The Mafia Is All Around Us…Do You Know Who Your Local Mobsters Are?

From The Godfather to the The Sopranos, it’s pretty clear that mafia members are just as important to American pop culture as Expansion-era cowboys.

Hollywood seems pretty keen on focusing on the Five Families of New York City and the Chicago Outfit, but there are plenty more mafia groups around the U.S. that are just as dangerous.

The Licavoli Crime Family of Cleveland

When the Lonardo and Porrello brothers moved to Ohio from Licata, Sicily, in the early 1900s, they began as legitimate businessmen, but soon started dabbling in illegal activities. Their main focus was supplying bootleggers with the corn sugar they needed to produce alcohol during Prohibition.

After a feud with Irish gangster Danny Greene in the late 1970s, the gang’s power slowly declined. As of now, the FBI considers this group to be inactive.

The Pirano Crime Family of Dallas

Carlo Pirano grew up in the same Sicilian town as Giuseppe Morello of the Morello Crime Family, and he started his own crew when he moved to Dallas in 1921. He ran several gambling rackets in the city. A rising gangster named Joseph Civello took over when Pirano died. Interestingly, Civello was a longtime friend of Jack Ruby, who killed Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas.

The Smaldone Crime Family of Denver

Colorado was full of several highly successful liquor bootleggers in the 1920s and 1930s, like the Carlino brothers and the first Denver mob boss, Joseph Roma. From 1975 to 2006, the family was overseen by the elderly Smaldone brothers. Clarence “Chauncey” Smaldone died in 2006, and it is believed that the grandson of Eugene “Checkers” Smaldone is the only surviving member of the group.

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The Detroit Partnership

The Detroit mafia scene was plagued by war between several different gangs until the 1930s, when the local families came together to form what is now called the Detroit Partnership. The group has remained fairly strong, and it is considered one of the most active mobs in the country, dealing in gambling, extortion, and narcotics. The current boss for the Partnership is Jack “Jackie the Kid” Giacalone .

The Civella Crime Family of Kansas

After Prohibition had come and gone, the Kansas City mob scene maintained its power by extorting local bars. Boss Nicholas Civella was key in their expansion in the 1970s, allowing them to forge alliances with other mobs and helping them fund casinos in Las Vegas. The current boss is believed to be John Sciortino, Civella’s great nephew.

The Philadelphia Mob

The Philadelphia Mob is known for its violence and ceaseless internal warfare. There was a time of peace between 1969 and1980 under the reign of Angelo “Gentle Don” Bruno. But after his death came the chaotic Scarfo years, during which Nicodemo Scarfo got the family involved in narcotics. Scarfo ordered the deaths of 30 of his own men, drawing so much attention that the FBI had to step in. Between 1993 and 1994, another war broke out between the Stanfa and Merlino crews, but when John Stanfa was arrested, Joey Merlino became Philly’s mob boss.

The New Orleans Crime Family

The New Orleans family is arguably the oldest mafia group in the country, with activity going as far back as the 19th century. In the 1870s, they began extorting local businesses. Carlos “The Little Man” Marcello, their most powerful boss, gained the position after befriending Frank Costello of the New York Mob and unifying the underground gambling markets in Louisiana.

He has been accused many times of being a conspirator in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but he was eventually arrested for a different crime. Since then, the New Orleans mob has been much less active.

While these guys may seem big and bad, most of the smaller mobs of American are part of a joint union of mafia heads from the New York Five Families and the Chicago Outfit. Formed in 1931, this committee was designed to oversee goings on in different groups across the nation, but it hasn’t held a meeting since the death of New York mobster Paul Castellano in 1985.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/mafia-in-america/

He Didn’t Just Build His Kids A Normal Playground, He Went Above And Beyond!

Today, there are more campaigns than ever designed to get kids outside and playing instead of staying indoors in front of screens. The NFL has the “Play 60” movement that encourages kids to go outdoors for at least 60 minutes per day, the Wilderness Society has an aptly named campaign, “Go Outside and Play,” and there are a litany of studies suggesting that the reason children are so obese nowadays is the lack of physical stimulation and the prevalence of video games.

Tyson Leavitt looks to combat all of that. He is the creator of Charmed Playhouses, a company that builds elaborate little houses for children.

