Highlights From the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa

While not being as sought after compared to the neighbouring Western Cape, it’s contribution to South Africa’s historical past is immense. It was here where Nelson Mandela was born and in 2000, a museum opened its doors to coincide with the tenth anniversary of his release from jail. The museum can be found at Qunu on the N2, south of Umtata.

The Eastern Cape is furthermore abundant in natural magnificence too along with a balmy coastline appealing to surfers, amazing inland vistas of rolling farmlands and secret valleys not forgetting the Wild Coast. It’s reckoned to be one of the planet’s most luscious strips of seaside woodland.

The province’s most westerly shoreline accommodates the tail end of the world famous Garden Route, making it a pretty simple decision to carry on north-eastwards along the African shoreline, in the direction of the Eastern Cape.

The Eastern Cape is additionally a great safari holiday location with three malaria-free national parks, the Addo Elephant, Mountain Zebra and the Tsitsikamma National Park. Shamwari, between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, was the earliest private conservation initiative in the Eastern Cape. It has been a great achievement, both in terms of environmental ethics and as an exceptional holiday place, offering an ultra luxurious gambling or safari experience.

Port Elizabeth is the primary metropolis in the Eastern Cape and undoubtedly one of South Africa’s best kept secrets. As well as being a really good base for day excursions, PE (as it is known) has a diverse variety of shores and some excellent golf courses. Within the urban centre limits are nice walks, several great mountain bike trails, excellent surfing and sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and fantastic scuba diving.

You have most likely heard of the “Big Five” and yet the Eastern Cape is home to the “Big Seven”. Together with the conventional “Big Five” (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino), you may also discover the Great White Shark and the Southern Right Whale.

The Pardoner, Sins Best Friend

Now, good men, God forgive you your trespass,

And guard you from the sin of avarice,

May my holy pardon save you all,

So you can offer coins,

Or else brooches, spoons or rings.

Bow down your heads before this holy bull!

Come up, you wives, and offer of your wool!

Your names I’ll enter on my roll, now,

Into Heaven’s bliss you will all go..

For I’ll absolve you, by my special power,

You that make offering, will be as clean and pure

As you were born.- And lo sirs, thus I preach.

And Jesus Christ, who is our souls’ physician,

So grant you each his pardon to receive;

For that is best; I will not you deceive.

In medieval times Pardoners were people who sold pardons or indulgences as a way for people to lessen their time in purgatory for the sins they had committed. These pardons were certificates from the Pope and pardoners themselves were sanctioned by religious houses given them the backing needed to sell these items. Pardoners became unpopular because many of them were seen as little more then frauds disguised as men of God. This image of unholy man playing at God’s work is the one Chaucer gives us in his Pardoners Tale where the last fifteen lines demonstrate not only how morally bankrupt the pardoner is as he tries to absolve others of their sins but it also is a reflection of the corruption in the church at that time as well.

The Pardoner begins the last lines of his tale by suggesting that the pardons he offers will be able to save those who purchase it from the sin of greed,

Now, good men, God forgive your trespass,

And guard you from the sin of avarice,

May my holy pardon save you all…

Having the Pardoner suggest that his pardons would be able to save anyone from any sin, including greed is a complete stretch of what Pardoners were supposed to be able to do. Buying a pardon might be able to lessen the time one spent in purgatory but in no way would be able to save anyone from their sins. To have the Pardoner make such an obvious lie, given the fact that we know he is well versed in Catholic doctrine due to his ability to quote scripture in his tale, Chaucer is making a statement about the credibility and the moral fiber of this man claiming to be a servant of God. More importantly the Pardoner is preaching against a sin that he admittedly embraces. His focus on greed is also important because his tale was a sermon on how greed can only lead to death, yet in having the Pardoner first relate a tale of the danger of money and greed and then portraying him as being as greedy as the men in his story Chaucer uses him to portray the dissatisfaction that people had with pardoners and money loving church officials at the time.

The Pardoner asserts his authority to be able to sell pardons when he tells the

patrons at the tavern,

So you can offer coins,

Or else brooches, spoons or rings

Bow down your heads before this holy bull!

Come up, you wives, and offer of your wool!

This official edict of his ability to sell pardons goes right to the heart of the corruption the church would have been experiencing at the time. With the Pardoner being as morally bankrupt as he is having church sanctioned authority to participate in what amounts to a government sanctioned swindle, Chaucer indirectly questions the morality of those in position of power in the church. By having the Pardoner wield his “Holy Bull” around Chaucer suggests that whoever gave him this authority knows of his corrupt nature and is just as corrupt as the Pardoner. However, Chaucer’s attacks seem to be aimed at the people in the church not Christianity itself. Never once is there a questioning of Christian teachings or principles, just those delivering the message. The Pardoner offers wonderful lessons on the dangers of gluttony, gambling and swearing, quoting scripture, and imparting ideals that should be followed, yet he is a man who indulges in the same sins he preaches against. This raises the question of how well those in the church were following the teachings of Christ that would later lay rise to Luther and the Reformation.

Also in these lines the Pardoner shows his method of ensuring that no one can claim that they don’t have the means to pay him his fees. In his prologue the Pardoner makes it clear that he doesn’t care about those that he’s selling his indulgences too. That they can be poor and if they can’t feed their families because of the money they give him for his pardons so be it, it is not his concerns. There is a sense of urgency in the lines as he requests these goods, as if by offering many ways for people to pay he is eliminating any possibility that someone would be able to say they don’t have the money or means to purchase a pardon and in turn fulfilling his own greedy desires he expressed in his prologue.

