God Give Me Strengths

Give Me Strengths

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God Give Me Strengths

Give Me StrengthsI would have to assume that on any given day, someone is praying to God asking for strength.  And, if I know God (and, I do. We’re pretty tight, though not to the point where we’re braiding each other’s hair on a Friday sleepover just yet) then he answers in a very particular way for a very particular reason.  Upon waking up yesterday morning, I remembered that I still needed to take my “strength finder” test as required by my company; Monster Products.

The timing around this was perfect in the sense that I’d been praying daily that God give me strength(s) around this new job.  Monster is a wonderful company. But, it also has challenges.  What company doesn’t?  The only rule I’d placed on myself upon acceptance of the position and offer was — and still is —  no quitting or resigning.   And, truthfully — there is really no need to greet that situation.  I now know my strengths.  And, my top five strengths are essentially a blueprint for continued success.   So, 177 questions later and 35 minutes total spent online — I was spit back this list, in this order.  My top tier strengths are:

  1. Strategic
  2. Connectedness
  3. Learner
  4. Futuristic
  5. Achiever

Strategic wasn’t a surprise.  And, what I didn’t know about being “strategic” from my time spent in the news industry, my boss at The Mob Museum — Ceres Hill — taught me as I transitioned into PR & Marketing.   Connectedness brought a slight “hmmm” reaction.  But only in the sense that if I had taken this test a year ago, it would not be on the list.  The book I wrote titled “It’s a Sign, Stupid!” brought out the connectivity I have with the Universe, God and people that I didn’t know I had prior.  In my opinion — being connected means being vested.  And that means having an important role and stake in the game.  It’s teamwork and it’s about everyone winning.  After leaving the news business back in 2009, I became obsessed with knowledge.  So, Learner making the list was expected.  And, at Monster — another of our mottos is “Ask the Right Questions.”  In doing so, we learn to get accurate information and approach situations from the right angle.  Futuristic was a bit of a shock.  I’m very nostalgic.  I’m the guy who wants to things back to when times were good, etc.  But wrapping my head around that a bit further — I realize that being futuristic is about getting to the good times again by learning from the past.  And, finally, I feel like everyone always tells me that I never stop and that I manage to get where I want to go fairly easily.  Well, I do — but it’s not always  done “easily.” My mentor and college Journalism Professor Virginia Bacheler made me the Achiever I’ve become.  And that only happened after I stopped subscribing to the notion that I wasn’t good enough or as good as anyone else.  The truth is — we are all achievers.  Some just learn it sooner; and some later.

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God Give Me StrengthsMy business cards also arrived today.  As I pulled one out of the box to take a look, I said to myself “one day I’ll actually earn the title that’s on the card.”  Later, I publicly shared that sentiment on Facebook. And, I’m certain that I will earn that title eventually because my boss is a smart guy who knows what he’s doing.  In fact, in the five years that I’ve been out of the news business, Monster Products is the only company that got me to approach my job from a TV News Reporter perspective.  Take a look at the video below that I shot with my iphone and edited in imovie.

Lastly — I would encourage anyone to take the strength finder test put out by Gallup.  It costs $10.  But the take away is prices.  There’s another reason why Monster has us do this and include it in the signature line of our email.  The higher ups know exactly who to tap when they need people with a certain strength to help on a project or particular challenge at hand.

God Give Me Strengths

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Pinwheel

Pinwheel

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PinwheelJust when I thought life couldn’t possible give me another “I didn’t see this coming” moment, there I was living with a family that included two children under the age of five.  The good news: Every story told and pictured painted about the joys and jinx of having kids is pretty accurate.  There was little that came as a surprise per say.  The bad news: None!  Kids are awesome — most of the time.  That said; I’m sure there are some people ready to call me out in contradiction.  I didn’t always speak so highly of children.  So why the 180?

Don’t get me wrong — I never “disliked” children.  After all, I am an uncle with a gaggle of nieces and nephews.  Hopefully I’m not forgetting one from the list below!

