Books Set in Australia – Five Novels to Read Before You Travel

A trip to Australia is one that offers endless variety — you could spend your time partying in Sydney, you could make an adventurous journey to the Outback, or you could wallow in the many wineries on offer in several Australian states. Australia is a big country and unless you have months to spend there, you are going to have to make some decisions on how best to spend you time. To help you do that, here are some books set in Australia — five novels portraying different aspects of Australian life and history.

‘The Secret River’ by Kate Grenville

A story of Australia’s beginnings, William Thornbill and his wife Sal are sent from London to the fledgling colony of New South Wales in the early 1800’s. After some time in Sydney (very different from the Sydney of today!) they decide to try their luck on some land Will has set his eye on along the Hawkesbury River. The challenges they face from their environment, the local Aborigines and fellow settlers reminds us of how harsh the country was for those who decided to make it their home. There are some magnificent descriptions of the landscape as seen by an outsider, and the books gives a ‘warts and all’ look at the impact of settlement on Australia’s indigenous peoples.

‘A Town Like Alice’ by Neville Shute

While the first part of this novel is set in the Malayan jungle during WWII, what follows is a story that brings you to rugged, country Australia. If you want to know what life was like in a small outback town (more of a hamlet really) in the 1940’s and 50’s then this novel gives you a good idea. You are subject to the harshness of the landscape and the incredible distances involved, as Englishwoman Jean Paget travels to the heart of Australia to find a man she met whilst captured by the Japanese in Malaya. The language and attitudes, particularly in relation to Australia’s Aborigines, are true to their time and should be taken as such. But it gives a good indication of the realities of life in rural Australia, something which is still a strong cultural influence on Australians today.

‘Breath’ by Tim Winton

From the desert to the sea now in this novel by one of Australia’s most respected writers. This novel is set in Australia’s south-west corner, at a time when the area was more of a home for the logging industry than for the tourists and vineyards of today. Set mainly in the 70’s, this is a coming-of-age story about teenager Bruce as he seeks to overcome the boredom of country life with some high risk activities — like surfing off what can be a dangerous and deadly coastline, and developing a dark friendship with an older woman. As Bruce begins to grow up, both emotionally and sexually, we are treated to some of the most poetic and exhilarating descriptions you will ever find of the ‘religion’ that is surfing. And you too, will feel as if you have explored the rugged and beautiful coastline of this part of the country.

‘Bad Debts’ by Peter Temple

Peter Temple is one of Australia’s leading crime writers, and this novel is our introduction to his hero Jack Irish. — an inner-city Melbourne solicitor with a love of Australian Rules Football, gambling, and part time cabinet-making. This is Melbourne in winter, complete with its rain, pubs and shady underworld. Irish has barely been sober for a number of years after one of his dodgy clients murdered his wife, and now Danny, another former client, needs his help. But when Danny is killed, Irish discovers there are plenty of the city’s political elite who would like the past to remain undisturbed, and he is determined to get to the truth. Temple’s novels may not give you ‘sun and sand’, but you will be treated to as much genuine Australian vocabulary and city sub-culture as you can handle.

‘Summerland’ by Malcolm Knox

And finally to Sydney, and a novel that explores the life of the city’s idle rich. Four young Sydneysiders have been friends since they were teenagers, and living around the city’s northern beaches they have the world at their feet. They form two couples and spend every Christmas at Palm Beach, a popular holiday location for the affluent. But despite all this, their friendship is based on lies, as Richard finds out when he learns of the long-running affair between his wife and his best friend. If you’d like an insight into a live of the privileged few in Sydney, then this novel will take you there.

These novels are just a taste of many books set in Australia, but they are well worth reading in the lead-up to your travels or on the plane. Immersing yourself in a novel about the place you are going to will not only give you an insight into the place itself, but it will whet your appetite for your travels ahead, making it far more enjoyable once you get there.

Different Types of Card Games

There are limitless types of card games to be played. People think because two games use the same deck of 52-cards that they are similar games, but nothing could be more different than Barbu and Speed, or Pai Gow and Pinochle.

Here’s a list of twenty different kinds of card games, and some facts about them.

