29 Palms is a little old desert town in the middle of the Mojave Desert in California. Legend has it that the location was discovered in 1855 and named for the 29 Palm Trees that surrounded an oasis in the area. Miners frequented the area and made claims looking for gold
We headed out to 29 Palms this weekend and found it to be an interesting and somewhat quirky place. The most notable strange feature, was the fact that I kept getting short-changed everywhere we went.
At the hotel, for example, which is the Holiday Inn Express the girl at the registration sold us a Gatorade and a Candy bar. I handed her $5 dollars and she asked if I wanted the change (which was $2) and I stammered and said, well no thats ok assuming it was standard procedure out here to tip when you buy something. I later determined she was just trying to swipe the $5 altogether from the register and if she gave me change it would be short.
Later at Circle K I bought a coffee for $1.50 and handed the lady a $5. She gave me $3 which I later realized as I drove away was .50 cents short. Cha-Ching. She probably does that to every tourist all day long. Thats why I call 29 Palms Short Change city. You can check out my gallery of this cool place here – 29 Palms.
The Jelly Donut. Sounds Great.
Large murals were on many buildings
Palm Trees and Cactus Coolers
Return of the Motel.
29 Palms Eye Care
Land of the cool motel
29 Palms Realty Office
Beautiful Desert Skies
My dad invited me over to his house tonight and while browsing through old photo albums and I came across something very interesting and frankly shocking. One of the albums was entitled “Knights of Columbus 1978″ (allegedly a group my father had belonged to for many years). Purportedly, this group does all sorts of good deeds for communities like having fund raisers etc.
Sadly, however, this was all one big ruse. This “Knights of Columbus” was nothing more than a front for a squad of toughies that ran the Mafia in the city. How do I know this? Well, I have definitive proof based on pictures. Thats right, pictures. As it turns out, Dad and the rest of his KofC cronies were nothing more than brown-liesure suit-wearing-wise guys.
Anyway, judge for yourself and tell me if you think I’m wrong.
Member 1 – Frank McKenna (The Grand Knight) aka “Frankie Smooth Slice”
The Grand Pooba of them all – My Dad sitting there in his classic brown suit with fabric that looks like it was yanked off an old Jerome Furniture couch. Sure, he got the title “Grand Knight” but his real job was smooth talking city officials, bribing police, recruiting youth and generally greasing the skids for every and all mob activity in the city.
Member 2 – Carmen Zapone the “Chancellor” aka Capone
With a name like Carmen Zapone I can’t figure out why I didn’t figure out the whole ruse when I was kid. Also known as Capone, Carmen Zappone didn’t take no lip. Officially, Carmen was the Chancellor and was responsible for taking notes at KofC meetings, unofficially though,, and completely off the books he was responsible for running firearms through the city. Carmen was the go to guy when he came to silencers and “The Assissin’s Toolkit” which was a speciality kit he sold. Carmen also belonged to the ICF (Italian Catholic Federation) and made a mean BBQ Chicken.
Member 3 – Don Deaner the “Chaplain” or Dirty Don Deaner
Sweet Don Deaner and his band of Merry Greeters. Don had the privilege of running the merchant shake down operations for most of Chula Vista. When sweet smiling Don and his band of Henchman would pay you a visit, you were quick to pull out a sizable donation to his crew, Of course, you were afforded the protection of his services.
Member 5 – Charlie Vallejo “The Warden” or Chingus Charlie as he was often referred to.
Charlie looked harmless enough but when you got to know him he could make “El Chapo” look like an honor scout. Appropriately enough, Charlie had the responsibility of “Warden” activities with the KofC which meant locking doors in the building etc. Charlie was responsible for collecting debts and he would stop and nothing if thats what it took.
Member 6 – Harold Ross “Treasurer” aka Funny Business
Hello Harold Ross. You find that funny? What part of my name you find funny? Am I a clown to you? You think I’m some kind of funny clown. Bam… BaseBall bat to the head and good night sir. (thats how a typical conversation with Harold Ross would usually go)
Member 7 – Leonard Beaver “Deputy Grand Knight” aka Look Ma its the Beaver
Leonard Beaver would give that laugh. It would be like a “Har Har Har” aww shucks type of laugh (same as you see below) and then he would pull at a 9 milli and pop a cap in your ass. Legend has it he always wore Red Suit jackets to disguise the blood spatter from his hits.
Member 8 – Charles Remy “Lecturer” aka Lucky Charlie
Lucky Charlie held the title of Lecturer in the Knights of Columbus which was a nice little title for him. Too bad Lucky Charlie was also in charge of Car Bombs and cracking safes. If you were going to rob a bank, Charlie was pretty your go to guy.
Member 9 Vincent Olo “Trustee” or Jimmy Blue Eyes
He didn’t have blue eyes which was odd but that was his nickname. By day he was Trustee for the Knights of Columbus, by night he was in charge of Voter Intimidation and infiltrating local unions. My guess is if you dig around in his backyard you might find a one “Jimmy Hoffa” back there
Member 10 – Wallie Deddah the Trustee aka “King Giblet”
Wallie Deddah was a mere trustee in the Knight of Columbus but he didn’t mind because his real job was running Sir George’s Smorgesboard back room gambling operation on Broadway. Rumor has it Wallie took a few fingers in his day and put them in the Hot Dog casserole which hungry patrons would mistake for Vienna sausages.
So there you have it. The Knights of Columbus was a front for the mob. Who would have thought? Well no one did actually, until I uncovered the whole thing while going through the photos.
He wore no shoes.
Elizabeth, Greg and Family organized a fabulous little third birthday for little Darla. There was something for everybody and no detail was spared. I mean there were so many events. I guess kids have really upped the anti on Birthdays because it seemed like the Christie’s recreated a theme park in their house.
Let me just give you a laundry list of what they did: There was a swinging Piñata out front, There was a kiddie sized Maypole with long ribbons in the house, there was a 3 yard long sandwich that must have weighed 30 pounds, A Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake, A puppet show, Goblets, Ring Pops, drinks, snacks… Well I could go on and on.
If you want to see the gallery of pictures of some of the cutest kids you could ever see, feel free to browse the Gallery here - Darla’s Third Birthday.
Otherwise, here are some of my favorite pictures from the extravaganza.
Purple tongued Darla getting sassy
A Sweet Princes
Something caused this look, I’m not sure what. But it happened.
Friar Jude in the Monastary with Tu
After washing hands, Darla gets sassy (again)
He came up with this pose for this picture and it was perfect.
Lovely moment between Darla and her Baby Jude.
Julia invented this pose. I said, let me take a picture of you. She walked to wall and did this pose.
this could be another time or era.
This picture says quite a bit about mother and daughter
I asked Darla to pose with her tons of beautiful presents. This looked a little melancholy