Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Nice Place to Raze a Family

In the town where I grew up, when someone said, "Mortie can't trade on the stockmarket because of his convictions," the word convictions did not refer to high morals.

Quite the opposite.

I swear, there was a period during my childhood when more than one member of the volunteer board of our synagogue was facing federal charges. Insider trading, tax evasion, and of course arson, aka "Jewish lightning" (which, unlike regular lightning, can strike the same place twice, although that does make the insurance adjusters somewhat suspicious). Our neighbors were regularly accused of the sort of crimes that got you sentenced to what we referred to as Congressman's Prison.

A nice white collar, minimum-security facility where you could practice your golf and make new business contacts.

There's an episode of The Sopranos in which Meadow tells her brother AJ what their father does for a living. Dad's in waste management AJ insists. Look around, Meadow replies How many garbagemen live in houses like this?

Where I grew up, the answer was PLENTY.

Believe me, you could barely park a refuse truck between all the Caddies and the Porsches in those three car garages, Dix Hills was so high class.

But that was in the days before HBO made the mob seem glam. When it came to fame, we were limited to Karate Kid Ralph Macchio and assorted members of the hockey playing Islanders.

Until a thriving boom beat changed the world.

Rap music might have been born in the ghetto, but when it made it big, it hauled it's diamond bling-encrusted assets out to the 'burbs.

LL Cool J moved into the neighborhood sometime after I graduated from high school. Every visit back to see the family was celebrated with a cruise down Roundtree Drive past his (I am not making this up) gold picket fence.

There goes the neighborhood, indeed.

Imagine the rappers trying to acclimate to their new upper middle class suburban digs. Leaning over the gold picket fence to chat up the neighbors. Would they talk about the PTA elections or P-Diddy's indictments? Were they comparing notes on the relative cost of braces versus dental grills?

Not to worry, according to today's paper (and yes, it was in the Oregonian, though I'm sure those crack journalists at Newsday broke the story).

Dateline, Dix Hills: A Bissel Gelt and A Lot of Jewish Lightning
The Dix Hills home owned by 50 Cent that was gutted by a suspicious fire is at the center of a contentious legal battle between the rapper and his former girlfriend.

The early morning blaze destroyed the 5,200-square-foot home at Sandra Drive within minutes. Six people who were inside, including the rapper's ex-girlfriend, Shaniqua Tompkins, and the former couple's son, Marquise, 11, were treated for minor injuries.

The fire came Friday as 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, and Tompkins, 32, were embroiled in a battle for the six-bedroom house, which the rapper bought in January 2007 for $2.4 million.

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