The Coen Brothers and Tushi

Quote of the Night, 2/20/07:

“When I fix a fight, say, if I pay a three-to-one favorite to throw a goddamn fight…I figure I gotta right to expect that fight to go off at three-to-one…The sheeny knows I like sure things. He’s selling the information I fixed the fight…Out of town money comes pouring in. The odds go straight to Hell….So back we go to these questions: friendship, character, ETHICS. Its a wrong situation. Its getting so a businessman can’t expect no return from a fixed fight. Now if you can’t trust a fixed fight, what can you trust?”

Johnny Caspur, “Miller’s Crossing”
1990

“Miller’s Crossing” was a film written, directed, and produced by the Coen Brothers team in 1990, who also brought us “Fargo” (1996) and “The Big Lebowski” (1998). It takes place in the 1920s, and revolves around two crime bosses in an unknown city who bump heads over politics and power, creating an all out war. As in most Coen Brothers films, there are general themes running throughout, the three main ones being ethics, double-crosses, and the wearing of high hats (you have to see the movie to know what I’m talking about). But I love the underlying implications of this question: If you can’t trust a fix, then what can you trust? An interesting ethical question.

One thing I love about the Coen Brothers is their way of immersing themselves totally in the genre they are covering. For instance, the dialouge used in “Miller’s Crossing” is literally right out of the 1920s. They are known for totally studying not only a culture, but the language used during a period, before starting a project.

To give an example of what I’m trying to say: the ‘F’ word wasn’t used once in this movie, which to me, after having not seen it in two years, was shocking. It was rated ‘R’, mainly due to the massive amounts of violence. But listening to the dialouge, you never would have thought they weren’t swearing. They weren’t, but it sounded like they were due to their tone.

At the end of the conversation Johnny Caspur has with Leo (the other crime boss) in the opening scene, Leo, in anger, tells Caspur “Now take your flunky and dangle.” This may look stupid reading it here (the flunky Leo was referring to was Caspur’s henchman), but hearing it in the movie, it actually sounded really cool.

So if you like intelligent movies that really, really make you think about them long after you’re done watching, take my word, watch “Miller’s Crossing,” or for that matter, anything by the Coen Brothers (“Barton Fink” (1991) and “Blood Simple” (1986) are two others that are really good). And if you’re one of my friends who hate some of the movies I watch (you know who you are), don’t even bother watching it, or if you do, don’t tell me about how much you think it sucks, cause I don’t wanna hear about it.

Moving on…

Interesting Armenian Fact of the Week, Part II:

Okay, I already gave you the whole Kim Kardashian thing yesterday (although I forgot to mention that she was once romantically involved with the national Armenian boxing champion, whose name I can’t find now), but today I was driving around, and realized there was something else I wanted to teach you about: tushi.

What’s tushi, you ask? Why its one of the many delicious Armenian delicacies that are available in any Armenian neighborhood today. Tushi (pronounced like the body part) is simply pickled vegetables. The standard mix consists of cabbage, califlower, carrots, green peppers, celery, and garlic. I have also seen homemade varieties with green beans and other assorted veggies mixed in.

Tushi is a great thing to bring to a party, for a few reasons: first of all, if the partygoers aren’t Armenian, there’s a good chance they’ve never seen or heard of such a thing as tushi, concerning food. Second, although it looks iffy to some people, once you actually try tushi, you realize, “My God, this stuff ROCKS!” I am telling you from experience, you haven’t truly lived until you’ve tried a pickled carrot (these are sometimes hard to come by in the jar, and some digging is sometimes neccessary).

Another great thing about tushi is that it is not only a delicious and healthy snack, but it can make for some great wordplay. Take the following sentences, for instance:

“I can’t go to sleep until I’ve had a, nice, fresh piece of Tushi.”

“Your Tushi looked delicious, but when I actually bit into it, it tasted kind of sour.”

“I went looking for the most expensive piece of Tushi I could find. And when I found it, it certainly didn’t disapoint.”

The point being, not only is Tushi good to eat, its a great ice-breaker for conversations: you can impress everyone and be the life of the party with some good Tushi jokes, all the while eating some Tushi. Its a win-win situation.

If you are looking to buy some Tushi, I reccomened Eastern Lamejun, located on the Watertown-Belmont line. My great Auntie Marie still works in the kitchen, although I’m not sure exactly what she makes (she may make more lamejuns than tushi). Anyway, I hoped you learned something tonight.

Until Next Time,

Greg

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