Thursday, December 31, 2009


In response to our Cyber Gallery (see previous post) the folks at AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARD hit back hard with works from their digital collection. It was a TKO that left us reeling. Although the pieces from the OMR post were in themselves great works, our mistake had been the grouping of inharmonious color schemes, creating a nauseating effect. We lost that battle and Otto Mannix chose to fire himself, but returned at the urging of his subordinates, who had engineered a counter offensive with a selection from the great Raymond Hains (click pics to enlarge). Take that, ANS!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cyber Gallery

Gerhard Richter, oil on aludibond, 2005.

Gustave Caillebotte.

Franz Kline, 1950s.

Charles Sheeler.

Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom, Battle of Gibraltar, 1621.

Henry Gasser, Newark in Winter, watercolor.

Sol Leiter, photograph, 1950s.

Andy Warhol, screenprint and synthetic polymer on canvas.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Tremendous Beating

"There was this one guy. He didn't pay me for months and months. I kept having to chase him. I was yelling at him and he told me to lower my voice. I said, 'Lower my voice? You take my money, you give me a tough time and then you tell me to lower my voice?' BOOM!

"And there was this other guy who owed me money. My friends were teasing me in a bar one night about it. He had made an appointment and didn't show. They're breaking my chops that he wasn't never going to pay. He don't care. As they were joking and laughing and teasing, he comes into the bar with some heavyweights in the Colombo family. I grabbed him and took him outside. First off, i tell him he's going to pay up. 'Second thing, when you make an appointment with me, you better show. Or send somebody down to tell me you ain't going to show. Don't fucking make me just stand on a street corner waiting for you.'

"He got a little nervy. 'Sammy,' he says, 'I'm tied up. I'm not paying the loan. I'm with Joe Colombo and the Italian-American Civil Rights League.' I said, 'You're with what? The Italian-American League? And you ain't paying? Who the fuck do you think I'm with, the Jewish Defense League?'

"I gave him a tremendous beating right then and there. And then this other guy, who's going to be made--remember, all them years the books were closed and nobody got made--comes out of the bar and says, 'What are you doing, Sammy? He's with Joe Colombo and the league.' I said, 'He owes me money and that's the bullshit answer that he gives me, that he ain't paying up. Fuck him and fuck that.'"
Sammy would often find Castellano seated on a balcony of the White House (a $3.5 million mansion on the highest part of Staten Island), in his robe and slippers, reading the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. "I thought he was the best thing since sliced bread," Sammy said. "He was smart, business-wise. He knew how to control people. He was a genius at it. He had that mannerism, that way about him. He was extremely articulate. Matter of fact, Fat Tony Salerno from the Genovese family once was at a meeting we had. Fat Tony was listening to him and he said, 'Paul, you talk so beautiful. I wish I could talk like that.' So he was very, very articulate, very, very smart, very, very rich and he looked to be very, very fair. We all thought he was going to run a real good show.
"The only thing was he wasn't a gangster and he didn't understand gangsters. He didn't understand what the fuck it was to be broke, to have to go out and rob and do certain things. He didn't understand what a gangster was all about, obviously. I mean, he didn't really understand gangsters like John Gotti and Angie Ruggiero, or me or Frank DeCicco, anybody who is a real hoodlum or gangster in that sense of the word.""This was bad news for Johnny Keys. I went back into the van and told him the 'decision' had come back against him. He had lost. He had to go. Like the man he was, the man I had come to understand him to be, the man I'd learned to respect over the past hours, he accepted this without comment. Me and Stymie and Louie--none of us--were happy with what was to come. I felt terrible that a man with such balls had to be hit. But this was Cosa Nostra. The boss of my family had ordered it. The entire commission ordered it. There was nothing else I could do."We drove to a section of Staten Island that had a back road running along a wooded area. We stopped the van. I remembered his request about his shoes. I took them off.

"Pal Joey went to grab him and pull him out. He kicked out at Joey right in the chest. He said, 'I'll walk out on my own. Let me die like a man.' He took five or six steps away from the van. Without a word, he lowered his head, quiet and dignified.

"I nodded at Louie Milito. As requested by Johnny Keys, he would be killed by a made member. Louie put a .357 magnum to the back of Johnny's head and fired. The shot immediately leveled him to the ground. He died instantly. He died without pain. He died with dignity. He died Cosa Nostra."

Castellano scrutinized Sammy for a moment. Then he replied, "You're definitely not going to die over this bum. But i want your word from now on that you won't ever, EVER do a piece of work unless it's approved by me, or unless somebody--and you better have the bullet holes to prove it--shot at you first and you had to kill him. Or if another friend of ours broke our rules and raised his hands against you."

"Louie was sitting next to me at the table. When Paul said what he said, Louie gives me a kick. I ignore him. I said, 'Paul, I can never give you that promise. I'm a man. If my thinking was not only to kill somebody but to protect you, I'd do it again tomorrow morning."Sammy saw Castellano shaking his head. There was a hint of a smile, as if he was laughing inwardly and trying not to show it. Castellano stood up. He told Sammy to do the same. Then Castellano held him by the shoulders, kissed his cheeks and said, "Just be a good friend of ours like you always have been. You can go now."

