Sunday, July 16, 2017

Scores: How I Opened the Hottest Strip Club in New York City, Was Extorted out of Millions by the Gambino Family, and Became One of the Most Successful Mafia Informants in FBI History

The tail of naked women's skin trade, mafiaosos  and FBI investigations.  At first, Blutrich was a bit annoying.  However after the third chapter, I was hooked.  This book is about the "World Famous" gentlemen's club; Scores.  Scores was the first NYC "lap dance" clubs and "completely" naked club serving booze.  Blutrich was a successful attorney, and shrewd businessman.  After opening multiple businesses.  He was indicted in Florida prior to opening Scores for banking fraud.

Ironically, the owner of this bastion of naked women and heterosexuality was in fact a homosexual.  He accounts how the dancers of Scores, knowing he was gay, would never try to use sexual advances to curry favor for better schedule.

The most hilarious part of the book was an interaction with Angelo Urgitano where Urgitano, searching for a wire up Blutrich's leg and being close to finding it, when Blutrich turns his back to Urgitano's chest and grabs his penis.  I can only image what the tough guy Urgintano must have done.

Blutrich was in fact a great informant.  Not that I condone that, but from a LEA perspective, his law degree I think helped him in knowing what was needed.  In the end, Blutrich ended up recording over 1000 hours of conversations and meetings over a year via secret wires and cameras that prosecutors used in indictments against the Gambino crime family in 1998.   John Goddy Jr. and 38 other in the Gambino and other crime families were indicted due to Blutrich's cooperation.  The State of Florida reconsidered the sentencing for Blutrich.  They served over 13 years even with the cooperation from him and his partner.

Here is a video interview Blutrich did in May 2017.
Interview Video

Michael Blutrich

Hardcover: 328 pages
Publisher: BenBella Books (January 31, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1942952635
ISBN-13: 978-1942952633
Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches

Saturday, July 8, 2017

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind behind the Silk Road Drugs Empire By: Nick Bilton

Depending on who you talk to, you will get a different definition of what Silk Road was.  Here is the pre-2000 version of Silk Road:

The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction originally through regions of Eurasia connecting the East and West and stretching from the Korean peninsula[1] and Japan[2] to the Mediterranean Sea.[3] The Silk Road concept refers to both the terrestrial and the maritime routes connecting Asia and Europe. The overland Steppe route stretching through the Eurasian steppe is considered the ancestor to the Silk Road(s).
 ~ Wikipedia

Modern day definition is a little more sinister and refers to the illicit underground, online drug trade via one man's dream of "sticking it to the man" by creating an " of drugs"

This is a great book and covers details about this case I was not even aware of.  The book covers the life of Ross Ulbricht  the founder and mastermind of Silk Road the website. The Silk Road website was a website, only accessible via Tor that facilitated the purchasing of illicit drugs, guns, human organs and even murder.  It was known as the Amazon of drugs.  Ulbricht, AKA "Dread Pirate Roberts" AKA DPR was worth over 28 Million dollars at the time of seizure by the US Federal Government.

This book was a page turner for me. I was not only interested in the technology they discussed but also the libertarian views of the Ulbricht.  The book begins describing Ulbricht's early days and how he was interested in becoming a physicist.  He was, in all accounts a failure; nothing really to show from an accomplishment perspective.

Ulbricht was libertarian leaning.  He ascribed to the NAP (None aggression principal) of libertarianism. He read Rothbard, Mises, and Hyak.  He talked about free markets, personal rights and freedoms, and the legalization of drugs.  In full disclosure, I share many of those beliefs myself.  Anyone that knows me, knows that "fiscally I am more conservative than Conservatives and socially, I am more liberal than Liberals" but enough about me.

Ulbricht constructs a mushroom 'farm' so he could be the first supplier of drugs in the Silk Road, little did he know that this website would take him all over the world and finally landing him in prison for the rest of his life.

The book covers the theft of Bitcoin from Silk Road by Secret Service and other LOE.  It talked about how LOE straddled the fence from LOE to accomplice.  It served to prove to me that no one is immune to crime, even those sworn to enforce it.

It is  great read and I recommend it to anyone interested in the interworking of Silk Road.