  • Jamie & her husband Johnny
  • Anthony
  • Nicholas
  • Kyleigh & Chelsea
  • Derek
  • Mikey
  • Colt & Mirasol (twins, my great niece and nephew)

Living with two children, however, had me a bit concerned for a variety of reason.  First, my potty mouth.  Secondly, my infrequent interaction with children and the worry that I wouldn’t know how to connect on their level.  I moved in with the Tinch family while transitioning from one house to another.  My friendship with LeAnn Tinch dates back further than anyone else in Las Vegas. She’s my go-to date for new show openings on the Strip.Pinwheel  Also, every Thanksgiving, she and her husband Eric offer me a spot at the dinner.  I always oblige.   When their son River arrived, I was among the first to hold the little guy in the hospital.  But, I had yet to meet the newest addition to the family.  The beautiful little girl you see to the right.  Her name is Lilah.   The minute I walked through the door to begin my month-long stay — the magic began.  So too  did the chores.

Pinwheel

LeAnn, River, Lilah & Eric Tinch

Yes — I earned my keep whether it be cleaning the kitchen, washing dishes, setting the dinner table, helping to cook on occasion, feeding the dogs  and even babysitting twice.   Despite this being temporary — there was a bigger take-away.  A greater discovery to be made.  And, it’s one in which I was left surprised.   I came to realize that I think I want kids one day.  Or, I should say rather that I’ll open up the door for the possibility and at least meet the potential opportunity half-way.  We’ll let God decide.

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I’m quite honestly not sure why I was nervous to be around kids.  I’m a Pisces.  I operate like a kid with regard to creativity and imagination.  This came in handy as I pulled Lilah around on a blanket serving as a magic carpet while I sang “A Whole New World” to her.

River, who is also a Pisces,  reminded me of myself when I was his age.  He is extremely inquisitive and loving.  He is also very free with his mouth which lands him in trouble no less than five times a day.  He wouldn’t call me Mike.  He instead opted to use both my first and last name when addressing me.   In this experience, Eric taught me how to frame up a screen play.  It is next on my list of writing endeavors.  And LeAnn and I only made a friendship stronger and learned that we would be a dynamite PR/Marketing team together.

Just prior to my move out day, I was at the splash pad cutting string and measuring for the decorations that will go up at Lilah’s first birthday party this month.   The theme is  Pinwheels.  For you Gen Xer’s, you may remember the show Pinwheel on Nickelodeon growing up.  If not, I included a clip at the bottom.  I moved out of parents house when I was 18.  Though I firmly believe that families come in all shapes and size, it’s been decades since I experience that traditional setting of a husband, wife and kids under one roof.   It was a blast.  Life is a circle.  The family is a circle.  And, families truly work together from what I saw.  It gives me hope.  And it’s an important lesson I wasn’t to forget.

Pinwheel

The hive was removed and taken to a bee keeper.

As I began to move into my new place, the tree near the driveways was adorned with a giant bee hive.  I’m super allergic to bees — but not the message and  spiritual meaning of the bee or what the hive was suggesting. Bees work together.  They’re symbolic of the family unit.  They help each other out.   They stay busy building and keeping that family unit going.  And in my life, I learned hierarchy of importance.  God comes first,  Family comes second, Mankind comes third.  At least that’s how I see the ranking.

To LeAnn, Eric, River & Lilah:  I had an incredible month.  Thank you for being some of the most wonderful people a guy could ever have in his life and thank you for letting me stay with you.    You’re the best.

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Ian Ziering Interview

Ian Ziering Interview

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IAN ZIERING BACK WITH CHIPPENDALES

Ian ZieringIan Ziering is more than just muscle.  He’s quickly becoming a powerhouse actor and household name once again since his days as Steve Sanders on Beverly Hills 90210.  His recent role in Sharknado wasn’t necessarily expected to whirlwind his career.   Social media helped with that attack.  Now, with Sharknado 2 already shot — Ziering returns to the Chippendales stage to show off his pecs and charm.  This is one actor a reporter doesn’t mind interviewing.  He’s likeable, humble and an all-around good guy.

Mike: You know — looking at you wearing that leather jacket, you sort of remind me of Knight Rider.  I could totally see you in that role in a new movie.

Ian: You know, now that you mention it; Michael Knight did wear a similar leather jacket.

Mike: He didn’t have his shirt off underneath — nor did he have blond hair but I really think you could pull off this role.

Ian: I’m sure the Hoff would allow me to play this!

