Leaving Las Vegas … Looking back on four days in the desert

As the Airbus 320, flying as Jet Blue Flight 611, made its way over the Utah mountains, banking towards lower Nevada, the lights down below finally came into view.

With every drop in descent, they grew brighter and brighter until right before landing when the city below became clear as day, even in the darkness of the hot desert night.

Las Vegas.

When the wheels touched down at McCarran International Airport, I had no idea what to expect from the next four days.

I was at the whim of myself, which is exactly what started this journey almost two weeks prior to landing.

• • •

It all began with a tweet, believe it or not.

“Taking a loaded squad out to Las Vegas July 20-23 for the BigFoot Live event,” read the words of @douglasrscott, boys basketball coach at Greens Farms Academy. “This crew = me being popular w/ scouting horde there #ctbb”

I quickly shot Coach Scott a text message asking why I wasn’t invited.

A tongue-in-cheek follow-up tweet asking if anybody had room in their carry on for me got me thinking.

Why couldn’t I go to Las Vegas?

To be honest, Vegas had never been a bucket list item for me.

If Kenny Rogers is “The Gambler” … If Darrell from Storage Wars is “The Gambler” … then I am the antithesis of that.

I lose money playing solitaire, so wasting money at any casino has never been high on my list of fun nights out.

But the more I thought about it – Las Vegas – the more I thought, “Why not?”

It might not be a bucket list moment, I figured, but as a full-blooded American male I should visit Sin City at least once, right?

I hopped online and booked my trip within minutes.

I was going to Las Vegas.

• • •

The Luxor, where I stayed for four days.

The first thing you notice is the heat. Sure, it’s a dry heat, but even at 11:36 p.m., PST, it was toasty hot.

I was staying at The Luxor, which is located on the south end of the infamous Las Vegas Strip – a stretch of land I would get to know very well a few nights later.

The second thing I noticed is taxis are expensive. More expensive than New York City, believe it or not.

Trying to make the trip as inexpensive as possible, I wasn’t renting a car until the final day. Uber, I found, was much cheaper and would be a key mode of transportation for me.

Checking into the hotel shortly before midnight was another big key to enjoying Las Vegas.

The team, its parents and its coach were all staying at The Luxor, so that’s where I chose to stay.

For those of you who don’t know Vegas, it’s the big pyramid hotel/casino nestled between Mandalay Bay and The Excalibur.

During day light hours, there was a long, twisting line of people waiting to check in and, sometimes, eight to 10 workers waiting to check them in.

At midnight, I was able to walk right up to the clerk and get pointed to my room.

Considering it was 3 a.m., Eastern Time, my body was ready for bed and nothing more.

• • •

Four members of the Greens Farms Academy boys basketball team joined forces for a summer AAU basketball tournament in Las Vegas.

Those who know me know I love basketball, especially at the high school and college level.

After all, four boys – four members of the GFA basketball team who joining forces to play on a make-shift AAU basketball team – were the big reason I flew almost coast to coast.

They had already played one game against an opponent from Houston while I was flying west on Thursday.

On Friday, at 8 a.m., they were to tip-off against a team from Montana and I would be there. After all, since my body was still on East Coast time, it was closer to 11 a.m.

And, they won again.

The game on Friday afternoon should have provided a different ending. After all, the “Dragons” as the team dubbed itself was squaring off against a team called the Las Vegas Prospects.

To put it simply, the Prospects are sponsored by Nike. They play in the EYBL, which stands for Elite Youth Basketball League.

This is big time AAU basketball, but our eight players – seven Connecticut bred and one out of New York – were more than worthy.

In fact, they were victorious, 57-53.

It gave them the No. 1 seed from their pool and a berth in the Sweet 16 of the tournament, where they would face a team from Chicago on Saturday.

Finally, after Friday’s second game, I was able to experience a little bit of Vegas.

I had made plans for Friday, to go see Hall & Oates and Tears for Fears in concert at the T. Mobile Arena.

The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

It would be my 103rd concert, albeit first west of the Mississippi River.

Tears for Fears didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed them.

Hall & Oates, however, was the opposite. They sounded like a bad karaoke band trying to sing Hall & Oates.

I left early.

The highlight of Friday night, though, was the fact T-Mobile Arena wasn’t that far from The Luxor so I was able to go on foot patrol to get there.

I made a dry run in the early afternoon, picking up my ticket from the will call window.

