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Who Wrote The Bible?

Set aside what religious tradition says, and discover who wrote the Bible according to the scholars who have examined the actual evidence.

Who Wrote The Bible

HOLY BOOKS HAVE A REACH that goes far beyond what virtually all works of literature can ever accomplish. Unlike, say, The Great Gatsby, the Bible is a text upon which millions and millions of people have based their entire lives.

That fact can be good or bad, and it’s often been both over the many centuries throughout which Christians have been reading the Bible and Jews have been reading the Torah. But given its immense reach and cultural influence, it’s a bit surprising how little we really know about the Bible’s origins. In other words, who wrote the Bible? Of all the mysteries surrounding the Bible, that one may be the most fascinating.

We’re not completely ignorant, of course. Some books of the Bible were written in the clear light of history, and their authorship isn’t terribly controversial. Other books can be reliably dated to a given period by either internal clues — sort of the way no books written in the 1700s mention airplanes, for instance — and by their literary style, which develops over time.

Religious doctrine, of course, holds that God himself is the author of or at least the inspiration for the entirety of the Bible, which was transcribed by a series of humble vessels. About the best that can be said for that notion is that if God really did “write” the Bible through a millennium-long sequence of various authors, he was certainly doing it the hard way.

As for the actual historical evidence regarding who wrote the Bible, that’s a longer story.

Who Wrote The Bible: The First Five Books

Painting Of Moses

According to both Jewish and Christian Dogma, the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the first five books of the Bible and the entirety of the Torah) were all written by Moses in about 1,300 B.C. There are a few issues with this, however, such as the lack of evidence that Moses ever existed and the fact that the end of Deuteronomy describes the “author” dying and being buried.

Scholars have developed their own take on who wrote the Bible’s first five books, mainly by using internal clues and writing style. Just as English speakers can roughly date a book that uses a lot of “thee’s” and “thou’s,” Bible scholars can contrast the styles of these early books to create profiles of the different authors.

In each case, these writers are talked about as if they were a single person, but each author could just as easily be an entire school of people writing in a single style. These biblical “authors” include:

  • E: “E” stands for Elohist, the name given to the author(s) who referred to God as “Elohim.” In addition to a fair bit of Exodus and a little bit of Numbers, the “E” author(s) are believed to be the ones who wrote the Bible’s first creation account in Genesis chapter one.Interestingly, however, “Elohim” is plural, so chapter one originally stated that “Gods created the heavens and earth.” It’s believed that this hearkens back to a time when proto-Judaism was polytheistic, though it was almost certainly a one-deity religion by the 900s B.C., when “E” would have lived.
  • J: “J” is believed to be the second author(s) of the first five books (much of Genesis and some of Exodus), including the creation account in Genesis chapter two (the detailed one where Adam is created first and there’s a serpent). This name comes from “Jahwe,” the German translation of “YHWH” or “Yahweh,” the name this author used for God.At one time, J was thought to have lived close to the time of E, but there’s just no way that could be true. Some of the literary devices and turns of phrase that J uses could only have been picked up sometime after 600 B.C., during the Jewish captivity in Babylon.

    For example, “Eve” first appears in J’s text when she is made from the rib of Adam. “Rib” is “ti” in Babylonian, and it’s associated with the goddess Tiamat, the mother deity. A lot of Babylonian mythology and astrology (including the stuff about Lucifer, the Morning Star) snuck into the Bible in this way via the captivity.

Destruction Of Jerusalem

  • P: “P” stands for “Priestly,” and it almost certainly refers to a whole school of writers living in and around Jerusalem in the late sixth century B.C., immediately after the Babylonian captivity ended. These writers were effectively reinventing their peoples’ religion from fragmentary texts now lost.P writers drafted almost all of the dietary and other kosher laws, emphasized the holiness of the Sabbath, wrote endlessly about Moses’ brother Aaron (the first priest in Jewish tradition) to the exclusion of Moses himself, and so on.

    P seems to have written just a few verses of Genesis and Exodus, but virtually all of Leviticus and Numbers. P authors are distinguished from the other writers by their use of quite a lot of Aramaic words, mostly borrowed into Hebrew. In addition, some of the rules attributed to P are known to have been common among the Chaldeans of modern-day Iraq, whom the Hebrews must have known during their exile in Babylon, suggesting that the P texts were written after that period.

King Josiah

  • D: “D” is for “Deuteronomist,” which means: “guy who wrote Deuteronomy.” D was also, like the other four, originally attributed to Moses, but that’s only possible if Moses liked to write in the third person, could see the future, used language no one in his own time would have used, and knew where his own tomb would be (clearly, Moses was not who wrote the Bible at all).D also takes little asides to indicate just how much time has passed between the events described and the time of his writing about them — “there were Canaanites in the land then,” “Israel has not had such a great prophet [as Moses] down to this very day” — once again disproving any notions that Moses was the one who wrote the Bible in any way.

    Deuteronomy was actually written much later. The text first came to light in the tenth year of the reign of King Josiah of Judah, which was roughly 640 B.C. Josiah had inherited the throne from his father at age eight and ruled through the Prophet Jeremiah until he was of age.

    Around 18, the King decided to seize full control of Judah, so he dispatched Jeremiah to the Assyrians with a mission to fetch home the remaining diaspora Hebrews. Then, he ordered a renovation of the Temple of Solomon, where Deuteronomy was supposedly found under the floor — or so Josiah’s story goes.

    Purporting to be a book by Moses himself, this text was a near-perfect match for the cultural revolution that Josiah was leading at the time, suggesting that Josiah orchestrated this “discovery” to serve his own political and cultural ends.