Mike: I’ll work on it.  We need to keep you going — and speaking of keeping things going; you’re back with Chippendales a second time.  How does it feel and is it different this time?

Ian: You know, I’m so flattered to be around this dance troop that’s been around for 35 years.  And, to be playing a part that’s lasted two years now is really a feather in my cap.  It’s a great bunch of guys here at the Rio.  Everyone treats me so well.  They’re so nice and friendly. And, I never look to be treated like a star but they go out of their way to make me feel special.  But as I look around — they do that with everybody so it’s nice to be immersed in that.  Ian ZieringAnd, being here in Vegas again, as part of the entertainment versus being here for part of the fun is a completely different perspective.  I get to know the locals and that’s not something you get to do when you come to Vegas.   You come here for a few days or a week but now I’m here and I have friends that work in the bar or the restaurants and they’re just nice people.

Mike:  How many times do you hear Oh My God it’s Steve Sanders?

Ian: For the most part, people know my name.  But, it’s still flattering when people call me Steve.

My friend LeAnn: Do you still turn around when people call you that?

Ian: Sure. You know, I’ll turn around.  They’re talking to me so I’m not going to ignore them.  It’s very flattering.

Mike: They probably still think you’re in that character — still Steve but you’re way different than him.  You’re like him in some ways but you’re honestly a good guy.

Ian: Yeah.  He had a big story line.  My life is now trapped in celluloid and his life experiences were contained and mine keep expanding.  I’m working on a globally successful movie — you know, these were things that I never dreamed of.  Though I may have fantasized as a child about being a Chippendale, I didn’t imagine I’d be doing this in Vegas.

Mike:  You started on Broadway at the age of 11 — right?

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Ian: Yes. I was very young doing Broadway but I also toured doing Peter Pan.

Mike: It’s amazing that you can do movies, Broadway and TV — you can do it all.

Ian: Well, that’s one of the great things about being an actor — there’s so many great mediums.  When I was a young boy, my mom was sure to make me a triple threat — that I could sing, dance and act.  The competition is fierce and if you’re lucky enough to get an audition, you be prepared.  And that’s where you can find success.

Mike: Not to turn this somber but when we talked last year — you actually really helped me when you said find your ‘why’ in life. Father’s day recently — you lost your mom and dad not too long ago and now you’re a dad.  How do you take that all in?  

Ian: You know — I shed a few tears the other day.   Every time I leave the house to go work, my daughter Mia cries and tells me don’t leave me dad.  It’s part of the sacrifice you make as a parent and it’s nothing I ever recognized as a kids — dads just work.  But it’s truly a sacrifice.  My wife and two daughters are here.

Mike: For the whole duration or just for a few days?

Ian: For the next few weeks.  And, there’s no better way to honor my father than to teach my kids what he taught me.

Mike:  When you look at Sharknado and the attention the first one got, do you get nervous with the second one and how that will fare?

Ian: You know, the second script read like a $100 million dollar blockbuster.  When I finished it — I could believe…I wondered how they hell they were going to shoot this.  And I remembered the same thing after I read the first one — and Thunder Levin, the Writer and Anthony C. Ferrante, the Director — two very imaginative and creative gentlemen have a way of making magic.  So, I have a lot of trust in them where I had trepidation last time.  And, I think is going to be an even — well — just as good as the first or even better.

Mike: You can bet a lot of people will be watching.

Ian: Oh yeah.  It’s huge.  It’s a great movie.  They’ve already picked up a third.  I went to talk to a fortune-teller in NYC.  It was late night — one of those buzzing neon signs.   You know, get your fortune read for $10.   So I went in there and I said ‘Sharknado — how many movies are we going to do?’  She said.. oh, I see three maybe four.  Maybe even turn this into a series.  So, I said — well, how many of these am I going to be in.  She said – that’ll be another $10.

Ian Ziering’s second stint with Chippendales runs until July 20th.  And don’t be surprised if you see him pop up in another show on the strip.  Recently, he joined Olivia Newton-John during her show “Summer Nights”at Flamingo to sing the male part of none other than “Summer Nights”with her on stage.   Tell me he doesn’t look like the new Knight Rider?