I only had to be outside for about 200-meters of time.

The Luxor and The Excalibur are connected through a series of hallways and conveyor belts. From The Excalibur, I only needed to walk 50 yards across a bridge – and below a rollercoaster – to get into New York, New York, which literally looks like New York, New York.

The T-Mobile Arena was located just behind New York, New York.

Before the show, I decided to grab a bite to eat at a little Irish Pub located within New York, New York.

The great thing about each and every casino in Las Vegas is each one is a city onto itself.

In addition to the slots and table games there are a bevy of restaurants, bars, stores and other things to fill a day.

This particular bar had one of the best chicken pot pies I’ve ever had.

Thankfully, I didn’t vomit it up after Hall & Oates’ yak-job.

On the way back to The Luxor, I took my time checking out the different casinos.

The time change was catching up with me, though, and I was in bed before midnight – which I later found is when Las Vegas is really picking up.

• • •

Saturday meant another basketball game, against a team from Chicago.

It was the Round of 16, which meant if the boys lost their Las Vegas run would come to an end.

Instead, they again stepped up and won, advancing to Sunday’s final day of games.

I used most of Saturday – which was the hottest day of the trip — to stay local and explore the connected hotels.

First, I explored the rest of The Luxor before making my way over the Mandalay Bay.

Next door to The Luxor.

On the way I found a Guinness Store, complete with a Guinness bar. I was told it was one of just two in the entire world, with the other being located in Ireland.

I bought a t-shirt, saving myself $25 in lost gambling money.

After returning to The Luxor, I also decided to put my money where my devotion is.

I stopped by the Sports Book and put $20 down on the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series. If they win, I get $120 (plus by original $20) back.

I also decided to pick a National League team, opting for the Washington Nationals. They matched the Sox at 6-to-1 odds, meaning $120 would be coming my way.

Needless to say I’m rooting for a Red Sox-Nationals World Series.

I made it past midnight on Saturday, but not by much.

An 8 a.m. quarterfinal game awaited us the next morning.

• • •

Spring Valley High School, Las Vegas, Nev.

I didn’t get up early with the team and parents and arrived at Spring Valley High School by the end of the first half.

The boys were play a team based out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and with two 6-foot-9 players they were the tallest team we had faced.

Again, it proved not to matter as the eight-man Dragons slayed another opponent, running their record to 5-0 in four days.

Not to switch sports terminology to those who got this far, but a curve ball was thrown into the tournament at this point.

AAU basketball being what it is – let’s face it, it’s about making money for the tournament organizers – the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship games are sometimes held in one day.

Anybody who has played basketball knows three high-tempo games is a lot and injuries are more apt to happen on such days.

With departing flights scheduled to start at 1:40 that afternoon, Coach Scott decided to pull his team out of the tournament.

He brought his team to Vegas so players could be seen by college scouts and that mission had been accomplished. Two of the eight players would be heading off to college soon and Coach Scott wasn’t going to send them off injured.

With that final buzzer, so ended my basketball duties.

My final 36 hours in Vegas were all about me.

During a nap back at the hotel, I received a text from some parents saying they were going to visiting the Red Rock Canyon and go out for some Thai food.

I paused and opted not to answer, but it would be something different. After days of basketball and casinos, nature would be a nice break.

And I’d never had Thai food before.

Red Rock was beautiful. Not to be confused with Colorado’s Red Rocks musical venue, Vegas’ Red Rock is on the western side of town and was clearly visible from Spring Valley High School, which is why a journey there appealed to us.

A 13-mile loop gave us views we simply don’t get here on the East Coast.

I’m glad I went.

As for the Thai food, I was cautiously optimistic.

The restaurant itself – Lotus of Siam – didn’t look like much.

Located inside of a strip mall, it opened at 5 p.m., and by 5:15 it was packed.

And oh my was it good.

We sampled each other’s appetizers and wolfed down our meals.

From Duck to seafood to some sort of spaghetti-esque meal with seafood and chicken on my plate, we gobbled down nearly $200 worth of food which was worth every penny.

I even had a Thai beer.

That night I decided I was going to walk part of the Las Vegas Strip.

Around 9 p.m., I left the Luxor took a Uber up to The Venetian.

I got out and began my journey back, step by step, under the lights and sounds of the Las Vegas night.

• • •

I walked through the Venetian and into The Palazzo, which I must admit I’d never heard of.

