Casino of the Sun Review by Casino City

Cyberpunk Expansion Theory (SPOILERS FOR ALL ENDINGS)

After beating the game I became curious of where they would go with the expansions, all three of the main endings put V in very different locations and I wondered where they would go with future content (Assuming the DLC's are post-game and in new locations). This made me think that they could perhaps make 3 Expansions that mirror the beginning lifepaths and bring V to a new location post game.
Expansion 1 - Nomad/The Star Ending: This ending sees V, along with the Aldecaldos venture towards Arizona, as they flee from Arasaka and seek a cure for V's illness. I feel this is a perfect setup for a expansion set in Arizona revolving around the wasteland and Nomad Tribes.
Expansion 2 - Streetkid/The Sun Ending: In this ending you last see V, about to commit the heist of a lifetime, robbing the space casino known as The Crystal Palace. This space station is very large and would make an excellent setting for an expansion pack.
Expansion 3 - Corpo/The Devil Ending: This ending brings V to a Arasaka space station where he/she are given six months to live after the removal of the Biochip, V can then choose to either return to Night City or get turned to engram so his/her consciousness can potentially be uploaded into a new host body. If V chooses to return to Night City he/she will get a call from Hanako offering him/her a job with Arasaka. V taking this offer could turn into an excellent expansion where he/she works with Arasaka in a new location (Potentially Japan?)
submitted by iAmEchoe to cyberpunkgame [link] [comments]

[SPOILER] The Future of Cyberpunk 2077 (DLC)

Salutations all,
A friendly reminder that this post will be discussing the future of the game, and thus will go over not only the endings of the game, but a few side missions as well. So if you don't want spoiled on these things, turn back now. I'm not going to describe each ending or mission in great detail, with the expectation that you've either experienced or know of the endings, but also so as to avoid giving away as much information as possible to those who haven't played through them, so even if you know what happens, you can still enjoy the ride. Also, let it be said that this is supposed to lead to good discussion, and isn't supposed to be an end all, be all kind of post. I'd love to hear other's thoughts, especially if there's something I've missed or if new information comes to light :) That being said, let's get into it!
First off, I have personally played through The Star ending, and The Sun ending. However, I have watched most of the other endings, and have an understanding of what happens in each. When I finished the game and got those two endings, I very much got the impression that our (V's) story is not over yet. While they could certainly tie up loose threads and answer certain questions with a sequel, I think it's far more likely these things will happen in future DLC. Though there are lots of different variations and differences in the details of the endings, there are some simple points that are true for some of them, and can be broken down as such:
- V lives and keeps their body, but only has 6 months to live.
- V gives their body to Johnny, and Johnny leaves town.
- V dies, and Johnny along with him.
- V is made into an engram and awaits a suitable body to take as a host.
Some of these endings wrap up V's story, thus I think it unlikely that we will see them being continued in DLC. These are the outcomes where:
- V gives their body to Johnny
- V dies
-V is made into an engram
Obviously, the ending where V dies, be it by suicide or a blaze of glory, leaves no story to further via DLC. I don't see CDPR expanding the ending of Johnny taking V's body for multiple reasons, mainly that it would have to be a DLC exclusive to that ending, as it shares nothing in common with any of the other endings. V has become part of Alt, and there's likely no coming back. Plus, I don't see CDPR paying the price for hiring Keanu back for more work, just for a DLC option that many players wouldn't have chosen anyway. Likewise, though they could theoretically do something with the ending of V's engram being put into a suitable host, that shares nothing in common with any of the other endings, and the story of the DLC would be radically different than any other. Plus, the engram option seems bleak and ambiguous, whereas the option to leave and live out your remaining 6 months seems (somewhat) more hopeful.
With this in mind, I believe the story can and will be continued with the narrative of V attempting to find a cure with the 6 months that he has left to live. The endings where this occurs are The Sun and Star endings, along with "good" option to The Devil ending where you choose to live out your remaining 6 months. However, I think the DLC tying in the endings of The Sun and The Star are far more likely. With The Devil ending, we know absolutely nothing about V's remaining 6 months, and they even get a call from Hanako offering to work for Arasaka in their last 6 months. To me, this ending really does seem to be "living out" the rest of your life, rather than looking for a cure. It is still ambiguous enough that it could be worked in as an option for DLC, but I think it more likely that the Sun and Star endings will be the basis, for numerous reasons.
In the Star ending, V leaves Night City for Arizona with the Aldecados, specifically in an attempt to find a cure. There isn't even a hint of the idea of just living out your remaining 6 months with your family. It's pretty straightforward in this ending: Finding a cure is the sole purpose for the journey, and is stated multiple times. The Aldecados have connections in Arizona, and have lots of favors to call in to try and help V find a cure. Personally, I romanced Panam so there was additional dialogue about finding a cure so that V could live. but the main point for this ending is still the same if you don't romance Panam, or if you'd romance someone like Judy.
The idea of The Sun ending is less clear. The name of the final mission is "Path of Glory". V has almost made it to legendary status after breaking into Arasaka and Mikoshi. They've become the head of The Afterlife and have gained the respect of everyone around them. Most importantly, V is about to do the gig of a lifetime that will cement them as a true Night City legend. At first glance, it seems like this ending doesn't have anything to do with finding a cure, but instead is about V fulfilling their (and Jackie's) dream of becoming a true legend. However, upon closer inspection, that is not the case. Once again, I romanced Panam so my experience may be different than yours, but when she accused V of just wanting more glory, V corrected her and said that wasn't what it was about, but to show that everything the city took and gave wasn't for nothing. After telling Panam he wanted to hear her story, she said it was a long one, and his response was "I'll find time for it." I don't just take this as "I'll try and find time for it in my busy schedule" but that he's literally going on a search for more time. Adding to this is when V meets with the client, Mr. Blue Eyes, at The Afterlife. When the client brings up how people think V is "taking too big a risk. Poetically speaking, flying towards the sun to burn up." and V responds, the client brings up how he knows that V isn't just being confident, but that they're fighting for one last breath, and that he hired him because "you'd [V] do anything at all for even the faintest chance at survival." V is putting on a façade of doing the ultimate gig that is fitting for a true legend, so that they can show everyone they're the greatest of all time. But in reality, V is doing this at a chance for survival. We don't know how this mission could lead to it, but it's clear that that is the true purpose behind the mission, and the main idea behind this ending.
So here we have two endings that find V using the time they have left to search for a cure, and going great lengths to do so. In my opinion, both of these endings have the most work put into them, and require the player to finish certain side missions to make them available. They keep the door open for respective romances, and continue V's story. I am unsure if one will be a "true" ending, but there is one main thing that makes me think that The Sun ending is the one that will connect to the DLC that furthers this story. And that main thing is V's client, Mr. Blue Eyes.
This man is shrouded in mystery, and that has been done purposefully by CDPR. For one, we don't even have a name for this man. It's true that V might go by an alias (unless their name really is just "V"), but even so, "Mr. Blue Eyes" is one strange alias to go by, simply because he has blue eyes. We know almost nothing about him, except for that when V knocked out Arasaka, Blue Eyes' people managed to rush in and grab what they could. He's able to see through the façade that V is putting on and somehow knows that this is actually a last ditch attempt at survival. V tells him to make sure he holds up his end of the bargain (showing that a deal has been made, and it's likely not just for some eddies), to which he replies "Oh, I never forget a promise. Good luck," He is able to get V into space in quick time, in order to rob the casino at the Crystal Palace. So not only does he want a job of incredible magnitude done, but he's promising something as a reward, and he's promising it to a mercenary who he knows will do anything just at the chance of survival. So whatever his side of the bargain is, it's most likely not something insignificant.
Most intriguing of all though is that this isn't the first time that Mr. Blue Eyes can be found. At the end of the Peralez's mission,"Dream On", after discovering that they've been being brainwashed to the point of not knowing which memories of theirs are real or fake, V meets with Jefferson in the park. Before this, V is warned by whoever has been brainwashing the Peralezs that, "It doesn't matter what you tell him. It doesn't matter what you think of doing or do - you can't change anything. We know who you are. We know WHAT you are. We know what you want. You're playing with fire. Don't dare cross the line." After this, regardless what V says to Jefferson, if V looks up to a terrace overlooking the park, they'll see the man himself: Mr. Blue Eyes. Scanning him reveals that his affiliation is unknown, and that he is wanted for "classified". If V looks away, and then back at him, he disappears. If the player is able to maneuver and jump their way to him, he is unable to be killed in any way, and doesn't acknowledge you're there, showing that Mr. Blue Eyes was placed there on purpose, watching over the meeting, and nothing more. Along with this, at the end of the Garry the Prophet missions, it is revealed that "men with blue eyes" took Garry. This leads me to think that Mr. Blue Eyes is a part of something very big, especially if he has something to do with (or is the leader of, from what it sounds like) the group that has been pulling the strings behind the brainwashing of the Peralez's and the ones who are getting him to be mayor. This guy gives off some major Gaunter O' Dimm vibes from The Witcher 3, and I very much think he'll play a pivotal role in the story to come (I'm pretty sure he has something to do with NightCorp and what you learn about them from Sandra Dorsett's mission, but that's just me).
With a character like Mr. Blue Eyes being involved in The Sun ending, with everything he says, and the fact that V is flying through space to infiltrate the Crystal Palace, I think that this is where the DLC that continues V's story will take us. Now obviously none of that is found in The Star ending with the Aldecados, but that doesn't mean that ending doesn't have any significance. They could easily have an intro to the DLC where, if the player chose The Star ending, the Aldecado's somehow get brought into contact with Mr. Blue Eyes, or at least find out that the answer to a cure could have something to do with the Crystal Palace. I think the Crystal Palace will be the setting for a DLC no matter what, I just don't know exactly how they'll get us there from the Aldecado's ending, or if Mr. Blue Eyes will have anything to do with it (I can't imagine he wouldn't). Either way, it's definitely not impossible for CDPR to have V end up at the Crystal Palace for this heist mission, regardless if the player got The Sun, Star, or even the "good" Devil endings to the game.
Some people may be thinking that DLC will only be additions to the existing story, similar to the Hearts of Stone DLC from Witcher 3, rather than a continuation of the story that takes place after the main mission, like Witcher 3's Blood and Wine DLC. I understand why people might feel that way, but I just don't see it happening. For one, if they just wanted to end V's story, I think CDPR would have given us the option of a truly "happy" ending where V not only survives, but doesn't have a 6 month clock ticking to his death. Even if they didn't do that, I don't think they'd make the main mission of the Aldecado's ending to be finding a cure. Instead, it would simply be about enjoying the time V has left as part of a family. I think that The Sun ending would have simply been what V masquerades it to be, the final mission to cement himself as a true legend, a legend above all the others. Rather, they made a point to include a purposefully mysterious character as V's client, who called out V's real motives behind the gig, and promised some kind of reward for a job that has never been done before (said reward was also left quite ambiguous). Too many clues have been dropped for these to be endings that allow for certain kinds of roleplaying. While I can see how people would think CDPR doesn't plan on continuing V's story, especially given the differences between the endings, I think they've given themselves quite a bit to work with, and given fans quite a lot to pick up upon.
There are certain other loose ends that could be brought up as well, such as the research being done by NightCorp, the mysterious group behind the Peralez's brainwashing, or the fate of the Arasakas (Saburo Arasaka takes over Yorinobu's body via his engram in The Devil ending, Hanako is somehow killed in The Star ending, and we aren't told anything about them in The Sun ending). Loose threads don't always need to be tied up, however, and sometimes it's even better if they're not. So I'm not really counting on any of that to factor into DLC. However, I wouldn't be surprised if these things came up again.
All in all, these are my thoughts on the future of Cyberpunk 2077. I'm sure there are things I've missed, and hopefully more things will come to light as time goes on (I'd really like to know if Blue Eyes shows up in more than just that one mission). Please, share your thoughts! The one thing I know for certain is this: I just want my V to find a cure so he can make babies with Panam, try food with Takemura, and drink some Jackie Welles. Please, CDPR. Make my dreams a reality.
submitted by Grayson076 to cyberpunkgame [link] [comments]

The Scungilli Man...