1.Bridge

Bridge is a popular contract bidding game. Bridge has a culture — there are websites, newspaper columns, and even radio shows devoted to bridge strategy. There is a world-wide obsession with bridge, even though it has been called the hardest card game in the world. With a complicated strategy and steep learning curve, to many bridge is not just a game, it is a lifestyle. I wish I were exaggerating.

2. Whist

Whist could be called “Bridge, Jr” — and though it is not as big a game as it once was, and is dwarfed in popularity by big-brother Bridge, Whist has never really died out. Card gamers love trick-taking games — beating out your opponent in such a visual way is one of the more exciting part of any card game. Whist has some of the complexity of Bridge without any bidding.

3. Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is something of a legend — a poker variation with a story as rich as a Spaghetti western. This version of poker, a drawing and betting game, was invented and then made popular by old time poker sharks in Texas, hence the name. This is easily the most popular poker variant right now, and is bringing more new people to card gaming than any other game.

4. Hearts

It is said that most of the professional poker tour players are hardcore Hearts players and that they bet big money on cutthroat games of Hearts in dark mysterious rooms during tournaments. Romantic as that may sound, it would make sense for these card sharks to love the game of Hearts – an otherwise childlike game of matching cards (and no bidding) usually turns into a competitive nightmare. Because of the game play, there are lots of ways to screw your opponents in Hearts. Trick-winning and passing card are big elements of Hearts.

5. Spades

People don’t realize it, but spades is a variation of bridge that simplifies the game even more than Whist and changes the outcome of the game as well. Spades is really popular in large groups, on college campuses, and in tournaments around the world. There may be as many variations of Spades as there are groups playing it — thanks to “jailhouse rules” which penalize tactics like point sandbagging and the existence of multiple versions of “house rules”. A strategic game you can play without paying much attention if you want.

6. Go-fish

This is the simple children’s card matching game we all remember from our childhood. You can play Go-fish with as many players as you have cards. Some people claim Go-Fish is a variation of Rummy but the simplicity of the game and the children’s game gimmick make it likely just some toy company’s creation. Strangely enough, Go-fish is known as Literature in some parts of the world. Write in if you understand that one.

7. War

Another children’s game (or time-killing game) War is a straight luck based game. Depending on the flop of the card, you either win or lose a war. Most people under the age of 30 learned War before they learned any other card game. You’ll see War played a lot in lines at airports.

8. Oh Hell!

Substitute your own dirty word for “Hell!” and you know this party game. Most of the fun is the fact that you get to cuss a lot and people laugh at you. What keeps this game popular is that it is a strict betting game. The object of Oh Hell! is to bid the precise number of tricks you will win. You have to take only the number that you bid, no more and no less. Play is precise, and because of the structure of the game, one player always blows it big time. There. That’s what’s fun. Screwing your opponent.

9. Blackjack

A skill game that in some casinos is the best bet you can make, if you can play a perfect hand. This is one of the most popular casino card game, and has a place in popular culture as THE “Vegas” game. The point is to build a hand that adds up to a total of 21 points without going over, and ending up with a higher number than the dealer. Players compete against the House directly, adding to the fun. Little known fact — there exists somewhere in this world a blackjack player’s hall of fame. Safe to say that this game’s got a cult following

10. Baccarat

James Bond’s favorite game (don’t believe the hype — it wasn’t poker or blackjack — read the books) Baccarat is a basic betting game. Players bet on who will win a given hand – the player, the banker, or if there will be a tie. Sure it looks easy, but Baccarat is a skill game. A small sidenote about Baccarat — the name comes from the name of the worst possible hand. This would be like calling your video poker machine “High Card Poker”. Just doesn’t have the same ring as “Royal Flush”.

11. Solitaire

The most varied card game in the world. In England, they call this game Patience, and for good reason. Solitaire requires little set up beyond putting cards in specific places, and is usually played by yourself. Solitaire is another popular airport line waiting game.