Entering The Venetian Casino.

I found a bar and ordered a margarita. When I got the tab, it was $16.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and thank goodness that goes from the prices of alcohol.

I paid because … well what the hell, it’s Vegas … and once it was gone I was on the move again, back through the Venetian and outside to the strip where I had options galore.

There was Treasure Island to the right, Casino Royal or Harrah’s to the left.

I opted to cross the road and head to The Mirage, which wasn’t as advertised, but really stood there.

And the air conditioned inside told me I’d be stopping at most of the casinos on the strip to at least cool off.

The $16 margarita.

I had another drink and walk around the casino, checking out the games and those who were playing.

People who go to Las Vegas run the gamut of mankind, that’s for sure.

Old people, young people, families; people both foreign and domestic.

It was the kind of human mash-up that gives New York City it’s unique vibe and energy and you could feel a little of that energy in Vegas.

After leaving The Mirage, I walked to Caesar’s Palace and this is where I became a winner in Vegas.

I had dropped $20 in the slots at The Luxor earlier in the trip.

But sitting and playing black jack I decided to call it quits when I was $13 up.

That way, I figured, I could say I left Las Vegas having lost just $7 in gambling.

Not bad, I figured.

But it was also while walking around Caesar’s that I witnessed another Las Vegas first – the hooker picking up a man at a bar.

She was in her 20s, he was in her 60s and, as odd as it sounds, it was a pleasure to watch them work the back and forth before heading off together.

There were a lot of young woman walking all over Las Vegas, most of them in packs.

This was the only time I saw a pro in her natural habitat, though, going after her prey and successfully taking them down.

With that, it was time to head to the Bellagio.

• • •

The Bellagio.

If I had my druthers – not to mention the money – I would have stayed at The Bellagio. To me, it’s the cream of the Vegas crop and it looks like it.

I wish I had spent more time checking it out, but I could feel myself growing tired and I was just a little over halfway back to The Luxor.

On the way out, though, I was caught up in the crowd standing by the water that sits in front of the facility and once the song “Hey Big Spender” started, I was treated to the infamous Bellagio water show, which was a lot of fun and brought a lot of joy to a lot of people.

I continued south, hitting a few more casinos in the process.

The Aria and the Monte Carlo were connected without going outdoors and once I realized New York, New York was on the horizon I got my second wind for the finishing lick to The Luxor.

I got turned around in The Excalibur for the second time (casinos are made to confuse people, thus keeping them inside, you know?) but before long I was back on the conveyor belts heading home.

Once I got into The Luxor I found a bar and ordered a rum and coke and some water.

I glanced at the pedometer app on my cell phone and realized I had walked more than 20,000 steps that day.

That’s more than 10 miles to you and me.

It was after two in the morning – which meant people back home in the east would be waking up soon.

I drunk texted a friend back home in Maine who I knew would be asleep, but would laugh when she woke up. (She later responded with “Yay”).

Then, hooker-free (not even hit on … am I that old and ugly?) I made my way back to my room.

I ordered a late check out for $30 more and found myself falling asleep with sore feet shortly before 3 a.m.

The last day in Vegas would come soon enough.

• • •

Again, to cut cost, I took the cheapest flight home and that would be the infamous red-eye, which was schedule to pull away from the gate at 11:56 p.m., Monday night.

That left me all day to find something to do.

I had budgeted a rent-a-car into my trip for Monday and was fortunate enough to get a Jeep for only $49. (They had no small cars left, but gave me a bigger model for the puny cost).

I returned to the hotel, packed up and checked out, hitting the streets of Vegas with no set schedule and only a mini-plan of what I wanted to do.

The first thing was to swing by the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Keeping up with my basketball theme of this trip, I was a huge UNLV fan back in the day when they were good and winning (and losing) an NCAA title.

The Thomas and Mack Center – the place where UNLV played – wasn’t far from The Luxor, so I drove into the parking lot and took a picture of the place Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon once called home.

I then found the school bookstore and bought a t-shirt.

Then I set my GPS for The Hoover Dam.

Why?

Well, why not?

When you have a day to kill in Vegas and not much money left in your pocket or on the credit cards you need free things to do and such a man-made treasure was only 45 minutes away.

Before getting to the damn dam, I was pleased to find out that bridge that runs high over the dam and offers a spectacular view was named after former NFL star Pat Tillman, who left the league to join the armed forces and was killed by friendly in Afghanistan while protecting our country.

