Chance, Mascot for The Vegas Golden Knights

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The Vegas Golden Knights pulled the greatest Friday the 13th prank in their franchise’s nascent existence a couple weeks ago. Except it wasn’t actually a prank. The Golden Knights decided to introduce their new mascot to the world (presented by Geico!, for some reason) via their crazy-popular twitter handle, but failed to supply any more details on the fantastic beast for another hour and forty minutes. Needless to say, the immediate consensus reaction was…confusion. What is it? Why does look like the rock guy from Fantastic Four? Is it a dinosaur? Is it a golden Godzilla? Following a thorough investigation of the internet, I’m confident that not a single fan theory correctly identified Chance as the GILA MONSTER he is.

Truthfully, when I heard he was a gila monster, I had a tough time understanding how the franchise had missed such an easy gimme and failed to just make their mascot a knight, but I’ve since changed my mind. After all, who says a mascot has to have any sort of semblance to the team they represent? Certainly not the Phillie Phanatic, and don’t even get me started on the Montreal Canadiens and their offensively ginger Youppi!

Youppi! the offensively ginger mascot of the Montreal Canadiens

Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/mlb/story/_/id/14700530/how-youppi-canadiens-keep-expos-spirit-alive-montreal

At the end of the day, I think Bill Foley and the Golden Knights’ media marketing group deserve a little credit for having the balls (and creativity) to green-light the use of a venomous, hardly-known, and near-threatened lizard as the face of their franchise. That being said, I feel like they missed a real opportunity to truly embrace the weirdness of their decision and go all out with a lizard costume; let’s be honest – that mascot outfit (designed by VStar Entertainment Group) is nothing more than a head and a set of gloves (yes, he wears hockey pants). That leads me to my only real criticism of the costume – the fact that the back of Chance’s head looks to be inexplicably coated with a thick shimmering and sparkling layer of unicorn spit.

Chance the Vegas Golden Knights Mascot is really just a head and gloves

Source: Getty Images, http://www.gettyimages.ie/license/862591050

The last element to all of this that deserves to be touched on is the fact that the mascot is named Chance. If you can’t work out that name’s obviously brilliant double entendre and how it relates to back to Vegas, I’m afraid I can’t help you. There is, of course, the possibility that the naming was all purely a setup for the best-ever mascot Halloween costume:

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The Las Vegas Mob Attraction

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Intentional or not, a large part of this so-called-attraction is finding the damn thing in the first place. Tucked out of the way in the basement of the Tropicana like an awkwardly spectacled step child, it was virtually void of visitors when I checked it out this past Monday afternoon. Sure, Monday isn’t exactly the busiest day on the Strip, but I’m guessing a slightly sloppy production (how do you have spelling errors on digital displays 19 months into operation??) has something to do with the meager attendance. It was either that, or the unjustifiably high cost to get in (general admission is $33).

It’s 2012, people. Spell-check has been a thing now for, like, 20 years.

The entire premise of this attraction hinges on it being an experience rather than a museum, which is probably a good idea considering it comes off as being curated by an 8th grader that learned everything he knows about the mob from The Godfather: The Game on Xbox. A modest amount of indiscriminate information is presented to the attendee, which contributes to an overly characterized presentation of “the mob.” The same presentation cyclically vilifies and praises both specific members of the organized crime syndicate, and their activities. It’s honestly just plain confusing.

Organized a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure  story, a series of roughly 20 rooms are compartmentalized to allow small groups of people to privately interact with different aspects of the attraction. Several of the rooms feature period actors that contribute to the disappointingly roughshod storyline that the attendee is actually trying to join the mob as they make their way to the exit. Nothing was more disappointing, however, than the overly hyped use of holographic interactions. This was the single largest draw for me, but the experience included only two holograms; neither of which featured any actual holographic effects. They were essentially just filmed projections. Hardly any CGI involved whatsoever.

Another notable feature of the attraction was the  “movie theater” room that continuously looped a TLC documentary of the filming of original The Godfather. To the room’s credit, comfortable black leather benches were available for seating, but the documentary’s video quality was reminiscent of early 2000’s bootlegged Kazaa movies. I wouldn’t be shocked if the attraction’s producer recorded the show as a YouTube stream and burnt it on to a DVD.

In conclusion, this attraction is a complete waste of both time and money. I feel genuine embarrassment for anyone and everyone involved in its production.

