Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Mark Twain's Satirical Crime Story, 'The Stolen White Elephant'

In my earlier post, I noted that today was Mark Twain's birthday: 

Paul Davis On Crime: Happy Birthday To The Late, Great American Humorist And Novelist Mark Twain

So in honor of the great humorist, below is a link to Mark Twain's satirical crime story, The Stolen White Elephant:

The Stolen White Elephant - Story by Mark Twain (mtwain.com)

Happy Birthday To The Late, Great American Humorist And Novelist Mark Twain

Happy birthday to one of my favorite writers, the late, great American humorist and novelist Mark Twain. 

Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, was born on this date in 1835.

You can read about Mark Twain's life and work via the below link to Biography.com:

 Mark Twain - Quotes, Books & Real Name - Biography   

You can also read 10 of Mark Twain's famous quotes via the below link:

A recipe for contentment - CSMonitor.com

And you can read my Philadelphia Inquirer review of Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain's Raucous and Redemptive Round-the-World Comedy Tour via the below link:

Mark Twain's world tour comes to life in 'Chasing the Last Laugh' (inquirer.com) 

Wife Of “El Chapo” Sentenced To Prison For Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering

 The U.S. Justice Department released the below information: 

The wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, leader of the Mexican drug-trafficking organization known as the Sinaloa Cartel, was sentenced today to 36 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for charges related to international drug trafficking, money laundering, and a criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (the Kingpin Act).   

Emma Coronel Aispuro (seen in the above mugshot), 32, a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, pleaded guilty on June 10 to a three-count criminal information. According to court documents, Coronel Aispuro conspired with Guzman Loera and other members of the Sinaloa cartel to traffic five kilograms or more of cocaine, one kilogram or more of heroin, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, and 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, knowing that these narcotics would be transported into and distributed in the United States. She also conspired to launder the proceeds of that narcotics trafficking and engaged in transactions and dealings in the property of her husband, Guzman Loera, who the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker. 

Court documents indicate that beginning in or about 2011 and continuing to at least Jan. 19, 2017, Coronel Aispuro was a co-conspirator in the activities of the Sinaloa Cartel, an organization which was led by her husband, Guzman Loera. Notably, after Guzman Loera was captured by Mexican authorities on Feb. 22, 2014, Coronel Aispuro played a critical role in facilitating his escape from a Mexican prison, which ultimately occurred on July 11, 2015, by conducting planning meetings with other co-conspirators and by coordinating the movement of drug proceeds to finance the escape. 

To facilitate the escape, Coronel Aispuro assisted in the purchase of a property near the prison and provided Guzman Loera with a watch that contained a GPS tracking device, allowing co-conspirators to dig a tunnel from that nearby property, under the prison, to Guzman Loera’s cell. Coronel Aispuro even relayed messages from Guzman Loera to other members of the Sinaloa Cartel regarding the operation of their illicit activities while he was detained. 

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras also entered a forfeiture money judgment against Coronel Aispuro in the amount of $1,499,970, representing proceeds of and property obtained by Coronel Aispuro as a result of her drug-trafficking activities.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting Assistant Director Jay Greenberg of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement. 

This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office with significant assistance from other FBI Field Offices, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations. The Justice Department thanks the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury for their support and contributions to the case.

Deputy Chief Anthony Nardozzi and Assistant Deputy Chief Kate Wagner of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section prosecuted the case. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Mark Twain: How I Escaped Being Killed In A Duel

Mark Twain is one of my favorite writers, so I pleased to see that the Library of America's Story of the Week was Mark Twain's fanciful How I escaped Being Killed in a Duel.

The story was published in Mark Twain's Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches & Essays 1852-1890.  

