Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
This article was written for THE VENTURA STAR. And since I wrote a Blog on this benefit concert and the soulful talented, Alex Nester, I thought I would add this to my Blogs. Funny how my name and Dyan Cannon ended up in bold. (Add smiley face) and Katie Brown & Danika Salvaggio.
Simi Valley woman performs at fundraiser to celebrate being cancer-free
- By Amy Bentley
Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/jun/24/simi-valley-woman-performs-at-fundraiser-to-free/#ixzz1QGmVkTxi
Simi Valley resident Alex Nester came up with the perfect way to celebrate her 10-year anniversary on June 18 of being cancer-free: she would organize and perform at a benefit music concert to help other cancer patients.
"I wanted to have a party first and foremost, and I had started working on some new music. I thought the best party I could think of would be a benefit concert," said Nester, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma when she was 16 and a student at Santa Susana High School. Nester was declared cancer-free after she finished chemotherapy treatment on June 18, 2001, exactly 10 years before the concert.
Her idea came to fruition June 18 when Nester rocked a packed house at the famed Troubadour club in West Los Angeles. Nester, 27, a soul singer, pianist, songwriter and voice coach, performed all 13 songs from her new, second CD called "#BurnItDown."
The event raised about $10,000 from donations, a silent auction and ticket pre-sales. Nester is donating the proceeds to the American Cancer Society and the Marcelle Erian Cancer Foundation, a local cancer patient support group supported by the Simi Valley office of Nester's oncologist, Dr. Hany R. Khalil. Nester expects to have even more money to donate when proceeds from box office sales are tallied.
To put on the concert, Nester and her parents rented out the entire club (she said they got a bargain rate). Nester and her friends then went to work collecting what she estimates was about $25,000 in donated gifts for a silent auction and to cover other expenses.
The Troubadour can accommodate 450 people, and those who attended said the place was full.
"It was packed. The balcony was covered with people, the whole floor, the whole bar and the front area. It was great. It was such a positive night," Nester said.
Nester's friend D'Anne Fraye of Simi Valley attended and helped work the merchandise booth. Fraye said many Simi Valley residents turned out to celebrate Nester's music and good health.
"We love Alex and wanted to support her second album and her being 10 years cancer-free. That's a big reason to have a celebration. It was a really nice night and there was a ton of support. It was a great show," Fraye said.
Nester said she is donating the proceeds in honor of her late friend Ola Hudson of Los Angeles, who died from lung cancer two years ago.
"She was an amazing woman and sang background for my last album. I wanted to do something for her," Nester said.
Nester also wants to help cancer patients through the Marcelle Erian Cancer Foundation who are facing a financial burden.
"Treatment is not cheap, medications are not cheap. A lot of times medications are not covered. It's to help with expenses," she said.
The event included a silent auction for items including donated gift baskets and movie passes, and the top donor won a trip for two to the Bahamas, courtesy of Aqua Blue Travel and music producer Kem Williams of Riverside. Other event supporters included writer/director/producer, Scott Casey, actress Dyan Cannon (who attended) and Nester's longtime friends from Simi Valley, Danica Selvaggio, and Katie Brown.
Looking forward, Nester continues to perform locally. She also sings backup for Tito Jackson and teaches voice and piano in Simi Valley and the San Fernando Valley. She will travel with Jackson to Japan in July and to France in August.
"It's exciting. He's been a great supporter for me," she said.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.
I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
1. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in .
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.
did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.
THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!
You are one of my 20+. Please keep it going.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Alex has opened for the great band Chicago and also for Earth Wind and Fire. Before the show began I met a wife of one of the band members of Earth Wind and Fire and her friend. They said they were attending the concert based on her husband saying. "You don't want to miss Alex if you can see her live. Pretty strong praise!
Alex Nester's concert was not just a showcase of this young woman's talents. this was a benefit concert to raise money and awareness to fight cancer. 100% of EVERYTHING collected is going to charity! Everyone involved in the event worked as volunteers to make this show a success. When I arrived Alex's Mom and Dad had their sleeves rolled up and were bringing in articles to be auctioned. Recognizing Alex's talents back in December, Tito Jackson brought Alex on board with his band and she has been with him ever since. He was kind enough to donate a signed guitar for the auction. The show was to begin in 3 hours and the army of volunteers were scurrying around under the direction of Danika a person who knew how to coordinate events who Alex brought on. Alex's best friend Katie was running around and Alex who demands perfection was doing sound check and also checking on some of the small details. The stakes were huge!
