I’m winding my way to Fremont and Main where it’s a whole different kind of casino clientele. The inside of the casinos basically still look alike, but without the pizazz of the newer ones. We were limited on time and both were tired so we only spent about an hour here. I’d like to come back and see the Mob Museum.
The Mob Museum
I’m almost there to New York New York. There’s a lot of winding around on the streets to get to the parking lot. Luckily, I wasn’t driving because I would have definitely gotten lost. We made good time to and from Vegas. Lots to do and next time want to get in some shows and go into other casinos I’ve never been inside.
Vegas Strip of today
New York New York
Inside New York New York
New York New York at night
Siegfried and Roy at Mirage
Ceiling of Bellagio
MGM Grand Buffet
This is probably the show I’d see
Vegas Strip at night today
I went to Sin City this past weekend with my roommate/partner. We left on Saturday morning and came back Monday night. There was a lot of changes since the last time I visited in 2008. The hotel I stayed at only exists in my memory, as it was torn down. Surprisingly, I didn’t remember much of my prior stay. This time we stayed at New York New York, but talk about the choices. You have casinos/hotels on the strip, close to the strip, downtown, and other places within the city limits. We walked four hours up and down the strip this time, and hardly made a dent with going into the casinos. I basically took pictures of the outside. The MGM Grand Buffet had more food choices than I was accustomed too. We went to Fremont and Main Street and saw the older casinos the next day. The reason most people make the drive through the desert or fly into the city is to drink and gamble, but I managed to do neither as it was more business than fun. I saw plenty of women dancing on tables, drunk people, and having a little too much fun. Here are my pictures on the drive to Vegas (need to do something to pass the time) and Vegas itself (need to take pictures so I can remember the trip).
Getting further and further away from Los Angeles
More impressive in person but miles of white sands
Joshua trees along the way
Various landscape along the way
Big thermometer along the way
These ten sport movies could be lumped into the category of bad for several reasons. I’d probably watch a few again, but most I would not. This list is my picks for box office sport baddies. There are spoilers in most of my short descriptions so don’t read them if you want to give any of them a try. I have given you fair warning because as you will see some are pretty ridiculous.
I know this is a children’s movie, but damn, this movie makes no sense. A zebra having brain capacity to want to be a horse, and compete at the highest level for horses. We all can suspend reality if there’s good reason, and more importantly, we must be convinced to do so. Racing Stripes does not give any explanation for why the zebra, aptly named Stripes by the daughter of the man who rescued him from a circus, is hell-bent on competing in the Kentucky Crown. In spite of being born in captivity (I’m assuming) and forgotten when the circus left, the zebra still retains some of its genetic makeup. Yet, there is little indication of this throughout the movie. I’m not expecting some magical potion that allowed this zebra to think like a horse, although it might have pushed the story along. There needed to be some plausible reason for this. The voices for the animals were done by quality actors and actresses, but it wasn’t enough to make it a worthwhile movie. I wouldn’t bet on this wannabe horse at any race track if I was into this kind of gambling, which I’m not.
It’s hard for me to root for a movie where the main character rides bulls for a living. I’m not into bull riding nor do I see any advantage of this sport (if you can call it that). It’s a highly dangerous activity, and this movie proves there are consequences. Yes, Lane Frost’s untimely death is tragic. Yes, his quick fame lead to an ego in overdrive. You might wonder how his head fit through saloon doors. While there’s no denying he was attracted to thrills, the portrayal of the rodeo lifestyle seemed at a distance. Lane’s personality flaws were obvious, which is fine, but he didn’t have enough on his good side to make him truly likable. The fact it starred Luke Perry might have detracted from telling the story because we all know how much girls lusted over Dylan McKay in 90210 or maybe that is why he was hired. Either way, it wasn’t enough for me to go my pile of good sports movies.
Summer Catch’s awfulness isn’t because of Jessica Biel or Freddie Prinze Jr’s acting, but due to the poorly written coming of age script. It isn’t that baseball and teenage romance can’t go together. I’m the first one to admit I find baseball boring as all hell, but a well written script will make me forget the boring as all hell part. This movie is mind numbing because the local baseball player completely ditches the game for the woman he realizes he loves while scouts are present. No, I don’t think so. To be overly dramatic, PULEESE!!! Then, to make it even more unlikely, she forgoes her job in San Francisco to stay with him while he proves himself as a minor league player. I’m not saying some people get lucky breaks, but if baseball meant everything to the character of Ryan Dunne, he wouldn’t have left his game during the middle of it. Everything happened a little too nicely at the end.
