#5 “Hey. I got a bet. I come in this game right now, same score…” – Derek

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Look familiar?

I think I saw these same courts several years ago when I visited Venice; but while staying just up the beach from them this trip, I was able to get a great shot.

This intense scene comes from American History X, one of my favorite movies of all time. I’m not sure which came first, my appreciation for Edward Norton (probably one of my favorite actors) or my love of this movie.

Interestingly, I think some small element to my affinity for writing comes from various characters in movies I’ve liked who happen to be good writers, such as Derek’s little brother Danny (played by Edward Furlong) and Rob Brown’s leading character in ‘Finding Forrester,’ both a writing prodigy and basketball phenom.

American History X is certainly not for the faint of heart. The movie follows a group of neo-nazis living in a racially contentious period in LA following the beating of Rodney King and subsequent riots. Norton plays Derek Vineyard, an extremely bright, but angry and vulnerable youth following the tragic death of his father, who becomes the young leader through which a local neo-nazi legend (Stacy Keach) orchestrates acts of violence and attempts to spread his hateful propaganda.

Arguably one of the most violent and well-known scenes in the film comes as a direct result of the victory of “whites over the blacks,” on the basketball court:

***Warning Violent ***

Incidentally, the subsequent prison sentence Derek faces after his brutal crime and the violence and abuse he suffers while there eventually leads him to question all of the propaganda he had previously simply accepted when blinded by anger after the death of his father. This questioning along with a friendship he develops with a black man he is forced to work with in the prison laundry room as well as discussions he has with his former teacher (one of the few black people he had looked up to and respected) eventually lead to his redemption and an attempt to save his younger brother from ending up on the same path for destruction he took.

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“Worst Cougar or Worst Cooch?” – Horrible pronunciations by randoms on youtube

When my buddy, and host of my LA weekend, told me we were going to get some “sausages and beer,” for lunch I was pretty excited. I didn’t really know what to expect; however, given his butchering of the authentic-sounding name (Wurstküche) and knowing what the germans do best (beer and brats) I figured we were making a good choice.

*** NSFW but hilarious rant about this restaurant ***

***Also a totally unrelated video, but one of my favorite Xtranormal videos, despite the painful memory of the actual game***

Anyway, back to the Wurstküche.

Going in, they told me that we NEEDED to get some of Belgian dipping fries (about which I had no complaints), a few sausages each, and some beer. I only hesitated slightly at the description of some of the exotic sausages available on the menu, including rabbit, crocodile, and rattlesnake.

I was impressed with the assembly line ordering system they had in place- try any beer you’d like, order your beer, pick your sausages, pick your sausage toppings, order fries (you’d be foolish not to), pick your dipping sauces, pay for your meal, get a number, and grab a seat in the back.

The only mild hiccup we introduced to this efficient system was that my buddy had recently lost his license in Costa Rica (a long story), but luckily the friendly beer girl let him slide. I went for some of the safer options- Lamb w/ Mediterranean Spices and a Rabbit, Veal, & Pork Seasoned w/ White Wine and a standard Witbier. However, I did give in to my friend’s encouragement and had a bite of his rabbit & rattlesnake served with Jalepeno Peppers (it was quite delicious).

We enjoyed our beers for a just bit, not too long, in the community style cafeteria in the back of the maze-like concrete laden restaurant.

Worst cooch

Our food came out promptly, and when it did, I realized I had mistakenly imagined that my sausages would be served breakfast-style, with a fork and a knife, rather than on a thick, buttery sandwich bun. Unfortunately, they were both too amazing, topped with perfectly caramelized onions and sweet peppers to not force myself to down both on top of an unnecessary quantity of the heavily fried and crisp fries. Initially I didn’t understand the need for sauces (other than ketchup obviously), but the assortment of chipotle aioli, sun-dried tomato mayo, sweet & sassy BBQ sauce, and bleu cheese walnut & bacon (not for me- I’m allergic) did make for nice accompaniments. Sausage

I can’t say I’ve dined in too many sausage houses (unfortunately I’ve not had the pleasure to visit any authentic ones in Germany or elsewhere). The closest thing I’ve had recently would probably be Fette Sau in Brooklyn, NY (predating this blog, though I may throw together one retroactively since the BBQ was that good). The biggest similarities were probably the communal picnic table style eating, great beer, and great meats.