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Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Writer's Life 2/18 - Not an Animal

RIP William James "Jim" Myers, 79, better known by his pro wrestling moniker George "The Animal" Steele. His real life persona was the antithesis of the one he adopted for the wacky stage that is pro wrestling. Myers earned a B.S. from Michigan State and a Master's from Central Michigan, then became a teacher and wrestling and football coach at his alma mater, Madison High School in Madison Heights, a suburb of Detroit. He is a member of the Michigan Coaches Hall of Fame. He started Madison's wrestling program in 1966 and won the state championship in 1969. In his 16 years at the helm, his team compiled 188 wins, 41 losses and two ties. I searched doggedly for his record as head football coach. If my math is right, MHS went 56-46 in his 12 years. Well done, sir. (Facts fromWiki, & Steele's website) Here's my favorite Animal moment. It runs a minute and a half:

Here's his high school graduation pic:

I'm not a big fan of drug movies. My attitude towards narcotics harvesting, distribution and sale taps into my sense of futility. The demand will always be there, and there will always be those willing to take risks to meet it and get rich. All the measures authorities do to stop it hardly put a dent in trafficking, at least that's the way it seems. I have no idea how to combat it. I have largely stayed away from them. Last night I watched The Infiltrator (2016), courtesy of Netflix. It's the story of one of the largest busts in history. Robert Mazur and two others went undercover to nail many of the kingpins in cahoots with Pablo Escobar. Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger and John Leguizamo are outstanding as the clandestine agents. I hadn't seen anything from Leguizamo in a long time. He dominates the first third of the film as a brash warrior, in contrast to Cranston's character, who is careful, business-like. Of course, the main danger of such work is being found out. Another is befriending the people one is taking down. This film does a great job of showing that aspect, without overdoing it. When the big move comes, it is obvious the three feel like rats. One aspect of the narrative seems off. Unlike in Donnie Brasco (1997), Mazur's family seems highly exposed. It makes one wonder why a married man or woman would be allowed to do such work. I don't know how closely the flick adheres to real life, so I'll leave it at that. The supporting cast is first rate. Veterans Amy Ryan and Benjamin Bratt, respectively, are on opposite sides of the law. Olympia Dukakis is wonderful as a ballsy rich aunt who helps the sting along. Made on a budget of $28 million, it recouped only half that at the box office in the USA. I suspect it turned a slight profit after overseas receipts and DVD sales and rentals. 37,000+ users at IMDb have rated it, forging to a consensus of 7.1 of ten. I can't argue with that. Those who prefer fast-moving, slam-bang fare should probably pass. Although there is violence, it is not overdone. It runs just over two hours, and well worth the time.

The floating book shop had its first good day in a while. My thanks to the kind folks who made purchases, especially Sue, who bought Five Cents. She now owns seven of my eight books, having passed only on my high football saga, Adjustments.
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