As he continues with his final plea to the patrons in the tavern he ratchets up the sell by making even more extraordinary promises on what he is able to do for one’s soul,

Your names I’ll enter on my roll, now,

Into Heaven’s bliss you will all go.

For I’ll absolve you, by my special power,

You that make offering, will be as clean and pure

As you were born.-

Here the Pardoner promises to absolve the patrons of their sins, a statement that is in direct contradiction of Catholic doctrine as only priests are ones that would be able to offer absolution. Part of the dissatisfaction with Pardoners was that there was confusion on what “powers” they had and what they were really capable of doing. Chaucer’s Pardoner is no exception. He, as his tale established, is clearly a man well versed in church doctrine so he knows he has no power to absolve anyone of sins and it is just a device to assuage the concerns of anyone who may be skeptical of him and what he is selling. He even offers to place there names on his roll as another way to look official and to reassure the patrons of his authenticity. Also, his willingness to deceive those that are relying on him for their salvation is similar to the three friends in his story. They thought nothing of deceiving and killing each other to fulfill their greedy plans and while the Pardoner isn’t a murderer he demonstrates once again how willing he is to deceive for his financial gain.

As he ends his speech the Pardoner reminds the patrons of the salvation that really matters,

And lo sirs, thus I preach.

And Jesus Christ, who is our souls’ physician,

So grant you each his pardon to receive;

For that is best; I will not you deceive.

The Pardoner seems to catch himself in these lines. The previous lines of the speech are all a push, one that starts small and then reaches a crescendo with the promise of absolution but then he brings it back to Jesus Christ seemingly as way to add another of validation to his request. As the “Holy Bull” acted as church sanctioned authority, reminding everyone of their Lord and Saviour gives him the spiritual authority as well. The lines seem to be delivered a bit tongue and cheek. It’s as if the Pardoner has realized he’s pushed things to far so, as any good shady salesman would, he reassures those he’s trying to sale of his honesty. The line is interesting, however, in that the pilgrims know that the Pardoner is a liar, so his assurance of, “I will not you deceive,” seems to be for reassuring the patrons at the tavern as much as it acts as a capstone a, ‘See, I told you I was good at this,” to the pilgrims who know his true nature.

Chaucer offers us an interesting window into the politics of the medieval world with his Pardoner’s Tale. The satire and unflattering portrait of this holy pardoner offers a look at the problems facing the church at the time as well as one of the best villains in English literature.

Top 5 Attractions Near Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Flight delays are stressful especially in a city like Manila. But don’t panic. Just book a room at a hotel in Parañaque City, Philippines, Makati or Pasay. Here, you check out the different sites and attractions south of Manila, which will keep you entertained during a long layover or while waiting for a better-timed flight.

Fortunately, there are many places near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) that you could visit to keep you engaged while you are grounded.

Casino Filipino

This government-owned amusement and gaming center is located just a few minutes from NAIA’s Terminal 1 in Parañaque City.

Aside from the nightly entertainment and gambling, this is also a good place to dine, shop, party, and watch world-class events. Casino Filipino has something for people of all ages and persuasions.

Resorts World Manila

This commercial, residential, and entertainment complex is just a 10 minute-drive from NAIA. Found here are the finest casinos, hotels, and resorts in Parañaque City. This upscale place is mostly visited by the rich and famous, but people from all walks of life can also enjoy the entertainment, dining, and designer shops here. It is also a notable nightspot because of its high-profile clubs and performers.

Villamor Golf Club

Take advantage of the long wait and have fun at Villamor Golf Club. This country club is just a 12-minute ride via cab from the airport. While waiting for things to settle in NAIA, hang out with your friends or family. It has fine facilities, friendly caddies, restaurant, coffee shop, lounges, and even a massage area.

SM Mall Of Asia

Hail a taxi and after a 15 minutes you’d have reached the Philippines’ 2nd-and Asia’s 3rd-largest shopping center. It has a land area of 42 hectares and houses hundreds of stores. Everything that you could wish for in a shopping mall is here: restaurants, shops, cinema, activity centers, entertainment, event, sports arena, and concert halls. During weekends, people are treated to an amazing fireworks display. If you get tired of exploring the 42 hectare-property, you’ll be glad that you’ve booked accommodations in Parañaque City that’s just a cab ride away.

Duty Free Philippines

For people who are stressed out, retail therapy is always a good pick-me-upper. There’s no other place in the city where it’s fun to spend cash on ‘comfort buys’ than the popular Duty Free stores. There is a Duty Free outlet store inside NAIA, but you won’t regret the 9-minute cab ride to the bigger store. It is packed with designer brands and other products and goods that are usually found in the US and Europe. There’s a good chance that you will forget about your traveling woes and extend your stay at your chosen hotel in Parañaque City, Philippines, or other nearby cities when you see how affordable it is to shop here.

Boobala Darling Wins A Cruise Part 9 of 9 (A Fictional Story Staged In Brooklyn)

Living Under the Loan Shark’s Shadow

Harry’s life was going downhill fast, especially when he began borrowing from loan sharks at extremely high interest rates. Harry had been pacifying the loan shark with small payments from time to time which didn’t even make a dent in what was owed. The interest on the loan kept getting higher and higher, making the balance due greater than what he originally borrowed. Harry had defaulted on his loan with “Nino the Butcher,” the new loan shark in town. Everyone in Brooklyn knew who Nino the Butcher was, and that he always found a way to collect on his loans.

