Challenged part of gang.png

Don’t you get the feeling that political correctness is a cover for latent revulsion or prejudice?
Growing up in the Italian ghetto, we were the antithesis of political correctness.
But we accepted our challenged friends as part of our gangs.
And in that we were superior to corporate types who have to be taught to accept the challenged.

Despite the abuse we rained on them, we hung out with the less fortunate.
They were truly part of us.
We felt it.
They felt it.
We were friends.
They were part of our gang.

“Spontaneously mindlessly aggressively hostile.”
A bunch of our old gang discussed aspects of this a couple of days ago.
This is another go-round.

Since each of us had any number of friends and relations that were infected with that syndrome, and/or we were ourselves infected with it, we were forced to live with it.
Forced to accept such people despite their flaws.

Today let’s take this acceptance a step further.

Recently we posted how Microsoft spent a lot of time and energy teaching their employees how to reach out to disabled people.
A good thing.
A positive thing.

But we who grew up in the 1950s-1960s Italian North End of Boston were part of a society that not only learned to deal with the spontaneously mindlessly aggressively hostile syndrome, but also internalized the ability to deal with people with every kind of disability.
Every North Ender, no matter how challenged, was part of a gang.
No one left behind,
Everyone a point of light.

Of course, being working class, we lacked finesse, delicacy, political correctness. Empathy, if you will.
We abused these challenged people.
By today’s standards.
By our own standards then.

For example, we baptized then with the most outrageous names, names that directly pointed to their impairments, physical or psychological: stuttering, ADD/ADHD, ‘buck’ teeth. My father, with his wooden leg, was ‘peg-leg;’ not original but hurtful enough to be adopted.

And we addressed them with these awful names, so the names stuck.
Abuse was the mechanism we used to adjust and accept.
We didn’t pretend our disabled people were like we who weren’t.
They weren’t.
They aren’t.
It wasn’t pretty; but it was effective.
And much more beautiful than professions of equality followed by marginalizing the challenged.

Don’t you get the feeling that political correctness is a cover for latent revulsion or prejudice?
We were the antithesis of political correctness but we accepted the challenged as part of our gangs.
And in that we were superior to corporate types who have to be taught to accept the challenged.
Despite the abuse we rained on them, we hung out with the less fortunate.
They were truly part of us.
We felt it.
They felt it.
We were friends.
They were part of our gang.

Today is Wednesday, August 8
This is my 120th consecutive daily posting.
Time is … and Weather
Today’s dinner is

Today is Wednesday, August 8
This is my 120th consecutive daily posting.
Time is 3.37am and the weather will be moderate and cloudy.
Today’s dinner is Spare Ribs in The Gravy.

Today’s Trivia Question

Who is Carmen Basilio?

Find the answer just before today’s Post below. Partial answers for partial credits. 

Today’s Definition:


“Unstoppable from accomplishing something”


Thumbnail Biography:
Tony DeMarco (born January 14, 1932), born Leonardo Liotta, is an American former boxer and World Welterweight Champion.
Born to Sicilian immigrants from Sciacca (AG), Vincent and Giacomina, DeMarco grew up in the North End neighborhood of Boston.

Due to the minimum age of eighteen, in order to box professionally, Liotta used the birth certificate of Tony DeMarco so that he could compete.

DeMarco had his first professional fight when he was sixteen years old.
On October 21, 1948, he knocked out Mestor Jones in one round.

DeMarco fought the top fighters in his division during the 1950s and defeated top contenders and champions like Paddy DeMarco, Teddy "Red Top" Davis, Chico Vejar and Don Jordan.
The highlight of his career came on April 1, 1955, when he scored a technical knock out (TKO) over Johnny Saxton in the 14th round of their title bout to capture the world’s welterweight title.

DeMarco's legacy is an undying part of Boston's history.
Training under Boston greats such as Frankie Waters, DeMarco was able to sell out the Boston Garden, breaking attendance records.
Mayor Thomas Menino even honored DeMarco with a street, named after him, in Boston's famous North End.
The street, which is perpendicular to Atlantic Ave, is named "Tony DeMarco Way".

DeMarco has received many honors, including an induction in the Official National Italian American Hall of Fame in Chicago.
Looking back on his career, DeMarco remarked "Mainly I consider myself a slugger."
DeMarco once fought on the undercard to Rocky Marciano.

In his last bout, DeMarco won a ten-round decision over Stefan Redl in Boston on February 6, 1962.

A statue of DeMarco unveiled on October 20, 2012 at the corners of Hanover and Cross Streets in Boston's historic North End was designed by famed sculptor Harry Weber, and a full-length documentary by filmmaker Marino Amoruso based on DeMarco's autobiography Nardo: Memoirs of a Boxing Champion is in the works.
Tony De Marco is also featured in "The Flame and Fury of Fleet Street," a segment of the documentary, Boston's North End: An Italian American Story.