Call it a story. Call it a creepypasta. The truth doesn’t need our validation.
My siblings and I grew up in Maine. My maternal grandparents lived in Arizona, and so we would only see them a couple of times a year, usually once around the 4th of July, and once around Christmas. Even after Nana passed Pop would still make the cross-country trip. When Pop would stay with us, he would sleep in the downstairs bedroom, which was directly below mine. While one might expect an elderly grandparent to snore, the sounds Pop would make were entirely more unsettling. He would whimper. Pop was a WWII veteran, and he saw combat in Italy at Anzio and Monte Casino. I remember once, as a young child, I somehow produced the naive curiosity to ask him if it was hard for him, an Italian American, to fight against Italians. He responded with only “I’m not Italian. I’m American.” He said it with a grimness that taught me not to ask any more questions about the War. Mom used to say he left something of himself in Italy. Sometimes I think he might have brought something back.
Pop loved seafood. Every time he came to Maine, my mother would prepare for him a feast worthy of King Poseidon himself. Every kind of clam and cockle, shrimp, or crab that a Mainer could procure from the state’s coast; it was on our dining table. I myself hate seafood. I often think it might be directly related to me being forced to sit beside Pop for his ocean buffet. The cracking, the stink, the drip of a ruddy bisque off my grandfather’s quivering lip. The way his bony knuckles cracked the lobsters in twain so loudly I often wondered if it was his finger, or the creature’s shell that had given way first. These are my memories of my grandfather, and yes, I still cherish them.
The strangeness would begin after dinner. Pop would force my mother, under duress, to save every scrap and shell of seafood left in the sink or on his plate. He had some kind of secret-recipe family stew that he swore by, and the scraps provided the stock which made its base. The soup was a family affair; my brother and I were on onion duty. What seemed like a 50 pound bag of onions would be dragged home from the grocery store. Pop would splay it out across the garage floor, and make my brother and I promise to be extra careful with our chopping knives. It felt like hours. Our eyes would sting and water. We tried every home remedy, nothing worked.
Pop always made a solo trip down to the fisherman’s pier for his “secret ingredient”. And yeah, we tried the “We ARE family, we should know the family recipe secret ingredient!” line. “In time…” is all he would say. He would get back from the pier around Sundown, holding only a damp brown paper bag which he never let us see the contents of. He kept the rest of the process to himself. The stew had to simmer overnight. Pop would let us watch him set the burner on the stove, just as low as it could go, and then tuck us in for the night. I still remember that, the smell of brine and onion permeating the house, being tucked into bed by Pop. “You’re safe now” he would whisper. I always thought it was odd, if not just old fashioned.
On Pop’s ‘Stew Nights’ something would change. The whimpers I had come to expect, and to listen for, had faded. The thought of what remained still makes my jaw clench when I think about it. Laughter. Not light chuckling. Not benign guffaws. Deep, guttural laughter. I woke my older brother up to confirm my sanity, and he heard it too. We had no idea what to make of it. The first time we wrote it off as some dream. The second time, the following year, was also on “Grandpa Soup’s Eve”. This time, we concocted some convoluted theory about the scent of the stew triggering some jocular childhood family memory which he was reliving in a dream. The third year, having grown older and more confident, we had to see it for ourselves.
Grandpa always slept with the window open. He liked to wake up with the sun, and would do his exercises as soon as he got up. We figured peeking in the door had a chance to wake him, so my brother and I figured we could peer through the window from outside and see exactly what was going on. We slipped quietly out the front door, and almost ruined the whole operation immediately. “Shit!” my brother whisper-yelled as he tripped himself onto the damp grass. I heard a spoon go loudly clinking across the front step. “What the hell?”. In what we at the time took as a clear sign of early onset dementia, a bowl of Pop’s Italian Stew had been portioned, and carefully placed upon the front step, spoon and all. We stopped and stared at the bowl, the bobbing chunks of onion and secret seafood. We grinned with confusion, and disbelief, and continued on with our mission.
We could hear his laughter creep around the side of the house. We cautiously approached, our faces nosing up over the ledge of the first story window in unison. There was Pop, back arched, rigid, fingers curled in a twisted grip. His chest heaved with every laugh. His eyes were the worst; rolled back, with only the whites showing. Straight up horror movie shit. We watched, both of us still with fear. In reality we were probably only there for a moment, and then broke away, racing one another back to the front front door in terror. It got worse when we got there.
The bowl was empty. Not empty because it had spilled, not empty because one of us dumped it out, it was empty; the spoon placed delicately back beside it on the front step. We looked around into the darkness, still shaking from seeing Pop like that, trying to see if some kind of possum or raccoon might have had their way with the stew. We didn’t see any animals. But we did see a strange shadow that neither of us recognized. The center of our Cul De Sac had a tall pine tree and a squarish, stubby statue of a revolutionary war cannon. Between the two was a third figure that didn’t belong. It was somewhere about our height at the time, maybe 5’7’’. It looked something like a person, but had some kind of hard, twisted shell about it’s upper half. The top half appeared to be patterned with horizontal stripes, the thin blacks legs desencing into shiny leather boots. It seemed to be always moving, weaving itself in and out of the shadows as if surrounded by long tendrils. My brother and I grabbed each other’s forearms. I wasn’t sure if his arm was shaking, or if it was the trembling of my own arm moving his. We stood frozen, it was dreamlike; we were petrified. That’s when we heard the call; like the yawp of a coyote, like the call of a merchant announcing their wares to the bazaar. “Scungilli! Scungilli!” It faded into the suburban blackness, and the call echoed more quietly. We left the bowl and went inside.
Pop passed a few years back. Once a year, usually around the 4th of July when he would have visited, our family makes a trip to he and Nana’s gravestone. Him being a veteran, and it being so close to independence day, it’s not uncommon for us to find his gravestone adorned with various patriotic decorations; a flag, a wreath, we usually bring flowers. But there’s one thing there my family can never quite figure out. Almost every year, like clockwork, an empty paper bowl and a plastic spoon. My dad will usually curse out whatever mourner decided to visit on their lunch break and littered. My mom speculates that one of the Boy Scouts groups who laid the wreaths must have brought lunch along, and this one just blew away before they could put it in the trash. But my brother and I, we both know. It’s not the laziness of some graveyard litterbug, or some Scoutmaster with poor reaction time to blame. We both know. We know it’s the Scungilli Man.
-W.Gianetta
submitted by wtg203 to nosleep [link] [comments]

Moderator(s) on R/Conservative REALLY doesn't like to be challenged with the TRUTH.

I attempted to post the letter (copied below) on Conservative.
It meets, as best as I can tell, ALL of the stated guidelines for their sub. (If you see anything that is uncivil, untrue, unsubstantiated, whatever, please inform me!)
They didn't post it. When I sent Modmail inquiring why, I received the following response telling me my post was "stupid" , and I was "banned" from submitting further Modmail.
Anyone know how I contact Reddit Administrators to appeal?
https://i.imgur.com/xyhfgdX.png

Post is awaiting moderator approval.This post is currently awaiting approval by the moderators of Conservative before it can appear in the subreddit.

>What would you WRITE to a Trump supporter? Or would I just be wasting ink?
I live in Sun City Arizona, a great Phoenix retirement community except for being very conservative, very pro-Trump.
A LOT of my neighbors have Trump signs.
Rather than vandalizing or stealing them, which I feel would be counter-productive I've considered writing a sincere letter and blue-taping it to every sign I see.
Trump is, in word and deed, neither fiscally NOR socially "Conservative." Look at his adulterous behavior! Look at his defense spending and the tax cut for the 2%!
I might point out that Trump referred to our veterans as "Losers and Suckers."
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/09/trump-americans-who-died-at-war-are-losers-and-suckers/615997/
That Trump mocked a disabled reporter. (cruelty)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNXgjnBpxGI
That he claimed "there are good people on both sides" referring to the Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville
https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jarticle216495165.html
That he has done NOTHING in response to reports Putin put a bounty on US soldiers (treason)
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/29/us/politics/trump-putin-bounties.html
That he stiffed, and was sued by 3000+ contractors who worked on his casinos. (greed)
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/01/donald-trump-lawsuits-legal-battles/84995854/
That he claimed to know more about ISIS than "all his generals" all of whom he subsequently fired. Virtually all of whom have spoken out against him.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/04/retired-generals-are-defending-america-our-greatest-threat-president/
(His expertise doesn't stop with ISIS: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/04/17-issues-that-donald-trump-knows-better-than-anyone-else-according-to-donald-trump/
That he's a serial adulterer who numerous women (25+) claim assaulted them, including a charge of defamation the result of him denying a rape that he can't seem to get away from. .
https://www.businessinsider.com/women-accused-trump-sexual-misconduct-list-2017-12
That his denial, and false claim that "This is their latest hoax" with regards to Democrats and COVID19 seriously slowed our nation's response, including his refusal to wear a mask and set an example, with deaths now exceeding 200,000 Americans.
But what, really, do you think pro-Trump conservatives would read, and not just wad up and throw away?
Anything?
Isn't supporting Trump at this point proof that most Conservatives are in complete denial of reality? And live in such utter fear of "Migrant caravans" and "BLM burning cities down" that NOTHING could get through to them?
What criticisms, IF ANY, do you think Trump supporters could or WOULD accept?
The fact that he's anything BUT a financial "conservative" with his trillion dollar tax cuts for the rich?
Social Conservatism is rooted in Biblical teachings, is it not? The bible states in at least a half dozen places we are NOT to mistreat the illegal alien, the migrant living in our midst. Yet Trump's cruelty towards non-citizens is legendary, including removing children from their mothers and apparently doling out hysterectomies. Instead of leading a charge toward immigration REFORM, he instead seeks to make illegals live in terror of ICE and deportation
Deuteronomy 10:19 Therefore love the foreigner; for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.
https://www.iaumc.org/files/fileslibrary/Scripture_and_Thoughts.pdf
Should I start out with some "praise" of Trump to get hard-right conservatives reading, and gradually change direction?
I know that THEY don't think he's a pathological liar. The WaPo's documentation of his 20,000+ lies, that's just "fake news!" https://i.imgur.com/PfmxYwJ.mp4
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/13/donald-trump-20000-false-or-misleading-claims
DJT has broken most if not ALL of the Ten Commandments and continues to do so. Has stated he doesn't really feel he has any need to repent.
https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-on-god-i-dont-like-to-have-to-ask-for-forgiveness-2016-1
The only ammo I have is words, even the Bible, yet I feel these folks are "convinced" of his righteousness and suitability for office beyond rescue by any facts, logic, even direct, contradictory Trump quotes. Or Biblical condemnation of his greed, adultery, lust, lust for revenge, hatred of the migrant, etc.
What about that, just a list of Trump tweets that contradict himself. Perhaps a list of his biggest lies: "I did not sleep with Stormy Daniels and if I did I didn't pay her hush money?"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/08/23/not-just-misleading-not-merely-false-lie/
Maybe make the back of my printed letter Trump's top-ten bald-faced lies?
https://www.thearticle.com/trumps-ten-top-lies
Suggestions? (including give up) (So far every single reply has suggested just giving up!)
https://www.reddit.com/Trumpvirus/comments/iwktno/sincere_question_what_would_you_write_to_a_trump/
Wade Nelson, Redditor, Christian, Registered Republican, Fiscal Conservative.
submitted by wadenelsonredditor to Trumpvirus [link] [comments]

