While Alpo was talking himself blue in the face to the feds, Silk was arrested for selling an illegal substance.  Which meant Silk had tried to sell cocaine to an undercover police officer, who arrested him.  The police tossed Silk into Prince George’s County Jail, where he awaited trial.  As Silk cooled his heels in jail, the feds were putting together an air-tight case against him.

When Silk walked into court on December 4, 1992, he expected to plead guilty to one count of selling an illegal substance.  He would receive a fine and a short sentence.  It didn’t happen that way.  Instead, Silk was arrested by the Safe Streets Task Force and charged with the October 23, 1991 murder of Garrett ‘Gary’ Terrell, “in furtherance of a continual criminal enterprise.”

They took Silk back to D.C. and tossed him into jail there. 

On December 5, 1992, the headline of the Washington Timesread ‘Suspected Hitman Arrested in ‘91 Killing.’  The article identified Wayne Perry as the top hitman for the Martinez Organization, a gang that operated in New York, Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.  Perry may have been personally responsible for six drug-related murders.  He had been officially charged with the murder of Garrett ‘Gary’ Terrell, who was an infamous drug lord in the D.C. area.

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Some people called it Chocolate City.  Others called it Drama City.  ‘It’ was Southwest Washington D.C.  The worst kind of ghetto, made up of tenement houses, fleabag motels, and rat-infested apartment buildings.  Slums didn’t even begin to describe the poverty and squalor of the area.

Chocolate City was where Wayne Anthony Perry was born on November 14, 1962.  He grew up on L Street, in the area called 203.  203 was one of the worst sections of Chocolate City.  It had the worst drug problem, the worst violence and the worst crime.  The people who lived there had two vocational choices:  sports or crime.  Either one might provide a way out of Chocolate City.  Lack of talent and poverty pushed most people to choose crime.

Wayne Perry was good at sports.  So good that he was smooth.  His smoothness earned him the nickname of ‘Silk.’  Bestowed upon him by his half-brother, who was called Lop, the nickname stuck.  From that moment on, everyone knew Wayne Perry as Silk.

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By Larry E. Huddleston

Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

At the present juncture, vampire novels are in vogue.  The guy who started the whole thing was Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.  Hollywood got a hold of the book and went crazy, producing many different movie versions of Dracula, from Bela Lugosi’s vampy depiction to Gary Oldman’s creepy, love-starved bloodsucker. 

Next up was Anne Rice, who wrote any number of bestselling vampire tales.  Hollywood, forever eager to jump on the bandwagon, came on board once more.  They hired Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Kirsten Dunst to make the movie go.  And it was a hit.

Then along came Stephanie Myers, with her sensual, angst-ridden interpretation of the undead.  Bestseller-city followed by mega-movie hits. 

All that to say this.  Vampires are hot stuff.

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Education Behind Bars: A Win-Win Strategy for Maximum Security

By Christopher Zoukis

Reviewed by Randall Radic

On the subjects of prison, education, and rehabilitation, in his monumental Education Behind Bars:  A Win-Win Strategy for Maximum Security, author Christopher Zoukis has much to say.  And he says it very well.

In today’s world, especially in the U.S., society appears more interested in simply building more prisons, filling them with prisoners, and then throwing away the key than in attempting to reduce crime and recidivism.  That is, until recently.  Now that many states are staring down the long dark tunnel of financial ruin, they are seeking ways to save money rather than spend it.  But the big question is this:  if we’re not going to spend billions on building more prisons, and even more billions housing the prisoners in the old prisons, what are we going to do?

Christopher Zoukis has an answer.  He has written the guidebook of all guidebooks to reducing crime and recidivism.  As already noted, the book is called Education Behind Bars.  And it grew out of Zoukis’ preoccupation with finding the answer to a very simple question:  “What is the best way for me to educate myself while I’m in prison?”

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Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis 

Speaking of August Kleinzahler – and even if we weren’t, we should be – did you know that Kleinzahler is not only a humdinger of a poet, but also a dilly of a musicologist?  The man who wrote Sleeping It Off in Rapid City also wrote Music:  I – LXXIV

Music is about likes and dislikes.  Specifically, what Kleinzahler likes and dislikes as far as music is concerned.  Music is also about personalities.  The personalities, or lack thereof, of the music makers, and, at the same time, the personality and delightful eccentricities of Kleinzahler himself, who is sui generis

The first essay in Music provides the reader with a taste of what’s to come.  Entitled simply ‘Music I’, it’s about Liberace, who, the reader is informed, was born Wladziu Valentino Liberace.  A musical prodigy, Liberace not only had a photographic memory, he was also – very obviously – gay.  And as Kleinzahler puts it, “He was outrageously gay and campy and funny when homosexuality didn’t even seem to exist in the United States.  In short, he was being very, very bad and getting away with it.”