At midnight, Boobala heard the doorbell of her apartment ring violently 6 to 7 times. Opening the door, Boobala saw a dark-featured, vicious looking gent. He held something in his hand that looked like a switchblade. With the most menacing tone, he slapped the switchblade in his hands, saying: “Tell your husband that Nino wants his money paid in full by tomorrow at noon or else.”

Boobala shuttered at the sound of his words. She closed the door locking it quickly behind her. She was shaking all over with fear. Harry didn’t even bother to ask who it was. He had a hunch that soon he would be dead if he didn’t come up with the money.

Harry was thoroughly frightened, not knowing how to get out of this dilemma. He started to berate and insult Boobala, blaming her for not caring about his fate. “You mother [email protected]#[email protected]%, you’re despicable and worthless. You don’t know how much I despise you. It’s your fault I’m in this predicament!” he screamed at the top of his voice. Needing someone to hate to give purpose to his meaningless existence, Harry balled his fists and punched Boobala. Her nose began to bleed heavily. She started to cry hysterically, not knowing if her nose was broken, which only enraged him more. He hit her again, knocking her to the floor and kicking her. Blood was dripping from her mouth.

He pulled her up by her hair, yelling: “You ugly bitch, are you listening to me at all? I said to go and get some money from your Uncle Marvin or your friend Myrtle.” He began to shake her by the shoulders, screaming “Do something, don’t just stand there looking like a freaking idiot!”

Accustomed to the frequent violent outbursts, the neighbors kept their doors closed. They never liked Harry and avoided him like the plague. Nonetheless, Boobala in horrendous pain and still bleeding, tried to calm him. The more she tried to calm him the angrier and more out of control he became. Harry was raving mad as he paced the floor of his apartment nervously. He yelled in desperation. “The only person in this whole world that I could count on and who has the money to bail me out is Uncle Jake. Why now of all times is he vacationing in Florida? I don’t even know how to reach him!”

The ranting and raving finally stopped. An awkward silence filled the air. Boobala was shocked to see Harry staring at her, not uttering a word, as if he had descended into a trance. After sitting there for what seemed like forever, Harry buried his head in his arms on the table and began crying: “I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die,” which he kept repeating.

No: 12 (9-16-2011)

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep…

Nino the Butcher had a notorious reputation in Brooklyn. He was getting tired of Harry jerking him around with his smooth talk. This time Nino meant business. There was no way out. Harry was now trapped by the consequences of his gambling vice. The mere thought of such an outcome sent a wave of dizziness surging over him. Feeling sick, anxiety rising in his chest and experiencing symptoms of nausea, he had a terrible urge to vomit. He got up from the table to go to the bathroom, when suddenly the pain was almost more than he could handle. “Boobala!” Harry cried, trying to keep the panic and fear from showing in his voice. Another wave of pain swept over him, taking his breath away as he fell onto the floor grabbing his chest. Boobala ran to his side as he lay on the floor in a motionless heap.

“Harry?” Boobala said anxiously, shaking her husband’s shoulder gently. “Please Harry, open your eyes.” Silence answered her. Boobala tried shaking him again, in a much louder tone of voice she cried “HARRY, HARRY! PLEASE OPEN YOUR EYES!” There was still no answer. She sat there in shock, her body shaking with heart wrenching sobs. Reality was just starting to sink in as a blade of unbearable pain twisted in her heart. Realizing that he was gone, she screamed at the top of her lungs: “Harrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyy!!!”

Boobala’s ordeal was finally over. Harry had died suddenly from a heart attack at the young age of 36. Boobala could not believe that Harry was dead. She was heart-broken but also relieved. He had always been in the best of health, hardly ever experiencing a period of sickness. Although she hated him for his physical and verbal abuse, she still loved her psychopath of a husband. I guess you could say theirs was a love-hate relationship, an on-again/off-again love affair. They had been married for 17 years. Now she was a widow at age 35. For good or bad, Harry shared her dawn of love, her first sexual experience. A strong addiction which she found was hard to kick. The role of victim seemed to fit her fairly well.

Not having any life insurance or a nest egg to fall back on, Uncle Jake had to pay for the funeral expenses. Uncle Jake was retiring and wanted to give up the apartment and move to Florida. He had to get away from Boobala. He told her that she had to leave. Picking up the remaining pieces of her life, she ventured out in search of a better and more peaceful way to live.

No: 13 (9-24-2011)

Can Dreams Come True?

Boobala had no social life other than her one and only childhood friend, Myrtle, who was always concerned about her well-being. Since Myrtle lived on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, Boobala was able to get a one bedroom apartment near her. As in every tenement building, you can’t avoid having a nosy neighbor. In Boobala’s case, that role was served by Mrs. Grime. She was an elderly woman who lived alone, always needing someone with whom she could talk. Never having the good graces to shut up, she went from one neighbor’s apartment to the other, looking for freebies, smokes and the latest dirt. Boobala avoided her nosy neighbor at all costs.

Boobala was now making considerable money as a Buyer/Product Manager-Women’s Apparel for a local department store. Papa and mama had passed on. Uncle Marvin sold the business and retired to Florida with his wife Ethel. All Boobala did was work, saving every penny that she earned. No one, perhaps, ever had a greater fear of being poor than herself. She cringed at the thought of losing all that she had worked for to create a name for herself. She was deathly afraid of being caught out in the cold, unfriendly world, unable to find work, destitute with nowhere to go. Being the frugal person that she was, Boobala would shop locally instead of taking the elevated train on Marcy Avenue.

