The Tarnished Knights

OK, I admit that we hockey fans in Las Vegas couldn’t have even imagined that in the Golden Knights’ inaugural year they would make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Such success is unheard of in any professional league.

But they did, setting new records along the way. Led by the decorated veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury who won three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins (before they decided to let him go in the expansion draft), our guys could do no wrong. This rag-tag band of other teams’ castaways gelled immediately and became one of the best expansion teams in the history of sports.

Even last year, after a somewhat tumultuous start to the season, the Knights bounced back and made the post season again. The outcome was not as spectacular as the previous season; however, they did manage to get into the playoffs. Sadly, they were eliminated in the first round by the San Jose Sharks (who they beat in last year’s playoffs) despite leading the series 3-1 early on. The Knights would then go on to blow leads and lose the next three, ensuring their season ended right then and there.

Now, we are into year 3, and even after making some fantastic roster acquisitions (Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Cody Glass, Paul Stastny, Nick Holden, Valentin Zykov, and Nicholas Roy, to name a few), extending contracts of other valuable players like William Karlsson, and trading away other lesser-performing or overly expensive players, the Knights find themselves in 5th place in their division having lost the past five games in a row at the time of the writing of this article.

This begs the question, “Where are our Knights, and who are these imposters?” Frankly, it’s getting old listening to Head Coach Gerard Gallant and each player saying after every loss that “We played well but need to work on a few minor details.” I would hardly call too many penalties, poor puck control, and horrible defense “minor details.” If something isn’t working, then change it. Mix up the lines a bit, send some non-performers to the minors and call up others who may be hot at the moment. At this point, maintaining the status quo won’t give the players the kick in the butt they need to improve.

It’s time to win already.

Am I going to abandon them? Of course not, I am very faithful to my teams even in their perpetual mediocrity (ahem San Diego, er Los Angeles Chargers.) It would take a lot for me to abandon a team for whom I’ve been rooting and supporting for 30 years. It would take something truly horrible and catastrophic like, oh, I don’t know, a team’s crappy owner failing to extend the new stadium vote to county residents and not just city ones to enable the team to remain in the city in which it’s played for 50 years, or something like that.

But I digress.

My point is that I am Golden Knights fan. I support them wholeheartedly. I just wish the players and coaches would remember what winning felt like and endeavor to regain their former supremacy on the ice.

It’s that Little Stick on the Left

Oh good grief. People can be so clueless, inconsiderate, and lazy, and nowhere is this more evident than while driving. It is ridiculous how many motorists fail to comprehend simple traffic laws or, even worse, blatantly disregard them.

I’ve already discussed those who drive with their lights off at night, but that is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad drivers. Another huge problem is the failure to use a turn signal.

You see, not everyone is a mind reader and, therefore is unable to glean others’ intentions. Instead, most quasi-normal people (like me) only see offensive drivers who are either spatially unaware or blatantly rude cutting us off. Seriously, how difficult is it to click that turn signal to broadcast your intentions to others?

Relatedly, those motorists who fail to let someone in front of them is also an irritant. In cities where there is beaucoup traffic (like Las Vegas), those of us who do, in fact, use our turn signals regularly will signal and then wait for what seems like an eternity for someone to let us in front of him/her.

So, hey, rude motorists: Will letting a car get in front of you prevent your arrival or seriously impede your driving time to your destination? Is speeding up to close any mergeable area or tailgating the vehicle in front of you going to improve your commute? Are you that much of a miserable, discontent person who can’t, for just one second, put yourself in someone else’s position and think, “Gee, this driver needs to move over here and is being courteous enough to signal, so maybe I should let him/her in.” Sadly, more often than not, the answer to these questions is a resounding, “No.”

On a side note, signal before you turn or merge. Don’t use your turn signal as you are turning or merging. It defeats the purpose.

How Colin Kaepernick Ruined the NFL (for me, anyway)

I used to be a huge NFL fan. Seriously huge. I was the type of person who watched every single game every week courtesy of my DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket. I watched the eight-game game mix, red zone channel, pre- and postgame shows, you name it. I used to write NFL articles for a now-defunct sporting site, and, in addition to playing fantasy football, I also wrote fantasy analysis for a few sites.

With football playing such a huge role in my life, when Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel for the national anthem and presentation of flag to protest police brutality back in 2016, I was livid. Kaepernick said that he was kneeling for people who are oppressed.

