Posts Tagged ‘Mafia’

Karen.. Drita.. Carla.. Renee

.. When Mob Wives first premiered on VH1 last year, I’ll admit I rolled my eyes. You know me.. I’m all about reality shows but growing up an Italian in South Philly during the 80’s hayday of bubble gum gangsters and daily mob hits during Federal trials I was like.. yea, no thanks.

But during the 4 days I had off over the Christmas holiday, VH1 put the whole first season On Demand and because I was able to stay up until 3 or 4 am without worrying about dragging my ass out of bed for work.. and because I had already watched everything I wanted to watch.. I took the plunge.. and was hooked.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long before the second season premiere on January 1st.

If you have a love of reality shows.. and the way over the top woman on them, then watch Mob Wives. If you won’t have the background that I have you might find them a little on the unbelievable side. But I guarantee you.. they’re attitudes and way of thinking are very, very real.

Renee is a trip and a half. Very old school in terms of loyalty and respect and family. Very tough exterior but in true cancer fashion, very soft on the inside. In Season 1, Renee struggled with that old school thinking.. The mob’s hayday has long since passed and Renee was having a difficult time living in the here and now but thinking like back then. She also was still clinging to the piece of her heart belonging to her ex-husband and seeing a therapist because of depression and self-esteem issues.

What I like about Renee is that even though her attitude can be trying and her ways of thinking a little more than left of center, she lets everything show.. warts and all. How many other reality show mavens would allow themselves to be shown on camera after a skin peel? A very painful looking.. raw and bloody skin peel?

Not to many..

My other favorite Mob Wife is Drita D’Avanzo.

Drita puts the BAD is BADASS. But again, attitudes are deceiving. Yes, she can drop you on your ass faster than she can pull off her stilettos but as a mother of two young girls, she realizes her actions will have a negative impact on them. But sometimes, your past is the only thing that people remember..

Drita is Albanian.. the daughter of immigrants whose family sort of disowned her when she married Lee D’Avanzo.. an Italian with a little bank robbing hobby. It’s sad that Lee went away to prison when their oldest was little more than an infant.. and sadder still that his family wasn’t enough reason to keep his nose clean. He went back to prison before their youngest child could form a memory of him. This isn’t  lost on Drita.. who remained faithful and committed to him and their marriage until the end of Season 1 when she found out he had been cheating on her the last time he was a free man.

I don’t know.. I like Drita. She also wants to break free of the mold she cemented herself in.

Next up there’s Carla Facciolo.

Like Drita, the father of Carla’s 8 year old twins is in jail. But Carla is moving on with her life. She’s dating and doing “her”, as she puts it. Carla doesn’t have as big of a personality like the other three and the decision to have her on the show is sometimes lost on me. But as quiet as she is.. as nonchalant as she comes off.. there is something going on there underneath. She’s just not as bold about it.

With her babies daddy being released from jail and mandated to a half way house, Carla should have more meat in Season 2. Figuratively .. no literally.

Well.. maybe that too!

Finally there’s Karen Gravano.

While the names Graziano, DAvanzo and Facciolo may not mean anything to you.. but I think I’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Sammy, The Bull, Gravano .. the man who turned canary and brought down John Gotti and the Gambino crime family.

Karen is his daughter.

Moving west after what went down with her father, Karen now wants to write a book about growing up the daughter of an underboss to ratted. Um.. an interesting read? Jury’s out. No pun intended.

Anyway.. Karen heads back to Staten Island in order to do research for her book even though there are people like Renee Graziano who think she needs to just stay where ever the hell she was. That was in the first 15 minutes of the first episode of season 1. Renee and Karen are now besties because they both understand honor and loyalty. Ok.

Karen also was the long time live in girlfriend of Lee D’Avanzo. Name sound familiar? Read a few paragraphs up. He’s now Drita’s husband.

So at the end of Season 1, we find Drita and Karen have an all out slug fest because of things in the past not said and not done. Renee and Carla had had a hair pulling fest because of Carla’s boyfriend that is still an open wound with both of them. Renee decided it was finally time to let go any fantasy she had with rekindling anything with her ex and Drita sees a divorce attorney because her husband’s infidelity left her feeling like a woman who’s waiting close to a decade for a man feels when they find out he’s cheated.

Season 2 began January 1st. Recap soon.

I’m no fan of Catholicism .. haven’t been since I graduated from 12 years of Catholic school.