[NF] Leaving Las Vegas, Smuggled Grapefruits, Airstream Pancakes

When: 2014 or 15, probably April
We roll into Vegas after dark, my friend Jerry driving, I riding shotgun, my then wife rolling around in the back of the ruby red '94 Ford Aerostar on the mattress that replaced the seats.
We are dressed in what can only be described as Trailer Park Hippies. Jerry wears sweat pants (he wore a lot of sweat pants back then), a striped shirt, beanie, and square-frame glasses, as he's blind as a bat. My wife is dressed like a bag lady, a tye dye "Workaholics" shirt, ripped jeans, America Hat beanie hat worn ironically over dirty dreadlocks, and I'm wearing a a lot of flannel and sporting a fiery red Leprechaun beard and hair down to my shoulders.
We have a stash that would make Hunter S. Thompson shed tears of joy. We're cruising in with a few ounces of weed, a tinfoil wrapper full of hash, a 10-strip of LSD, an eightball of coke, case of lite beer, and a laundry basket full of oranges and grapefruits acquired in Arizona.
We had been living off of coke, grapefruits, acid, beer and cigarettes laced with hash.
We were young and ready for what Vegas had to offer.
Jerry drives past The Flamingo and we keep going on to Fremont Street. That is our destination, and we plan on milking it for all the free drinks we can.
We drive around for a minute before noticing a $5-all-night parking lot. Perfect. We figure after we get too wasted and broke, we'll just come back and crash in the back of the van.
Jerry, it's always Jerry, cuts up one hit of acid into three little pieces and passes them out.
Jerry then keys up bumps of coke for everyone.
My wife, DD, rolls a nasty hash cigarette and we roll out of the van and smoke it on our way down to Fremont Street.
The thing about taking a little bit of acid is, is you can drink all night. A half hit of acid and you're ready to drink an Irishman under the table. I can't explain how or why it works, but it does. 1/3 of a hit should do the same thing, and we're feeling good.
Vegas is your typical Vegas that I had expected. There's a Danny DeVito impersonator here, a Boss Hogg there, big-titted Showgirls lined up ready to take your money for a photo. Street performers, some of them fantastic, some of them sad. There is a nearly naked man waving a sign that reads, "Money Activates Me". I put a dollar in his hat, and he starts jiggling and shaking and making weird beeping noises. I am a little sad.
As soon as we arrive on Fremont Street I look up to a giant television prompter on the ceiling with Blue Angels flying across while "America the Beautiful" plays over the loudspeakers. I walk past a large Mexican woman wearing all purple.
Jerry tells us that they'll give you free drinks if you play the slot machines. We decide to investigate and pop into the first casino we see. We each slip a dollar into a machine and a waitress comes over and tells us, "make it at least $3, guys". A little saddened, but compliant, we do as we're told.
We spend the next few hours like this. Hopping from casino to casino, putting in as little money as possible, getting as many free drinks as possible. After awhile, it gets tiresome and we spot a crowd heading towards the far side of the street and decide to investigate.
All night we see this horrible Wook-like creature and he has come up to us and asked us for different drugs at least three times. DD must've taken the biggest 1/3 because her pupils are the size of nickels. The first few times he asked for acid, then he asked for DMT. I had never done DMT at that point, but from what I had heard, it would do him no good here. We think he's a cop. We ignore him.
Drinks in hand, we see what the commotion is about, Cheap Trick! is playing a free show. Hell Yes, we think. We push our way to the entrance and are told we cannot bring the drinks in. We each chug our beers and make our way in.
The crowd at Cheap Trick! is rude as far as rock concerts go. It's a bunch of people way more sober than us and they won't let us pass. We're standing shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder with a group of angry looking bikers and decide that Cheap Trick! can go fuck themselves.
We exit the concert and walk to the other end of Fremont Street.
There is another free concert going on, an 80's cover band with the singer dressed like Devo and the bassist wearing stuffed animal pants – that is, Pants covered in stuffed animals. There are only about 20 people in attendance. We're so there.
We walk to the front without any problem and begin our own dance circle.
They have two vocalists, a hot French-looking chick and a man dressed as dollar store Devo.
Jerry thinks French chick is looking at him.
The bandplays a rousing rendition of "Blister in the Sun" and during one of "When I go walkin I strut my stuff and I'm so strung out/I'm high as a kite and I just might stop to check you out" parts, Devo guy holds the microphone out to us and we gargle through it.
He shouts for the band to stop, wait, hold on. Stop stop stop.
"You people are the drunkest people I have ever seen!"
Too drunk to be embarrassed, we continue to dance. We dance until they stop playing.
The acid at this point has all but run its course and the booze is catching up with us.
DD is starting to lose steam.
We decide to drink more.
Walking into a casino, the overhead television plays "America the Beautiful" again as Blue Angels fly and Purple Pants Mexican lady is walking by us again, singing, "Uh-MARE-i-KUH" and crying profusely. She is having a good time.
Unsure of what time it is, we're too fucked to gamble anymore and head to the bar. We attempt to order the cheapest drinks and the bartenders all ignore us.
We get our $2 teas, (“Hold on, I have to make three shitty drinks” quoth the bartender) and walk back outside to get some air. Vegas is starting to spook me out.
People walk down the street and flick a butt, unnamed janitors come from nowhere and sweep it up like it might never have happened. Vegas is like a physics problem. The cigarette butt is like Schrodinger’s Cat. Without the janitor, it may or not be there.
As the night drags on, we see human decency deteriorating.
Having made our way somehow to The Flamingo, we scope out a group of guys who we believe are going to date rape some girl who’s had too much to drink. Maybe it’s the acid enhancing our perceptions, or any of the drugs making us ever more paranoid. Maybe those guys really were out to hurt that woman. We followed them all for some time before realizing we were fucked up and it wasn’t our fight. We needed to get back to the van to sleep.
We make our way back to the van and roll the door open. DD plops down on the mattress, but Jerry and I are determined to gamble and drink more. I promise her I’ll be good.
Just right then two SECURITY dudes on bikes roll by and see the mattress and see the hippie lady sitting upon it. “Y’all can’t sleep here.”
I inform them, but sirs, we paid the $5, and we are way, way, WAY too drunk to drive at this point.
“That’s fine, sirs” he tells me, “but you can’t sleep here. You’re welcome to gamble in our casinos all night, or get a hotel room.”
DD raises her voice to the security dudes and I have to tell her to cool it. We’re out of our element. This is Vegas. We can’t win this one.
I tell them, ok, and they ride off.
I’m too fucked to drive so I tell Jerry he’s going to have to rally and get us out of here. We all begin chugging water, our eyes rolling around in our heads, brains still slightly dripping from the acid.
We’re all yelling at each other that this was a stupid idea. Jerry chugs an adequate amount of water and he climbs into the cockpit. I ride shotgun. We got this.
We drive around aimlessly til we find an indoor parking garage that doesn’t charge us a fee on the way in. We drive to a heavily populated area and kill the engine. Jerry and I fly into the backseat and we keep our heads down, trying to find sleep in what’s left of the night.
We get two hours of sleep when I decide we have to go. Right now.
I think I’m cool to drive, so I start out our journey. The sun is right in my face as I’m leaving and I’m way too hungovestill drunk/fucked up to be doing this. I stop at a gas station for a fill up and on my way in I see a man just grinning at me. I’m in no mood. Who is this asshole just smiling at me at 6 o clock in the morning?
Turns out it was a cardboard cutout of Jeff Gordon. Jesus. Christ.
I pay for my gas and get back to the car. I tell Jerry he’s driving, and I need to sleep.
We drive a few minutes and pull up to an Airstream Diner and decide to fuel up our bellies. The whole night in Vegas we didn’t consume any food, just drugs and booze, and we were in need of nourishment.
We sit at the counter and the man with the plan is an older Hispanic man who appears to be running everything by himself. I order an omelette, toast and hashbrowns, and coffee, sweet, merciful coffee. Biscuits and gravy for Jerry, with “grandma coffee” (that is coffee with too much cream and sugar). DD got a stack of pancakes.
When our food came, the proprietor asks DD if she would like any syrup? She holds her plate above her head like an offering to the man and says nothing. He laughs and asks again what kind of syrup would she like? Blueberry it was.
A little food in us, we begin to feel better.
We hit the road, California Bound! I resign to the mattress in back and pass out, Jerry driving, DD his copilot.
I awake some time later to the sound of metal grinding on metal. The van is moving against its own will.
“What the fuck is going on?!”
Jerry is throwing it in reverse and trying to back up but the damage is already done.
We are in line waiting to cross into the great state of California. I see a sign for “Fruit Inspection”. I look around the back and there’s grapefruits and oranges and peelings and all kinds of citrus just rolling around. We’re fucked. If not for the coke and hash, then for all the fruit contraband.
I try to gather up all the citrus, but when it gets to be our turn to cross, the guards at the window tell us simply to pull through to deal with our accident.
What luck. A wagonload of drugs and illegal fruit and we get a pass because some Rent An RV guy decided to rearrange my van’s front end. Sweet.
We pull through and pile out of the van. I inspect the damage. It’s mostly cosmetic. The plastic bumper is gone, both headlights are smashed and dangling by wires. The blinkers are fucked. I will be using my arm signals for the rest of my van’s life.
I walk up to the RV and pound on the door. An older, Eastern European man, noticeably drunk and shoeless steps out. I ask does he have insurance (I miraculously do). He says yes yes yes, sure sure sure. Why don’t you come into my RV?
No, I tell him. Good out here.
He disappears inside and comes back a few minutes later with a stack of papers, none of which are insurance. After a few minutes of going nowhere, I decide to call it even. I don’t want to attract any attention to us with the cops and would rather just get down the road, blow and all.
The four of us get into our collective vehicles, the Chechen's relatively untouched; ours, a sex crime victim, and we set sail for the promised land - Californ-I-A!
I'm trying to assemble a selection of stories. Heart on Sleeve. Don't be too rough. With love, and honesty
submitted by Rock_on_Kennedy to shortstories [link] [comments]

Sincere Question: What would you WRITE to a Trump supporter? Or just wasting ink?