You can read about the story and read the story itself via the below link:


You can also read my Philadelphia Inquirer review of Chasing the Laugh: Mark Twain's Raucous and Redemptive Round-the-World Comedy Tour via the below link: 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

FBI Issues Warning About Holiday Shopping Scams

 The FBI Charlotte Field Office offers Holiday crime prevention tips:

With more people shopping online, FBI Charlotte is warning shoppers to be diligent about what gifts they are buying, and where they're buying those gifts. Scammers count on you not to do your homework, and to believe those expensive gifts in pop-up ads are truly half price. Don’t fall for it. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers may offer too-good-to-be-true deals through phishing e-mails or advertisements. Some may offer brand name merchandise at extremely low discounts or promise gift cards as an incentive to purchase a product.

There are ways to protect yourself when shopping online:

  • Buy directly from a secure and reputable website.
  • Beware of social media posts that appear to offer special vouchers or gift cards, or particularly low prices.
  • Verify the legitimacy of buyers or sellers before making a purchase. If you’re using an online marketplace or auction website, check feedback ratings.
  • Avoid solicitations or ads with misspelled words, broken English, or requests to pay for your order with a gift card.
  • Track your order through your original confirmation e-mail.
  • Check your credit card and bank statements regularly to make sure no fraudulent charges show up. 

If you suspect you've been victimized:

  • Contact your financial institution immediately upon suspecting or discovering a fraud.
  • Contact local law enforcement.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Handcuffing The Police: My Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat Column On Former Police Chief Mike Chitwood And Why He Believes Reducing Car Stops Hurts Public Safety

Philadelphia Weekly published my second Crime Beat column on Philadelphia stopping car stops for minor violations. 

You can read the column via the below link or the below pages:

Handcuffing the police - Philadelphia Weekly

You can click on the above and below to enlarge.

You can also read my Crime Beat column on stopping stops via the below link:

Former President Of Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market Sentenced To More Than 10 Years In Prison For Stealing $7.8 Million From The Company

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania released the below information:

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Caesar DiCrecchio, 60, of Voorhees, NJ, was sentenced to ten years and one month in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $8 million in restitution by United States District Court Judge Cynthia M. Rufe for defrauding the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market of over $7.8 million. 

In April 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy, one count of aggravated identity theft, and four counts of tax evasion, all of which allegedly caused more than $7.8 million in losses to the wholesale produce business in South Philadelphia.

DiCrecchio, the former President and CEO of the Produce Market, defrauded the Market by using company funds to pay $1.9 million in rent on his Stone Harbor, New Jersey shore house; converting into cash $1.1 million in checks drawn on the Market’s bank account and using the cash for his own benefit; causing $1.7 million in checks to be issued from the Market operating account payable to his friends or relatives; causing the Market to pay for the defendant’s personal credit card expenditures; converting $320,000 in checks that were payable to the Market and cashing them for his own benefit; skimming $2.6 million in cash from the pay gate at the Market’s parking lot, which he used to pay Market employees ‘under the table’ while keeping a substantial portion for his own use; and using Market funds to provide a $180,000 loan to a Market vendor, which the vendor repaid directly to DiCrecchio. The defendant concealed these expenditures in the Market’s books and records by directing that these payments be reflected as legitimate business expenditures, for example: notated as maintenance, snow removal, insurance, legal fees and other false expenditure entries.

DiCrecchio committed aggravated identity theft by cashing checks at a currency exchange using the name of an unwitting victim as the payee. Further, DiCrecchio conspired to engage in money laundering by agreeing with two unnamed individuals to conduct repeated money laundering transactions using money orders drawn on Market accounts and cashed at a currency exchange so that he could pay the rent at his shore house. In total, DiCrecchio laundered approximately $319,736 by purchasing money orders at the currency exchange using Market funds.

DiCrecchio also willfully evaded federal income tax over several years, by failing to report more than $2.1 million in income for tax years 2014 through 2017. DiCrecchio failed to report as income the proceeds of his fraud on the Market, as well as a car allowance, a pension allowance, and consulting income that he received from the Market. 