    This is roughly the equivalent of President Trump fishing around in the Liberty Bell and claiming to find an amendment to the Constitution written by Thomas Jefferson that requires presidents to build border walls — even though the supposed amendment uses modern words such as “email” and “cellphone.”

Histories

Joshua Makes The Sun Stand Still

The next answers to the question of who wrote the Bible come from the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, generally believed to have been written during the Babylonian captivity in the middle of the sixth century B.C. Traditionally believed to have been written by Joshua and Samuel themselves, they’re now often lumped in with Deuteronomy due to their similar style and language.

Nevertheless, there is a substantial gap between the “discovery” of Deuteronomy under Josiah in about 640 B.C. and the middle of the Babylonian captivity somewhere around 550 B.C. However, it’s possible that some of the youngest priests who were alive in the time of Josiah were still alive when Babylon hauled off the whole country as captives.

Whether it was these priests of the Deuteronomy era or their successors that wrote Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, these texts represent a highly mythologized history of their newly dispossessed people thanks to the Babylonian captivity.

Who Wrote The Bible Egypt

This history opens with the Hebrews getting a commission from God to leave their Egyptian captivity (which probably resonated with the contemporary readers who had the Babylonian captivity on their minds) and utterly dominate the Holy Land.

The next section covers the age of the great prophets, who were believed to be in daily contact with God, and who routinely humiliated the Canaanites’ deities with feats of strength and miracles.

Finally, the two books of Kings cover the “Golden Age” of Israel, under the kings Saul, David, and Solomon, centered around the tenth century B.C.

The intent of the authors here isn’t hard to parse: Throughout the books of Kings, the reader is assailed with endless warnings not to worship strange gods, or to take up the strangers’ ways — especially relevant for a people in the middle of the Babylonian captivity, freshly plunged into a foreign country and without a clear national identity of their own.

Who Wrote The Bible: Prophets

Prophet Isaiah

The next texts to examine when investigating who wrote the Bible are those of the biblical prophets, an eclectic group who mostly traveled around the various Jewish communities to admonish people and lay curses and sometimes preach sermons about everybody’s shortcomings.

Some prophets lived way back before the “Golden Age” while others did their work during and after the Babylonian captivity. Later, many of books of the Bible attributed to these prophets were largely written by others and were fictionalized to the level of Aesop’s Fables by people living centuries after the events in the books were supposed to have happened, for example:

  • Isaiah: Isaiah was one of the greater prophets of Israel, and the book of the Bible attributed to him is agreed to have been written in basically three parts: early, middle, and late.Early, or “proto-” Isaiah texts may have been written close to the time when the man himself really lived, around the eighth century B.C., about the time when the Greeks were first writing down Homer’s stories. These writings run from chapters one to 39, and they’re all doom and judgment for sinful Israel.

    When Israel actually did fall with the Babylonian conquest and captivity, the works attributed to Isaiah were dusted off and expanded into what’s now known as chapters 40-55 by the same people who wrote Deuteronomy and the historical texts. This part of the book is frankly the ravings of an outraged patriot about how all the lousy, savage foreigners will someday be made to pay for what they’ve done to Israel. This section is where the terms “voice in the wilderness” and “swords into ploughshares” come from.

    Finally, the third part of the book of Isaiah was clearly written after the Babylonian captivity ended in 539 B.C. when the invading Persians permitted the Jews to return home. It’s not surprising then that his section of Isaiah is a burbling tribute to the Persian Cyrus the Great, who is identified as the Messiah himself for letting the Jews return to their home.

Jeremiah The Prophet

  • Jeremiah: Jeremiah lived a century or so after Isaiah, immediately before the Babylonian captivity. The authorship of his book remains relatively unclear, even compared with other discussions as to who wrote the Bible.He may have been one of the Deuteronomist writers, or he may have been one of the earliest “J” authors. His own book may have been written by him, or by a man named Baruch ben Neriah, whom he mentions as one of his scribes. Either way, the book of Jeremiah has a very similar style to Kings, and so it’s possible that either Jeremiah or Baruch simply wrote them all.
  • Ezekiel: Ezekiel ben-Buzi was a priesthood member living in Babylon itself during the captivity.There’s no way he wrote the whole book of Ezekiel himself, given the stylistic differences from one part to the next, but he may have written some. His students/acolytes/junior assistants may have written the rest. These also might have been the writers who survived Ezekiel to draft the P texts after the captivity.

Wisdom Literature

Who Wrote The Bible Job

The next section of the Bible — and the next investigation into who wrote the Bible — deals with what’s known as the wisdom literature. These books are the finished product of nearly a thousand years of development and heavy editing.

Unlike the histories, which are theoretically non-fiction accounts of stuff that happened, wisdom literature has been redacted over the centuries with an extremely casual attitude that has made it hard to pin down any single book to any single author. Some patterns, however, have emerged:

  • Job: The book of Job is actually two scripts. In the middle, it’s a very ancient epic poem, like the E text. These two texts may be the oldest writings in the Bible.On either side of that epic poem in the middle of Job are much more recent writings. It’s as if Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales were to be reissued today with an introduction and epilogue by Stephen King as if the whole thing were one long text.

    Section one of Job contains a very modern narrative of setup and exposition, which was typical of the Western tradition and indicates that this part was written after Alexander the Great swept over Judah in 332 B.C. The happy ending of Job is also very much in this tradition.

    Between these two sections, the list of misfortunes that Job endures, and his tumultuous confrontation with God, are written in a style that would have been around eight or nine centuries old when the beginning and ending were written.