Outside the restaurant, Milito said, "Sammy, one thing this fucking Eddie has right is that you got the balls of an elephant. We were lucky in there. He was real mad at you, but he loves and respects the balls you got."

You have been reading excerpts from the book UNDERBOSS; Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia, with accompanying photos taken from this excellent website. Oil painting of slain right-hand man Thomas Bilotti, ©1992 Rick Rodine.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Today I walked into the Decompression Room, here at the offices, and apparently interrupted two of our secretaries. It seemed quite clear that they were 'up to something'. The question is: what? And where do we go from here? I'm wondering which one looks more guilty of 'something'. Hmmm... -O.M.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Hey, what's going on here? Have we all forgotten about Jerry Reed?

Monday, September 7, 2009


Our research odyssey took us through Wheeling, WV. Nestled along the hills of the Tri-State area of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virgina, Wheeling is quite a site. Impressive bridges span the Ohio River and Nineteenth Century architectural wonders crowd the topography. But what most bedazzles the discerning eye is Kaufman's of Downtown Wheeling.

"One of the Nation's largest Bridal and Formal Superstores," it's an eye-popper! Nausea Blue panels, staggered in goofy relief, distinquish this consumer landmark from the run-of-the-mill.

Due to the situation of Kia Sportages and Chrysler Sebrings, we were unable to get a straight-on shot of the full facade. But such a picture can be seen here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Field Trip

The mandatory company field trip was a complete success; the pictures alone are proof enough. We set out to consume a piece of America, but the employees seemed to consume each other in the process. Yes, the usual intrigues were in full flower: in-fighting, back-biting, sexual tension and more. Plastic food wrappers were flying in all directions. Clean toilets were a scarcity.

But this time we were determined to really blow it out. We spared no expense by staying at the Dollar Inn just outside Indianapolis. You could hear the sound as leaves of cash splurged from pockets and across countertops.

Occasionally, the boring beauty of the fields of dreams would be interrupted by a jewel of hideousness such as the GAS AMERICA; a bonanza of possibilities. (Lucky Liquors, situated right next door, opened at 8 AM and closed at midnight, a subject of much jubilation.) More to come.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


A two-week company field trip to the Des Moines branch, the original headquarters, for the purpose of destroying certain old files, and collecting the balance. The building has been purchased by a Japanese concern. On the return trip, we will be stopping by the Toledo branch to inspect the refacing of the old facade.

photo composite: © Rick Rodine, 1982

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


The 1961 Chrysler Turboflite!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


The new HQ for The Otto Mannix Report, designed by Norwegian architect Ingo Lundvig. (click pic to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


...when toys WERE fun. Isn't that what they're supposed to be? Check out the Mattel commercial here.

A great toy, the DESERT PATROL pistol must have been one hell of fun toy. And the design is pretty accurate! See the actual WWII Luger, scanned together with the toy for size comparison!

And finally, a toy syringe for all kinds of hi-jinx!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Des Moines, Iowa. photo: © 1995, Rick Rodine

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Parkington '51

For your consideration: an experimental film from 1984, shot in black-and-white Super-8, and hand developed. A rare document of a 1950s 'one-stop shopping center' in its senile years, the film features beautifully detached scenes of blank sentimentality, whatever that means... it also digresses into other stuff, ostensibly for context, seeming to serve some purpose. Either way, the tone of the piece is sharp. The voice: clear.

Unfortunately, there is a dearth of information about this peculiar lost landmark; not even a nod from the various websites devoted to the history of Arlingon, Virginia. The time has come, and so Parkington Shopping Center will be examined further in a future post. The public needs to know. For now, take a look at the film. More to come, including the reassembled sequel.

Super-8 stills: © Michael Horsley, 1984.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Catastrophic System Failure

The Otto Mannix Two-Year Anniversary went over without a hitch... at first. Then the deluge of responses and congratulations flooded in and crashed our state-of-the-art computer systems. The efficient and attractive Operations Monitor, Daphne, immediately followed protocol and ran the data up through the chain of command.
A review of surveillance tapes revealed no foulplay. The mainframe was shut down, with auxiliary processors running diagnostics. A suspected VIRUS was then discovered in the CPU. Otto Mannix himself and VP Helmut Schplatt discussed possible strategies and avenues of escape. Diagnostics indicated not a virus but a PARASITE, uncommon in these systems. A private contractor, Inspector Columbine, was brought in on a Sunday to poke around and ask the tough questions. No stranger to parasites, having once contracted the Malaria, Columbine seemed to be getting to the bottom of something. The results of his inquiry will be posted upon completion. For now, our Tech Team has brought in the RCA Spectra Data Collecting System as an interim means of operation. Thank you for your patience in this matter.