I live in Sun City Arizona, a great Phoenix retirement community except for being very conservative, very pro-Trump.
A LOT of my neighbors have Trump signs.
Rather than vandalizing or stealing them, which I feel would be counter-productive (damn liberals!!!) I've considered writing a sincere letter and blue-taping it to every sign I see.
I might point out that Trump referred to our veterans as "losers and suckers."
That he mocked a disabled reporter. (cruelty)
That he is absolutely a racist --- "good people on both sides" referring to Neo-Nazis.
That he did NOTHING in response to reports Putin put a bounty on US soldiers (treason)
That he stiffed, and was sued by 3000+ contractors who worked on his casinos. (greed)
That he claimed to know more about ISIS than "all his generals" all of whom he fired.
That he's a serial adulterer who numerous women claim assaulted them.
But what, really, do you think they'd read, and not just wad up and throw away?
Anything?
Isn't supporting Trump at this point proof that they are in complete denial of reality? And live in such utter fear of "migrant caravans" and "BLM burning cities down" that NOTHING could get through to them?
What say you? Pointless to even TRY?
What criticisms, IF ANY, do you think these people could accept?
Start out with some "praise" of Trump to get them reading, and gradually change direction?
I know that THEY don't think he's a pathological liar. Someone who has broken most if not ALL of the Ten Commandments and continues to do so.
That he thinks they themselves are stupid for voting for him, digusting (today's handshake news).
The only ammo I have is words, even the Bible, yet I feel these people are brainwashed beyond salvation by any facts, logic, direct Trump quotes, anything.
What about that, just a list of Trump tweets that contradict himself. A list of lies: "I did not sleep with Stormy Daniels!" Maybe make the back Trump's top-ten lies.
Suggestions? (including give up)
Wade Nelson, Redditor
submitted by wadenelsonredditor to Trumpvirus [link] [comments]

What a USL D1 league might look like

TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there.
Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored.
So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD.
Welcome to the Thunderdome USL Premiership
First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
  1. All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
  2. MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
  3. The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
  4. All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
  5. The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
  6. Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements:
- League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three
- Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value.
- Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones
- 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people.
- All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000
The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand.
Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair?
Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces.
So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do?
For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined.
Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC
Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594)
Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem.
Candidate: Charleston Battery
Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700)
Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal.
Candidate: Charlotte Independence
Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314)
Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion)
Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021.
Candidate: Hartford Athletic
Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066)
Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion)
Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something.
Candidate: Indy Eleven
Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421)
Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion)
Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there.
Candidate: Louisville City FC
Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000)
Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion)
Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital.
Candidate: Memphis 901 FC
Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325)
Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option.
Candidate: Miami FC, “The”
Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000)
Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club.
Candidate: North Carolina FC
Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583)
Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion)
Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close.
Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450)
Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion)
Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.”
Candidate: Saint Louis FC
Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494)
Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea: If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history.
Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518)
Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be.
Candidate: Austin Bold FC
Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594)
Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion)
Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price.
Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939)
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692)
Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion)
Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage.
Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC
Location: El Paso, Texas
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500)
Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion)
Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note: Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s?
Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC
Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000)
Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion)
Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed.
Candidate: New Mexico United
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem.
Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066)
Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion)
Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach.
Candidate: Orange County SC
Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250)
Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion)
Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining?
Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC
Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962)
Time zone: Arizona
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400)
Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion)
Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock.
Candidate: Reno 1868 FC
Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion)
Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it.
Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC
Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion)
Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface.
Candidate: San Antonio FC
Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000)
Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion)
Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf…
Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC
Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561)
Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million)
Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support.
Candidate: FC Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion)
Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark.
And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our…
VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field).
Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight.
But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League:
Hartford Athletic
Indy Eleven
Louisville City FC
Miami FC
North Carolina FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saint Louis FC
San Antonio FC
New Mexico United
Phoenix Rising FC
Las Vegas Lights FC
Orange County SC
San Diego Loyal SC
Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories.
Firm “yes”
Hartford Athletic: It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here.
Indy Eleven: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million.
Louisville City FC: Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in.
Miami FC, “The”: Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami?
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league.
Saint Louis FC: Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs.
Tampa Bay Rowdies: With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem.
Las Vegas Lights FC: Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on.
Phoenix Rising FC: Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer.
San Diego Loyal SC: New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle.
Cautious “yes”
New Mexico United: You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted.
North Carolina FC: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black.
Orange County SC: It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that, but believe me when I say “it could happen.” Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight.
San Antonio FC: Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through.
Cautious “no”
Birmingham Legion FC: The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in.
Memphis 901 FC: Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue.
Austin Bold FC: See the other two above.
FC Tulsa: Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top.
Firm “no”
Charleston Battery: Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk.
Charlotte Independence: A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances.
El Paso Locomotive FC: An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one.
Oklahoma City Energy FC: Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse.
Reno 1868 FC: Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid.
Rio Grande Valley FC: All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through.
Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship:
Birmingham Legion FC
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence
Memphis 901 FC
Austin Bold FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
El Paso Locomotive FC
Oklahoma City Energy FC
Reno 1868 FC
Rio Grande Valley FC
FC Tulsa
With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year:
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Forward Madison FC
Greenville Triumph SC
Union Omaha
Richmond Kickers
South Georgia Tormenta
FC Tucson
Format of Assorted Leagues – This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion.
USL Premier – We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs.
USL Championship -- 11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small.
USL League One – While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up.
And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated.
Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
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Part 6: Amazing In Depth Essay About Sopranos Symbolism and Subtext (credit: FlyOnMelfisWall source: thechaselounge.net)

Kennedy and Heidi: Vicarious Patricide as Tony’s Decompensation

At the risk of needless redundancy, I think it’s helpful to summarize Tony’s state of mind going into the episode Kennedy and Heidi. His consciousness is teeming with ancient but recently-agitated memories showcasing his father’s violence and toxic influence, like Johnny shooting a hole through Livia’s hairdo and baptizing him in the act of murder. He’s unable to shake stories of parental neglect leading to tragic outcomes for children. He’s painfully aware of Christopher’s hatred of him and desire for murderous revenge, feelings ultimately rooted in the fact that Tony guided him into the same corrupt existence into which he himself had been led by Johnny, Junior, and company, suggesting a reciprocal, if unconscious, rage by Tony towards those men. His subconscious mind is under constant assault from hats and movie posters and coffee mugs bearing the image of a bloody meat cleaver, an emblem of his own lost childhood innocence and inculcation by his father into his brutal, ugly vocation. He is racked with acute but intense guilt over the role he thinks his life’s example has played in shaping his son’s values and poor sense of self-worth. And he is still repressing a mountain of hurt over the fact that his uncle and second father tried not once but twice to kill him, a repression Melfi warned would someday result in a total collapse of his defense mechanisms, that is, a collapse of his paternal hero-worship and related quest for the macho validation that has prevented him from critically examining his father, uncle, and the men upon whom he modeled his life.
Now consider the circumstances immediately before the crash. Tony and Chris are on a routine drive back from business in Christopher’s new black Cadillac SUV (the first Cadillac Chris has ever owned, incidentally.) The conversation turns to life priorities. Chris, conspicuously clad in a Cleaver hat, specifically mentions how Kaitlyn has changed his priorities, and Tony mentions the “shit with Junior”. So the context is immediately pregnant with the fact that Junior shot and nearly killed Tony within the past year and with the fact that Chris is in a new place of responsibility, a position where he is, for the first time, truly the custodian and trustee for another life.
In a perfectly-timed illustration of just how ill-equipped Chris is to live up to those responsibilities, he nervously and repeatedly fiddles with the car stereo, fidgets, and widens his eyes, telegraphing to Tony that he is high as a kite on drugs. “Comfortably Numb” swells on the sound system as Tony stares at him, the lyrics underscoring that, in that moment, he does not see Chris as a youngster, as the “adorable kid” he once road around in the basket of his bicycle, but as a grown man:
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse Out of the corner of my eye I turned to look but it was gone I cannot put my finger on it now The child is grown, the dream is gone
Chris swerves, and the crash happens seconds later.

Tony as the Child in the Carseat

It’s critical to note that Tony initially manifests every intention of helping Chris, even as he’s fighting his own injuries. “I’m comin’,” he says as Chris asks for help. His expression and demeanor only change when he realizes what Chris means by “help”. “I’ll never pass a drug test,” Chris moans. “What?” Tony asks incredulously as Chris is inhaling his own blood. Almost simultaneously, Tony turns towards the back and sees that a tree limb has penetrated the passenger compartment, lodging in Kaitlyn’s car seat like a spear. While Tony would somewhat exaggerate the size of the branch in later narrations of the event, there’s no question that it was large enough to have impaled or seriously injured an infant.
Even after this warning shot over the bow, Tony apparently intends to help Chris, coming over to the driver’s side and breaking the window when he couldn’t get the door open. He draws his cell phone to call for help but stops when Chris again mentions being doped up, which suggests that Chris is more concerned about the legal consequences of his intoxication than about the fact that he is drowning in his own blood, completely belying his claim to a life newly ordered around the lofty priority of fatherhood.
That’s the moment when Tony forms a genuine murderous intent, an intent that has little to do with Christopher’s animosity towards him or the danger that he might flip. Those are conscious, background motives that help Tony rationalize and make sense of his actions later. But the factor impelling him to end Christopher’s life is his own, fundamental identification with the child who might just as easily have been killed or seriously harmed in that carseat.
To objectify this point, there is a slow pan of the limb sticking through the seat as Tony performs the suffocation, clearly not a shot representing Tony’s vision or gaze at that moment but objectively corroborating the earlier angle when Tony glances back and we see the seat from his point of view. The juxtaposition of these shots – subjective and objective – tells me the carseat is not just a convenient excuse for Tony. This is what he’s really feeling. In this moment, he is the phantom child in that carseat, a child whose safety and well-being come second to his father’s corrupt values and reckless self-indulgence, a child whose soul and humanity are metaphorically impaled by riding in and being taught to drive his father’s black Cadillac.
The exclamation point on the symbolism is provided by Christopher’s hat. Incredibly, it remains on his head throughout the crash and suffocation, its bloody cleaver logo pointing towards Tony when the car comes to rest. As Tony acts consciously on behalf of an innocent child, the symbol of his own lost childhood innocence is directly before him. And, for good measure, the cap and logo stare back at him in the hospital from the gurney laden with Christopher’s bloody clothing and the black bag containing his dead body. (The logo antagonizes Tony a final time from his coffee mug the next morning before he angrily tosses the mug into his backyard woods.)
Several points about the suffocation itself are remarkable. First was the look of absolute depravity on Tony’s face as he watched Christopher struggle to breathe. This look was unlike any ever seen on Tony’s face at any other moment in the series. Even when committing other personal and deadly acts of violence, his face and demeanor had always betrayed a commensurate level of animus, an active, passionate intent. In contrast, he reached through the window and pinched Christopher’s nose – and maintained that hold – with remarkable calm. His face and eyes throughout the suffocation were paradoxically both incredibly intense and completely devoid of human emotion, a look far more disturbing than any look of mere rage he’d ever worn before.
Second, although this act was, in my judgment, clearly about the release of Tony’s pent up rage towards his father figures, the method of killing evokes Livia. Besides her conspiracy with Junior to kill Tony (which she rationalized was for his own good) and general obsession with stories of child deaths, she had once threatened to “smother [her children] with a pillow” to save them from a fate she deemed even worse. Tony grabbed a pillow intending to smother her in the season one finale before nursing home personnel intervened. In Members Only, Tony spoke of being smothered with a pillow as a suitable form of euthanasia. Its functional equivalent at the scene of the crash had a definite vibe of putting Chris out of his own – and everyone’s – misery. So, in killing his “father”, Tony was also paradoxically suffocating his “son”, thereby channeling Livia’s filicidal urges and concept of mercy killing.
The most spine-tingling resonance with the scene comes from two season four episodes where Tony’s deep identification with “innocents” – be they children or animals – once again comes to the fore, as does his appreciation for the consequences of Chris continuing to use drugs. In Whoever Did This, Tony warns Christopher that he “can’t be high on heroine and raise kids.” And in The Strong, Silent Type, after learning that a doped-up Chris accidentally smothered and suffocated Adriana’s dog, Tony ominously snaps, “You suffocated little Cossette? I oughta suffocate you, you prick!” It’s such perfect foreshadowing that the earlier episodes seem to have been written with the outcome of Kennedy and Heidi in mind.

