding them up,
or twirling the loose ice in a glass,
slipping by degrees into a rhythmic dream.
Yes, there is all this foolish beauty,
borne beyond midnight,
that has no desire to go home,
especially now when everyone in the room
is watching the large man with the tenor sax
that hangs from his neck like a golden fish.
He moves forward to the edge of the stage
and hands the instrument down to me
and nods that I should play.
So I put the mouthpiece to my lips
and blow into it with all my living breath.
We are all so foolish,
my long bebop solo begins by saying,
so damn foolish

we have become beautiful without even knowing it.


Georges de La Tour, born in 1593, seem to be heavily indebted to the work of Caravaggio (1571-1610) and his followers in Rome, based on his bold use of light and dark. His paintings—largely austere genre scenes structured by dramatic effects of day and candlelight, such as the Gallery's “The Repentant Magdalen”—demonstrate powerful introspection and intense spirituality
 Time flows away like the water in the river.  Confucius 

Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had. The Great Gatsby
Have fun, even if it’s not the same kind of fun everyone else is having. C.S. Lewis

Ireland to decriminalize drugs including heroin and cocaine

Since our war on drugs isn't working and costing us trillions, maybe we should try this 
Ireland will move towards decriminalizing substances including heroin, cocaine and cannabis as part of a “radical cultural shift”, the country's drugs minister has said. Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, the chief of Ireland’s National Drugs Strategy, told a lecture at the London School of Economics on Monday that drug users will be able to inject in specially designated rooms in Dublin from next year.
 The minister said attitudes to drugs needed to move away from shaming addicts to helping them and emphasized there was a difference between legalization and decriminalization.
It would remain a crime to profit – from either the sale or distribution of illegal drugs – but drug takers would no longer be criminalized for their addictions.
 If you have the guts to be yourself, other people’ll pay your price. John Updike
Margaret Atwood was at a cocktail party when a surgeon walks over and says, "You know when I have time, I'm going to write." Atwood smirked, and then said, "You know when I have time, I'm going to take up brain surgery."


This image of a Rhesus monkey was the Picture of the Week in the January 16, 1939 issue. Hansel Mieth

 James Joyce Picked Drunken Fights, Then Hid Behind Ernest Hemingway; Hemingway Called Joyce “The Greatest Writer in the World”

Ernest Hemingway seemed to feud with most of the prominent male artists of his time, from Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot to F. Scott Fitzgerald. He had a “very strange relationship” with Orson Welles—the two came to blows at least once—and he reportedly slapped Max Eastman in the face with a book. All his bluster and bravado makes his warm friendship with James Joyce seem all the more remarkable. They are a literary odd couple if ever there was one: Joyce the labyrinthine thinker of Byzantine thoughts and creator of symbolic systems so dense they constitute an entire field of study; physically weak and—despite his infamous carnal appetites—intellectually monkish, Joyce exemplifies the artist as a reclusive contemplative. Hemingway, on the other hand, well… we know his reputation.
Hemingway’s 1961 obituary in The New York Times characterized Joyce as “a thin, wispy and unmuscled man with defective eyesight” (perhaps the result of a syphilis infection), and also notes that the two writers “did a certain amount of drinking together” in Paris. As the narrator of the rare film clip of Joyce informs us above, the Ulysses author would pick drunken fights, then duck behind his burly friend and say, “Deal with him, Hemingway. Deal with him.” (That scene also gets mentioned in The Times obituary.) 
Hemingway, who convinced himself at one time he had the makings of a real pugilist, was likely happy to oblige. Joyce, writes Hemingway biographer James R. Mellow, “was an admirer of Hemingway’s adventurous lifestyle” and worried aloud that his books were too “suburban” next to those of his friend, of whom he said in a Danish interview, “he’s a good writer, Hemingway. He writes as he is… there is much more behind Hemingway’s form than people know.”
Joyce, notes Kenneth Schyler Lynn in Hemingway, realized that “neither as a man nor as an artist was [Hemingway] as simple as he seemed,” though he also remarked that Hemingway was “a big powerful peasant, as strong as a buffalo. A sportsman. And ready to live the life he writes about. He would never have written it if his body had not allowed him to live it.” One detects more than a hint of Hemingway in Joycean characters like Dubliners‘ Ignatious Gallaher or Ulysses’ Hugh “Blazes” Boylan—strong, adventurous types who overawe introverted main characters. That’s not to say that Joyce explicitly drew on Hemingway in constructing his fiction, but that in the boastful, outgoing American, he saw what many of his semi-autobiographical characters did in their more bullish counterparts—a natural foil.
Hemingway returned Joyce’s compliments, writing to Sherwood Anderson in 1923, “Joyce has a most god-damn wonderful book” and pronouncing Joyce “the greatest writer in the world.” He was “unquestionably… staggered,” writes Lynn, “by the multilayered richness” of Ulysses. But its density may have proven too much for him, as “his interest in the story gave out well before he finished it.” In Hemingway’s copy of the novel, “only the pages of the first half and of Molly Bloom’s concluding soliloquy are cut.” Hemingway tempered his praise with some blunt criticism; unlike Joyce’s praise of his writing, the American did not admire Joyce’s tendency towards autobiography in the character of Stephen Dedalus.
“The weakness of Joyce,” Hemingway opined, was his inability to understand that “the only writing that was any good was what you made up, what you imagined… Daedalus [sic] in Ulysses was Joyce himself, so he was terrible. Joyce was so damn romantic and intellectual.” Of course Stephen Dedalus was Joyce—that much is clear to anyone. How Hemingway, who did his utmost to enact his fictional adventures and fictionalize his real life, could fault Joyce for doing the same is hard to reckon, except perhaps, as Joyce certainly felt, Hemingway led the more adventurous life.
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