“As the President and CEO, DiCrecchio had a fiduciary duty to steward the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market honestly,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Instead, he stole small amounts here and there from various sources over many years in an attempt to hide the enormous scale and severity of his fraud: a more than $7.8 million loss. Our Office is committed to prosecuting this type of complicated financial fraud so that justice can be served for all victims.”

“For years, Caesar DiCrecchio used the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market like his own ATM, to the tune of almost $8 million,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “I’d call that wholesale fraud. Holding DiCrecchio responsible for his crimes is imperative, to send the message that stealing business funds for personal use isn’t such easy money after all.”

“Instead of accurately filing and paying his fair share of taxes, Mr. DiCrecchio chose to hide his income and use his business as his personal ATM,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Yury Kruty. “Justice has been served today, as Mr. DiCrecchio is sentenced to federal prison.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Organized Crime Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Pennsylvania State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael T. Donovan. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

A Little Humor: Recalling U.S. Navy Chow

My wife and I had a big fight this morning. 

Last night, I complained about her cooking only one meal a day, which was dinner. 

I noted, not for the first time, that when I served in the U.S. Navy on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War, we were served three full meals a day, plus MIDRATS (midnight rations). 

My wife suggested, somewhat forcefully, that I rejoin the Navy. 

She went to be bed mad, and I retreated to my basement den and fell asleep in the recliner. 

The next morning, she came downstairs and woke me cheerfully holding a tray that held my breakfast. 

The breakfast smelled great, but I ruined the mood and the meal by complaining. 

You see, the breakfast tray held coffee, orange juice, and a plate of bacon and eggs. 

But the breakfast tray lacked toast, and I was intolerant.   

You can read my sea stories, vignettes, short stories and humor pieces via the below link:

Friday, November 19, 2021

Countdown Bin Laden: A History Thriller: My Washington Times On Crime Column On The 247-Day Hunt For Bin Laden

The Washington Times published my On Crime column on Countdown Bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247-Day Hunt To Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 To Justice.  

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace and Mitch Weiss have written an exciting book about the 247-day build-up to the Navy SEALs’ historic raid on the compound in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding.   


I reached out to Chris Wallace and asked him why he wrote this book.


“When I wrote “Countdown 1945,’ along with Mitch Weiss, I wanted to create a history thriller, giving the reader the sense of all the tension, all the doubts and unanswered questions, as President Truman, the scientists at Los Alamos, and the crew of the Enola Gay came together to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima,” Mr. Wallace replied. “I was looking for a similar story — that lent itself to the Countdown format and the dramatic narrative. The hunt for and ultimate decision to launch the raid to take down bin Laden seemed like the perfect follow-up. By this 10th anniversary of the raid, a number of key details were no longer classified. The central characters were all justifiably proud of their roles in the operation and were happy to talk about it.”


Do you consider the hunt and takedown of bin Laden to be one of the most important stories in recent history?


“Yes, I do.  Remember — 9/11 was the worst attack on the US homeland in our history.  Osama bin Laden was the mastermind.  The trail for bin Laden had gone cold after 9 years.  How the CIA was able to find a solid lead — how President Obama and his team came to launch the raid even though they still didn’t know whether bin Laden was in the compound — how Admiral McRaven put together the team of Navy SEALs and planned the operation — all of that shows what our government can do when various branches come together,” Mr. Wallace replied.


Who were the principal people you interviewed?


“Almost everyone involved in the operation — CIA director Panetta, Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates, Admiral William McRaven — head of Joint Special Operations Command, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, 2 members of SEAL Team 6 who participated on the raid, and more than a dozen other key players in the CIA, White House, and military,” said Mr. Wallace.


You can read the rest of the column via the below link:


Note: Below is an FBI Wanted Poster of bin Laden, a photo of Chris Wallace and a photo of Mitch Weiss:

Defanging The Police: My Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat Column On Why Curbing Car Stops Is A Bad Move

Philadelphia Weekly published my Crime Beat column on why stopping car stops is a bad move.

You can read the column via the below link or the below pages:

Defanging the police: Curbing car stops is a bad move - Philadelphia Weekly 

You can click on the above and below to enlarge. 