As it was her way, whenever she came across sweepstakes entries in the stores, she would fill them out hoping, that she would eventually win something. She had been doing that for several years. It was becoming a monotonous practice to fill out the entry forms. Somehow, on this day, the picture of a ship in the shop window seemed to attract her attention. It stood out like a blinking neon sign, beckoning her to look. Boobala approached the window and began to read, thinking it was the usual ‘blah, blah, blah.’ The poster offered a free cruise, all expenses paid. She kept debating whether or not to give it one last shot. Finally, not able to resist the temptation, she filled out the form for the umpteenth time, forgetting all about it until the day the door bell rang and the man dressed in a sailor’s suit delivered the telegram…

No: 14 (9-25-2011)

Is this the part where we say “The End?” The end of what? We don’t have to. Wasn’t each episode riveting? Aren’t you a little curious to find out more about what happened to Boobala? I bet the suspense is killing you. Boobala is incredibly eager to get going again. So what do you say, should we take it to the next level? Let me know and let me hear some of your comments too!

Things to Do in the Dominican Republic: Top 10 Most Unforgettable Dominican Resort Activities

Vacationing in the Dominican is not exactly like vacationing in other Caribbean locations. There are many things to do in the Dominican Republic that you just can’t do other places. And of course you can also do the things you love to do on any vacation as well.

Here are the top 10 most unforgettable Dominican Resort activities.

10. Sunbathe

You expect to sunbathe on any beach vacation, and you can do it in the Dominican too. The sun is hot and out all year round. The weather forecast for the Dominican can be deceiving. If the forecast says partly cloudy, expect sun. If the forecast calls for rain, do prepare for rain, and know that it will probably be sunny again within the hour.

9. Swim in the Ocean

The Dominican Republic is located on the East side of the Island of Hispaniola. Its Northern shore is on the Atlantic Ocean, and its Southern shore is on the Caribbean Sea. Many of the Dominican beaches are beautiful and easy to swim in. The surf is fun, but not rough.

8. Dance

Dancing is one of the most fun things to do in the Dominican Republic. The DR is the home to two fun and easy Latin dances: Merengue and Bachata. Most resorts have dance instruction and Latin-themed nights of entertainment so you can hone your skills.

7. Learn Spanish

The Dominican is a Spanish speaking country. Although the majority of resort staff speaks English, you can also take advantage of Spanish lessons offered as entertainment. Don’t expect to master the language on your vacation, and you can learn a few phrases and have fun practicing the sounds of the country.

6. Snorkel

The Dominican Republic, like many Caribbean destinations, is surrounded by beautiful ocean habitat, including natural and man-made reefs. Many independent companies hold snorkeling tours. These tours can show you the beautiful underwater world of reefs.

5. Eat and Drink

Eating and drinking is one thing you expect from any vacation, of course. And in the Dominican, you can do it in style. Many resorts in the Caribbean are all-inclusive, which is a great choice for someone who just wants to relax and not think about prices. In the Dominican, be sure to try local flavors like fried fish, conch fritters, and local desserts.

4. Gamble

Gambling is another activity which is common in some Caribbean locations, and it’s one of the best things to do in the Dominican Republic too. In fact, many resorts have a casino on resort grounds or very close by. If you’re a fan of slots or table games, the Dominican is a good choice. The atmosphere at the casinos in this country is friendly, open and fun.

3. Watch Shows

Shows are common at Caribbean resorts, but Dominican shows are special because of its history and culture. Dominican shows include elements of both traditional Dominican dance and modern day Merengue and Bachata movement, in addition to the usual Vegas-style spectacle.

2. Take a City Tour

Touring a city is another great thing to do in the Dominican Republic. Whether you’re touring the capital city of Santo Domingo, or the beautiful cities of Punta Cana or Puerto Plata, you can get a unique taste of the local culture and customs. Visit historical sites and appreciate the natural beauty of the country.

1. Visit Ocean World

Visiting Ocean World Adventure Park in Puerto Plata is one of the most memorable things to do in the Dominican Republic. Residents of the park include tigers, turtles, exotic birds, sea lions, sharks, and dolphins. Children and adults can enjoy shows and animal encounters they will never forget.

Take advantage of the Dominican’s unique aspects, as well as the things to do in the Dominican Republic that you like to do on any Caribbean vacation.

American Criminals: Murder Incorporated

After the Castellammarese War ended in 1931, with both opposing bosses, Joe “The Boss” Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano ending up quite dead due to the treachery of Lucky Luciano, amongst others, Luciano, along with Jewish mobster mastermind Meyer Lansky, formed a nine-member National Crime Commission, which cut across ethnic lines. There was no single boss of this commission, but instead the leadership was divided equally amongst Luciano, Lansky, Lansky’s sidekick Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Frank Costello, Joe Bonanno, Vincent Mangano, Joe “Adonis “Doto, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, and his right-hand man Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro. (Loose cannon Dutch Schultz – real name Arthur Flegenheimer – was not a member of the Commission for exactly that reason: he was a loose cannon and could not be trusted with making common sense decisions.)

Of course, all corporations need a separation of powers within that corporation, whereas certain people are given duties that do not infringe on the power and duties of other members of that organization. (Make no mistake, the National Crime Commission ran like a well-oiled machine, and indeed operated like an unregistered corporation)

This is where Murder Incorporated came into play.

It was decided that for the good of the National Crime Commission sometimes distasteful things must be done to keep the Commission nice and profitable. This included killing people who endangered the continued flow of cash into the Commission’s coffers. The Commission decided that they needed to establish a separate branch of the Commission, that was responsible for one thing and one thing only: the murder of those people the bosses said needed to be killed.