  • Psalms/Proverbs: Like Job, Psalms and Proverbs are also cobbled together from both older and newer sources. For example, some Psalms are written as if there’s a reigning king on the throne in Jerusalem, while others directly mention the Babylonian captivity, during which time there was of course no king on the throne of Jerusalem. Proverbs was likewise continuously updated until about the mid-second century B.C.

Battle Of Issus

  • Ptolemaic Period: The Ptolemaic period began with the Greek conquest of Persia in the late fourth century B.C. Before then, the Jewish people had been doing very well under the Persians, and they were not happy about the Greek takeover.Their main objection seems to have been cultural: Within a few decades of the conquest, Jewish men were flagrantly adopting Greek culture by dressing in togas and drinking wine in public places. Women were even teaching Greek to their children and donations were way down at temple.

    The writings from this time are of a high technical quality, partly thanks to the hated Greek influence, but they also tend to be melancholy, likewise due to the hated Greek influence. Books from this period include Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes.

Who Wrote The Bible: The New Testament

Jesus Delivering Sermon

Finally, the question of who wrote the Bible turns to the texts dealing with Jesus and beyond.

In the second century B.C. with the Greeks still in power, Jerusalem was run by fully Hellenized kings who considered it their mission to erase Jewish identity with full assimilation.

To that end, King Antiochus Epiphanes had a Greek gymnasium built across the street from the Second Temple and made it a legal requirement for Jerusalem’s men to visit it at least once. The thought of stripping nude in a public place blew the minds of Jerusalem’s faithful Jews, and they rose in bloody revolt to stop it.

In time, Hellenistic rule fell apart in the area and was replaced by the Romans. It was during this time, early in the first century A.D., that one of the Jews from Nazareth inspired a new religion, one that saw itself as a continuation of Jewish tradition, but with scriptures of its own:

  • Gospels: The four Gospels in the King James Bible — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — tell the story of Jesus’ life and death (and what came after that). These books are named after Jesus’ apostles, although these books’ actual authors may have just been using those names for street cred.The first Gospel to be written may have been Mark, which then inspired Matthew and Luke (John differs from the others). Alternatively, all three may have been based on a now-lost older book known to scholars as Q. Whatever the case, evidence suggests that Acts seems to have been written at the same time (the end of the first century A.D.) and by the same author as Mark.

Paul The Apostle

  • Epistles: The Epistles are a series of letters, written to various early congregations in the eastern Mediterranean, by a single individual. Saul of Tarsus famously converted after an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, after which he changed his name to Paul and became the single most enthusiastic missionary of the new religion. Along the way to his eventual martyrdom, Paul wrote Epistles of James, Peter, Johns, and Jude.
  • Apocalypse: The book of Revelation has traditionally been attributed to the Apostle John.Unlike the other traditional attributions, this one wasn’t very far off in terms of actual historical authenticity, though this book was written a little late for someone who claimed to know Jesus personally. John, of Revelation fame, seems to have been a converted Jew who wrote his vision of the End Times on the Greek island of Patmos about 100 years after Jesus’ death.

While the writings attributed to John actually do show some congruity between who wrote the Bible according to tradition and who wrote the Bible according to historical evidence, the question of Biblical authorship remains thorny, complex, and contested.

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Scientist Claim That Women With Big Butts Are Smarter And Healthier

butt4-01A recent study at Oxford University has yielded some interesting results surrounding the size of a woman’s behind. The results suggest that those women with larger butts saw lower risk of having some diseases. Researchers also published results suggesting that these women also tend to be smarter than other women. Let’s look into this a bit more.After studying the results of the test, researches concluded that women with bigger butts had a lower risk of developing diabetes, cardiac conditions and other diseases associated with cholesterol that is ingested and occurring in the body. The women with larger behinds in the study proved to have lower levels of cholesterol meaning that their hormones aided in the burning of sugar more rapidly.

These results left many readers scratching their heads in confusion. It turns out that these women have large reserves of Omega 3 Acids in their bodies. These components are known for helping with better brain function overall. These women benefit from having it naturally.

Konstantinos Manolopoulos, the leader of this study, spoke with reporters from ABC News and discussed the research results. This Greek Professor announced that women who have more fat on their behinds have higher cholesterol and glucose levels than their counterparts.

Leptin is a hormone in the body that helps to regulate weight loss and weight gain. A healthy amount of leptin allows women to sustain a regulated weight throughout the year. The research indicates that women with larger butts have more leptin in their bodies, allowing them to maintain their bodyweight without too much fluctuation. Adiponectin is another hormone released more in larger butts and can help to prevent diabetic issues.

The results from Oxford University have been replicated with very similar results. The Universities of California and Pittsburgh also concluded interesting findings about women with larger behinds. Findings indicate that women with larger butts and thinner waists can expect a longer life than their counterparts.

It turns out that having a big butt actually has some significant health benefits. This feature allows women’s bodies to produce and stores some important and vital minerals that increase the body’s overall health. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for having a larger behind. You can rest assured that this bigger butt is helping to prevent some awful diseases.

Know someone who’s proud of their big behind? Send them this article and let them know how lucky they truly are!

The menacing looking superyacht ‘Black Swan

 

The’Black Swan’ boat features hidden balconies, an arrow-shaped tip and a pool that fades towards the sea

  • Called Black Swan, the concept yacht would be a floating palace for any billionaire who is bold enough to build it 
  • Stunning vessel features a multi-level pool, spacious sun deck, helipad and hidden balconies with sunloungers 
  • A helicopter platform on the top deck is accessed via a concealed lift, providing quick access to an airport or villa
The Sinister and Sleek Black Swan superyacht is said to be one of the most innovative designers of his generation, Timur Bozca has created a yacht concept made for the Bond villain in you.

