Jimmy In Detroit

On this date in 1975, labor leader Jimmy Hoffa was reported missing.


Posted by This Date in History

On the morning of this day in 1975, James Riddle Hoffa, one of the most influential American labor leaders of the 20th century, was officially reported missing after he failed to return home the previous night. Though he is popularly believed to have been the victim of a Mafia hit, to date nothing has been proven.

He was scheduled to retake his Union, The Teamsters. But Frank Fitzsimmons was president of the Union while Jimmy was in prison and had no desire to give up the position. Apparently Frank didn’t consider the position temporary at all. Mafia and Teamsters were synonymous in those days, so as the saying goes, “six of one, half a dozen of the other” for who killed him. And offed he was, no doubt. He had a meeting with three other men, a couple from the Union, and a mobster. Apparently no one showed up. He was angry about being stood up and eventually left the restaurant only to get into a car with several other men waiting for him in the parking lot.

It was at one of the Fox and Hound restaurants in Bloomfield Hills, on Telegraph Road. It was not far from where I had been living at one point, and I often met people there for lunch. They had great food and a lovely salad that I would get. But by the time of the hit I had moved away from Michigan, returning home to La Crosse, Wisconsin. I was no longer associated with the Union, though I was still involved with a Union person and would be for several more years, even returning to Michigan to again live there for a while.

We used to see several Teamsters at Carl’s Chop House in Detroit where we often went to eat and drink, socialize. Detroit was still very much alive in those days. There was a vibrancy and energy that existed everywhere then: a thriving theatre district, restaurants with long lines of cars waiting to get in, and people walking the streets while expensive cars drove by with their music loud and pulsing.

I saw Jimmy at the Chop once. His wife too, as she was sitting at the bar drinking while a group of us were dining nearby. The place was loud as usual. When Jimmy came into the bar it grew quiet and we watched without speaking. It happened quickly. He went up to the bar where his wife was, grabbed her arm as she reached for her purse and the coat draped over her barstool. He didn’t say anything at least that I could tell. Obviously he didn’t approve either of her drinking or drinking at the bar. Someone at the table said he didn’t approve of women at the bar. Probably not of her drinking as much as she did either. In any case, she must not have expected him there, certainly not then.

And that was it. Just as quickly he walked into my life and just as quickly out of it. It must have felt the same for him getting into that car. Exciting, sad, and quick. And that was all there was to it. Gone.

Afterthought Apologies

It occurs that I’ve never quite explained why you’ll rarely find a plot outline or summary in my book reviews, which are only sort-of reviews. My reasons are thus: To write about the plot in sequence is boring. And tedious. Additionally, you (or anyone) can find the plot on any of the bookseller’s sites, which is where you would go if you are interested in purchasing the book.

In turn, my comments about a book or play or movie or series tend to be haphazard or about such things as purpose or flow, sometimes issues. Things that seem to be such that make the piece at least work, if not enchant, or things that make for a fail. Besides, as in the opposite of the previous comments, this is writing that is fun and easy to toss about.

The things that I write about move me. Why would I otherwise write about them? A natural energy comes along with that. And with that energy, the impetus to write. Hence, fodder for a blog, which in turn is the very reason why we are here. That and of course to sell my book, The Fat Man. It’s on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.


Spoiled—A Book Review

Meaning, the review is a total spoiler. You’ll not want to read this if you want to be spoiler-free, or otherwise uninformed.


Book purchased, my photo

So I read this. It’s OK, as stories go. However. The however relates to the prose, which is not much to write about so I won’t. It also relates to some plot flaws. At first I was willing to write about the plot thinking it was a go-along-with-it and I did, finishing the novel in the wee hours. But there are three serious flaws to my mind. The first is the bloody footprints throughout the house wherein the murder takes place. The hammerman has left a bloody mess behind, including his bloody tracks. The father of our protagonist and also a protagonist of sorts also trapeses through the house. His footprints would have been comingled of course, but there also should be some distinguishable ones. Worth a search at least, given that it’s his story. Yet none is undertaken.

A second flaw is that a birth certificate, given a birth by a married woman, should show the husband of the wife as the father of the child, should it not? I don’t believe you get to name anyone you choose. I think once marriage is the status, the default goes to the husband. Yes?

The third flaw is the rifle. How did the wife, Mrs. Patel, become an able shooter? Suddenly she has killed someone with a .22 bolt-action rifle. I’m not sure about this. And with all of the shots used to kill her husband, all of them on target. Isn’t a bolt action a single shot? Even if not, nothing in the novel takes us along. It’s an afternote. He’s murdered and it’s done by his wife. There you have it—a wrap. Ahhhhhmmmm, I don’t think so. It’s like the author-writer got tired and said, so there you have it.

And there we have it. A disappointment on the whole of it. Plus, it’s interesting that the puzzle our suicide leaves behind isn’t the answer to the mystery at all. That’s in the accidental find of the state-hall-of-records-address abbreviation found in the burned remains (burning done by Joey) in a wastebasket.

Oh, and the hammerman identity is easily deciphered partway through the story. It just takes a bit longer to determine why.

Happy Birthday

To one of our fine fellows, as posted by Poetic Outlaws. And we do wish that he had chosen to remain with us, but the monster inside would just not be silent. It was not of mean spirit that he stopped his life here. When the torment cannot be withstood or silenced by alcohol or drugs or personal heavens, then the only option is suicide. Did you know that by far the depressive’s way out is a gunshot to the head? To silence the monster.


John Atkinson Grimshaw – Spirit of the Night (detail), 1879

Words. Fall in love with words—with their spirit, their story. “She was fascinated with words. To her, words were things of beauty, each like a magical powder or potion that could be combined with other words to create powerful spells.”  Dean Koontz – Lightning