I even drove over the dam and into Arizona (technically another state I can cross off my list).

Growing ever more hungry, I decided to find a nice hole-in-the-wall palce instead of a chain restaurant.

I found it in the Boulder Dam Brewing Co. in Boulder City, Nev.

I ordered a Shandy (half-lemonade, half beer) along with some outstanding beer-battered mushrooms and not-so-great Philly Cheesesteak.

Some local talker who had bellied up to the bar proceeded to tell me how he special ordered his Toyota truck (“Cement is the official color,” he said) and was soon to retire from the national park service for which he walks.

With a full belly, I was soon on my way back to Vegas (another $20 poorer since I bought a Boulder City Brewing Company t-shirt), arriving by 7 p.m.

I still had five hours to kill and there was a movie theater on the way to the airport, so I pulled in and shelled out $12 to see Dunkirk.

I give it two thumbs up with the realization that anything that has Kenneth Branagh in it is usually really good.

After returning the rent-a-car, I took the shuttle to the airport and, in my heart, wished I didn’t have to leave.

There was so much more left to see in the valley of Las Vegas.

That means one thing: I’ll have to go back and finish the job.

You can bet on it.

“Sausage Party” was missing something. Maybe it was the weed

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Twice over the course of the last 10 years, I’ve smoked a little bit of weed.

Both times, which occurred in social settings when I was offered a hit or two, will be left unexplained to protect the innocent. But, as much as I smoked from age 19 to 39, I’d say I’m a big proponent of the legalization of marijuana.

Thirty minutes into the new Seth Rogan movie, “Sausage Party” I can tell you I wanted nothing more than a joint parsed between my lips and unlike Hillary’s husband I would have inhaled.

If I had, I’m pretty sure “Sausage Party” would have been a laugh riot.

IMDB sums up the movie this way: “A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence.”

Riveting, no? Well, consider it’s a sexually charged story about food finding out the truth of what lays outside of the supermarket doors, it was a movie with potential.

Especially with the hit-or-miss Rogan at the helm.

I went in with, pardon the expression, high hopes.

To the stone, cold, sober movie-goer, though, I’m afraid it was akin to seed-filled, dirt-tasting home grown. If you’re a smoker, or former smoker, you’ll know my disappointment.

Needless to say, I came away from the movie unimpressed, though perhaps I’m not sure what a 50-year-old man going to a cartoon was expecting.

It had moments, of course. Most movies do. The bath salts scene was funny. The relationship between the bagel and whatever that other piece of food was had some moments.

The movie could have done without the douche and the taco, if you ask me. (Those are words I’d never thought I’d write).

But it was definitely missing something.

Personally, I think it was the weed.

 

Bourne Again … Unfortunately

Bourne ... Jason Bourne.

Bourne … Jason Bourne.

I think it has happened. I think I am officially old.

On paper, I’m a half century old. Physically, I feel as if at least six decades of life has led to a lot of wear and tear on me, from head to toe.

Mentally, though, I’ve always felt 10 to 20 years younger than I am.

And then I saw the movie “Jason Bourne.”

It was bad. Not sucky bad. Just stupid bad.

My head refuses to suspend belief anymore, thus I fear I am officially old.

Tell me a story and make it realistic, or else I’ll pick it apart.

And oh how “Jason Bourne” could be torn apart and shredded.

I’ve always loved action-packed adventures and I still do.

Last week, I saw the movie “Nerve” – starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco. And I enjoyed it. It was a movie geared toward a generation lower than me, but it was full of action … mostly believable action that kept you on the edge of your seat.

Jason Bourne?

Just stupid.

Here is the synopsis from IDMB: “The most dangerous former operative of the CIA is drawn out of hiding to uncover hidden truths about his past.”

Once again, Bourne is drawn out of hiding. (Yawn). How many times can you go to that well?

Matt Damon is a movie star and this movie will do nothing to take away from that.

It also stars Tommy Lee Jones, who can play a good guy or a bad guy with equal aplomb. And, when he’s playing the head of the CIA, it’s fair to say he’s playing a little bit of both.

Julia Stiles (remember her?) also returns, but (spoiler alert) her movie career might have come to a sudden end in this one. (After all, can you name anything else she’s been in lately?).

Is Julia Stiles looking at the end of her movie career with Jason Bourne?