12. Rummy and variations

There are lots of different kinds of Rummy, more than are probably written down on any list. I’ve written for a website that had me list 500 variations or other names for Rummy, so I’ll spare you the reading and just say there’s lots of kinds of Rummy. The more popular versions are called Gin Rummy, Liverpool Rummy, and Contract Rummy. The feature that makes a game a Rummy is a player matching identical cards into pairs and other groups. Some experts believe the Chinese game of Mahjong is part of the Rummy family, though I’d bet the Chinese are just fine with Mahjong as it is.

13. Pai Gow

This is an old Chinese domino game that has been passed down through the years as a poker variation. You’ll see Pai Gow at casinos in both as a poker and a domino game — it is probably the casino game that the least number of people understand. This is a game of fast bets, player versus dealer. Pai Gow strategy is just as rich as any other poker betting game, and the culture of Pai Gow is similar to the Blackjack culture — super-fast bets and edgy behavior at the margins.

14. Spoons

A silly card game probably invented to keep kids out of trouble, Spoons is a bluffing game (with some elements of matching) that uses simple kitchen utensils as an added play element. The first player in the group to draw a poker style four of a kind reaches to a pile of spoons in the middle of the table, signalling the other players to grab for one. Since there’s one less spoon than players, one player will be left out every time. So its a social interaction game, and not a game chock full of card strategy. its still fun. Great date night game.

15. Speed

Speed (sometimes called Spit) is a matching game that is unique because both players play simultaneously and as fast as they can. In Speed, a player tries to ‘get rid’ of his or her cards by matching them to cards placed face-up on the table. This is a face to face game, though there’s actually little interaction between the two opponents. The last few moments of any game of Speed reminds me of solitaire on fast-forward, with hands and cards flying around and rows forming and draining like water pipes. Strange game, Speed.

16. Crazy 8s

This is another children’s matching game, you could say it is cousin to the popular game Uno. The 8s in the deck of standard cards are considered “crazy” not because they need to be medicated but to indicate they are wild cards. In some variations of Crazy 8s, not just Wild Cards but other “rule cards” exist, making the game more complex for older players.

17. Slapjack

If you want to teach more complex card games to younger kids, Slapjack is the perfect vehicle. The object of Slapjack is to acquire the whole deck of cards by matching and slapping pairs. Kids like to slap stuff, and the game can be played over and over again.

18. Old Maid

You don’t need an “Old Maid” deck to play this kid’s card game — any standard 52 card deck will do. Just remove one of the Queens. Old Maid is a matching game where players find pairs You trade cards with your opponent until that player is left with the unmatched Queen. Matching games are popular, and the novelty “Old Maid” packs are fun for kids.

19. Cribbage

This is a hybrid board and card game with complicated rules that generally intimidates people, even hardcore card gamers. You play cribbage by forming groups of cards that are worth different point values, and moving a peg on a board that represents your progress accordingly. Requiring a specific board (or a quick hand with a pen and paper) cribbage isn’t the best travel game, but as fans of cribbage will tell you, no two games are alike. There are solitaire versions of cribbage, and other varieties of cribbage game play to choose from if you’re bored with the standard version.

20. Pinochle

Pinochle is popular because it is a trick-taking game that you play with a 48 card deck. In Pinochle, you try to make melds or tricks, much like in Gin, but there’s a really complex scoring system making the game fun to learn and to master. To be good at pinochle, you have to play for a number of years, and lose plenty of hands. Though it is less popular year after year, Pinochle is one of those “heritage games”.

Corn Sugar and Blood And the Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia

Chapter I

“Big Ange” and the Death of the Cleveland Mafia

In 1983, Angelo Lonardo, 72, one-time Cleveland Mafia boss, turned government informant. He shocked family, friends, law enforcement officers and particularly, criminal associates with his decision which was made after being sentenced to life plus 103 years for drug and racketeering convictions. The sentence came after a monumental investigation by local, state and federal agencies had all but wiped out the Cleveland Mafia.

“Big Ange” as he was called, was the highest ranking mafioso to defect. He testified in 1985 at the Las Vegas casino “skimming” trials in Kansas City and in 1986 at the New York Mafia “ruling commission” trials. Many of the nation’s biggest mob leaders were convicted as a result of these trials.

During his testimony, Lonardo told how at age 18, he avenged his father’s murder by killing the man believed to be responsible. He further testified that after that murder, he was responsible for the killings of several of the Porrello brothers, business rivals of his father during Prohibition.

