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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.



The Salad Oil King. Rip-off #13.
How to Always Win Yo-Yo Contests.

Alfonso "Fonso" Gravenese, AKA The Salad Oil King, loved to gamble….on sure things. Growing up, Yo-Yo contests were held daily in Little Italy. The entry fee was 5 cents per play. Fonso knew his opponents were bigger and older, but he had a streak of larceny in his ice water veins. Minutes... Learn More

DATE: Mar.19.2022 | CATEGORY: True Crime

The Salad Oil King. Rip-off #24.
How to Create Obscene Profits in the Black Market.

During World War II every American contributed to the war effort by receiving and using ration stamps to ensure everyone shared the pain. But, there were those like Alfonso "Fonso" Gravenese and his Mafia cronies who made a handsome profit in the black marketing of goods and services through the use of... Learn More

DATE: Mar.18.2022 | CATEGORY: True Crime

The Salad Oil King. Rip-off #4.
How to Overcharge Customers for Fresh Fish

When Alfonso "Fonso" Gravenese, AKA The Salad Oil King, was a 9-year old kid, his father asked him to help sell fresh fish from his ice-filled cart after school to their neighbors on Spring Street in Little Italy. "Fonso" quickly learned if he stuffed ice into the fish's mouth with some of the... Learn More

DATE: Mar.17.2022 | CATEGORY: True Crime

Project Zebra Diaries. Entry #34.
You are looking at one of the world’s most unique pictures.

(Circa 1945: Russian flying aces raise the Ameican Flag on Victory Day in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.) Given the endless anti-Russian tirades in the media about Russian election manipulation and Russian collusion, it’s hard to imagine they sacrificed over 30 million citizens and soldiers while having our back against Hilter’s ground advances. Imagine a... Learn More

DATE: Feb.27.2022 | CATEGORY: History/WorldWarII

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

“Hitler’s worst nightmare. A teenage femme fatale.”

- American Russian Cultural Foundation   Lt. Lilia Litvyak, 20, humiliates Hitler’s elite all-male Luftwaffe over Stalingrad Hitler believed invading the Russians during WWII and turning its citizens into cheap Nazi slave labor would be a “slam dunk.” And, so on June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa, the largest single military invasion in history of... Learn More

DATE: Dec.06.2021 | CATEGORY: History/WorldWarII