The opening band was "Stiff" and they kicked some Rock N Roll butt. For their last 2 songs Alex was introduced to sing with the band. She was only giving the packed house a glimpse of her vocals. A tease if you will. Stiff did well and the audience was primed. The stage was black and Alex Nester's techs were setting up. Was there going to be enough room on that stage for what they were carrying out? The anticipation was now palatable as Alex walked down to check what the techs had done. She then walked over and sat behind an organ.
Alex connected with the audience with her vocals within a minute, but all of her songs were sung with such passion that people were hanging on to her every note and lyric. Alex wrote all of her songs except one she co-wrote with Dannielle Savre. She wrote a song in tribute to a friend of hers who lost her battle with cancer "Hold On" and I fought off tears as this artist poured her heart into this soft a tender song. Alex changed things up with "Idolatry" a short right hook directed to the "Power-brokers" in Hollywood. Alex brought her Dad to do a song and play trumpet. Mr.Nester, take a bow, you were great! "Oh Oh Oh" was a fun song and I'd be hard pressed to think of a song one might call a "filler" some albums produce. No, this album was made with the heart of an artist and the soul of an angel.
Everyone in attendance received Alex's CD (album) #BurnItDown which will be available on itunes and cdbaby this week. I am not a music critic. I am a writer and filmmaker, I Blog when I have something on my mind and this benefit concert given by Alex Nester at The Troubadour made me just WANT to share how I felt. I hope you read this and take my recommendation to buy this album when it becomes available. Indie artists are the engine that drives real inspirational music. As Indie movies began to define the movie industry and artists starting making movies people wanted to see instead of what studio heads fed the theaters, I believe artists like Alex Nester will soon define and expand your choices as a consumer. Just like the theaters are forced to show movies or risk getting black balled, the same is true with radio. And Indie sensations like Alex Nester are knocking down walls to be heard!
I would love to see this album soar because it has the chops to hang with any top 10 album out there. The question is... Are the sheep going to overthrow the herder. I truly hope I have been able to convey a fraction of how talented this woman is.
Ten years cancer free and Alex did this show to give back. I feel privileged to have been there to see history made. Because some day very soon I will say... "Yes I was at Alex Nester's first show at The Troubadour."
Saturday, May 21, 2011
By: Scott Casey
Back to the BBQ. The director was a loud fat robust man who chugged beer, laughed at his own jokes and at least two of his minions would laugh on cue.. He looked like King Henry the VIII in a Hawaiian shirt. At one point a very beautiful woman arrived with her husband. She was over dressed for a BBQ in The Valley wearing a black gown that accentuated her breasts. We were all sitting at a large table and this beautifully overdressed woman walked up to introduce herself. Everyone was cordial and then she approached the head of the table (where else would King Henry sit) and she extended her hand. King Henry the director of more forgettable flicks than you could imagine (He funds all of his projects, I forgot, the slob is rich) opens his mouth and bellows out as if he was on a 6th grade playground; "Nice Tits!" He then proceeded to almost lean toward this now horrified woman. She demanded an apology, he refused and as fast as this woman and her husband entered the backyard... they exited. The host of the BBQ a fellow minion along with the previous two assured "Director Fat Ass" that she overreacted!
At this point I should have left. But there were some genuine "Industry" people there and we were enjoying some meaningful conversations, truly interested in each other and what we had "going" at the present time, I decided I liked these people and wanted to stay. Besides the blubbering rant of a self indulged pig was not going to persuade my thought process. His minions were fighting each other for a smooch of his festering ass so after "the incident" normality settled in.
King Henry decided to leave and I could not help but look at a few of my new friends and show them my sarcastic "golf clap." One guy spit out his beer. Oh but be wary, for sometimes the storm becomes more dangerous during the calm. And when Director Pig Glutton left the calm was almost soothing. A group sigh was almost heard. He was that bad!
No more than 10 minutes later a tornado rolled in. The director's minion and host to the BBQ greeted this guy like he was a studio head. He thanked him for his generous donation of 8 thousand dollars to his project on kick starter. The man, average height and graying hair stood there with a mid to late 30s blonde. "Big Shot" as I will call him sat right where King Henry was blowing ass not more than moments ago! I should have seen this as a warning. A sign. Something! And I did. I thought good had come and replaced evil. In the coming weeks I learned the director was just one of Satan's seat warmers and evil was going to try and enter my life. Notice I said "TRY!" I shall explain.
