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  • Writer's pictureJerry Della Femina


“Why can’t they be like we were – perfect in every way.

What’s the matter with kids today.”

A wonderful song from the show Bye Bye Birdie.

Speaking of kids, I just read something in the New York Post that was the worst thing a Mafia son could do to his Mafia dad. And so close to Father’s Day, too.

The front page cover was another N.Y. Post classic headline:

He’ll Have the Big Whack

Mob Kid Had Dad Killed in McDonald’s: Feds


It turns out when “Sally Daz” Zottola realized that he was looking into the eyes of his killer who was pumping six bullets into his chubby torso, he obviously knew that he was being rubbed out on the orders of his son Anthony (Anthony is pronounced by all Italians I know as “ANT Knee”).

Old Italian Mafia fathers have a sixth sense when it comes to their sons wanting to rub them out and take over the family racket.

But I can imagine Sally Daz’s last words or thoughts were, “Here? Please God, not here.”

And I feel for the old man. Sally Daz was going to die at a McDonald’s.

What a “shanda,” or “shame,” as Jewish gangsters like Meyer Lansky would say.

A good upstanding Italian gangster should not be dispatched to meet his maker at a place that commits culinary crimes like McDonald’s. Italians love good Italian food.

What could be worse for an Italian than dying at McDonald’s?

I guess when I stop and think about it, an Italian Mafia leader would be even more embarrassed if he was shot to death while standing on line at a Wendy’s, with its Peppercorn Mushroom Melt (1,290 calories, 86 grams of fat (33 g saturated fat, 4 g trans fat)), a lethal combination which can make a heart stop faster than a .45 bullet.

The truth is no Italian gangster wants to get bumped off while waiting on line in a disgusting fast-food joint.

Mafia history shows that for a hundred years the best place to kill a Mafia chief is while he’s eating in a good Italian restaurant.

Perhaps the most famous Mafia rub out came on July 12, 1979, when Carmine Galante was killed just as he finished a lunch of minestrone and a delicious plate of homemade cannelloni on an open patio at Joe and Mary’s Italian-American Restaurant on Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Galante pushed back from the table, burped and stuck a big cigar in his mouth when three ski-masked men entered the restaurant, walked onto the patio, and opened fire with shotguns and handguns. Galante was killed instantly. A picture of Galante with a cigar still in his mouth at the time of his death runs in the Post whenever a Mafia chief is rubbed out. All around Brooklyn the Mafia be’s and wanna-be’s spoke about him in the soft whispers of that street-corner wise-guy awe that I used to hear at Joe’s Bar on Avenue U in Brooklyn:

“What a guy! Never gave up his cigar.”

The word was out that Galante wasn’t only a man who knew how to live. He also was a man who knew how and where to die.

I’m sure a gangster like Sally Daz always yearned to be blasted into the next world in the same way as the sainted Galante.

Sally Daz would be happy to die in a small Italian food restaurant that served a luscious dish of veal scaloppini that melts in your mouth. It would be perfect if the restaurant was also in a nice Mafia-friendly borough like Brooklyn or Staten Island.

If that happened, I know all would be forgiven between father and murderous son. Sally Daz’s last words would have been, “Thatsa my boy,” just as the Angel of Death came down to whisk Sally off to Mafia Heaven.

All this reminds me of a commercial about kids that has been pissing me off for years.

The fact is, nothing is as it seems.

Many of you reading this have great-great-grandparents who are exactly my age, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that, at times, little simple things confuse them.

Let’s take “Cars for Kids.”

I know you’ve heard their hideous radio commercials. They spend millions of dollars on the radio talking about cars for kids, and they never tell you what it’s all about.

What’s more, they have a stupid cutesy logo and they call themselves Kars4Kids, which is a nightmare for those who are as spelling-challenged as I am.

So now, after ten years of radio commercials hammering “cars for kids” into our brains, does anyone reading this really know what they do?

Feeling impish a few years ago (and desperate for a column idea), I decided to call Kars4Kids and put them to the test.

A nice young woman answered the phone.

I said, “Hello, my name is Jerry. Is this cars for kids?”

“Yes it is,” came the bright, sunny reply.

“Well, I have five kids,” I said.

“That’s nice,” said the happy voice on the other side of the phone.

“I have five kids and I was wondering if I could give you one of them in exchange for a BMW.

“I know a BMW is an expensive car, but this kid’s college education cost me $80,000, and that doesn’t even include being ripped off by some expensive tutors to nail the SATs.”

“Excuse me?” said the nice woman. Now her voice was a little shaky.

“You give cars for kids, and I wonder if you can give me a BMW for one of mine? If the BMW is too expensive, I would take a used BMW, or even a new Honda Accord.”

That’s when the Kars4Kids woman hung up the phone in my ear.

I guess I’ll never find out what it is they do, and where do kids come in? Is it a charity or a scam?

Note to any one of my five kids who may be reading this: I didn’t mean you, I meant one of the others.

-If you wish to comment on “Jerry’s Ink” please send your message to

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