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my uncle the mobster

13 June 2011
Mobster Carmen Dinunzio pleads guilty to something

boston mobster carmen "the big cheese" dinunzio pleads guilty to skipping gym workouts and salad bars

Murder trials and movies about New York’s Italian mafia have long publicized the colorful nicknames mobsters call themselves.

If our Great Dane puppy Luna was part of one of New York’s mob families, she’d sport some kind of nickname, as would her male relatives.

What Kind of Mob Nickname?

Here are some actual nicknames announced by the FBI in January 2011 after the mass arrest of more than 100 members of the Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno, Colombo and Patriarca families:

Baby Shacks, Baby Fat Larry, Tony Bagels, Vinny Carwash, The Claw, Johnny Bandana, Junior Lollipops, and Jimmy Gooch.

Note: Billy Crystal milked nicknames in a funny scene in the 1999 movie Analyze This.

“Who I am? Or who am I? My name is Ben Sobel-Leone. I’m also known as Bennie the Groin, Sammy the Snout, Elmer the Fudd, Tubby the Tuba, and once, just once, as Miss Phyllis Levine. But that was at a party; it was years ago…and suddenly I’m in fishnets and singing show tunes. These things happen.”

— Billy Crystal as stressed-out psychotherapist Ben Sobel

The nicest, biggest Great Dane in the world

uncle basil: a big guy with a big heart

Uncle Basil

What sent me thinking about mob nicknames is a meeting yesterday with one of Luna’s uncles. Uncle Basil is a brother of Luna’s mama. B2 picked him up to get his heart analyzed at a mobile heart clinic set up at the Woofstock dog show in Vallejo. They both stopped by our house en route to the show. It was a bit of a checkup/in-home visit after our behavioral assessment with her two weeks ago.

As Sarah Palin would say, Basil is unflippinbelievably huge. He’s a beast. Not as big as Boston mobster Carmen “The Big Cheese” DiNunzio, who was arrested in 2006 for a succession of criminal acts unrelated to his public profile as a cheese shop proprietor, but Uncle B’s on the far, far side of full grown for a Great Dane.

A Gentle Giant

For all his size, Basil is a very docile 190 pounder with a muscular neck like Mike Tyson sported while heavyweight boxing champion. Huge muscles notwithstanding, life as a dog show champion trained obedience into his ample brain so he is easy to handle.

great dane puppy wrestling the biggest dog in my world

wrestling the biggest dog in my world - my uncle basil

To put their size difference in perspective, Luna weighs about 73 lb. She’s big to most people until she stands alongside a really big dog.

After our house visit, we met up again at the dog show, where Luna got her first choke collar and another chance to play with her extended family. For all of the shoving and incitement-to-play Luna tried, Uncle B remained positively stoic.

We said our goodbyes and left. Luna likes her uncle. I liked him, too. B2 says he should lose about 10 lb. Look at the pics. I’d say more like 15-17. I think I’ll start calling him “The Big Easy.” He’ll still be about 250 pounds smaller than “The Big Cheese.”

Any ideas for other nicknames?

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