Sep 01

Known by some as Joe Bananas (A name he abhorred based on the connotation that he was crazy), Giuseppe “Joseph” Bonanno saw over 95 years on this earth while living a life of crime and privilege. If that isn’t amazing enough, you could factor in his survival within the American Mafia and seeing it change three times over. From being raised within the principles of Castellamarese’ men of honor, to being the youngest of the five bosses on The Commission, boss Joe was respected by gangsters and lawmakers alike. Hailing from Castellammare del Golfo, Joe Bonanno and family first immigrated to Brooklyn, New York when he was 3 years old and then again at 20 after both his parents died (His father was an important mafia leader in Sicily). When Joe came to America, he was tutored by the infamous gangster Salvatore Maranzano. Don Maranzano… [Read more]

Aug 20

Today’s entry is about the mighty elephant Hannibal, a man whose father instilled such a hate in him for the city of Rome that he would not only fight his entire life to try and destroy it, but took a draught of poison rather than be imprisoned within her halls. Hannibal absolutely loathed Rome, it was a deep, deep hate born and bred from the loss of his father, brothers and friends to their legions, and it all began from one legendary act. The act (that Hannibal reportedly loved to talk about) was when his father, the mighty Hamilcar held him aloft above a fire and made him swear to hate Rome or face the flames and oblivion. Being a young soldier within his father’s campaign, Hannibal at first fought whilst witnessing his father and older brother expand Carthage into Spain and beat back Rome… [Read more]

Jun 23

“In stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh; a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips; around her neck was a large golden necklace; and she wore a tunic of diverse colors over which a thick mantle was fastened with a brooch. This was her invariable attire.” – Cassius Dio’s description of Boudica, Icenian Queen. One of the most glorious female warriors in ancient history is the warrior queen Boudica – a Celtish badass who led her men into war against the Romans in 61 C.E. Under the order of the commanders of the Roman legions, her people were ravaged for conquest, slaves pillaged her home, and she was whipped. Her daughters were brutally raped and her people made into slaves for the glory of Rome. This… [Read more]

May 11

A few years ago, Denzel Washington played the character Frank Lucas in American Gangster, a tale about a hustler who took the drug game beyond the limited scope of his fellow hoods. In the early portions of the movie we see that Frank was tutored by a man who they simply called Bumpy, played by Clarence Williams III. Well as much as the movie put Frank Lucas over as a mastermind and Denzel Washington inaccurately portrayed him as a cool, poised Gangster, most historians know that Bumpy Johnson deserved a bit more than a slight mention in the life of Lucas. It is convenient that Lucas was alive to make sure that they semi-accurately put him over in the movie, but his predecessor Bumpy was not afforded that luxury for  American Gangster. Well we are fans of old Elsworth here at the Hall, Bumpy represented… [Read more]

Apr 01

Although this will be a controversial entry, this will be the  first of my Gangster badasses of the month. Now while I don’t praise criminality, I do understand the need that created it and I am an attentive student of organized crime history. This month’s badass is the original Capo de tutti capi (boss of all bosses) which was a title he did not want, as well as the nickname that was bestowed upon him. The man is Salvatore Lucania, most famously know as Charles “Lucky” Luciano. Charlie Lucky is a badass for quite a few reasons, the first being that he had the balls to play Chess with the two reigning mustached Petes (Fat Joe Masseria and Don Salvatore Maranzano), and walk away holding all the chips. To understand how badass that feat was, you have to understand just how evil and cut-throat the… [Read more]

Feb 02
Sergeant Henry Lincoln Johnson of World War I

It is one thing to show super-human aptitude for a country that loves you, but to do so for a country that deems you to be sub-human – to the point that they withhold honors earned in the line of duty is beyond belief. When you watch movies depicting D.Day (Normandy), the Allied attacks on the Nazi surge, and anything dealing with the 1940’s militarily, it is easy to forget that black people existed, let alone fought. It being very much a white man’s world during these times, blacks were kept out of books and camera view, especially when films were being made to record the military. Now think about how bad it must’ve been during World War I for African Americans who served in the Army. This sad fact led to men like Sergeant Henry Lincoln Johnson being overlooked and ignored, even when taking… [Read more]

Jan 18

War movies love to highlight snipers, and I know why, they appear to be mysterious, accurate and have the patience of 1,000 old school mothers packed into one. But you have to wonder, how much of what is shown in Hollywood is true? Are they revered or are they scoffed at as cowards? Are they really that accurate, or do they have a whole shit-ton of gadgets to help?  The biggest question is, can one man, hidden away for days with a weapon, have the ability to wipe out droves of unsuspecting men like a movie? Apparently the answer to this question is yes, the answer to this crazy sniper legend can be summed up in two words – White Death. Finnish hero and dead-eye marksman Simo Häyhä was credited with over 700 kills in the Finnish winter war of 1940. When the Soviet Union… [Read more]

Dec 10

If we’re going to talk badasses, I think it only appropriate to start with the man who comes to mind when I think of the congressional Medal of Honor. Audie Leon Murphy amassed a total of 33 medals in his day along with the congressional Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty”. Audie earned just about every medal there was to earn for being godly on the battlefield and then went on to star as himself in war movies before suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and clinical depression. Like many men of his time, Audie’s life was eventually taken by the one thing he couldn’t fight, a piece of crap private plane transporting him on a business trip. What makes Audie a badass? Well given the technology and advances in… [Read more]