IanZiering3

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Go Baby Daddy Website

Go Baby Daddy Website

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Go Baby Daddy Website Funding

Help me build this site that will give dads everywhere information, resources, guidance and encouragement as they raise their kids.  It’s time we support dads as they too have an important job and role in their children’s lives.

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Selfie Exposed

Selfie Exposed

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 SELFIE EXPOSED | BLAH, BLAH BLOG!

Selfie ExposedA few weeks ago while on the red carpet at the Billboard Music Awards, I got word that Natasha Bedingfield was making her way down.  My internal reaction was “oh.”  It was one of those “oh’s” that was sort of right in the middle.  It wasn’t a negative reaction, it wasn’t positive.  I’ve interviewed her before.  She just wasn’t all that exciting the first time.  But, I’m not one to quickly write someone off — especially with only one encounter under my belt. 

As Natasha passed by me, I yelled out her name.  I was quickly met with — “I gotta get inside.”   Not one to necessarily take “no” for an answer — I fired back with “It’s just one fun question.”  She approached.  I didn’t make small talk — I went right in with the question.  “What’s the secret to the perfect selfie?”

I felt like this whole infatuation with the “selfie” had become over-exposed.  And, from a one dimensional point of view, it seemed a little narcissistic and done only for one to be selfie exposed.  Just another oddity in pop culture. But, then I changed my lens — my view of it.  The question I asked her wasn’t one of my own.  It sits on a list of general questions that Us Weekly Magazine provides for an ongoing segment in the magazine.  This list is a goldmine of questions for answers that the make tabloid magazines mega-bucks.  And the list is just that;  if you only look at those questions from one angle.

Natasha’s response to that question was simple.  She told me — reach your arms up and angle it (smart phone) into the light.  Once again, I thought “oh.”  The answer was fine.  It wasn’t anything brilliant.  Well; actually it was.  And this fool picked up on it several weeks later.  That question and answer had nothing to do with a “selfie” in the picture form.  It has to do with the actual person.  The “self.”  

My roommate — who finds opportunity for selfie everywhere — could probably have three picture books full of them by now.

Selfie ExposedSelfie Exposed

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In fact, one day when the toner in the printer at his workplace ran out; the company that provides it told him to send a photo of it.  It was a selfie of Brian holding the toner. Anyway, he told me recently that I just don’t seem as happy as I once did.  In fact, I’d been hearing it from a few people lately. It’s not that I’m unhappy.  It’s just the aggravations of life seem to become the bigger, more noticeable picture.  The happier self ends up still sitting in the dark room.  You liking all the photo metaphors?  

Selfie Exposed

Natasha Bedingfield at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards

Natasha’s response now clicks.  Perhaps if I just reach my arms up — realize I can’t control everything and angle myself into the light — that’s the better “selfie.”  I’m not sure there is a “perfect” one; if you know what I mean.   I do agree that we as human beings do need to be self-centered every now and again — just not for the selfish reason in which “self-centered” is associated.  If we are going to shine to the world, offer up our talents and inspire others — we have to look within ourselves from time to time to make sure we’re getting better and stronger.  Think of it as a self-induced check up — like the one you get from your doctor to make sure all is good within.  

Take enough “selfies” and a few  things start to become clearer.  In looking at what’s behind you in the picture — you may need to change your background or start enjoying it more.   Are you smiling in the “selfie?”  If not- START!  You see where I’m going with this.  Snap enough “selfies” and sooner or later the people around you will start seeing you in that light that Natasha spoke of. Undoubtedly, so will you.  

Let’s face it — pictures are still worth a thousand words.  And when it comes to the “selfie;” it’s the the positive responses that help make us a bit more picture perfect to the rest of the world.  Look for Natasha Bedingfield’s new album titled “The Next Chapter” due out soon.  For now, listen to her song “Who Am I”  featured in the Disney movie “The Pirate Fairy.”  “Oh,” and for the record — I think Natasha is brilliant and will gladly interview her anytime!

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Will Edwards Show Appearance

The Will Edwards Show

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THE WILL EDWARDS SHOW

DATE:  June 19th, 2014

TIME:  1:00 am (Yes, technically it’s Friday morning)

CHANNEL:  MyLVTV (Ch. 12)  or Direct TV (Ch. 21)

The Will Edwards ShowA GIANT thank you to Will Edwards for having me on his show — which is now celebrating its fourth season.  We taped the episode in mid-May. Believe it or not — this was the first TV appearance I’ve done since leaving the news business five years ago!  Thank goodness guests of the show get to do their interviews with a “Ghettotini” drink in hand (it tastes much better than it sounds).   Plus,  Will is a total pro as a host.  I also want to thank his incredible crew which includes the lovely Chelsea Crews for being wonderful.

