The Mafia Manager: A Guide to Success

Lee Wallek

The multinational corporation known affectionately as the Mafia or the Mob is nothing if not efficient. The managers and CEOs of this company have a penetrating understanding of human nature, and this ability to give people what they want while ruthlessly eliminating the competition has led to the universal success of its stock. Lee Wallek, a corporate CEO himself, now near retirement, has taken some of the principles of management Mafia-style and presented them in a slim volume along with his own idiosyncratic drawings of various personalities one might encounter in the “business world.” Equal parts Macchiavelli’s Prince, Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People, and Joe Pesci’s nastiest characters’ chauvinist-guy handbook, The Mafia Manager will make valuable reading for anyone involved in activities relating to the management and control of other human beings. AS

Publisher: December
Paperback: 112 pages

Wicked City Chicago: From Kenna to Capone

Curt Johnson and R. Craig Sautter

Most folks know that Chicago has been nicknamed the Windy City. Other aliases that the city has assumed are the Second City and the City That Works. In a famous poem it was referred to as The City With Big Shoulders, and some have been known to celebrate it in song as “That Toddlin’ Town.” But few have heard Chicago labeled the Wicked City, although at times in its history that sobriquet was deservedly applied to America’s Sin Capital of the Midwest. Through various administrations it existed as a wide open town, with prostitution, gambling, bootlegging, drug-dealing, graft and corruption reaching to the highest levels and creating an inviting and fertile environment for the professional criminal.
The writers take us down an avenue of characters, civic accomplishments and crimes whose landmarks are the restaurants, brothels, distilleries and gaming houses belonging to the likes of Giacomo “Big Jim” Colosimo, Giuseppe “Diamond Joe” Esposito (once referred to as the unofficial mayor of Little Italy), the Everly Sisters, Johnny “The Fox” Torrio, “Bloody” Angelo Genna, Dion “Deanie” O’Banion, George “Bugs” Moran, and finally the Big Guy himself, Alphonse “Scarface” Capone. Along the way we pay visits to City Hall where Mayor William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson sits in a back room smoking cigars with some suspicious-looking fellows; we pop in at the mansions of the Fields, the Pullmans, the McCormicks, the Palmers and the Armours to see what well-dressed skeletons lurk inside their plush closets; we spy a young Theodore Dreiser hurrying on his way to work for the Chicago Daily Globe; and stop at the sweat-filled gyms and locker rooms of Jack Dempsey, Harold “Red” Grange and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson for a bit of athletic distraction. As the hour grows late, we sneak into an outfit-owned muggles-smoke-filled speakeasy where the great Louis Armstrong is experimenting on his horn to the delight of writhing revelers drunk on jazz and illicit booze.
Unfortunately, for each person who found this street to be a road paved with gold, there were others for whom it proved to be the famous Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Witness the tragedy of Louis Henri Sullivan, master architect of the internationally renowned Chicago School and designer of some of the most beautiful edifices in the world, who died destitute and alone in 1924, just as others were reaping the rewards of Chicago’s Prohibition-era potential. It’s been said of late that with the ascension of Michael Jordan to the title of “The Most Famous Chicagoan,” thus dethroning Al Capone, and the recent uneventful and “exemplary” Democratic Convention whose idyllic calm allegedly shed the pesky ‘68 syndrome, Chicago has finally laid to rest the ghosts of its disreputable past. However the slew of recent Federal investigations digging into the phenomenon of “ghosts” on the city payroll (Operation Haunted Hall), avaricious aldermen who take money for the right to illegally dump garbage in their wards (Operation Silver Shovel) and trust-betraying policemen who simultaneously solve crimes while also committing them (Operation Broken Star) prove the old adage that in some places tradition dies hard. Wicked City Chicago is an invaluable guide to the sowing, nurturing and reaping of the seeds of this old tradition. As a venerable sage once said, Chicago by any other name still smells the same. AS

Publisher: December
Paperback: 390 pages

Observations of Mary at Medjugorje

Harvey Grady

A short account of one man’s visit to a site in Yugoslavia where the Virgin Mary was reported to be appearing in the late 1980s. A non-Catholic, Grady made daily observations over the period of a week and recounts the experience of witnessing the apparition. Of interest to followers of Marian phenomena is the bibliography which lists books pertaining to the Virgin Mary appearances worldwide. AS

Publisher: Tan Sal
Pamphlet: 24 pages

Unzipped: The Popes Bare All — A Frank Study of Sex and Corruption in the Vatican

