Men Who Are Bullies Part Two2

New York Times March 26th Sunday Book Review, I read a bit about the high volume of books that came out in 2012 about bullying.

“According to WorldCat, a catalog of library collections worldwide, the number of English-language books tagged with the key word ‘bullying’ in 2012 was 1,891, an increase of 500 in a decade.”

Did you get that number? 1,891 books, in 2012. Check out the link if you want to read the article.

(For some reason?) I thought about mafia characters, bullying people for the last 100 + years, as professional bullies. They get paid to do it.

I reached back into the past, and randomly pulled a guy out of the stack. Not much is known about this guy. But what is disturbing is that there have been many, many, mafia tough-guys over the last 120 to 150 years: what makes them tick? How did they get to be professional bullies? Let me introduce you to Vincent “The Schemer Drucci (1898 – 1927).

Vincent Drucci
Vincent Drucci (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vincent Drucci, also known as “The Schemer” (1898 – April 4, 1927), was an American mobster during Chicago’s Prohibition era: a lieutenant under Dean O’Banion’s North Side Gang and later as gang boss.

Vincenzo D’Ambrosio from Chicago started off robbing pay telephone coin boxes.  He  eventually became Vincent Drucci and joined the North Side Gang: an Irish-American street gang that worked the North Side of Chicago.  Vincent’s nickname “Schemer” came about due to his creative / innovative / detailed plans for bank robberies, kidnappings, and etc. The North Side Gang took over breweries on the North Side of Chicago, and cranked out bootleg alcohol.

“(Drucci) had a streak of recklessness and daring, and he looked the part of a gangster – tough, dark, and menacing, his expression frozen in a tragic mask topped by wild unkempt hair (and) a face to haunt the dreams of his enemies.”

Vincent “The Schemer” Drucci had quite a temper. He was the enforcer for the North Side Gang.

April 4, 1927: Chicago police stopped Drucci, two other North Side gang members, discovered Drucci was carrying a firearm, and they arrested him.  Four policemen were assigned to transport Drucci.  Drucci told Chicago detective Dan Healy to let go of his arm and cursed him.  Healy punched Drucci, and drew his gun.  Drucci threatened Healy: “Go on you, kid copper, I’ll fix you for this. Take your gun off and I’ll kick hell out of you.” Drucci struck Healy, tried to get his gun; but Healy shot Drucci, in the arm, leg, and abdomen. Drucci died on the way to the hospital.

This story, pretty much stops with Drucci’s violent & abrupt death, other than a pricy and high-profile funeral.  There were tough guys around before Drucci was robbing pay telephone boxes; and there have been many “tough guys” since then.

To be continued on the next post.


Men, Who Are Bullies: Part One



Bullies: Al Capone, Nelson Muntz  …

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science an...
Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science and Society Picture Gallery: Al Capone (1899-1947), American gangster, 17 June 1931. ‘Al Capone sent to prison. This picture shows the Bertillon photographs of Capone made by the US Dept of Justice. His rogue’s gallery number is C 28169’. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Nelson Muntz
Nelson Muntz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I picked up an article in a newspaper today, while waiting to see someone. Publishers were acknowledging the high volume of books coming out about bullying. 1800 + books came out in 2012.



A story recently emerged in the news regarding two high school boys who are charged, and convicted, for raping a young high school lady / student, who was extremely intoxicated. The two guys were on the high school football team.



I had a post last week about this, pulled it after two days, because the post seemed too … heavy … for what I wanted for this blog.  It was appropriate; not unfair. But I did not think I was ready to put out a post with such an intensity, about such a sensitive subject.  Obviously, there are plenty of people talking / writing about bullying.  And yet, here I am, with a post about bullying.



Bullying is a darkness that hangs out where we all live.   And, it hits home for many of us.  This is a tough issue to process; and this is a good place to wrap up now.  Maybe I can bring more to the table at my next blogging session. Peace, T.



Dog (The) and Man … 1st Dispatch

DOG has earned global admiration, for how she swings her nose upwards, catapulting one’s elbow or hand, into the air: not just once, but a number of times in the span of 10 to 20 seconds.

*Stash outside

Motive? Oh, yeah.  She has a motive: to express her affection and to communicate  the urgent need for a scratch behind the ear or a back rub.

“If dogs could talk.” You’ve heard that, before?  

 In my experience, dogs talk but not in English, and they use a great deal of nonverbal behavior.  

Our older dog is recognized as a sage.  This dog has been with us for 10-12 years.  When her food bowl is empty she will approach me quietly, slowly, and stare.  I usually know what she wants. What bothers me is the feeling I get, that her nonverbal message is: “Do you have any idea what is going on around here?! You need to get your butt over there and get me some food, NOW. Are we clear?” I obviously do not have a picture of this older / sage dog.  My apologies.