I have my reasons .. which I won’t go into now.. but let’s just say that my thoughts and opinions were my own. I could argue about theology .. I could argue about idolatry .. I could argue dogma .. but I left the one’s faith alone. If you want to believe it.. you go right ahead Sunshine.

But something happened a few weeks ago that gave me a soapbox and dammit if I’m not going to use it. You let me know what you think. That’s what the comments are for.

We have a Catholic school down the street from me. It’s been there for almost a hundred years. In this little town that I live in, this Catholic school was like a beacon to the community. Something that skewed the reality of “.. this town ain’t what it used to be” for the parishioners.

Yes.. it hasn’t changed for the better but as long as the school was there then BY! GOD! we will still have SOME hope that the kids going there will be property educated and go on to be pillars of society.

That’s what I think they thought anyway.

A few years ago, the church got a new head honcho that no one liked. And not for good reason. I don’t think he realized just what this church meant to this community. Or maybe he did. Maybe he was just a hit man in a cassock.

He started cutting out things here and there.. wouldn’t allow use of the church’s auditorium for elderly bingo and stuff like that. People grumbled.. people vented.. but they still attended mass and forked over money in the collection plate.

That is.. until they made an announcement around December that the school was going to close at the end of this school year.

Now.. the closing of a Catholic school is not such an unusual thing. It’s been happening locally for about the last ten or so years. Enrollment has gone down.. tuition has gone up.. people can’t afford it and with the advent of Charter Schools.. there was an option for a better education then the local public school and it didn’t cost anything.

So why was THIS school closing different?

Because the parents formed a committee to save the school. They protested in front of the BIG Archdiocese church in the city and petitioned the Cardinal. They blasted the head honcho that they despised.

So the church bent a little. They would keep the school open until then end of the NEXT school year but then a nasty little thing happened.

Someone went to the press and the story wasn’t good.

The Archdiocese got pissed off.

While the parents raised money to off set tuition and did everything they could possibly do to raise money to keep the school open, the powers that be were like, “.. ok. We’ll keep the school open BUT you have to come up with 200 enrollments and you only have 3 weeks to do it. Oh.. and to make sure you good Catholic parishioners don’t try to pull a fast one we’re going to increase the 50.00 enrollment fee to 250.00 as.. yknow.. GOOD FAITH”

If you have more then one kid in school.. or even if you ONLY had one kid in school.. that was a big financial impact. And it didn’t matter if your kid have been going there for years. You still had to come up with 250.00 per kid to enroll.

And so the fundraising pulled out all stops. It literally came down to people standing at the major intersection wearing t-shirts and holding sand pails collecting change.

They were going to hold an enrollment shindig at the school to promote new enrollments but the PTB :: Powers That Be :: wouldn’t allow it.

Every time the parents would ask for a number of enrollees to determine how many more kids were needed, the answer never came. The PTB wouldn’t release that information to anyone.. not the parents.. not the press.

It was kind of like, “.. here’s your noose, now go hang yourself with it.”

Very important members of the community started donating HUGE sums of money for The Cause. Upwards of 20,000.

Didn’t matter.

When all was said and done… with the parents having scrapped a number together from going door to door and asking if people had enrolled there kids.. the PTB came down and said Nope.. you didn’t make it. School’s closing in June.

People walked around like they got socked in the belly.

In my oh-so-humble-used-to-be-Catholic opinion, there were things that could have been done to save the school if the jackasses didn’t get their hinds in an uproar. They just didn’t want to.. and that’s the bottom line. They got pushed into a corner by people who’s faith dictates that they will be treated fairly and they dropped the hammer on them.

Instead of working with… they pounced.

Because all along, they knew they were closing the school but with the outpouring of the community, they had to save face so they threw them a bone. Without meat on it.

And that’s wrong. They owe something to this community who came to their aid every time they were asked. New roof.. new this.. new that.. more money.. more money.. more money.

I heard recently that they were going to convert the school into dorms to house Haitian refugees.

They have money for that, right?

They are willing to go all over the world and educate people for free.. but yet they won’t do anything in their own back yard.

And so with the closing of the school, parents are enrolling their kids in other Catholic schools that are out of the area.. and that’s pissing off the head honchos of the neighboring schools off. Church attendance is down.. meaning collection plate money is down.. meaning the church will probably get the ax soon also. And it serves them right. They have played on the faith of their parishioners.. just like the Mafia plays on the fears of people. Only the Mafia doesn’t hide behind the cross to do it.


And by the way…

How many school do you think could have been saved if the church hadn’t paid out the millions it did to hush up the molestation victims?