The economics and politics of instability, empire, and energy, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean, plus other random blather and my wonderful wonderful wife. And I’d like a cigar right now.
HDTD readers may know Noel Maurer as an occasional commenter and guest poster here. Some of you may even know that he and I have been working on a project together. But most of you don't know Noel's dad Leon; and you should. The word 'raconteur' was devised to describe him. I remember sitting spellbound at a diner on Broadway, listening to the man's tales. He was a young man in World War Two:
Did I tell you the story of how I was picked on by the gumba Mafiosi tough guys when I first arrived in the company and had to beat up a punk twice my size to get my reputation as someone to contend with in the company? Besides the supply sergeant named Goldstein, I was the only other Jewish guy in outfit, but they soon forgot all about that. The rest of the outfit were Midwesterners and Southerners whom I got along with easily. The gumba guys later became my buddies too when I told them all about Meyer Lansky, Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano and the rest of the Brooklyn mob that were my Dad's high school buddies.
But maybe we should start at the beginning. Mr. Maurer?
Well, the story goes like this...
It was around February 1944. There I was, hanging out at the overseas staging camp in Newport News, Virginia, waiting for a bunk on the next departing ship.