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Dave’s Gourmet Insanity Popcorn

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Dave's Gourmet Insanity Microwave Popcorn

I don’t know who this Dave fellow is, but he’s certainly got some nerve mixing together two of my favorite things: popcorn and capsaicin. The opportunity to experience this self-proclaimedhottest popcorn on the planet” set me back a cool $3.95 (who am I kidding, it was gifted to me [but the price tag was still on it]), a small price to pay to guarantee that creepy Orville Redenbacher doesn’t get my popcorn money. The bag was a standard 3.5 oz. affair, and just for reference, my 1000W microwave popped the bag to perfection in 2:05.

Just like any company conscious of their customers’ personal safety, Dave was kind enough to include a warning near the bag’s opening: CAUTION WHEN OPENING: HOT STEAM. What Dave failed to do was include a subtext something along the lines of DO NOT BREATHE WHILE OPENING: PARTICLES OF SPICINESS WILL FIND THEIR WAY DOWN YOUR THROAT AND YOU WILL COUGH FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES. 

The popcorn itself was almost indistinguishably buttered, and the kernels were pretty uniformly covered in Dave’s spicy seasoning. With my very first bite, I could tell that whatever the spice was, it was definitely chili powder based. As a person who goes out of his way to eat spicy things, this popcorn didn’t have me scrambling for milk. That being said, I did manage to down two full pints of water as I worked my way through the bag.

It’s definitely a pretty cool novelty food item, but its definitely not the sort of thing you’re going to want lining the walls of your pantry. Considering the price and the fairly basic chili powder taste profile, I’d rate this at a solid 2.5 X‘s.

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Automatic Wealth for Grads

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Automatic Wealth for Grads

Full disclosure: Before I even opened this book, I’d already proverbially judged it by its non assuming cover and overtly pretentious title. I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps Michael Masterson accrued his wealth not by selling books, but by skimping on cover-artist fees.

Aesthetics aside, the book totals 236 pages and is of enough mass to suggest it would contain some classically stodgy financial advice. However, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. Masterson’s pedantry becomes tiresome very quickly, and the majority of “advice” he offers would be more pertinent in a book titled Create Unsubstantiated Expectations of Personal Wealth and Convince Yourself You’re Happy While You’re at It.

Most frustratingly, Masterson fills pages upon pages speaking to his successes while demonstrating an utter ignorance of the book’s target demographic. There are certain things recent graduates (college graduates, as he explicitly states in the book’s second paragraph) should be expected to have an understanding of – the economics of Thirsty Thursdays, the return on energy drink investments, and the compounding nature of interest. Far too much of the book is dedicated to meandering concepts college sophomores, let alone graduates, are already familiar with.

That being said, Automatic Wealth for Grads isn’t a complete waste of a read. The author’s observations and conclusions are for the most part sorely misguided and without basis in reality, but there are several takeaways that could be useful to young adults. Here’s the summary:

  • Work hard
  • Find a fulfilling job and ask your boss for a raise at any and all opportunities
  • Living well is more a mindset than anything
  • Invest in real estate
  • Index funds and ETFs are the only worthwhile forms of trading
  • Pen horribly written books that people will inexplicably still pay you to read (this was more an implied lesson)

 

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President Obama’s Tournament Picks

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President Barack Obama unveiled his picks for the 2010 March Madness tournament today with Andy Katz from ESPN. While he certainly won’t be taking Joe Lunardi‘s job, Obama does an admirable job with his own “Barack-otology.” Granted, his analyses aren’t particularly insightful (“Maryland has a great player, but Michigan State has a great coach”) and the most he seems to know about teams are that they’re “athletic” and “balanced,” but I can’t seem to find any fault with his final conclusion; Kansas will win the National Championship.

In addition to Kansas in the Final Four, Obama also has the Kansas State Wildcats from the West, the Kentucky Wildcats from the East, and the Villanova Wildcats from the South. As much as this reminds me of brackets filled out by ex-girlfriends with the “cats are cute” mascot-matchup-strategy, I like to think Obama knew what he was doing. At one point in the video he tells Andy Katz he could put Kansas State head coach Frank Martin’s death stare to use in convincing Senate to vote for health care, so he’s definitely familiar with the teams.

Truth be told, I really like Obama’s bracket. He didn’t do too much reaching, only picking a couple upsets in the first round. Here’s to keeping my fingers crossed that his prognosticating goes as well as last year!

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