I remember watching this movie thinking whoever is skating during the credits is pretty damn cool. I knew it wasn’t Christian Slater, but at the time I didn’t realize that the technical advisor was one of the original Z-Boys. Stacy Peralta was able to get skaters, such as Mike McGill, Tony Hawk, and Mark Rogowski, to do the stunts. They were the best part of the movie. Christian Slater over acted during the emotional scenes. Whether that was himself or the director wanting it, I’m not sure. Gleaming the Cube was full of cheesy lines. The moral of the story is if you’re a Caucasian skateboarder, you will be able to stop the bad guys by blending so well into the Vietnamese community. It would make more sense for your adopted Vietnamese brother not to get killed, but what do I know? Like I stated earlier, I watched it for the skateboarding, which led to me thinking skateboarders were rad. I’m still waiting for a skateboarder to sweep me off my feet and carry me into the sunset.
If you know anything about skating, it’s that hockey skaters and figure skaters are two different disciplines and most noticeably the toe pick. I’ve seen this movie many times, and one I’d probably watch again. I almost feel guilty for including this into the bad pile, but it’s one where paying close attention is not needed to understand it. The verbal jabs back and forth on and off the ice are enjoyable, but the cutting between actual figure skaters and actors of D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly is quite choppy. Parts of the script seemed far-fetched such as the skaters being good enough in a short amount of time to compete in the Olympics. I wonder how many people clapped at the end of this movie when it was released.
I thought this series should have ended when Rocky went head to head with Ivan Drago. I don’t care what anyone says. I like Dolph Lundgren as an actor. He’s as tall as you’d think in person. At first glance, I thought he was a waiter. Anyway, this movie is bad. Rocky V has nothing in it that made the first movie great. The acting is sub par and the lines feel forced. Fame and fortune came and went quicker for Rocky in between IV and V. I want to ask Rocky what was he thinking for not fighting Drago for money, but I guess remembering and honoring your friend was more important. Even when he finds himself penniless, he won’t fight inside the ring, but eventually fights outside the ring, on the mean Philly streets. It doesn’t make sense given his past actions. How many times did he tell Adrian he was a fighter. The only endearing thing is seeing his real life son, Sage, be his son in the movie. Enough said before I get overly verklempt.
I never thought I’d have to stop a movie because it was that BAD. This was one of them. I couldn’t even keep it on while working on something else. It was THAT BAD. Georges St. Pierre nor Jean-Claude Damme could convince me to stay the course. This says a lot because I like both of them for different reasons. I’m not expecting anything spectacular, but as I watched this monstrosity unfold I turned it off to rescue my eyes and ears. The shame is this could have been a decent remake. Kickboxer: Vengeance was so off the mark with a bad script, bad acting, and just bad everything. I got all this from just watching a quarter of the movie.
When you take one of the hottest, muggiest areas of the United States and place one of its inhabitants into one of the coldest, harshest areas, you might find yourself watching Snowdogs. I know this is a children’s movie, but would a man who grew up and lived his whole life in the city want to brave the outdoor elements with dogs that don’t like him? Get to know the dogs first and have them be comfortable with you before striking out with them, meaning you trust them and they trust you, on the Arctic Challenge. I’m all for getting acquainted with your roots, but it’s not very realistic. Even Cuba Gooding Jr. realized it wasn’t a good movie so yes, watch at your own risk. I guess the only saving grace were the dogs because I like dogs.
The title of this movie is about as on the nose as you can get. This is about swimming and fans. I remember a family member stating “what a terrible looking movie.” He was right, so very right, and should’ve heeded his words. When you combine a recovered addict who is a swimmer, his girlfriend who also is a swimmer, and a girl who doesn’t know how to swim, it makes for a questionable movie. It has all the elements a bad teenage thriller would have and for being such a bad girl, Madison sure has a lot of good luck minus her predictable ending. And let’s not forget Stanford was chomping at the bit to get a piece of Ben’s wake he left with his powerful kick.
