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World Cup 2018 in Russia

The Russian World Cup is upon us and sure the United States didn’t make it in but the team needs to find a new coach and it seems likely we will get in in 2022 when the Cup is in Qatar and will co-host the 2026 World Cup with Mexico and Canada. This Cup they will expand the field from 32 teams to 48 teams qualifying thankfully ending the half bids where two teams from different regions have a play-in game (OFC VS CONMEBOL) (CONCAFCAF vs AFC) for two final spots. There will be 80 total matches with 10 matches in both Mexico and Canada while 60 will be in the US. In the Russian World Cup  there are pretty normal favorites Brazil, France, Germany and Spain. It already seems likely that the final teams will be from Europe or South America as they are the only confederations who have made it and won a World Cup so far. There are a couple of fresh faces in the field this year as Iceland and Panama will be making their first appearances in the World Cup. There might be some other teams from perhaps Africa that might make a splash but I am fairly sure that some team from South America or Europe will win again.

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DC Sports

Yesterday was a unique day in Washington DC sports history as not only was it the Championship Parade for the Capitals, who brought home the Stanley Cup, but also out at Redskins Park they finally honored the replacement players who in 1987 during the strike won all three game and help put the team on the path to the Super Bowl. The Scab-skins were featured in an ESPN 30 for 30, one of the best series that ESPN has had on in ages. It was this documentary The Year of the Scab which really brought the story to a front this past year, it was the 30th anniversary last season and it was a nice gesture for a team that seemed to just take too long to happen. Congrats to all those celebrating, hope that it doesn’t take years for the next one.

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Loving Day

Today June 12th is the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states. This happened only 50 years and that seems like a long time ago but it isn’t especially with the current state of things in the United States. The Loving’s story was most recently told in the 2016 film Loving. A simple outline of their story which takes place in Virginia Richard Loving, a white guy, falls in love with Mildred Jeter, a black lady, after learning that Mildred is pregnant they decide to marry. However, this is illegal in Virginia so they go to DC to get married. Returning to Virginia their home was raided Richard and Mildred were charged and sent to jail for a year, yet the sentence would be suspended if they left Virginia and not return for 25 year. From here the moved to DC but that didn’t last long as in 1964 Mildred wrote to Bobby Kennedy in protest of this, he directer her to the ACLU and as the rest is history.

It is a real shame that these individuals (Mildred and Richard Loving), this day or event doesn’t get remembered as well as other Supreme Court decisions. I grew up in Virginia and didn’t really hear about the Loving case until the film came out, so this needs to be remembered more than it currently is. Sure it’s great to celebrate multiracial marriages and everything that goes along with this but we all could do better

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72nd Tony Awards

This year the Tony Awards seemed to be a bit predictable as there where two shows that dominated the night with The Band Visit winning just about every musical award picking up 10 wins in their 11 nominations. In the realm of Plays, Harry Potter was the big winner picking up all the technical awards along with Best Play. Actors Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane brought home awards for acting in the Best Revival of a Play in the still ground breaking Angels in America, while the Actresses Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalf came from Albee’s Three Tall Women. All three Nominees for Revival of a Musical took home at least an award with Once on This Island taking the big one of the night. Also Spongebob took home the award for best scenic design. It was a nice evening all in all with Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles doing a great job as hosts.

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Washington Capitals win Stanley Cup

This is huge news as the long wait is over after 44 years the Capitals get to hoist the Stanley Cup. It took awhile and at times looked like it might take just a little bit longer as Vegas tried to force a game 6. The Golden Knights did have a great inaugural season and picked up a win in the Stanley Cup Finals, besting the St. Louis Blues from 50 years ago. The Capitals clinched every game on the road. It is the first time one of the major four (MLB, NBA, NFL or NHL) sports teams have taken home a Championship since 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI. It is pretty awesome as the Capitals won the title on the same day as the Wizards/Bullets won their title on this day 40 years ago.  It is wonderful that Ovi finally won it all it has been a long 13 years and all those other guys. Congrats guys, wonderful job hope there is more to come.  Jay Beagle become the first individual to win the title in the ECHL, AHL, and NHL. Ovi became the first Russian Captain to take home a title. This year the Cup will be traveling to Australia as well as Denmark for the first times, I think with Nathan Walker and Lars Eller respectively.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Solo is the latest in the Star Wars Story anthology series of films it is about Han Solo and answers all the questions that we all needed to have answered is out. Now we know how all about the Kessel Run and how Han got the Falcon. One of the biggest questions that people have is when is this taking place, it is roughly 10 before the Battle of Yavin and 6 before the latest Animated series Rebels as well as 9 after Episode III (although the prologue scene of Solo is set 3 years before the events of the movie). Spoilers to follow.