The exterior includes a helicopter platform on the top deck, an extensive beach club and a pool. For the interior, a master suite and six guest suites accommodate up to 12 guests.The helicopter platform includes a concealed elevator that will bring guests to the aft deck where they can enjoy the extended beach club.

Two forward balconies are protected by glass railings, offering unobstructed views of the sea or sights in places such as the French Riviera or Caribbean.

A helicopter platform on the top deck is accessed via a concealed lift, allowing the owner and his or her guests to travel between the yacht and the airport or their villa without getting stuck in traffic.

Inside, a master suite and six guest cabins can accommodate 12 people.

Four engines give this superyacht an impressive horsepower rating of 23,172, and allow Black Swan to reach speeds up to 28 knots. At over 200 feet long, this eye-catching vessel is sure to make a statement on the open ocean.

The Real-Life Goodfellas: The Story Behind The Movie

These are the stories behind the real men and women whose lives were depicted in the movie Goodfellas.

Real Life Goodfellas

Few would deny that Goodfellas has become a classic, and Martin Scorsese, in making it, arguably produced the ultimate gangster picture and set the bar pretty high. But Goodfellas is so much more than just a mob movie. It is also one of the best satires of the American dream, a rise-and-fall movie, a tragedy, and a comedy.

One of the aspects of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas that has elevated the film to the classic status it holds today is the intense realism of its depictions of the life in the Mafia. This realism largely stems from the fact that, unlike films such as The Godfather and Once Upon A Time In America, Goodfellas is based on a true story of one gangster, his associates, and one of the most daring heists in American history.

The story comes courtesy of the 1986 nonfiction bestseller Wiseguy that detailed the life of Lucchese crime family associate Henry Hill, as well as his comrades like James “Jimmy The Gent” Burke and Thomas DeSimone, and their involvement in the infamous Lufthansa heist.

This was, at the time, the largest robbery ever committed on U.S. soil. Eleven mobsters, mainly associates of the Lucchese crime family, stole $5.875 million (more than $20 million today) in cash and jewels from a vault at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Here are the true stories of the people who carried out this heist as well as countless other crimes that helped make Goodfellas the crime classic it is today.

Henry Hill

Henry Hill Mugshot

Henry Hill, the central character in Goodfellas (played by Ray Liotta), was born in 1943 to an Irish-American father and a Sicilian-American mother in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York.

It was a neighborhood filled with Mafiosos and Hill admired them all from a young age. At just 14, Hill dropped out of school to start working for Paul Vario, a capo in the Lucchese crime family, and thus became a member of the infamous Vario crew. Hill started out just picking up money from local rackets and bringing them to the boss, but his responsibilities quickly escalated.

He began to get involved in arson, assault, and credit card fraud. After returning from a short military stint in the early 1960s, Hill returned to a life of crime. Though his Irish blood meant that he could never be a made man, he nevertheless became a highly active associate of the Lucchese family.

Among Hill’s closest compatriots at this time was fellow Lucchese family associate and friend of Paul Vario, James Burke. After years of truck hijacking, arson, and other crimes (including extortion, for which he served time in the 1970s), Hill and Burke played major roles in orchestrating the Lufthansa heist in 1978.

At the same time, Hill was involved in a point-shaving racket with the 1978-79 Boston College basketball team and ran a major narcotics operation in which he sold marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and quaaludes wholesale.

It was the drugs that brought Hill’s downfall when he was arrested on trafficking charges in April 1980. Initially, he wouldn’t fold to police interrogators, but amid growing suspicions that some of his own associates were planning to kill him in fear that he might put them in legal trouble, Hill began to talk.

In fact, it was Hill’s testimony about the Lufthansa heist that brought the arrests of many of the other men involved — and became the basis for Wiseguy, and thus Goodfellas.

After testifying, Hill was placed in the Witness Protection Program but was kicked out of after repeatedly revealing his true identity to others. He was, nonetheless, never tracked down and killed by his former associates, but instead died of complications related to heart disease on June 12, 2012, the day after his 69th birthday.

 

James Burke a.k.a. “Jimmy The Gent”

Jimmy The Gent

James Burke, played by Robert De Niro as “Jimmy Conway” in the film, was the principal architect of the Lufthansa heist.

Soon after he was born — in 1931, to an Irish immigrant single mother in New York — Burke was placed into foster care and shifted from orphanages to foster homes and back throughout his childhood. He suffered sexual and physical abuse from these caretakers, with one of his foster fathers even dying in a car crash because he was reaching back to hit Burke. The man’s widow blamed Burke for the accident and beat him for it until the child was moved on to his next stop.

Like Henry Hill, Burke’s Irish-American heritage made it impossible for him to become a “made man,” but by the 1950s, he had become a major player in the South Ozone Park and East New York criminal underworld with Paul Vario’s crew, earning his nickname “Jimmy The Gent” for his practice of tipping the drivers of the trucks that he stole.

Despite his nickname, Burke was known for his extreme violence. In 1962, for example, his fiancée told him that she was being harassed by an ex-boyfriend. On the wedding day, the police found the remains of the man cut up in a dozen pieces in his own car.

Burke is also thought to be the one who ordered, and possibly carried out, the murders of most of the men involved in the Lufthansa heist.

Soon after, following Henry Hill’s testimony in 1982, Burke was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his involvement in the 1978–79 Boston College basketball point shaving scandal. While in prison, Burke was convicted of a previous murder he had committed and received another life sentence. He died in prison due to lung cancer in 1996.

Karen Hill

Karen Hill

Karen Hill — Henry’s wife, played by Lorraine Bracco in the film — was born Karen Friedman in New York City in 1946. Soon after her birth, her family moved to Long Island where she was raised in the Five Towns area.

