Friday, November 25, 2011

THE BOOK FROG - Support Your Local Indy Book Store

There's a new indy book store in the metropolitan Los Angeles area. It's called THE BOOK FROG. Former corporate book store characters Pete Ledesma and Rebecca Glenn are the proprietors.

While Pete Ledesma and I attended Hawthorne High School, we didn't run in the same circles. I did know of Pete Ledesma. Everybody knew of Pete Ledesma. If my memory serves me correctly, Pete Ledesma was known across the South Bay area for his bleacher jumping. Dozens of students gathered after school to watch young Pete leap from top row of the football bleachers, land gracefully 25 feet below, perform a kung-fu style roll, spring to his feet and perform a showman's bow. Pretty cool. Yeah, everybody knew who Pete Ledesma was. He was also a dead on Elvis impersonator. Pete performed paid gigs as a high school kid.

The last time I saw Pete, it was 1980. We teamed up as actors, playing a couple of bumbling detectives, in a student film called Coffee, Tea or Murder at Loyola Marymount University. I bailed on the project to take a job in soup factory.

Pete's also written a yet to be published book called Norman's Conquest. Apparently, a few copies have leaked out because a came across an extremely positive on-line review.

Word on the street is Pete and Becky's independent book store is off to a great start. Opening an independent business in the midst of the current economic turmoil is takes guts. But we're talking about a bleacher jumper here. Pete and Becky leapt from the top of the bleachers and executed their kung-fu style roll. Well done, Pete and Becky. It's time to take your showmen's bow.

Address 550 Deep Valley Dr #273, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
Phone 310-265-BOOK (2665)
Hours Mon - Thu: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Thursday, November 24, 2011


As I mentioned in my last posting, my earliest memories involve the JFK assassination. Over the years, I've been compelled to read several books on the topic. The truth has, in my estimation, been quite successfully hidden from the American people. I am relatively sure that the Warren Commission, led by Gerald Ford, was a sham. And I'm quite confident that Lee Harvey Oswald did not "act alone."

According to the Warren Commission, Oswald was a run of the mill American boy, nothing unusual about him. He served as an enlisted man in the Marine Corps before deciding to defect to the Soviet Union. Somewhere along the line, he had learned to speak fluent Russian. After a couple of years he decided to come back to the United States. Mind you, this story takes place in the middle of the Cold War. Oswald, or someone who looked a heckuva a lot like Oswald, was observed hanging out at the Soviet embassy in Mexico. It seems he became involved in Free Cuba Movement in the months before the assassination.

Although it's been said that Oswald failed a nitrate test, indicating that he didn't fire a rifle on the day of the assassination, I'm guessing he was one of two assassins. Some theories point to actor Woody Harrelson's father as the second gunman. Weird, I know. He was arrested that afternoon, held for a short time and released. Apparently, Mr. Harrelson had done time for shooting a political figure of some kind or another. Oswald was captured in a movie theater. He killed a police officer in the process. At the police station, Oswald said, "I'm just a patsy." The next day, Oswald was surrounded by police officers in the police department parking garage when Jack Ruby, a gangster from Chicago, shot and killed him.

Who was behind the assassination? Lyndon Johnson, no fan of the Kennedy clan himself, indicated the truth would have caused World War III. The CIA had attempted to assassinate Castro numerous times. Oswald's little vacation in the USSR makes the Soviets a primary suspect. Perhaps the Cubans were involved as well.

The list of suspects with motives is pretty extensive. Jack Ruby, the man who silenced Oswald before he had the chance to tell the truth, got started in the gangster business running numbers in Chicago for none other than Al Capone. JFK's old man Joe Kennedy got filthy, stinking rich as a criminal, working along side the likes of Capone, selling illegal alcohol during prohibition. After the Mafia worked hard to help JFK become president, Attorney General Bobby Kennedy exposed and prosecuted Mafia chieftains like Santos Traficante. Gee, wonder why the mafia would be upset with the Kennedys?

The CIA, the FBI, the oil industry, the military industrial complex had no love for the Kennedy's and have been tied to various conspiracy theories. Did I mention George Bush Sr. was the director of the CIA in 1963?

Lone Gunman? Not buying it...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lee Harvey Oswald - An Exerpt From THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON

An exerpt from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son
“LeAe Harvey Oswald (1963)"
by William Snyder
© 2006 William Snyder

It was 1963 and I was in a Sears’ department store elevator with my grandmother. The doors slid silently open. An enormous black woman filled the doorway. Her face was soaked with tears. “They killed Kennedy!” I looked up to my grandmother and she was crying too. Scanning the towering occupants of the elevator, I could see that they were all weeping and things seemed out of control. Although I hadn’t the slightest understanding of what was happening, I was scared to death.

My memory jump cuts to the dinner table at my grandparents’ home. We were having Jell-O. Tiny chunks of pears, peaches and bananas bounced around inside the cubes. My grandfather, who had been eating in silence, suddenly slammed his great lumberman’s fist on the table, “Goddamit! I knew they’d never let a Catholic run this country!” My Jell-O reverberated wildly in the glass bowl. On the wall behind my grandfather hung a picture of JFK and another of the blonde, blue-eyed surfer version of Jesus Christ.

My memory jump cuts again. Sitting with my my legs crossed, Indian style on the giant oval rug in front of my grandparents’ black and white television set, I watch a scene that I have already carefully observed at least a dozen times. Lee Harvey Oswald’s hands are cuffed as he rounds the corner in the underground parking structure. Dwarfed by giant gray men in cowboy hats, he wears a five o’clock shadow and looks like one if the guys who work on their cars behind my apartment building. I hate him because he is the man who killed the Catholic president. A man appears from nowhere, his broad back to the camera. I know that his name is Jack Ruby. He bum-rushes Oswald as the towering cowboy policemen stand by - useless. There is the muffled sound of gunshots. Oswald’s face looks almost funny. His eyes are shut and he looks as though he is trying very hard to whistle.

This incredibly chaotic, enigmatic scene is cemented into the foundations of the husband, father, and teacher I have since become.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Don't know that I've ever experienced anything like the Veterans Day basketball game played on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. Enjoying the  grace and style of the greatest sport on the planet set against the vast Pacific Ocean sky was nothing short of sublime...

By the way, you can download THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON for a measly 5 bucks  by clicking on the link below.