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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Playing blog catchup.

* Thursday night we watched American Gangster, which wound up being significantly worse than it should have been due to significant script problems. (Denzel Washington's character, Frank Lucas, is basically a complete cipher, and the pacing of the plot keeps Lucas from encountering his chief antagonist, Russell Crowe's Richie Roberts, until the last ten minutes of the movie.) Still, the movie stands as a useful lesson in the utter absurdity of the War on Drugs; both Lucas and his competitor Nicky Barnes, who separately controlled the heroin trade in New York during different points in the '70s, served ridiculously short sentences, leading to this farcical exchange in New York Magazine in which the two meet and discuss the good old days.

MJ: You guys have been described as being competitors. Is that true?

FL: Well, Nick wasn’t gonna catch me—I was paying $4,000 a key. Nick, you was probably paying $65,000 or $70,000, weren’t you?

NB: During that time I was paying $35,000.

FL: And I was paying $4,000. So there was no fight then.¹

MJ: Which one of you guys had the best dope?

FL: Mark, here you go! Stirring shit up. Man, I had the best dope in the world. I had 98 to 100 percent pure.

NB: Frank had a nice package, no doubt. I had to get a pen and a pad and mediate my stuff. But when you took the mix out, my thing was close to his. Close enough for somebody not to wait on one when they could get the other. Frank, you were mostly on 116th Street, right?

FL: Yeah.

NB: Well, I had powder in all five boroughs. Not just uptown.

FL: You were big, Nick, all over.
* Friday we spent a good chunk of the day hiking in a state park near Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, before deciding to head back to NJ rather than stay the night. I'd heard good things about Harper's Ferry on the internet, and it seemed like a good chance for a getaway-on-a-budget—but it turned out to be a classic tourist trap, a fake town with nothing but overpriced shops, weird Civil War nostalgia, and bad restaurants.

We were pretty unimpressed.

But Maryland Heights is a nice little hike, though, worth doing if you're nearby anyway.