Chapter II

Birth of the Cleveland Mafia

During the late eighteen hundreds, the four Lonardo brothers and seven Porrello brothers were boyhood friends and fellow sulphur mine workers in their hometown of Licata, Sicily. They came to America in the early nineteen hundreds and eventually settled in the Woodland district of Cleveland. They remained close friends. Several of the Porrello and Lonardo brothers worked together in small businesses.

Lonardo clan leader “Big Joe” became a successful businessman and community leader in the lower Woodland Avenue area. During Prohibition, he became successful as a dealer in corn sugar which was used by bootleggers to make corn liquor. “Big Joe” provided stills and raw materials to the poor Italian district residents. They would make the booze and “Big Joe” would buy it back giving them a commission. He was respected and feared as a “padrone” or godfather. “Big Joe” became the leader of a powerful and vicious gang and was known as the corn sugar “baron.” Joe Porrello was one of his corporals.

Chapter III

The First Bloody Corner

With the advent of Prohibition, Cleveland, like other big cities, experienced a wave of bootleg-related murders. The murders of Louis Rosen, Salvatore Vella, August Rini and several others produced the same suspects, but no indictments. These suspects were members of the Lonardo gang. Several of the murders occurred at the corner of E. 25th and Woodland Ave. This intersection became known as the “bloody corner.”

By this time, Joe Porrello had left the employ of the Lonardos to start his own sugar wholesaling business.

Porrello and his six brothers pooled their money and eventually became successful corn sugar dealers headquartered in the upper Woodland Avenue area around E. 110th Street.

With small competitors, sugar dealers and bootleggers, mysteriously dying violent deaths, the Lonardos’ business flourished as they gained a near monopoly on the corn sugar business. Their main competitors were their old friends the Porrellos.

Raymond Porrello, youngest of his brothers was arrested by undercover federal agents for arranging a sale of 100 gallons of whiskey at the Porrello-owned barbershop at E. 110th and Woodland. He was sentenced to the Dayton, Oh. Workhouse.

The Porrello brothers paid the influential “Big Joe” Lonardo $5,000 to get Raymond out of prison. “Big Joe”

failed in his attempt but never returned the $5,000.

Meanwhile, Ernest Yorkell and Jack Brownstein, small-time self-proclaimed “tough guys” from Philadelphia arrived in Cleveland. Yorkell and Brownstein were shakedown artists, and their intended victims were Cleveland bootleggers, who got a chuckle out of how the two felt it necessary to explain that they were tough. Real tough guys didn’t need to tell people that they were tough. After providing Cleveland gangsters with a laugh, Yorkell and Brownstein were taken on a “one-way ride.”

Chapter IV

Corn Sugar and Blood

“Big Joe” Lonardo in 1926, now at the height of his wealth and power left for Sicily to visit his mother and

relatives. He left his closest brother and business partner John in charge.

During “Big Joe’s” six-month absence, he lost much of his $5,000 a week profits to the Porrellos who took advantage of John Lonardo’s lack of business skills and the assistance of a disgruntled Lonardo employee. “Big Joe” returned and business talks between the Porrellos and Lonardos began.

They “urged” the Porrellos to return their lost clientele.

On Oct. 13th, 1927 “Big Joe” and John Lonardo went to the Porrello barbershop to play cards and talk business with Angelo Porrello as they had been doing for the past week. As the Lonardos entered the rear room of the shop, two gunmen opened fire. Angelo Porrello ducked under a table.

Cleveland’s underworld lost its’ first boss as “Big Joe” went down with three bullets in his head. John Lonardo was shot in the chest and groin but drew his gun and managed to pursue the attackers through the barbershop. He dropped his gun in the shop but continued chasing the gunmen into the street where one of them turned, and out of bullets, struck Lonardo in the head several times with the butt of his gun. John fell unconscious and bled to death.

The Porrello brothers were arrested. Angelo was charged with the Lonardo brothers’ murders. The charges were later dropped for lack of evidence. Joe Porrello succeeded the Lonardos as corn sugar “baron” and later appointed himself “capo” of the Cleveland Mafia.

