Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 12, 2007 Bonus Blog
Our cover story on Tommy Lee Jones and No Country For Old Men has some heat. Here are two items for your perusal:

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN was named Best Film by the National Board of Review yesterday and Casey Affleck won for THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES.

Henry Beck Discovered This Little Gem While Researching No Country
"I admire (although not worship) the Coen Brothers-Cormac McCarthy collaboration No Country for Old Men (which I reviewed here).While watching the movie, something unusual struck me. A weird coincidence. Or perhaps a non-coincidence. In fact, that is what'sinteresting about it.

"You must understand that I share one big thing in common with the great American author Cormac McCarthy. We both have spent considerable portions of our lives living in El Paso, Texas.I grew up there. He spent most of his adult life there. Which explains why No Country for Old Men revolves around a drug deal gone bad in the arid desert of West Texas about 1980. The hit man sent to recover the drug money, played by Javier Bardem, is named Anton Chigurh. To an El Pasoan, that name can’t help but ring a bell.

One of the big drug kingpins in the Southwest in the 1970s was allegedly an El Pasoan, Jamiel 'Jimmy' Chagra. He was (and presumably still is) a colorful character. Raised in a Lebanese family who moved up from Mexico, he spent much of his riches gambling in Las Vegas. He was once presented with a trophy by a Vegas hotel staff recognizing him as their most generous tipper. Ever. His brother Lee, until his murder in 1978, was a flamboyant El Paso defense attorney, noted for representing drug suspects, often successfully. Asan El Pasoan, it’s hard not to notice that the two names – Chagra and Chigurh – share the same consonants.

"Now, I can't say for sure that this is the case, and you would not have seen any member of the Chagra family stalking through West Texas on a killing spree. Whatever was done or not done, it was white-collar. However, if I were a novelist writing a book about drug trafficking in and around El Paso circa 1980, I might be tempted to play around with the name Chagra.

"Now this is where it starts getting really interesting. The most infamous event involving the Chagra family took place in 1979. While walking ina San Antonio parking lot, Federal Judge John Wood was shot and killed by a hidden gunman. Wood’s nickname was 'Maximum John.' When it came to drug sentencing, he threw the book, the galleys, the sequel and the original manuscript. His shooting was the first assassination of a federal judge in nearly a century. And it happened on the eve of the trial of Jimmy Chagra on drug trafficking charges in Wood’s courtroom.

"In the coming years, several members of the Chagra family would serve time related to the purported murder conspiracy. Curiously, one who served zero was Jimmy Chagra himself. He would be acquitted of a murder conspiracy charge, but found guilty on adrug trafficking charge and sent to prison until early this decade.(Naturally, someone is writing a film script.)

"Nowhere’s the big twist that brings it back to the film ….. the man convicted of accepting $250,000 to do the shooting? The late Charles Harrelson.The father of Woody Harrelson. Who appears in this movie. Not only does he appear in the movie. He’s the only person in the movie who is said to be able to recognize the killer.

"So is that coincidence, or casting? I don’t know. Certainly Harrelson has worked for the Coens before. Maybe no one thought about this. But I have my sneaking suspicion."
—K. Bowen

Read the article here.

Definition of An Earlier Tom Carpenter Slam
Prig: A self-righteously correct or moralist person, as in, “Does that make us Chloride cousins?”

Gordon Smith Goes to New York
"We went up to the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State building. The skyline from there appears to be significantly different than that of Cave Creek, although it was a bit foggy and perhaps misleading."
—Gordon Smith

T. Charles is in Peru and doesn't get to follow University of Arizona basketball like he normally would, so his father tries to keep him posted:

Hope your stomach distress has passed. Man, that can't be any fun. Hopefully the third time is the charm.

Lute Olsen has taken a leave of abscence from the team. His 50-year-old hot wife is evidently the problem. He filed for divorce and she is quoted as saying she still wants to work it out. According to Uncle Charles, Lute's family hates her, etc. Sad stuff.

So, I must beseech you, if your mama ever remarries, be sure to be nice to the prick.

"The more we live by our intellect, the less we understand the meaning of life."
—Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

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