Arthur Frederick Ide

Those darn atheists! Instead of happily swallowing the age-old dogma fed to them by authorities of organized religion, they chew it up, defiantly spit it back and go about studying the stuff to find out what’s really in it. Arthur Frederick Ide is one of those. He’s written over 200 books, many on the subject of the Christian religion and its influence on politics and prejudices during the mid-’80s. Here, Ide takes on the Roman Catholic institution of the papacy, researching early church writings and historical documents to expose the undeniably fallible human side of the men who, in the Church’s own words, “can only be judged by God Himself.”
Reciting a seemingly endless litany of corruption, coercion, torture, murder, sex fanaticism, insanity and absolute authority, the author nearly numbs us with his well-documented indictment of an office many people worship on a level nearly equal with the Deity. After awhile, just when one is tempted to say, “Enough!” the author has thoughtfully included reproductions of images of torture and Inquisition devices used to convert uncommitted souls in the past. And just in case you think all this happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, and not in our own “enlightened” times, Ide reminds us about the unfortunate John Paul I, who in 1978 died mysteriously after only 30 days in office. There is the theory that he was poisoned. Remember that this was only one pope ago. AS

Publisher: American Atheist
Paperback: 189 pages

Opium Poppy Garden: The Way of a Chinese Grower

William Griffith

A Zen and the Art of Archery for those interested in the history and cultivation of the opium plant, Opium Poppy Garden tells the tale of Ch'ien, a young Chinese man who travels from Costa Rica to Columbia in order to grow an opium garden in the manner taught him by his Taoist grandfather. The story is a parable, describing one man's journey in his search for The Way, at the same time giving very practical information about the methods of growing and cultivating the active ingredients of the poppy. The preface makes a good argument for the relaxation of the prohibitions against naturally occurring psychoactive substances, citing their advantages over the refined drugs such as heroin and cocaine whose abuse currently runs rampant. Who wouldn't pick chewing a lovely, green, organically grown coca leaf or smoking personally produced opium over snorting a vile crystalline powder created in who knows what bathtub? And guess what, folks, you can grow it at home! This is a useful book for those looking to add some color and spice to their home garden. AS

Publisher: Ronin
Paperback: 77 pages

Psychedelic Shamanism: The Cultivation, Preparation and Shamanic Use of Psychotropic Plants

Jim DeKorne

“Naive or recreational use of psychedelic drugs does not make one either a shaman or saint. If this were true, the San Francisco Bay area would have been overrun by saints and shamans in 1967. In traditional shamanic societies, there exist specific traditions, histories, rituals and practices which provide a stable, long-term set and setting by which the drug experiences are interpreted and controlled.”—Gracie and Zarkov as quoted in Psychedelic Shamanism.
Some people view the use of psychedelics as a fun way to spend time with friends while weird patterns play under their eyelids. Others approach the psychedelic experience with awe and trepidation and take seriously the messages imparted to them by the “friends” who are called forth by these quasi-sacred substances. It is to the latter that Jim DeKorne, a master gardener and longtime explorer of inner realms, appeals in Psychedelic Shamanism. Devoting the first half of the book to a study of the interior states universally known to the world's shamanic healers, DeKorne lays down a strong conceptual and historical foundation for the practical information that follows in the second half. If those who endlessly babble on about “drug education” were serious about the subject, they would include this kind of book in their curriculum. AS

Publisher: Loompanics
Paperback: 155 pages

The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World

R. Murray Schafer

In this pioneering book, Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer traces an evocative picture of the evolution of the acoustic environment on planet Earth, from the earliest nature sounds through the beginnings of the Industrial Age and up to the cacophony of the present day. Using quotes from a wide variety of sources from throughout recorded history, he demonstrates the changing character of the world as it has been perceived by the human ear. Virgil describes the relatively new sound of the “shrill saw blade” and waxes nostalgic for an earlier time when “men split wood with wedges.” Charles Dickens writes of the novel rumbling of a passing train in 1848, and how it made “the walls quake, as if they were dilating with the knowledge of great powers yet unsuspected in them.” Luigi Russolo bids us to “have fun imagining our orchestration of department stores' sliding doors, the hubbub of the crowds, the different roars of the railway stations, iron foundries, textile mills, printing houses, power plants and subways.“
In addition to this historical information, Schafer also analyzes the current soundscape across the planet and tells of the very real threat of sound pollution. He explains how to classify sounds, describes the evolving definition of noise, relates music to the soundscapes of different eras, and includes a chapter on that most important and increasingly hard to find element: silence. Not unlike the birds in Aldous Huxley's novel Island, who over and over repeat the same word—“Attention!”—Schafer's ultimate goal is to bring us more fully into awareness in respect to the sonic vibrations which constantly surround and affect us. AS

Publisher: Destiny
Paperback: 301 pages

The World of Ted Serios: “Thoughtographic” Studies of an Extraordinary Mind

Jule Eisenbud, M.D.