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Speaking of mayhem, lately I’ve been seeing an advertisement on television for insurance.  The commercial personifies ‘mayhem’ as tall, dark, and handsome.  But not too handsome.  There’s a malicious element to ‘mayhem’s’ good looks which lets us – the faithful television viewers – know that he’s one of the bad guys. 

The intent of the commercial is to alert the viewing public that mayhem can thrust his invidious face into anyone’s life at anytime, thus thoroughly destroying any tranquility in our lives.  Mayhem is responsible for all sorts of mishap, calamities and disasters.  And mayhem delights in bringing catastrophes into unsuspecting lives, as often as possible.  The barely disguised idea is that everyone needs protection against mayhem.  In other words, peace of mind may be purchased from your friendly insurance company. 

Exactly which insurance company paid for the commercial escapes me, which, when you think about it, means that the ad agency that put the commercial together and made a lot of money by so doing, failed.  Because the whole point of television commercials is to make darn sure the viewers know what is being sold and who makes it.  That way, they (the viewers) can go down to their local store and buy what is being sold, thus avoiding the embarrassment of purchasing some inferior product. 

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By Frederick L. Malphurs

Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

The names and the locales have changed, but the intelligence game remains the same in Frederick Malphurs over-the-top techno-thriller.

The world is changing:  U.S. intelligence services are no longer done in-house.  They are contracted out.  The result is that many active agents, such as protagonist David Pearl, are let go.  Knowing nothing else, Pearl reinvents himself, becoming a government intelligence contractor.  He starts his own company, a company that gathers intelligence and provides security consulting.  Meanwhile, all sorts of activities are taking place in the dark alleyways of skullduggery:  a high-ranking U.S. official is murdered while jogging on a treadmill in a fitness center; a Greek diplomat breaks the unspoken rules of the Greek mafia and is forced to run for his life. 

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Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

There’s a Greatest Game in every sport.  In football, many fans would argue that it’s the 1958 Championship game between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts.  In baseball, a lot of games are designated the greatest, but one that has to be considered is game six of the 1975 World Series.

According to Mark Frost, the Greatest Game Ever Played took place in 1913:  The U.S. Open golf championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Never heard of it?  Well, you’re not alone.  Most people haven’t.  So Frost wrote a book about it, a book he called The Greatest Game Ever Played, published by Hyperion.

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A Look At Neuro-Linguistic Programming

By Dan Seidman

Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

Salespeople want to make more money.  The trick to making more money is making more sales.  And the trick to making more sales is, according to Dan Seidman, learning to speak the buyer’s language.  Once salespeople learn to interpret buyers’ verbal cues, they can choose the appropriate words to influence the buyers’ decisions.   Seidman’s book, The Secret Language of Influence teaches salespeople how to listen, gain psychological insight, and then influence others.

The author states that there are two basic types of buyers:  “people either move toward ideas or away from them.”  The type of buyer who moves toward ideas is open to new ideas and opportunities and responds with encouragement.  Buyers who move away from ideas play “the devil’s advocate.”  They quickly point out concerns and potential problems.  The book goes on to discuss effective sales approaches to each type of buyer.  Buyers who move toward ideas respond well to descriptions of “features and benefits” the salesperson can provide.  The more personalized and specific the benefits are to the individual buyer as well as the buyer’s company, the better the chance of a sale.  Buyers who move away from ideas require a different approach.  Since their mentality is oriented toward “solving problems rather than attaining goals,” salespeople should focus on the “problems” their product or service can solve, rather than the benefits. 

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By Larry E. Huddleston

Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

Young Adult literature – a.k.a. YA to librarians, booksellers, and other assorted cognoscenti – has changed a great deal in the last ten years and may well be the fastest growing genre of literature.  For example, the Harry Potter series of books, The Book Thief, and the vampire series penned by Stephanie Myers.  Even though millions of adults have read and enjoyed these books, they are classified as YA. 

One guy who happens to write novels for young adults is Larry Huddleston, who is an interesting person in his own right.  According to the ‘about the author’ page in the back of his book, Larry was convicted of bank robbery.  And not just one bank robbery, but “numerous counts of bank robbery, armed bank robbery and use of a dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence.”  Not your usual Weenie Hut Junior literary type.

Just Beyond the Curve is the title of Larry’s CWY-YA novel (country western yodeler young adult).  And candidly, I fully expected the book to be ‘less than efficacious,’ as friend of mine used to say.  Which is a polite way of saying I thought it would stink. 

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