When "Big Shot" sat down the conversation shifted. We were flying from one subject to another and we politely transitioned into letting "Big Shot" (who I will now refer to as BS) join our conversation. Of course he was brought up to speed on "The rude director" and subsequent events. BS then went on to talk about his 4th book and how his other 3 books were best sellers. Well this perked me up! After researching and writing a novel/book based on a true character and events and BS proclaiming his newest novel was based on his own experiences I was drawn in. The Devil found a window to my soul! My writing.
Everyone else had hit the pool, jacuzzi, or left. I sat with BS telling him how I had Folio Literary as my agents and we parted ways based on various factors. He applauded me telling me all of his books were self published and were best sellers. He said so many things that night to inspire me including the fact that he had an "in" where my book would be guaranteed a certian amount of purchases and that being a best seller was that easy. He gave me his web page and insisted that my wife and I join him and his "true love" for dinner. He called my phone from his and we both added each other to our contacts. He then said to call him on Monday to arrange a good night for us to get together. I explained my wife went to college on Tuesday & Thursday nights. We raised our wine glasses and toasted to a fantastic dinner and strategy session on finishing my book and launching it. I mean... WOW!!! So I emailed my manuscript to him the next day. I then called him as directed. He said; "Scott, listen, not good for this week, some family stuff has come up and I may need to fly to NY." He then told me to call him the following week. I did... Number no good! I face booked him a message saying in a polite way that his phone seemed to be on the fritz. He then gave me a different # explaining he lost that phone. I am no internet genius, but I do know if you lose a phone 99% of the time you keep the same number unless you purposely switched numbers. Why would one switch numbers? That however did not dawn on me because within minutes of the message he phoned from his new number. Oh well I thought, a guy like him must have a couple phones. We talked for a few minutes and he said he'd call me the following day. At this point I let my disappointing tone be heard and said. "Yeah sure, when ever you get around to it."
The following day BS called ranting about how publishable my book was and wanted to know details about "rights" and said he had a perfect plan to get it out to the masses. "What are you doing this Saturday?" He asked. I told him I was free and he said we should meet at the USC boof fair because what he had planned he didn't want to talk about on the phone. "Really? Top Secret marketing shit." I thought. Oh well, let me hear this. After-all he has had 3 best sellers.
Saturday came and it was of the few hot days we have had in Southern California this year. I had texted him I was on my way, and he texted back, "cool." Parking was a bitch, but I have a screwed up hip and a handicap placard so I was lucky enough to find parking on the streets. However I was 2 blocks from the entrance. My hip can not take much more than a block. I had my cane and began my walk and two USC students working the event pulled up in a four seat golf cart. They drove me right into the center of the book fair. By now I had texted BS 3 times telling him I was there. I waited for his text and visited the booths. It was a great fair with a lot of information for writers and different displays for specific genres.
I tried phoning and his cell rang but no answer. He finally texted me an hour and a half after I had arrived. My hip was killing me and I was sitting at a booth when I read the text. "I think I may have a seizure and I'm going home, catch you later." What the fuck! BS had me drive 40 miles and said he had a seizure! Are you starting to see why "Big Shot" went to "BS" because now I knew this fucker was playing me.
I went to his site and it proclaimed his books were best sellers and because I (remember the title of my Blog) decided that was good enough for me, I let my own talent and aspirations hurt me. I then Googled BS and discovered this guy had 3 self published non selling crap books and his own self proclaimed true life account he was writing about was being called a fraud and his credibility was destroyed when I learned he was arrested in NY and California for bad checks and con jobs! In one newspaper account he used "family deaths" or personal injuries" as excuses not to follow through with promised actions, deeds, or deadlines.
I let him use my talent as a writer to hurt me. As I said, my novel/book has been 3 years in the making. I have sold 2 screenplays and will soon be recognized for my work. But, I almost let a con-artist get a little too close to my work. He tried to use my talent to hurt me.
I could name who BS is; you choose the acronym that fits, "Bullshit" or "Big Shot" and by naming him I am not in the mood to have a legal fight because he likes to sue those who discover him and call him out. I tell this tale as a cautionary note. I truly believe he knew I was a lot like characters I have written about. I would have shown him justice in a whole new light. BS better be worried we do not run into another BBQ together. Because unlike the fiction he writes... I will delve out some hard facts, conclusions and show him what a non fiction kick in the teeth feels like.