Thank you, Wikipedia

Movie Details
“The Pope of Greenwich Village” is a 1984 American crime black comedy film directed by Stuart Rosenberg and starring Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Daryl Hannah, Geraldine Page, Kenneth McMillan and Burt Young.
Page was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her two-scene role. The film was adapted by screenwriter Vincent Patrick from his novel of the same name.

In an Italian neighborhood of Greenwich Village, cousins Charlie (Rourke), a maître d' with aspirations of someday owning his own restaurant, and Paulie (Roberts), a schemer who works as a waiter, have expensive tastes but not much money.
Paulie gets caught skimming checks, and he and Charlie are both fired.
Now out of work and in debt, Charlie must find another way to pay his alimony, support his pregnant girlfriend Diane (Hannah), and try to buy a restaurant.

Paulie comes to Charlie with a "can't-miss" robbery, involving a large amount of cash in the safe of a local business.
Charlie reluctantly agrees to participate, and they manage to crack the safe with help from an accomplice, Barney (McMillan), a clock repairman and locksmith.
But things go sour, resulting in the accidental death of police officer Walter "Bunky" Ritter, who had been secretly taping "Bed Bug" Eddie Grant (Young).
Charlie soon learns that the money they stole belongs to Eddie.

The mob figures out that Paulie is involved, and not even his Uncle Pete, part of Eddie's crew, can help him.
Eddie's henchmen cut off Paulie's left thumb as punishment.

Diane leaves Charlie and takes his money to support their unborn child, while Paulie is forced to work as a waiter for Eddie.
He gives the mob Barney's name but initially refuses to identify Charlie as the third man involved. However, under pressure, he is forced to rat on his cousin.
Barney leaves town and Charlie mails him his cut of the loot. And when Charlie makes $20,000 on a horse, things begin to look up.

Charlie prepares for a showdown with Eddie, armed with a copy of the tape that the police officer made. But at the last moment, Paulie puts lye in Eddie's coffee.
Then he and Charlie casually walk away from Greenwich Village.

Thank you, Wikipedia

Answer to the Trivia-Question:
Carmen Basilio (Born Carmine Basilio, April 2, 1927 – November 7, 2012) was an American professional boxer who was the world champion in both the Welterweight and Middleweight divisions.
He is also famous for defeating the great Sugar Ray Robinson to take the Middleweight title.
An iron chinned pressure fighter, Basilio was a combination puncher who had great stamina, and eventually wore many of his opponents down with vicious attacks to the head and body.

Basilio was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.
“The Ring” magazine named him Fighter of the Year in 1957, while the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) named him Fighter of the Year in 1955 and 1957.
In 2002, Basilio was voted by “The Ring” magazine as the 40th greatest fighter of the last 80 years.

Thank you, Wikipedia


Nun listening

Nun listening

“Blessed are those who take us closer to God.”
This beatitude absolves for me the harsh ways and means used by the Franciscan Nuns at St. Anthony’s Parochial School.

All were of Irish descent with the exception of Sister Mary Yolanda. (“Buon Giorno Sorella Yolanda”). They taught a stuent body of predominantly Italian children. They were strict disciplinarians, devoted to their religion, who expected unconditional compliance to authority and God. I know very well the worst because through the grades I was always sorted into their classes. St. Anthony’s had an unofficial placement system wherein the studious and well-behaved were placed in the “A” class while the reverse into the “B” class. As I noted, I was a perennial “B” because I carried the stigma of being a troublemaker. In fact, my mother once told me that if she had to see Sister Superior one more time she might as well join the convent.

My seventh grade was the hardest because I had the toughest nun, Sister Mary Eileen. She was the young, handsome, with cold steel eyes and hands faster than Willie Peps. She would hand out punishments like they were samples. The most memorable and disappointing event for me happened this year. It was early December when she told us that donated Xmas decorations will enliven the spirit of Christmas while dressing the classroom…wonderful! That afternoon, during break, Delie, Cody, Alabama. Myself and Bucky D’ Ambrosio went to Faneuil Hall market and appropriated a Christmas tree. With excitement, pride, and expecting lots of kudos, instead, sister told us we were not allowed to help trim the tree since we did enough already to taint it. I learned instantly that crime does not pay and that she was a Spartan. Not even the birth of Christ would soften her. Everyday until Christmas that tree stood there to remind me of my stupidity. I couldn’t bear to witness it.

It was a long way to June. The book reports, extra homework, the detention periods took their toll, but I survived. Many people maligned them. I never did. I got what I deserved. I respected these women married to God, sworn to poverty while living a cloistered life with no social existence. Sadly, a few years after leaving St. A’s, I was told that the handsome, young sister was called to heaven.