So, I was on the show to promote my book “It’s a Sign, Stupid!” I won’t spill the beans on what Will and I  chatted about —  you’ll just have to watch for yourself.  But, on the show you’ll learn my current favorite chapter from the book.   Yes, Chapter 11 is still my “real” favorite but there’s another chapter that got me thinking quite a bit lately.

Speaking of the book, I also finally hand delivered Holly Madison her signed copy a few weeks ago.   For those of you who’ve read the book; you’ll remember she was the focal point of Chapter 7: Madison Avenue.   A couple nights ago I randomly tweeted out the book link– as I sometimes do to promote it — and I got this reply a little while later from Ms. Madison:


Totally wasn’t expecting that but it made my night.  And, her tweet turned into four book sales!  So, many thanks to Holly. In fact, the next time you’re in Las Vegas — you must check out her brand new burlesque called 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque over at Mandalay Bay Hotel.  It’s part Speakeasy, part Burlesque.  And, Holly doesn’t just own the joint — she performs there often too!

  It's a Sign, Stupid   Holly Burlesque    

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Mob Memories: An Interview with Al Capone’s Niece

Al Capone

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 Uncle Al Capone:  An interview with his niece

Deirdre Capone

Deirdre Marie Capone (Al Capone’s Niece)

While the Mob is notorious for their monikers, Deirdre Capone (Al Capone’s niece )  needed more than a mere nickname if she were to stand any chance at a normal childhood.   Deirdre Gabriel seemed unsuspecting except for one problem. “Scarface” wasn’t just any old Mobster.  He was “Public Enemy No. 1.”  Deirdre Gabriel’s cover was blown by the time she made her First Communion.  Hell followed by way of disclusion from classmates.  Deirdre Capone’s book titled  Uncle Al Capone – The Untold Story From Inside His Family offers new, untold details of this iconic Mobster through the eyes of the people who knew him best — his family.

Mike: Your uncle died when you were a young girl but from what you recall — tell us something that you remember or something that would surprise us considering the  fascinating with the pop culture of the Mob that is alive and well. 

Deirdre Capone: “Yes, he did die on my 7th birthday.  So, he died on January 25th, 1947.  But my Grandfather was Al’s older brother and business partner.   I had my Grandfather telling me things and teaching me things until I was 34 years old.   We were a very close Italian family — a family of immigrants.  It was mandatory that we got together for every holiday and every Sunday at Grandma’s.  I would go back and forth to church with her.  I inherited a lot of things from Al and my Grandfather that are in the Capone family – -a bunch of Capone memorabilia.   Two memories I recall — one time my Grandfather took me to Miami to visit (Al) and I got into his pool and learned to swim in his pool.  But, what was so funny is I was swimming and got a mouth full of water and it was salty.  The pool —  at that time — it was actual sea water that filled into the pool and there would be little fishes and seaweed — it’s the first time I ever had the taste of salt water in my mouth.  I must have made a really funny face because Al Capone came over, picked me up and put me on the side of the pool.  He was laughing so hard because of the look on my face. Another time, I was in the backyard in Chicago helping my Grandmother pick Dandelions.  I had climbed the Apple tree and I fell out of the tree onto my back and had the wind knocked out of me.  It scared me.   It really frightened me.  Al picked me up, put me over his shoulder and soothed me until I started breathing again.  He also taught me how to play the Mandolin.

Mike Doria: So Al Capone was a musician?

Deirdre Capone: “Oh yes, he loved music.”

Mike Doria: And he played the Mandolin!

Deirdre Capone: “He played the Mandolin, he sang — and that’s one thing a lot of people don’t know about Al Capone.   His son Sonny — his only son and only child also was a singer.

Mike Doria: That is very interesting.  Before Al Capone was in the Mob, he was a bouncer — but most people only really know him as the Mobster.  What was he like as a family guy?