My dogs will never read my blogs, because I don’t want them to get the idea that they can jump on the computer, when I am not around.  And, they would probably be critical of my writing, and I certainly do not need that. 

I pay tribute to my dogs.  In a world, in a time, when there is way too much talk, I consider the silence of our dogs medicinal.  There is something (I cannot explain this) that is beautiful, transcendent, when our dogs stretch out on the floor, and sleep, always near.

Dogs have been around for a long time. If only humans could learn from dogs the importance of listening.


Men, Finding Forrester

Sean Connery / James Bond
Sean Connery / James Bond (Photo credit: Konabish ~ Greg Bishop)

Sean Connery, Rob Brown, were in a film, Finding Forrester”  (2000).   Symbolism and themes of redemption, courage, a passion for writing … these are all happening in this film.  Cover of "Finding Forrester"

Two men cross paths: a  high school black  17 -year old (Jamal) who writes; and an older writer (Forrester), a Pullitzer winner years earlier. Forrester is hiding from the world in his top floor apartment-flat.  After being discovered by Jamal, Forrester begrudgingly agrees to read the younger student’s writing, in exchange for Jamal’s silence about Forrester.  

Forrester knows he is in the last chapter of his life; and this profoundly connects with his hiding; and his hiding connects with “The Window”, one of the bigger components of symbolismWatch this movie.  I urge you to focus on the symbolism of “The Window”, which connects with two big questions we (hopefully) live with: “How do I see?”, and “What do I see?” 

Last piece: the word “finding“.  We will be better men if we continue to search (which connects with the word “finding”), and find, what’s out there for us.  

The timing for this post seems profound .  I have been invited to provide a story this week … a story about my grandfather who was a well known forester, after returning from WW  II.   Although the spelling is different, the words are (obviously) quite similar.  Life is strange; I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  Peace.

Bleakness, Weakness, Strength … Paradoxically

Bleakness, in the winter, today.  Still daylight, but the sky’s had a charcoal tint.

Mt range bfr storm


The last tune was Rickover’s Dream, from Michael Hedges.  A bittersweet-irony theme is in the here-and-now. Rickover’s Dream is an amazing piece, if you like low-key accoustical guitar.

Michael Hedges
Michael Hedges (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He died @ 43, as most folks know, December 2, 1997 … a somewhat mysterious death … found dead, down a steep embankment, in Mendocino County on State Route 128.  Officially, it is believed that he had died several days before he was found, while driving home from  the airport in San Fran (International).  His BMW had gone off a cliff down about 120 feet.

Yeah, bleakness … mixed with beauty.  The snow is pretty fresh, thick on the boughs of the trees.  Deep snow, and the Bernese loves it.  The bleak sky, listening to some beautiful music from an amazing guitar player who died too young, a lonely tragic death; tapping laptop keys, with my earphones on while my daughter is hanging out with her mom & I.

Me, it could have been a far worse day.  I was ticked off at my son toward the middle of the day … personalities clash. We are very much alike.  He’s 16, bigger than me.  Going over some writings, I found an EMAIL I had sent out March 29th 2009 to a limited distribution. Here is some of what was happening; it was a grueling time:

I went to see (son) at _______ Hospital … very difficult.  Hospitalized for over three weeks now … He just wants to come home; I want him to come home too.  We have about an hour.  We might play a game; I might read to him from a Hardy Boys volume, or some other book.  It was hard because I felt so sad, talking to him, asking him boring questions like “How are you feeling, (son)?”  “What did you do today?”  “How did you sleep last night?”  “What did you eat for dinner?” 

So, that was three years ago.  He’s doing allright now.  But he has an attitude (my friends remind me that “an attitude” is not uncommon for a 16 year old boy).

In December of 2008 I had a journal entry, and here are a few words from that writing:

“Shame: a huge, hulking, phantom … towering over me, and in front of me.  If I give into Shame, it shows up in my belief that I need to provide more effectively for my family.”

It’s okay, the bleakness.  It’s okay, the weakness.  There is strength in all this.  There is hope.  We just have to keep going.

Winter birdhouse

Re-Blogged: Men, Sons, And Prodigalism

Prodigalism?  It seemed like a good word, especially as I thought of this “dynamic” of a man being a prodigal son.
However, I did a bit of a search online … and I didn’t come up with much … In fact, a description of “prodigalism” seems to be elusive, like the prodigal.

Maybe a more accurate title for this post would be: “Men & The Prodigal Sons”.  The best reference I have to what a “prodigal son” is about comes from a biblical reference, Luke 15.  It’s actually a good story.

Return of the prodigal son
Return of the prodigal son (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You don’t have to be religious to read the story, thankfully. Otherwise, I would not have been able to read the story, since … I am not religious.