Oh! Remember the 8K he donated and was thanked for? He pulled it days after the BBQ.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
“The legacy is your honor”
The murder of Reina had a profound impact on Gaspare D’Amico. Messeria was his ally and was Reina’s ally. Messeria had ordered the murder of Reina. This was treachery that disgusted Gaspare. He liked and trusted Reina and saw his murder as unjust. Gaspare could do nothing but sit back because a war for ultimate power was being waged. Gaspare did not want to pick a side. He was an old time boss with good instincts. He decided to sit on the sidelines to see where he stood after the smoke had cleared.
Gaspare secretly purchased a hideaway home in Paterson next door to Giuseppe. D’Amico relied on his ability to “feel” bad things and wanted an exit plan. This move could have threatened Giuseppe’s safety with Stefano Badami. If Badami thought Giuseppe had ambitions to be “The Boss” someday, Giuseppe would be killed. D’Amico knew Giuseppe had no ambition or desire to be “Boss”. To offset any doubts Stefano may have had, D’Amico slowly started transferring his power to Badami, setting up Gaspare’s eventual retirement. This move along with Giuseppe’s relationship with Badami’s cousin, Mario, made the bond between Badami and Giuseppe strong.
By 1933 the Castellammarese War had long been settled. Messeria was gunned down in April of 1931 at a restaurant in Coney Island. His rival Salvatore Maranzano was also killed in September of 1931 paving the way for a new structure for the American Mafia based out of New York with a commission run by Charles “Lucky” Luciano. D’Amico’s instinct to stay neutral had paid off. He had maintained power in New Jersey keeping New York as a strong ally. Stefano was running the day to day operations in Newark and Giuseppe prospered as Gaspare’s driver and confidant making his sought after Anisette. Cases of Giuseppe’s Anisette were shipped weekly to New York for the “Bosses” consumption.
Giuseppe would take his son Anton on trips to Newark. Giuseppe would try and pass on his father’s advice and knowledge during their drives. Anton would listen and think what a fine man his Grandfather, Salvatore must have been. He also would think what a wise man his Uncle Gaspare was. Anton loved listening to Gaspare D’Amico. Anton was often seen trying to imitate Gaspare’s mannerisms when he drank from a glass. D’Amico would sip his coffee, nod his approval and look to the sky. Anton would mimic Gaspare down to the stare toward the heavens. The men gathered around Gaspare would point out the boy’s antics. Gaspare would smile and proudly state, “Anton’s a wise boy” and he would reach over and rub the smiling boys head.
During the depression Giuseppe actually prospered. In 1936 his friends had turned to prostitution and gambling as major sources of income. They were also robbing warehouses for the merchandise to be sold on the black market. Giuseppe tried to stay away from the activities that put his family at risk. He was not the same angry young man that emerged from the war with Mario. He now had a son, a wife who stood by his decisions and his loving mother. Giuseppe also knew that staying close to Gaspare and the lucrative business of crime sheltered his family from the horrid soup lines and cold nights without heat.
Giuseppe followed his father everywhere when he was young. Giuseppe was very proud that his son, Anton wanted to follow him and listen to his stories. Unlike Giuseppe who was nick named “The Shadow” by the farm hands because he went everywhere his father did. Anton was known as “The Ghost”. When Giuseppe drove to the bakery to meet with his boss, Gaspare, Anton was searching out the soldiers who would entertain themselves playing Bache Ball in the basement on the dirt floor. In one corner a card game (ziganet) might be playing, in another the young gangsters would be sitting around telling war stories from a recent heist. Anton loved watching the guys laugh and enjoy themselves. Soon he was getting their wine, coffee, and sandwiches. Giuseppe was far too involved with taking care of Gaspare and counting the money that was coming in to worry about his son running around doing errands for the guys.
Rosa and Sophia never asked questions and stayed away from the newspapers documenting the gangland violence that was being reported for almost 15 years. They knew Gaspare D’Amico from the many visits he made to his house next to their own. He would have Sunday dinner and the conversation was always about how their lives were on the other side in Sicily. He always showed manners and privately would assure Rosa and Sophia that her husband was a protected man and was not involved in nefarious activities. During the day the women would see Gaspare tending to his garden. He bragged how delicious and sweet his tomatoes were and insisted they use his when they would prepare a Sunday gravy. The women always smiled and thanked the older man for his thoughtfulness. His visits were infrequent for the past years. He’d come by to visit relatives he moved into the house from Sicily. They were quiet and kept to themselves.