Louie Lepke was put in charge of, what the press called Murder Inc., and to assist Lepke in his duties, the Commission appointed Albert Anastasia, nicknamed “The Lord High Executioner,” to be Lepke’s right-hand-man. Lepke would never give a direct order to any of his killers to do a job. Instead, Lepke used trusted men like Mendy Weiss and Louis Capone, to issue the final order and decree to the hit men chosen.

By keeping a level, or two, of insulation between himself and the actual killers, Lepke figured nothing could ever be directly pinned on him.

And at first, Lepke was right, until he made one fatal mistake.

The first order of business for Lepke and Anastasia was to assemble a crack hit team to do the actual dirty work. Through Louis Capone, who was close to Anastasia, Lepke had been nurturing a group of homicidal maniacs, some of whom with rather kill that breathe the cool fresh air of Brooklyn. These killers were called “The Boys from Brownsville.” The Boys from Brownsville were hardly the only killers employed by Murder Inc., but they were the foundation which led to as many as 100 freelance assassins being put on a steady weekly salary (of $125 and up), to be ready to kill whenever an order was given. These men were sometimes paid extra for a job especially well-done, and they were allowed to operate in designated territories in the gambling and loansharking businesses, or in any illegal operation, like hijackings, and even kidnappings. But one thing is for sure: even if a member of Murder Inc. didn’t kill anyone for a month, or two, or three, his killing salary came in steadily every week.

Now let’s get to the cast of characters of Murder Inc.

The first and foremost turned out to be the biggest headache for Lepke: Abe “Kid Twist” Reles. By eliminating the three Shapiro brothers, Meyer, Irving, and Willie, Reles along with his childhood pal Martin “Buggsy” Goldstein, took over all the illegal rackets in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. To do so, Reles enlisted the help of Harry “Happy” Maione and Frank “Dasher ” Abbandando of the neighboring “Ocean Hill Hooligans.” Soon, such cutthroat killers like Harry “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss, Vito Gurino, and “Blue Jaw” Magoon were taken into the fold, and the Boys from Brownsville were a formidable group of killers indeed. The key for their transition from Brownsville to the big time was Louis Capone, ostensibly a Brooklyn restaurateur, who was very close to Albert Anastasia.

When Anastasia, along with Lepke, was entrusted by the Commission to form Murder Inc., Anastasia approached Capone and said, “What about Reles and his boys from Brownsville? Are these guys capable of doing what needs to be done? No questions asked.”

Capone assured Anastasia that Reles and his boys were stone-cold killers, and efficient ones at that. The only problem Capone had was that Reles and Maione, considered to be the number one and number two leaders of the group, hated each other’s guts; and they didn’t trust each other much either.

Despite their petty differences, Reles and Maione worked like a well-oiled killing machine. Under the direction of Anastasia and Capone, the Murder Inc. killers operated in such a manner that was almost foolproof. When assignments were given out by the bosses for killings all over the country, the arrangements were made in a way that detection of the actual killers was almost impossible. The key to their method was the concepts of corroboration and separation of powers. The bosses brought in several men to do different aspects of each job, with one man knowing nothing about the other men, and their involvement. Still, each man was so intimately involved in the operation, he would be considered an accomplice, and his possible corroborating testimony was useless in a court of law, in case he ever decided to turn rat.

For instance, let’s say Joe Schmoe from Illinois was next on Murder Inc.’s hit list. Murder Inc. would hire one man to steal an automobile for the getaway. Then another man would be directed to get as many guns as were needed for the job. Then there would be a third man, who would be the ‘finger-man”: the one who would point out Joe Schmoe to the actual shooters. Then of course, they needed a getaway driver, and a driver of a “crash car”: a legitimately registered car, that would crash into a pursuing police car, or the car of a nosy citizen, after the deed was done. The reason for the legit car was that the driver of the crash car could claim it was just an accident, while the shooters escaped in the stolen car. (For obvious reasons, it was not a smart idea to crash into a police car with a stolen car.)

The beauty of this routine was that each man involved in the murder would have limited knowledge of the other men involved in the hit. The man who stole the car would not know who purchased the guns, or who did the actual shooting, etc….etc….

Of course, Lepke and Anastasia did not rely entirely on the Boys from Brownsville to do all their dirty work. Other killers were needed to do a variety of jobs in a myriad of places. One killer was enlisted from a unlikely place: the Loch Sheldrake Country Club, in the Catskills, in upstate New York.

The Loch Sheldrake Country Club was owned by Sam Tannenbaum, who had first owned a grocery store on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The Loch Sheldrake Country Club was a ritzy establishment, and it housed many rich Jewish families for their summer vacations. Of course, Lepke and his crew were well-represented at the Loch Sheldrake. Those gangsters who rubbed elbows with the legitimate Jewish businessmen included Lepke, his partner Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro, Shimmy Salles, a bagman for Lepke’s rackets, Curly Holtz, a labor racketeer, and “Big Harry” Greenburg, who was Lepke and Shapiro’s partners in various Garment Center swindles.

Gurrah Shapiro, a thick-chested gorilla-of-a-man, was quite a character himself, and also quite capable, as was Lepke, of pulling the trigger when necessary. Whenever Shapiro was angry, and that was often, his favorite saying was “Get out of here.” Yet, with his gravelly voice, the phrase sounded like “Gurra dahere.” Hence, his pals gave Shapiro the nickname “Gurrah.”

Sam Tannenbaum had a teenaged son named Allie, who Sam eventually was grooming as his replacement when Sam decided to retire. Sam Tannenbaum employed Allie at his hotel, either waiting tables, or setting up beach chairs by the lake. Sam also did not pay Allie a dime for his work, to ensure Allie didn’t disappear to his old haunts on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, until after the summer season was over. As the owner’s son, the Jewish gangsters invited Allie Tannenbaum to all their parties, and Allie got a fresh taste of what it was like to be around people who had coins constantly jingling in their pockets. This made him a likely suspect to be drawn into their world of murder and mayhem.