You can also read some of my other Crime Beat Columns via the below link:

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Local 98 Leader John Dougherty, Philadelphia City Councilmember Robert Henon Found Guilty Of Public Corruption

 The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania released the below information: 

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that John Dougherty, Business Manager of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (“Local 98”), 61, of Philadelphia, PA, and Robert Henon, Philadelphia City Councilmember, 52, of Philadelphia, PA, were convicted at trial today of multiple crimes involving public corruption

The jury convicted John Dougherty of the following crimes: one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud (Count One), and seven counts of honest services wire fraud (Counts Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, and Ten). The jury convicted Robert Henon of the following crimes: one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud (Count One), eight counts of honest services wire fraud (Counts Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, and Twelve), and one count of bribery (Count Sixteen). 

The honest services wire fraud convictions against both defendants were premised on the following schemes proven at trial: L&I/CHOP; Plumbing Code/Building Trades; Towing; Comcast; and Soda Tax #2. The additional honest services wire fraud count against Henon (Count Twelve) was predicated on a $5,000 campaign contribution from CWA to Henon’s campaign bank account. The bribery conviction against Henon (Count Sixteen) was based on the same $5,000 check, written on the account of the CWA.

Dougherty, Henon and others affiliated with Local 98 were charged by Indictment in January 2019. The trials were bifurcated thereafter, leaving Dougherty and the other defendants to stand trial on the embezzlement and tax fraud charges at a later date. The Indictment charged that Dougherty and Henon defrauded the City of Philadelphia and its citizens of the right to Henon’s honest services as a member of City Council. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Henon received a salary and other things of value from Dougherty and, in exchange, Henon used his position as a member of City Council to serve Dougherty’s interests. 

“Today’s verdict is a strong message to the political power players of this city that the citizens of Philadelphia will not tolerate public corruption as ‘business as usual',” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams. “John Dougherty is not above the law. He is not entitled, had no right, to pull the strings of official City business as if he were elected to office. And Bobby Henon was not elected to represent Local 98 or John Dougherty’s interests on City Council, or any union for that matter, but to represent all the people of the City’s 6th Councilmanic District – a fact which he failed to remember in doing the bidding of his political godfather, Dougherty. Philadelphians deserve more than a system that favors the few who have a ‘person they can call’ to get things done. Everyone deserves equal access to the decision-makers in their government.”

“From the start, John Dougherty and Bobby Henon sought to tag this as an anti-union case,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “Let's be clear. The FBI has no problem with labor unions. It's criminals we're after, like a local power broker who gives an elected official a handsome salary and benefits he didn't earn, in exchange for doing that benefactor's business at City Hall. Today, the jury called it what it was, a crooked quid pro quo — one that tilted the playing field in Dougherty's favor, giving him an unfair advantage over every Philadelphian who acts with fairness and integrity. That is corruption, that is wrong, and this city deserves so much better.”

“The consequences to those who betray the public trust by making and receiving bribe payments are evident by today’s convictions,” said Yury Kruty, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Cases involving betrayal of the public’s trust are of utmost importance and IRS-CI will continue to be a partner in the efforts to bring criminals like this to justice.”

“One of the functions of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards is to see to it that union funds are used for proper purposes. It is never proper – and is indeed criminal – to do what Mr. Dougherty did here: use union funds to bribe a politician. Working with our Federal and state investigative partners, OLMS will hold accountable anyone who misuses their office and their union’s funds in this way,” said OLMS District Director Megan Underwood.   

“Union officials must ensure that only those individuals who perform rightful union work be permitted to participate in union employee benefit plans. EBSA will vigorously pursue those who arrogate employee benefits intended exclusively for hard–working union members,” said Michael Schloss, Philadelphia Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. 