Is Julia Stiles looking at the end of her movie career with Jason Bourne?

Alicia Vikander makes her Bourne debut as the CIA’s Heather Lee and while she’s workable and believable in a starring role, it certainly doesn’t come close to giving her much of challenge. There is no depth in this character whatsoever.

One big issue I had with casting was in Vincent Cassel as a CIA Asset whose sole job was to kill Jason Bourne.

Back in 2004 Cassel starred in “Ocean’s Twelve” as Francois Toulour, the antagonist to Damon’s group of good guys.

Vincent Cassel as The Asset.

Vincent Cassel as The Asset.

Through the entire showing of Bourne, I kept waiting for Danny Ocean or Rusty to rush in for some comic relief.

Alas, it never arrived.

Instead, it was two hours and three minutes of car crashes and gun shots and people finding people under conditions where you’d be lucky to find a Starbucks on any city corner.

One car crash in particular would have obviously decapitated Bourne on the spot, yet somehow he walks away … again.

And watching Cassel drive a police SWAT armored vehicle through what must have been 50 cars — and to keep going — was again ridiculous.

Now, I’m a firm believer in a chase scene being believable with the greatest chase scene in cinematic history coming from “To Live and Die in L.A.” as proof in the pudding.

Jason Bourne, however, was just dragged under by the fact that it’s too unbelievable to be entertaining.

I rolled my eyes far too many times in two hours and I don’t go to the movies for that purpose.

My advice: Waiting for it to come to HBO or TNT. I wasted $5.75 on a 10:15 a.m. showing of the movie and I left feeling as though I had wasted money.

Bourne again? No, thanks … but the ending does certain set up yet another sequel somewhere down the road.

I give it a three on a scale of 10.

MOVIE REVIEW: Mike and Dave Need Better Writers

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Sometimes you just want to go to a movie and laugh. Laugh hard. Laugh your ass off, laugh until your stomach hurts, laugh until you cry.

Just whole-hearted, bust-your-gut guffaws.

As such, when you walk out of a movie after just a few delightful chuckles, you do so with a pang of disappointment.

So went my experience with “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” — starring Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza.

The gist of the movie is this, according to IMDB: “Two hard-partying brothers place an online ad to find the perfect dates for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves out-hustled by the uncontrollable duo.”

It’s not a horrible movie. It’s not a bad movie. It has its moment when you will chuckle.

It’s the perfect movie for back in the day when you could rent a video cassette tape for $2 and pop it in your VCR on a rainy summer night.

But this 2016 and they don’t sell VCRs anymore. (Do they?)

I had a lot of hope for this movie simply because I genuinely like the four stars.

I adore Kendrick, mainly because — like me — she’s a native Mainer. It’s the same reason I adore Linda Lavin, G. Hannelius, Liv Tyler and Judd Nelson. But Kendrick is also very talented as she has shown through a variety of roles and TV appearances in his short career. (My favorite is still “Up In The Air.”) Her role as Alice in starts off very slowly and her relationship with Plaza’s character isn’t very believable. It’s only when she starts developing some rapport with Efron’s character Dave that she becomes more real.

I’ve always liked Plaza, too, and her wry sense of humor and dead-pan delivery of her humor. Again, though, her chemistry with Kendrick isn’t quite there. They’re supposed to be best friends, yet it comes off as though they’re playing in a movie opposite each other. (The scene where she tries to get backstage tickets to a Rihanna concert is probably her best scene, unfortunately).

Efron has grown up since he was a Disney star, but he’s forged into some more adult roles through the realm of comedy. For the most part, it has worked. (“Neighbors, anyone?) Unlike the Venus half of the movie’s billing, Efron and Devine do work pretty well together and give out the most chuckles as they go back and forth with each other through a variety of scenes.

The first time I ever saw Devine, I knew I had seen him somewhere … but I still don’t know where the somewhere is. He’s just that kind of actor. As he fell in love with Hailey Dunphy on “Modern Family,” you had to root for him because he was so darn likable. Thus, I wanted to like him here, as well. Again, when he’s opposite Efron, it worked. Save for the whispering scene in the hallway of the hotel room, though, him and Plaza just never fully clicked.

I wanted to laugh hard at this movie, but I did not. The jokes simply were not funny enough, so which means the four leads were likely let down by the written word in this case.

The movie, at one point, pays homage to the movie “Wedding Crashers.