Righteous Retribution as the Explanation for Tony’s Lack of Sorrow

As previously noted, the most troubling aspect of the episode from the standpoint of character consistency and plausibility was not the fact that Tony murdered Chris. It was his vacuous expression during the killing and the fact that he never betrayed a moment’s genuine sorrow or regret afterwards. He remained, in fact, defiantly happy and unconflicted about it, especially to Melfi, and was sincerely troubled that neither she nor anyone else could see how Christopher’s death rescued Kaitlyn from a lifetime of risks and harm that she would naturally suffer as the daughter of a drug addict (and mob captain).
In his therapy scenes with Melfi, real and dream, Tony even makes the very contrast I raise, noting that he’s never felt this way after murdering any other person close to him. He alludes to his sorrow over Pussy and specifically allows that murdering Tony B left him “prostate [sic] with grief.” In effect, Tony himself is revealing that this killing feels righteous and justified to him on an instinctive level and is therefore not one about which he can feel guilt or sorrow.
That sentiment makes no sense if his dominant motives were those he talked about in therapy: Christopher’s animosity and resentment towards him after the Adriana hit and his drug-use and consequent risk to flip. Whatever weight those factors carry in justifying murder in the corrupt “ethics” of the mob (which, in any case, is less than the weight of the transgressions by Pussy and Tony B), they carry absolutely no legitimate moral weight outside it and could not sustain in Tony the sense of just triumph that he felt in response to Christopher’s death. What could inspire that sense of triumph is the perceived liberation of a child from a dangerous and toxic father, experienced subconsciously as vicarious retribution for the abuse and harm he himself suffered at the hands of his own father and uncle.

Significance of the Names “Kennedy” and “Heidi”

“Kennedy” and “Heidi” are the names of the young passenger and driver, respectively, in the car that sideswipes Christopher’s SUV before the fateful crash. The girls are barely onscreen a few seconds, just long enough to (somewhat artificially) learn their names in the following exchange:
Kennedy: Maybe we should go back, Heidi! Heidi: Kennedy, I’m on my learner’s permit after dark!
Much forum debate after the first airing of the episode centered around the significance, if any, of these names. I propose a related but even more basic question: why are the girls present in the scene at all?
Tony’s windfall opportunity to murder Chris and pass it off as death from accidental injury was entirely dependent upon being unobserved by others after the crash. Given Christopher’s intoxicated state and inattention to the curvy road while he fiddled with radio controls, a mere swerve and over-correction or swerve to avoid an animal (Tony’s crash with Adriana, anyone?) would have easily sufficed to trigger the accident but without the problematic involvement of another car, the driver of which would have to be made to flee the scene illegally and in contravention of the ethics and instincts of at least 95% of the motorists on the road. So the very fact that another car is involved, complicating both the story and the filming, suggests some symbolic or subtextual design to the involvement related specifically to the momentous event occurring right after the crash.
One aspect of that design is revealed and amplified when a grieving Kelly shows up at Christopher’s wake with dark hair framing her face and large, dark sunglasses covering her eyes. A member of the crew remarks, “Look at her. Like a movie star.” An odd look immediately crosses Tony’s face as he spontaneously responds, “Jackie Kennedy”, noting Kelly’s resemblance to the widow of John F. Kennedy.
In my mind, this striking moment in the episode can have only one purpose, and that’s to evoke Johnny Boy in relation to Christopher via a kind of symbolic math. If Kelly = Jackie Kennedy, then Chris = JFK = Johnny Boy since JFK was the explicit parallel figure for Johnny in In Camelot, the first episode of the series depicting cracks in the foundation of Tony’s paternal hero worship. When that foundation completely crumbles inside Tony’s subconscious a season and a half later, it’s entirely fitting that the JFK/Johnny parallel is renewed.
As for the name “Heidi”, most folks around these parts felt it was meant to evoke the idea of “orphan” because of the famous Swiss orphan tale of the same name and because Kaitlyn (and Paulie) both lost parents in the episode. That’s an entirely plausible analysis that requires no expansion, although I’m inclined to think there’s more to it than that, starting with the analogy of Tony himself to “Heidi”. No, Tony was never technically orphaned, though he arguably suffered more as the son of Johnny and Livia than if he had been. He was certainly deprived of real parental love and guidance, on both sides, and that roughly equates to the definition of “orphan”.
Before discussing this episode for the first time, I never knew that Heidi was the story of an orphan, only that it was some kind of tale for children. And I knew that only because of the epic 1968 football game between Joe Namath’s Jets and the Oakland Raiders, the climactic ending of which (an improbable comeback by the Raiders) was cut off abruptly for television viewers at the end of its scheduled broadcast slot so that a movie version of Heidi could begin airing on time. I was only four at the time of this debacle but recall my parents talking about it – and the considerable chaos it caused at NBC and at telephone switchboards around the country – for years afterwards. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidi_Game
It wouldn’t become clear until the end of Made In America, but there’s an obvious parallel to the Heidi phenomenon in the wind-up of The Sopranos. Consider that, like the Heidi Game broadcast, Made in America featured an abrupt, unexpected termination of excruciatingly tense action at a penultimate moment, pre-empting audience experience of what appeared to be an imminent and momentous climax. The Sopranos ending may not have disabled an entire telephone network, but it certainly generated an enormous amount of controversy that, for better or worse, persists to this day.
Beyond that, there were enough other football references in the final Sopranos episodes, and especially Jets references, to warrant further consideration of this football connotation for “Heidi”. In Remember When, Tony’s betting losses on Jets football games prompt his call to Hesh for a bridge loan. Later that same episode, Paulie annoys Tony and company with yet another old tale, this one relating how, after witnessing Joe Namath stagger drunk into a bar the night before a game, he bet a load of cash the following day on the Jets’ opponent. In Chasing It, Tony gets inside information on a Jets football game and is irate when Carmela refuses to bet money on it. The episode features a closeup of a large newspaper headline, “Jets Bomb Chargers”.
In Blue Comet, then-current coach of the Jets, Eric Mangini, makes a cameo appearance in Vesuvio, with Artie informing a suitably-impressed Tony so the two can go over and shake hands. News articles at the time clarified that the cameo wasn’t Mangini’s idea but the idea of Sopranos producers, who contacted him months in advance and made accommodations in the shooting schedule around his availability. So this seemed more than a casual desire to have some generic celebrity show up.
That especially seems true considering Mangini was given no dialog and that his meeting with Tony and Artie was only depicted in the silent background of a conversation between Charmaine and Carmela. Mangini’s only purpose on set was apparently to show his face briefly and to have the fact of his identity (Tony has to tell a bewildered Carm that Mangini is the head coach of the Jets) permeate the minds of the audience and the subtext of the scene, which is ultimately about chickens coming home to roost on Tony and Carmela because of the lives they chose.
As alter egos for Tony and Carmela throughout the series, folks who took the proverbial “other path” in life, Artie and (especially) Charmaine engage in subtle gloating in the scene. Football coaching was firmly established as Tony’s “road not taken” in Test Dream, so having an actual football coach present in the episode where the unsavory and downright deadly consequences of his chosen vocation are crashing in all around him provides dramatic ballast. All the better to have the coach in the scene be the coach of the team involved in the Heidi game in view of the ending planned for the following episode.
And speaking again of that ending, the wall behind Tony in Holsten’s is consumed with four large murals specifically brought in by the production crew for the shoot. The largest and most centered depicts a huge, light-colored building with lots of windows, somewhat reminiscent of the Inn at the Oaks in Tony’s coma dream. It’s apparently a high school, however, as it is flanked on either side by images of football players in full uniform with what appear to be names and year of graduation engraved at the bottom. To the side and extreme left is a mural of a tiger and the caption “Class of 1973” at the bottom. The tiger is presumably the mascot for the team and school represented in the other murals. So there is a strong symbolic presence of “football” in the last scene of the series, particularly of high school football from roughly the era when Tony would have entered high school.
Finally, though it may be completely insignificant, when Tony tells Carm about the accident from his hospital stretcher in Kennedy and Heidi, he mentions that he re-injured his knee, “the one from high school.” That certainly sounds like a reference to an old high school football injury.
If these loose strands from multiple episodes are indeed intended to connote football in relation to the name “Heidi”, what does that actually mean in the context of the episode Kennedy and Heidi? What does football have to do with Tony killing Chris or, more precisely, with him killing his father in the guise of Chris?
The linchpin in that symbolism, it seems to me, is Tony’s old high school football coach, the guy who would have been his coach when he originally injured his knee, the guy Tony dreamt repeatedly of trying to silence or kill, the guy whose puzzling duality in Test Dream suddenly makes sense when he’s viewed as a classic, Freudian composite of opposites, specifically a composite of Tony’s opposing father figures with Johnny dressed in the physiognomy of Coach Molinaro by Tony’s subconscious in order to render acceptable imagery of his latent, patricidal feelings.
If you further allow, as I do, that the Johnny look-alike shooting at Tony with a scoped rifle (ala Oswald/”Kennedy”) in that same dream is yet another Freudian “reversal into the opposite” by Tony’s subconscious to disguise his repressed paternal rage, then the Kennedy/Heidi connection is pretty clear. The names are presented proximate to the crash to connote that, in killing Chris, Tony has finally acted out the Test Dream imagery that haunted him for years: he has (symbolically) killed his father, the “Kennedy” and “Heidi” of his dream.

“He’s Dead”

In my judgment, this explains Tony’s otherwise puzzling, peyote-induced insight when he proclaims, “He’s dead,” after winning at roulette on 3 successive spins, prompting him to fall to the floor in spectacular and uncontrollable laughter. What other, real death could have inspired such a euphoric and epiphanic reaction? What real death could Tony only have appreciated while in a drug-induced, altered state of consciousness?
Many felt the line referred to Christopher because he’d just died, obviously, and because Tony’s gambling luck suddenly changed afterward. That analysis never made sense to me.
First, Tony plays roulette at the casino while sober when he first arrives in Vegas and loses every round. Chris was already dead at that time, as Tony well knew and accepted. Indeed, Tony was never in any state of denial about Christopher’s death (or about having killed him.) He embraced it, both consciously and in his dream therapy session with Melfi after the crash.
The “he’s dead” insight occurs only after Tony takes peyote and notices a sudden and complete about-face in gambling luck. Why would he need psychedelic drugs to suddenly realize what he already knew and accepted about Chris? And why would Christopher’s death be tied in his mind to his own gambling luck anyway? No prior connection between those two things had ever been suggested.
On the other hand, Tony’s sudden escalation in gambling, which coincided with the agitation and intensification of his latent rage towards his father(s), could easily be seen as a subconscious rebellion against the stern, anti-gambling lecture Johnny imparted the night Tony witnessed the cleaver incident. To the extent that the rebellion results in huge financial losses and self destruction, it obviously fails. His father retains ultimate power and authority. To the extent the rebellion results in huge winnings, it succeeds, and Tony vanquishes his father.
That conquest was the ineffable and elusive “high” that Tony was subconsciously pursuing in Chasing It but which he could not articulate to Melfi. Thus the sudden change in gambling fortune on his Vegas trip is easily tied in Tony’s drug-altered psyche to a euphoric realization that he has conquered or symbolically killed his father, none of which Tony could appreciate without a vastly altered state of consciousness.
And that leads to why he went to Vegas in the first place. He asks that question out loud to the Vegas prostitute, Sonia, immediately before admitting that Christopher once mentioned taking peyote with her. Tony then confesses to having always wanted to try the drug.
Clearly, then, he didn’t just happen to pick Vegas and didn’t just happen to make contact with this girl. His subconscious was pushing him to that venue because he craved the enlightenment of a peyote experience. So while Tony’s real motives for the murder, and for his otherwise inexplicable jubilance afterward, were completely closed off to his conscious mind, somehow he sensed their existence and yearned to unlock and understand them. However his peyote revelations didn’t stop with simply understanding why he killed Chris.