She first met Henry through mutual friends while she was working at a dental office in New York. The pair’s first meeting — at the Villa Capra, a restaurant owned by notorious mobster “Frankie The Wop” — was a double date involving Paul Vario’s son, Paul Jr. (not Thomas DeSimone, as depicted in the film).

At first, Karen said that the date was disastrous and that Henry even stood her up on her second date, only further lowering her opinion of him. However, following a number of lavish dates after these initial fiascos, the two became a couple.

Karen and Henry eloped to North Carolina in 1965 when she was just 19, but eventually had a large Jewish ceremony back home to appease her parents. Soon after, they had two children, Gregg and Gina, and lived together with Karen’s parents before moving into their own place as Henry’s status rose within Vario’s crew.

But things turned sour when Henry went to prison on extortion charges in the 1970s. In his memoirs, Henry claims that, during this time, Karen was sleeping with Vario. When Henry faced prison again, on drug charges in 1980, he instead testified for the government, entered the Witness Protection Program, and took Karen and their kids along with him.

Eventually, however, Karen and Henry divorced in 1989, though it was not finalized until 2001.

Since then, she has remarried and lived under an alias due to the exposure from Wiseguy and Goodfellas.

Thomas DeSimone

Tommyd Henry Hill

Perhaps the most likable character in Goodfellas and unquestionably one of the most famous villains in film history is Tommy DeVito (played by Joe Pesci). In real life, he was known by the name Thomas DeSimone. Nicknamed “Two-Gun Tommy” or “Tommy D,”however, DeSimone was an imposing man who stood 6’2″ and weighed 225 pounds. DeSimone too stepped into the world of crime early in his life, joining Paul Vario’s crew in 1965, and according to Henry Hill, he committed his first murder two years later, when he was only 17 years old.however, His courage and determination were widely known in Mafia circles, but it was his short temper that would bring him a lot of trouble throughout his life. He was a “pure psychopath,” according to Henry Hill.

Joe Pesci portrayed Tommy DeVito (based on Thomas DeSimone) in “Goodfellas.”

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1950 to a deeply-rooted Mafia family, DeSimone soon after moved to New York City with his family.

DeSimone’s extended family included feared mobsters like a grandfather and an uncle who were both bosses of a Los Angeles crime family in the 1920s and 1950s, respectively. DeSimone also had two brothers that were associates of the powerful Gambino crime family in New York, one of which was murdered by the family for allegedly cooperating with authorities.

The weight of his brother’s reputation left DeSimone with something to prove, causing him to frequently lash out at others with violence. Finally, his sister, Phyllis, was a mistress of Jimmy Burke. Through this connection, Burke brought DeSimone on as a member of the Vario crew.

In the testimony used for the book Wiseguy, Henry Hill recalls that when he first met DeSimone, he was “a skinny kid who was wearing a wiseguy suit and a pencil mustache.” But at the age of 17, DeSimone committed his first murder. He shot a random pedestrian walking past him and Hill. He reportedly told Hill, “Hey, Henry, watch this.” before shooting the man in the head with a .38 pistol.

According to Hill, DeSimone relished the idea of killing people, his murderous tendencies aided by the fact that he was very often high on cocaine.

Perhaps DeSimone’s most brutal murder came in 1970, during a welcome home party for formerly imprisoned William “Billy Batts” Bentvena, a made man in the Gambino family. DeSimone became enraged over a snide comment that Bentvena made about DeSimone having once been a shoeshine boy. A couple of weeks later, because of the shoeshine comment as well as the fact that Burke had taken over Bentvena’s loan shark operation while the latter was in prison and didn’t want to relinquish it, Burke and DeSimone plotted to kill Bentvena.

Burke invited Bentvena to a bar owned by Hill for a night of drinking with the Vario crew. Burke got Bentvena drunk and then held him down while DeSimone beat him with a pistol. Thinking he was dead, Burke, Hill, and DeSimone placed him in the trunk of their car and drove away. After hearing sounds from the trunk, DeSimone and Burke realized that he was not yet dead, then beat and stabbed him to death before burying his body under a dog kennel.

Eight years later, during the Lufthansa heist, DeSimone acted as one of the key gunmen who collected the money. Then, following the robbery, he also carried out the killing of Parnell “Stacks” Edwards, a criminal associate that the thieves had hired to dispose of the truck used in the heist, but who had failed to do so.

DeSimone’s efforts were about to pay off in 1979 as he was told he was about to become a made man of the Lucchese Family. However, instead of becoming a made man, he got a bullet in the head after the Gambino family and Lucchese family decided to liquidate him because he had killed Billy Batts of the Gambino family, a made man.

In 1979, almost a year after the heist, DeSimone was declared missing.Hill further alleged that DeSimone was handed over to the Gambinos by Vario, who had learned that DeSimone had attempted to rape Karen Hill, Henry’s wife and Vario’s mistress.

Paul Vario

Paul Vario Mugshot

At the head of the operation responsible for many of the crimes committed by Thomas DeSimone, Henry Hill, and James Burke was Paul Vario, renamed “Paul Cicero” and played by Paul Sorvino in Goodfellas.

Vario was born in New York City in 1914 and began getting himself into legal trouble from an early age. By the time he was an adult, Vario was an experienced criminal, and at 6’3″, an imposing figure. His involvement in racketeering and loan-sharking led him into the Lucchese crime family, with which he became a made man and eventually a crew leader (“capo”).

With this crew and other associates, Vario gained control of most organized crime in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, near what is now known as John F. Kennedy International Airport, a major source of income for Vario’s crew.