I remember “Wedding Crashers”. I watched “Wedding Crashers” and laughed heartily, until it hurt.  You, “Wedding Dates” are no Wedding Crasher.”

But you’re not a bad movie.

I just wanted to laugh.

 

CHRISTMAS IN FLORIDA: The Mom, The Movie and The Man

There is 90 minutes left on this Christmas Day and I’m thinking a lot about fate.

Yesterday, as some of you may have read, I found myself behind the car of a family who had lost their son to cancer five years ago. (If you didn’t read it, you can click here to read it before continuing).

As fate would I have it, I have a colleague I worked with in Connecticut for a short time who just happened to move to Florida to write for the Navarre Press, the hometown paper of Ian Cole Lockwood, the young man I wrote about in yesterday’s blog post.

She asked permission to pass along the blog item to the boy’s mom. The mom in turn asked permission to reach out to me to personally thank me for writing such a tribute to her son.

Here I was just driving up a road when I noticed something, followed my inner sixth sense, looked into it, wrote about it and now I’ve made a mother’s Christmas because I wrote about her son; a young man I never met, yet whose short life touched me in some way.

I also learned why they were in Clearwater, rather than up north at home.

They had been sky-diving in the Florida Keys, during which they spread some of Ian’s ashes to fulfill a bucket list of his wishes that he never got to complete. After that they were traveling to Clearwater to visit Ian’s 93-year-old great-grandmother for the holiday.

Her words were the greatest Christmas present I could have received.

That alone has made this trip to Christmas in Florida entirely worth it for me on a personal level.

I will never forget Ian, or the Lockwood family, and this little connection fate has given us on such a special Christmas Day.

• • •

With the bowl game in a down-mode on Christmas Day and no media access to the teams, I decided to hit the movies and went and saw “Spotlight.”

In case you haven’t seen it, it’s a movie about journalism. Yeah, that’s me. When I’m on vacation I go to sporting events and when I want a couple of hours down time I pick a movie about journalism instead of “Creed”, or “Sisters” or “Stars Wars – The Next Generation” or whatever it’s called.

The movie was definitely a two-thumbs up movie, but what struck me as amazing was to see real journalism in the final days of its hey-day. Reporters did research, sure, but they also had a team of people who helped them.

There is a scene in the movie where a reporter needs something and goes into the newspaper’s morgue (which is basically the library of past clips and information) and asks for it.

Then it all gets delivered to him.

Point being, it freed him up from hours and hours of research to continue digging for the story through the people and not the clips.

Many times in this space I’ve wrote about the woes of journalism and this movie certainly brought up a lot of those feelings.

But it was great to see reporters going house to house, knocking on doors, barging into offices to get the story and get it right.

• • •

After the movie I hit up a local CVS to buy a comb. That turned into a few other things that the TSA wouldn’t allow me to take on a flight, as well.

As I was walking into the store, a man was sitting outside the store, using one of the columns in front of the store to hide from the sun and the heat.

He was rather unkempt — hair too long, beard too long, both too scraggly.

I expected him to say something as I walked in, but he didn’t.

He was wise to the game.

On the way out, he got me.

“Spare some change?” he asked.

I had paid with an ATM card, but reached into pocket and pulled out $22 in cash.

No, I didn’t give him the whole thing. But I did slip him the $2, which he truly appreciated, and even shook my hand blessed me.

Sure, maybe it went for a bottle of beer. Or maybe it was the final two bucks he needed to get his fix as he walked off behind the store, to head to his next destination.

Or, maybe, just maybe, he had gotten enough to buy a sandwich, or put something solid in his belly.

It’s Christmas night. There’s one hour left.

That’s the story I’m going with in my head.

Merry Christmas, loved ones.

Twelve hours to kick-off.

On October 3rd, I Was Again Reminded Of How Old I Am

The cast of Mean Girls, featuring Lindsay Lohan, front and center.

The cast of Mean Girls, featuring Lindsay Lohan, front and center.

It happened while I perusing Twitter during the early morning hours of, well, October 3rd.

It started with a high school athlete who follows me and she had posted to all her followers something about “On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.”

A few posts later somebody had retweeted E! Online, making a meme of a good-looking guy who looked familiar to me (some actor, I figured) with the words, “On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.”

I knew it was October 3rd as I was reading all this, but what I didn’t understand was where it was all coming from.