One day, after the summer season of 1931 was over at Loch Sheldrake, Tannenbaum was strolling down Broadway in Manhattan, when he bumped into “Big Harry” Greenberg.

Greenberg asked Tannenbaum, “Do you want a job?”

“I could use one, if it pays,” Tannenbaum said.

Greenberg smiled. “This one is for Lepke. You know what kind of a job it will be.”

Tannenbaum shrugged, and said he would do whatever it took to earn some fancy cash, so he could spread it around like his Jewish gangster idols.

Little did Greenberg know he was hiring one of his eventual killers.

Tannenbaum started working for Lepke, initially for $35 a week. His job included general assignments like slugging, strikebreaking, and throwing stink bombs where they were needed to be thrown. Tannenbaum later graduated to more important duties, like “schlammings,” which meant he “schlammed,”or cracked the heads of union workers who were not towing Lepke’s line.

As his work production increased, so did Tannenbaum’s salary. In short order, Tannenbaum was intimately involved in six murders, and he helped dispose of the body of a seventh murder victim. As a result of “making his bones” in the murder department, Tannenbaum started raking in an impressive $125 a week; more than he made in an entire summer at his father’s resort. Because of Tannenbaum’s summer location in the Catskills, Tannenbaum’s job consisted mostly of murders and extortions in upstate New York. Tannenbaum was a valuable asset to Lepke in Sullivan County, because Tannenbaum was familiar with the back highways and numerous lakes, where bodies could be disposed of. During the winter, Tannenbaum and his family vacationed in Florida, where Tannenbaum worked as a strong-arm-man in several of Lepke’s gambling joints.

In the early 1930’s Lepke added another valuable asset to Murder Inc., when he hired Charlie “The Bug” Workman.

“The Bug” was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1908, the second of six children born to Samuel and Anna Workman. Workman quit school in the 9th grade, and began roaming the streets of the Lower East Side, looking for trouble. When he was 18, Workman was arrested for the first time, for stealing a $12 bundle of cotton thread from a truck parked on Broadway. Since it was his first offense, Workman got off with simple probation. The following year, Workman was arrested for shooting a man behind the ear over who-owed-who $20. By this time, Workman’s reputation on the streets was such, the man he shot refused to testify against him, and even said he couldn’t truthfully identify Workman as the shooter. Miffed, the cops pulled up his file and decided Workman had violated his parole on the cotton theft. As a result, Workman was sent to the New York State Reformatory. For the next few years, Workman was in and out of prison, for such parole violations as associating with “questionable characters” and “failure to get a job.”

In 1926, Workman hooked on as a freelance leg breaker, or schlammer, for Lepke’s union strike breaking activities. Workman did such a good job, in the early 1930’s, Lepke put Workman on his permanent payroll at $125 a week, as a killer for Lepke’s Murder Incorporated machine. Lepke liked Workman’s cool demeanor, and after Workman performed a few exceptional “hits” for Lepke, Lepke gave him the nickname “The Bug,” because a person had to be crazy to kill with the calm detachment Workman displayed when performing his gruesome tasks. Workman’s other nickname “Handsome Charlie,” was given to him by members of the opposite sex.

For the next few years, Workman was in and out of trouble with the law. In 1932, he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. In 1933, Workman was arrested again for decking an off-duty police officer after a minor traffic dust-up. All the while, his specialty was killing whomever Lepke said needed to be killed. After a hit was done, Workman enjoyed the fringe benefit of “sweeping out the pockets” of his victims. Most of the times, Workman earned himself an extra thousand dollars or so for his efforts. And one time he even found a ten-thousand-dollar bonus in the pants pocket of some poor sucker whom he had just whacked.

Lepke’s Murder Inc. didn’t limit it’s exploits to the New York City area. In fact, Murder Incorporated eventually employed anywhere from 150-200 killers around America, and it was reported these killers may have committed as many as 800-1000 murders from the late 1920’s, until Murder Incorporated’s demise in the early 1940’s.

Why You’ll Fall in Love on Your Nassau, Bahamas Vacation

Why Choose A Nassau Bahamas Vacation?  

Steeped in the culture of the ancient trade winds, Nassau is the ultimate cultural Bahamian experience.  A mix of Spanish, African and British cultures has created an island culture truly unique to Nassau. A Nassau Bahamas vacation is an easy choice for families. Generally speaking, children under 12 stay for free. On this dream like island British English is spoken, steel drum music wafts in the air and relaxation is a way of life.

Nassau Culture and History 

Nassau has been home to pirates, explorers and natives for centuries. The pirate atmosphere has deep roots to the days when local inhabitants would place lights on the reefs to lure ships to crash on their shores. Goods and booty would be collected from the waves and re sold. 

Nassau has a particularly strong cultural expression in part due to the fact that it is the capital of the Bahamas. The Bahamas became a reluctant member of the United Kingdom in 1629 when King Charles I claimed the chain of islands in addition to the Carolina’s in the American South.

Making Travel Plans For Your Nassau, Bahamas Vacation

Travel to Nassau is generally accomplished by plane or boat. The major airport is Nassau International. Taxis can be taken around the island and water taxis are common for inter island travel.

American planes flying into Nassau are cleared to bypass customs based on an agreement between the two countries. Your valid, U.S. passport will be required for re entry into the United States. 