Deirdre Capone: “Remember — that was in the 20’s and things were entirely different back then.  Men wore two rolls — one was their work life and one was their family life.  And, back in those days men never mixed the two.  You never did business at home and you never talked about home while you were out doing business.  Prohibition started in 1920.  1920 is also when woman got to vote.  They were bobbing their hair and shortening their skirts.  Jazz was coming into being and all of these things revolved around a function with alcohol. Also in the 1920’s, the Italians were the low people on the totem pole.  They were last to be hired and first to be fired.  When prohibition began, it opened up this whole cottage industry that Italians could fill.  That’s why Italians are associated with being Mobsters.  All of a sudden, they had the chance to provide for their families.  If we go back a generation in American history; the people who immigrated to the country before the Italians were the Irish.  AT the time the Irish immigrated, we were turning from a rural district to an urban district.  So, it opened up a couple of cottage industries the Irish could fill.  One was police work.  The other was education.  That’s why the Irish are so associated with police work and teaching — those were the jobs available to them.   So when Prohibition began, became available for the Italians to get involved.  When my family was involved in it — and by the way, my Grandfather was Public Enemy Number Three and Al Capone was Public Enemy Number One.  So, Al Caponemy Grandfather was every bit involved as Al Capone. My Grandfather told me that at one time, he was running over 300 different establishments.  My called it business and they called it the “Outfit.”  There was honor among thieves.  I was taught that your word is your bond and your family is everything.  I have four children and 14 grandchildren.  If you poll any of them — they’ll tell you I don’t lie.  I’ve never told a lie.  Family is everything.  So, it was a business back then.  Was there bloodshed?  Of cours!  But, I think there was more bloodshed in the police business than there ever was in the 30’s with the Mob.

Mike Doria:  So my last name is Doria and I’m Italian — Sicilian to be specific.  And, I think my last name is the only last name out of Sicily that somehow isn’t connected to the Mob.  You have a much different last name than most people — a name that is so synonymous with Organized Crime.  How did that affect you growing up? 

Deirdre Capone: “It was very, very difficult growing up.  My father tried to protect me.  So when he enrolled me in school, he used his middle name as my last name.  My father was Ralph Gabriel Capone and he was the first-born of the second generation of Capone’s in the United States.   He was played the role in the Capone family that John Fitzgerald Kennedy played in the Kennedy family.  He was brilliant.  He went through the best schools.  He passed the bar exam in Illinois but Chicago would not allow him to practice because his name was Capone.

Mike Doria:  So having a normal childhood — even after Al Capone’s tenure in the Mob was not easy.

Deirdre Capone: “Well, my Italian family needed something joyous to look forward to.  Catholics make their First Communion in the second grade.  Back then — in 1947, the big Chicago papers always had a local edition that would come out on Mondays.  By the way — the whole Capone family was in attendance for my First Communion and afterward we all went back to Grandma’s house for a big picnic.  So, on Monday — the local edition of the Chicago Tribune and the Herald American ran a story that said the children at my school on Mother’s Day (we always made it on Mother’s Day) and Deirdre Capone made hers with the entire Capone family in attendance.  No one knew me as Deirdre Capone, but how many Deirdre’s do you think were in the City of Chicago in 1947 — let alone at my particular school.  So, all of a sudden — my classmates were aware of who I was.  Two weeks later, every boy and every girl in my class was invited to this one girl’s birthday party but not me.  I went to that school all the way through the 12th grade.  None of those students ever had anything to do with me.  I never had a birthday party because no one would ever come.

Mike Doria: So, the backlash started at a young age.  Did any of the students in your class or at your school ever come up to you to ask about the Mob or your Uncle?

Deirdre Capone: “No.  That was in the 40’s and things were different back then.  People didn’t talk about things or ask questions.  They believed everything they read in the papers which wasn’t true.  When Al died on my seventh birthday, I was  reading and I did read all the accounts of his life in the papers.  70 percent of what I read was not true.

Mike Doria:  So you were seeing one side of Al Capone, but the world was perhaps seeing another.  Do you think that had anything to do with it?