Chapter V

The Cleveland Meeting

The trail of bootleg blood continued to flow with numerous murders stemming from the Porrello-Lonardo conflict.

Lawrence Lupo, a former Lonardo bodyguard was killed after he let it be known that he wanted to take over the Lonardos’ corn sugar business.

Anthony Caruso, a butcher who saw the Lonardos’ killers escape was shot and killed. It was believed that he knew the identities of the gunmen and was going to reveal them to police.

On Dec. 5th, 1928, Joe Porrello and his lieutenant and bodyguard Sam Tilocco hosted the first known major meeting of the Mafia at Cleveland’s Hotel Statler. Many major Mafia leaders from Chicago to New York to Florida were invited. The meeting was raided before it actually began.

Joe Profaci, leader of a Brooklyn, N.Y. Mafia family was the most well-known of the gangsters arrested. Within a few hours, to the astonishment of police and court officials, Joe Porrello gathered thirty family members and friends who put up their houses as collateral for the gangsters’ bonds. Profaci was bailed out personally by Porrello. A great controversy over the validity of the bonds followed.

Several theories have been given as to why the meeting was called. First, it was thought that the gangsters, local presidents of the Unione Siciliane, an immigrant aid society infiltrated by the Mafia, were there to elect a new national president. Their previous president, Frankie Yale had been recently killed by order of Chicago’s notorious Al Capone. Second, it was believed that the meeting may have been called

to organize the highly lucrative corn sugar industry. It was also said that the men were there to “confirm” Joe Porrello as “capo” of Cleveland.

Capone, a non-Sicilian was reported to be in Cleveland for the meeting. He left soon after his arrival at the

advice of associates who said that the Sicilians did not want him there.

Chapter VI

The Second Bloody Corner

As Joe Porrello’s power and wealth grew, heirs and close associates to the Lonardo brothers grew hot for revenge.

Angelo Lonardo, “Big Joe’s” 18-year-old son along with his mother and his cousin, drove to the corner of E. 110th and Woodland, the Porrello stronghold. There Angelo sent word that his mother wanted to speak to Salvatore “Black Sam” Todaro. Todaro, now a Porrello lieutenant, had worked for Angelo’s father and was believed to be responsible for his murder. In later years it was believed that he was actually one of the gunmen.

As Todaro approached to speak with Mrs. Lonardo whom he respected, Angelo pulled out a gun and emptied it into “Black Sam’s stocky frame. Todaro crumpled to the sidewalk and died.

Angelo and his cousin disappeared for several months reportedly being hid in Chicago courtesy of Lonardo friend Al Capone. Later it was believed that Angelo spent time in California with his uncle Dominick, fourth Lonardo brother who fled west when indicted for a payroll robbery murder in 1921.

Eventually Angelo and his cousin were arrested and charged with “Black Sam’s” murder. For the first time in Cleveland’s bootleg murder history justice was served as both young men were convicted and sentenced to life. Justice although served would be shortlived as they would be released only a year and a half later after winning a new trial.

Chapter VII

Rise of the Mayfield Road Mob

On October 20th, 1929, Frank Lonardo, brother to “Big Joe” and John was shot to death while playing cards. Two theories were given for his death; that it was in revenge for the murder of “Black Sam” Todaro and, that he was killed for not paying gambling debts. Mrs. Frank Lonardo, when told of

her husband’s murder screamed, “I’ll get them. I’ll get them myself if I have to kill a whole regiment!”

By 1929, Little Italy crime boss Frank Milano had risen to power as leader of his own gang, “The Mayfield Road Mob.” Milano’s group was made up in part of remnants of the Lonardo gang and was also associated with the powerful “Cleveland Syndicate,” Morrie Kleinman, Moe Dalitz, Sam Tucker and Louis Rothkopf. The Cleveland Syndicate was responsible for most of the Canadian booze imported via Lake Erie. In later years they got into the casino business. One of the their largest and most profitable enterprises was construction of the Desert Inn Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. Dalitz would become known as the “Godfather of Las Vegas.”