Vario would rob the airport, extort its employees, and use his union connections to block federal investigators. And when Jimmy Burke came to Vario with the plans for the Lufthansa heist at the airport, it was ultimately Vario who had to approve it.

Not merely a boss who approved criminal activities without getting his own hands dirty, Vario himself was known to be a violent man. When a waiter accidentally spilled wine on his wife at a restaurant, for example, Vario sent men with baseball bats to beat the restaurant’s staff later that night.

In the end, Vario was arrested based on Hill’s testimony that Vario had defrauded the government by creating a fictitious job that would ensure Hill’s release from prison. Vario died in prison of a heart attack in 1988.

William Bentvena a.k.a. “Billy Batts”

Billy Batts Henry Hill

William “Billy Batts” Bentvena was born in 1921 in New York City and was raised in the same part of east Brooklyn as Henry Hill. In Goodfellas, Bentvena is only referred to by his nickname and is played by Frank Vincent.

Like his compatriots in the neighborhood, Bentvena became involved in crime at a young age, and by 1951 he was an associate of the Gambino crime family.

Unlike Henry Hill, Bentvena was a full-blooded Italian-American, and as such was able to become a made man. He reached this rank in 1961 and began carrying out hits as a street soldier with infamous mobster John Gotti.

He was arrested in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1964 while conducting a drug deal for the Gambino family and was sentenced to six years in prison. While Bentvena was in prison, Burke took over his loanshark operation.

Upon Bentvena’s release, Burke and DeSimone murdered him rather than give back the loanshark operation.

 

Structure of the Mafia

Each regional Mafia is made up of various Families or gangs. The no. may range from a few to over a 100 depending upon the region. Each Family has separate business dealings and tend to stay out of each other’s way. But sometimes their business enterprises may intermingle with each other to a very large extent, depending upon their proximity to each other and the nature of the business.

The Mafia had a very effective structure. It prevented the higher-ranked members of the Families to be responsible for the criminal enterprises. And any lower-ranked Mafioso could easily be bailed out of jail by cleaning his record and bribing the judges. The cops were also generally of the Mafia’s payroll and “looked the other way” whenever the Mafia were involved.


The picture displays a typical structure of the Mafia. Most of the Families had similar structures but there may have been slight differences.

The leader of each Mafia Family was known as the Boss or Don. He made all the major decisions and all the Mafia income ultimately came to him. His authority was required to control the Mafia members and to resolve any disputes.

Beneath the Don is the Underboss. The Underboss is the second-in-command but the power he had varied with different Mafia Families. In some cases he wielded enormous power and in some he wielded relatively much less. Some Underbosses were trained to succeed the Don on the event of his death or retirement.

There is a position between the Don and the Underboss too – The Consigliere. He acts like an adviser to the Don and is supposed to make impartial decisions based upon fairness and for the good of the Mafia, rather thank on personal vendettas. This p[position is generally appointed by the Don but sometimes it is also elected by members of the Mafia. The Consigliere also acts like the mouth of the Don often and commands huge respect just like the Don. He is, however, not directly involved with the criminal enterprises of the Mafia.

Just below the Underboss are the Capos. The number of Capos varied between the Families and depended upon the overall size of the Mafia Family. A Capo acts like a lieutenant or captain, leading his own section of the Family. He operates specific activities of the Mafia. A Capo is regarded to be successful only if he earns a huge amount of money for the Mafia. He keeps some of his earnings and the rest are passed up to the Underboss and ultimately the Don.

Below the Capo’s are the made-men and soldiers. Made-men are the ultimate enforcers of the Family who have proved themselves and command respect from their fellow Mafioso. Soldier’s are the lowest Mafia members. They do all the “dirty work” and as such are generally the ones arrested by the police. Soldiers command little respect and make relatively less money. The number of soldiers and made-men belonging to a Capo may vary tremendously.

The Mafia also use Associates. Associates are not actual members of the  mafia but are people involved with the criminal enterprises. The Mafia works through them. They may be drug-dealers, burglars, assassins, lawyers, or even police and politicians who are on the Mafia’s payroll.


Terminology of the Mafia ranks

Traditional terminology
1. Capo di tuttu capi (the “Boss of All Bosses”)
2. Capo di Capi Re (a title of respect given to a senior or retired member, equivalent to being a member emeritus, literally, “King Boss of Bosses”)
3. Capo Crimine (“Crime Boss”, known as a Don – the head of a crime family)
4. Capo Bastone (“Club Head”, known as the “Underboss” is second in command to the Capo Crimine)
5. Consigliere(an advisor)6. Caporegime(“Regime head”, a captain who commands a “crew” of around twenty or more Sgarriste or “soldiers”)
7. Sgarrista or Soldato (“Soldier”, made members of the Mafia who serve primarily as foot soldiers)
8. Picciotto (“Little man”, a low ranking member who serves as an “enforcer”)
9. Giovane D’Onore (an associate member, usually someone not of Italian ancestry)

Italian Mafia structure Capofamiglia –
Capofamiglia – (Don/Boss)
Consigliere – (Counselor/Advisor/Right-hand man)
Sotto Capo – (Underboss/Second-in-command)
Capodecina – (Captain/Capo)
Uomini D’onore – (“Men of Honor”/Made men/Soldiers


Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire plugs back in with some help from Silicon Valley

FOUR YEARS LATER, LIVE AT LAST?


It’s been four years since we last heard any news on the Harley-Davidson LiveWire, but that’s all about to change by 2019.

It was a typically beautiful day in the beachside town of Santa Monica. The sun was shining, the temperature mild and the popular Third Street Promenade was packed with shoppers. It was the quintessential SoCal postcard day, and it seems like it was just yesterday—only it was four years ago.

