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Straight from my mind to your screen—here’s a collection of my thoughts, from the heartfelt to the odd, and everything in between.

Project Zebra Diaries. Entry #45.
Sometimes, there’s just nothing else to say.

(Circa 1944. Entire Project Zebra Team (300 Russian pilots and 11 US Naval trainer) stand in front of a state-of-the-art warplane, the Nomad, built in America to Russian specs.) “FASCINATING. CLASSY. HEARTFELT. HISTORY DONE RIGHT.” ___ “UNIQUE MOMENT IN TIME. SKILLFULLY CAPTURED FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.” ___ “LIKE SITTING ON A PORCH... Learn More

DATE: Feb.26.2022 | CATEGORY: History/WorldWarII

Project Zebra Diaries. Entry # 51:
Boys will always be boys.

(Circa 1944. Russian Zebra Captain pauses after winning a scooter race along the Project Zebra runway in Elizabeth City. Imagine Joseph Stalin and Theodore Roosevelt envision a top-secret mission at a conference in Iran? Imagine America factory workers in Philadelphia build 185 of WWII’s largest and deadliest warplanes? Imagine a select team of... Learn More

DATE: Feb.25.2022 | CATEGORY: History/WorldWarII

The Salad Oil King. Rip-off #31.
How to Control the Worldwide Price of Vegetable Oil

Alfonso "Fonso" Gravenese obsession with the accumulation of wealth knew few bounds. By the 1950's he had scammed more than half a billion dollars from government do-good programs. With that war chest, he would create the "Mona Lisa" of white-collar scams. Fonso traveled offering then developing third world countries like Egypt, Argentina,... Learn More

DATE: Feb.24.2022 | CATEGORY: True Crime

The Salad Oil King. Rip-off #32.
How to Cheat School Children out of a Free Lunch.

It was a simple, despicable, immoral elegant scheme. Alfonso Alfonso" Gravenese, AKA The Salad Oil King, paid off government officials to get awarded contracts to provide underprivileged kids with a balanced free lunch. Then to reimburse himself for the bribes and make a crapload of "bonus" profits, Fonso reduced his operating costs by... Learn More

DATE: Feb.23.2022 | CATEGORY: True Crime

The Salad Oil King. Rip-off #38.
High School Dropout Brings American Express to its Knees.

Alfonso "Fonso" Gravenese's vegetable oil became a business darling on Wall Street. To add credibility, American Express Bank made numerous secured loans against the company's growing inventory. Unbeknownst to all but a few, Fonso AKA the Salad Oil King, the 128 tanks filled with inventory along the New Jersey Turnpike were 90 percent... Learn More

DATE: Feb.22.2022 | CATEGORY: True Crime

“I Colluded with the Russians!”

Ten years ago, I became fascinated by the random lore surrounding Lilia Litvyak, a soft-spoken Moscow teenager, who somehow became the world’s first female fighter-pilot and Adolph Hitler’s worst public relations nightmare, at the age of 19. Lt. Lilia Litvyak, 1921-1943 Despite the fact that Lilia completed 268 missions, recorded 15 solo kills, assisted... Learn More

DATE: Dec.02.2021 | CATEGORY: History/WorldWarII

Save the Last Dance #7.
A Bittersweet Love Story about Two Soulmates, Broken Promises and Shattered Dreams.

Fanny, 7, and Charlie, 8, circuitous soulmates in life, and beyond They met in Little Italy. Fanny was seven; Charlie eight. At first, it was puppy love. Soon it became something more. For the next 20 years, they were inseparable, pledging unrequited love now and forever. Somehow, fame got in the way. The handsome Charlie... Learn More

DATE: Sep.21.2021 | CATEGORY: Romance

Save the Last Dance #6.
Say Hello to Chubby Gerard

Kitchen seranade by a young accordionist with absolutely no musical aptitude When I was about 11, and pudgy as a pig, mom suggested I learn to play the accordion. “Every child should learn to play a musical instrument like the accordion,” she said. “You’ll never forget the experience.” I was skeptical; I’d never even seen... Learn More

DATE: Sep.20.2021 | CATEGORY: Romance

Save the Last Dance #5.
Romancing the Night Away at Harlem’s Cotton Club

Fanny and Charlie as they were in Cotton Club publicity photographs. Imagine two handsome soulmates—looking like a Vogue Magazine couple—romancing and dancing the night away at the Cotton Club in Harlem in the 1930s. Imagine America’s then-favorite romantic baritone, Russ Columbo, singing Save the Last Dance for Me, on center stage in front... Learn More

DATE: Sep.20.2021 | CATEGORY: Romance

Save the Last Dance #4.
Sometimes, Love Takes Second Place

When you’re trying to get your big break in the entertainment business, everything else takes second place. So, it was with Charlie and his soulmate Fanny, who nurtured his career by dancing on the Staten Island Ferry to earn money for Charlie’s music lessons. Fanny, 15, as she appeared on New York City’s... Learn More

DATE: Sep.08.2021 | CATEGORY: Romance