Joe Porrello admired Milano’s political organization, the East End Bi-Partisan Political Club and, seeing the value in such influence, wanted to ally himself with the group. Milano refused. Later, Porrello was reported to have affiliated himself with the newly formed 21st District Republican Club. He hoped to organize the Woodland Avenue voters as Milano was doing on Mayfield road.

Chapter VIII

More Corn Sugar and Blood

By 1930, Milano had grown quite powerful. He had gone so far as to demand a piece of the lucrative Porrello corn sugar business. On July 5th, 1930, Porrello received a phonecall from Milano who had requested a conference at his Venetian Restaurant on Mayfield Road. Sam Tilocco and Joe Porrello’s brother Raymond urged him not to go.

At about 2:00 p.m., Joe Porrello and Sam Tilocco arrived at Milano’s restaurant and speakeasy. Porrello, Tilocco, and Frank Milano sat down in the restaurant and discussed business. Several of Milano’s henchmen sat nearby. The atmosphere was tense as Porrello refused to accede to Milano’s demands.

Porrello reached into his pocket for his watch to check the time. Two of Milano’s men, possibly believing that Porrello was reaching for his gun opened fire. Porrello died instantly woth three bullets in his head Simultaneously, a third member of Milano’s gang fired at Tilocco who was struck three times but managed to stagger out the door toward his new Cadillac. He fell to the ground as the gunmen pursued him, finishing him off with another six bullets.

Frank Milano and several of his restaurant employees were arrested but only charged with being suspicious persons. The gunmen were never actually identified. Only one witness was present in the saloon when the shooting started. He was Frank Joiner, a slot machine distributor whose only testimony was that he “thought” he saw Frank Milano in the restaurant during the murders.

Cleveland’s aggressive and outspoken Safety Director Edwin Barry, frustrated by the continually rising number of bootleg murders, ordered all known sugar warehouses to be padlocked. He ordered a policeman to be detailed at each one to make sure that no sugar was brought in or removed.

Meanwhile, the six Porrello brothers donned black silk shirts and ties and buried their most successful brother. The showy double gangster funeral was one the largest Cleveland had ever seen. Two bands and thirty-three cars overloaded with flowers led the procession of the slain don and his bodyguard. Over two hundred fifty automobiles containing family and friends followed. Thousands of mourners and curious on-lookers lined the sidewalks.

Cleveland’s underworld was tense with rumors of imminent warfare. Porrello brother Vincente-James spoke openly of wiping out everyone responsible for his brother’s murder.

Three weeks after his brother’s murder, Jim Porrello still wore a black shirt as he entered the I & A grocery and meat market at E. 110th Street and Woodland. As he picked out lamb chops at the meat counter, a Ford touring car, its’ curtains tightly drawn, cruised slowly past the store. A couple of shotguns poked out and two lasts of buckshot were fired, one through the front window of the store and one through the front screen door.

The amateur gunmen got lucky. Two pellets found the back of Porrello’s head and entered his brain. He was rushed to the hospital.

Chapter IX

“I think maybe they’ll kill all us Porrellos”

“I think maybe they’ll kill all us Porrellos. I think maybe they will kill all of us except Rosario. They can’t

kill him – he’s in jail.” Thus Ottavio Porrello grimly but calmly predicted the probable fate of he and his brothers as he waited outside Jim’s hospital room. Jim Porrello died at 5:55 p.m.

Two local petty gangsters were arrested and charged with murder. One was discharged by directed verdict and the other was acquitted. Like almost all of Cleveland’s bootleg related murders, the killers never saw justice.

About this time, it was rumored that the Porrello brothers were marked for extermination. The surviving

brothers went into hiding. Raymond, known for his cocky attitude and hot temper spoke like his brother James did of seeking revenge. Raymond was smarter though, he took active measures to protect himself.

On August 15th, 1930, three weeks after James Porrello’s murder, Raymond Porrello’s house was leveled in a violent explosion. He was not home at the time since he had taken his family and abandoned his home in anticipation of the attack.

Four days later Frank Alessi, a witness to the murder of “Big Joe” Lonardo’s brother Frank, was gunned down. From his death bed, he identified Frank Brancato as his assailant. Brancato was known mainly as a Lonardo supporter and suspect in several murders. Brancato was acquitted of Alessi’s murder.