That was the day that EBA was invited to ride the new Harley-Davidson LiveWire at the Milwaukee brand’s roll-out tour of their very talked-about, new motorcycle. Only it wasn’t. Well, the motorcycle was all new, but there wasn’t much talking about it. Other than enjoying the mad rush of a very torquey, less-than-quiet motor, the biggest takeaway from the experience was that Harley had no intention of actually discussing much about the bike. In fact, in persistently avoiding any tech questions, the Harley rep would only insist that the purpose of the ride day was merely to facilitate a “listening tour.”

In short, Harley’s LiveWire project sauntered up to the pool, made a big splash after a quick dive, then quietly receded back to its private cabana never to be heard or seen from again. Until now.


Although no one knows what guise the planned 2019 LiveWire will have, the 2014 version cut a stylish line on the city streets.

THE RE-RELEASE

Although the basis for the e-moto world’s newfound basis of anticipation over the LiveWire actually going live was based solely on words spoken from company CEO Matthew Levatich in a conference call to investors, it was at least the first time we’ve heard anything definitive about the stylish bike from the historical house of the V-twin.

“You’ve heard us talk about Project LiveWire,” said Levatich. “LiveWire is an exhilarating, no-excuse electric Harley-Davidson. Over 12,000 riders told us so through the demo rides we provided around the world, and it’s an active project we’re preparing to bring to market within 18 months.”

“Other than enjoying the mad rush of a very torquey, less-than-quiet motor, the biggest takeaway from the experience was that Harley had no intention of actually discussing much about the bike.”

And that, my friends, is the most that we know about Harley-Davidson’s planned re-entry into the modern world of battery-powered transportation. Still, if they really mean it, this could be a very bold step by the Motor Company to leap free from the sales doldrums it has endured of late as the classic Harley customer ages out, leaving a consumer base of kids who are not the least bit enamored with 600-pound, chromed-out touring bikes.


Four years ago the streets of Santa Monica were as crowded with shoppers as they were with a parade of pre-production Harley-Davidson LiveWires.

Around the same time that Harley went live with the LiveWire news, word also leaked that they have also filed a trademark application for the naming of the LiveWire powerplant, “HD Revelation,” which is a take on the Evolution motors used on their big bikes.

THE TECH WE KNEW

For a bike that, as we later found, had no real production timeline, the 2014 LiveWire we rode was impressive with a definite ready for primetime finish. Although the bike was modeled with a dedicated seat cowl that prohibited passenger seating, the café bike styling was immediately appealing.


Unlike the popular look of traditional Harleys with their exposed V-twin motors, the LiveWire’s powerplant was masked by plastic shrouds.

Having owned two Harley Sportsters in my day, I had firsthand experience with traditional Harley traits of poor braking performance and saggy suspension, so I was heartened not only by the LiveWire’s braking performance, but the adjustable Showa suspension with an inverted fork was a welcome upgrade.

At the time, the LiveWire prototype ran on a lithium-ion battery motor that produced 75 horsepower and 52 pound-feet of torque at its peak.  The shrouded motor was mounted longitudinally in a cast perimeter frame and used a final belt drive.

AND THEN CAME ALTA

Just a few weeks after Levatich announced the revival of the LiveWire came the surprising news that Harley had also made an equity investment in Alta Motors, who, like fellow NorCal e-moto-maker Zero Motorcycles, has been attempting to catch some lasting interest in battery-powered motorcycles. Harley’s partnership with Alta mirrors the acquisition of Oregon e-moto-maker Brammo by big-brand Polaris who are also behind the successful relaunch of the Indian marque.


Counter to the modern display module, the prototype bikes were still outfitted with the age-old switchgear and lever assemblies from an old Harley Sportster parts bin.

Once again, the breaking news was left to Levatich to release: “Earlier this year, as part of our 10-year strategy, we reiterated our commitment to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders in part by aggressively investing in electric vehicle (EV) technology. Alta has demonstrated innovation and expertise in EV, and their objectives align closely with ours. We each have strengths and capabilities that will be mutually beneficial as we work together to develop cutting-edge electric motorcycles.”

Levatich continued, “We intend to be the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles and, at the same time, remain true to our gas and oil roots by continuing to produce a broad portfolio of motorcycles that appeal to all types of riders around the world.”

Alta was no doubt more than pleased to be on the receiving end of Harley cash, as, like Harley, their evolution in the e-moto market has been defined by a somewhat fits-and-starts history.

“Riders are just beginning to understand the combined benefits of EV today, and our technology continues to progress,” said Alta Motors Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder Marc Fenigstein. “We believe electric motorcycles are the future, and that American companies have an opportunity to lead that future. It’s incredibly exciting that Harley-Davidson, synonymous with motorcycle leadership, shares that vision, and we’re thrilled to collaborate with them.”

DIRT-BOUND HARLEYS?

Although little is known just what the Harley/Alta partnership might produce in terms of shared product, old-time dirt bike stalwarts will recall that over four decades ago, in addition to their flat-track racing success, the Milwaukee factory won desert racing acclaim with their 100cc Baja two-stroke dirt bike. In 1975 early Harley factory rider Bruce Ogilvie made big news when he rode a prototype 250cc Harley-Davidson to win the Baja 500.

“Harley’s partnership with Alta mirrors the acquisition of Oregon e-moto-maker Brammo by big-brand Polaris who are also behind the successful relaunch of the Indian marque.”

A few years later, Harley would return to the same Italian-sourced engine builder (Aermacchi) to build the engines for some 250 and 370cc motocross bikes. These bikes enjoyed a very limited factory-backed racing effort and production run before Milwaukee abandoned the off-road world in 1979 once and for all.