Rosa and Sophia were also very keen to their treatment when they went to the market or for walks in the neighborhood. They were given a great amount of respect and were offered free food from the shop keepers and strangers would wave to them. They never accepted the free food and always returned the strangers wave with a dignified smile. They both knew how “men of honor” and their families were treated and accepted the fact Giuseppe had associations with people America may have seen as unscrupulous. They looked at the treatment of Italians in America as a disgrace and saw Giuseppe as an honorable man earning money making his Anisette and driving the aging Gaspare places. Giuseppe was not harming anyone and was earning for his family.
Rosa and Sophia maintained their jobs. Rosa was able to open a coat and dress shop making custom clothing for women. The Depression gave her little business so she was only at the shop a couple days a week. Sophia always dressed in black worked at The Silk Looms becoming a trusted and valued asset to her company.
On weekends Anton would spend hours with his grandmother and she would tell him of the beautiful country and people Anton was a part of. She spoke of her husband and how proud she was of her son being a man of integrity like his father. The young Anton would ask questions and insist on details. Sophia loved the boy’s interest in their family and obliged him with the Giordano history.
In June of 1936 Sophia felt she needed a rest from work and decided to quit her job. She only worked to stay busy and valued her time at home with her grandchild. Soon after quitting her job, Sophia began to get headaches. She attributed this to not being busy as she had been all of her life. She decided to work with Rosa making clothing. The headaches seemed to go away.
During one of their drives from Paterson to Newark Anton asked his dad, “Papa, are you the Black Hand?” Giuseppe looked sternly at his boy. “Where did you hear such an expression?” Anton sensing the irritability in his father’s voice stammered as he answered. “I listen to the men in the basement Papa.” Giuseppe looked straight at the road ahead of him. “There is no such thing. It is old country talk. They drink too much wine.” Anton knew to stay quiet. What he did not know was his father was working for one of the last “Mustache Petes” from the Black Hand days. Giuseppe was not lying to the boy. The American Mafia was in power and The Black Hand as it was known was no longer in existence. Gaspare managed to survive the transition from the old guard (The Black Hand) to the new organized crime syndicate known as The Mafia.
Giuseppe was not pleased when he pulled up to the bakery. Soldiers and associates were sitting outside enjoying the sun and drinking coffee. As they all went to greet him and Anton, Giuseppe walked by them grabbing his boy’s hand. The men looked around to see who fucked up. Everyone shrugged their shoulders and they went about their antics.
Anton was confused. “Papa, are you mad at me?” Giuseppe looked down at the lad. “No, I want you to stay with me. Those idiots tell stupid stories that you do not need to hear.” Anton pulled his hand from his father. Giuseppe slapped him across the face. “Are you trying to disrespect me?” Anton stared back at his father trying to show no effect from the stinging sensation that was burning through his face. “No, my hand was hurting; you were squeezing it too hard.” Anton met his father’s glare and did not flinch. “Okay, you stay with me.” Anton followed his father into the backroom. Upon seeing Gaspare Anton ran to him. “Uncle Gaspare” he screamed. Gaspare almost jumped. “Hey Anton, give your uncle a hug.”
For the remainder of the day Anton stayed close to Gaspare, ignoring his father. Anton didn’t like the smack and he was letting his father know it. Soon Gaspare told Giuseppe he needed to speak with him alone. “Send the boy out with the guys so we can speak.” Gaspare said. Anton leaped to his feet as he walked out with a smile. His father was not pleased as he listened to his boss’s instructions.
By September of 1936 Sophia’s headaches were constant. Anton did not take the trips to Newark with his father because he wanted to stay and help his grandmother. She tried drinking gin to alleviate her pain. Instead she would become drunk and pass out, only to awaken a few hours later with the same pain.
Soon Sophia was slipping in and out of dementia. Doctors were summoned and it was determined that she was dying of brain cancer. The doctors prescribed heavy doses of pain medication and told the family to try and make her as comfortable as possible. Sophia had lost her appetite and her beauty and her inner glow was dimming as the disease mercilessly devoured her from the inside.