Chapter X

In March of 1931, Rosario Porrello was paroled from Ohio’s London Prison Farm where he had served one year for carrying a gun in his car.

In mid-1931, National Mafia “capo di tutti capi” (boss of all bosses) Salvatore Maranzano was killed. His murder set in motion the formation of the first Mafia National Ruling Commission created to stop the numerous murders resulting from conflicts between and within Mafia families and to promote application of modern business practices to crime.

Charles “Lucky” Luciano was the main developer of the commission and was named chairman. Also named to the commission were Al Capone of Chicago, Joe Profaci of Brooklyn and Frank Milano of Cleveland.

In Dec. of 1931, Angelo Lonardo and his cousin Dominic Suspirato were released from prison after being acquitted of “Black Sam” Todaro’s murder during a second trial. Because he had avenged his father’s death and (for the most part) gotten away with it, he became a respected member of Frank Milano’s Mayfield Road Mob.

The thirst for revenge had not been satisfied for members of the Lonardo family. It was generally believed

that “Black Sam” Todaro instigated and perhaps took part in the murders of “Big Joe” and John Lonardo. However it was believed by members of the Lonardo family that the remaining Porrello brothers, particularly the volatile John and Raymond and eldest brother Rosario still posed a threat because of

the murders of Joe and James Porrello.

On Feb. 25th, 1932 Raymond Porrello, his brother Rosario and their bodyguard Dominic Gulino (known also by several aliases) were playing cards near E. 110th and Woodland Avenue. The front door burst open and in a hail of bullets the Porrello brothers, their bodyguard and a bystander went down. The Porrellos died at the scene. Gulino died a couple of hours later. The bystander eventually recovered from his

wounds.

Several hours after the murders, Frank Brancato, with a bullet in his stomach, dragged himself into St. John’s hospital on Cleveland’s west side. He claimed he was shot in a street fight on the west side. A few days later, tests on the bullet taken from Brancato revealed that it came from a gun found at the Porrello brothers murder scene. Although never convicted of either of the murders, Brancato was convicted of perjury for lying to a Grand Jury about his whereabouts during the murder. He served four years after a one to ten year sentence was commuted by Governor Martin L. Davey.

In 1933, Prohibition was repealed. The bootleg murders mostly stopped as organized crime moved into other enterprises. Angelo Lonardo continued his crime career as a respected member of the Cleveland family eventually rising through the ranks to run the northeast Ohio rackets in 1980.

In early 1933, in a sequel to the tragedy of the large Porrello family, Rosario’s son Angelo, 21, was killed in a fight over a pool game in Buffalo. It was said that he and his Uncle John were there trying to muscle in on the corn liquor business.

******

Book Summary: Three Feet From Gold – By Sharon Lechter, Greg Reid and the Napoleon Hill Foundation

Napoleon Hill was way before his time. Think and Grow Rich and Outwitting the Devil are two of the best books I have ever read. According to Hill, you can control your mind and your attitude regardless of what happens to you. Once you truly understand that then success will be yours.

Why is this important to me?

I don’t want to waste your time. Three Feet from Gold is a good book and parallels what Napoleon Hill did when Andrew Carnegie tasked him to study success.

Three Feet from Gold is a story that Greg S. Reid was tasked to write a book by interviewing and meeting with highly successful people. The reason why the title is so strong is based on a true story where the Darby Family was digging for Gold and stopped. They sold their land and the new owners sought council from experts and struck gold. The irony is that the Darby’s were only three feet away from finding the Gold.

The main lesson here is not to quit. Thomas Edison tried thousands of different filaments until he found the right one when he created the light bulb. Most people would have given up. I do have a corollary where this principle is bad. Addiction with gambling is based on the same principle. People think they are close to striking it rich when they gamble. This is why Las Vegas can build billion dollar casinos and have them paid for in 5 years.

Three Feet from Gold is packed with great lessons which I will profile. For the sake of time, I will pick three and relate how they work through examples.