What I am … is … a prodigal son.  I’ve told folks “I was a prodigal son for ___ years.”  But, it hit me, recently … I still am a prodigal son.  It gets confusing, because some would say I am a good dad; some would say I am a good husband.  My thoughts on that?  I’d like to be a good dad, and a good husband, and I try to do so.

But it does not change the reality that I have been a prodigal son since I was about 21 years of age.  In the story of the Prodigal Son, the boy came to his senses, and he returned home to his dad.  He humbled himself before his dad … and things turned out somewhat okay.  The older brother was ticked, because the younger brother had come back and was forgiven, and he got his old room back, and a new robe … etc.

The difference is that I went back to visit my folks numerous times, but I never stayed.  I kept leaving.  And that, my friends & associates & fellow writers & fellow readers, makes me a prodigal son.  I really wanted to plug in this other picture / painting about the Prodigal Son because I think it is the best.  Rembrandt painted it.  I don’t know who painted the other 0ne. One ironic piece in this is that Rembrandt painted a whole bunch of canvases, but he died penniless.  Why? because he was … a PRODIGAL !  Fascinating, eh?

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, 166...
Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1662–1669 (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, let’s get this prodigal post home.  Men have a number of angles to approach this “prodigal son” dynamic.

More individuals have been moving further away from home over the last … thirty? … years.  We also know that there are more fractured relationships today between fathers and sons than what was the case forty to fifty years ago, yes?  And it is more common these days for boys to grow up fatherless.  There are many fortunate men such as myself who can say, “No, that’s not me … I had a dad growing up; and we were close.”  But, even though I have a dad, and even though we get along, I’ve lived in Colorado for the last 27 years, and he has lived in Louisiana his whole life.

For men, if there is any Prodigal Son stuff  happening, it can stir up some anguish, ambivalence, guilt, and other peculiarities.  And, it can affect our relationships.  If we are prodigal sons, I know it does not mean we are jerks, or selfish, or loners, or party-animals. But, I’m not really sure what it means. It means something, but I don’t know the whole  story.  Maybe that is the key word: “story“.  It is part of our story.  And our story, has hope. And our story, is still being written.

The Liebster: A Good Idea

liebster (Photo credit: mrsrachelsbooth)

The Liebster Award: a good idea for encouragement.  Writing gets hard sometimes.

Garrison Keillor was asked if it was possible to write good humor, if one struggled with depression.

English: Mr. Garrison Keillor

Of course.  If you you weren’t depressed, why would you need humor?”  HA!  Yesssss.  We need encouragement, empowerment, and humor.

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by the blogger for A New Perspective Perhaps.  The Liebster comes from a German word “Lieb”.  Meanings, passed on from different bloggers include: dear, fondly, gently, good, nice, tenderly, favorite, favored … Further research might be warranted if my information is not specific enough.

Bloggers are nominated for Liebster awards, if they have fewer than 200 followers, and if the nominator (?) likes a blogger’s writing.  A recipient of a Liebster Award is requested to answer a set of questions passed on them; and they in turn will nominate a group of bloggers, and create a set of questions to be passed on to the new group of Liebsters.  These questions came from the blogger (A New Perspective Perhaps) who nominated me for the Liebster:

  1. Favorite place: my family;
  2. Anything I could live without? Yes: nausea;
  3. Addictions? Yes; no; am I in denial? Yes; no. In recovery for self-deprecation, indecisiveness;
  4. Favorite book: Cannot answer that; it’s classified;
  5. Favorite song that inspires me?  Bruce Cockburn’s “When You Have A Dream Like Mine”;
  6. Bruce Cockburn performing at the City Stages f...
    Bruce Cockburn performing at the City Stages festival in Birmingham, Alabama, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  7. One wish? Wow … good question;
  8. Color of my eyes? Hazel (last name unknown);
  9. Why Do I Blog?  Why?  I cannot speak very well / To release what is in my heart & mind / To see my words in print BEFORE I hurl them out into the atmospere, regretting that I cannot take back the spoken words;
  10. What makes me cry?  Wow … Another excellent question !!!
  11. Last movie I went to see?  Narnia.

Okay. My five nominees for the Liebster Award:

TEN questions for these five folks … if they would be so kind to peruse , and consider an answer:

  1. Why write?
  2. What feeds your soul?
  3. Who has positively impacted you?
  4. What is important to you, personally?
  5. What is important to you (bigger picture)?
  6. Place: go anywhere, come back whenever you want; where?
  7. An event, or a moment, or an hour, or a place, or words that have inspired you, in a way you will NEVER forget?
  8. Food: If you had to choose between Italian or Chinese?
  9. The desserts.  What would they be? Name three or five.
  10. Name a book / author that you consider “good”, at least, or “great”.

Allright.  Sorry for this long blog.