This is one of the bad movies I wouldn’t mind watching again. Long live Jonathan Brandis and Rodney Dangerfield, but more Jonathan Brandis. While there isn’t much substance in the dialogue and obvious misconception of girls as shitty athletes, it does play around with crossdressing. Wasn’t Matthew’s wig so convincing? There’s no denying that Chester is a misogynistic asshole throughout most of the movie. You pretty much predict what happens with Matthew/Martha and the girls soccer team. I almost want to shield my eyes for how intense Rodney Dangerfield’s gaze on this one sheet.
As April is basically here and most signs of winter is gone, the Summer Olympics in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, 2020 will be here before you know it. Until that time arrives, here is my long awaited great moments, surprising moments, first time moments, and events to go down in Olympic history from the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang relating to the athletes and competition.
Because I was raised in Minnesota, I naturally have an affinity for most everything Minnesota. This Midwest state sent 20 Olympians and 2 alternates. The most notable are Lindsay Vonn and Jessie Diggins. While Lindsay Vonn didn’t medal in the Super-G, she did clinch the bronze in downhill skiing. She is the oldest women to win a medal in alpine skiing. On the other hand, Jessie Diggins competed in six events and was able to dig deep into her leg muscles to win the gold in the team sprint freestyle. She was the flag bearer at the closing ceremonies.
Hannah and Marissa Brandt have many similarities, but recognizable differences. Hannah was born in Minnesota. Marissa was born in South Korea. Hannah represented the United States in women’s hockey. Marissa represented the Unified Korea in women’s hockey. United States won gold against Canada, which was fun to watch after the fact since I was working. Unified Korea didn’t do so well, but they did score a goal by Marissa Brandt or her Korean name of Park, Yoon Jung. The Unified Korean team played two games.
So you’d think that cross country skiing isn’t that exciting. In most regards, it really isn’t compared to the other flashier Olympic winter sport competitions. This type of physical exercise is not for the faint of heart. It really gets you in shape and a person who trains long hours has incredible leg and stomach muscles. Simen (yes, that is how you spell his name) Hegstad Kruger is proof. He crashed right out the gate in the 30km skiathon. He slowly made his way back into the pack, and was in first with 5km left. This was his first gold medal in his first Winter Olympics. Norway represented on the podium in this men’s event with fellow countrymen, Martin Johnsrud Sundby (silver) and Hans Christer Holund (bronze).
There were some firsts when it came to cross country skiing. Mexico’s German Madrazo, Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua, and Colombia’s Sebastian Uprimny all competed in the men’s 15km. While they were very far from the podium, they secured a spot in Olympic history.
Shaun White was at the top of the podium at Turin/Torini in 2006, Vancouver in 2010, and now PyeongChang in 2018. He was fourth at Sochi in 2014. The men’s half pipe competition was fierce in the qualifying round with Scotty James and Ayumi Hirano on his tail. His final score of 97.75 secured him the gold medal. Hirano won silver and James won bronze.
Still a high school student, Chloe Kim is athletically gifted, and proven she is extremely smart with her recent acceptance into Princeton. She’s the energetic snowboarder with a sense of humor from California who won gold in the women’s half pipe. Jiayu Liu won silver and Arielle Gold won bronze. Given her young age, I’d bet she will be at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, or least, I hope.
The first winter gold medalist to be born in the 2000s, Red Gerard, is more than likely going to be at the next Winter Olympics as well. He was the first American gold medalist at PyeongChang in slopestyle, edging out the Canadians with Max Parrot winning silver and Mark McMorris winning bronze.
This was the first Olympics I actually paid attention to curling. I learned more about the sport and how it takes skill, but I’d say more mental than physical, unless you’re the one sweeping. I watched the mixed doubles, men’s and women’s competitions. The United States men team won gold, followed by Sweden with silver, and Switzerland with bronze. The Sweden women’s team won gold, followed by South Korea with silver, and the first ever win in this sport for Japan with bronze. The newly mixed doubles had Canada winning gold, Switzerland silver, and OAR bronze.
I had great hopes for the U.S. women skaters to make it on the podium, but it wasn’t their night in any sense of the word. They stumbled, fell, and had much of the energy sapped out of them, but not for Kaetlyn Osmond from Canada. She rightfully won Canada’s first ladies’ medal since 2010 for good reason. Her skating performances were solid and beautiful to watch.