I’m hip enough to know that April 20th is a special day because it’s, well, 4-20. So take a toke, take a bong hit, pass the pipe and don’t bogart that joint my friends because at 4:20 p.m. on April 20 I know what many of you are/were doing.

But as to why somebody would ask somebody what day it was on October 3rd? I admit I was coming up lost.

Then I really got baffled.

Two members of the Chicago Black Hawks NHL team posted a video.

In the first scene, back-up goaltender Scott Darling stares into the camera and says, “On October 3rd,  he asked me what day it was.”

Then the scene cuts to defenseman David Rundbland asking Darling what day it was and Darling replies, “It’s October 3rd.”

You can click here to see that little gem.

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Now I realized I just wasn’t getting the joke.

High school students all have their inside jokes that fly over my head, just like I have my old timer moments when I leave them clueless (I still can’t believe Missy Noble doesn’t know who Mary Lou Retton is!)

But when E! Online is posting something — not to mention the Chicago Blackhawks — this should be in my wheelhouse.

I’m a pulp culture connoisseur, eating it up like it’s chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

What was I missing?

I turned to my trusted friend, Mr. Google, for an answer. (I also turned to it to find the correct spelling of connoisseur, but I digress).

I typed in, “On October 3rd, he asked me what it day was.”

Voila. My answer.

Lindsay Lohan in a voice over from the movie “Mean Girls.” She’s talking about a boy she’s crushing on and on October 3rd, he asked her what day it was.

Now, I’ve seen “Mean Girls.” More than once. I’m a fan of Lindsay Lohan — who despite her youthful transgressions of poor choices and alcohol and drugged-fueled arrests — is a damn fine actress, and if you don’t believe me just check out “A Prairie Home Companion” where she stands toe to toe with Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin.

Having found my answer to what the hell all of the commotion was about October 3rd, my next question became, “When did this become a thing?”

Mean Girls came out in 2004; thus it’s been 11 years since Lohan’s character, Cady Heron, uttered those words.

Having I been sleeping through the October 3rd for the last 11 years?

Or is this new?

I fear it’s something else.

Perhaps, I’m just getting old.

FML.

But Happy October 3rd, Everybody.

 

The Interview: Sony needs to thank North Korea

o-THE-INTERVIEW-TRAILER-facebookFirst, let it be said, I can certainly see why the North Korean regime would be upset by the movie “The Interview.”

To be at the centerpiece of a movie that proved to be so profoundly disappointing would upset me, too.

In fact, I’d dare say, the movie was so bad and so stupid on its surface that had the North Koreans kept their mouth shut about it, it would have died a slow and painful death at the box office — the kind of death North Korea’s Supreme Leader likely would have likely enjoyed.

Instead, by pulling off their idiotic hacker pranks and threatening us and our beings as Americans, North Korea put the movie at the center of attention for the past week. In doing so, it brought the movie enough attention that people, no doubt, felt like they HAD to see it, just to prove they were proud American citizens who will not allow censorship to dictate what they can or can’t see.

While I, too, am a proud American citizen, I am also a fan of both Seth Rogen and James Franco and that’s why, having just shelled out $5.99 to watch the movie online — Merry Christmas to me! — I came away so disappointed.

Let’s put it this way. I’m glad I spent the six bucks to watch online because had I shelled out the $20-plus I would have spent at a theater (I’d have popcorn, too, mind you) I’d have walked away feeling as though I just wasted my money.

The movie had a few chuckles and just one or two literal laugh-out-loud moments. In Rogen-Franco terms, that’s not good.

The Eminem scene, in fact, was the highlight of the film and that happened less than 15 minutes into the movie and had little or nothing to do with the overall plot of the film.

Everything after that was just a few light chuckles sprinkled amongst the mass disappointment.

I’ll give you this. Rogen and Franco had good chemistry. They always do. And Randall Park, the actor who portrays North Korea’s Supreme Leader, was good as he went from effervescent and outgoing to down-right bat-shit insane.

But it’s the story line that drives a movie and such chemistry only would make it that much better.

When the writing doesn’t work, the chemistry doesn’t matter.

Let’s put it this way, if you get an F in English class and an A in science, it’s still only a 2.0 grade point average, and that’s what “The Interview” proved to be.

Just average.

Only North Korea decided to make it a spectacle.

Sony should send the real Kim Jung-un a thank you letter for giving such a mundane film so much publicity.

And, maybe, a puppy.