The film beings on Corellia, Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is an orphan who has to scavenge for everything for Lady Proxima who runs the White Worms, she had Han go out to deliver some Space Fuel which is a real important thing in this movie but ditches after being double crossed he steals a speeder and with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) his ‘girl friend’ they decide to run off and escape their life. it turns out that only Han get away before Qi’ra is caught. Han joins the Imperial Navy and hope to become the best pilot and come back for Qi’ra. Three Years later Han is in the Infantry after being expelled from Flight school for insubordination, he runs into a gang of criminals run by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). Han tries to join this crew but Tobias has him arrested for dissertation and thrown into a pit with a monster who hasn’t eaten for days. It’s Chewbacca! finally a sort of familiar face. They escape the pit and join Beckett’s crew for a big heist they are going to steal a bunch of Space fuel (coaxium). This doesn’t go well Beckett’s crew is killed he’s only got Han and Chewie now, but a big problem he’s got to steal some more coaxium for Crimson Dawn and Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) or they will die, either from the raw coaxium from Kessel or from Vos himself.

They need a ship so they get the help of Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) who owns the Millennium Falcon, he agrees to join the crew. It’s Beckett, Han, Chewie, Qi’ra, and Lando with his robot L3. At Kessel they get the coaxium and on the way back Han makes the Kessel Run in 12 or so parsecs. See that’s something everyone wanted to see. So they make it to the refinery and make the coaxium usable, Vos shows up and things get interesting. The movie then end with scene where Han wins the Falcon from Lando in a game of Sabacc before they leave for Tatooine to hear about a gangster who needs a crew.

The movie is decent it does get a bit long at some points but that just seems to be all movies nowadays. The acting is decent with a few high points (Glover, Bettany) but there really wasn’t  major threat in the film we know Han and Lando make it to the Original Trilogy so they can’t die and neither one really has an arc to speak of things happen to them but they don’t change.  If this was due to the concerns that the Lord/Miller film that wasn’t fixed who knows. There are lots of places where it looks like they want to continue on with the story like what happens with Qi’ra , Han and Jabba meeting on friendly terms and perhaps even a Lando movie. There are plans to make a Boba Fett movie, hopefully a post ROTJ film with Temuera Morrison and rumor is still an Obi-Wan film with Ewan McGregor will hopefully see the light of day along with two more trilogies of films and perhaps an official sequel to Solo.  There are a lot of Star Wars films to come. This one might not be the best but it’s decent but the biggest problem is that it was released so soon after the last film.

 

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2018 NBA Finals

So the exciting playoffs end the exact same way as the past three years with the Cleveland Cavilers playing the Golden State Warriors. This is the first time in all of the major sports in the US when the same teams have met in the finals in four consecutive years. The Warriors won the title last year and have won two of the previous titles, with Cleveland winning in 2016, so could it be Cleveland’s time to win again? That look a bit unlikely as the Warriors won both games during the regular season and Cleveland has played more games this post season. Golden State is heavily favored to win and are 12 point favorites in Game 1.

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Memorial Day 2018

Let us all take some time as we unofficially begin Summer, to remember what today is really about those soldiers who have died, a major part of the day is decorating soldiers graves with flowers. This Poem from Joyce Kilmer, the poet and soldier, is from his second collection of poems Trees and Other Poems. It has been set to music and has been included in The Army and Navy Hymnal.

Memorial Day by Joyce Kilmer

“Dulce et decorum est”

The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.

The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.

Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.

May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.

In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a sword.

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2018 Stanley Cup Finals

It is official now, we have winners in both Conferences. This year we will have a team winning the Cup for the first time and this is the first time it has happened since 2007.  Out in the West the Las Vegas Golden Knight have made it in their first year matching the St. Louis Blues, now hopefully the Golden Knight will not be swept like the Blues were in their first three seasons. In the East the Washington Capitals have made it back to the finals for the first time in 20 year and hopefully they will improve over the last time, when they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.

This series has a bunch of interesting match-ups with the former GM for Washington, George McPhee, is the GM for Vegas and the chance for Marc Andre Fleury going for cup number four, his third in a row. This is the first time that the teams will meet in the playoffs.Now will the well rested team get off to the poor start as they did in the last round or will the hot team. Vegas is the favorite so many odds makers are saying, however the Capitals are now 8-2 on the road this post season and are the underdogs yet again. As for predictions I have to say Capitals in 7, since I remember the last time they made it to the Finals. Sure both cities have been long suffering Vegas not having a major sports team like ever and the Golden Knights being the first professional team in town and Washington not winning anything as most put it based on the “Big Four” (NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL) since 1992 or 2004 if you add MLS or 2015 if you want to talk about World TeamTennis , but the Capitals have been waiting 42 years to bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Games 1 is on Monday night

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The Great American Read

PBS is going all out this summer with a online voting thing to pick the best novel. They have revealed the America’s 100 most-loved books/series. This list is very diverse as it ranges from the classics like The Count of Monte Cristo to some of the modern classics like Harry Potter. Yet this is a strange list as it also contains books like Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight and even Ready Player One. Now I wouldn’t call any of these books “classics” or most loved by any shot.  Over in the United Kingdom they did a similar thing called The Big Read in 2003 where Lord of the Rings placed at the top of the chart. If it end like I assume it will either Lord of the Rings or The Great Gatsby will be ending up on top. To take a look at the complete list visit the website you can vote daily from the site or through Facebook or Twitter, so go vote for what you’d call the most popular book on this list.