We had a question at quizzo last week, “Who did Prince Felix Yuspov kill in 1916?” The answer was Grigori Rasputin, and he’s one of my favorite figures of the 20th century. The fact that such a bizarre charlatan could completely (and largely inadvertently) change the history of the world never fails to boggle my mind. This week on the Worthless Knowledge podcast, Nat and I dug into Rasputin’s past, and had some fun with it as well. Like when Nat asked me if I had ever been offered sexual favors for quizzo answers, and what a spectacular scandal would ensue if I answered “Yes.” If you enjoy the pod, please rate it. If you love it, please leave a review. Thanks!
Greg and I recently sat down with Chick Goodroe, a member of the K&A Gang in the 1960s and 70s. He was….quite a character.
Our mission at the Blunt is quite simple: let people tell their best stories. And his are pretty damn good. He talked about how the K&A Gang broke into homes across the country, sleeping in the woods to avoid the police, and how he snuck into Don Ho’s penthouse suite in Honolulu. He was a primary character in Allen Hornblum’s book, Confession of a Second Story Man, and Allen joined us on the pod to help flesh out some of Chick’s most interesting memories. This one is well worth a listen.
We just launched our latest Worthless Knowledge Podcast episode, and this is our best one yet. We welcomed Chip Chantry to the pod to discuss an answer from last week’s quiz: the Noid. We discussed the Domino’s phenomenon, why he was more dangerous than the Hamburgler, and then introduced Nat to the Swiss Cheese Pervert (figuratively). You can listen above on spotify, or here on itunes. If you enjoy it, subscribe. And if you REALLY wanna scores some brownie points, leave a review.
Also, check out some other fun podcasting going on with our crew:
- Chip and comedian Ken Krantz tell some of the great stories of rock and roll in their new podcast I Love Rock and Roll. Check out the latest episode about an underground rock legend from Philadelphia named Jobriath. Crazy story. And be sure to follow them on twitter.
- J. Michael has a quite different podcast…the Mission Rejected podcast is a callback to old time radio serials. You can listen here.
- We recently had an INCREDIBLE interview on the Philly Blunt with local author Allen Hornblum. He’s written books about the medical experiments at Holmesburg Prison, as well as about the K&A Gang. He’s got some absolutely amazing stories that you’ve never heard before. We’ll be live on our Facebook page on Thursday night with Conrad Benner of Streets Department.
- We just started a regular Shibe Sports podcast, and our last interview was really interesting. We talked with David Barrett, who wrote the song One Shining Moment that plays after each NCAA tournament. Really interesting story of how the song came to be. Listen here.
What Podcast You Should Be Listening to: The Philly Blunt! Our interview with Jerry Blavat, the Geator with the Heater, is live! And oh man is it good. His story about Chuck Berry is worth the price of admission alone. Such an honor to sit down with such a true Philly legend, and he absolutely did not disappoint. Dick Clark, Sammy Davis Jr., Angelo Bruno: he’s got stories about all of them and they’re all terrific.
What Music You Should Be Listening to: John Morrison has been writing some solid pieces for WXPN for awhile, but lately he’s been making some new moves: He now hosts a monthly hip-hop show on WXPN called Culture Cypher. His podcast, Serious Rap S**t, just got picked up by iheartradio. And he was nice enough to put together this Youtube mix of his favorite rap songs of 2019. Some great stuff in here: check out Cam’ron’s Losin Weight, Gangstarr and J Cole Family Loyalty, and Danny Brown Best Life. You can follow John on twitter here.
Where I’m Eating: Had breakfast with Chip Chantry earlier this week at the Melrose Diner. I really want to start going there regularly. It has everything a good diner should: friendly older ladies as servers, a nice mix of people from all walks of life, and damn solid food (I had the feta and spinach omelette and was feeling a little frisky so I had them add tomato.)
Local Instagram I’m Following: PHLBucketlist has a ton of great photos of things to do in the area. Dunno who curates it but whoever does takes some really terrific photos.
Alright, hope everyone has a safe and Happy Holiday. If you’re doing some last minute shopping, be sure to hit us up at Shibe Sports. Got lots of great unique and local gear still in stock. And be sure to follow me on twitter. We’ve got some big things planned for 2020, so stay tuned!
If you’ve missed previous Friday Fives and want some good stuff to read, eat, drink, and listen to, go here.
On the latest edition of the Philly Blunt, we did a remarkable interview with Larry Lavin. In the mid 1970s, Lavin started dealing pot to his frat brothers. By 1981 he was the biggest coke dealer on the East Coast. I first came across his story 15-20 years ago, when I bought a random book at a used book store called Dr. Snow. I was riveted by this incredible true story, and when we started doing the podcast, I thought I’d take a random stab at doing an interview with him. I reached out to him, and incredibly he got back to me and said he’d be happy too, and he’d be willing to tell all. The end result was a remarkable interview. Here are a few highlights. Be sure to listen to the full thing on our site or on itunes. In this part of the interview, we talk about making the transition from selling pot to college campuses to selling coke.
JGT: How does that expand? Where suddenly you’ve got a guy talking to Cubans in Miami. Like, that’s a whole different ballgame than talking to college kids in Blacksburg.
LARRY: Right. Well everyone kind of has a connection somehow. And I was pretty, I’m a pretty easily friended person. I make contacts really well. And one of my friends that lived out on the Main Line, he was a little bit older, and he had a Cuban girlfriend, fiance I believe, and he had a couple of connections. And he was the one who told me we could do this. So we pooled our money and bought like a half key. Like the smallest buy, I’m surprised they even sold it to us.
GREG: What did that cost back then?
LARRY: Believe it or not, keys used to be $55,000. The price tumbles down over the years to like $14,000. But for the longest time, we would buy keys at like $55,000 and by the time we broke it up, and put whatever cut depending on which product people wanted, it sold for about $75,000.
GREG: What would you cut it with?
LARRY: Inositol. You know it’s a Vitamin B product. And, uh, lidocaine. But how you develop it is the fact that we had something all the time. So once a week you would come and pay what you could, and we’d give you more, so your business would grow. By me fronting all this. So if you came and wanted half pound, a pound, I’d say “Johnny, what the heck, why don’t you take two pounds this time, and see what happens.” And that’s what made these things grow. And unfortunately everyone’s debt to me grew, because a lot of times people wouldn’t pay them, they did too much product, whatever happened.
REEF: What would you do like the big debt was owed? You would just let it go?
LARRY: Yeah. What good does it do you to get in trouble by going after someone? You try to work with someone, decide if it’s worthwhile, if it’s not-
REEF: Then they lose the connect to you if they don’t pay.
LARRY: That’s exactly right. No one wants to do that because they’ve got, you know, the Golden Ticket.
Wanna hear more about Larry’s days as a cocaine kingpin, how the FBI caught him, and what life was like once he went on the lam? Be sure to listen to this absolutely incredible interview. And be sure to join us on Facebook, twitter, and instagram.