1. (P+T) x A x A=Success – This success stands for P is Passion, T is Your Talent, A is Associations, A is Actions. I have read a lot of material and this formula is right on. Basically because if any value is zero then you will not have success. You have to take action and WORK to achieve success and you have to solicit the knowledge of other through associations. If you do not do that then success will be fleeting.

2. Masterminds – Napoleon Hill in all of his works discusses the power of Mastermind groups. This book is a classic example. Greg was successful in writing because he had access to successful people and made them part of his mastermind. The concept is simple – multiple heads with varying backgrounds are better than one.

3. Subconscious Mind – I touch on this more from Napoleon Hills other works. The conscious mind is designed to be critical and cautious. If not then we would have been food to larger animals. Understanding the unlimited nature of the subconscious will open your abilities. A personal example may help. I was a horrible reader and in college had a sixth grade reading level. Using a concept known as Mental Photography has allowed me to overcome this limitation. The results for me personally have allowed me to increase my reading speed, comprehension and writing ability by more than 10 times. This is the power of using your whole mind. Napoleon Hill talks about this a lot in his work Laws of Success.

Three Feet from Gold is a good book if you are not familiar with Napoleon Hill’s work. It is a fast and easy read packed with great principles. If you have not read any of Napoleon Hills work then I suggest strongly that you read: “Laws of Success, Outwitting the Devil and Think and Grow Rich.” Those books have the power to change your life.

I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is (P+T) x A x A=Success. Understanding and doing daily behavior using this formula will bring you the success you want. Likewise, not doing each part of the formula will result in frustration and failure.

The Boundless Vistas of Jazz Pianist Hiromi

She goes by Hiromi, the only identification needed for the Japanese wizard of the keyboard who is ranked as the number one instrumentalist in her native land. Her award-winning gold albums showcase eclectic arrangements and compositions influenced by every musical genre that strikes her fancy. In “Beyond Standard” released in 2008, she even fuses jazz, classical, rock and avant-garde in such familiar compositions as “Clair De Lune,” “Caravan,” “My Favorite Things” and “I’ve Got Rhythm.” In this and all six of her CDs and two Live in Concert DVDs, her over-the-top energy propels each number to the outer limits.

“I always give everything I’ve got and I look for that in the musicians I work with,” she says. “I play each concert as if this is the very last I’ll ever give. Fate gave me the opportunity and I must not waste it, so I play my very best to thank the audience for being there.”

Hiromi refuses to put a name on her style. A child prodigy, she began studying classical piano at age five, but her world expanded at eight when her piano teacher introduced her to jazz. She credits that “very special” teacher, Noriko Hakita, with pointing her in a wide open direction. By twelve, she knew that she wanted to be a professional musician and within two years she performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

It’s no coincidence that the influence of jazz pianist Chick Corea, along with those of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, and Ahmad Jamal, bursts forth in her music. Upon meeting and hearing the then-seventeen-year-old in Tokyo during a tour, Corea invited her to play with him the next day. Their friendship and musical attunement pulsates on “Duet/Chick Corea and Hiromi” recorded live at Tokyo Blue Note.

After spending several years writing jingles for Nissan and other Japanese companies, Hiromi began studies in earnest under Jamal at Berklee College of Music in Boston. There she perfected her capacity for extracting energy wherever it exits. She proclaims that the energy inherent in classical works by Bach and Liszt is every bit as influential to her keyboard virtuosity as is that projected by powerful athletes like Michael Jordan.

Following “Another Mind,” her debut album of 2003, she released “Brain,” “Spiral,” and “Time Control.” Each is unique for intellectual pairing of swing, jazz, be-bop and rock influences and song titles that invite visual challenges. “Old castle, by the river, in the middle of the forest” appears in both “Spiral” and “Duet.” Like many of her original compositions, the piece was suggested by the places she visits throughout the world.

While she is off on her current international tour with the explosive Stanley Clarke Band, fans can luxuriate at home with “Places to Be,” a collection of songs she wrote while traveling. The locations she incorporates within range from Sicily, Bern, and the Azores to Cape Cod and the Las Vegas she captured from the daytime, gambling and show girl perspectives. It’s a given that the vistas of Russia, Spain and points in between will inspire new keyboard creations.