 

Arrival to Nassau by water is very common. Many large cruise lines call on the port in Nassau and smaller sailboats and yachts frequent the water ways.

Island Activities

Nassau has deep cultural roots which make onshore activities vibrant and lively. Everything from destination weddings and gambling to architectural tours and horseback riding can be done on the island. 

Downtown Nassau is the cultural center of the Bahamas.  Walking tours of the areas colonial influenced architecture are a popular choice.  Maps of the central town squares can be found through almost any concierge for self guided walking tours. The architecture, food and music is a unique blend of Spanish, British and South African influences.

A water or beach activity is a must on your Nassau Bahamas vacation. Take a snorkel tour of a hidden lagoon or kayak the lapping shores. If vacation means relaxing on your back, go for a blow up mattress and float in the protected shoals of the Caribbean while tropical fish dart through the water.

Aruba – A Romantic Paradise

A perennial favorite for honeymooners and others seeking romantic travel, Aruba is known for its year round high temperatures and its gorgeous white sandy beaches. This is the perfect destination for couples who love relaxing at the beach, shopping, gambling, a great nightlife, and water sports.

WHAT TO DO: For water lovers opportunities in Aruba abound including some of the best SCUBA diving in the entire Caribbean including wall and reef diving. Both shipwrecks and beautiful and some rare marine life exists in the always warm water. Snorkeling and a hybrid of snorkeling and scuba called snuba is offered through water sport companies as well. For those who want to see the sea without the water sports, Atlantis Submarines and Seaworld Explorer Semi-Submarine offer the chance to see sea life aboard a boat. Sailing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing are also popular due the constant winds.Aruba also offers the opportunity for casino gambling and a hot nightlife. All gambling is done is US dollars and many of the best resorts offer casino gambling on facility. Caribbean Stud Poker, an Aruba invention, is especially popular. L.G. Smith Boulevard in Orajestad is a popular spot for bars and nightclubs that operate from midnight to when the sunrises again.World class shopping including stores such as Gucci and Ralph Lauren are available at open air shopping malls. Local craftsmen selling their wares can easily be found in Oranjestad. Aruba’s connection to the Netherlands makes for a colorful blend of European and Caribbean goods. Personal items are duty free.

WHERE TO STAY: Most of the resorts in Aruba are along the southwestern coast, particularly around Palm and Eagle Beaches. The large high rise resorts are mostly at Palm Beach while the smaller low rise hotels are concentrated at Eagle Beaches. Locally owned hotels and villas are located on both beaches. A few options are also available in downtown Oranjestad. A number of hotels offer an all inclusive option including the Holiday Inn Sunspree, Riu Palace, the Occidental Grand Aruba, and many others. The options for adults only resorts are limited but Bucuti Beach Resort and Renaissance Marina Hotel both offer these options. Cruises are yet another way to experience Aruba– most of the major cruise lines offer ports of call in Aruba. Please contact us for more information about all the incredible options you may have for lodging in Aruba.

DESTINATION WEDDING INFORMATION: Catholic, civil, Jewish, and Protestant weddings are available in Aruba. Same-sex commitment services are available in Aruba and the country does recognize same sex marriages. Specific resorts are very gay friendly and offer same sex commitment ceremony packages. Many hotels offer complete on site wedding packages. A boat captain is not allowed to officiate a wedding according to Dutch laws unless he is authorized under the laws of the country which the ship is registered with.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Playing Online Poker Vs Playing at a Poker Table

The differences between online poker and more traditional poker table games are sometimes not quite as obvious as they may seem.

Unlike sitting down at a poker table with friends, or even strangers, online poker has an added dimension these days. There is a lot of pressure from many quarters to make online poker illegal, particularly in the United States. You will almost always know if the table game you are playing is in an area where poker is legal, but it is getting harder to know if this is true about poker played online.

In spite of these gray areas, millions in the U. S. and around the world regularly enjoy participating in online poker games from the comfort of their own homes. Just to give this some perspective, in 2005, the revenue from online poker was reported to be in the vicinity of $200 million.

Not only is online poker generating huge amounts of revenue and creating new millionaires, among players, site owners, and affiliates of poker sites, but, due to its pervasive influence, the appeal of poker in general is growing. The public is not only gaining knowledge about poker, but is showing an interest in all things poker. From the tables to the chips at the table, to the people who play at the tables, poker is huge.

Poker players such as Chris Ferguson (Jesus), Annie Duke, and her brother Howard Lederer (The Professor), and Hoyt Corkins (The Alabama Cowboy), to name a few, had never been heard of by the public a few months ago. Now they are celebrities in their own right. Even people who have been celebrities, such as Jennifer Tilly, Ben Affleck, and Mimi Rogers have traded in the bright lights of Hollywood for the green felt of the poker table – at least on occasion.

While many of these famous people play in tournaments sitting at the table with the celebrities of poker, most mortals enter the poker arena via online poker websites such as partypoker.com, pokerstars.com, ultimatebet.com or fulltiltpoker.com.

Sitting at a poker table can be intimidating, particularly for the new player and just is not that inviting for the beginner. They are apt to feel out of their league, and, if others at the table have more experience or are strangers, they are apt to feel intimidated.

The online poker experience is quite different. There is an anonymity which protects the psyche of the “newbie”. They can watch games as long as they want before actually taking part. Additionally, most online venues will have tutorials and practice games for beginners that help ease the learning process. Sometimes the main site will actually have a completely separate site set up strictly for the beginner. Another helper for the beginner is that online games tend to have buttons labeled for the various actions and often include on-screen prompts for the appropriate action.