“I Get It. I Get It!”

Tony’s desert epiphany is a bookend to his near-death coma experience and, I believe, can only be fully understood in relation to it. Yet exploring that relationship is a journey all unto itself, calling not only for consideration of the coma episodes and Kennedy and Heidi but the meaning of the cut to black that ends the series. While exploring the religious and spiritual underpinnings of those episodes is of even more weight and interest to me personally than the issue of Tony’s motives in killing Christopher, it deserves and demands its own, dedicated discussion. For now, I’d simply like to posit what I strongly believe Tony’s epiphany to have been with only minimal argumentation as to why I hold that belief.
The epiphany is presaged when Tony enters the casino on his peyote trip and notes that the roulette wheel is built on the same principle as the solar system. The ball spins round and round the center or “sun” of the wheel because of two delicately-balanced but largely opposing phenomena: the momentum of the ball (which, without the wheel, would carry the ball away in a straight line) and the centripetal force of the wheel (applied by the rim, which continuously pulls the ball towards the center even as the ball’s momentum continuously pulls it on a path perpendicular to the centripetal force.) The antagonism (or cooperation, if you prefer) of the forces gives rise to a unified system: an orbit.
If this sounds a bit like the Bell Labs scientist’s explanation of how two tornadoes are in fact just facets of one, unified system of wind, it’s likely no mere coincidence. As Hal Holbrook’s character argued, separateness is a mirage. The universe, and everything in it, is one big soup of molecules interacting in cause/effect fashion according to laws, making it one whole, not a bunch of discrete parts. “Everything is everything,” as the black rapper reduced it.
That was the philosophy that really made an impression on Tony in the days and weeks following his coma. The principles of quantum physics articulated by Holbrook’s character are likely as close as you can get to a scientific codification of Bhuddism and therefore reinforced much of what the Bhuddist monks conveyed to Tony in his coma. The monks laughed when Tony claimed he wasn’t Finnerty and explained that there really is no “you” and “me, that death would bring an obliteration of individuality. Separate consciousness – and the consciousness of separateness – is an illusion of the living.
So all this laid the philosophical groundwork for Tony’s Las Vegas trip. In that trip, Tony seeks out a girl with whom Chris had slept, then sleeps with her himself. He mentions having refrained from a longstanding desire to try peyote because he always felt the weight of his responsibilities, an implied contrast to Christopher, who always indulged in drugs despite his responsibilities. The idea that Tony was seeking to almost live life in Christopher’s skin in the Las Vegas portion of the episode was something several posters mentioned in first discussions after Kennedy and Heidi aired. Even the girl, Sonia, remarks how similar Tony and Chris are, a somewhat dubious observation that somehow offends Tony but which also helps define his impending epiphany.
That epiphany is spurred when the rising sun flares at him over the desert mountain vista. This recalls Tony’s earlier comparison of the roulette wheel to the solar system. It also resonates completely with the fact that Kevin Finnerty was a solar heating salesman from Kingman, Arizona, a town which, not coincidentally, lies 95 miles southeast of Las Vegas and shares the same desert landscape. Also not coincidental, IMO, is the fact that in the prior episode, Christopher spoke of the perks of joining witness protection and of “living large” in Arizona.
So I believe that, in that desert sunrise on the cusp of Arizona, in fulfillment of his identity as Kevin Finnerty, solar heating salesman, Tony saw his “son” – Christopher – “rise” and realized that, in murdering him days before, he (Tony) was really “rising” as a “son” against Johnny Boy. And in that linkage, he suddenly realized that “everything is [indeed] everything.” He is both Chris and Johnny Boy, both abused and misguided son and abusing, misguiding father. He is murdering uncle and would-be murdered nephew. He is both the mother that sees suffocation as mercy killing and the son who is suffocated. Christopher is both his son and his father. Johnny Boy is Coach Molinaro. “Kennedy” is “Heidi”. Opposites are really two sides of the same coin. In that fleeting moment of insight, Tony was truly feeling “one” with the universe.

The Second Coming

The episode following Kennedy and Heidi is titled The Second Coming after the Yeats poem that grips AJ in the English lit class he’s auditing. While the poem speaks to the bleakness of his depression and outlook on life at that particular time, there’s little doubt that – like everything of substantial weight in the Sopranos universe – it ultimately relates, first and foremost, to Tony. First referenced in the Cold Cuts therapy session dealing with pent-up rage where Tony’s deep shame from the cleaver incident is finally revealed, the poem seems the veritable inspiration for the storyline (as interpreted in this article) that culminates in Christopher’s murder:
The Second Coming By William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight; somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The widening gyre, the orbit that breaks down when the center can no longer hold, is clearly a parallel to the decompensation of which Melfi warned, the point at which Tony’s defenses after Junior’s second murder attempt could no longer hold and the underlying pathological rage at his fathers would take over. True to the poem, a “blood-dimmed tide was loosed”, inspired by a perverse compassion for the “innocent”. While “the best” all mourned Christopher and thought his death a tragedy, Tony, “the worst”, was full of passionate intensity and could not understand why no one else saw the greater good in Christopher’s death.
The “revelation” occurs in a “waste of desert sand”, imagery easily compatible with Tony’s “I get it” moment in the Nevada/Arizona desert. The uniquely depraved look on his face as he suffocated Christopher is evoked by the line describing a “gaze as blank and pitiless as the sun”. “Twenty years of stony sleep” refers to the decades of denial Tony maintained, the defense mechanisms that kept him all his life from confronting and admitting that, in some very real ways, he hated his father. It’s a figurative sleep that was suggested literally in the noted fact that so many episodes in season 6B started with Tony in a deep sleep. Somnolence was suggested even in the choice of the song “Comfortably Numb” as soundtrack in the moments immediately preceding the crash, the moments right before the hour of the “rough beast” finally arrived. Even the incidentals are perfect allusions, as with the image of “stony sleep” being turned into a nightmare by a “rocking cradle”, or, in this case, by a car seat with a branch sticking through it.
I’m intrigued by the line describing the emerging beast as having “lion body”. It may mean absolutely nothing. But among the story points worth considering in relation to it are the tiger on the wall in Holsten’s and the enigmatic cat in Made In America.
More obscure is the fact that in Remember When, the single episode most explicitly dealing with the violent release of stifled paternal rage, Carter Chong described his grandfather as a “lion” and noted that his father owned “Grumman” stock. (Grumman manufactured a number of high-profile fighter military aircraft, most of them named for some kind of cat, e.g., Panther, Jaguar, Tomcat, Tigercat.) Carter was reviewing these facts to himself in the scene immediately preceding his vicious attack on Junior, suggesting that, in acting out on his stifled paternal hatred, he was adopting the predatory, aggressive characteristics of a wild cat. Notably, when Junior, the paternal surrogate who modeled this kind of aggressive behavior to Carter, was seen at the end of that episode bruised and literally defanged, his sunken mouth void of false teeth, he was stroking a harmless little housecat on his lap. Once a lion, the former mob boss was a lion no more.

Asbestos Dumping as a Metaphor for Tony’s Toxic Spill of Rage

Kennedy and Heidi opens with a controversy between Tony and Phil Leotardo over asbestos disposal. One of Tony’s contractors was removing asbestos from old buildings, while following none of the strict (and expensive) asbestos-handling laws regulating worker and public safety, and was seeking to dump completely uncontained truck-fulls at waste stations controlled by Phil. Phil’s guys were denying the trucks the right to dump. As a consequence, huge, openly-smoking asbestos mounds were building up at job sites.
After Christopher’s death, Tony was doing little to find a solution, skipping town to gamble, get laid, and get high and leaving the contractor high and dry. Finally, near the very end of the episode, the contractor dumps heaps of asbestos at dawn in an open marsh area resembling the New Jersey Meadowlands.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that gained widespread use in the 19th and 20th centuries as an ingredient in various building industry materials – including wall compounds, insulation, and roofing materials – primarily because of its extreme insulative properties and resistance to heat and fire. In the last 40 years, it’s become better-known for its cancer-causing and toxic effects on those mining and working with it in manufacturing, demolition/remodeling, or other “raw” environments.
Both the heat resistance and toxicity of asbestos make the shoddy removal/dumping storyline a compelling metaphor for Tony’s equally shoddy “dumping” in Kennedy and Heidi. The smoldering heat and flames from his hatred towards his father and uncle were contained beneath his consciousness by an insulating firewall of denial and repression. In essence, this denial and repression was Tony’s psychological asbestos, and it (more or less) contained the heat and fire within him for 47 years.
But it finally broke down, allowing the flames to rage and do damage and necessitating a messy disposal. Unfortunately the breakdown didn’t happen where it should have, in his therapist’s office as the result of honest introspection and dialog about little things like his uncle trying to kill him twice and his father indoctrinating him to murder at 22. That would have been the equivalent of careful, legally-compliant asbestos removal. Instead the breakdown occurred in a roadside ravine and the resulting “waste [in the] desert sand” was every bit as toxic as the smoking piles illegally dumped in the Meadowlands immediately before the desert epiphany and which we saw reprised in the very first shot of the following episode.
Think about that for a moment. Tony’s “I get it” moment was literally sandwiched between shots of noxious mounds of asbestos blowing in the New Jersey wind, a significant clue that some other kind of perversely cathartic disposal was in the middle of that sandwich.