“An important part of the mission of the Office of Inspector General is to investigate allegations relating to labor racketeering. Today’s guilty verdict for John Dougherty, Business Manager of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and City of Philadelphia Councilmember Robert Henon for conspiracy and honest services fraud is an affirmation of our commitment to working with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Employee Benefits Security Administration to pursue union-affiliated corruption investigations,” said Syreeta Scott, Special Agent-in-Charge, Philadelphia Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Labor Management Standards, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the Pennsylvania State Police, with assistance from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Frank Costello, Bea Witzleben, and Richard Barrett.

Monday, November 15, 2021

They Shoot Cowboys, Don’t They?: Earps Take On Biggest Gang In Arizona

John Boessenecker offer his take on one of the famous gun battles in American history, the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, at Historynet.com. 

The story of Wyatt Earp, his brothers, friend Doc Holliday and events surrounding the inaptly named Gunfight at the O.K. Corral remains one of the most infamous episodes in the history of the American West. For nearly 140 years the tale has been told and retold in countless newspapers, magazines, books and films. 

Most accounts scrutinize the goings-on in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, in a vacuum, detailing the relationship and antagonism between the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday on one side and the Clanton and McLaury brothers on the other in the weeks and months leading up to the October 26, 1881, shootout in a vacant lot near the O.K. Corral. 

More recent revisionist narratives even claim the troubles in Tombstone were essentially a vendetta between two rival factions, the Cowboys and the Earps. Those accounts are wrong. 

Truth is, Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan Earp, while clearly flawed—each had seen the inside of a jail cell—took on and defeated the biggest outlaw gang in Arizona Territory. It is impossible to understand the brothers and their actions in Tombstone unless one understands who the Cowboys were, where they came from and what they did. 

The Cowboys were a loosely organized band of some 200 to 300 desperadoes that raided freely on both sides of the Mexican border. To Mexicans they were broadly Tejanos, or Texans, while Americans dubbed them the Cowboys. In the wake of their depredations the formerly innocuous term “cowboy” became a dirty word in Arizona and New Mexico territories. “The cowboy is a cross between a vaquero and a highwayman,” one contemporary Southwestern newspaperman declared. 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

They Shoot Cowboys, Don’t They? Earps Take on Biggest Gang in Arizona (historynet.com)

You can also watch a trailer of what I believe is the best film on the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Tombstone, via the below link:

"Tombstone (1993)" Theatrical Trailer - YouTube

And if you would like to read a good biography of Wyatt Earp, I'd recommend Casey Tofertiller's Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend. 

James Bond Author Ian Fleming's Pearl Cufflinks Inscribed With Unsolved Secret Message Are Set To Fetch Up To £1,200 At Auction

 Mark Tovey at the Daily Mail offers a piece on the late, great thriller writer Ian Fleming’s mysterious cufflinks. 

A mysterious spy-like code has been found on a pair of cufflinks owned by James Bond author Ian Fleming. 

Author Fleming wore the cultured pearl set to the 'Dr No' post-film screening party in 1962.

They are now due to be auctioned - but contain a 007-esque code made up of a series of letters.

The backs of the cufflinks are inscribed with 'WUS', 'SIL', 'UDH' and 'NUF' - believed to represent a so-far unsolved secret message.  

The enigmatic cufflinks will go on sale at Mallams auctioneers in Oxford on November 17. 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

James Bond author's pearl cufflinks inscribed with unsolved secret message go up for auction | Daily Mail Online

Sunday, November 14, 2021

TCM Offers A Look Back At Dean Martin, 'The King Of Cool'

I'm a huge fan of Dean Martin, known by all affectionately as "Dino."

He was a great singer, comedian and actor, but he was always so casual about it all, he was called “The King of Cool.”

TCM will air a documentary On Dino on Friday, November 19th. 

Michael Starr at the New York Post offers a piece on Dino and the upcoming documentary.   

The life and times of Dean Martin were tinged with fame, fortune, worldwide celebrity and a late-in-life tragedy — and they’re concisely and lovingly documented in “Dean Martin: King of Cool,” premiering Friday (Nov. 19) at 8 p.m. on TCM.