As the news coverage started, I was ready for the showdown to begin, and begin it did. The projected winner, Medvedeva, had stiff competition with Zagitova who came out of nowhere right before the Olympics. Their performances were AMAZING. Their physical capabilities seemed superhuman to me. Despite the whole doping scandal, I’m wholeheartedly convinced these two women were able to accomplish this because of their athletic gifts and absolute dedication to training. If you didn’t watch them, go back and see it. You won’t be disappointed.
I also had great hopes for Nathan Chen to make it on the podium. I really wanted it to be a showdown between him and Yuzuru Hanyu. While Chen did redeem himself in the long program, his mistakes were too costly. Let’s get back to Hanyu who always appeared to be floating on the ice throughout his performances. He deservedly won gold and even tried his hand at speed skating, which needs some work.
Gold: Chloe Kim (women’s snowboard halfpipe), Mikaela Shiffrin (women’s giant slalom), David Wise (men’s halfpipe), Shaun White (men’s snowboard halfpipe), Red Gerard (men’s snowboard slopestyle), Jamie Anderson (women’s snowboard slopestyle), Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall (women’s cross-country skiing), women’s hockey team, and men’s curling.
Silver: Jamie Anderson (women’s snowboarding big air), Alex Ferreira (men’s halfpipe), Lauren Gibbs and Elana Meyers Taylor (women’s bobsled), Nick Goepper (men’s freestyle skiing slopestyle), John-Henry Krueger (men’s 1,000 meter short-track speedskating), Kyle Mack (big air snowboarding), Chris Mazdzer (men’s luge), Mikaela Shiffrin (women’s alpine combined).
Bronze: Arielle Gold (women’s snowboard halfpipe), Maia and Alex Shibutani (ice dancing figure skating), Brita Sigourney (women’s freestyle skiing halfpipe), Lindsey Vonn (women’s downhill skiing), team figure skating, team women’s speedskating.
Yun Sung-Bin wasn’t always basking in the gold glory. With a 16th placing in Sochi, he sought help from Richard Bromley who helped him cultivate his natural athletic talent. He was easy to spot with his Iron Man helmet zooming down the skeleton course in PyeongChang. His gold medal win made him the first athlete from South Korea to win a non-ice skating Olympic event.
Lizzy Yarnold from Great Britain was the first athlete to win back to back medals in skeleton, first athlete to win back to back gold medals, and first Great Britain athlete to win back to back gold in any Olympic winter event.
Chris Mazdzer came back with a vengeance in luge. This was his third Olympics where he finished 13th at Vancouver and Sochi. He was able to win silver, making this a historic win. It made him the first American to ever stand on the podium in this event.
Sometime there seems to be no explanation for how things happen. I would fit Lindsey Jacobellis into this category. The silver medalist in 2006 for snowboard cross was never able to stand on the podium again. She fell in 2010 and 2014. While she did not fall in 2018, she placed fourth place, and only .003 seconds behind the bronze finisher of Eva Samková from Czech Republic.
On a channel that primarily covered the history of various Olympic Games, one story was about Samuel Lee. He grew up in California during a time of great racial inequality. He was only allowed to swim in the pool on Wednesdays in Pasadena. Therefore, he had to get creative and practiced by jumping into a sand pit. So with much less to work with compared to other divers, Lee was able to not only become a doctor, but was a three time Olympic medalist. He was the first Asian American, of Korean descent, to win Olympic gold in 1948. He was the first man to win back to back gold medals in platform diving in 1948 London and 1952 Helsinki. He also won bronze in 3 meter springboard in 1948. He went on to be a supporter of Greg Louganis who won four gold medals and one silver in the 1976, 1984, and 1988 games. Lee’s legacy continues and as I look forward to the Tokyo Games, it’s also those athletes who arrive against all the hardened odds that I want to know as well.
The 2020 games start on July 24th and end August 9th with the motto of Discover Tomorrow. There will be 33 different summer sports and 324 events. There will be 206 nations and 11,091 athletes expected to participate.
You tell me you can’t go on,
that you are sore,
sent to the brink of not being able to return.
But you’ve never listened to yourself,
or told yourself you can go on,
as a fighter,
someone that strikes first and asks questions later.
You pass by people who have betrayed
you with all their intelligence,
and you think they are better
but they aren’t,
and why you can’t accept that I’m not sure.
Their fingers and toes aren’t
anymore special than your own,
but you insist on burning both ends of the stick,
and it never makes sense
why you do this,
when your existence is never questionable.