Leavitt takes his inspiration from the families he builds the houses for — each design caters to the kids’ interests.

The playhouses are extraordinary, and sometimes the cost can reflect that. Charmed has playhouses that go for anywhere between $7,000 and $100,000.

With the customized nature of the product and the handcrafted designs, Leavitt’s company is really taking off considering it’s only been around for a year. He has clients all over the country and the rest of North America.

Their team has grown from three employees to 15 in a relatively short amount of time.

They also now have an impressive warehouse complete with all the necessary tools and machinery.

The company even has a TLC TV deal set up for later this year. It’s sure to solidify Leavitt’s team and their awesome designs in the industry.

He already has tons of orders in the pipeline. Some are for celebrities (Steph Curry is a client), while others are just for normal families.

It just goes to show that a “stupid idea” — Leavitt’s words — can become great if it’s well executed with a passionate team helping out.

(via BuzzFeed)

Leavitt says that the best part of the job is seeing people’s faces when the job is finished. I can believe that! These playhouses are amazing.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/charmed-playhouse/

The Folklore Behind The Hollywood Horror Movie ‘The Witch’ Is Truly Terrifying

If you’re a fan of genuinely creepy horror films, then you’ve probably heard about the upcoming movie from director Robert Eggers called The Witch.

So far, the reviews for the film have been stellar, and audiences are delighted by the genuinely unnerving horror of The Witch. When the credits roll and the lights go up, most people believe that everything they saw was simply a work of fiction and they have nothing to worry about, right?

Well, not so fast…

This week, Eggers sat down to talk about his new film and exactly how he researched it.

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As it turns out, the film was inspired by history, not fiction.

“In the early modern period, the real world and the fairy tale world — for everyone but the extreme intelligentsia — were the same thing. People really believed that the old lady down the lane that they were calling a ‘witch’ was actually a fairy-tale ogress, capable of doing the most horrible things,” he told the blog io9.

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“It was very easy to dig into that and be obsessed with trying to bring the audience back to the 17th century and show them a Puritan’s nightmare. I wanted to bring them back to the time when a witch was a really powerful thing, and not a cheesy plastic Halloween costume,” said Eggers.

Eggers said he also dug into writings from the time to find dialogue for the movie.

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“As I was reading, I would find sentences and phrases that worked and I would write them down constantly. Then I would organize them into different situations where they might be used,” said Eggers. “Earlier drafts of the script were these monstrous, cannibalized versions of other people’s stuff in a weird collage, which then got shaped into something that was more mine. However, there are some things that are absolutely intact. A lot of the things the children say when they’re possessed are supposedly things that children actually said when they were possessed, and so on.”

Needless to say, all of this meticulous research has paid off in a big way. It’s looking like The Witch might just be the creepiest movie of 2016. Judge for yourself in the trailer below.

(via: Daily Grail)

Personally, I can’t wait to check out this film despite the fact that I know it will scare the living daylights out of me. It’s all part of the job I suppose…

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/folk-tale-witches/

Here Are The Strangest Laws From Every State In The Country

With the amount of laws that get thrown around on both state and federal levels every year, a few ridiculous ones are bound to slip through the cracks.

And by a few, I mean an uncomfortably large amount. What’s crazier is that outdated laws from the past tend to hang around for decades.

While law enforcement officers typically focus on laws that actually matter and affect the lives of civilians every day, it’s a little unsettling that this level of weirdness is allowed to gum up the works. Take a look at some of the most ridiculous laws that America has to offer. We should at least get a laugh out of them, right?

1. Iowa

One-armed piano players must perform for free.

2. North Carolina

It’s illegal for bingo games to last more than five hours.

3. Alabama

You can’t wear a fake mustache that causes laughter in church.

4. New York

It’s illegal to sell cat fur.

5. Massachusetts

You can’t use explosive golf balls.

6. Wyoming

It’s illegal to remove more than half of a sheep’s ear.

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7. Florida

For a short while, the use of computers was illegal due to a poorly written law about internet cafés.

8. Connecticut

A pickle isn’t legally a pickle until it bounces.

9. Missouri

It’s illegal to drive with an uncaged bear. A caged bear is totally cool, though.