Deirdre Capone: “No.  There was  group of businessmen in Chicago in the 30’s that were out to bring the Capone boys down.  There were a lot of reasons for that.  Number one, my Al and my Grandfather were invited by a group of businessmen to be part of an association called the Trilateral Commission.  What they did was use their money to fund the banks of South American countries.  My Grandfather didn’t like it.  He thought it was a scam and didn’t want any part of it.   But, he was one of the players.  So after that — everything that happened in the City of Chicago — they blamed on Al or Ralph Capone.  The only thing they could get my Grandfather or Al on was income tax evasion.  And, people don’t even understand that.   When the income tax law was put into being, there was a provision in the law that said you didn’t have to declare any income you earned illegally.  That would tend to incriminate a person.   That’s (provision) no longer that case anymore but back then it was.  So my Grandfather and Uncle didn’t know they had to declare income they earned from peddling alcohol.  When they found out — they offered to pay.  But, it was insisted they go to jail so they (Government) could break up the outfit.  My Grandfather was sentenced to three years in the Federal penitentiary.  Al was sentenced to 11 years.

I checked with the IRS to verify this information.  According to Special Agent-in-Charge,  Paul Camacho, this provision was settled in the Supreme Court in 1927.  He says Deirdre Capone is off by 5 years.  According to Camacho, several Mobsters — including Ralph Capone — were taken down after that court decision.    Camacho says the notion of not having to claim illegal income for tax purposes was nothing more than a far-flung defense by a Mobster that somehow made it to the Supreme Court.

Mike Doria:  Both were convicted on Tax Evasion charges so the disparity in sentences is interesting.  Do you think the Feds were trying to send a message with regard to Organized Crime and using Al as the example?

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Deirdre Capone: “There was an Al Capone counterpart in every city in the Us.  Rockefeller was bootlegger.  Joe Kennedy was a bootlegger — people wanted alcohol.  The people who lived in the rural areas could make their own.  They had the skill.  But, the people who lived in the Cities needed a purveyor.  They needed someone to bring the alcohol to them.  My grandfather told me that he was really proud of the business that he and Al had because they provided top quality alcohol.  No one’s liver blew up on them.  No one went blind.  They imported good stuff.  In fact, the first alcoholic drink I ever had with my grandfather was rye whiskey formulated just to their liking in Iowa.  That was the good stuff they provided.  My grandfather told me that at one time, he was running over 300 different establishments.  Just think about that Mike — 300 different establishments and he didn’t have a fax machine, a computer or a cell phone.  How did he do that?

From the "Faces of the Mob" exhibit at The Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas.

From the “Faces of the Mob” exhibit at The Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas.

Mike Doria: It’s funny you bring that up.  I interviewed Carrie Ann Moss who plays the District Attorney on the show Vegas that is set in the Mob area during the Sheriff Ralph Lamb days.  On the show she had to get a note to someone and she was saying that she literally had to get the note to the person — there was no texting like this now.  It is somewhat of a testament to these guys who were able to get an operation like bootlegging going.  These were smart guys who had to have some level of knowledge to carry this out don’t you think?

Deirdre Capone: “Absolutely.  It was different times back them.  Your word was absolutely your bond.  People got into the business knowing full well what was expected.  My grandfather told me that Al Capone had over 1000 machine gun bullets fired at him in a hotel.  He had to retaliate.  It wasn’t like you could go to the police and say ‘oh he didn’t something wrong, put him in jail.’  That’s not the way it worked back then.  The police, judges and Capones all worked together to give people what they wanted.”

Mike Doria: That was Prohibition and one of the big stories born out of that era is the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.  Some might say that was the bloodiest day in Mob history.  Even though Al Capone wasn’t there, many insist it was his gang that took down George “Bugs” Moran’s gang.  How do you wrap your head around that story?

Bricks -- some with Tommy Gun bullet holes -- from the St. Valentines Day Massacre Wall.

The actual bricks from the wall from the St. Valentines Day Massacre. On display at The Mob Museum in downtown Vegas, visitors will see bullet holes from the gunfire.