The Orbit of the ‘Blue Comet’: Long Journey to Nowhere

It’s fair to ask: if the broad strokes of my interpretation are valid, what impact did the epiphany have on Tony going forward? After the drugs wore off, did he actually retain any specific understanding of his subconscious motives for killing Chris? Was he left only with the impression that he had enjoyed a very brief moment of enlightenment but without intellectual distillation of the enlightenment itself?
Because the insight was founded upon the secret that he had murdered Chris, even if Tony had retained it, he couldn’t overtly share it with anyone. Still, I lean toward the interpretation that the specifics (at least the ones I proffered) were lost to him when the altered state of consciousness ceased. When he tried to describe the magic of what he experienced in the desert to his crew, he could only come up with the most mundane, inadequate words: “The sun . . . came up.” They all looked at him like he was half retarded.
He was slightly more specific with Melfi, offering that he saw “for pretty certain” that this reality is not all there is. He couldn’t define the alternative but was still convinced there was “something else”.
He did speak in therapy of appreciating a balance and unity in opposites that he hadn’t appreciated before, a “ying” [sic] and “yang”. And he offered that “mothers are like buses . . . the vehicle that gets us here,” but that, once here, we are all on our own, individual journeys (mothers included.) So, to the extent his epiphany comported with what he revealed in therapy, it seems to have had little to do with fathers and with Christopher’s murder and more to do with letting go (finally) of some of his issues with his mother.
But perhaps the best clue to his residual state of understanding came when he indicated that some of what he thought he had grasped in the desert now eluded him. “You think you know, you think you learn something . . . like when I got shot,” he begins. Then, speaking specifically about the peyote experience, he reports that the insight gained is “kinda hard to describe. . . . You know, you have these thoughts, and you almost grab it . . . and then . . . ftt.” He flicks his fingers away from his chin as if to indicate “nothing”. So, to paraphrase Edna St. Vincent Millay, a fragment of what he knew remains, but, apparently, the best is lost.
It wouldn’t take long for all of it to be lost. By the time Tony sits with AJ’s female therapist in Made In America, “going about in pity” for himself because of who his mother was, he has come full circle, essentially back to where he was to start the series. Like a “blue comet”, his orbit was highly elliptical, if not erratic, and carried with it the potential of veering off into deep space or crashing into the sun. But despite killing his own nephew, having a near-death experience himself, and saving his son from an act of suicide, the orbit held. The sober breakthrough never came. The repudiation of his father and of his way of life never took hold in his consciousness. And so, by series’ end, we, like Tony, were exhausted from a long journey that ultimately took us nowhere.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
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PLACES TO VISIT IN U.S.A

1 The Statue of Liberty
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The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York, in the United States of America. The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, to celebrate the friendship the two endured during the American Revolution. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty has symbolized the freedom and the democracy of the United States. It serves as a popular tourist attraction, where visitors can learn about the history of Liberty Island and explore museums and exhibits on site. The best times to visit are Autumn and winter, if you want to avoid longer lines and waiting times. Depart on the ferry before 2 pm. The Statue of Liberty would take around 2-3 hours. If you want to visit both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, allow 5-6 hours for your visit. @Travel All Around The World
2. The Grand Canyon National Park
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The Grand Canyon National Park, in Arizona, is home to much of the immense Grand Canyon, with its layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of geological history. Viewpoints include Mather Point, Yavapai Observation Station and architect Mary Colter’s Lookout Studio and her Desert View Watchtower. Lipan Point, with wide views of the canyon and Colorado River, is a popular, especially at sunrise and sunset. The best times to visit the Grand Canyon are March through May and September through November when daytime temperatures are cool. Five to seven hours according to park surveys, but if you really want to see the beauty of The Grand Canyon you should spend at least 2 day here. @Travel All Around The World
3. The Yellowstone National Park
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The Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. Mostly in Wyoming, the park spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho too. Yellowstone features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests and gushing geysers. Yellowstone is known for its red-tinged canyon walls and awe-inspiring natural wonders like Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. It's also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope. The best times to visit Yellowstone National Park are from April to May and between September and October. It takes longer than two days to really experience the Yellowstone area. @Travel All Around The World
4. The Golden Gate Bridge
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The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the one-mile-wide strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a total length of 2.7km. You can see the Pacific Ocean on one side and the San Francisco Bay on the other. More than 10 million people visit the Golden Gate Bridge each year. The best time to visit it is either September or October. This is the best time to explore this place as the fog dissipates and the temperature becomes warm and enjoyable. 45 minutes to an hour, is good time to explore, enjoy and take some photo for your profile. @Travel All Around The World
5. The Glacier National Park
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The Glacier National Park is a 1,583-sq.-mi. wilderness area in Montana's Rocky Mountains, with glacier-carved peaks and valleys running to the Canadian border. It's crossed by the mountainous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Among more than 700 miles of hiking trails, it has a route to photogenic Hidden Lake. Other activities include backpacking, cycling and camping. Diverse wildlife ranges from mountain goats to grizzly bears. The best time to visit Glacier National Park is during the summer months of July, August, and September. June and October are also lovely times to go. To make a Glacier National Park trip worth it you need at least 3-5 days. @Travel All Around The World
6. The Niagara Falls
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The Niagara Falls is a city on the Niagara River, in New York State. It’s known for the vast Niagara Falls, which straddle the Canadian border. In Niagara Falls State Park, the Observation Tower, at Prospect Point, juts out over Niagara Gorge for a view of all 3 waterfalls. Trails from the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center lead to other viewpoints. The Aquarium of Niagara is home to Humboldt penguins, seals and sea lions. The best time to visit Niagara Falls is June to August. While summer is consider as a peak season. Based on this plan of the day, you should be spending anywhere between 8 to 10 hours at Niagara Falls and surrounding area. there is plenty of thing near to Niagara Falls. @Travel All Around The World
7. The San Antonio River Walk
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The San Antonio River Walk is a city park and network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of San Antonio, Texas, United States of America. Lined with bars, restaurants, biking trails, and museums, the Walk has become one of the most popular tourist spots in the state and is one of America's largest urban ecosystems. The San Antonio River Walk boat tour connects you to the city's culture, history, architecture, and timeless charm. The best time to visit San Antonio is from November to April, when the weather is comfortable and suitable to take a boat tour and Sightseeing. 2 days on the Riverwalk, ideally it will take 3-4 days. It is most beautiful decorated at time of Christmas, try to visit at that time too. @Travel All Around The World
8. The Las Vegas Strip
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The Las Vegas Strip also known as Las Vegas Boulevard,is the most recognizable street in Las Vegas. Lined with upscale casino hotels, the neon-soaked Strip is quintessential Las Vegas. As well as gambling floors, the vast hotel complexes house a variety of shops, restaurants, and performance venues for music, comedy and circus-style acts. Attractions like the soaring, choreographed Fountains of Bellagio and the High Roller observation wheel draw crowds.
submitted by UtkarshAcharya to u/UtkarshAcharya [link] [comments]

Trump Covid Timeline (May 22 - July 22)

May 22: Trump orders governors to reopen churches immediately, something he is not empowered to do (legal experts and the courts agree). Those governors that acquiesce endanger their congregants, as we have seen again and again and again that these houses of worship are super-spreaders.
May 22: Researchers find that 100 million+ Twitter bot-accounts are being used to push to ‘reopen America’ (source).
May 22: Half of Fox News viewers think Bill Gates is using pandemic to microchip them
May 22: Carnegie Mellon researchers discover much of the discussion doubting the pandemic and anti-stay-at-home orders is being fueled by misinformation campaigns using convincing bots. Of the top 50 influential re-tweeters, 82% are bots; of the top 1,000 re-tweeters, 62% are bots.
May 23: Trump plays golf, and whines over twitter in response to media coverage.
May 23: Betsy DeVos openly admits she's using the pandemic to impose her private school choice agenda (audio). Her opportunism is nothing new (source).
May 23: Alabama has reopened its beaches, casinos, bingo halls, museums, zoos and amusement parks – as its hospitals are running out of ICU beds.
May 24: White House predicts that US unemployment to remain in double digits until November election.
May 24: Coronavirus outbreak at high school pool party fuels ‘second peak,’ Arkansas gov says. Missouri probably isn’t far behind. For multiple reasons.
May 25: Trump calls Marine Corps veteran (and sitting Congressman) ‘an American Fraud’ on Memorial Day, mis-spells his name, claims he voted for Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the house (he didn’t.)
May 25: Trump issues a call for schools forced to close amid the coronavirus pandemic to be "opened ASAP" (tweet) after watching segment on Fox News.
May 26: Trump shares a tweet mocking Biden for wearing a face mask in public — in line with the CDC advice that he routinely ignores, for fear of “looking weak”.
May 26: Trump leaves GOP "completely blindsided" with threat to pull RNC convention out of North Carolina.
May 26: Spiking pneumonia deaths suggest the virus is killing far more than we know
May 27: Two weeks after court scraps Safer at Home, Wisconsin sets record for new coronavirus cases and deaths
late May: As Memorial weekend ends, the US has lost 100,000 people to the virus… more than combined combat fatalities in the three-year Korean War (33,686, source) and the 11-year US war in Vietnam (58,220, source), with very little collective grief.
May 30: Trump terminates the US relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO).
May 30: Trump demands Republican convention ‘with no masks or social distancing’ despite coronavirus pandemic
June 1: Dr. Fauci told states that Trump is no longer frequently meeting with top public-health experts to discuss the fight against the coronavirus. Two weeks later, Fauci will state he hasn’t talked to Trump once in the last two weeks.
June 1: States that reported all-time highest single-day new case totals in the last week: North Carolina, South Carolina (twice), Texas (twice), Arizona (twice), Mississippi (twice), Utah (twice), Virginia (twice), Wisconsin (twice) and California (three times)
June 3: Millions Of Americans skip payments as tidal wave of defaults and evictions looms
June 10: Trump: “We’ve made every decision correctly” - White House goes quiet on coronavirus as outbreak spikes; no briefings in over a month
June 15: Trump dismisses uptick in US coronavirus cases and suggests a 'stop' to testing. "If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, if any,"
June 15: US national pride falls to the lowest level in the two decades of Gallup measurement.
June 17: More Americans have died from the virus (116,963) than were killed in combat during World War One (116,708).
June 18: Trump says he thinks some Americans are wearing masks to show they disapprove of him and not as a preventive measure during the pandemic
June 18: Trump claims virus will ‘Fade Away’ – as U.S. Sees 20,000 New Cases a Day. Within a month this will increase to 70,000 new cases a day.
June 20: Trump holds rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma – his first large campaign event since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdowns
Planned future rallies are cancelled, due to fears of low attendance and the virus.
June 24: Fauci: White House ordered NIH to cancel coronavirus research funding, because it is in partnership with scientists in Wuhan and Trump has pushed a conspiracy theory that Wuhan purposely created the virus.
June 25: White House official: Americans will “Just Have to Live With” massive virus surge
June 25: The largest medical complex in the world, Texas Medical Center reaches 100 percent ICU occupancy, then they stopped reporting data.
June 30: The European Union bans travel from the U.S. due to coronavirus, and extends the ban two weeks later as the US situation continues to deteriorate.
June 30: The US has 4% of the world's population but 25% of its coronavirus cases. Over 2.5 million Americans have tested positive, and over 125,000 have died.
June 30: Dr. Fauci tells Congress new cases could reach 100,000 a day without changes, and that recent coronavirus surge caused by reopening too quickly, not following guidelines
Late June: Republican governors begin holding secret conference calls to complain about Trump's chaotic coronavirus response
July 2: Trump: “I think we’re gonna be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that’s going to, sort of, just disappear – I hope,” as US sees record number of new cases
July 4: Arizona Department of Health Services reports that ICU's are at 91 percent capacity and nearly a quarter of coronavirus tests conducted returned positive.
July 4: U.S. breaks another daily coronavirus record with more than 57,000 new infections
July 6: White House defends Trump's claim that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases are 'harmless' with chart showing 5 percent are fatal. Unsurprisingly, the head of the FDA refuses to back up this claim.
July 7: The virus is killing more in Florida, Texas in one month than 20 years of hurricanes
July 7: Trump and the Secretary of Education demand that schools reopen with fully operational in-person classrooms in the Fall.
July 8: 56 Florida hospitals hit 100% ICU capacity (and new daily cases rise above 10,000, to rise to 15,000 per day within five more days) as Governor DeSantis defends refusal to release virus data.
July 9: Dr. Fauci says states with coronavirus resurgences should consider shutting down again
July 10: U.S. breaks another daily coronavirus record with more than 70,000 new infections.
July 11: Japan is 'shocked' and furious at the US after a major coronavirus outbreak at 2 Marine bases in Okinawa — and says the US is not taking the virus seriously. "We now have strong doubts that the US military has taken adequate disease prevention measures,"
July 12: Dr. Fauci says COVID-19 cases exploding because U.S. didn’t completely shut down
July 12: CDC holds first press briefing in over three months of being silenced by the White House.
July 13: Trump complains Biden and Obama stopped coronavirus testing even though it didn't exist during their administration
July 13: Arizona is currently registering as many new cases as the entire EU, which has a population 60 times greater.’
July 13: Trump retweets game show host saying CDC and doctors are lying; the coronavirus task force pushes back: ‘None of us lie'. The game show host’s son tests positive for the virus one day later, the host suddenly changes his position, and deletes his Twitter account.
July 14: Nearly one-third of children tested for COVID in Florida are positive; that is over 11,000 children.
July 15: Administration removes control of coronavirus data from CDC, instead funneling it through the White House. Experts and scientists highlight why this is dangerous, and states begin to lose access to data.
July 15: Trump greenlights an op-ed attacking Dr. Fauci by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. Fauci responds that they should be ashamed. Trump then says Navarro never should have written it.
July 17: White House blocks CDC from testifying on reopening schools next week
July 18: Trump administration pushes to block new money for testing, tracing, and CDC in upcoming coronavirus relief bill
July 18: 85 infants under age 1 have tested positive for the virus in one Texas county since March
July 19: Trump claims, incorrectly, that the U.S. has "one of the lowest mortality rates" for the virus
July 20: Trump: "I will be right eventually. You know, I said, 'It's going to disappear.' I'll say it again. ... It's going to disappear, and I'll be right," – part of a larger interview citing false and nonexistent data on the virus.
July 20: Trump calls masks ‘Patriotic’ less than two months after ridiculing Biden for wearing one. Just hours later, he hosts a fundraiser without a mask (at his own hotel, where he raised $5 million).
July 21: Denied permission to work from home, Maryland public health worker dies after COVID hits office
July 22: White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway accuses the states of being too hasty with reopening their economies
submitted by _The_Hard_Truth_ to Trump_Covid_Timeline [link] [comments]