First of all, what the hell does Kaepernick know about oppressed people? He is half-black and half-white and was adopted into a very well-off white family where, to be honest, he never had to go without anything.

Secondly, what does police brutality have to do with the national anthem and the flag? Granted, some people think the anthem is racist, but, frankly, what isn’t racist today?

Third, yes everyone has the right to peaceably assemble and protest issues against their beliefs. The First Amendment of the US Constitution provides for freedom of speech, but what most people fail to understand is that this protection is from government infringement (save for certain, specific exceptions.) You don’t have freedom of speech at work if you work for a private employer. Seriously, does you boss let you protest anything while on the clock on company property?

Because Kaepernick was employed by the National Football League (NFL), he didn’t have absolute First Amendment (or any First Amendment) freedom of speech while at work. Yes, these so-called celebrities do have a forum where they can reach thousands of people, but protesting anything that is inherently American (anthem, flag, etc.) is inappropriate in that situation.

And, of course, Kaepernick’s poor behavior rubbed of on other players, and “boss” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell failed to put his foot down and tell them to knock it off while on the clock. Isn’t it funny how none of these kneeling protestors bothered to get their message out anywhere during the offseason?

Fourth, what, exactly, does police brutality have to do with the American flag and national anthem? In fact, police shoot and kill white offenders far more than black or Hispanic ones, yet those with the loudest mouths don’t believe facts matter and don’t want anyone else to know the truth.

Anyway, back to my main point. Because of this blatant disrespect for the US and her flag, and the failure of Goodell to harness this crap before it overtook the league, left such a bad taste in my mouth and, consequently, I boycotted the NFL for a few years.

I have only recently started watching games again, but the passion, interest, and excitement is gone.

There’s No Business

Is it only me (I’m sure it’s not) who is sick to death of the complete and utter lack of originality in Hollywood today? I get it that celebs and filmmakers are obviously busy spouting their political opinions to the masses who don’t give a damn what they think and who just want to be entertained for a few hours, but it has gotten to the point where the art itself suffers.

Case in point, I just saw a commercial for the new Charlie’s Angels movie. Wait, what? Wasn’t there already a bad Charlie’s Angels movie released in 2000 with Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore? Wasn’t that enough punishment? Obviously not as there is a newer version coming out later this year with the perpetually wooden Kristen Stewart and two other actresses of whom I’ve never heard.

Well, that got me thinking about the recent, and even not so recent, spate of prequels, sequels, and remakes over the past several years. Saw was great, Saw 7 was not. The Final Destination franchise has four sequels. Scream, Friday the 13th, and Halloween all have multiple sequels. And it’s not just horror movies (which happen to be my favorite, by the way.) Toy Story, The Lion King, The Godfather, Shrek, Star Wars, Star Trek, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and so many more in other genres are also subject to multiple sequels. And don’t even get me started on comic book superhero movies. Now, granted, not all of these sequels (or prequels) are terrible, but the majority are and simply serves to demonstrate that the only thing contemporary filmmakers are interested in today is taking a cash cow and milking it.

And the remakes. Remakes galore. Rob Zombie ruined Halloween and Halloween 2. Other remakes are also horrible such as The Last House on the Left, 12 Angry Men, Poltergeist, Ghostbusters, I Spit on Your Grave (which not only was remade poorly but also had some shit sequels), and many more. Look at Disney and the dozen live-action remakes from classic animated films or the ad nauseum American remakes of foreign films.

Is this necessary?

Doesn’t anybody have any original ideas anymore?

I guess not.

Lights, Cam…, er Lights, Lights, LIGHTS!

I swear, I have never seen so many cars at night driving down the road with their lights off. Granted, Las Vegas is quite illuminated after dark with neon lighting ad nauseum; however, this does not give you clueless and inattentive motorists the right to drive down a busy street without lights.

Now, as the good Samaritan I am who does a daily good deed and tries to flood the universe with good karma (to make up for this blog, apparently), I try to inform you, as nicely as possible, of course, that your lights are off. Whether I flash my high beams into your rear window, cut you off and turn my lights on and off, or try to get you to roll your window down at a stoplight, more often than not, you are beyond clueless.

Frankly, I don’t understand how you can get in your car at night and not notice your lights aren’t on. Seriously. Get off your damn phone and pay attention.