THE RED SAND

Based out of San Jose, California, Alta has been on track to release a production bike to the public for some time. Although they have gone through a variety of iterations, their current model, the Red Shift MXR, is said to feature a 50-horsepower powerplant with 42 pound-feet of torque with a rolling weight of 259 pounds. This bike, they claim, is now capable of running with a 350cc four-stroke motor, whereas the previous MX model was always compared to a 250cc powerplant. Alta adds that the recharge time has been reduced to just 1.5 hours on a 220-volt system.


With KTM never making any serious inroads with the Freeride e-moto, Alta has been the forefront of pushing battery-powered off-road bikes. The $12,000 MXR is their latest edition

In addition to the motocross bike, Alta also produces Supermoto and off-road/enduro versions. The MX bike made a famously splashy debut in 2016 when former pro rider Josh Hill competed aboard a prototype at the 2016 Red Bull Straight Rhythm race. Notably, the company has refused our sister zine Motocross Action to test a bike in a non-Alta-controlled environment.

The aluminum-framed, California-made bike is spec’d with high-end WP suspension and Brembo brakes, and the MXR should have a retail price of $11,995. www.harley-davidson.com

Do Men with beer bellies get more women and live longer?

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Researchers conclude: Men with beer bellies get more women and live longer

With it being the height of summer, it’s no wonder so many people are spending so much time at the beach.

For some, this presents a chance to regret the copious amounts of beer they drank during winter …

It turns out women prefer men with more stomach, as opposed to those who are well defined or muscly.

Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, researchers at Yale University have proven as much in a new study, according to British newspaper the Daily Telegraph.

A man’s attractiveness can also be enhanced if he’s a bit older and has children, as per the same study. The researchers say this has nothing to do with an underlying ‘daddy complex’ and more to do with evolution.

What women want

The findings suggest that men already having children indicates to women that they are fertile, which increases their natural appeal. In addition, other studies have shown that men with decreasing testosterone levels (and therefore potentially increased fat mass) are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and prostate cancer.

The very same study appears to point towards the fact that more body fat means a man will focus more on his family. As a direct result of this combination, the chances of him finding another woman and subsequently leaving is lowered.

Becoming fatter after fatherhood due to decreasing testosterone levels may not fit the “macho” ideal, but it actually prolongs lives and strengthens immune systems, according to Richard Bribiescas, professor of anthropology and deputy provost at Yale University.

There is evidence that these men are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and prostate cancer, while a study in 2008 found that men with high metabolisms were around 50 per cent more likely to die in a given year than those whose bodies burned up less energy at rest.

Among the celebrities who have fathered children later in life is Robert De Niro
Among those to father children later in life are Robert De Niro, who had a child at 68, and Rod Stewart, who was 66 when his eighth child was born.

“Macho makes you sick,” said Prof Bribiescas. “The Hollywood image of the swaggering, dashing man dispatching bad guys and carrying the day conjures up a perception of indestructibility.

“While men are on average larger and physically stronger than women, men have a considerable weakness.

“We have a harder time fighting off infections and illness compared with women, and… men simply do not take care of themselves.

“This has a significant negative impact on the pace at which men age.”

Prof Bribiescas also argues that becoming more podgy makes dads more likely to invest their time in their children rather than looking for other women, while the increased levels of fat could make them more attractive to women.

“[One] effect of lower testosterone levels is loss of muscle mass and increases in fat mass,” Prof Bribiescas writes in his book How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals About Male Health and Mortality.

“This change in body composition not only causes men to shop for more comfortable trousers but also facilitates increased survivorship and, hypothetically, a hormonal milieu that would more effectively promote and support paternal investment.”

The research follows the “dad bod” trend, in which middle-aged men were praised for their doughy physiques.

However, a Cambridge University study last year found that women searching for a father for their children should choose long-distance runners, who traditionally have very low levels of fat, because they are more likely to have stronger sex drives and higher sperm counts.

Could Gingers become extinct due to climate change ?

Scientists believe the gene that causes red hair could die out if temperatures continue to Rise according to genetic scientists Redheads are becoming rarer and could be extinct in 100 years’ time.

Polar bears and Emperor penguins aren’t the only species under threat due to climate change.

Scientists believe the gene that causes red hair is an evolutionary response to cloudy skies and allows inhabitants to get as much Vitamin D as possible.

But if predictions of rising temperatures and blazing sunshine across the British Isles turn out to be correct, flaming red heads could cease to exist within centuries.

While only 1% to 2% of the world’s population are ginger, in the north of the UK, where the weather tends to be more gloomy, this number is much higher.

In Scotland 650,000 (about 13% of the population) have red hair and, according to a study carried out last year, 40% of those living in Edinburgh are thought to carry the red hair/blue eye gene.

In the North and West of the UK, 29% of the population are believed to have the gene.

Red hair is caused by a mutation in the MC1R gene. It’s also a recessive trait, so it takes both parents passing on a mutated version of the MC1R gene to produce a redheaded child. Because it’s a recessive trait, red hair can easily skip a generation. It can then reappear after skipping one or more generations if both parents, no matter their hair color, carry the red hair gene.

“I think the reason for light skin and red hair is that we do not get enough sun and we have to get all the Vitamin D we can.

“If the climate is changing and it is to become more cloudy or less cloudy then this will affect the gene.

“If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, then yes, there would be fewer people carrying the gene.”

Another leading scientist, who asked not to be named because of the theoretical nature of the work, said: “I think the regressive gene is slowly dying out. Red hair and blue eyes are not adapted to a warm climate.

“It is just a theory but the recessive gene may likely be lost. The recessive gene could be in danger.”

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