[MEGATHREAD] Cube V3 Tour

The original Megathread got archived automatically by Reddit, so I've now re-upped it.
This megathread is to compile all the information into 1 place so that information can be accessed more easily and smoothly. Please post all questions/comments on this thread. This includes selling/buying tickets, meetup plans, etc. Any further posts about the tour, including questions, will be removed.
Please feel free to use the "#live-shows" channel on the subreddit Discord server to discuss and post about the tour.
Next, please use Reddit’s spoiler feature when discussing things about the tour that others want to be surprised about. As posted in the sidebar, you can now hide your text on Reddit, so please utilize this feature in posts and comments. Don’t ruin the fun for other members of the horde!

Media

The tour will feature the brand new, highly-anticipated “Cube V3” – with new visuals completely designed by Deadmau5 himself!
NOTE: While the UMF 2019 set may spoil some things for the tour, Joel has confirmed on Reddit that there will be A LOT of changes for the tour - including new visuals and NEW MUSIC! Ultra was essentially just a way to test out the new system before tour season begins.

For those who cannot make it to the show, here's a recording of one of the shows in full (Though keep in mind the setlist changes each show)

Tour website: www.CubeV3.com

  • Tour schedule
  • Buy tickets
  • Sign up for text updates

New merch website: www.Mau5Hop.com

Tour Dates:

Set times, ticket prices, age restrictions, and other regulations vary for each venue, so your best bet for specific venue questions would be to visit venues' websites or call them.

The set length will be about 2 hours and 15 minutes, and the opening sets will each be about an hour long.

VIP PACKAGES:

1) deadmau5 On Stage Experience:
-One Premium Reserved or General Admission ticket to the show
-One (1) Meet & Greet with deadmau5*
-One (1) Individual photo with deadmau5*
-The ability to watch the first 3 songs of deadmau5’s set, side-stage*
-Exclusive access to special VIP pre-show production tour (see the new cube up close and personal)*
-One commemorative VIP laminate
-One exclusive merchandise item
-Priority entry into the venue*
2) deadmau5 VIP Meet & Greet Experience:
-One Premium Reserved or General Admission ticket to the show
-One (1) Meet & Greet with deadmau5*
-One (1) Individual photo with deadmau5*
-Exclusive access to special VIP pre-show production tour (see the new cube up close and personal)*
-One commemorative VIP laminate
-One exclusive merchandise item
-Priority entry into the venue*
3) deadmau5 VIP Cube Tour Experience:
-One Premium Reserved or General Admission ticket to the show
-Exclusive access to pre-show production tour*
-One commemorative VIP laminate
-One exclusive merchandise item
-Priority entry into the venue*
* = no liquids permitted side stage (alcohol, soda, etc)*side stage locations will operate in a different format from city to city depending on local venue capabilities *production tour done in groups of 10*meet & greet and photo opportunity may occur after general doors have opened

MORE DATES WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON:

No need to complain yet that you don’t see the city that you wanted. Joel also confirmed on Mau5Trap Radio Episode #28 that although this first part of the tour is United States only, they are working on plans for worldwide dates afterwards.
GUEST VOCALS:
  • LIGHTS (EVERY SHOW)
  • SOFI (Select shows only)
OPENERS: (In alphabetical order:)
  • ATTLAS
  • BlackGummy
  • Callie Reiff
  • E̶D̶D̶I̶E̶ (EDIT: CANCELLED DUE TO VISA ISSUES - replaced by Bentley Dean & Julian Gray)
  • Getter
  • i_o
  • Jay Robinson
  • Justin Martin
  • k?d
  • LIGHTS
  • Liquid Stranger
  • Mad Zach
  • Monstergetdown
  • MSTRKRFT
  • No Mana
  • QRION
  • Sara Landry
  • Sian
  • Sysdemes

AFTERPARTIES:

  1. Great Hall Stage: Testpilot, Layton Giordani, Rinzen
  2. Kings Hall Stage: ATTLAS, BlackGummy, MSTRKRFT, SIAN, Speaker Honey
  3. Lost Circus Stage: Todd Edwards, Jay Robinson, Gooey Vuitton

LOS ANGELES POP-UP SHOP:

What:
  • Special pop-up shop with an interactive art & music installation (powered by Specdrums from Sphero)
  • Buy exclusive merch
  • See special displays (i.e. mau5heads, McLaren 720s Spider, etc.)
  • Meet Mau5Trap artists & get stuff signed
  • Drink Corona
Where:
  • Sunset Strip - 1114 Horn Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069
When:
  • Thurs. September 26th to Sat. September 28th
  • 12:00PM - 8:00PM PDT
  • Deadmau5 signing from 3:00PM - 5:00PM PDT on 26th and 27th
  • i_o signing from 2:00PM -5:00PM PDT on 27th; 4:00PM - 6:00PM on 28th
  • Various Mau5Trap artists appearing/signing on 28th (including a Q&A panel from 1:00PM - 2:00PM PDT)

DENVER POP-UP SHOP:

What:
  • Special pop-up shop with an interactive art & music installation (powered by Specdrums from Sphero)
  • Buy exclusive merch
  • See special displays (i.e. mau5heads, McLaren 720s Spider, etc.)
  • Meet Mau5Trap artists & get stuff signed
  • Drink Corona
Where:
  • 2100 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80205 (Intersection of Larimer & 21st Street)
When:
  • Fri. November 1st to Sat. November 2nd
  • 11:00PM - 8:00PM MDT (both days)
  • Deadmau5 signing from 2:00PM - 4:00PM MDT (both days)
  • i_o signing from 5:00PM - 5:45PM MDT (Nov. 1 only)
  • Other Mau5Trap artists signing from 5:30PM -7:30PM MDT (Nov. 2 only)

NEW YORK CITY POP-UP SHOP:

What:
  • Special pop-up shop with an interactive art & music installation (powered by Specdrums from Sphero)
  • Buy exclusive merch
  • See special displays (i.e. mau5heads, McLaren 720s Spider, etc.)
  • Meet Mau5Trap artists & get stuff signed
  • Drink Corona
Where:
  • 260 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11206
When:
  • Thurs. February 6th to Sun. February 9th
  • 12:00PM - 6:00PM EST (both days)
  • Deadmau5 signing from 3:00PM - 5:00PM EST (Feb. 7th & Feb. 8th only)

SETLIST:

NOTE: Keep in mind, the below setlist compiles every track he's played at the shows so far in order - so therefore, he doesn't play ALL of these songs each show. Every show has a slightly different setlist.
BOLDED = Unreleased
  1. Deadmau5 - No Problem (Intro Edit)
  2. Deadmau5 - Where My Keys
  3. Deadmau5 - Infra Turbo Pigcart Racer
  4. Deadmau5 - Suckfest 9001
  5. Deadmau5 - Some Chords
  6. Deadmau5 - Some Chords (Dillon Francis Remix)
  7. Deadmau5 - Maths
  8. Deadmau5 - Maths (Cobra Effect Remix)
  9. Deadmau5 - Coelacanth (OV)
  10. Deadmau5 - My Pet Coelacanth
  11. Deadmau5 - Moar Ghosts ‘N’ Stuff
  12. Deadmau5 Ft. Rob Swire - Ghosts ‘N’ Stuff
  13. Deadmau5 Ft. Rob Swire - Monophobia
  14. Deadmau5 - Cthulhu Sleeps
  15. Deadmau5 - Imaginary Friends
  16. Deadmau5 - FML (Intro Edit + “I Remember” Vocal Edit)
  17. Deadmau5 – Fall
  18. Deadmau5 - Sometimes Things Get, Whatever
  19. Deadmau5 - Avaritia (“The Longest Road” Vocal Edit)
  20. Deadmau5 - Three Pound Chicken Wing (“The Longest Road” Vocal Edit)
  21. Deadmau5 - Where Phantoms Sleep ("The Longest Road" Vocal Edit)
  22. Deadmau5 Ft. Greta Svabo Bech - Raise Your Weapon [Featuring live vocals from LIGHTS]
  23. Deadmau5 Ft. Greta Svabo Bech - Raise Your Weapon (Noisia Remix) [Featuring live vocals from LIGHTS]
  24. Deadmau5 Ft. LIGHTS - Drama Free [Featuring live vocals from LIGHTS]
  25. Deadmau5 - Midas’ Heel
  26. Deadmau5 Ft. Shotty Horroh - Legendary
  27. Deadmau5 - Ban Hammer (cover of "Crockett's Theme" by Jan Hammer)
  28. Deadmau5 - Satrn
  29. Deadmau5 - Coasted
  30. Deadmau5 Ft. Chris James - The Veldt
  31. Deadmau5 Ft. Chris James - The Veldt (Eric Prydz Edit)
  32. Deadmau5 Ft. Chris James - The Veldt (Tommy Trash Remix)
  33. Deadmau5 - Strobe
  34. Deadmau5 - Speed, Violence, Momentum
  35. Deadmau5 - Nosedive
Encore:
  1. Deadmau5 Ft. SOFI - Sofi Needs A Ladder (Legend Of Zelda Intro Edit) [Featuring live vocals from SOFI]
  2. Deadmau5 - Arguru (2019 Remaster)
  3. Deadmau5 Ft. Rob Swire - Monophobia
  4. Deadmau5 Ft. Kiesza - Bridged By A Light Wave

BONUS:

Here's a list of most of the Cube V3 "fun facts" shown on the cube before the show!
submitted by Good4Josh2 to deadmau5 [link] [comments]

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