Rosa tried to spare Anton the horror the disease was causing Sophia. He would have none of that and sat hours trying to talk to his beloved grandmother. She was heavily sedated and with the cancer eating away at her brain she was barely coherent. Every so often she would open her eyes and see Anton and smile. He sat hours hoping and praying for those brief moments when he knew she was connecting with him. Rosa would often have to pull Anton away from Sophia’s bedside to feed him. The youngster who had just turned seven knew his grandmother had little time and he wanted to be with her. “You must stay with her Mama. I will eat but you must stay here while I eat.” Anton believed if she was never alone then death could not sneak her away. Rosa would relent and have dinner waiting for Anton and then when he was finished she would let him sit by his grandmother’s side.
Giuseppe was having difficulties watching his mother slowly suffer and die. He reflected on the many turns in his life and how his mother was there to encourage him to stay on course. He was also at a cross road with his life with his boss. Gaspare had given full control of his operations in Newark to Stefano Badami. The reign as “Boss” for Gaspare D’Amico was coming to an end. This gave Giuseppe few options. He could stay on with Stefano and then be more involved in the more unsavory side of the business, or he could follow Gaspare’s lead and retire from the day to day operations. Giuseppe knew in his heart it was his time to get out. He needed Stefano’s blessings and he went to Gaspare with his decision.
Gaspare was in the back room of the bakery (his office) when Giuseppe walked in. Gaspare asked how Sophia was doing and Giuseppe bowed his head. “It’s a terrible thing to watch. I am helpless and I fear while I am away I will not be there to say goodbye.” Gaspare sat up straight and grabbed Giuseppe’s forearm. “My son, why are you here? Go home. Stay with your Mama until it is time for you to return.” Giuseppe then looked at Gaspare and held back his emotions. He wanted to hold the old man that had treated him so well. He wanted to tell him how alone he felt and how he needed guidance. Giuseppe never felt so weak and naked and it scared him. He then said, almost as if he went into autopilot not revealing any stress, “Gaspare, I feel now that you are retiring that maybe I should step back.” Gaspare let go of Giuseppe’s forearm and sat back in his chair. “Step back?” The old man inquired. “Step back into what? We are your family here Giuseppe. Stefano loves you like a brother. You have all of the men’s respect. You cannot just step back.” Gaspare then took a sip of his coffee and continued. “You go back to Paterson and stay with your Mama. Then when you have a clear head we can talk.” Giuseppe nodded. Gaspare then said, “And Giuseppe, don’t speak of this stepping back to anyone, eh? I will forget this foolish conversation because of your grief. Now go home and take care of your family, they are the most important thing right now.” Gaspare then stood up and kissed Giuseppe on the cheek. Giuseppe thanked Gaspare and walked out of the bakery. He had a lot to think about as he drove to Paterson.
Anton kept one eye on his grandmother and the other on the street looking for his father to drive up. When Giuseppe pulled into the driveway Anton resisted the urge to run to him. The boy stuck his head out of the bedroom door, not letting his body leave the room. “Mama, Papa is home, tell him to come upstairs.” Rosa screamed back, “Okay bambino, okay.”
Giuseppe drove his car home almost numb. He thought for sure Gaspare would let him fade out of the picture. Instead he was told in a nice manner to keep quiet and to be a good soldier. This was not sitting well. Giuseppe had hoped to leave Paterson and start a legitimate business with the money he had saved over the years. As Giuseppe pulled into the driveway he could see his son looking down from Sophia’s window then dash out of sight. Giuseppe smiled. He knew Anton was not leaving the room; he was just alerting Rosa that he had arrived. This made him smile. He thought what a good boy he had.
Giuseppe walked up the stairs to greet his son. Anton was excited. “Papa, Papa, Nana spoke with me twice today. I think she may be getting better.” Giuseppe smiled at his boy and walked over to his mother and dropped to a knee as he whispered in her ear. “Soon Mama, soon you will have peace with Papa.” She did not respond. Her eyes seemed to be glazed as her breathing increased. Giuseppe then turned to Anton. Would you like me to stay here with Mama while you eat downstairs? Your Mama is just finishing dinner. Anton walked up to his father who was still knelt over his Nana. Anton touched his father’s shoulder. “Okay Papa, but I’m going to eat fast.” Giuseppe turned and met the boy’s eyes, “That’s fine son. Nana and I will be waiting for you.”
As Anton ran down the stairs Giuseppe put his head in his mother’s lap. He needed her to tell him to be strong and have integrity like his father. Instead he could smell the onslaught of an imminent death. Knowing his mother’s fate was all but sealed Giuseppe still closed his eyes and imagined her words. The silent power she carried with her life’s experience and the pride she exhibited with every breathe she took. The cancer had made Sophia a skeleton, aging her 20 years. Her room had a foul smell and would repulse even a battle tested veteran. None of this was evident as Giuseppe lay in his Mama’s lap. With his eyes closed he was back in Sicily and his mother was teaching him how to cook. As he let his mind drift back he remembered Sophia’s tenacity when her husband never returned from Messina and her grace as she dealt with the reality of what their life was to be without her beloved Salvatore. As he traveled through the memory of his mind, Giuseppe was feeling his mother’s spirit within him. Pride overwhelmed him as he clutched his mother’s bed and held his head firmly to her body. He then looked up, tears were streaming down his face and a sense of relief began to enter his soul. “Oh Mama” Giuseppe whispered. “I feel so selfish wanting to keep you. You have stayed with me to fulfill my destiny and now when it is time for you to be with Papa I want to keep you. Let go Mama, please let go. Papa is waiting for you in heaven.”
Anton walked into his Nana’s bedroom seeing his father weep. “Papa, Papa.” Anton began to cry. “Did Nana die?” Giuseppe looked at his frightened son who was wiping mucus from his nose and starting to sob. “No Anton. She is alive, but very soon she will leave us. I am crying because I am happy for Nana. She will go to her husband, your Poppa in heaven.” Anton walked over to his father and put his hand on his shoulder as they both looked at Sophia lying in her bed. She then looked over at the father and son, coming out of her daze. She smiled, she then said, “My men, my proud men. Always remember, your legacy is your honor.” Sophia then took a deep breath and passed away. Sophia was 55.
Monday, May 2, 2011
In 2008 the world saw that the majority of Americans were not bullies or banging the drums of war when we elected Obama. His slogan was, "Change We Could Believe In" and the world was sold on it too.
Reality soon set in as Obama was briefed on our situation abroad. The economy was crashing around us and unemployment was a runaway train. Obama feeling the heat could have easily backed off the health care issue citing America's economic woes. Instead he plowed forward and knew it was now or never and if his popularity suffered, so be it. The world took note and watched as this man lead through action and not rhetoric. Did he get everything he wanted? No, he set the foundation. And like a good strategist he knew he could retreat claiming victory and return to that battle field when the time was right. Part II will no doubt be played out after his reelection in 2012. Before you jump to the comment section please know that I am an Independent and I'm just calling it as I see it.
Obama made many campaign promises that he has not delivered on. His base has been shaken but have not left him. He stayed with Bush's war strategy sending the left wing Blogs into hissy fits. Obviously this man of intellect was privileged to documents and assessments the Daily KOS could not see. A little trust? Maybe Obama saw things Olbermann didn't. And President Obama was, you know... Doing his job! The latest accusations were that Obama was leading from behind. What does that exactly mean? Did Fox News pull that one out of Hannity's ass?
Now some Bloggers are suggesting that Americans went to far with the celebrations last night when the news hit that Bin Laden had been killed. The first reports were that a drone took him out. And why not? Obama could have lit up that mansion causing untold civilian casualties. He would have killed the "Boogie Man" Bin Laden and would have achieved a victory at home. His advisers told him it was the "safest" way to get it done. Obama who has always been underestimated saw the bigger picture and more importantly he trusted the military men around him that no doubt assured him they could bring him the head of Bin Laden. For this killing or capture to have meaning Obama needed the body! So Obama after what we are now finding out took months of planning gave the go to an elite team of Navy SEALS to take the mansion down. And so they did. Just like in the movies... America swooped in and got the bad guys using American ingenuity and its finest men and woman to carry out the mission. With all due respect President Bush; Mission Accomplished!
To the Bloggers crying about our celebration. Take a pill! This was justice being carried out. This was a huge victory and a humiliating defeat for all of the terrorists who wish death on America. If we are not allowed to show our happiness over this guy being killed, we may as well outfit ourselves in Berkas. And how did we dispose of that murdering thug? The same way Tatallia and Solotzo got rid of Luca Bratzi in the movie The Godfather. Bin Laden sleeps with the fishes? You see, Obama watches the movies too. As for Bin Laden? The last thing he saw on this earth was a Navy SEAL no doubt giving a smirk as he blew a round through Bin Laden's eye. Yes. The last living soul this symbol of evil saw was an American!