The new documentary, directed by Tom Donahue, features a treasure trove of personal photos, home movies, archival television appearances and interviews with Martin’s friends and family, including his daughter, Deana Martin, talking about this performer who kept his inner feelings hidden behind a carefree public persona of a guy from working-class Ohio (Steubenville) who just wanted to play golf and watch television.

Martin’s image is the impetus that drives “King of Cool” as it digs deep into the arc of his childhood and teenage years as the son of Italian immigrants to discover his “Rosebud” (what made him tick) in tracking his rise to the heights of stardom with the comedy team of Martin & Lewis (Jerry Lewis is heard on audio recordings), the Sinatra Rat Pack years, “The Dean Martin Show,” etc. The answer? No one really knows. Martin died at the age of 77 in 1995 on Christmas Day — a broken man, ravaged by health problems who never recovered from the death of his son, Dean Paul Martin, a captain in the Air National Guard who was killed in 1987 piloting a plane during a routine mission.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Why Dean Martin was the 'King of Cool' (nypost.com)

You can listen to Dean Martin’s Italian songs via the below link: 

Just Say I Love Her (Dicitencello Vuie) - YouTube

And you can listen to Dean Martin’s Christmas Album via the below link: 

White Christmas - YouTube

And you can learn more about Dean Martin by reading Nick Tosches' biography of him, Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams, as well as his daughter's memoir, Memories Are Made of This. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

My Accessories: No Well-Dressed Man Should Leave Home Without Them

In addition to my wallet and keys, the above photo shows the things I carry when I venture out. 

In the center of the photo is my most prized possession, my Rolex Submariner diver’s watch. 

A beautiful woman bought this watch for me for my 30th birthday. 

I married her a month later. 

I first became enamored with the Rolex Submariner when I saw actor Sean Connery as James Bond wear one in the early Bond films. 

In the opening scenes in Goldfinger, Connery glances at the watch while waiting for his explosives at a heroin processing plant to ignite. The camera then goes in for a close-up of the watch’s face.

Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, outfitted his iconic character with a Rolex in the novels, as he himself wore one. 

I later learned that legendary Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager and legendary scuba diver and explorer Jacques Cousteau also wore Rolex Submariner watches. 

While serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War, and later serving aboard the Navy tugboat USS Saugus at the U.S. nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland, I discovered that many pilots, Seabee divers, Navy SEALs, submariners, and other sailors also wore Rolex Submariner diver watches. 

I’ve long wanted one, which I happened to mention to a beautiful woman that I was seeing in the early 1980s  As she worked part-time for a jeweler, she was able to get a good deal and presented me with my own Rolex Submariner on my 30th birthday.  

To the right in the above photo is a gold scuba diver that I wear on a gold chain around my neck. My wife bought the finely detailed gold scuba diver for me to celebrate her first scuba diving experience with me in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  

Under the gold diver is one of my U.S. Navy dog tags, which was issued to me while I was attending Navy bootcamp in 1970. I consider it my “lucky dog tag.” The other dog tag is on my key ring.  

To the left in the photo is my Spyderco folding pocketknife. I’ve carried a knife since my teens for protection. I consider a pocket knife an essential tool and the knife is always in my pocket. 

Above the Rolex Submariner in the photo is my Ruger LCR 38 Double-Action hammerless revolver, which was a gift from my stepson. 

I possess a state License to Carry, and I mostly carry the Ruger, although I also own a 9mm Beretta Couger semiautomatic, a .25 Beretta semiautomatic, and a .38 Smith and Weston revolver with a four-inch barrel.  

Having performed security work in the Navy and later as a Defense Department civilian employee, as well as working today as a newspaper crime reporter and columnist, I’m very security conscious.  

So having been Navy trained in the safety and use of firearms, I’m always “heeled,” as they used to say in the old Wild West.  

And as Sean Connery as James Bond said in Thunderball, “No well-dressed man should be without one.”  