10. Illinois

It’s legal to drink if you are under 21 if you are enrolled in a culinary program.

11. New Hampshire

It’s illegal for theaters to show movies before 2 p.m.

12. Utah

It’s illegal to cause a catastrophe. Nice and vague!

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13. Indiana

Forget 3.14159 if you’re in Indiana, because the law says that the value of Pi is three.

14. South Carolina

It’s illegal to play pinball unless you are over 18.

15. New Mexico

It’s illegal for idiots and insane people to vote. Let’s just see what happens during the New Mexico primary in June.

16. Hawaii

You cannot use non-dairy milk in milkshakes without warning customers.

17. Arkansas

It’s illegal to purposely mispronounce the state’s name.

18. Georgia

You could be arrested for keeping an ice cream cone in your back pocket on a Sunday.

19. Delaware

It’s illegal to sell dog hair.

20. Colorado

You can disobey mattresses and rip those tags off with reckless abandon.

21. California

Dogs cannot legally chase down bobcats.

22. Maryland

Vending machines can’t dispense non-latex condoms.

23. Idaho

It’s illegal to give someone a box of chocolates that weighs more than 50 pounds. That’s just not right.

24. Alaska

It’s illegal to wake up a sleeping bear for a photo.

25. Arizona

Donkeys cannot sleep in tubs.

26. Kansas

It’s illegal to dye ducklings, bunnies, or baby chicks.

27. Louisiana

You can be fined $500 for sending a pizza to a friend’s house without them knowing.

28. Maine

It’s illegal to have Christmas decorations up past January 14.

29. Wisconsin

It’s illegal to serve butter substitutes in prison.

30. Virginia

Tickling women can lead to arrest.

31. West Virginia

It’s illegal to take roadkill home for dinner.

32. Minnesota

Using goldfish as bait is punishable by law.

33. Washington

There’s a legal ban on lollipops.

34. Nebraska

It’s illegal to fish for whales. Interesting.

35. Tennessee

You can be fined for sharing your Netflix password.

36. Pennsylvania

It’s illegal to tell a mystic where to dig for buried treasure.

37. Texas

Pointing lasers at airplanes is grounds for arrest.

38. Oklahoma

You can’t wrestle with bears.

39. Rhode Island

Any marriage in which either party is an idiot or a lunatic is null and void.

40. Ohio

Getting fish drunk is illegal.

41. Nevada

A man cannot buy drinks for more than three people at one time.

42. Vermont

It’s illegal to intentionally kill a bird with a plane.

43. New Jersey

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, you can’t get novelty plates.

44. Oregon

It’s illegal to hunt in cemeteries.

45. South Dakota

Sleeping in cheese factories is not allowed.

46. North Dakota

It’s illegal to sell beer and pretzels at the same time. That is tragic.

47. Kansas

Rabbits cannot be shot from motorboats.

48. Michigan

A robber can legally make a case against you if they get hurt in your home while trying to steal from you.

49. Mississippi

It’s illegal to teach someone about polygamy.

50. Montana

You can’t leave a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone.

(via Independent Journal Review)

You better make sure you know these laws, otherwise you might end up in the slammer on your next vacation! What’s the craziest law in your home state?

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/weird-laws/

They Turned An Old, Ugly Dresser Into Something You’ll Want For Your Home

A few years back, Julie and her husband were gifted a dresser. It was a nice thought, but since it didn’t really match any of their home’s decor, it sadly went unused.

When they made the decision to start looking for new TV stands, the couple was disappointed with the options. It wasn’t until they found a DIY tutorial that turned an old piece of furniture into a brand-new stand that Julie knew just what to do. She enlisted the help of her handy husband and they got to work on their outdated dresser.

This is the old dresser they otherwise had no use for.

First, her husband removed the drawers, sanded everything down, primed and painted, and added support boards for soon-to-be shelves.

The top drawers were also removed to make space for the cable box.

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New, more modern drawer pulls were added.

Adorable wicker bins would serve as catchalls for TV equipment and other entertainment devices.

What a difference some paint and small design details make!

It just goes to show that almost everything has a second life if you just give it a chance! If you’d like more DIY inspiration, check out Julie’s blog here.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/dresser-turned-tv-stand/