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Lenny Bruce once said, “If you live in New York, even if you’re Catholic, you’re Jewish.” Jews — known for being the eternal outsiders — have assimilated so well in the Big Apple that they themselves have influenced the culture to the point that Yiddish — itself an amalgam of everything from Old French to Hebrew — has become a second language to New Yorkers. Only in the great melting pot can you hear a Presbyterian call for their schmatte, or a shikse maidel ask for a knish.

But what is it that makes the Jewish language so accessible to…


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The Cub Scout Den MOTHER! and Glenn Danzig

He’s from New Jersey.

So Glenn’s not from Danzig. Does he have family from Danzig? Probably not. (More on that in a moment.) However, he does have a distinct ethnic division between his mother and father.

Glenn Danzig was born June 23, 1955, in Lodi, NJ, and was named Glenn Allen Anzalone. He was the third of four boys born to Richard Anzalone and Maretta Price. His paternal grandparents, Nunzio Anzalone and Maria Somaine, both came from a town in central Sicily called Castrogiovanni (now known as Enna). …


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Mike Patton has a reputation for being a little out there. Like — you have no clue what’s going on in his head out there, but the results are amazing. I had a huge crush on him when he was in Faith No More, but he was an old man of 21 at the time — I don’t want to know how old he is now.

Anyway, with ancestors named Queen Ming and Christopher Columbus, one doesn’t have to look far to see where Mike Patton gets his eccentricities. And, unlike Dave Mustaine, who claimed he’s Finnish (but isn’t), Mike…


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John Mustaine and his son, David

Peace sells, but who’s buying that Dave Mustaine is Finnish? Moving on … Dave Mustaine, Megadeth guitarist and all-around Metal God, has actually weighed in on his family tree, in between putting out albums and firing band members. He claimed Finnish roots on his father’s side, and that the name “Mustaine” is French. Always interested in that name (I’d never heard of another Mustaine), I went to see if he was right.

And by “went,” I mean walked from my bedroom to my home office in Mount Tabor, NJ, where I started to put together the Mustaine tree on Ancestry.com…


Welcome to the jungle, it’s in Lafayette, Indiana — home to Axl Rose and a family that could best be described as a horror show.

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Axl’s biological father, William Bruce Rose Sr, was 18 when Axl was born, kidnapped him when Axl was a baby (then known as Billy — his birth name was William Bruce Rose Jr.), and was eventually murdered in 1984. Because Axl’s teenage mother was able to get Axl back and then quickly remarried, Axl grew up thinking his step-father was his biological father, and only learned the truth by accident much later.


One of my longest relationships, and I can’t wait for it to end

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1984: The year of Mary Lou Retton and my first period, celebrated here

I had nine wonderful years without getting a period. Unfortunately, I was too young to remember most of them. And I’d only just found out what a period was before it happened. Thank God my Mom told me, or I probably would’ve thought I was dying. This was 1984. I’m ready for it to end now, thanks!


My great grandfather was born in Rocky Sink, Fla in 1895 and in 1947 died of lung cancer at a VA Hospital in Baltimore, MD. But he spent a large chunk of his life in neither place, mostly living in Brooklyn, NY and working as a telegraph operator for Western Union, in-between bouts of climbing on and falling off the wagon.

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WWI brought William Brown Hodge from Florida to New York

This man, William Brown Hodge, is my link to the American South. Most of my ancestors came from Europe and settled in NYC — as one comedian, Tara Clancy, who has a similar family story said, “They got off…


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The store I worked at in Danbury, CT. Note the old-fashioned font. It’s still there.

Yesterday I applied for a job at Barnes & Noble. The last time I’d done so was when I was 21 in 1996, after my my mother interrupted an afternoon spent watching Tom & Jerry.

“I think we should have a dialog about your plans for getting a job,” she told me.

“It begins,” I thought.

But I couldn’t argue. She was right. I’d graduated college a year early, and as a reward I was allowed to take the summer off. …


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My father died suddenly when I was 21 — a heart attack, which he must’ve known on some level was going to happen, because in the two weeks before he died, he called everyone — friends, relatives, colleagues, people he hadn’t spoken to in years, people he loved, people he could’ve done without. I, however, was taken by surprise, and went from hearing he’d died to riding in a van with my step-mother, my Dad’s friend, and a cemetery rep to look for his burial spot. This was at a cemetery in Paramus, NJ, and although Paramus was not where…


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Daniel Quinlan, 1962

Once upon a time there were two boys, Danny and Bobby. They lived in the Bronx, in a one-bedroom apartment with their parents and grandmother, a chain smoker who weighed 90 pounds. Danny was named after his father, Dan, and so was called Danny Boy. Bobby was six years younger, and he got his middle name, John, after a great-uncle he’d never met.

Bobby was a handsome dark Irishman with all that entailed, a sweetly mischievous soul, yet he was always peeking out from behind Danny’s shadow. Danny was the South Bronx equivalent of an Irish Frank Sinatra. …

Heather Quinlan

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