In this book, Jule Eisenbud, psychiatrist and psychic investigator, revealed to the world the amazing story of Ted Serios, a sporadically employed Chicago bellhop and alcoholic who it was claimed could produce recognizable visual images on polaroid film by concentrating his mental energies. A typical “Serios performance,” often held in the respectable living rooms of curious followers of psychic phenomena, consisted of Ted showing up a bit late, possibly tipsy, then asking for something to drink. After he felt properly “prepared” Ted would leap into action, grabbing the polaroid camera (kept up to that point safely hidden to ensure that no tampering was possible) and holding it pointed at his head. Ted would then place a plastic tube called his “gizmo” over the lens and as he focused his mental energies into the camera. His face would turn red, veins would pop up on his forehead, and he'd begin sweating profusely and shaking violently. The shutter would be tricked and the print would be pulled and developed normally. Usually the result was all black or all white with no recognizable image.
This process could go on for hours, as Ted alternated between still calmness and agitated drunken excitement, often with no real success. Once in a while, Ted might even strip off all his clothes and stand naked, perhaps to show that he had “nothing up his sleeve” as it were. Usually just when the interested parties were ready to give up, Ted would produce a “hot one,” often a blurry soft-focused image of a building or a landscape, “miraculously” projected onto the film by Ted's mind. Several of these evocative images are reproduced in the book looking much like photo student pinhole pictures.
Was Ted Serios a true psychic projector, creating images by force of will alone? Or a skilled trickster/performer using some unknown method along with deliberately eccentric behaviours to fool his audiences into accepting these fuzzy photos as real manifestations of psi-phenomena? Dr. Eisenbud, who began as a skeptic of Ted's, ultimately came to believe in him, and promote him as the real thing. AS

Publisher: McFarland
Hardback: 260 pages

The Mystique of Dreams: A Search for Utopia through Senoi Dream Therapy

G. William Domhoff

It seems that everyone knows about the Senoi, a Malaysian tribe who have been celebrated for their use of dreams as a means of bringing peace to their culture. It is claimed that, at breakfast, Senoi families discuss dreams of the previous night and the parents make suggestions and give advice to their dreaming children based on the content of their dreams, and that because of this, these people have an unprecedented lack of violence and mental illness in their society. Here the author traces the origins of this myth and its influence on the “dreamwork” of late ’60s and ’70s America. He specifically looks into the character of one Kilton Stewart, a psychologist/anthropologist/beachcomber and follower of Otto Rank, who visited Malaysia in the 1930s and was the main source for the dissemination of these notions about Senoi dream theory. Dissecting Stewart's history and looking more closely into his message and motives, Domhoff concludes that it was Stewart, not the Senoi, who developed the idea that societies can benefit from sharing their dreams, and that they can shape them through principals of mind control. The Senoi do not practice dream theory, he states, nor is their society so free of conflict. As Domhoff shows in a later chapter, it took the dramatic social changes of the ’60s, which spawned the Human Potential movement, to bring Stewart's theories to a large and receptive audience which eagerly absorbed his utopian claims about the Senoi. AS

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 156 pages

Alcatraz! Alcatraz!: The Indian Occupation of 1969-1971

Adam Fortunate Eagle

In its long history as a federal prison, many inmates had attempted to escape from Alcatraz, the island located in San Francisco Bay, named by the Spaniards for the seagulls who inhabit it. In 1969, however, a group of Native Americans, in an effort to focus the nation’s attention on the injustices dealt them in the past and present by the American government, landed on the then-abandoned island and claimed it for their people. The occupation went on for 19 long months, with the help of countless sympathizers who ferried supplies and people back and forth to the mainland. Adam Fortunate Eagle chronicles the events leading up to that audacious act as well as the day-to-day lives of those who lived on the island and the aftermath of the eventual forced evacuation of the protesters by federal authorities. With photographs by German-born Ilka Hartmann, Alcatraz! Alcatraz! stands as an important document of the continuing struggle of Native Americans to get their due from the invading empire known as America. AS

Publisher: Heyday
Paperback: 157 pages