Internet poker sites also offer a range of limits so that the beginning player can actually start betting pennies. Not only is the betting easy, but so is the access. Unlike a table game, an online game can be found 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world that there is a computer and an Internet connection.

There are, however, two drawbacks to playing online, particularly if one’s goal is to eventually participate in the highly televised poker tournaments occupying more prime time slots on TV. First, there is the hurdle of actually sitting and playing at the table itself. No amount of online preparation can duplicate or offset the first few times you find yourself in a chair across from a Doyle Brunson, Chris Moneymaker, or Daniel Negreanu.

Second, although it IS possible, it is exceedingly difficult to bluff at an online poker game and even harder to learn how to read your opponents.

Look on the bright side, however. It IS easy to learn basic poker skills and improve your technique online, and you won’t have to worry about your poker face!

Sandwich Nation

Every day, half of America eats one or more sandwiches, mostly for lunch. That computes into 300 million a day. They’re easy, they’re filling, no muss, no fuss. And you don’t even have to know how to cook. The varieties are endless, so where do we start? The short list includes the BLT, Grilled Cheese, Club, Dagwood, French Dip, Monte Cristo, Muffuletta, Pastrami or Corned Beef on rye, PB&J, Cheesesteak, Po’ boy, Reuben, Sloppy Joe, Submarine, Fried Egg. It’s endless.

The British first referred to “bits of cold meat” as a “sandwich,” named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who was an eighteenth-century aristocrat. Legend has it that he instructed his servant to bring him some meat between two pieces of bread while he was playing cards with his cronies. Apparently he could play uninterrupted, as the bread acted as a napkin (rather than his sleeve) and kept the card table tidy. His cronies caught on and followed his lead. What was in them we’ll never know, but what a beginning (the Earl will never know).

Let’s check out these favorites:

1) Elvis immortalized the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, although there’s not a big call for the.

2) Dagwood, named after comic strip Blondie’s husband, stacks up fillings and bread, impossible to eat except in sections, but somehow Dagwood Bumstead managed.

3) The French originated this sinful sandwich in a Parisian cafe in 1910; there is no one named Monte Cristo but simply a French term (Croque Monsieur) to describe a fried sandwich of ham and cheese, not on any weight loss program to be sure.

4) Sloppy Joe: kids grew up on these tangy and messy sandwiches. Its origin dates back to the 1930s and was created by a short order cook named Joe in Sioux City, Iowa. Originally called a “loose meat sandwich” it seems Joe added tomato sauce which cranked it up a notch; as its popularity grew, Joe wanted to get credit and renamed it after himself. Folks in Key West Florida insist it was dreamed up at a local bar called Sloppy Joe’s. Some historians want to give Cuba the credit, but let’s just give it to Iowa, okay?

5) Submarine: sub sandwich shops seem to multiply daily with no end in sight; also known as hoagies, heroes or grinders in the U.S. with a multitude of fillings, they come in foot long and smaller sizes, perfect for Sunday afternoon TV sports or a quick lunch.

6) Club: undeniably the grande dame of sandwiches. Historians track its creation to the Saratoga Club House, an exclusive gambling joint in Saratoga Springs, New York. Since its inception in 1894, the standard ingredients haven’t changed: toasted bread, lettuce, tomato, sliced turkey or chicken, bacon,and mayonnaise, and don’t forget the toothpicks. The BLT is a first cousin to its predecessor, without the turkey/chicken or third slice of toast. The Club has stood the test of time. Its only controversy is the turkey/chicken debate. (World-class chef James Beard insists on chicken.)

7) If you’re a New Orleans resident, the sandwich of choice is the Muffuletta, whose popularity is claimed by the Central Grocery where it got its start. A large round loaf of Sicilian sesame bread is loaded with Italian sliced meats and a spicy Creole olive salad. (If you don’t live in New Orleans, you’re on your own.)

8) Peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese, both beloved no-brainers. ‘Nuff said.

9) Reubens and pastrami or corned beef on rye take top billing at any self-respecting deli, especially Jewish. Slather on some mustard, add a few Kosher dill pickles and you’re in business. For a Reuben, throw in some sauerkraut and thousand island

dressing.

10) Those Louisiana folk sure love their originals. The Po’ Boy is basically a sub filled with meat or fried seafood, similar to the Northeast’s lobster roll.

11) Oh boy, don’t ask anyone from Philadelphia about Philly cheesesteaks, because they are fanatical about them. Be prepared for a long-winded answer. The same goes for Chicago’s most popular sandwich, the Italian Beef: Italian bread loaded with thinly sliced beef, topped with peppers and dripping with jus, hold the cheese; all-American French dip (in spite of its name) is a take-off, but rather bland by comparison.

12) Can’t leave out those wonderful “bound” fillings: egg salad, ham salad, chicken salad and tuna salad; we corner the market on those, whether they’re daintily served at teas and parties or just a big old scoop on whole wheat.

12) Pita sandwiches crammed full of turkey, cheese, avocado, hummus or falafel; a trendy ethnic take on the basics.

13) Hamburgers and chicken fast food sandwiches are a whole other subject.

Sandwich sales in the U.S. topped $27.7 billion and that’s not counting the sandwiches made at home. Wow, that’s a lotta bread, literally. Apparently, the U.S. is not the only country that likes their sandwiches. In 2017, the pre-made sandwich industry in the UK made and sold 11 billion in U.S. dollars, and that’s not counting freshly made.

We’re not even going to get started on sandwich cookies (Oreos) and ice cream sandwiches. It’s too exhausting. So many sandwiches, so little time.