Note: The below photo is of me wearing my Rolex in Jamaica some years ago as my wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. 

The champagne? Why, Dom Perignon, of course.  

John Pearson, Biographer Of Ian Fleming, Has Died

As I've noted here before, as a teenager in the early 1960s, I saw Sean Connery as James Bond in in Dr. No and From Russia With Love. 

The great films inspired me to go out and buy and read Ian Flemings’s James Bond novels. Fleming's thrillers were the first books in my now extensive library. And I became a life-long Ian Fleming aficionado.

 I later read John Pearson’s biography of the late Bond author.

 At 12-years-old I knew I wanted to be a newspaper reporter and a crime thriller writer, and reading John Pearson’s biography of Fleming cemented those ambitions.


I loved how Pearson described Ian Fleming’s fascinating life as a naval intelligence officer in WWII, a globe-trotting journalist, and a world-famous thriller writer. The book is a must read for true Fleming and Bond fans.

I also enjoyed Pearson’s “biography” of Fleming’s fictional character, James Bond, and I enjoyed his book on the notorious London gangsters, the Kray twins.  

 Sadly, The Spy Command reports that John Pearson has died.


John Pearson, a British journalist whose works included a biography of Ian Fleming, has died at 91. His death was announced on Pearson’s Instagram page, maintained by his granddaughter, Lydia Pearson.


Pearson worked at The Economist, BBC and The Sunday Times, according to his biography on his website. At The Sunday Times, Pearson worked with Fleming on the Atticus column, described by Ian Fleming Publications as a “pseudonymous weekly column for publishing society gossip.”


Pearson, in a message on the home page of his website, said working with Fleming “was my springboard to becoming a writer.”


What followed was a series of non-fiction works and novels. They included the biography The Life of Ian Fleming in 1966 and the fiction work, James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007 in 1973.


You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

John Pearson, Fleming biographer, dies | The Spy Command (wordpress.com)


You can also visit John Pearson’s website via the below link:

Writer | John Pearson 

Former Metallurgist Lab Director Pleads Guilty To Major Fraud: Repeatedly Falsified Test Results On Strength Of Metal Used For Submarine Parts

 The U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Washington released the below information: 

Tacoma – The former Director of Metallurgy at Bradken Inc. pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to defrauding the United States by falsifying test results that measure the strength and toughness of steel used in U.S. Navy submarines, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.  

Elaine Thomas, 67, of Auburn, Washington, pleaded guilty to major fraud on the United States.  She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle on February 14, 2022.

According to records filed in the case, Bradken is the U.S. Navy’s leading supplier of cast high-yield steel for naval submarines.  Bradken’s Tacoma foundry produces castings that prime contractors use to fabricate submarine hulls.  The Navy requires that the steel meets certain standards for strength and toughness to ensure that it does not fail under certain circumstances, such as a collision.  For 30 years, the Tacoma foundry (which was acquired by Bradken in 2008), produced castings, many of which had failed lab tests and did not meet the Navy’s standards.  Elaine Thomas, as Director of Metallurgy, falsified test results to hide the fact that the steel had failed the tests.  Thomas falsified results for over 240 productions of steel, which represent a substantial percentage of the castings Bradken produced for the Navy. 

Court filings indicate there is no evidence that Bradken’s management was aware of the fraud until May 2017.  At that time, a lab employee discovered that test cards had been altered and that other discrepancies existed in Bradken’s records.  In June 2020, Bradken entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, accepting responsibility for the offense and agreeing to take remedial measures.  Bradken also entered into a civil settlement, paying $10,896,924 to resolve allegations that the foundry produced and sold substandard steel components for installation on U.S. Navy submarines.

The Navy has taken extensive steps to ensure the safe operation of the affected submarines.  Those measures will result in increased costs and maintenance as the substandard parts are monitored.  

The criminal case against Thomas, deferred prosecution agreement, and civil settlement with Bradken are the result of a coordinated effort among the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General's Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. 

The criminal prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson.