Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Al Capone, Easy Eddie and related stories

 A family member sent me the following two related true stories.  I found them fascinating and I would like to share them with readers of Number 16.

- Joanne


STORY NUMBER ONE:

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the Windy City in everything from bootlegging booze, prostitution, buying crooked politicians, to murder. 

Al Capone

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone's lawyer and confidant for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skills at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well... Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. He and his family lived in a free fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all the modern conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block. Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocities that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld; price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie tried to teach him right from wrong and to be a much better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or decent life examples.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult life-changing decision. His conscience got the best of him. He wanted to make up for his misdeeds and rectify the many wrongs he had done defending the Chicago mobs.

He went to the authorities and told what he knew about Al "Scarface" Capone. His thought was to clean up his bad name and reputation, and to offer his son some semblance of integrity and disciplines. To do this, he had to testify against The Mob and he knew the costs could be great. So, he testified and provided evidence against Al Capone and The Chicago Mob.

In less than a year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a Chicago street. He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer; at the greatest price he would ever pay... Police found a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem cut from a magazine in his pockets.

The poem read:
"The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still."


STORY NUMBER TWO: 

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Navy Lt. Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. 

(Below is a photo of Butch O'Hare in 1935.)


Butch" OHare

One day all the squadrons were sent out on a mission. Sometime after take-off, he glanced at his fuel gauge and saw that the air crew must have forgotten to top off his fuel tanks. He would not have enough fuel to get to the mission targets and back. 


His flight leader ordered him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. On the way back, he was shocked to see a squadron of Japanese aircraft speeding in the direction of the American fleet.

All of the American fighters were gone on the mission and the fleet was all but virtually defenseless except for their guns. He couldn't contact his squadron to bring them back in time to save the fleet or could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He decided to try to divert the enemy from the fleet.

Putting aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. His wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was gone.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He still dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, making them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. 


Butch O'Hare and his shot-up fighter managed to limp back to the carrier. Upon landing, he immediately reported the attack during his return.. The gun-cameras mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect the fleet. He had, in fact, shot down five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942. For his heroic actions, Butch became the Navy's first Ace of WWII, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Medal of Honor. 

A year later Butch was shot down and killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His hometown didn’t allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade and named O'Hare airport in Chicago in tribute to the courage of this great man and WWII Navy ace. 

(Below is a photo of Butch O'Hare, wearing tie and vest, standing in the cockpit of a Grumman F4F Wildcat) 



So, if you ever find yourself at O'Hare International in Chicago, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial that displays his statue and Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


SO, WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?


Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.......

NOTES FROM JOANNE

* Butch O'Hare's was born Edward Henry O'Hare in St. Louis, Missouri, of Irish and German descent. He was the son of Edward Joseph O'Hare, also known as "Easy Eddie."  When Butch's parents divorced in 1927, Butch and his sister remained in St. Louis, while their lawyer father moved to Chicago and worked with Al Capone.

* On October 17, 1931, Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion.  He was also fined $80,000.  Capone began serving his time at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.  After accusations that he was receiving special treatment, he was transferred to the maximum security lockup at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. 

 Due to failing health, Al Capone was released from prison on November 16, 1939.  He was referred to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for treatment of  paralytic dementia, caused by late-stage syphilis.  Hopkins refused to admit him due to his reputation as a bigtime mobster.   However, he was accepted at at another Baltimore hospital, Union Memorial.  

On March 20, 1940, a very ill Al Capone, left Baltimore for Palm Island, Florida, where he spent the remaining years of his life.  In 1942, Capone became one of the first  American patients to be treated with penicillin, after mass production of the drug was begun in the United States.  Penicillin slowed down the progression of his disease, but it was too late to rehearse the damage to his brain.

On January 25, 1947, Al Capone died at his Palm Island home, after suffering a stroke and heart failure.  He was 48 years old at the time of his death.


SOURCES: History (www.history.com), "Al Capone goes to prison;" Wikipedia

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Life and Times of Lesley Gore



"With songs like "It's My Party," "Judy's Turn to Cry" and the indelibly definant single "You Don't Own Me," all recorded before she was 18 - Ms. Gore made herself the voice of teenage girls aggrieved by fickle boyfriends moving quickly from tearful self-pity to fierce self-assertion."

- John Parles, New York Times obituary, February 16, 2015

When Lesley Gore passed away in 2015, the headline on her New York Times obituary called her "the Voice of Teenage Heartache."  Lesley's music struck a chord with teenage girls of the early 1960s.  They identified with the lyrics of her songs because she expressed their .adolescent angst.

Lesley Gore was born Lesley Sue Goldstein on May 2, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York, to a middle-class Jewish family.  She was the daughter of Leo Goldstein and Ronny Gore.  Her father, Leo, owned the Peter Pan swimsuit and underwear manufacturing company. He later became a prominent brand licencing agent in the clothing industry.  Soon after Lesley's birth, the family changed their surname to "Gore," her mother's birth name.  

 Lesley grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey, wanting to become a singer.  As a child, she sang the latest hit songs in front of her bedroom mirror.  When Lesley was still  a junior at the Dwight School for Girls, an independent preparatory school  in Englewood, New Jersey, her vocal coach recorded a demo featuring Lesley's piano and voice recordings.  Those domos reached jazz composer and record producer Quincy Jones, who worked at Mercury Records.  When he received the tape, he was impressed.

Jones became Lesley's mentor and her friend.  He recognized 'her potential for stardom and produced her March 30, 1963 recording of "It's My Party." "He released the record within a week when he learned that the Crystals were also recording the same song.   It's My Party" was a smash hit and 15-year-old Lesley, still a high school junior, had herself a number one single in the United States.  It sold over a million copies and was certified as a gold record.  Mercury Records wasted no time in signing the teenager to a five-year contract, which was renewed in 1968.  

"It's My Party" was the first of a string of other hits for Lesley, including its sequel, "Judy's Turn to Cry," "She a Fool," "You Don't Own Me," "That's the Way Boys Are," "Maybe I Know," "Look of Love," and "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows."  In November of  1963, Lesley's second studio album, Lesley Gore Sings of Mixed Up Hearts was released.  It did not sell as well as her debut album, It's My Party, although it featured "She's a Fool," "You Don't Own Me" and an early version of "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows."

"Lesley recorded "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows," a Marvin Hamlisch composition, in May of 1963.  Although originally released for Lesley Gore Sings of Mixed-Up Hearts, it wasn't released as a single until later, to coincide with Lesley's performance of the song in the 1965 film Ski Party.

On October 13th, 1963, Lesley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, where she performed "It's My Party" and "She's a Fool."  Also featured on the Sullivan show that night were Tony Bennett, Frank Gorshin and Bob &Ray.

In 1964, Lesley sang "Judy's Turn To Cry" live on the musical variety show Shindig, hosted by Jimmy O'Neill.  She appeared on Shidig again on April 7, 1965 and sang "The Look of Love," "Gee Baby I'm Sorry," and "All of my Life."  Other guests on that same show included Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers and Martha and the Vandellas.

In 1965, Lesley performed "It's My Party" on Hollywood A Go-Go, a Los Angeles-based music variety show that ran in syndication in the mid-1960s.  The show was hosted by Sam Riddle, with music by The Simmers and dancing by the Gazzarri Dancers. 

 In 1964. Lesley came out with a feminist anthem  "You Don't Own Me." eight years before Helen Reddy released "I Am Woman."  In 1971, Helen sang "I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore  . . . "  In 1964, Lesley sang "You don't own me, I'm not just one of your little toys . . . And don't tell me what to do, don't tell me what to say . . . "

"You Don't Own Me," written by John Madara and David White, was a change of direction for Lesley Gore.  It presented a more confident, independent side of the pop star.  She was moving beyond her image as a voice for teenage girls with boyfriend problems.  In 2010, Lesley told The Minneapolis Star-Tribune that when she first heard "You Don't Own Me." she "thought it had an important humanist quality."  "As I got older," she continued, "feminism became more a part of my life and more a part of our whole awareness, and I could see why people would use it as a feminist anthem.  I don't care what age you are, whether you're 16 or 116, you should be shaking your finger and singing, 'Don't tell me what to do.'"

Lesley Gore graduated with honours from Dwight School in June of 1964, and continued making singing appearances after high school   At the height of her career, however, Lesley turned down a Broadway play and a television series in order to further her education.  She enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, where she studied British and American English literature.  She chose to do so because she thought it would be "very foolish of me to leave school to go into such an unpredictable field on a full-time basis."  

While attending college. Lesley Gore did not stop performing entirely.  She gave some concerts on weekends or holidays.  She also guested on television occasionally.  She appeared in the 1965 beach party film The Girls on the Beach in which she sang three songs: "Leave Me Alone," "It's Gotta Be You," and "I Don't Want to Be a Loser."  In 1966, Lesley made her acting debut  in the final episode of TV's The Donna Reed Show in which she performed "It's My Party" and "We Know We're in Love"  The episode, entitled "By-line -- Jeff Stone." (Season 8, Episode 27, Air Date: March 19, 1966), is about Jeff Stone's  (Paul Peterson) attempt to have a song he's written performed by someone big in the music business.  That's where Lesley Gore, playing herself, came into the picture.

Lesley appeared in two consecutive 1967 episodes of Batman, the television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward.  She guest-starred as Pussycat, a henchwoman of the villainous Catwoman, played by Julie Newmar.  The first of the two episodes is entitled "That Darn Catwoman" (Season 2, Episode 40, Air Date: January 19, 1967) and the second one is entitled "Scat! Darn Catwoman" (Season 2, Episode 41, Air Date: January 25, 1967).  In the January 19th episode, Lesley lip-synched to the Bob Crew-produced tune "California Nights," another Marvin Hamlisch composition.  "  In the January 25th episode, she lip-synched to "Maybe Now."


Lesley Gore on Batman, 1967


Lesley with Burt Ward as Robin on Batman

Lesley graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature.  That same year, she became politically active by supporting Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign.  For most of her life, Lesley was a advocate for progressive causes such as the abolition of the death penalty and the advancement of rights for women and gays.

Lesley's music of the early 1960s went out of fashion during the latter part of hat decade.  However, she kept working in movies, on television, and in theatres and clubs.  After her contract with  Mercury Records ended,, she began writing her own music, which she hadn't done earlier.  Lesley was changing and maturing, and the material that  publisher were sending her was too similar to her early hits of the 1960s.

In 1970, Lesley relocated to California.  She also signed with Crewe Records, reconnecting  with Bob Crewe, who had produced her 1967 album California Nights.  From 1970 to 1971, Crewe released four singles with Lesley, including a duet with Oliver.  Unfortunately, however, Crew experienced financial difficulties and went bankrupt.

 In September of 1972, Motown Records  released Lesley's album Someplace Else Now  The album contained songs that Lesley wrote herself  or with lyricist Ellen Weston, an actress who starred in television series S.W.A.T..  Lesley and Ellen collaborated on over 60 songs together over time.

Lesley worked with Quincy Jones again for a 1975 album called Love Me by Name, which contained her own compositions and included guest performers such as Herbie Hancock.  Neither album had much impact. 

In 1979, Lesley left California and returned to New York City, where she continued to perform her oldies.  She also appeared in musical theatre, including a Broadway production of the hit musical revue, Smokey Joe's Cafe.  In 1982, Lesley's album, The Canvas Can Do Miracles was released.  It was an album of various pop hits of the 1970s.  

Lesley co-wrote a song entitled "My Secret Love" for the 1996 film Grace of My Heart.  The film has a subplot about a young singer named Kelly Porter (played by Bridget Fonda), who is a closet lesbian.  The character is partly based on Lesley herself.

In 2004, Lesley Gore began hosting the PBS television series In the Life, which dealt with LGBT issues.  The following year, in an interview with the cultural website AfterEllen (AfterAllen.com), Lesley told Ellen DeGeneres that she was a lesbian and that she had been in a relationship with high-end jewellery designer Lois Sasson since 1982.  She stated that she had been aware of her sexual orientation since the age of 20.  She described the music business as "totally homophobic," but said she never had to pretend to be straight.  "I just kind of lived my life naturally," she declared.  "I didn't avoid anything.  I didn't put it in anybody's face."

Lesley's 2005 album, Ever Since, her first album of new material since 1975's Love Me by Name.  It contained cabaret-style songs and a remake of "You Don't Own Me."  On July 30, 2011, Lesley was a headliner at the "She's Got The Power! A Girl Group Extravaganza," an outdoor concert at Damrosch Bandshell, Lincoln Center, New York.  The concert was advertised as "a celebration of the Girl Group sound and the women behind the unforgettable hits."

On February 15, 2015, Lesley Gore died of lung cancer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.  The next day, her partner, Lois Sasson, confirmed the 68-year-old's passing.  Lois told Closer Weekly that "it came pretty fast."  She stated that in January, Lesley "had a pain in her back - she went for an MRI and we found this horrible tumor on her spine."  Prior to her illness, Lesley  had been writing a memoir and a Broadway play based on her life as a teenage singing star.


ND NOTES

Lesley younger brother, Michael Gore, was born March 5, 1951 in Brooklyn, New York.  He and Lesley composed the ballad "Out Here on My Own" for the soundtrack of the 1980 film Fame.  Michael composed and produced 'On My Own," while Lesley provided the lyrics. "Out Here on My Own" received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song in 1981.  As it turned out, Michael and lyricist Dean Pitchford won the Oscar for Best Original Song for Fame's theme song.

As of this writing, Michael Gore is 69 years old.  Besides his work on the musical film Fame, Michael also composed the theme and score for the 1983 hit movie Terms of Endearment, starring Shirley MacLaine and Debra winger.  

Michael Gore

* Lesley performed in the October 1964 all-star concert show, the T.A.M.I. Show, which featured a number of rock and roll and R&B musicians from the United States and Britain. The concert was held at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.  It was later shown in  theatres across the United States.


* Despite being a famous pop star in the 1960s, Lesley Gore was not a wealthy woman when she died.  Manhattan court files reveal that she left $50,000 to Lois Sasson, her longtime partner.  In her five-page will, filed in 2012, she bequeathed her entire estate to Sasson.  If Sasson predeceased her,. the inheritance would go to her brother, Michael.  At the time of Lesley's death, her mother, Ronny Gore, was her only other survivor.

 Of the size of Leley's estate, Lois Sasson told The Post, "She didn't understand money, she didn't understand business, but she was a great artist and a magnificent human being."  Sasson went on to say that Lesley "was a big star star in the 1960s and they didn't give you royalties."

Lesley Gore in later years

SOURCES: The New York Times; "Lesley Gore, Teenage Voice of Heartache, Dies at 68," by John Parles, February 16, 2015; Alma, (heyalma.com), "Lesley Gore: The Jewish Feminist Lesbian Pop Star Ahead of Her Time," by Amy Salitsky, November 13, 2016; Page Six, "Lesley Gore leaves meager $50K estate to longtime partner," by Julia Marsh, April 1, 2015; Closer Weekly exclusive, "Lesley Gore's Partner Reveals New Details About the Singers Sudden Passing," February 24, 2015;  "Lesley Gore International Fan Club Biography 2015; Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (MDb)

- Joanne

Saturday, September 19, 2020

No, Donald Trump! Canadians do not want the U.S-Canada border reopened now

 Donald Trump has stated that the Canada-U.S. border will reopen soon.  Yesterday (September 18, 2020),  he claimed that "Canada would like it opened."  "You know, we want to get back no normal business,"  he added.  That same day, Canada's Public Safety Minister, Bill Blair, announced on Twitter that closure of the border has been extended until October 21, 2020 (It was set to expire on September 21st).  "We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe," Blair wrote.

In a July 2020 IPSOS poll, more than 8 out of 10 Canadians surveyed said that they want to keep the U.S. Canadian border closed until at least the end of 2020.  That' was over 80 per cent back in July.  I bet the percentage would be even higher now.

If Trumps thinks reopening of the border is going to happen any time soon, he's wrong!  Canadians do not want the border reopened until the virus is under control.  It is certainly not under control. now, thanks to the negligence, indifference and incompetence of Trump and his supporters.  As I write this, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States is 198,000.  That number will soon reach the grim milestone of 200,000.  Those are the cold, hard facts,  However, the American president's first concern is getting himself re-elected.  

Trump puts the economy before human lives.  He fails to understand that the economy will not improve until people feel safe and protected from the virus.  For him "business" comes before health and well-being.  Trump also does not understand that the stock market is not the true measure of the economy.

Canada's record with regard to COVID-19 is much better, but there has been a resurgence of new cases here lately.  We do not need or want Americans coming across the border and spreading the virus further.  We simply cannot afford to put more human lives at risk.  That is why reopeinig the border anytime soon would be foolish and immoral.  

The tragedy is that Donald Trump was aware of the deadly virus back in February.  His words on investigative journalist Bob Woodward's tape prove that he knew.  Trump's voice on Woodward's tape is clear and distinct.  He can be heard telling Woodward that the virus was "deadly." Yet, he failed to act quickly and decisively.  If he had done so, many lives would have been saved.  This was a dereliction of duty of epic proportions.  The president of the United States failed to protect American lives and he should be held accountable for that.

The Canada-U.S. border should not be reopened until the virus is under control in the United States.  That will not happen unless and until Joe Biden is sworn in as president on January 20, 2021.  This is a matter of life and death.  The choice is as stark as that.  So, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must remain firm that our border with the U.S. will remain closed until he COVID-19 is contained there.                          

- Joanne                                                                    

Monday, September 14, 2020

Some Good News in Terrible Times

Do you need a break from all the doom and gloom?  With COVID-19, climate change and the horrors of the Donald Trump presidency, it's time for some good news to brighten up your day.  Yes, these are the "worst of times," to quote Charles Dickens, so Number 16 will provide you with some much-needed relief from all the bad news.  It will not make COVID go away, but it is designed to make you feel better.


MONTREAL-BASED COMPANY HELPS DEVELOP DRONES FOR HUMANITARIAN AID

Polytechnique MontrĂ©al, an engineering research company, has partnered with other researchers who are developing technology to assist humanitarian workers.  Since 2017, the company has been collaborating with Solutions Humanitas to develop an interface for remote-control autonomous air vehicles (UAVs).  These drones will be able to inspect and gauge the safety of damaged buildings in real time, provide 3D images of the disaster site, and first and foremost, transport medicines or emergency kits. 


TEXAS TEACHER BUILDS GARAGE LIBRARY

Jennifer Martin, an elementary school teacher in Austin Texas, built a library in her garage.for students who do not have access to a nearby library (Most of her students live a fair distance (24.14 kilometres, 15 miles) from the closest public library).  Martin's garage library has more than 1,500 works and is based on the honour system.  It was designed as a temporary solution until the reopening of the neighbourhood school library.  


CHINA PLANS TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC 

China, one of the world biggest users of plastic, has announced plans to change course.  By the end of 2020, a ban will take effect on the production and manufacture and sale  of disposable foamed plastic tableware, straws and plastic cotton buds.  Non-degradable bags will be banned in majors cities in the country by the end of 2020 and in smaller cities and towns by 2020.  By 2025, non-biodegradable plastic products at hotels and the plastic packaging of courier deliverers will be banned. 


SOUTH AUSTRALIA BANS SINGLE-USE PLASTIC PRODUCTS

In order to protect wildlife on both land and sea, the state of South Australia has passed legislation banning non-biodegradable single-use plastics such as cutlery items, beverage stirrers and straws. Due to the pandemic, the law is not scheduled to take effect until 2021, and there are exemptions for medical needs.  It is the first state in Australia to ban single-use plastics.


FOR THE FIRST TIME, A UNIVERSITY IN NEW JERSEY CELEBRATES A GRADUATE WITH DOWN SYNDROME

On May 8. 2020, Anna Rose Rubright graduated from Rowan University in New Jersey.  Due to COVID-19, she had a virtual graduation on Zoom.  Anna has Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder causd by abnormal cell division. It impairs physical and intellectual growth and affects facial features.

The special speaker at Anna Rose's online graduation was Stephen M. Sweeney, the President of the Senate of New Jersey.  Sweeney is the father of a daughter, Lauren, who was born prematurely with Down Syndrome.  He credits Lauren with inspiring him to launch his career in politics.

 Anna Rose received an audiovisual licence.  The young graduate aspires to become an entrepreneur and launch her own production company. She enthusiastic about radio and is eager tell stories to others with Down Syndrome.  



TWO HOMELESS MEN HAVE CLEANED UP LITTER ON THE CALIFORNIA BEACH FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS

Every morning at 5 a.m., Dave Hendon and Marc Gervais, clean Ocean Beach, California for free.  The men live in the area in their van.  They clean the beach for the benefit of their community, picking up trash and removing glass.



A COUPLE OF JOKES TO MAKE YOU SMILE




What do you call a pig that does karate?

A pork chop.


What's the best thing about Switzerland?

I'm really not sure, but its flag is a big plus.


- Joanne