Deirdre Capone: “I was told by my family that Al’s younger brother — my Uncle Eddie — you know, he was kind of scouting out the area while Al was in Florida trying to make a deal with the United States Government for the tax issues.   So, they were driving to find out Bugs’ path — what time he went to work, what time he went home — things like that. My Uncle said ‘we’re in the alley and we see this touring car filled with policemen.  It was going up and down the alley. My uncle said he got scared thinking they were going to get arrested. So, they left.  It was the next day the massacre occured.  But, I have a very strange quirk of fate.  My husband’s Uncle married the sister of the so-called mechanic that was killed in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.  The mechanic told his brother that police were stealing alcohol off the back of Bugs Moran’s trucks and Bugs was going to tell the police Lieutenant about it.   They did the crime but made it to look like it was Capone who was to blame.   If Capone wanted Bugs Moran down, he would’ve taken him down — not like that.  That one incident alone  really sullied the Capone name.

POINT OF INFORMATION:

As the story goes; during the Massacre on February 14th, 1929 — Al Capone’s gang lured members of Bugs Moran’s gang to a warehouse in Chicago.  Dressed in police uniforms to trick Moran’s gang into thinking arrests were coming — Capone’s gang instead lined the men up along a wall and opened fire killing seven  people.  Al Capone was never charged or questioned in the shooting.  

The second thing that happened that made Capone the poster child for Mobsters was that he was in Alcatraz.  The only reason that my Uncle went to Alcatraz was J. Edgar Hoover told the very first warden at Alcatraz that if he wanted worldwide attention as to how horrible the place is to be incarcerated was to transfer Al Capone There.   So, he was moved from Atlanta to Alcatraz.  I go out to Alcatraz to sign books all the time. The very last sign you see  as you get on a ferry boat to go out there is a quote by the First Warden that said “Alcatraz was opened to incarcerate irredeemable men — men who could never return back to society.”  My Uncle Al was released in 1939.  He dies in 1947 — you can’t find one negative thing about him between that time.  Irredeemable — I don’t think so!

Mike Doria: That certainly also begs the question of who’s right it is to decide who can and can’t be rehabilitated.   So, just to be clear — you don’t believe Al Capone was involved in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre at all — you believe it was solely Bugs Moran’s  gang….

Deirdre Capone:  “And actual members of the police department.”

Mike Doria: I know you were still young at the time, but we in society really only know Al Capone prior to prison.  What was he like from the time he was released in 1939 to the time he died?  Did he lead more of a straight life?

Deirdre Capone: “Correct.  You see I didn’t know Al Capone before he went to prison so I was banking on my Grandfather for details of the earlier years.  Al Capone only had one sister and she was only five years older than my father.  She became like a mother to me and really taught me a lot of things.  So I had her, my grandmother (Al’s mother) and my grandfather telling me things.  So — I’m just telling  you all that I know and it doesn’t get more first-hand than it coming right from my family’s mouth.”

Mike Doria: Why do you think the whole pop culture fascination with the Mob came back.  This country has always been fascinated by it but it seems to have come back with a vengence.  

Deirdre Capone: “I think the show Boardwalk Empire really been instrumental in showing people what things were really like back then.  There was glamour back then.  Back then, men were men.  They could have a temper.  Nowadays they can’t.  I was a woman.  I lived with those people.  I was never afraid a day in my life.  I talked with the women who hung on the arms of Grandfather and my Uncle.  Never once were they frightened.

Mike Doria: I imagine the old telephone game scenario also comes into play where the story starts out one way and ends a whole different way as people pass it on.  I want to ask — is there any anger at all born out of having to live with the name Capone and all the trials and tribulations that came from the Mob connection?

Deirdre Capone: “Yeah.  There is.  As I said, Al Capone is the poster child for Mobsters.  But I look at it this way.  Was Al Capone a Mobster?  Yes, he was.  Was Al Capone a monster?   No, he wasn’t.

Deirdre Capone’s book Uncle Al Capone – The Untold Story From Inside His Family was written for a particular reason.  In the 1980’s when the movie The Untouchables — some of Deirdre Capone’s kids and grand kids were living in their home city of Chicago.  They encouraged her to write a book due to the quote “awful portrayal,” according to her kids and grandchildren,  of him in the movie.  Deirdre Capone does speaking engagements from time to time regarding her book and her family’s history.

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING….

As you might imagine, Deirdre Capone gets a lot of people offering up what they believe are remnants and artifacts belonging to Al Capone. She says owns his diamond pinky ring, stick pin cameo tie clip and various other authentic pieces from Al Capone’s collection that people claim to have in their possession.

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