Silk Road Logo from the Website

Ross Ulbricht AKA DPR, AKA Dread Pirate Roberts

DEA Agent Carl Force (Left) and Secret Service Agent Shaun Bridges currently serving time for stealing Bitcoin from Silk Road during their respective investigation as well as crossing the "LOE" line.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Portfolio (May 2, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1591848148
ISBN-13: 978-1591848141

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Creating Magic By: Lee Cockerell

If you are in a leadership position, this is a must read.  Cockerell started his career in the US Army.  He worked his way through multiple hotel chains in the kitchen and other duties.  Eventually he came to run one of the largest movie, theme parks and over all entertainment companies in the world..... Well not running the entire thing but the hospitality side and general operations.

Cockerell goes over 10 common sense leadership strategies every leader should follow.

1. Remember, everyone is important.  (e.g. Make yourself available, know everyone on your team).
2. Break the mold. (e.g. Be clear who is responsible for what).
3. Make your people your brand.
4. Create magic through training.
5. Eliminate hassels (e.g. Try an audit exchange program)
6. Learn the truth (e.g. get a ground level view).
7. Burn the free fuel (e.g. Spend time with employees, catch them doing something right and make it public.
8. Stay ahead of the pack.
9. Be careful what you say and do.
10. Develop Character

This book changed my management style.  I was more sympathetic for my team.  I learned that leadership does not require you to tell people what your title is.  I taught me to listen to my people and truly try to understand them.

I can only hope that I am able to attend the Walt Disney Institute of leadership.

Hardcover: 270 pages
Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (October 14, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385523866
ISBN-13: 978-0385523868

Dirty Rocker Boys: Love and Lust on the Sunset Strip By: Bobbie Brown

Man, I used to crush on this girl in a bad way.  This is one of those books I do not normally gravitate to but that I stumble on to, almost by accident.  The book covers the life of smokin' hot actress & model Bobbie Brown; not to be confused with the rapper 'Bobby' Brown although Bobby Brown the actor, reported got the idea to name his daughter Bobbie Brown after him.

This is a fairly short book.  It covers the ups and down (and frankly the ins and outs... in details) of Bobbie Brown.  Brown writes about her life as a teenager growing up "flat chested" and being picked on. She also wrote about her crush with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee.   She discusses her stint on Star Search and how she did not win.  I always thought she was beautiful even if she did not win.  Bobbie was chosen by Jani Lane, Warant's front man to be in the Cherrie Pie video and Bobbie accepted.  It was the beginning of a whirlwind lifestyle I do not think even she suspected.

Jani and Bobbie eventually got married and had a baby girl. However the stress of the road, the abuse of alcohol and meth from both parents respectively eventually took its toll on the marriage.  Bobbie met her childhood crush Tommy Lee and immediately fell head-over-heels for him.  She talks about his now legendary penis, which the world has seen due to the Tommy Lee/Pamela video.  All-in-All, the relationship seemed to be almost fairy tale. Until it was not.  Pamela Anderson was also on the prowl for Tommy Lee and was not about to let something like a fiancĂ© get in the way of her needs.

Tommy and Pamela got married in Mexico without Bobbie even knowing what went on, while he was engaged to Bobbie.   This was crushing for her.  This singular event, paved the way for the future of Bobbie's sexual escapades as well as her years of celibacy.  Tommy was toxic to Bobbie and still is.  He would stay in touch and really never let her off the hook to start her life over.  She continued to abuse substances and ended up in worse relationships than even Tommy and her.  

Sadly, I did not know that this had even occurred until I read the book, Jani Lane succumbed to his alcohol abuse and died alone, in a hotel room under an assumed name of alcohol poisoning.  He was found by the cleaning crew.  Apparently someone, not himself, checked him into the hotel under the assumed name.  It is unknown who that person was.  More disturbing is the confession of Janie to Bobbie about his possible reason for alcohol abuse.  Apparently he was raped early in his career.  It was unclear the exact details of who and why, but the fact that he was raped is clear.  Quite frankly, I would be interested in reading a follow up book on the like of Jani Lane.

Bobbie has now turned her life around.... we hope.  She remains a beautiful woman even though she is older.  This book only serves to prove that some of the most beautiful people are ugly on the inside and are dealing with huge issues.  This girl, as beautiful as she was and even though I would have given an appendage to be with her, was a broken women with low self-esteem in spite of her beauty.

This is a great book to read.  If you followed the Hair Bands or Arena Rock Bands you will love this book.

Bobbie Brown today

Bobbie and Jani in their heyday 

Bobbie and Tommy Lee

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (September 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476734720
ISBN-13: 978-1476734729